BISCOFF COOKIES

During my first airplane flight in a year, and second in two years, the airline (Delta) served Biscoff cookies. (That was about the ONLY thing Delta did right) I love those cookies. They have a wonderful blend of spices, a crispness, and refreshing taste that is perfect. I said to myself, “Self, you can bake. Make you own damn Biscoff cookies!” And I did. First try the are nearly there. I think a couple more minutes baking they would have been nearly perfect. They flavor and crispness is just about right and the flavor is spot on. Lots of ingredients, mostly spices but I had them in the pantry anyway, but well worth it.

BISCOFF COOKIES

INGREDIENTS

• 250g (2 cups) all-purpose flour
• 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
• ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
• ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
• ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
• ½ teaspoon salt
• ¼ teaspoon baking soda
• ¼ teaspoon baking powder
• 227g (1 cup) unsalted butter room temperature
• 100g (½ cup) sugar
• 55g (¼ cup) dark brown sugar firmly packed

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, mix flour, spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and cardamom), baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter, sugar, and brown sugar.
  4. Gradually blend the flour and butter mixtures until well combined.
  5. Divide the dough into flat discs. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. (Overnight works well too.)
  6. Roll half of the dough at time to 1/4 inch thickness between two sheets of parchment paper or two silicone mats. Cut out using your favorite cookie cutters. They do spread a little bit so don’t choose something with an intricate shape.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes or until the edges of the cookies are lightly browned. Be sure they are browned! They will still be soft. The cookies crisp up as they cool.
  8. Cool on cooling rack before serving

Not Very Thin Mint Cookies

Spring is thin mint cookie season. At QC’s request. I made Not Very Thin Mint Cookies for her Mah Jongg group. This was not my first thin mint rodeo. The mint flavor was strong the first time, so this time I didn’t add mint extract to the chocolate coating and the hint ‘o mint was perfect.

I coated the cookies with milk chocolate (31% cacao) rather than the dark chocolate (first attempt) or the second attempt with semi-sweet chocolate coating. The dark (64%) and semi-sweet (46%.)

The dark chocolate did not add enough sweetness to counter the strong mint flavor. The semi-sweet was a big improvement, so why not go a little sweeter yet? I am not a big fan of milk chocolate and I felt the last attempt was past the mark. I remember back when I was a professional photographer—when printing photos always go past what you think the perfect exposure/contrast is… just to be sure. Semi-sweet is the winner.

The liquidity of the chocolate is inversely proportional to the sweetness. This means the thickness of the chocolate coating increases with sweetness, which if you are not a fan of milk chocolate, is not a plus.

Thin Mint Cookies

INGREDIENTS
• ½ cup butter
• ½ cup granulated sugar
• ½ cup brown sugar
• 1 egg
• 1 cup AP flour
• ½ teaspoon baking powder
• ½ teaspoon salt
• 1/3 cup special dark cocoa powder
• ½ teaspoon pure peppermint extract
Chocolate Coating:
• 8 ounces baking chocolate
• ¼ teaspoon vegetable oil
• ¼ teaspoon pure peppermint extract

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa powder. Whisk until smooth.
  3. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Mix in the egg and peppermint extract. Gradually mix in the dry ingredients until the dough comes together. Use your hands to form the dough into a ball.
  4. Place the ball of dough onto a sheet of parchment paper. Flatten it into a disk and put another piece of parchment paper on top.
  5. Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough to 1/4-inch thick. (I like to use chopsticks on either side of the dough to control the thickness.) Transfer the rolled dough, with the parchment paper, onto a baking sheet.
  6. Place the baking sheet in the freezer to chill for 10 minutes.
  7. Transfer the flattened dough to a countertop. Remove the top sheet of parchment paper and use it to line the baking sheet.
  8. Use a small, circular cookie cutter to cut out disks of dough. Transfer the cut disks onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving space in between. Because the dough is chilled, these cookies won’t spread while baking.
  9. Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 11 minutes. Once baked, remove the cookies from the oven, then transfer the parchment paper and cookies to a cooling rack to fully cool.
  10. I temper chocolate using a sous vide. I find it is easier to control the temperature to modify the chocolate’s crystal structure. It is also easier to maintain the proper temper temperature while you dip and coat the cookies. Stir the chocolate until fully melted and stir in the peppermint extract.
  11. Use two forks to tip and flip the cookies. Once covered in chocolate, transfer each cookie back to the baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place the baking sheet in the fridge for 20 minutes to allow the chocolate to fully set and harden.

