Saturday, 10 August 2013

Vanilla Snap Cookies with Chocolate Ganache and Peppermint Filling

Home-made baking is amazing, and it's even better when its gifted to you from a friend. I love baking for friends, whether it's to celebrate birthdays, accomplishments or just because. Seeing their faces when they open the box, knowing that it was you that lovingly made those sweet treats, that's something special, and far better than going doing to the nearest dairy of supermarket to buy a mass-produced equivalent. Baking something yourself shows you care.

I made these cookies for a friend's 17th birthday. I shaped the cookies using a cookie cutter that she gave me for my last birthday, and when she told me some of her favorite flavors were chocolate and peppermint, I knew exactly what to fill the cookies with.

I made the chocolate ganache in a double boiler, which the recipe does not specify, but it didn't want the chocolate to burn! It is important to avoid handling the dough as much as possible, as it will soon start to crack if overworked. Also ensure that the butter, sugar and vanilla are thoroughly combined before adding the flour, egg and egg yolk for a better-quality finished product. The cookies were done after 8 minutes in the oven, however this may have been influenced by the cookies being narrow in some places. I halved all of the below recipes, and omitted the icing sugar dusted onto the cookies. The cookies were done after 8 places.

What gifts have you made for your friends and family? Do you have a favorite home-made gift which you have received from a loved one?

All recipes from Modern Classics Book 2 by Donna Hay

Vanilla Snap Biscuits

Makes 45

185 g (6 oz) butter
1 cup caster sugar
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
2 ½ cups plain (all-purpose) flour
1 egg
1 egg yolk, extra
icing (confectioner's) sugar to serve

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Process the butter, sugar and vanilla in a food processor until smooth. Add the flour, egg and egg yolk and process again to form a smooth dough. Knead the dough lightly, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Roll out the dough between sheets of non-stick baking paper until 5mm (¼ in) thick. Cut the dough in to shapes using cookie cutters. Place on baking trays lined with non-stick baking paper. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden. Cool on wire racks. To serve, dust with icing sugar.

Chocolate Ganache

Makes ¾ cup

Place 100g (3 ½ oz) chopped dark couverture chocolate and ½ cup (4 fl oz) (single or pouring) cream in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir until melted and glossy. Refrigerate until cool. Use as a filling for biscuits or as a rich icing over a slice or brownie.

Peppermint Filling

Makes ⅔ cup

Sift 1 ½ cups icing (confectioner's) sugar into a bowl. Gradually add 1 ½ Tbsp water and ½ tsp peppermint essence and stir until combined. Use to spread on plain or chocolate biscuits or sandwich them together.  Slowly add a little more water or essence if icing is too thick, or sift in a little more icing sugar if mixture is too runny, until the desired consistency is reached.

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