Sunday, April 5, 2009

Walnut Chocolate Cookies

This is a beautiful cookie to serve for high tea when you invite your friends and family over to your home. Plated on a three tiered serving tray, the display is so elegant and looks like you have fussed over the cookie for a long time. When you take the time to put in a little extra effort for that extra touch, it makes the person visiting feel so special because you have taken the time to make something special for them.

I share with you this beautiful and easy to make walnut cookie. The dough is a medium-density dough, but the texture is still crispy and will melt in your mouth. Because the dough is medium, it makes it much easier to mould.

The flavor of this cookie is out of this world because of the perfect combination of ginger and cinnamon. The cookies are perfect to serve plain or sandwiched with a little chocolate butter. Making this yourself beats buying fancy cookies at Whole Foods or Famous Amos anyday. Also, shaping the dough and knocking it out makes a wonderful stress reliever. POW! A perfect release, a perfectly shaped cookie. It is surprisingly statisfying.

Walnut Cookies Recipe

(For the cookie)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 large egg yolk

Confectioners' sugar, for dusting moulds

(For the Chocolate-Walnut Filling-Optional for sandwiching)
3 ounces (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 ounces (1/2 cup) walnuts, toasted and finely chopped
Pinch of salt
5 sounces semisweet chocolate, melted and slightly cooled

Directions for cookies:
1) Whisk flour, salt, cinnamon, ginger in a bowl.
2) Beat butter and sugars with a mixer on medium speed until fluffy. (I use my handy Kitchenaid Stand Mixer. This takes about 2 mins).
3) Beat in egg yolk and then add flour mixture, beating just until combined.
4) Form dough into a 1-inch-thick disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least for 1 hour or overnight.
5) Using a hand held sifter (use a small sifter if you have one), lightly dust the springerle cookie mould with icing sugar by tapping lightly. You have to ensure that the moulds are thinly and evenly dusted with sugar.
6) Press about 5 grams of dough into the mould with fingers, working from the center. Trim off overflowing dough and clean up the edges using a knife.
7) Give the mould a firm tap at a 45 degree angle (I tapped it on a cutting board because I have a wooden island countertop and did not want to ding it). The cookies will release easily.
8) Repeat the shaping with the rest of the dough, spacing the cookies 1 inch apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
9) Freeze the cookies for 1 hour before baking.
10) Preheat the oven to 325 degrees (Remember ALWAYS use an oven thermometer to get the temperature correct and best baking results).
11) Bake cookies until 25 to 30 mins and let cool on a wire rack*.
Directions for Chocolate Butter/Filling:
1) Cream butter with sugar on medium speed. I used a hand held mixer for this because it is a small quantity, I get better control of the texture.
2) Beat in walnuts and salt until combined. Beat in chocolate and use immediately.
*After the cookies has cooled, spread or pipe 1/2 teaspoon of chocolate walnut filling on the flat side of 1 cooke. Press the other flat side of another cookie onto filling to form a sandwich.

I hope you will enjoy this recipe!

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