• Thin Mints are best enjoyed cold.
• Store in an airtight container in the freezer or fridge.
• Keep in the freezer for one to two months, or in the fridge for two weeks. This will also keep the chocolate coating at its best.
• Store in an airtight container for two days.

Thin Mint Cookies

Neil sent me a recipe for these cookies, knowing they are among QC’s and my favorite cookies.

Well, they weren’t exactly thin but they were minty. I am not exactly thin either so I don’t hold that against them.

Not the prettiest cooking to photograph, but who cares?

When I make these again, and rest assured I WILL be making these again, I will roll between waxed paper instead of parchment paper. The dough is quite sticky and distorted when trying to remove them from the paper and put on a baking sheet.

I also think coating in tempered chocolate might help as this chocolate will melt in your hands, as well as your mouth.

Thin Mint Cookies

INGREDIENTS
½ cup butter
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup AP flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup cocoa powder
½ teaspoon pure peppermint extract
Chocolate Coating:
8 ounces baking chocolate
¼ teaspoon vegetable oil
¼ teaspoon pure peppermint extract

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa powder. Whisk until smooth.
  3. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Mix in the egg and peppermint extract. Gradually mix in the dry ingredients until the dough comes together. Use your hands to form the dough into a ball.
  4. Place the ball of dough onto a sheet of parchment paper. Flatten it into a disk and put another piece of parchment paper on top. It may be a good idea to use waxed paper as the dough is very sticky and did not remove from the parchment paper easily.
  5. Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough to 1/4-inch thick. Transfer the rolled dough, with the parchment paper, onto a baking sheet.
  6. Place the baking sheet in the freezer to chill for 10 minutes.
  7. Transfer the flattened dough to a countertop. Remove the top sheet of parchment paper and use it to line the baking sheet.
  8. Use a small, circular cookie cutter to cut out disks of dough. Transfer the cut disks onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving space in between. Because the dough is chilled, these cookies won’t spread too much while baking. I collected the excess dough, re-rolled and chilled to make about 8 more cookies.
  9. Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 11 minutes. Once baked, remove the cookies from the oven, then transfer the parchment paper and cookies to a cooling rack to fully cool.
  10. Set up a double boiler and chop the chocolate. Add the chopped chocolate into the bowl of the boiler and stir in the vegetable oil. Stir the chocolate until fully melted and stir in the peppermint extract. Next time I will temper the chocolate. These cookies much be refrigerated or the chocolate will melt in your hands.
  11. Use a slotted wooden spoon to make the dipping process easier. Place a cookie on the wooden spoon. Dip it into the chocolate or use a large spoon to help cover the cookie. Tap the spoon gently against the bowl to remove excess chocolate. Once covered in chocolate, transfer each cookie back to the baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place the baking sheet in the fridge for 20 minutes to allow the chocolate to fully set and harden.

• Thin Mints are best enjoyed cold.
• Store in an airtight container in the freezer or fridge.
• Keep in the freezer for one to two months, or in the fridge for two weeks. This will also keep the chocolate coating at its best.
• Store in an airtight container for two days.

Idle Hands Make…

This afternoon’s ‘to do’ list contained nothing pressing. Tuesday I hard boiled eggs to include in our dinner salad and to make egg salad Wednesday. Today I baked a loaf of sandwich bread because I love egg salad on fresh baked bread. And as long as I was making bread I decided to replace the hamburger rolls I froze a few weeks ago. (I wasn’t happy with the rise of those whole wheat buns.) Today I mixed a double recipe of bread dough and shaped half into a loaf to bake at 425 deg and the rest into hamburger rolls to be baked at 375 deg.

