I think as I was making these cookies I began to wish they would just taste average when they were done. It's not that any of the steps are overly complicated, but they did require more then the usual mix, scoop, and bake. So as a result I was not looking for a cookie that would make people stop after one taste and slow down, so they could savor every bite. If I was only hoping for okay, these cookies landed about as far from that as they could. These cookies combine a crumbly, tender, lemon scented cookie, with complex, tart, sweet, marmalade filling and then a dip in rich dark chocolate. Trust me, this is a cookie that is worth the extra time. They are even worth tempering the chocolate to dip them in. Although as you may notice, I need to work on my chocolate tempering, and I know just the cookie I will practice on. If it tastes this good with a failed tempering job...
Julian knew right away how special the cookies were, and so he counted how many there were before he ever got to taste one. It often amazes me that my children can do division so quickly when cookies are involved. "Eighteen cookies mama. That means we each get four and a half cookies. Four and a half cookies if mama had not decided to give a few away. Every person who tried one had the same eye rolling, slow savoring response. I can see why Sarabeth's Kitchen sells them for $25 a dozen.
I have been sitting here trying to think of a transition between these cookies and a story of my boys during the holidays. I finally decided the link is I wanted to share both the cookies and the story because both are helping me to enjoy the season.
Yesterday my boys each received $50 from relatives in England. In previous years I have bought a membership to a local science center with the money and told them the membership was a gift from Grandpa Stuart and Grandma Phyl. But this year I thought the boys were old enough to choose this themselves (plus, the cards the money came in mentioned the checks enclosed). So I told the boys our membership would expire at the end of this month and suggested they use their money to buy a new membership to The Echo Center. When both boys hesitated and made a face I feared it was greed so I quickly mentioned they still would have the $20 a piece from their Gruncle and Graunty to spend on whatever they wanted.
Sebastian replied, "But I wanted to use the money to buy you a Christmas gift. Is twenty dollars enough money for me to buy you something? Something for you to cook with."
"Me too," said Julian, my 6 year old, "I want to buy you another thing to go on your KitchenAid mixer."
In most years Lewis and I do not receive gifts at Christmas, only the kids do. I never seems like there is enough money and so we have made it a kids holiday. I guess the boys have noticed and decided they need to be my Santa. The best gift I could ever receive is signs of my children's generosity. (Don't worry, there are also stories of their seasonal greed for my to share on another post!)
Chocolate Marmalade Sandwich Cookies
From Sarabeth's Bakery: From My Hands to Yours (This book is rapidly becoming a favorite)
I used Tomato Orange Marmalade as the filling in these and it was perfect. You can substitute any favorite marmalade or even a jam that would pair well with the bittersweet chocolate, such as raspberry or apricot. If you have a quart of home canned tomatoes that were acidified with citric acid or lemon juice you can use that to make Tomato Orange Marmalade.
The cookies need to be baked and filled a day before dipping in the chocolate to allow the cookie to soften and marmalade to set the sandwich. If you try to dip them on the first day they are filled they will slide apart when you dip them.
The recipe calls for tempering 12 ounces of chocolate because tempering less is difficult. When you have finished dipping the cookies spread the remaining chocolate on a sheet of parchment paper to set it can be retempered and reused another time.
Made 20 sandwich cookies for me (2 were eaten before being dipped in chocolate)
10 Tbsp (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (I cut mine into tablespoons and just beat it for a tiny bit longer)
1/2 cup sugar
2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, or kosher salt
3/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
3/4 cups plus 1 Tbsp whole wheat pastry flour or white whole wheat
1/2 cup of your favorite marmalade, I used Tomato Orange Marmalade
12 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped, divided
Put the butter in the bowl of a stander mixer and beat it on high speed with the flat beater blade until smooth (about 1 minute). If you have a self scraping beater blade for your mixer use that instead of the plain one. Slowly add the sugar while continuing to beat the butter on high speed. Scrape the sides of the bowl down occasionally until the sugar is fully incorporated and the mixture s light in both color and texture. It should take about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolks, lemon zest and salt and mix until it is well mixed. Reduce the speed to low before adding the flours a third at a time. Mix on low speed just until the dough comes together and the sides of the bowl are almost clean. If there is unmixed dry, crumbly dough at the bottom of the bowl turn the mixer off and stir well from the bottom before continuing to mix.
