Friday, 12 March 2010

Chocolate Malt Sandwiches

While I was sick, I had D borrow me a copy of Martha Stewart's Cookies from the local library and I spent two weeks dreaming about all these wonderful cookies that I couldn't make. One of the cookies that caught my eye were these Chocolate Malt Sandwiches.

Since I did have to return the book to the library I had never made any of the cookies, but then I discovered The Martha Stewart Show on Channel 72 and started to go slightly Martha-crazy. I signed up for newsletters, I record the show everyday, I've even bought a copy of her magazine to see if I could justify the very large expense ($240 per year!) (and I can't). I'm having fun.

Anyway, I was actually looking for the recipe for a sugar cookie because I wanted to play with royal icing and I rediscovered these wonderful cookies. I printed the recipe out and put it in my weekend cooking pile.

They were incredibly easy to make and they made heaps. I was filling cookies for what seemed like ages.

I kept the volume of filling quite low, to the point that people would pick up a cookie and when the second one came too they'd be surprised - 'are these meant to be stuck together'? I stand by my meagerness because I felt that the cookies would be too sweet if there was too much cookie and filling. That being said, the filling itself isn't that sweet, but it is quite rich.

They were nice and soft in texture. I'm not sure if baking them longer would result in a crispier cookie, but mine were all definately chewy. The flavours work very well together and the malted milk powder gives a nice subtle counterpoint to the rest of the flavours.

Chocolate-Malt Sandwiches

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons plain flour
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/4 cup plain malted milk powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
227g unsalted butter, room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup creme fraiche
3 tablespoons hot water

285g semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
113g unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup plain malted milk powder
85g cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons half-and-half (I used 3 tbs cream and 3 tbs water)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Make cookies: Sift together flour, cocoa powder, malted milk powder, baking soda, and salt. With an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Mix in egg, creme fraiche, and hot water. Reduce speed to low; mix in flour mixture.

Space tablespoon-size balls of dough 3 1/2 inches apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. (These cookies spread a lot while baking) Bake until flat and just firm, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool on parchment on wire racks.

Making filling: Melt chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simming water, stirring. Let cool. With an electric mixer, beat malted milk powder and cream cheese on medium speed until smooth. Gradually mix in half-and-half, chocolate mixture, and vanilla. Refrigerate, covered, until thick, about 30 minutes. Mix on high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Assemble cookies: Spread a heaping tablespoon filling on the bottom of one cookie. Sandwich with another cookie. Repeat. Cookies can be refrigerated between layers of parchment in airtight containers up to 3 days.

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