To make a softer crust I coated the top of the loaf with melted butter before baking (hence the darker crust) and once again after it was baked, but still hot.

I also had a cup of heavy cream to use before it expired, and as long as the oven was on, I dropped the temperature and made some multi berry scones, baked at 400 deg.

Remember the hamburger rolls that baked at 375 deg? Well, as long as the oven was going to be dropped to 375 deg and as long as I had some frozen chocolate chip cookie dough that also bakes at 375 deg, I figured, what the heck.?

I have to find more chores to add to the ‘to do’ list. Today was exhausting.

The best part of the day was participating in the Grandparents Drive-Thru Car Parade at Grace’s school! (Unicorn car. You can’t see the fuzzy pink tail.)

Speaking of Grace, here we are making the aforesaid chocolate chip cookies.

Like Molasses in… September

Before teeing off on the 8th hole yesterday, I flashed back to my mom’s molasses cookies. I don’t have her recipe, but as she was always a Betty Crocker kinda gal I found Betty’s recipe, made some this morning and they were exactly as I remembered!

(Betty’s recipe didn’t say, but I flattened the sugar coated balls a little. They may have flattened on their own, but I was concerned the centers and the edges may not cook evenly. Whatever the reason, they were excellent!)

Now, this may be childhood folklore or faulty memories, but growing up I had a neighbor named Betty Crocker. That was her married name after she and George wed. As a single woman her last name was Taylor, and of course her formal first name was Elizabeth but was known as Betty. Even without this celebrity, I was raised in a fabulous neighborhood and remain friends with MOST of my classmates from that time. So fortunate.

Soft Molasses Cookies

INGREDIENTS

• 1 cup packed brown sugar
• ¾ cup shortening
• ¼ cup molasses
• 1 egg
• 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
• 2 teaspoons baking soda
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1 teaspoon ground ginger
• ½ teaspoon ground cloves
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• 3 tablespoons granulated sugar

METHOD

  1. Heat oven to 325°F. In large bowl, beat brown sugar, shortening, molasses and egg with electric mixer on medium speed, or mix with spoon. Stir in remaining ingredients except granulated sugar.
  2. Shape dough by rounded tablespoonfuls into 1 ½ – inch balls. Dip tops into granulated sugar. On ungreased cookie sheet, place balls, sugared sides up, about 2 inches apart.
  3. Bake 13 to 16 minutes or just until set and cookies appear dry. Immediately remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack.

Expert Tips From Betty Crocker

o Purchase shortening formed in oblong packages marked for easy cutting and measuring. It eliminates messy measuring in cups.
o There are reasons for using shortening versus butter when mixing up a cookie dough. Shortening has a higher melting point, so cookies will hold their shape longer in the oven before the fat melts in the dough (and shortening doesn’t release any steam like butter) so results in moist, chewy cookies. While butter melts more quickly and releases some steam so that cookies will spread more and be crisper, with a distinctly buttery flavor. Some recipes use a combination of the two fats.
o There is enough fat in these tender cookies that they won’t stick to the baking sheets. But for easier clean-up, line the baking sheets with baking parchment. The parchment can be used several times before composting or recycling it.
o What type of molasses should you keep in your pantry? Choices include light, cooking, unsulphured and blackstrap. Each style is a by-product of the sugar making process and offer mild to robust levels of flavor in baked goods. A good all-purpose molasses is an unsulphured one, made from sun-ripened sugar cane; it has a full, smooth flavor without being bitter.
o Measuring flour accurately is key in baking. Stir flour a bit before spooning into measuring cup then level off top using a flat-edge utensil such as a knife.

‘Spearminting’ with Shortbread

Actually, I was ‘experimenting” with vegetarian mirror glaze today. Previously, I made a mirror glaze that was too rubbery so I thought I would give it another try. Anyway, I wanted to try making some chocolate mousse domes. The recipe I found for the domes was good. It uses Agar Agar rather than gelatin sheets so it remained vegetarian.

