Sunday, November 17, 2013

Chocolate Cabernet Napa Snaps

A chocolately-rich sandwich cookie that's all grownnnnns-up!

Featuring Scharffen Berger Chocolate




A taste of Napa Valley in a Sandwich cookie!

Pair with wine, or Utica, NY's famous coffee!
Wine and Chocolate. Both complex. Both worthy of love all on their own, but the most organic of companions.  These Chocolate Cabernet Napa Snaps were inspired by a recent retreat at a historic Cantine, where I discovered how harmonious chocolate and wine sing together! I love how the flavors of both wine and chocolate unfold in stages, forcing you to savor each stage while it shows you its complex personality. 

Scharffen Berger Dark Chocolate pairs beautifully with the full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon in the truffle filling. It’s soft, rich velvetiness is contrasted by the crunchy snap of the chocolate, almost cracker-like, cornmeal cookie. The occasional nuances of the toasted pine nuts are a nod to the slightly-roasted notes in both the wine and the chocolate, while the cocoa fleur de sel heightens all the components in the filling. Lastly, the round shape of the cookie mimics the opening of a wine bottle, with a cork slightly popping out, to add a little touch of whimsy. 


These indulgent, little cookies are fruity, chocolate-y, woodsy, creamy and crunchy. Come on. What more could you want in a cookie? If you want to wow your guests and take them on a chocolate and wine adventure right in your own home, offer them a unique cookie with extraordinary, complex flavor! The real testament is they will be begging you for the recipe!  So here you are, my friends!



Get you some!


CABERNET SAUVIGNON SYRUP REDUCTION:
1 cup of granulated white sugar

½ cup of water

2 cups of Cabernet Sauvignon (preferably aged a bit, but not necessary)

CHOCOLATE CABERNET TRUFFLE FILLING:

9.7 oz. Scharffen Berger 70% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Bar

2/3  cup of heavy whipping cream

½ cup of Cabernet Sauvignon syrup reduction (see recipe above)

1 teaspoon of Sumatra coffee granules

¼ teaspoon of kosher sea salt (fine)

½ cup of toasted pine nuts (roughly chopped)

½ cup of Cocoa Fleur de Sel (reserve for dusting truffles; see recipe below)

COOKIE DOUGH INGREDIENTS:

1 ¾ cups of all-purpose flour (plus additional flour for work surface)


1/3 cup of cornmeal

1/3 cup of Scharffen Berger Unsweetened Natural Cocoa Powder

¾ cup of light brown sugar

1 teaspoon of Sumatra coffee granules

¾ cup of butter (cut into 1/2 inch-sized cubes)

½ cup of buttermilk
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

½ teaspoon of kosher sea salt (fine)
 

COCOA FLEUR de SEL:
2 tablespoons of flaked sea salt

 
¼ cup of Scharffen Berger Unsweetened Natural Cocoa Powder



TO PREPARE CABERNET SAUVIGNON SYRUP REDUCTION:
1.)  In a heavy-gauge, medium-sized sauce pan on medium heat, combine the sugar and water and stir. Once sugar dissolves, stir in the wine and bring to a light boil. Turn heat down to medium-low, and stir occasionally.
2.) Reduce heat to low once the mixture becomes a thin-syrupy consistency. (about 20-30 minutes, depending on your temperature setting) Watch closely so it doesn’t reduce too far and burn.
3.) Once mixture becomes thick (like a maple syrup-consistency) remove from heat and set aside.



TO PREPARE CHOCOLATE CABERNET TRUFFLE FILLING:
1.) In a separate heavy-gauge medium saucepan on very low heat, combine the heavy whipping cream and the prepared Cabernet Sauvignon reduction syrup. Stir thoroughly to combine.
2.) Chop the Scharffen Berger Baking Chocolate Bar into ½ inch pieces and add to the mixture a couple tablespoons at a time, until all the chocolate is incorporated. Add coffee granules, sea salt, and stir thoroughly until chocolate is completely melted. Remove from heat.
3.) In a skillet on low heat, lightly toast the roughly chopped pine nuts (about 1 ½ -2 minutes) and stir into truffle mixture. Transfer truffle mixture to an air-tight bowl.
4.) Refrigerate truffle mixture while preparing cookie dough.


TO PREPARE COOKIE DOUGH:
1.) Combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, Scharffen Berger Unsweetened Cocoa Powder, Sumatra coffee granules, and sea salt in a food processor. Pulse dry ingredients to thoroughly mix.
2.) Stir the vanilla extract into the buttermilk, and pulse into the dry mixture to combine.
3.) Cut cold butter into ½ inch pieces, and pulse into mixture a few tablespoons at a time until all butter is incorporated. Keep pulsing until dough begins to come together.
3.) Once dough has developed, (first remove blade from processor) remove the dough and form a ball (dough will be sticky but will blossom in the refrigerator) and wrap in plastic wrap.
4.) Refrigerate dough for at least 6 hours (may refrigerate overnight) This time allows the cornmeal to hydrate.


TO PREPARE COOKIE SANDWICHES:

1.) Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2.) Remove cookie dough from refrigerator and cut into 8 equal-sized portions. If dough is too firm to work with, you may loosen it up by putting in the microwave no more than about 8 seconds. (It will soften very quickly)
3.) Lightly flour a clean work surface to roll out the dough, and if your dough is too sticky to work with, simply knead a bit of flour into the dough until it is smooth and workable.
4.) Roll out dough thinly (about 1/8 inch) with a regular rolling pin on a floured work surface. Optionally, roll over the dough a second time with a textured rolling pin if you would like a textured design on your cookies.
5.) Stamp out the bottoms of your cookies with a linzer cookie cutter. Then stamp out the matching tops (stamping a smaller hole in the center for the truffle filling to push through once the cookies are assembled)
6.) Line cookies on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside on cooling racks. Allow to cool thoroughly before adding truffle filling.
7.)  Combine the flaked sea salt and Scharffen Berger Unsweetened Natural Cocoa Powder in a shallow bowl.

8.) Remove Truffle filling from refrigerator and scoop a teaspoon-sized amount and quickly roll into a ball, then toss into the Cocoa Fleur de Sel. Set aside on a baking sheet, and continue until all the mixture is rolled and dusted.
9.) Place one truffle on each cookie bottom, then add the top, lightly pushing down until some of the truffle pushes out of the center opening. If the truffles are too firm, allow them to sit at least a half hour before assembling, and they will soften up.

YIELD: 2 dozen, 1 ½ inch-sized cookies


SPECIAL EQUIPMENT:

Food processor

Textured, or grooved rolling pin (optional)

Round Linzer cookie cutters (1 ½-2 inch diameter, or similar)

Parchment paper











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