Thursday, February 12, 2015

Sandwich Cookies with Ganache: a Delicious Treat for Valentine!

For me baking is an act of love, something that fills me with joy and does good to my soul. As with any passion, you cannot keep what you are passionate about for yourself. Sharing your passion with others helps it to be more complete, after all sharing is caring, right? 

And now that Valentine is upon us, it´s a good excuse to bake and share the passion with the world. Of course, you don't need any excuse to bake but during  special occasions, especially one like this, you get more motivation to do so, especially if you intend to share your labor of love with that significant other whomever it may be.

Few days ago I discovered caramelized white chocolate, and of course I had to give a try. So I made a small jar following the recipe of David Lebovitz!

Initially I wanted  to make cookies with rose petals and rose water with white chocolate and pistachio ganache. However, after discovering the exquisite caramelized white chocolate I decided to make two cookie batches using this wonderful chocolate spread. This might seem complicated, however, the base cookie dough is the same to which you can add whatever extra flavor you want. Additionally, this dough is perfect if you wish to decorate the cookies for that extra effect.

Enough talking and let start baking:

For the dough you need:
  • 200 g butter at room temperature
  • 100 g powdered sugar (add more sugar if you just want plain cookies with no filling)
  • 1 egg (about 50 g) room temperature
  • 400 g of flour 
  • dash of salt

First, cream the butter and the sugar for a couple of minutes until the butter feels just light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat again for a couple of minutes until well incorporated.
Mix the salt and flour and add to incorporate to the wet mix. Don't over mix the dough, you just want it to come together.
Lightly flour a working surface and divide the dough.
To one half add a generous tsp of vanilla paste or extract and about 10 to 20 g of finely chopped white caramelized chocolate (you can use plain white chocolate instead).
To the other half add a tsp of ground rose petals (I ground them in a coffee grinder), and a tsp of rose water. Alternatively you can just add rose essence, but the rose petals give extra texture and color to the dough.

Knead each half of the dough gently to incorporate all the ingredients until the dough is no longer sticky. You may need to add a sprinkle of flour!

Leave the dough on the counter for few minutes, uncovered!

Place each batch of the dough between 2 baking papers and roll out. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or over night for best results.

Take the dough out and cut the cookies using the molds you like. I used several cutting molds including heart-shaped ones, after all it's Valentine! Refrigerate for an additional 30 min so that the cookies hold their shape while baking.

Bake the cookies in a preheated oven (180C) for 10 to 15 min. Baking time depends on the thickness and the size of the cookie! For cookies that I know I will decorate I opt for thicker base, around 6 mm is fine. For the sandwich cookies I make the base thinner, around 4 mm is perfect, and if you are feeling adventurous 3 mm.

For the caramelized white chocolate ganache you need:
  • 100 g caramelized white chocolate, chopped
  • 50 g cream (35% fat content)
  • tsp of vanilla essence or paste
On a gentle heat simmer the cream and then pour it over the caramelized white chocolate. Whisk until all the chocolate has melted then add the vanilla! The ganache is done.

For the pistachio ganache:
  • 100 g of white chocolate
  • 50 g cream
  • a tsp or 2 of pistachio paste (if you can´t find it, here is a link for a homemade recipe)
Follow the same steps described for the first ganache.

When the ganache has completely cooled you can sandwich the cookies together! Just put enough filling to cover three quarters of the base cookie, top with another cookie and press gently until the filling reaches the edges.

And if you are, like myself, a fan of cookie decoration, use your creative imagination to make something suitable for Valentine. Here's some of the cookies I decorated.

Remember, baking and cooking is an act of love. Enjoy baking, and Happy Valentine.

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