As I only needed six shortbread cookies for the bases of the domes, I decided to make a few (24) shortbread cookies with the balance of the recipe. And, as long as I was also using chocolate for the domes I figured I might as well dip one side of the cookie to make a nice chocolate crescent accent

To make the domes, I filled my 2.5” diameter silicone mold with mousse to within 1/4” of the top. This provided room to fit a 2.5” trimmed cookie in the base. As the cookies spread a little while baking, the thinnest were trimmed with a cutter and placed on the still soft mousse, then put in the freezer until solid.

Even the thinnest shortbread cookies were too thick (about 1/4”.) The problem is the unbaked cookies are too fragile to move if they are any thinner. Next time I will roll the dough out thinner on the cookie sheet then remove the excess from between the round cookies. Wish me luck.

The results were promising. The glaze was too thick to pour. Spreading the glaze ruins the effect of a smooth. Coating. I found another recipe for the glaze, but using gelatin sheets. I will substitute Agar powder using one third the amount of Agar to gelatin. The ratio of cocoa powder to liquids seems right to allow it to pour. Time will tell.

Chocolate Mouse Domes with Agar Agar

Mousse

INGREDIENTS:
• 60 g Dark Chocolate (melted)
• 50 ml (1/4 cup) Heavy Cream
• 175 ml (3/4 cup) Whipping Cream ( whipped into soft Peaks)
• 1 tbl Agar Agar
• 6 short bread biscuits

METHOD:

  1. Add Agar Agar to heavy cream and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add chocolate
  2. Let rest for five minutes, then mix chocolate and heavy cream into a smooth mixture.
  3. Fold in Whipped Cream to the above mixture

Assembling

  1. Pour the mousse mixture into semi dome silicone molds or any medium sized round bowls.
  2. Place one biscuit over each dome
  3. Freeze the mousse until solid.

White Chocolate Glaze

INGREDIENTS
• 50 g White Chocolate
• 50 ml Heavy Cream
• 2 tsp Agar Agar
• 1 tbl Butter

METHOD

  1. Mix in the above mixture and bring it to boil once.
  2. Mix everything into homogenous smooth glaze.
  3. Sieve it once

Dark Chocolate GlazeOption 2 (not yet used)
https://www.masterclass.com/articles/chef-dominique-ansels-recipe-for-dark-chocolate-mirror-glaze#chef-dominique-ansels-dark-chocolate-mirror-glaze-recipe

INGREDIENTS
• 206g, or 1 cup sugar
• 142g, or 1⁄2 cup, plus 11⁄2 tbsp heavy cream
• 1 ½ tsp Agar Powder (originally 12g, or 4 tsp gelatin, powdered)
• 60g, or 1⁄4 cup water, cold
• 148g, or 2/3 cups water, room temperature
• 71g, or 1⁄2 cup, plus 5 tsp cocoa powder

METHOD

  1. In a medium pot, bring sugar and heavy cream to a boil over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
  2. Add the Agar powder and heat while stirring until mixture starts to thicken (1-2 min, medium low heat.)
  3. In a bowl, combine the 148g (2/3 cups) room temperature water with the cocoa powder, stirring with a spatula until it becomes a uniform paste.
  4. Stir cream-sugar-Agar mixture into cocoa powder paste until combined.
  5. Remove the pot from the heat, and strain the glaze mixture through a mesh strainer over a heatproof bowl to remove any clumps of undissolved cocoa powder.
  6. Emulsify the mixture with a hand blender (immersion blender) to remove any lumps, until smooth.
  7. Cover and chill in the fridge overnight to set, until ready to use. Should be 90 deg to pour.
  8. Store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

OPTION PUBLISHED WITH THIS RECIPE
INGREDIENTS:
• 50 ml Water
• 50 ml Heavy Cream
• 50 ml Sugar
• 80 gm Cocoa Powder
• 2 tsp Agar Agar

METHOD:

  1. Bring all the ingredients to boil in a medium saucepan.
  2. Whisk to cool to room temperature
  3. Sieve once to remove lumps

ASSEMBLING AND DECORATION:

  1. After 8 hours remove mousse from freezer and remove from the moulds
  2. Place mousse domes on cooling rack.
  3. Pour Dark Chocolate or White Chocolate Glaze over the dome and place the dome in freezer for 5 mins.
  4. I sprinkled some freeze dried raspberry powder on the domes to add a little bitterness to the sweetness of the mouse and glaze.

