Tag: chocolate

During the day I work opposite a fantastic and very popular cupcake and coffee house that I try to resist on a frequent basis. Not only because of my waistline, but also because of my wallet. The recent boom in the cupcake business has led to a staggering inflation in the cost of your average baked good and cup of joe, which means a trip to the bakery is sadly becoming something of a luxury rather than a daily occurrence. Well one day last week, after a particularly draining day in the cube farm – I caved and entered said cavern of overpriced delights. As expected I came out almost $10 poorer and probably 10 pounds heavier having consumed a very sweet, but very pleasing mocha/choca cookie sandwich (with my coffee). I loved it, but the knowledge of how easy it is to make cookies and moreover how many I could have baked for the price of just one, made me determined to go home and recreate the same thing and this recipe is the result – I hope you enjoy it!

Note/Credits: I used the base of a sugar cookie recipe I have been using for a long time from joyofbaking.com and mixed it up with my own frosting idea. I actually split my frosting so half was peppermint, half was just choc vanilla. But full credit to my British friend Joanne B who had the idea for the choc orange version of the frosting – tried it and it’s delish!

Finally, because there was so much interest for this recipe from the UK I’ve included metric measurements so you don’t have to do all the cups to grams conversions yourself! You’re welcome :)

Total time: 2hours 45 mins (Prepping 40 mins/cooling 1.5 hours/baking 10-15 mins/frosting 20 mins)

Yields: Approx 18 3 inch cookie sandwiches 

Ingredients:

For the chocolate sugar cookies

  • 2 3/4 cups (355 grams) all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup (75 grams) unsweetened/baking cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon (4 grams ) baking powder
  • 1 cup (227 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups (350 grams) granulated white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp swedish vanilla powdered sugar for dusting (or plain if you can’t find vanilla)

For the choc cream cheese filling:

  • 3/4 cup (170 grams) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup ( 115 grams)  softened cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup (40 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup (96 grams) confectioners/powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (if making a plain choc filling) OR
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract for the minty versions OR
  • 1 tbsp orange zest plus 1 splash orange oil for a delightful chocolate orange version

For Chocolate Sugar Cookies:  In a large bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder.

In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer if you don’t have one, which is totally fine), beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 3 to 4 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition until it resembles a glassy eggy paste.

Add the vanilla extract and continue to beat for another 30 seconds until combined.

Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients now and beat until you have a smooth dough.

Divide the dough in half and wrap each half in plastic wrap (cling film to my british brethern) Refrigerate the dough for about one hour or until firm enough to roll. Seems like a long time i know, but gives you time to clean up and make the filling!

For the cream cheese filling:

In a new clean bowl in your mixer beat the cream cheese and butter until combined and smooth, then add in the cocoa and flavoring you are using.

Finally start to add the sugar a bit at a time until you have the consistency that you want, which is soft and spreadable but not too runny. Taste to confirm it is delicious – adjust any extra flavoring if needed.

icing in bowl

Cover the frosting and put to the side until ready to use. TIP!! This could be made a day in advance and then refrigerated, but you’ll need to take it out at least an hour before frosting the cookies otherwise it’ll be too firm and you risk snapping the cookies.

Now back to those cookies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in the center of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Remove one half of the chilled dough from the refrigerator and, on a lightly floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll out the dough to a thickness of 1/4 inch (1 cm). (Keep turning the dough as you roll, making sure the dough does not stick to the counter.)

Cut out 3 inch circles or squares using a lightly floured cookie cutter and transfer cookies to the prepared baking sheet. Place the baking sheets with the unbaked cookies in the refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes to chill the dough which prevents the cookies from spreading and losing their shape while baking.

While they are cooling in the fridge – roll out the other half of the chilled dough and repeat the above.

Bake cookies for about 10 -12 minutes(depending on size) or until they are firm around the edges.

Remove from oven and let cookies cool on baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.

When all cookies are completed cooled you can begin the fun part – frosting! Take one cookie in your hand, and with a knife smear a large dollop of the delicious frosting on the underside of the cookie (make sure it’s the underside so that when you finish you have the pretty side showing) Then sandwich another cookie carefully on top of the frosted one and voila, a tasty cookie sandwich.

frosting

A final step when you’ve frosted all the cookies is to dust them all off with some icing sugar – preferably the delicious vanilla sugar variety, mainly because it tastes even better. TIP!! You can buy it at IKEA – it’s in a little packet called Vaniljasocker, those Swedes know what they’re doing with food as well as design.

The cookies will keep several days in an airtight container, but because of the cream cheese filling – I recommend putting them in the fridge after the first day. Not that they’ll last that long…

In my humble opinion, there is never a bad time to help yourself to a delicious, moist slice of banana bread paired with hot coffee or if you’re a Brit like me – a great cup of tea. There are of course fantastic recipes abound for this baked staple, this is just one my favorites that i originally found on food.com and then played around with by adding various ingredients until I was satisfied with the perfect outcome.

Total time: 2 hours (Prep 1 hour/Bake 1 hour)

Yield: 1 loaf

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour (or all purpose white if you prefer)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup semi-sweet dark chocolate chunks or chips

Method

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and butter a 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan. (The non stick variety are by far the best).

Cream the sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. (Note, if you have a stand mixer, it helps to use here so you can go ahead and prepare the rest of the ingredients in parallel, just beware – you may still need to give the mixture a good hand whisk at the end as even my beloved Kitchen Aid didn’t get that light fluffy consistency you are looking for here.)

In a small bowl, mash the bananas with a fork. Mix in the milk, vanilla, honey and cinnamon.

In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Add the banana mixture to the creamed mixture and give it a good stir until combined. Then add the dry ingredients, mixing until the flour just disappears – you don’t want to overwork the dough here or the bread will become stodgy. Now add the chocolate chunks and give the dough one final gentle mix.

Transfer the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for an hour  – or until a toothpick/skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Once baked and out the oven, leave to cool in pan for approx 15 mins. Then turn the pan over and gently slide the loaf onto a wire rack to cool before serving. Although chef’s prerogative is to try a warm slice, you know – just to be sure it tastes good…

TIP! If you’re not a fan of chocolate but you’re still reading this recipe – thanks for sticking with me. Here’s the good news – you can happily leave out the chocolate chunks and substitute with walnut or macadamia nut pieces, the proportions  stay the same and instead you’ll enjoy a slightly crunchier but still moist loaf. Chocaholics can also increase the amount of chips by a 1/2 cup or mix it up by adding some milk choc chips in there too. Delish.

If you keep this bread in an airtight container, it will keep for 3-4 days… although I dare you to not eat it all by day 2!

 

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