Thanks to the organization of the very talented Lindsay Landis of Love & Olive Oil and Julie Deily of The Little Kitchen, the 2012 Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap was a great success with over 400 food bloggers baking up a storm and sending cookies across the world. Along with the success of the event, it was also a huge success for the charitable organization of which it benefits. Cookies for Kids’ Cancer was the perfect fit for this culinary collaboration and I am so blessed to have been part of such a cool experience. The gist of the Swap is that after signing up to participate, which requires a $4 donation to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, you are matched with three secret food bloggers who will send you a dozen of their cookie creations and you receive the names of three food bloggers, which you have to keep a secret and send them each a dozen of your own cookie creations and all the recipes are revealed today 12.12.12 on everyone’s blogs for one of the coolest recipe roundups there is.
From the start I had my mind on a sandwich cookie. I had just posted about my Shortbread Cookie and it really is the perfect cookie to create the “bread” of my sandwich cookie. During the holidays, I make truffle after truffle, so I decided to create a chocolate ganache as the filling of the cookie and give it a salty kick with smoked almonds. I had a few trial runs and after adding caramel liqueur to the ganache and topping the cookie with a little drizzle of ganache and smoked almond pieces, I knew my recipe was complete.
- 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp pure almond extract
- 1 egg
- 3 cups all purpose flour, sifted
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 12 ounces Godiva Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
- 3 tablespoons Godiva Caramel Liqueur
- 1/2 cup smoked almonds, chopped
- In a stand mixer (or using a hand mixer) cream butter until fluffy (about 2-3 minutes). Gradually add sugar and cream until smooth (about 2-3 more minutes).
- Add vanilla extract, almond extract and egg. Mix on low speed until smooth scraping down the sides occasionally.
- Add flour one cup at a time and mix on low speed until dough comes together.
- Separate dough into 2 discs. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Take dough out about 15-20 minutes before rolling out.
- Turn dough out on a floured surface. Using a heavy rolling pin, roll dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into circles with 3 inch cutters.
- Bake 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.
- Place chocolate in a large bowl. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, heat cream just under a boil. Immediately remove from heat and pour over chocolate. Stir constantly to combine and melt chocolate. Once melted, add caramel liqueur and stir to combine completely. Let sit for about 10 minutes to thicken.
- Once thickened, spread ganache on one cookie to desired thickness. Top with second cookie. Drizzle ganache on top of sandwich and sprinkle with smoked almond pieces. Let sit for a few hours for ganache to harden so that it is no longer sticky.
This cookie got it’s start with a little help from my Shortbread Cookie recipe and the adorable spatula from Oxo Good Grips for being a part of the The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2012, which benefits Cookies for Kids Cancer.
With the “bread” of my sandwich cookie prepared, it was time to move onto the ganache. The key to making ganache or any recipe that involves heating heavy cream is to heat JUST BEFORE boiling. If your heavy cream boils over, you have one heavy mess! As soon as it starts to bubble, turn down the heat and if starts to come up the saucepan, lift it off the heat immediately to try to prevent a boil over.
Place the chocolate chips in a separate bowl and pour cream over the chocolate rather than adding chocolate to the saucepan.
Pour the heated cream over the chocolate and stir to combine and melt the chocolate.
Basic chocolate ganache is very versatile. You can easily add flavored extracts or liqueurs or even nuts and dried fruits. It is perfect for sandwich cookies, used as a filling for bonbons (because that’s what women eat) or whipped with a mixer aand used as a cake frosting.
With my first trial run with my cookie recipe, I only used the basic chocolate ganache recipe, but it lacked a certain depth, so I decided I wanted to add a liquer. This Godiva Caramel Liqueur was just what my ganache needed. Adding about 3 tablespoons of liqueur really amps up your flavor profile and gives it that certain taste of holiday cheer.
With all the sweet of the cookie and ganache, I wanted to add a little salty to balance out the recipe with the smoked almonds I had on hand. A quick chop of the knife, and the almonds were the perfect ending to the final product.
Once the cookies were iced, stacked, drizzled, and sprinkled, all they needed were a few hours to dry.
A little festive packaging thanks to Hobby Lobby‘s endless options for all things holiday.
Thanks to the USPS’s “if it fits it ships” in their flat rate shipping boxes, they were ready to make their cross-country journey to my food blogger matches.
I really enjoyed being a part of The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2012. From the charitable foundation of the swap, to the recipe creation, to the anticipation of other blogger’s cookies to arrive at our door, to the excitement of getting contacted by my matches, it was such a fun experience that I will definitely participate in for years to come.
Be sure to check out the awesome blogs of my matches:
I’d also like to pass on a special message from the Cookies for Kids’ Cancer team:
“The Cookies for Kids’ Cancer team wants to extend a big thank you for participating in the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. By simply swapping cookies, you helped raise funds for pediatric cancer research, bringing HOPE to children battling this ruthless disease. Being a Good Cookie does not have to end here. Cookies for Kids’ Cancer is a 365-day a year non-profit, with bake sales happening in all 50 states. Simply go tocookiesforkidscancer.org to learn more about the cause, to register to host an event or send cookies to your friends and family this holiday season. And thank you for being a Good Cookie!”