The Long and Shortbread of It

We love shortbread cookies, and we love chocolate. Combining the two is a step from ecstasy. Also, this gave me the excuse… I mean opportunity… to use the hexagonal cookie cutters Fran (aka QC) bought me.

Using hexagonal cutters reduces dough waste as there are no gaps between each cut.

Hexagonal Cookie Cutters with the one used on the lower right.
Shortbread Cookies surrounded by Raspberry Hand Pies.

Shortbread Cookies

INGREDIENTS
• 3/4 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 1 cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• 6 to 7 ounces very good semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the butter and 1 cup of sugar until they are just combined. Add the vanilla.
  3. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt, then add them to the butter-and-sugar mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together. Dump onto a surface dusted with flour and shape into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.
  4. Roll the dough 1/2-inch thick and cut with a 3 by 1-inch finger-shaped cutter. Place the cookies on an ungreased baking sheet and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the edges begin to brown. Allow to cool to room temperature.
  5. When the cookies are cool, place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Put 3 ounces of the chocolate in a glass bowl place over a pan of boiling water. Turn the burner down to simmer and heat with stirring until the chocolate is nearly all melted. Stir vigorously until the chocolate is smooth and slightly cooled; stirring makes it glossier.
  6. Drizzle 1/2 of each cookie with just enough chocolate to coat it.

I’d Give $1000 to be One of Them Millionaires

I saw these on GBBO and decided to give them a go. (Kind of English slang for “try to make them”.) Millionaires Bars are layers of shortbread, caramel and chocolate.

I used a jelly roll pan, which is about 25% bigger than the specified pan. This caused each layer to be thinner than I expected. As they were setting I considered increasing the recipe quantities by about 50%. After cutting and eating them I think I am going to leave them the way they are. They ended up being about 1/4” thick and if I cut them into 1” square pieces they will be perfect bite sized pieces.

Self induced problems: 1) Forgot to use the parchment paper making me worry about releasing the bar from the jelly roll pan. No problem. I cut around the outside and across the center. Each large piece came out easily. 2) I should have poured the chocolate on the caramel before it set. Not doing so caused the chocolate to not adhere to the caramel. Cutting the bars into 1” squares, so you can just pop them into your mouth without taking a bite and “breaking” them, converts the problem into an enhancement.

Overall, these are delicious cookies. The caramel was heated to 242 deg which made it a perfect softness and texture. The chocolate wasn’t tempered but resulted in a nice layer with a good snap. The short bread base was difficult to push to the edges of the pan, but perhaps rolling it out before placing in the pan would help. I also skipped the macadamia nuts as my pantry was bare. If you saw my pantry, you wouldn’t believe that possible.

Millionaire Shortbread Bars

Millionaire Shortbread Bars

Paul Hollywood’s Salted Caramel Bars

https://people.com/food/paul-hollywood-salted-caramel-bars-recipe/

INGREDIENTS
• ⅓ cup granulated sugar
• 1⅓ cups unsalted butter, softened and divided, plus more for greasing
• 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
• ½ tsp. table salt
• ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
• ⅓ cup sweetened condensed milk
• 3 tbsp. golden cane syrup (or honey as a substitute)
• 1 tsp. flaky sea salt
• 7 oz. dark chocolate baking bar, chopped
• ½ cup coarsely chopped macadamia nuts

