Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Sweet Green Tomato Hand Pies

You know those McDonalds apple pies?  Yeah, well these tasted like those.  I know, it's sorta surprising because these are made with tomatoes--green tomatoes at that--but yes, I swear that's what they tasted like.

I have an aversion to trying things that I'm skeptical about.  Not like trying tofurkey or pickled eggs--which are the two things in this world that will undoubtedly make me gag.  But things that I think might be good and probably are good but I'm still iffy on.

These were one of those things.  Which is funny because I really do love tomatoes.  But I love them for the natural sweetness they acquire as they ripen or roast--or the way they taste when you sprinkle some salt and balsamic vinegar on them.

However, when you intentionally try to make a dessert out of them, I'm thinking... umm... ok... maybe...  It's one of those times where I'm pretty sure they will be good because I got this recipe out of a cookbook and they wouldn't intentionally and knowingly put a recipe in there that tasted bad...

But at the same time it grosses me out a bit.

Nevertheless, this iffy feeling was unfounded--as expected because these were good.  But I might have mucked up the pastry dough though.  I don't think it cooked through all of the way so it was soft and not very crispy or flaky--maybe also because I used part whole wheat flour and part cake flour.

I didn't have any all-purpose on hand so I compensated.  I don't think it worked too well  And they got worse after the first day so I actually ended up throwing them out in a fit of anger/disappointment/annoyance.  It was sad and a waste but--and I need to work on this issue--when one of my culinary concoctions fails in some way, all I want to do is get rid of it and pretend it never existed--out of sight, out of mind.

Anyway, I think the problem was that the dough didn't bake long enough--which is just one more good reason to always use a recipes baking time as more of a guideline than a rule.  Or, in other words, know your oven.

I feel like I know mine but during the process of making this dessert we somehow grew distant and our connection was lost.  I have no one to blame but myself.  Alas, I do think this is a good recipe. The sweet green tomato filling is a bit unique and is pretty tasty.

I would say that the acidity that does come with tomatoes is washed away with this recipe--maybe it's just cooked off--and you're left with pure sweetness (also, the added sugar that goes into the recipe probably helps a bit too).

Recipe--just oh so slightly adapted from The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Dessert Cookbook:

For the dough:

1c cake flour
1/2c whole wheat flour
(The original recipe calls for just 1 1/2c all-purpose)
1T + 1tsp of granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
8T unsalted butter chilled and cut into small cubes
1/2c whole milk Greek yogurt

(You can use a food processor for this part, but I did it by hand)

-In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar and salt
-Using a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs
-Add the yogurt and mix in--just until completely combined so that when you pick a piece of the dough up and pinch it together it will hold together
-Divide the dough evenly into two discs, wrap each of them tightly in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least one hour

For the filling:

2 green tomatoes (recipe calls for each to be about 10oz each--mine were less and I still have extra filling leftover) cored and chopped into 1/2 inch chunks
1 other tomato (the recipe calls for a plum tomato but I used an heirloom variety I had on hand--I don't think it really matters) cored and chopped into 1/2 inch chunks
1/3c granulated sugar
1/2tsp grated orange zest
1/8tsp salt
1/4tsp ground cinnamon
1/2tsp ground ginger (the recipe calls for 2T finely chopped crystallized ginger but I used what I had on hand)
1T fresh lemon juice
1T cornstarch

-In a medium saucepan, mix everything together EXCEPT for the orange juice and cornstarch
-Cook over--stirring constantly-- medium heat until the sugar has dissolved
-Reduce the mixture to a simmer and cook until the tomatoes are soft and tender--took me about 20 minutes
-Meanwhile, in a small bowl mix together the orange juice and cornstarch and stir until the cornstarch is fully dissolved
-Once the tomatoes are soft and tender, add the cornstarch/orange juice mixture to the filling and stir over low heat until the mixture has thickened--about a minute
-Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature

Egg Wash:

1 large egg
1T cold water

To assemble:

