Pattie Tierney is a blogger, reader, traveller, diner, jewelry-maker, and lover of all things chocolate and mysterious. Check out her online jewelry shop; her online paper goods shop; follow her on Twitter @pattietierney or read her Blog.
True chocoholics know the benefit of expediency where chocolate is concerned, when that craving hits you want something chocolaty and delicious, and you want it now! Thanks to Debby Maugans and her book Small-Batch Baking, all of this is possible, and in a portion small enough for you to still remain virtuous. Is this perfect or what? I stumbled across Maugans' book while perusing other cookbooks and was intrigued by the premise. With just my husband and me left at home, making desserts got to be a bit of a problem when it came to portion control. Well, no problem at all really, we ate with reckless abandon, then bought the next size up in pants. After a while this got to be expensive, so I decided smaller batches was the economical way to go.
This book fills that need perfectly. It's worth a look just to read the recipes alone because they are just so darned cute: a fourth cup of this, a tablespoon of that, a pinch of the other. It took me back to my Easy Bake Oven days. Cake recipes in this book call for their being baked in vegetable cans. Sliced and layered they look like products from Barbie's Dream Kitchen.
This was the first recipe I tried (making them from start to finish while on the phone with my daughter-in-law) and it's a winner. The yield of six cookies means you can each have three, be perfectly satisfied, and not be tempted by the leftovers in the middle of the night.
Maugan's new book Small-Batch Baking for Chocolate Lovers (she read my mind!) just became available earlier this month. I'll be sure to investigate and give a full report.
Cream-Filled Chocolate Cookies
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
About 3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2-1/2 teaspoons well-beaten egg or egg substitute
Vanilla Cream Filling (recipe follows)
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and set it aside.
Place the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl and whisk to blend.
Place 1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons of the sugar, the butter, and the beaten egg in a medium-size mixing bowl and beat with a hand-held mixer on low speed until blended, about 20 seconds. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 20 seconds. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and beat just until the dough is blended, 15 to 20 seconds.
Roll rounded teaspoons of the dough in your hands to form 12 equal balls, and place them on the prepared baking sheet, spacing them 2 inches apart. Pour the remaining sugar (about 1/2 cup) into a small bowl. Dip the bottom of a drinking glass into the sugar, and press the sugar-coated glass onto a ball of dough to flatten it. Repeat with the remaining balls of dough, dipping the glass in the sugar before flattening each cookie. Bake the cookies until they are firm, 14 to 15 minutes.
Remove the baking sheet from the oven, place it on a wire rack, and let the cookies cool completely.
Spread 1-1/2 teaspoons of the Vanilla Cream Filling over the flat side of half of the cookies. Place the remaining cookies on top, flat side down, gently pressing down on them to squeeze the filling out to the edges of the cookies.
Vanilla Cream Filling
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon solid vegetable shortening
1/2 teaspoon milk
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
Place the butter, shortening, milk, vanilla, and salt in a small bowl and mix with a fork until a soft, smooth paste forms. Add the confectioners' sugar and mix until the filling is well blended and smooth. (This may take up to 5 minutes.) Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set it aside at room temperature until you are ready to use it.
Photo: Pattie Tierney