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 300°. Grease a shallow 11×7-inch baking dish with butter.
  2. Line baking dish with parchment paper, allowing paper to extend by 2 inches on each side; grease parchment.
  3. Beat granulated sugar and 2/3 cup butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add flour and table salt; stir with a spoon, and then combine with your hands to form a smooth dough (try not to overwork it). I ended up adding a couple of Tbl water to the dough so it would come together,
  4. Press dough into pan in an even layer, and prick surface all over with a fork. Bake in preheated oven until pale golden and cooked through, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool completely in pan, about 45 minutes.
  5. Combine brown sugar, condensed milk, golden syrup (or honey) and remaining 2/3 cup butter in a medium-size heavy saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, until butter melts and mixture is smooth, about 3 minutes. Bring to a boil, and cook, stirring constantly, until the caramel bubbles become larger, mixture thickens and turns a rich, glossy caramel color, about 10 to 12 minutes. Pour caramel evenly over the shortbread, and sprinkle with sea salt. Cool completely until set, about 1 hour.
  6. Melt chocolate, stirring often, in a heatproof bowl suspended over a pan of simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Pour melted chocolate evenly over caramel layer; spread with an offset spatula until level and smooth. Sprinkle with nuts. Let stand until chocolate is set, about 1 hour. Use a knife to release ends of bars from pan; use the parchment paper as handle to remove from pan. Cut into bars.

Mom’s Chocolate Cookies

While I was out taking a 3.41818 mile, or 6016 yard hike today Fran found my Mom’s handwritten recipe for chocolate cookies. She thought I might like to try my hand at them. (The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, does it?) Of course, they won’t be the same as Mom’s, but as I am much older than the last time I had hers, I probably won’t be able to remember anyway.

I used silicone baking sheets instead of greased cookie sheets. Also, the cookies are thinner than she probably made, which is weird because she was, without a doubt, thinner than I am now. I believe I know why the cookies are so thin. After I finished I deciphered the word “spoons” as the method to beat in the eggs and melted chocolate. I used the stand mixer and probably over-beat them.

In the end, the cookies were chocolatey, chewy and delicious. I think Mom would approve, but thinking back on it, Mom approved, or at least praised and encouraged us, no matter what we did, (provided it didn’t involve vehicles with sirens and lights, including ambulances or the police, high school principals or the college Dean of Men.)

There’s a Bright Holden Glaze on The Meadow

No, I’m not in Oklahoma, I am still sheltering-in-place in California. In the Galaxy on Orion’s Belt post I mentioned I was going to remake the mousse desserts using Agar Agar rather than gelatin. Agar is a plant based thickener while gelatin is animal based. Well, the agar was delivered this week and as I and still sheltering-in-place, I am still baking, so here we go.

Last week Fran asked for some shortbread cookies so I made a batch this morning. I cut them into rounds, just smaller than the large end of my silicon hemisphere molds. The plan is to fill the mold about 2/3rds of the way with mousse, push a frozen vanilla cream into it and seal the bottom with the cookie. As I planned to coat one end of the shortbread cookies with chocolate, and will have some left over, I will coat the bottom of some of the hemisphere desserts with some, then mirror glaze them.

So the plan was good, but the execution was lacking. The cookies were too big so I cut them down, but they were also too thick. I couldn’t properly fill the mold with vanilla cream and cookie and still have 1/8” space for the chocolate. The new plan is to dip the bottom of the bombe in chocolate, re-freeze and then coat with the agar mirror glaze.

The agar mirror glaze was easy to make, but cooled too quickly and coated the bombes with a thick glaze. Luckily, this glaze, while sticky, was much better than the gelatin version. Portions of the glaze were placed in small bowls and dyed. When ready to coat the mousse bombes some of the colored glaze was poured on a larger aliquot of yellow glaze and poured over the bombe.

The good news is, Quality Assurance certified the mousse as exceptionally light and creamy. The cookies were a bit thick so it was suggested a pan of brownies would be a better base. The chocolate bottom was a nice addition and should be continued.

The directions for the agar agar said you should cool the glaze to 80 – 90 degrees. I found this temperature too low resulting in a thick glaze. I also need to find a better way to mix the various colors with the base color while maintaining the temperature of the dyed glaze at 90-100 deg, maybe place them in a warm water bath until ready to use.

Anyway, they are delicious and worth making!!

