(picture via www.MarthaStewart.com)
(Hey people!! Before you read the post, I wanted you to know I have a facebook page here. Friend me if you'd like!)
So a few weeks ago I bought the Martha Stewart’s Cookies book because, well, I do loves me some Martha (more on that later). As I was thumbing through the book I noted recipes that would be worth trying and decided to begin my adventure through MaHels’ (that’s short for Martha Helen [Kostyra] Stewart for those of you who aren’t as tight with her like I am) book with the Sarah Bernhardt Cookies on page 282.
This recipe is a joke. The reason it is a joke is because it is not specific enough. Specifically, the “Make Filling” part of the recipe is not specific enough. For cookies such as these, the recipe needs to be specific – very specific! General terms like “warm to the touch” and “about 5 minutes” are open to interpretation and can cause the reader to, oh, I don’t know, make THE DAMN FILLING four times before getting it right. So, channeling my inner Julia Child (that woman put the tail in detail!) I will now walk you through the filling and to the firm, but malleable, result.
- 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 4 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
- FOR THE COOKIE
- 1/4 pound almond paste (Thats 1/4 pound. Four ounces. Not 1/4 cup)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 large egg white
- 1/8 teaspoon pure almond extract
- Pinch of salt
- FOR THE COATING
- 12 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons pure vegetable shortening
This recipe is meant to be done in steps. Do not overlap. Do not do two at the same time. Do them all separately, one at a time, per the instruction. So don’t, let’s say, simmer the sugar and water while waiting for the chocolate to melt.
Make the filling (from hell): In a heat-proof bowl or the top of a double boiler set over a pan of simmering water (SIMMERING MEANS SIMMERING. Not boiling, not simply warm enough to evaporate water. SIMMERING. Little-bubbles-wiggling-their-way-to-the-top-simmering), melt chocolate, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat, and allow to cool (leave the damn thing alone and cool it NEVER heating it up again after it melts). Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, and simmer until clear, about 5 minutes (see note above re. simmering. Also, stir occasionally while it simmers); remove from heat (THIS STEP IS OMITTED IN THE BOOK. It is however in the online recipe. But do remove it). Place egg yolks in the bowl of an (HEATPROOF BOWL: This is a no-brainer but the online recipe does not specify) electric mixer set over a pan of simmering (See simmering note above) water, and whisk until warm to the touch, about 2 minutes (um, try 2 minutes 30 seconds. Also you don’t want to cook the yolks so make sure the water is just SIMMERING) Transfer bowl to mixer stand fitted with the whisk attachment; with machine on medium, beat in hot sugar syrup (Yes, beat in the hot syrup even if you think it will cook the yolks. It won’t. The yolks have been tempered and the speed of the mixer will not allow it to cook). Increase speed to high, and continue beating until cool and fluffy, about 3 minutes (The trick here is not to do it around three minutes. The key is the fluffy part. Just make sure it is fluffy and aerated. If that is around three minutes, great! If not, mix until so).
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper (the book says simply Silpat. And I agree. Don’t use parchment); set aside.
Bake until firm and golden around edges, about 12 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely (The online version omits, and the book version includes, rotating the sheet halfway through. Do this. Do rotate at the 6 minute mark). The cookies may be stored at this stage in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
The picture at the beginning of the post is from the Martha Stewart website. The picture of my cookies is after the jump.
Oh yeah. One last thing. These cookies ARE well worth the effort!
These are mine! My Sandra Bernhard Cookies (yes, I renamed them!)
Ps. You can find me on facebook by clicking here. Friend me if you'd like