Monday, June 6, 2011

Will Ride For Cookies

Brad and I did the Elephant Rock metric century (62 mile) ride yesterday, which begins and ends in beautiful Castle Rock, Colorado.  This was my first cycling event, and I have to say I'm hooked.  It was a great way to spend a morning with friends, sure, but those cyclists have it all figured out when it comes to snacks. 

You see, I'm used to aid stations in running events.  You race through, grab your water or Gatorade from a volunteer's outstretched hand, slam it down, and keep going.  Occasionally there are orange slices or maybe banana halves; the Big Sur Marathon had fresh strawberries, and that was really nice. 

But cyclists get all kinds of good stuff. Pop Tarts, trail mix with M&Ms, mini peanut butter and jelly bagels, and the highlight of my day:  Oreo cookies.

Chocolate Ganache Filled 'Oreo' Cookies
You'd think with the amount of junk food I ate while riding I'd have been satisfied.  Not so.  I realized I couldn't remember the last time I'd eaten an Oreo cookie before yesterday, and that's just wrong.  Obviously I needed to do something about that. 

We had some chocolate ganache in the refrigerator, left over from the S'mores Cake.  So I thought to myself "what's even better than an Oreo cookie?"  That's right, a chocolate ganache filled Oreo cookie.

We didn't have wine with the cookies.  As much as Brad and I love wine, you really need a big, tall glass of ice cold milk with these cookies.  But we did enjoy some Acorn Rosato on the front porch while the cookie dough was chilling and then baking. 

Acorn makes a fantastic Rose'.  It's a rather dark pink color, and to me it has a distinct aroma of brown sugar.  Both of of which made me think it would be a fairly sweet wine, but it's not.  It's nice and dry and oh-so-drinkable.  And it pairs perfectly with cookie baking and post-ride relaxing.

Chocolate Ganache Filled 'Oreo' Cookies
I found the recipe for the outside of this cookie on the Food Network website.  And for you traditionalists, the recipe on their website also includes the creamy white filling you're used to. 

I used Valrhona cocoa powder to make the cookies super dark and rich because that's just the way we roll around here, but any kind of cocoa powder will do.  We bought the cocoa powder at our local Sur la Table; I've also seen Valrhona chocolate at Whole Foods, so they may have the cocoa powder there as well. 

Also, if you don't have a 2" round cookie cutter, rummage around in your kitchen cabinets with a ruler to find a good substitute.  I used a Riedel stemless champagne glass (pictured above with the cookies, filled with milk) and it worked perfectly.  How's that for innovation?

For the cookies:
1 1/3 cups Valrhona Dutch-processed cocoa powder (see Sources)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Sift together the cocoa powder, flour and salt in a large bowl.

Using a mixer (dough will get very stiff), cream the butter and sugar.  Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each, then add the vanilla.  Add the dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated, scraping sides and bottom of the bowl to be sure all ingredients get mixed in.

Divide the dough in half.  Lightly flour a square of parchment paper.  Place half of the dough on it, then place another square of parchment paper on top.  Roll the dough, between the parchment paper, into a 1/4 inch-thick rectangle.  Repeat with other half of dough.  Place both in the refrigerator and chill for 20 minutes.  (This is an excellent time to partake in a glass of wine on the porch.)

Using a 2-inch round cutter, cut the cookies and place them about 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.  (I put them on Silpat mats, on baking sheets.)  You'll need to work fast because as the dough loses its chill it will become hard to work with.  Put the baking sheets in the refrigerator to chill the cookies for another 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Bake the cookies until done (set and slightly darker around the edges), about 20 minutes.  Cool completely on wire racks.

To finish the cookies, using a small spatula spread chocolate ganache on the underside of one cookie and top with another.  (You'll want the "tops" of each cookie to be on the outside.)


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