-In a small bowl make the egg wash by whisking together the egg and water until fully combined and set aside
-Remove the chilled dough from the fridge, roll one disc out at a time on a lightly floured cold surface until it is about 1/8 inch thick
-Cut out 4 1/2 inch circles using some sort of round cookie cutter or something similar (you should get about 8-9 circles)--re-rolling the dough as needed to get all circles
-For each circle, spoon about 1T (maybe a little less because it will spill out otherwise when you fold each pie) of the filling onto the bottom half of each circle leaving 1/2 inch border all around
-Using a pastry brush, brush the border of each pie with the egg wash
-Fold the top half over the filling and press the edges to seal
-Brush each pie with the egg wash and place on a parchment paper or silicone lined baking sheet
-Place the baking sheet in the fridge to chill while you preheat the oven to 325 F
-Bake pies for at least 20 minutes--checking to make sure that the dough is fully cooked through
-Serve warm

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Corn Cookies

Yes....corn cookies.  They sound a little different, right?  Well they are a little different but in a good way--like a really good way.  They are sweet and salty and most definitely have a corn flavor to them. And for someone like myself who isn't in love with corn--whether it be corn on the cob or creamed corn--I thought that these were some dope ass cookies.  My partner, who on the other hand is a giant corn lover (something that always perplexes me), was entranced by these cookies.  He loves corn and sweets so this was the perfect dessert for him.  They hail from Christina Tosi's Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook which is essentially a product of the Milk Bar bakeries in NYC.  I've been to one of them and sampled some of their pies which were pretty amazing too.  One of the ones that I tried was their "crack pie" which is also a salty sweet corn flavored pie. In fact, that was the first thing I made from the cookbook.  In my opinion, these cookies are really the crack pie in a cookie form.  I'd give Christina Tosi an A++ on this gem of a cookie.

However, on a different note, I do have one qualm to pick with Christina Tosi.  I mean, there's no doubt that she is an amazing baker and I am greatly excited to bake just about everything in the Momofuku Milk Bar book--they are all drool worthy.  Yet, somewhere in the beginning of her book she states how she wanted to create recipes using traditional ingredients.  Well, now that I've whipped up just two of her recipes--and perused many more--I've discovered that her ingredients aren't so traditional.  The corn flavor in both the crack pie and corn cookies come a la freeze dried corn that's crushed into a powder.  I had never bought freeze dried anything so it took me a bit to find out where I could get some.  Eventually I found this brand at Whole Foods and another local grocery chain. And then there are ingredients she lists out for other recipes like milk powder and citric acid--not necessarily every day baking items.  Or she calls for certain equipment that's not all that common for the home baker. For example, she uses cake rings and acetate to assemble all of her cakes.  As a fairly regular baker who does not normally have those things on hand, I'd be pretty surprised if I found out that most home bakers do have a stockpile of acetate and an array of different sized cake rings in their kitchen cabinets. And yet to be fair, at the beginning of the book she does list out pretty much all of the ingredients that she uses and suggests locations to find them. But, my point is that more often than not--to make one of Christina Tosi's recipes--you can't necessarily just decide on a whim to whip one up on any given day.  There's a good chance that you're going to need to hit up the market or order something from Amazon to be able to make it--which in my mind isn't so traditional. Grant it, if you're a resourceful individual or a seasoned baker you can compensate or substitute for any number of the ingredients or equipment she specifies.  But again, I would argue that her recipes aren't exactly traditional--amazing yes--but not so commonplace.

Recipe courtesy of Momofuku Milk Bar

225g (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temp.
300g (1 1/2c) granulated sugar
1 large egg at room temp.
225g (1 1/2c) all-purpose flour
45 (1/4c) corn flour OR if you don't have corn flour you can use 40g (1/4) flour + 8g (4tsp) freeze-dried corn powder
65g (2/3c) freeze-dried corn powder
3/4tsp baking powder
1/4tsp baking soda
1 1/2tsp kosher salt

-In a medium bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients EXCEPT the sugar
-In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar for 2-3 minutes on medium-high speed
-Add the egg to the butter-sugar mixture and beat for 7-8 minutes on medium speed
-Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed just until well combined
-On a parchment or silicone lined baking sheet--for each cookie--measure out 1/3c of the cookie dough and then pat the tops of each cookie so it flattens a bit
-Wrap the tops of the baking sheets in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 1 week
-Before you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350 F
-Bake the cookies for 18 minutes or until they are lightly golden brown
-Remove cookies from oven and let them cool completely

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Peach (and blueberry) Cobbler

I almost made a crisp--not a cobbler.  I actually wasn't sure what the difference was until I read about it online.  A cobbler has a biscuit topping and is called a cobbler because when the biscuits are baked they look like cobblestones.

