Saturday, July 27, 2013

TKOs (double chocolate faux oreos but way better because they're salted)

I’ve been trying more and more to use my bookshelf full of cookbooks. I seem to have an ever-growing collection of them, each more “essential” than the last. Don’t get me wrong, I really do love them and read through them all the time, but I often find that when I’m looking for inspiration, I turn to my “pinned” recipes and bookmarked blog posts rather than my bookshelf.
I’ve been making more of an effort to use my cookbooks, especially the new ones that have never been smudged with chocolate or sprinkled with flour. Yet. I was recently at a bookstore and came across the BouchonBakery Cookbook. I had heard of it, as any aspiring baker should have by now, and everything I read made it seem like it had the potential to be great: a world-renowned chef as its author, establishments with its name all across America (including in the heart of New York City, about 5 blocks from my school), and a collection of recipes with enticing names. But I had no idea I would fall in love with it so quickly.

Guys, let’s be real here for a minute. This book is beautiful. Seriously. First off, it’s huge – I mean, this is coffee table material we’re talking about. Secondly, the photos, larger-than-life-sized and colorful, will make your mouth water at first glance. No, Thomas Keller did not pay me to write this (although between you and me, I totally wish he had) – this was all just to get to my main point. These blow-your-mind, fantastic cookies.

A while ago, I made the book’s recipe for pecan sandies. I loved it, I photographed the cookies, my hard drive crashed. Until I get up the energy to make that recipe again, I decided to go with these, the extremely gourmet version of my beloved oreo. These chocolate cookies have an intense, deep flavor with more than just a hint of salt. The filling is made with white chocolate, but, much to my relief, is not cloyingly sweet – it balances out the cookie perfectly. So, is this recipe, and this book, love at first sight? It just might be… why don’t you find out for yourself?

                                                             (from Bouchon Bakery)

White Chocolate Filling 
4 ounces (125 grams) 35% white chocolate, chopped 
0.5 ounce (15 grams) unsalted butter  
1/2 cup + 1 teaspoon (125 grams) heavy cream   
Melt the chocolate and butter together, stirring constantly. Meanwhile, bring the cream to just under a simmer. 
Pour the cream over the melted chocolate and whisk to combine. Pour into a container and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or up to 1 day, until completely chilled.

Chocolate Shortbread 
1 3/4 cups + 1 1/2 tablespoons (259 grams) all-purpose flour  
1 cup + 1 1/2 tablespoons (87 grams) unsweetened alkalized cocoa powder  
3/8 teaspoon (1.6 grams) baking soda 
8 ounces (227 grams) unsalted butter  
2 teaspoons (6 grams) Kosher salt (I used 1 1/2 teaspoons and they were quite salty)
3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon (161 grams) granulated sugar

Place the flour in a medium bowl, sift in the cocoa and baking soda, and whisk to combine.
Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Turn to medium-low speed and mix until smooth. Add the salt and mix for another 15 to 30 seconds. Add the sugar and mix for about 2 minutes, until fluffy. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
Add the dry ingredients in 2 additions, mixing on low speed for 15 to 30 seconds after each, or until just combined, then mix until the dough begins to come together.
Mound the dough on the work surface and, using the heel of your hand or a pastry scraper, push it together into a 6-inch-square block. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, until firm. (The dough can be refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 1 month.)
Position the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F (standard). Line two sheet pans with Silpats or parchment paper.
Unwrap the dough and place it between two pieces of parchment paper or plastic wrap. With a rolling pin, pound the top of the dough, working from left to right, to begin to flatten it, then turn the dough 90 degrees and repeat (this will help prevent the dough from cracking as it is rolled). Roll out to a 1/8-inch-thick sheet. If the dough has softened, slide it (in the parchment) onto the back of a sheet pan and refrigerate until firm enough to cut.
Using a round fluted cutter, cut rounds from the dough. If necessary, push the trimmings together, refrigerate until firm, and re-roll for a total of 16 rounds. (Any trimmings can be baked as is, cooled, and ground in the food processor to use as cookie crumbs over ice cream.) If the dough softens, return to the refrigerator until the cookies are firm enough to transfer to a sheet pan. Arrange the rounds on the sheet pans, leaving about 1 inch between them.
Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, turning the pans around halfway through baking, until the cookies are fragrant, with small cracks on the surface. (Because the cookies are so dark, it can be difficult to tell when they are done.) Set the pans on a cooling rack and cool for 5 to 10 minutes, then transfer the cookies to the rack to cool completely.
To assemble the cookies: Place the filling in the bowl of the mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, and beat until smooth. Transfer to the pastry bag.
Turn half of the cookies over. Pipe 1/2-inch-long teardrops in a ring on each one, beginning 1/2 inch from the edges of the cookie, and then, working toward the center, pipe concentric rings of teardrops to cover the cookie (use 18 grams of filling per cookie). Top each with a second cookie and press gently to sandwich the cookies.
The cookies are best the day they are baked, but they can be stored in a covered container, at room temperature if unfilled, or refrigerated if filled, for up to 3 days.
Note: The shaped dough can be frozen on the sheet pan—wrapped in a few layers of plastic wrap—for up to 1 month. Transfer to a lined room-temperature sheet pan, and bake from frozen.
   -yield: 8 sandwich cookies

 Note: If making 8 sandwich cookies, the cookies turn out to be huge. To make smaller cookies, just use a smaller cutter and bake for a few minutes less - I believe mine took about 10 minutes to bake and were about 2" in diameter.
Another note: There's really no need to cover the cookie in teardrops of filling; just pipe teardrops along the edge, as this is what will show up, and cover the center part of the cookie in a big drop of filling to save time.

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