Friday, December 21, 2012

Fudge-Dipped Cherry Shortbread Sandwich Cookies

I've been wanting to make these cookies for years. They've made it on my Christmas to-do list before, but somehow they never happen. I guess I thought they would be really time-consuming, what with the shortbread, the filling and the fudge dipping sauce. As it turns out, however, there is not much hands-on time at all. The recipe is extremely easy to throw together in little stages. The shortbread is tasty, the cream is awesome, and the fudge sauce is luscious.

The one problem I have with this cookie is the fudge sauce. It tastes delicious, but it's not very practical. It remains soft and drippy even after a night in the freezer. I placed some cookies on a plate for a few minutes in order to take the above picture, and they'd already left chocolate smears all over it. In the future, I think I'll dispense with the fudge sauce (who wants to eat corn syrup anyway?) and go for a hard chocolate coating, like what you would use on a truffle. I'm still including the fudge recipe here, but I'll update it when I come up with a better solution.

Fudge-Dipped Cherry Shortbread Sandwich Cookies
From Better Homes and Gardens November 2009.

1/2 c dried cherries
1 1/2 c flour
1/2 c sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 c butter, cold and cut into 1/2" pieces

1/2 c heavy cream
3 tbsp light corn syrup (I did find an organic, GMO-free one!)
4 oz semisweet chocolate chips

1/2 c heavy cream
3 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 c powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325° F. Add the cherries to a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Let sit ten minutes, then drain.

In a food processor, combine flour, sugar, cornstarch, salt and baking powder. Pulse until combined. Add the butter and soaked cherries and pulse until the dough begins to clump together. Dump out onto a sheet of parchment paper. Mold the dough into a square, cover with another sheet of parchment paper, and roll into a 12 x 9" rectangle (I don't know how you roll things into rectangles - mine was more oval, so I sliced the edges off and rolled them out separately. That's what caused the different-sized rectangles in the picture below). Remove the top parchment and use a knife to slice the dough into 3 x 1" pieces (but don't separate them!). Slide the parchment onto a baking sheet.

Bake the shortbread for 30-35 minutes, until lightly golden. Remove and cool completely on a wire rack. Then use a knife to separate the rectangles and match them into evenly-sized pairs.

Meanwhile, make the fudge sauce. In a small saucepan, combine the cream and corn syrup. Cook over medium-high heat until hot. Remove from heat and add the chocolate chips, stirring with a spatula until the chocolate is melted and combined. Let cool for about an hour, until thickened.

To make the cream filling, combine the cream, cream cheese, sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Refrigerate until ready to use.

When everything is ready, assemble the cookies. Pick up a pair of shortbreads. Use a small spatula to spread the cream onto the flat side of one cookie. Top with the other cookie, flat side down. Dip one end into fudge sauce, then place on a piece of parchment paper to dry (since I was making these a week or so in advance, I put the parchment on a baking sheet which I could slip in the freezer. Once frozen, I removed them to tupperware containers). Repeat with the rest of the cookies.

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