Sunday, January 25, 2009

Blood Orange Sandwich Cookies

Sorry for the longer than expected delay, but it’s been a really busy week phasing back into the semester. Fortunately I found some time tonight to bake. I had been keeping my eyes open for blood oranges for quite some time, and finally found some the other day. All that was left was to decide what to make. Not having a whole lot of time this weekend I decided to go for something simple, chocolate and almond cookies with blood orange curd filling. For the cookie base I decided to go with a shortbread base, with mini-chocolate chips mixed in. 

I thought these cookies were good, but a little gooey. The shortbread was very crispy, and so the filling tends to squirt out when you bite down. The filling was good, but not the strongest blood orange flavor in the world, I think one of the oranges I used was a little on the weak side. UPDATED: these cookies taste a lot better if you store them in the fridge for awhile, the curd stays firmer, and so doesn't squeeze out when you bite, and the flavors mingle better.

Almond Chocolate-Chip Shortbread

Makes 40 Sandwiches (80 cookies)

1-1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softend
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup ground almonds (I ground about ¾ of a cup of whole, blanched almonds to get this amount)
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour  
¾ cup miniature chocolate chips

1.  Cream together the butter and the sugars on medium speed until fluffy. Mix in the salt, the extracts, the almonds, the chocolate chips, and the flour. Once the dough starts to come together into medium sized clumps stop the mixer and press the dough together with your hands.

2. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Take the dough out of the fridge.  Break the dough into two pieces. On a floured surface roll out one of the disks until it is about ¼ inch thick. Use a round cookie cutter, or a glass to cut 1 inch circles out of the dough. Pick up the extra dough, and transfer the circles to the cookie sheets. Roll out the second disk of dough and do the same, then combine the extra pieces of dough and roll it out. Continue rolling out the dough until you have made as many cookies as you can.

5. Bake for 10-13 minutes, or until the edges are just turning golden. Remove from the oven and let cool on the cookie sheets

Blood Orange Curd

½ cup blood orange juice 
2 tsp finely grated blood orange zest 
2 tsp lemon juice 
½ cup sugar 
3 eggs 
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into cubes

1. In the bowl of a double boiler over medium-high heat, mix all ingredients except for the butter. Whisk constantly until the mixture thickens and the whisk begins to leave a trail (175 degrees on a candy thermometer)

2. Remove from heat and quickly whisk in the butter.

3. Pour the curd into a bowl or baking dish, and press plastic wrap onto the surface. Place into the fridge and refrigerate until it has firmed up.

4. Once the curd is firm, place 1-2 tsp of curd onto the bottom of one cookie, and sandwich with another. Store in an airtight container in a refrigerator.

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