Well I thought that was great and all but I like a sweet brown sugary streusel more. Biscuits are good but they aren't as sweet in my opinion and are tad more involved to make.

So when I decided I wanted to make a cobbler and then actually realized what one was...I was like..."F" that! But then I simmered down and decided that it might be a good experience to actually make a cobbler.  Plus, I might like it more than I was anticipating.

I found a recipe in the cookbook that I have--the one that divides recipes according to the four seasons, The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Dessert Cookbook.

Its been a great cookbook to me. Every time I think of a classic dessert I want to make, I flip through it and--so far--find what I'm looking for. The one thing about this recipe is that although it's named "Peach Cobbler," it has some blueberries in it.

So I don't know if that's an actual "classic" peach cobbler or not.  But I wasn't opposed to it--blueberries are a great addition to just about any fruit dessert.

And the biscuit topping that I thought would be a little more intensive than a crisp's crumble topping really wasn't bad.  You just cut some butter into the flour, add some buttermilk, cut some circles out of the dough and then drop it on top of the fruit.  Easy as pie--or cobbler in this case.

Recipe ever so slightly adapted from The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Dessert Cookbook:


1 1/2 lbs peaches sliced into 1/4-1/2 inch wedges and peeled if you want--I didn't (I used a combination of white and regular)
1c blueberries
1/4c granulated sugar
1/4c packed brown sugar
3T corn starch
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp salt

Biscuit topping:

1 1/4c all purpose flour
3 T granulated sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
5 T cold unsalted butter cut into small cubes--divided
1/2c buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
coarse sugar for sprinkling

-In a large bowl, combine all of the filling ingredients and toss well so that all of the fruit is well coated
-Pour the filling into an 8x8 inch baking pan and set aside
-Preheat the oven to 375 F
-For the biscuit topping, in a large bowl sift together all of the dry ingredients
-Using a pastry blender, your fingers or two forks, cut in 4T of the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse cornmeal or "pea-sized" chunks
-Add the buttermilk and vanilla and stir to combine
-On a lightly floured surface roll out the biscuit topping so that it is about 1/2" thick
-Using a 2 1/4" round biscuit cutter or cookie cutter of some sort, cut out 9 rounds--or as many as you can
-Drop the rounds of dough atop the filling
-Sprinkle the coarse sugar over the dough and the remaining butter over the entire pan
-Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the biscuits are golden brown and the filling is bubbling
-Remove from oven and let it cool a bit--but serve warm and maybe with some whipped cream?  Like I did?  Yeah!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Raspberry and Chocolate Tarts

Basically I made these for two reasons:  I wanted to make use of these little tart pans I purchased that I feel I don't use enough--and by making these I can justify my purchase.  The second reason is that I wanted to make something fancy looking with raspberries.

I have to say that making pie dough turns me into a nervous wreck.  The temperature in my apartment does not fall below 75 degrees during the summer so I'm sweating something fierce rolling it out in a frenzied fashion and attempting to prevent any butter from melting into the dough.  But I have a system in place which involves a pizza stone and the energy inefficient method of opening and closing my freezer door every 5 minutes or so.  Gotta keep that shit cold!  You know??  You know.  

So making 6 little pie doughs can be extra nerve-wracking.  It's not like I can roll out the dough once and cut out 6 individual circles.  In one roll I can only get 3 and then you have to clump the scraps back together without working it too much so you don't get a tough pie crust all the while keeping it cold. It's a mad dash to the finish.  

But I manage and luckily my system--however inefficient may be--seemed to work this time.  The pastry dough is the hardest part about these tarts.  The rest is just melting chocolate and putting some raspberries on top of it.  And I did add a glaze for the raspberries to make them shine a bit.

I really love the taste of chocolate and raspberries together in one bite.  It's sweet and sour and maybe even a little bitter.  Delicious.  I don't have a lot more to say about these so I'll leave it at this--these are easy but fancy and they taste fantastic so I'd go for it.  Love yourself.  But love these tarts more.

