Cookies filled with milk cream and chocolate
I. Do. Not. Like. Winter. And as far as I can remember, I have never done. Every year between September and October I wistfully realize that summer is over. Again. You can possibly say that I should have gotten used to it, considering that this has been my thirtieth winter after all. But I can't help it! At least I somehow made the substantial progress of accepting that I am not capable of changing the seasonal cycle.
Of course, I could rely on global warming instead. Fly to Sydney and back ten times a year, go to the bakery by car, wrap entire houses in tons of Christmas lights, leave all windows open while the heat is on. But in the end I thought this approach was a little bit too selfish. This is why I eventually decided to just focus on the things I like about winter: Tons of Boskoop apples from my parents' garden, wrapping up warm and read a good book while snow is piling up outside, eating ginger bread, making Christmas cookies and last but not least (and I don't care if it's 'hip' or not): knitting hundreds of socks. Plus, winter is exactly the right time to defrost your freezer.
My positive attitude lasts as long as I realize that - surprise, surprise - there is hardly any snow this winter (exactly like all the years before), that reading a book by the sea is unbeatable, no matter how cozy the blanket you are wrapped up in is, that I don't want to ever eat ginger bread again after having eaten two whole boxes at once (lasts for 11 months), that Christmas cookies are beautiful but that I could make even more beautiful pastry out of fresh straw-, blue- and raspberries (if there were any) and that over there, hidden in my freezer, is my long forgotten ice cream maker. I don't have to explain what that little machine reminds me of, right? So in the end there's only one thing that keeps making me happy in winter: Apples. Well, better than nothing.
Ah, I almost forgot to mention the worst thing about winter, at least if are a natural light photographer: The day starts at around 10 a.m. and is over ten minutes later. No, I do NOT overexaggerate!
And now, finally, over to my deliciously filled chocolate cookies: Yesterday I woke up early and saw a blue sky. And the sun. It felt like I've seen that the first time for ages! I could hardly believe my luck. Sunny weather meant I would have more than 10 minutes for taking pictures! I jumped out of bed and immediately started to make the cookies. And photographed them. And ate them. All of it on one single day! Can you imagine that?
Now, after you might have gotten the impression that I want to blame winter for everything, including for not having posted a single recipe for a month: I have to admit that it was a fair bit of work to update the layout of this blog, translate all of my recipes and to finally launch the English version of 'Studie in Süß'. At least I was wrapped up warm in a cozy blanket and had several pots of tea. What a cozy time! ;)
Prep time: one hour
Resting time: one hour
Baking time: 10 minutes
Ingredients for about 35 cookies
300 g all-purpose flour
100 g powdered sugar
175 g butter
1 medium-sized egg
1 dash of salt
500 ml full cream milk
4 tbsp skimmed milk powder
2 generous tbsp corn starch
2 level tbsp sugar
200 g dark baking chocolate
1 level tbsp cocoa butter to slightly liquefy the chocolate. One level teaspoon of vegetable oil might also do.
Cookie cutter or drinking glass, Ø 7-8 cm
Sift flour, powdered sugar, salt and the egg onto a counter top. Add cold diced butter and use bench scrapers or a big knife to quickly work the butter into the dry ingredients, breaking up the butter in bean sized bits. Knead with your hands until the mixture resembles a rough dough, keeping handling to a minimum. Form the pastry into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at for at least one hour while preparing the filling. Preheat fan oven to 170 °C.
Note: Shortcrust pastry keeps well for up to one week in the fridge and can therefore be prepared in advance.
For the filling, add milk powder and starch to ~80 ml of milk and stir until smooth. Pour remaining milk into a large saucepan, stir in the sugar and bring to a boil while whisking vigorously until frothy. Remove from heat, stir in the starch mixture and simmer over medium heat for one or two minutes. Do not forget to stir constantly, otherwise you will end up with a thick layer of burnt milk on the bottom of your saucepan. Let milk cream cool and prevent skin formation by pressing plastic wrap directly against the surface.
Divide dough in half and put one part back in the fridge as shortcrust pastry is easier to roll and shape when chilled. On a lightly-floured counter top, roll out the pastry to 2-3 mm thickness. Use a glass or a cookie cutter to cut dough into circles. Turn muffin molds upside down and cover them with cut pastry as shown on the picture above.
Bake pastry cases on an oven rack for 8-10 minutes, or until golden. I recommend to keep an eye on these little goodies as they tend to turn brown pretty quickly! Remove from the oven, turn muffin molds upside down while still hot to get pastry cases with a nice and flat bottom. Let cool before filling them with milk cream.
Fill pastry cases with about one tablespoon of milk cream each. Make sure you leave enough space for the chocolate glaze.
Heat dark chocolate together with cocoa butter or vegetable oil in a bain-marie, let cool for a couple of minutes and spread on the milk cream as thin as possible. Store cookies in a fridge.
Note: These cute goodies taste best after one night in the fridge and keep well for 3-4 days. Just like so many other things in life they become better instead of older ;)