Thursday 14 February 2008

Will you be my Valentine?

All over the world today, many people will be celebrating Valentine's day. Ironically, even though I'm engaged to be married I'm spending the day alone (at least physically). You see, M is in Paris on work. Yes, I know, there's something wrong with that picture. While I'm sitting here in London all alone in the apartment, he's in what's arguably the most romantic city in the world having room service food. But, it's really not all that bad. I'm hopping on the Eurostar tomorrow to join him in Paris for a belated Valentine's weekend celebration.

Still, even though he's not physically here, I spent yesterday evening baking up some Valentine cookies for him, which I will bring up with me to Paris. These are also my entry into the A Heart for Your Valentine event hosted by Zorra. These cookies are Thomas Keller's (of French Laundry fame) take on Oreos and they are seriously addictive. It might be because of the larger than usual quantity of salt in the dough which I've always found to heighten the flavour of chocolate or it could be the sinfully rich white ganache filling that is a million times better than the white gunk in the store-bought variety. Whatever the reason, this is my favourite cookie recipe of all time and thus, they are appropriately the cookie I am making for M this year.

To read the other entries to A Heart for Your Valentine, click here.

From The Essence of Chocolate

1/2 cup cream
8 ounces white chocolate, chopped

3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups plus 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
7 1/2 ounces butter, room temperature, cut into small cubes

For the filling: 
Place the white chocolate in a bowl. Bring the cream to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat on the stove.
Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and whisk together to melt the chocolate. I find this is a pretty high chocolate-to-cream ratio, so if you are unable to get all the chocolate to melt, you can place the bowl over a bain-marie and stir until the chocolate is completely melted. Transfer the filling to another bowl and let cool until it has thickened enough to spread - it may take a few hours. You can speed up the process by putting the bowl in the refrigerator. If the filling gets too stiff, you can heat it up again in the microwave.

For the cookies: 
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two baking sheets by lining them with parchment paper or Silpats.

Combine the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in an electric mixer. With the mixer still running on low speed, add the butter a few pieces at a time. Let the dough continue mixing until it comes together - it should go from looking like pebbles or cornmeal to a cohesive mass.

Turn the dough out onto a floured working surface and work into a solid block. Divide the block into two pieces. Working with one piece at a time, roll out between two sheets of parchment paper until 1/8" thick. Using a 2-in cookie cutter, cut out shapes and place on the baking sheets about 1 inch apart (cookies will spread a bit in the oven).

Bake the cookies for about 12 to 15 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through baking time. Remove from oven and let cool on wire racks for a few minutes (cookies will be too soft to move at first), then transfer cookies to wire racks and let finish cooling.

To assemble the cookies: 
Place half of the cookies upside down on a work surface. Whisk the filling lightly to fluff it up a bit and make it spreadable. Using a small spoon, scoop a small dollop of filling onto the center of each cookie. Top with another cookie right side up. Press the cookies together until the filling spreads out to the edges.

The cookies with keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies


zorra said...

Of coures I would like to be your Valentine. ;-) These cookies look fantastic. I will make them soon.

Thank you for your participation and I hope you had a wonderful Valentine's Day.

Marye said...

Oh wow..those look so good! fantaistic job.

Madam Chow said...

Those look absolutely AMAZING. I have to put this on my "to try" list!