Recipe for 6 - 4" tarts

Pie dough:
Your favorite pie crust recipe--enough for a top and bottom crust for a 9" pie

Chocolate ganache:
10 oz of semi-sweet chocolate
1c of heavy cream

As many as you want--I used 8 for each tart so 48 total

Simple sugar glaze:
50g water
50g sugar
25g lemon juice
3g pectin

-Roll out pie dough and cut out 6 - 5" circles
-Line the tart pans with the dough
-Line each tart with parchment paper and pie weights
-Place all of the tarts on a baking sheet and refrigerate while you preheat the oven to 350 F
-Bake the tart shells for 18-20 minutes or until they are golden brown
-Remove from oven and let cool completely
-Meanwhile make the ganache
-Place the chocolate in a large heatproof bowl
-Place the heavy cream in a small saucepan and heat to the point where it's just about to boil--small bubbles will form around the edge of the saucepan
-Remove the cream from the heat and pour it over the chocolate
-Whisk together the cream and chocolate until all of the chocolate is fully melted and it's a silky smooth mixture
-Divide the ganache equally between the tarts
-Place the tarts in the fridge until the ganache is set
-Once set, remove from fridge and prep the raspberries by washing and drying them with water
-Divide the raspberries evenly between the tarts and just set them atop the ganache
-To make the glaze, combine all of the ingredients in a saucepan and boil for 3 minutes
-Remove the glaze from the heat and with a pastry brush, glaze all of the strawberries--while the glaze is still warm
-The glaze should set pretty quickly so when it does you are done!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Cherry Pie

Admittedly--to memory--this was my first cherry pie.  Which is interesting because I really do like cherries. But then when I was making my pie, my mom called and I told her what I was making and she asked why. She told me that she thought I never liked cherries and admitted that she never did.  So maybe that explains why I've never had a cherry pie...

Nevertheless, with it being my first one I have eaten or made, I have to say that I wasn't fully impressed at first.  But I'm also not sure if mine turned out exactly how it was supposed to.  Strike that, I'm almost certain it didn't.  It tasted great--perfect amount of sweetness.  But I think the texture and togetherness of the whole thing was askew.  The filling should have been thicker.  Right?

I used fresh cherries that I got that same day at the farmers market.  They were beautifully ripe and sweet and juicy. Like really juicy.  And I think that may have been my pitfall because I poured all of that juice into the pie crust and it never thickened up with the added corn starch and sugar.  All it did was make a soggy bottom crust and a lot of leftover liquid sitting in the pie pan after I cut the first slice out.  It kind of blows because I was excited about this summer pie.  I even bought a cherry pitter--which by the by worked fantastically--to ease my cherry pie making time.  It was going to be a great pie.  But it was just ok....at first.

Then it was great pie!  Sometimes--with pies--I feel as though they taste better as they age.  I don't mean age as in weeks or months but just a couple of days later and they taste even better.  It's as though all of the pie ingredients have marinaded and melded together and are in perfect harmony.  Also, the filling seemed to thicken up a bit which was awesome.  Still, it probably should have been thicker at the outset but since it was my first cherry pie, I'm not going to mull over what should have been.

Recipe adapted a tad from Simply Recipes:

1 - 9" or 10" pie dough recipe of your choosing--enough for a top and bottom crust (I used this one from Saveur again)

Pie Filling

2lbs (~4c) sweet cherries pitted and possibly drained of excess juice?
100g (1/2c) granulated sugar
1/2tsp almond extract
2T lemon juice
3T corn starch

Egg Wash

1 large egg
1T water

Course sugar for sprinkling

-Roll out the bottom crust for the pie dough and set within your pie pan and then stick it in the fridge while you get your filling together
-In a large bowl, mix all of the filling ingredients together until well combined and the cherries are fully coated
-Set filling aside
-Roll out your top crust (I made a lattice using a tutorial from Simply Recipes)
-Remove pie pan from the fridge and pour the filling inside
-Place your top crust over the filling and trim, crimp and pinch to your liking (Note about pie dough trimming: On a small edge of my pie, there was a portion that I didn't trim enough so it was cantilevering off of the edge of the pie pan.  So when I stuck it in the oven, it drooped over the edge and was like a waterfall of pie crust over the edge of the pie pan.  Thus, lesson learned:  Trim your pie dough just to the edge of your pan to avoid this droop)
-Place pie in the fridge while you preheat the oven to 425 F
-Once the oven is preheated, brush the top crust with the egg wash, sprinkle the course sugar on top and place the pie pan on top of a baking sheet to catch any juices that may drip down.  Bake pie for 15 minutes
-After the 15 minutes is up, reduce the oven temperature to 350 F and bake for another 30-35 minutes or until the top crust is golden brown and the juices are bubbling and, ideally, thickened
-Remove from oven and let cool completely

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb Ice Cream

Perhaps it's a little late to be posting about something that contains strawberries and--heaven forbid--rhubarb. I mean, I know it's a bit late in the season.

