Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Chocolate Lace Sandwich Cookies (Brussels)


Photo by Heather Hanson 
 

Beligan beers and chocolate are a favorite pairing of ours, especially a dubbel. When I came across this recipe, I was sure I had a treat on my hands. Do the cookies look familiar? They do bear a striking resemblance to a popular brand-name cookie named after the capital of Belgium. It seemed only fitting to pair them with a Belgian style beer!

These cookies are one of the more challenging ones I've made to date. The first batch turned out perfectly: an even golden brown, beautiful lacing, wonderfully crisp. Only they had melded into one large cookie. The second batch, I had halved the recipe, but forgot to halve the flour, resulting in a very different, albeit tasty, cookie. The third batch I rolled instead of dropped and as a result the cookies didn't spread as thin as they should have. The fourth batch burned. Once they start to caramalized, they brown quickly! The fifth batch finally yielded something close to the desired result, but nothing nearly as pretty as the ones at Two Peas. But they tasted wonderful.

So what did I learn?

3/4 tsp is really 3/4 tsp. Any larger you risk one giant cookie as they meld together.

Space them FAR apart. I ended up making 10 per sheet to give the cookies ample room to spread.

Drop the dough, don't roll it. Rolling compressed the batter and the cookies did not spread evenly thin. The edges burn before the center was done as a result.

Mix the sugars and butter well before adding the dry ingredients. The dough comes together very fast anyway, so not point in rushing by trying to throw everything into the same bowl as once. You'll achieve that wonderful brittle like texture if you dirty that extra bowl.

Parchment paper or silpats are a must.

Watch the cookies closely during the last 4-5 minutes of baking. Once they spread, they caramelize fast. Be prepared to yank them out the oven the moment they look uniformly golden.

And over course, enjoy! Even the accidents were incredibly tasty!
 

Recipe adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod

Yields 20 sandwich cookies

Ingredients
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 2 Tbsp heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp light corn syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup flour
  • ½ cup old-fashioned oats
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp baking powdered
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 oz dark chocolate, melted

Preparation
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F
  • Line several baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • Whisk together the butter, cream, corn syrup, and vanilla extract. Beat in the sugar until smooth.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the flour, oats, cinnamon, baking powder and salt. Slowly mix the flour mixture into the butter mixture until just combine.
  • Drop dough by the scant teaspoon onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving at least 3 inches between cookies. They will spread a lot as they bake. 10-12 cookies per sheet is ideal.
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes, checking after the 6 minute mark. Remove them when they are a deep amber on the edges and golden brown in the center. The cookies will begin to brown very quickly once they spread.
  • Allow to cool slightly on the baking sheets and then transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. They will crisp up as they cool.
  • Pair up cookies of similar size and shape. Spread one cookie with a thin layer of melted chocolate. Top with the second cookie, gently pressing together. Repeat with remaining pairs.

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