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


Please feel free to post any comments or questions!