But in my defense I made this ice cream weeks ago and just had it in the backlog of things to post.  Actually, it was technically birthday ice cream for my partner but we didn't actually end up eating it until after his birthday and we've been downing it scoop by scoop since then.

Nevertheless, here it is in full force.  This is an ice cream to be reckoned with.  You know how everyone claims ice cream is really really fattening?

Well this ice cream easily makes a case for that claim.  I mean...it has quite a bit of fat.  We're talking whole milk, buttermilk, heavy cream and cream cheese.  Kinda scary right?  Well, don't fret because I just read an article about how fat is back.

That's right--butter, cream, whole milk and cream cheese are ok to eat now--at least in moderation.  But if you're still worried then I have one more defense for this ice cream which is the simple fact that it's worth it.  And I know that that's not really a strong defense but I'm not writing to guide people on nutrition.

Plus, like I mentioned earlier I think these things are ok in moderation.  And it has fresh strawberries and rhubarb so it all balances out.  Sorta. But let's really get back to this ice cream and stop discussing the mental dilemma of do I/don't I.  You do. Simple as that.  Let's move on.

I found this recipe from a fellow hometown blogger who--from what I read--adapted it from a boutique ice cream shop chain named Jeni's.

Jeni's is based out of Columbus, Ohio and they are known as a kind of a farm to cone type of place.  They use local ingredients and dairy products from pasture raised cows and all that good stuff.

And their ice cream is really good.  So I knew that this recipe, especially after seeing its list of ingredients, would be just as good.

It has a lot of great qualities such as its creaminess and abundance of great summer fruits so it's double cool.  So make this and eat this.  And with that I bid you adieu...

Recipe--which can be found on Dinner was Delicious as well:

1 pint of fresh strawberries hulled
2/3c rhubarb cut into 1/4" slices
3T balsamic vinegar
1/8tsp salt
1c sugar
1T vanilla extract
1 1/2c whole milk
1/4c buttermilk
1 1/4c heavy cream
3T cream cheese softened

-Preheat the oven to 400F
-Toss the strawberries and rhubarb along with the balsamic vinegar in a large baking dish
-Roast in oven for 15 minutes
-Remove and let cool completely
-After cooled, take 2/3 of the roasted strawberries and rhubarb along with the juice and puree it until completely smooth
-Set aside the rest of the fruit to fold in to the ice cream later
-In a medium sauce pan, combine the pureed fuit, sugar, salt and vanilla
-Cook over medium heat until the mixture is syrupy and thicker (took me about 15 minutes)
-Remove from heat and let cool completely
-Meanwhile, combine all of the fat in a large bowl (Note:  In the original recipe it's mentioned that although the cream cheese is to be softened, there may still be a few stray chunks in the mixture which will work themselves out in the ice cream maker.  This was true for me and they never really got worked out in my ice cream mixer so there were small chunks of frozen cream cheese in my ice cream--which isn't a bad thing but fyi...if you don't want that then either make sure the cream cheese is really really soft or strain it out before you put it in your ice cream mixer)
-Now combine the fat with the fruit syrup and stir together
-Then pour that into your ice cream mixture and mix/churn according to the instructions that your ice cream mixer model embodies and don't forget to fold in the fruit about 5 minutes or less before the ice cream is done (took mine about 20-25 minutes to churn out a good mixture)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Cookies and Cream Chocolate Towers

When I saw the picture for these I was immediately drawn into the recipe.  You can't deny their allure.  They look like triple stacked Oreos or something.  And who doesn't like Oreos?

No one.  That's who.  It's America's cookie.  That said, I actually do have one qualm with the Oreo.  Admittedly, I've never been all that "into" the cookie portion of it.  I'm more of a cream person.

