Posts Tagged sandwich cookies

For Valentine’s Day – Chocolate Sugar Cookie Hearts with Blood Orange Curd

Chocolate and blood orange sandwich cookies

Blood oranges, chocolate - doesn't that just sound like Valentine's Day to you? Maybe with a slight Vampire overtone?

It’s annoying that in the depth of winter, when all I want to do is have the oven on, all the great fruit is out of season. This is finally the time of year when I want to spend the time making a puff pastry crust, and yet what I really want to do it fill it with pastry cream and top it with fresh strawberries. And those strawberries you get at the Safeway in the dead of winter are . . . it’s like they’re not even strawberries. They’re some kind of mass-produced strawberry replica, as distinct from the berries you buy at the Farmer’s market as a Mona Lisa key chain is from the original.

Citrus is one of the few saving graces of winter. In the height of the winter months, citrus fruits are at their peak, making them a bright spot in an otherwise dreary January.

I was inspired by some blood oranges that I saw in Whole Foods the other week and decided to make something sweet and citrusy. Because of the deep red color of the blood oranges, I wondered if I couldn’t make something appropriate for Valentine’s Day. After all, the aisles of CVS are full of red and pink schlock, which is the universal sign that V-Day is right around the corner.

I decided to make an orange curd from the blood oranges and sandwich it between heart-shaped chocolate shortbread cookies (and yes, because I’m sure you’re thinking it, these did serve as the inspiration for the heart-shaped almond and citrus cookies I’m selling for Valentines’ day). Orange and chocolate is a classic pairing, and I liked the way the sweet tart filling balanced the rich chocolate flavors of the sugar cookie. Next time I might try this with a chocolate and orange ganache filling, or pair the orange curd with a lemon or vanilla sugar cookie.

Also, the orange curd presented a bit of a challenge. Unlike lemons, which are high in acidity, oranges are quite sweet, and their higher sugar content means that orange curd doesn’t thicken the way that lemon curd does. If you’re just spreading the curd on some toast or pouring it over pound cake, the consistency doesn’t really matter, but if you need it stiff enough to stand up as a sandwich cookie filling then you need to stiffen it up. I ended up thickening my curd with gelatin, but I added far too much, and once it set the curd was a tad, shall we say, rubbery.

So I want to warn you about this recipe – I’m suggesting that you add half as much gelatin as I did, but I’m honestly not sure if that’s exactly right. I know, I know, Julia Child would kill me. I feel like I’m kind of falling down on the food blogger job, but what can I say – it’s been a busy couple of weeks. If the curd doesn’t thicken properly, spread it on toast. Dip the cookies in it. Trust me – the stuff is like liquid sunshine. You won’t be disappointed.

Chocolate and blood orange sandwich cookies 2

You could also just eat the orange curd with a spoon. Not that I've done that.

Recipe: Chocolate Shortbread Heart-Shaped Sandwich Cookies With Orange Curd

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When Mint Oreos Go To Heaven

Chocolate Mint Cookies

These are mint Oreos that died and went to heaven.

 I have a mint addiction.

Or, to be absolutely clear, I have a chocolate and mint addiction, which I developed after a youthful love affair with Junior Mints. But chocolate and mint is such a special combination that I like to save it for really special times of year: Girl Scout Cookie Season and Christmas. So this Christmas Eve it only seemed appropriate that I should try my hand at a chocolate-mint dessert, given that I wanted to make something for the various Christmas parties we were attending.

I decided to recreate one of the most perfect expressions of the chocolate-mint combo: the mint Oreo. I chose this Epicurious double-chocolate sandwich cookie recipe and added a hint of mint to the white-chocolate filling. The key, I found, was to add enough mint so that it perfumed the filling, but didn’t overwhelm the white chocolate.

The recipe is a little time consuming,but none of it is especially difficult. I decided to follow my own advice and use properly softened butter that I didn’t heat in the microwave. I also creamed the butter and sugar together for a full six minutes. At the end of the creaming stage it was entirely different than what I was used to; the mixture was extremely pale and extremely fluffy, as though it was filled with a spunky soul all its own.

I also took the recipe’s advice and froze the cookies before I baked them, which helped them keep their shape. You’ll see in the “comments” section of the recipe that many people found the dough difficult to work with, but I didn’t think it was all that bad. I let the dough sit out at room temperature for ten minutes before rolling it out, which helped quite a bit. The dough did have a tendency to crack when I first rolled it out, but I patched the cracks together with my fingers. And if the cracks wouldn’t disappear, I simply cut out my cookies around them, with no harm done.

The only problem I had is that the cookies puffed up quite a bit as they baked. I’m not sure if this meant I mishandled the dough, but when I make these again I’m going to score the dough lightly with the tines of a fork and see if that helps.

Appearances aside, these cookies were just lovely. I like to think of them as mint Oreos that died and went to heaven.

Chocolate-Mint Sandwich Cookies Recipe

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