Monday, December 12, 2011

Two-Tone Ganache Sandwich Cookies - Secret Recipe Club

Two-Tone Ganache-Filled Snowflake Cookies - ButterYum

Snowflake Cookies - ButterYum

Chocolate Snowflake Cookies - ButterYum

Ganache-Filled Snowflake Cookies - ButterYum

This month's Secret Recipe Club assignment was Vivian's blog Let's Try These.  Vivian and I share a love for baking, so it was hard picking just one recipe to feature today, especially since she has so many yummy options to chose from, but I wanted to find a recipe that I could use with my snowflake cookie cutters.  I settled on Vivian's Two-Tone Cookie Crinkles, a Better Homes and Gardens recipe.  I don't know why they're called crinkles - there's nothing crinkled about them, but they sure are tasty, and they're so fun to make.

Two-Tone Ganache Sandwich Cookies - ButterYum

Two-Tone Ganache-Filled Snowflake Sandwich Cookies
makes approximately 30 cookies

For the cookies:
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted

For the ganache filling:
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 ounces high quality semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

To make the cookie dough:
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the blade attachment, beat the butter on medium high speed for 30 seconds.  Add sugar, baking powder, and salt; beat until combined, scraping bowl as needed.  Add egg and vanilla; beat to combine.  Add flour until incorporated.  Divide dough into two portions; adding sifted cocoa powder to one portion.  Wrap each portion with plastic wrap and chill for 1-3 hours.

Preheat oven to 375F.  Roll each dough portion to 1/8-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface.  Cut out desired shapes with floured cookie cutters, leaving the bottom halves solid.  Place cookies 2-inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet; bake in preheated oven for 8 minutes or until edges are set (tiny cutouts bake for 5-6 minutes).  Transfer cookies to racks and cool completely.

To make Ganache:
Gently heat cream and chocolate together; stirring until completely smooth and combined (I did this in the microwave).  Cover and chill for 30 minutes (or make the ganache several hours in advance and let it sit at room temperature until it reaches the proper spreading consistency).

To assemble cookies:
Spoon about 1 teaspoon of the ganache in the center bottom of each cookie and make a sandwich by adding a decorative top cookie.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.

To store, place unfilled cookies in an airtight container, separating layers with waxed paper, at room temperature for 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months.  Thaw and assemble just before service. 

My notes:  I'm not a fan of rolling cookie dough on a floured surface - the extra flour makes the cookies look messy, and it has a tendency to dry out the dough, making the cookies cut from the re-rolled scraps a lesser quality.  Instead, I prefer to roll my dough between two layers of waxed paper - completely eliminating the need for extra flour and enabling the scraps to be re-rolled over and over again (chilling when needed).  To prevent distortion, I cut my cookie shapes while the dough is still on the waxed paper, then slide the waxed paper onto a cookie sheet and chill for at least 10 minutes before transferring the shapes to a sheet pan. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Bailey's Irish Cream and Pistachio Fudge

Bailey's Irish Cream and Pistachio Fudge - ButterYum

Time of this month's Crazy Cooking Challenge - FUDGE!!  My selection, Bailey's Irish Cream and Pistachio Fudge.  It's so good, and it's so easy to make - it takes about 10 minutes from start to finish, requires only 4 ingredients, and there's no need to use a candy thermometer.  I found the recipe on the blog Eat Good 4 Life by Miryam.  She also has a tempting Kahlua and Dark Chocolate Fudge recipe that's just as easy, as well as all kinds of sweet treats and savory fare.  Lovely blog - I hope you'll stop by and pay her a visit.

Bailey's Irish Cream and Pistachio Fudge
makes one 9x9 square pan
adapted from Eat Good 4 Life

36 ounces white chocolate chips
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
6 tablespoons Bailey's Irish Cream
1/3 cup pistachios, blanched and chopped (more is okay)

Lined a 9x9 pan with foil and lightly grease with butter (or use nonstick foil); set aside.

In a heavy-bottom sauce pan over low heat, combine the first 3 ingredients and stir constantly until the mixture is completely combined.  Remove from heat and stir in pistachios.  Pour into prepared pan and chill until set. Cut and serve.

Note:  I reduced the recipe to 1/3 which worked perfectly with one bag of chips and a small airplane size bottle of Irish Cream (50ml).