Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Chocolate Wafer Cookies

When I saw these pictures last year, I was ready to make an Icebox Cake. However, I didn't want to order the cookies online, nor could I find them locally. So I drooled and moved on. When I saw that Smitten Kitchen had a recipe for the cookies, I was THERE.

What I don't recommend though, is making the cookies in a small blender/food processor. I tried that. It wasn't pretty. The little food processor wasn't big enough for the batter. My kitchen will probably smell good forever though, because of the cocoa/flour powder flying all over the kitchen that I'll never be able to completely clean up. If, however, you're trying to make as big of a mess as you possibly can, then this is the way to do it. In the comments section, Deb of Smitten Kitchen suggested making the cookies in a mixer if you don't have a food processor, you just have to soften the butter a little more. I wish I had read that BEFORE making the cookies.

As soon as I ate one of these, I knew I was in trouble. Within minutes, my first tray of 12 were gone. And I only shared 2 with Tim. They had a deep chocolate flavor, they were rich and buttery like shortbread, and they were slightly caramelized. The first batch was slightly bitter because I overbaked it (I sliced them about 1/8 inch, and baked 13 minutes), but that obviously didn't slow me down any. This morning, I only baked them 10-11 minutes, and they were perfect. I ate the first tray, and used the second tray for pictures.

I still want to make the icebox cake at some point, but it will have to wait. The casualty rate on these cookies is too high, and I've already eaten too many cookies to make a cake. I think I'm going to have to make a double batch in order to have enough cookies to make the cake.

***The notes in the recipe are Deb's. Most of my cookies never inflated and deflated (thus my overbaking them), but baking 10 minutes worked well for me.

Chocolate Wafers
Adapted from Alice Medrich’s Pure Dessert

Makes 50 to 60 1 3/4-inch wafers.

1 1/2 cups (6.75 ounces) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (2.4 ounces) unsweetened cocoa powder (see Note)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
14 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened
3 tablespoons whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Combine the flour, cocoa, sugar, salt, and baking soda in the bowl of food processor and pulse several times to mix thoroughly. Cut the butter into about 12 chunks and add them to the bowl. Pulse several times. Combine the milk and vanilla in a small cup. With the processor running, add the milk mixture and continue to process until the mixture clumps around the blade or the sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a large bowl or a cutting board and knead a few times to make sure it is evenly blended.

Form the dough into a log about 14 inches long and 1 3/4 inches in diameter. Wrap the log in wax paper or foil and refrigerate until firm, at least one hour, or until needed.

Position the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the baking sheets with parchment paper. Cut the log of dough into slices a scant 1/4-inch thick (I went thinner, closer to 1/8 of inch. If you’re trying to emulate the store-bought wafers, slice as thin as you can, and watch the baking time carefully, as it might be less.) and place them one inch apart on the lined sheets (cookies will spread). Bake, rotating the baking sheet from top to bottom and back to front about halfway through baking, for a total of 12 to 15 minutes. The cookies will puff up and deflate; they are done about 1 1/2 minutes after they deflate.

Cool the cookies on the baking sheets on racks, or slide the parchment onto racks to cool completely. These cookies may be stored in an airtight container for up to two weeks or be frozen for up to two months.

Note: These cookies should crisp as they cool. If they don’t, you’re not baking them long enough, says Medrich — in which case, return them to the oven to reheat and bake a little longer, then cool again.

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