(Sarabeth has you carefully form the dough into a log before chilling and then slicing into rounds. My dough was not a perfectly round log and so my cookies were flat on one side. Next time I am going to experiment with rolling the dough out and then cutting square shaped cookies. Even slightly misshapen they are still the most amazing cookie.)
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Make the dough into a smooth ball before rolling it out into a 14 inch log that is about 1 1/2 inch in diameter. Place the dough log on an 18 by 13 inch piece of parchment paper (here may be the first problem with my log rolling technique. I only have Half Sheet Pan Precut Parchment Paper Sheets - 12 × 16½), with the long side of the paper and the log facing you. Fold the parchment paper over the dough log.
Hold the edge of a yardstick securely along the long side of the log, pull the top layer of the parchment paper under the yardstick to tighten the paper and lightly compress the log. The log should now be 16 inches long. Unwrap the log. (Technique number 2, I did not have a yardstick so instead of wrapping the log up with a yardstick I carefully rolled my log until it was 16 inches long). The dough will have a seam on it, roll the log lightly on the paper to smooth out the seam out. Reroll the paper around the log. Do not twist the ends closed, as this dough is soft. Refrigerate until the dough is chilled and firm, at least 1 hour.
Position the racks in the center and top third of the oven before preheating to 350°F. Line two half-sheet pans with parchment paper (which is much easier with my Half Sheet Pan Precut Parchment Paper Sheets - 12 × 16½).
Unwrap the dough log and use a thin sharp knife to cut 3/8 inch thick circles of dough. (I marked 3/8 of an inch on a small piece of paper to use as a guide for cutting). Keep the circles of dough in order when placing on the parchment paper. It is easier to form sandwiches later with the circles that were next to each other on the log. Place the cookies about 1 inch apart on the sheets while making it clear which circles are pairs.
Bake the cookies, switching the position of the pans from top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking, until the edges of the cookies are lightly browned, about 12 minutes. Cool completely on the baking pans.
Once cooled turn all the cookies over so the undersides face up. Spoon a rounded 1/2 teaspoon of marmalade onto one of each pair of cookies, and sandwich the flat sides together. Let the cookies stand overnight at room temperature to set the marmalade and soften the cookie.
(I followed all of Sarabeth's tempering instructions perfectly but my chocolate still bloomed. I realized later that part of the problem might have been the frigid temperature of my house. Chocolate tempering expects a room temerature of 68° to 72°. Next time I am going to try David Lebovitz's instructions for tempering chocolate.)
To temper the chocolate, bring 1 inch of water to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Reduce the heat to very low. Place 8 ounces of the chocolate in a wide, heatproof bowl. Place the bowl on top of the saucepan, being careful not to touch the bottom of the bowl to the water. Let stand, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate reaches 110° to 112°F on a thermometer. Remove the bowl from the heat and place on a kitchen towel. Add the remaining 4 ounces of chocolate and stir until melted. Let stand, stirring every minute or so, until the chocolate reaches 88°F.
Line a half-sheet pan with fresh parchment paper. One at a time, dip a cookie in the chocolate, letting the chocolate come about one-third up the sides of the cookie (I dipped half of the cookies in the chocolate and see no reason to change next time. Who doesn't want more chocolate?) Shake the cookie gently to remove excess chocolate before carefully placing on the pan. Push each cookie with your finger to move just 1/8 inch from its original position. This dislodges and removes the “foot” the chocolate has formed. Let the cookies stand until the chocolate sets. The cookies can be stored in an airtight container, with the layers separated by parchment paper, for up to 5 days. (I stored mine on a covered cookie sheet for a week with no loss of quality)