I just love new beginnings (no preaching about diets here - see photo above). I'm not sure if I get more personal satisfaction from completing projects or planning and executing them. Even though Thanksgiving and Christmas are not projects per se, they are diversions from the normal process of everyday life. There is so much planning, shopping, decorating, cooking and other details and it's such a blessing when it all comes together. It is also enormously satisfying when it's all cleaned up and put away.
These chocolate wafer cookies represent the last of the holiday baking at our house. I served them with Homemade Peppermint Ice Cream at Christmas Eve dinner and they were a perfect accompaniment to the bright, creamy peppermint flavor. Chocolate and peppermint are not strangers and although they're not related, they compliment one another deliciously!
This is, by far, the blackest dough I've ever seen. The recipe calls for Dutch-process cocoa as well as black cocoa. I used Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate Cocoa and it seems to have done the trick.
The cookies are not overly sweet and are very crispy. Rolling the dough thin is important because you want wafers, not cut out cookies. The leftovers have been sitting around a few days so I thought I would make this layered dessert for a New Year's Eve treat - you know before we start the diet - no preaching, just saying.
The great thing about this recipe is how after about 24 hours in the fridge, this cookie stack softens and turns into chocolate cake. No more crisp cookies, just soft cake like layers sandwiched between espresso and cocoa flavored whipped cream. This would also be great with a peanut butter mousse or peppermint cream. The possibilities are limited only by the imagination!
Sprinkle with a little shaved chocolate, sifted cocoa, powdered sugar, coconut or fresh fruit. This is a fantastic make ahead dessert - just refresh with a dollop of whipped cream and garnish before serving.
Chocolate Wafer Cookies & Stack Cakes
(adapted from a recipe by King Arthur Flour)
For the Cookies:
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon espresso powder (granules)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup Special Dark Chocolate Cocoa
1/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa
(I halved the filling as I only had 15 cookies left from the original batch - making three cake stacks)
2 cups heavy whipping cream, very cold
2 tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon espresso powder / granules
Line two or more baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a medium mixing bowl combine the sugar, butter, salt, baking powder and espresso powder. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Then add the flour and cocoa. Cover the dough and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Roll the dough out on a large piece of parchment paper to about 1/8 inch thick, using cocoa instead of flour to dust the rolling pin and surface. Cut into 2 1/2" round cookies.
Bake for about 10 minutes taking care to check them near the 8 minute mark. If you smell chocolate before the 10 minutes is up, take them out to cool. Cool cookies completely on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container.
To make the stack cakes whisk together the cream, sugar, cocoa and espresso. Beat until soft peaks form. Layer the cake stacks starting with one cookie on the bottom, one heaping teaspoon of the filling, top with a second cookie pressing slightly to compress the whipped cream to about 1/4" thick. Repeat with 4 more cookies. Refrigerate 24 hours before serving. Add a dollop of whipped cream and garnish with chocolate shavings just before serving.
My husband asked if I could bake more cookies in 2013, or maybe bake one cookie recipe each week for the entire year like I did with pies in 2011. I agreed to do at least one cookie recipe each month, probably more, but I have so many other recipes I'd like to bake as well. Looking back it's hard to believe I've never posted chocolate chip or oatmeal cookies - that is very sad, especially for a dessert heavy blog. So expect to see more cookies in 2013 and healthy recipes tucked in between.
You'll find me spending more time on the treadmill, more time working on my 15 projects and more time on adventurous recipes leaning heavily on other cultures and flavors.
I received the entire collection of Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking for Christmas. So I bet you'll see some lovely French recipes as well.
Looking back on 2012 I see a lot of recipes I'm proud of, many things I want to make again and others I would like to tweak here and there. I have an enormous file of failed recipes. A few will make it to the table this year, with problems corrected of course.
I hope you all have a wonderful, safe, fun filled New Year's Eve! No party for us - I'll probably be in bed by 10:00 p.m. Such a party pooper! Many blessing to you and your family in 2013!!!
Have I told you how much I appreciate you? Thanks so much for stopping by!