Monday, February 21, 2011

Chocolate-Chip-Filled Melting Moments

Chocolate-Chip-Filled Melting Moments - made February 19, 2011 from The Essential Chocolate Chip Cookbook by Elinor Klivans (book #45)

In the foreword of this recipe, it says these cookies are a specialty in Australia and New Zealand so naturally this caught my eye.  I don't actually remember seeing these anywhere I went on my trip and I like to think I visited an inordinate amount of bakeries and cafe shops while I was there, to take pictures of the food displays, if not to eat.  But that doesn't stop me from wanting to try this recipe in honor of my trip so I did.

Before I even made this recipe I figured this would have a tender crumb, not just from the title but because of the ingredients used.  Cake flour and cornstarch will make a cookie with a tender and airy crumb.  Likewise powdered sugar instead of granulated sugar will contribute a more delicate texture.  The relatively low baking temperature and longer baking time is also more reminiscent of how meringues are baked which also tend to have a more airy texture.  Make these as small as you can.  Since they're sandwich cookies, you're literally eating 2 cookies as 1.  You don't want them too big or they'll be too overwhelming to eat, especially if you're practicing portion control.  I thought I had made mine small since I used my smaller ice cream scoop but they still puffed and spread to a slightly bigger size.  Sandwich cookies also look cuter when they're smaller if you need something for an afternoon tea.

These weren't airy like meringues but are still lighter in texture and crisp/crunchy in a good way.  I did think they were a trifle too sweet for me though so next time I might cut back on the powdered sugar or else substitute cocoa powder for some of the powdered sugar and make them Chocolate Melting Moments instead.  You might notice from the picture that I didn't add the mini chocolate chips to the filling and just made a straight vanilla butter filling.  That was deliberate as I was giving these cookies to my cousin whose son doesn't like chocolate and to my parents who prefer cookies without chocolate chips (I know, I know, I don't get it either).  So it's probably really ironic that the one recipe I tried from a book called The Essential Chocolate Chip Cookbook, I didn't add any chocolate chips to.  Oh well.

½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
½ cup cake flour
¾ cup cornstarch
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
¾ cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
¾ cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips

1.    Position a rack in the middle of the oven.  Preheat the oven to 300⁰F.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
2.    Sift both flours, the cornstarch, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.
3.    In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and powdered sugar until smooth and lightened slightly in color, about 1 minute.  Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed during mixing.  Add the vanilla and mix until blended.  On low speed, add the flour mixture, mixing just until it is incorporated and a smooth dough forms.
4.    For each cookie, roll a level tablespoon of dough between the palms of your hands into a smooth ball.  Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets, 2 inches apart.  Use a fork to gently flatten the cookies to 1 ¼” disks, similar to traditional peanut butter cookie “cross hatches”.
5.    Bake the cookies one sheet at a time until the tops feel firm and the cookie bottoms are lightly browned, about 30 minutes; the tops of the cookies should not color.  (I baked these for a little over 25 minutes as the bottoms were already lightly golden brown.) Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for 10 minutes, then use a wide metal spatula to transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
6.   Make the filling: In a medium bowl, use a wooden spoon to stir the butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla together until smooth.  Stir in the chocolate chips.
7.   Turn half of the cooled cookies bottom side up and use a thin metal spatula to spread a rounded teaspoon of filling over each one.  Place the remaining cookies right side up on the filling and press gently.
8.   The cookies can be stored in a tightly covered container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

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