RECIPIES

Shortbread Cookies

INGREDIENTS
• 3/4 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 1 cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
• ¼ teaspoon salt

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the butter and 1 cup of sugar until they are just combined. Add the vanilla.
  3. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt, then add them to the butter-and-sugar mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together. Dump onto a surface dusted with flour and shape into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.
  4. Roll the dough 1/4-inch thick and cut with a round cutter just smaller than the opening of the mold. Place the cookies on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the edges begin to brown. Allow to cool to room temperature.

Vanilla Cream Filling


INGREDIENTS
• 3 tbsp all purpose flour
• 1/2 cup milk (low fat is fine)
• 1/2 cup butter (or Trans fat-free shortening)
• 1/2 cup granulated sugar
• 1/2 scraped vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla extract

METHOD

  1. Whisk together the flour and milk and cook in a small saucepan over medium heat until thick. This will only take a few minutes. Stir continuously to prevent the mixture from clumping and do not bring all the way to a boil. When thickened (consistency will be that of a thin pudding or custard), strain with a mesh strainer into a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let cool completely to room temperature.
  2. When the milk mixture is cool, cream the butter (or shortening) and sugar together in a medium bowl until light.
  3. Add in the milk/flour mixture and the scraped vanilla bean seeds (or vanilla extract) and beat at high speed with an electric mixer for 7 minutes, until light and fluffy.
  4. Scrape into a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip, or a large ziplock bag with the corner cut off, and set aside until ready to fill your cupcakes.

Dark Chocolate Mousse

INGREDIENTS

• 5 1/4 ounces 148 g bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
• 14 ounces 396 g cold heavy cream
• 3 large egg whites
• 1-ounce 29 g sugar
• Sweetened whipped cream, for garnish, optional
• Shaved bittersweet chocolate, for garnish, optional
• 6 ounces 170 g semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
• 1-ounce sugar 6 ounces semi sweet chocolate, finely chopped

METHOD

  1. Place chocolate in a large bowl set over a bain marie or in a double boiler at a low simmer. Stir chocolate until melted. Turn off the heat and let stand.
  2. Beat the cream over ice until it forms soft peaks. Set aside and hold at room temperature.
  3. With a mixer, whip egg to soft peaks. Gradually add the sugar and continue whipping until firm.
  4. Remove the chocolate from the bain marie and using a whisk, fold in the egg whites all at once.
  5. When the whites are almost completely incorporated, fold in the whipped cream.
  6. Fill each well of the hemispherical mold about halfway. Push a frozen vanilla cream drop in each well and top with a shortbread cookie. Make sure the cookie is below the top of the well.
  7. Place the mold in the freezer until solid.
  8. When frozen solid remove the mousse from the mold .
  9. Put 3 ounces of the chocolate in a glass bowl and microwave on high power for 30 seconds. (Don’t trust your microwave timer; time it with your watch.) Stir with a wooden spoon. Continue to heat and stir in 30-second increments until the chocolate is just melted. Add the remaining chocolate and allow it to sit at room temperature, stirring often, until it’s completely smooth. Stir vigorously until the chocolate is smooth and slightly cooled; stirring makes it glossier.
  10. Coat the top of each cell with a thin coat (1/8”) with melted chocolate and return to the freezer to set.

Agar Mirror Glaze Recipe

INGREDIENTS

• White Chocolate 8 ounces (220g)
• Sweetened Condensed Milk ½ cup (140g)
• Granulated Sugar 1 cup (200g)
• Corn Syrup ¾ cup (245g)
• Cold Water 7 tablespoons (100ml)
• HOT Water ½ cup (120ml)
• Powdered Agar 4 teaspoons (16g)

METHOD

  1. Bloom agar in the HOT water (120ml), let stand 5 minutes
  2. Combine the corn syrup, the other measure of COLD water (100ml) and the sugar in a heavy bottom sauce pot and get it warmed to at least 150°F add the bloomed agar and bring to a boil.
  3. Allow it to boil rapidly for 1 minute, then remove from the heat and add the condensed milk and whisk smooth
  4. Pour the entire hot mixture over the chocolate and whisk smooth
  5. Pour through a strainer into a clean container and color as you like.
  6. Pour over cakes & pastries once it has cooled to 80 or 90°F