This week’s recipe is courtesy of Marj, who sent me a very exciting housewarming gift – the BraveTart cookbook! This book is so fun. It’s full of homemade versions of classic desserts you definitely grew up eating, and it’s making me want to redo many recipes on my blog, where I had tried to do the same based on recipes on the internet. So don’t be surprised if you see a new version of Nutter Butters or Oreos or Rice Krispies in the coming weeks.
But to start, I went with a cookie that I always considered a treat when we had them around – Fudge Stripe Cookies. What’s super cool about this book is that it also goes into the history of the store bought version, with fun little tidbits about their origins and why the recipes work. I won’t give you those here, but you should definitely buy this cookbook if you’re into that.
This recipe is a little tricky in that it involves tempering chocolate, but if I can do it, so can you.
Start by making the cookies. In a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda and pulse a few times.
Add the butter and process until it becomes a coarse meal.
Transfer this into a medium bowl and mix in the buttermilk using a rubber spatula.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few times to bring it together.
Roll it out to be about 1/8 inch thick.
Cut circles about 2 inches in diameter. Mine are a bit bigger because I still have not purchased a set of nesting circle cookie cutters and resorted to a wine glass.
Transfer the circles to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. You can put the cookies close together – they won’t spread.
Using a smaller circle, cut the middles out (you can bake these up, too – just put them between the big circles). I used the back end of a pastry tip.
Bake at 350°F for 25 minutes. This will feel like too long – I was sure after 15 that the cookies would burn, so I at least pulled the baby circles out after 15 minutes and stress snacked on them while convincing myself I could trust the instructions of a cookbook author who had spent hours and hours testing these recipes. Turns out she was right – 25 minutes worked.
Let them cool completely on the baking sheet.
Once they’re cool, you can make the chocolate. Start by roughly chopping 2/3 of the chocolate (10 ounces) and finely chopping the remaining third (5 ounces). Put the roughly chopped chocolate in the bowl of a stand mixer.
Heat 1/2 inch of water in a 3 quart saucepan over medium low heat – it should steam but not simmer. Put the stand mixer bowl on top (resting above the water) and stir constantly until the chocolate melts.
When the chocolate is mostly melted, start monitoring the temperature with an instant read thermometer. It shouldn’t get about 105°F, so if it starts creeping in that direction, remove from heat and continue stirring.
Once totally smooth and glossy and still below 105°F, remove from heat and stir in half of the finely chopped chocolate until smooth. Then stir in the second half.
Here, we’re trying to get the temperature down to around 86°F, so keep the thermometer handy. If the chocolate won’t melt, you can put it over the water bath again in short stints (like 5 to 10 seconds max) and keep stirring vigorously.
Once smooth and glossy, swipe some on a piece of parchment paper and put it in the fridge for 2 minutes. If, after 2 minutes, it’s no longer tacky to the touch, congrats! You’ve tempered chocolate! If it is still tacky, then buy the cookbook and read her instructions on what to do. I’m definitely not an expert yet.
With the chocolate still smooth, you can now finish the cookies. Spread about a teaspoon of chocolate on the bottom of a cookie with a spoon and press onto a piece of parchment paper.
Repeat with remaining cookies. Then transfer the chocolate (if it’s not melty, you can heat it up briefly over the water bath, stirring constantly) into a piping bag. I’d use a #3 tip for this. I followed the cookbook recommendation of making my own parchment paper tube, but quickly regretted not having the control a real tip would have given me. Learn from my mistakes.
Pipe the chocolate across the cookies in stripes and allow to harden.
See how thick/not uniform my lines are? When I make these again, I’ll do better.
Once hardened, you can peel them off the parchment paper and store in an airtight container at room temperature.
Fudge Stripe Cookies
- 1 cup (4.5 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- 1/4 cup buttermilk, cold
- 3 cups (15 ounces) milk chocolate
- In a food processor, pulse the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda to combine.
- Add the butter and process until a coarse meal forms.
- Transfer to a medium bowl. Mix in the buttermilk using a rubber spatula.
- Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead to bring together. Roll out to about 1/8-inch thickness.
- Cut 2 inch circles and transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Cut smaller circles out of the centers of the large circles.
- Bake at 350°F for 25 minutes, until golden. Cool completely on baking sheet.
- Roughly chop 2/3 (10 ounces) of the chocolate and finely chop the remaining third (5 ounces). Set about 1/2 inch of water in a 3 quart saucepan over medium low heat.
- Put roughly chopped chocolate in the bowl of a stand mixer. Place bowl over steaming water, resting on pan but not touching water. Stir constantly until chocolate melts. Do not allow to go over 105°F.
- Remove from heat and stir in half of the finely chopped chocolate until smooth. Stir in second half until smooth. Return to heat in brief (5-10 second) intervals if not melting.
- Once glossy, smear some on a piece of parchment paper and refrigerate for 2 minutes – if it’s not tacky, proceed.
- Dollop about 1 teaspoon of chocolate onto the bottom of each cookie and press onto a piece of parchment paper.
- Spoon remaining chocolate (reheating if necessary) into a piping bag with a #3 tip. Pipe stripes across the cookies.
- Allow to harden before peeling off parchment paper.