Monday, October 13, 2008

The Official Cookie Rating Scale

G is a demanding cookie customer.

To be honest, G likes cookies in a way that I don't really understand. Before I met him, I always thought of cookies as just sort of being nice. Not great. Not terrible. Just nice. The wallflowers of desserts, if you will. There's not enough to a cookie, even a really big cookie, to pack the right punch for me. I have no time for nibbling. Cookies, almost by definition, are made for nibblers.

G sees the world of cookies very differently.

Pie, my favorite dessert, is apparently "gross". Cake is okay—sometimes great, but often just so-so (or worse). Bars and squares? Meh. Ice cream is a take-it-or-leave-it kind of affair, except on really hot days. About the only point we can agree on is that chocolate is fantastic. But cookies... cookies are just a step above.

I've made a lot of cookies over the course of our relationship, and at this point consider myself somewhat of an expert in his favorites. I've made more black and white cookies than I'd care to count. At some point, no doubt, I'll post the recipe.

In fact, I've made so many cookies that we've finally come up with an official cookie rating scale. The standards are high. Despite many, many batches of chocolate chip cookies, they still only rate a 6.5 out of 10. (10, by the way, is defined as the rainbow cookie [also known as a tri-color cookie], which is not so much a cookie as a thin layer cake disguised as one. It's also a hell of a lot of work.)

So when I say that a cookie made it to 6 on the official cookie rating scale, that statement isn't made lightly. This cookie, the newest addition to the official cookie rating scale, comes to you care of Milk and Cookies. It's a sable cookie with chocolate ganache, and was a hit with everyone who tried it. The ganache is too dark for G, but the high sugar content of the cookie itself balanced things out nicely.

I altered the recipe slightly, but it's pretty simple to begin with and delicious either way. Recommended to be taken with milk, once daily. Or more often if prescribed by physician.

Sable Cookies with Chocolate Ganache
225 grams plain all-purpose flour
25 grams cornstarch
200 grams butter, diced and at room temperature
100 grams confectioner’s (icing) sugar
2 egg yolks
Pinch of salt

100 ml (¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons) pure cream
100 grams bittersweet chocolate

Sifter or sieve
Medium mixing bowl
Plastic wrap
Parchment paper
Baking sheet
Rolling pin
Cookie cutters

Sift together flour and cornstarch. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the butter and sugar. Work together with your fingertips until no hard lumps remain. Add the egg yolks and salt, drawing in the flour. Work until the dough resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Do not overwork the dough. Roll the pastry into a log and refrigerate for two hours.

Preheat oven to 320°F. Prepare a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Remove dough from fridge and carefully roll out to a thickness of about 6mm. Cut out desired shapes using a cookie cutter. Place on lined baking tray and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until just golden on the edges. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and cool completely before spreading ganache.

In a saucepan, heat the cream until just before boiling. Pour cream over chocolate in a separate bowl; let stand for 1 minute allowing the heat of the cream to slowly melt the chocolate.

Using a spatula, mix cream and chocolate to make a smooth, glossy mixture. Place somewhere to cool, uncovered, at room temperature. Transfer to refrigerator to slightly set.

Spread ganache over the backside of a cookie, then place another on top to sandwich the ganache between. Return to the refrigerator to set.

Makes about 25 cookies.

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