We’ve been re-watching Strike Back over the weekend and a good snack was in order. The Husband was hinting at Nutella but since we were out – quelle horreur! – I had to think of some other treat with hazelnuts and chocolate.
Then I remembered pining a cookie sandwich (Hazelnut Espresso Truffle Cookies from The Perfect Cookie Book) by America’s Test Kitchen that would fit the bill perfectly. Chocolate, hazelnut and coffee are a classic Italian combination everyone loves.
I did alter the recipe a bit: instead of using instant espresso powder to flavor the dough, I put the coffee into the ganache (and thus used less cream). The dough is a bit sticky so be generous with the flour when rolling! Also, mine needed more time to bake than the recipe suggested, but that depends on your oven so be sure to keep an eye on your cookies.
They turned out sublime and we had an especially hard time being patient and not eating them before I shot the sandwiches for this post.
Now that I mentioned photography… A goal I set for this year is finding my style. It’s a process and to be honest, something I’ve been struggling with lately.
A thought that occured to me is maybe defining my style will also help in further developing it. Reading Rachel’s post 3 Words To Describe Your Food Photography Style gave me a great tool: I’m doing a word bank now. This technique is about coming up with a bunch of descriptive words, than narrowing them down to the most meaningful. It’s both easy and hard! I’ll share mine soon, and also challenge you to do yours – it’s a fun verbal activity.
And after this short sidenote, the recipe for the cookie sandwiches:
Hazelnut Cookie Sandwiches with Chocolate Espresso Ganache
Decadent cookie sandwiches with a rich, espresso-flavored ganache. Makes about 35.
150 g hazelnut meal
320 g AP flour
1/4 tsp salt
½ tsp baking powder
225 g unsalted butter, room temperature
300 g granulated sugar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract
For the ganache:
50 ml freshly brewed espresso
150 ml heavy cream
300 g dark chocolate, chopped
- In a bowl, whisk flour, salt, baking powder and ground hazelnuts together.
- In a separate bowl, beat butter and sugar with a handheld electric mixer (or in a stand mixer equipped with the paddle attachment) until pale and fluffy. Add egg, yolk (one at a time) and vanilla, beat until combined.
- Add flour mixture in 3 additions and mix until just combined, scraping down bowl with a spatula as needed.
- Form dough into a ball, wrap in cling foil and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours, until stiffened.
- Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, preheat oven to 190°C (375°F).
- Divide dough in 4 quarters. On a floured surface, roll 1 disk of dough (keep rest in the fridge) into a circle about 3 mm thick. Using a 5 cm round cookie cutter, cut circles, place 2 cm apart on prepared sheets. Gently reroll and cut scraps.
- Bake in the centre rack of the oven until edges are just slightly browned, about 10 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough.
- Let cookies cool on the sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Make the ganache: Brew an espresso. Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Heat cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until steaming but not boiling. Pour hot cream and coffee over chocolate chips; cover and let sit for a few minutes. Whisk mixture until smooth. Refrigerate ganache until thickened, stirring occasionally.
- Assemble cookie sandwiches: Spread a heaping teaspoon of ganache over bottom half of cookies, top with remaining cookies and press lightly to adhere. Enjoy!