In fact, my favorite type of Oreos are the double-stuffed ones.  The whole cookie-cream combo works great but the cream is what really shines through for me.  With that in mind, when I saw this recipe I was concerned that there was a whole lotta cookie in those towers.

Grant it, there's clearly a lot of cream too but like an Oreo--in my opinion--unless you have a double-stuffed one, the cookie over-powers the cream filling.  Plus, it's too crisp--I like a cookie with a softer edge.

But, after making these chocolate towers, I assumed wrong--for the most part.  Yes, the cookie does sorta over-power the cream but I didn't care when it comes to these cookies.  I didn't care because these cookies were tender and chocolatey and melt-in-your-mouth good--not anything like the Oreo.

I was afraid they were going to be crispy and upon biting into one, all of the amazing cream would be squeezed out.  But no.  Nope.  No way Jose.  The cookie is like a chocolatey soft sugar/butter cookie and it gently collapses when you bite into it--unlike the Oreo which tends to crack and crumble.

And the cream is light but sweet and plentiful.  It's a pure delight to eat.  So with that I encourage everyone to make these because yes they are tall but they are cute too. And they're better than the Oreo.

Recipe slightly adapted from Food & Wine

Chocolate cookies:

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter softened at room temp.
3/4c powdered sugar
1 large egg at room temp.
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4c unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4c all-purpose flour

-In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachement, beat the butter and sugar together until well combined
-Add the egg and vanilla and beat until well combined
-Add the cocoa powder and salt and mix until just combined
-Add the flour and mix until just combined
-Divide the dough into two discs and wrap each tightly in plastic wrap
-Refrigerate until firm--at least 1 hour--or overnight
-After the dough is firm, preheat the oven to 325F
-Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat
-Roll out the dough onto a lightly floured clean surface
-Using a 2 1/2" round cookie/biscuit cutter, cut out at least 30 cookies
-Place cookies on the prepared baking sheets and bake for 10-12 minutes
-Remove from oven and let cool completely

Chocolate pastry cream:

1c half-and-half
3 large egg yolks
1/4c granulated sugar
1 1/2 tbsps all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt
3 oz semi-sweet chocolate melted
1 tsp vanilla extract

-Set a fine mesh strainer over a medium bowl and set aside
-In the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, whisk the egg yolks, flour, sugar and salt together until pale and fluffy and then turn off mixer
-In a medium saucepan bring the half-and-half to an almost simmer--just heat until you see bubbles form around the edges of the pan and it starts to steam a bit
-When the half-and-half has started to steam, turn mixer back on low and slowly pour half of the warm half-and-half into the egg mixture and whisk until just combined
-Pour the egg/half-and-half mixture back into the saucepan with the rest of the half-and-half
-Put the saucepan back on the stove and heat over medium heat whisking constantly until the mixture has thickened and just starts to slowly bubble
-Remove the saucepan from the heat and pour in the melted chocolate and vanilla and whisk until fully combined
-Strain the pastry cream through the fine mesh strainer into a medium bowl
-Place a piece of plastic wrap directly over the pastry cream and refrigerate until it is completely cool and chilled--maybe 1 hour or so

Whipped Cream:

1c heavy cream
1 tsp powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

-In the bowl of stand mixer, whisk all of the ingredients on high speed until stiff peaks form

To assemble everything

-Transfer 3/4 of the whipped cream mixture to a small bowl and add 3 tbsps of the chocolate pastry cream to it and mix until fully combined and a light chocolate mixture forms
-Then take 3 separate pastry bags fitted with large plain tips and add the chocolate pastry cream to one, the light chocolate cream mixture to another and the whipped cream to the last
-Now lay out all 30 cookies onto a clean work surface
-Pipe the chocolate pastry cream onto 12 cookies--about a tablespoon of it
-Pipe the light chocolate cream onto 6 cookies--again about a tablespoon
-Pipe the whipped cream onto the remaining 12 cookies--another tablespoon or so
-Next stack the towers as illustrated:  Start with a chocolate pastry cream cookie, top it with light chocolate cream one followed by a whipped cream cookie and then another chocolate pastry cream cookie and lastly another whipped cream topped cookie.
-Lastly, pipe a dollop of the chocolate pastry cream onto the top of each cookie stack
-Refrigerate the cookie stacks for at least 6 hours to overnight until they are set
-Consume ravenously