Friday, 16 May 2014

Chocolate and muscovado sugar thumbprints


Chocolate and muscovado sugar thumbprints cookies
This is the recipe I had originally chosen to kick-off the blog, before changing my mind and deciding to start with a cake, a zero birthday cake. Why these chocolate cookies? I don't know exactly, the choice had come out by itself, but if I try to give an explanation I would say that it is because I always have a jar of home-made chocolate cookies to grasp when craving for something sweet and chocolatey or to offer to guests coming for a cup of coffee; and these are so cute that look good also in a non-professional picture like mine.
Anyway, going straight to the recipe, this is a very easy one. In general, I like thumbprints cookies very much, on one side because I find funny to press the finger into the dough to make the little hole (kids will love the activity too), on the other because the final result looks really pretty. Chocolate lovers will like this version.

Chocolate and muscovado sugar thumbprints cookies

Chocolate and muscovado sugar thumbprints
makes about 40 cookies
for the cookies
125 g butter                                               
1 egg                                        
80 g muscovado sugar                      
70 g potato flour *                       
150 g all purpose flour              
30 g unsweetened cocoa powder   
seeds of 1/2 vanilla pods or 1 tsp vanilla extract
* potato flour can be substituted for all purpose flour
for the chocolate "ganache"  
dark chocolate             120 g                    
full cream milk               50 g       
liquid glucose (or acacia honey) 50 g

Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Melt butter over very low heat (or in the microwave) and let cool. In the meantime sift together the flours and cocoa powder.
In a bowl mix the egg and melted butter, add sugar, vanilla and then the sifted powders. Combine well, then transfer the onto a slightly floured working surface and knead it rapidly just until the dough comes together. It will be like a soft shortcrust pastry. Roll dough into 2 cm balls (approximately the size a walnut) and place slighlty spaced on baking sheets lined with parchment paper; they won't rise as cookies usually do. Press down center of each ball with your thumb (or with the end of a wooden spoon if you want all indentations the same size).
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, not longer otherwise cookies will turn as hard as rocks. Remove from oven; press down centers again with the end of a wooden spoon if the indentations seems too shallow, then let the cookies completely cool
In the meantime prepare the chocolate filling, which is not properly a ganache, but is a very good spread which can be used also for other preparations or can be simply spread over a slice of bread.
Chop the chocolate into bite-sized pieces, and put them into a pan or an heat-resistant mixing bowl. Fill a saucepan with enough water to reach just below the bowl when placed over the pan and heat up the water (it does not have to boil). Let the chocolate melt slowly stirring occasionally. This operation can also be done in the microwave, warming the chocolate at the minimum power for 30 to 40 seconds at a time until melted; if you still see small pieces of non-melted chocolate, remove the bowl from the microwave anyway and stir the mixture gently: the heat of melted chocolate will melt the remaining pieces. In doing this you must be very careful otherwise the chocolate burns and doesn't taste good anymore; if you have a kitchen thermometer check that the temperature remains around 50 - 55°C.
While chocolate melts, warm the milk and glucose or honey until it is completely  dissolved. Then pour the liquid mixture over the melted chocolate in two to three times, stirring from the center of the bowl. Be gentle. The glucose helps the chocolate to remain shiny after cooling.
Let the "ganache" cool a little, until it starts firming, then using a piping bag, pour it into the indentations of cookies.
Let the chocolate firm before serving.
These cookies keep up several days in an airtight container.
I recommend to try filling some cookies with raspberry or strawberry jam which pairs very well with chocolate.
Chocolate and muscovado sugar thumbprints cookies



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