Thursday, February 18, 2010

Chocolate Raspberry Disaster

About a week ago, I was looking through my Martha Stewart Cookies cookbook and I noticed a white cookie with raspberry filling and on the very next page a chocolate cookie with white filling. Well, I thought - wouldn't it be great to make a chocolate cookie with raspberry filling. I figured it would be chocolate-y and the filling would be pink and it would be terrific for valentine's day.

Well, it is not exactly easy to find raspberries in the middle of the snowiest winter in 15 years. However, I did manage to find a pint. I gathered all the other ingredients and had a plan to make these over the valentine's weekend.

Despite my best efforts, I did not find time to make these cookies in time for valentine's day. I didn't find time to make them the day after either. So by the third day, I was really ready to make these cookies. I had this very clear idea in my head of how the cookies would turn out. Boy was I wrong.

I began by making the chocolate cookies. I followed Martha's recipe exactly. First problem with the recipe - it tells you to use a glass dipped in plain sugar to flatten the cookie balls. Well, whoever wrote this recipe obviously never tried to dip a glass in sugar or they would have known that sugar doesn't stick to glass. I solved this problem by using a tiny bit of water on the bottom of the glass to make the sugar stick. Despite the sugary coating - after a few cookies the glass does stick to the dough, so it was necessary to pry it away and try to reshape the cookie.

After they were prepped they went in to bake. When they emerged from the oven, I was astonished to find they didn't look like the photo at all. If you refer to Martha's cookbook - you will see an almost black, smooth textured cookie that looks to be about 2 inches across. As you can see from this picture, that's not at all how I would describe my cookies.

My cookies turned out a light brown color, completely coated with sugar and cracked on the outside. They got huge during baking, more than 3 inches across and when I removed them from the oven, the centers fell - so they turned into craters.

Despite this, I trudged on.

I began making up the white chocolate raspberry filling. The recipe directed me to put the raspberries in the food processor and then pour it through a sieve to remove the seeds. Well, processed raspberries don't pour through a sieve. They actually require you to work them through the mesh with a spatula, which takes longer than you might think. While I was sieving my raspberries, I had the white chocolate melting in a double boiler. Reading the recipe, which involved mixing melted chocolate with heavy cream, it seemed like it would produce a ganache type mixture. However, in ganache, you usually heat the cream and then mix in the chocolate - so this was a little backwards.

Once it was all done, I mixed the raspberries into the white chocolate mixture and put it in the refrigerator, as directed. The recipe called for a 30 minute chill. However, after more than 2 hours, I found the filling still had not stiffened to an icing consistency.

I was tired of waiting, so I decided to go ahead and fill my sandwich cookies. I got a little of the icing on my finger and even though it was very runny it had good flavor. I was very excited to try out the cookies. All of this excitement is what led up to the big letdown.

Keith was with me as I filled the cookies. We both tried it together and I think we made two of the most awful faces I've ever seen someone don while eating cookies.

The chocolate cookies were hard, chocolate-y in a weird way (like hot chocolate instead of a chocolate candy bar) and the icing was so runny it just dripped out of the sides of the cookies. Neither of us could even eat a whole cookie - it was that bad! I told Keith I was going to keep them in the fridge for a day or two so I could take pictures for the blog and then I would throw them out. He offered to take them to his co-workers, but I was embarrassed to be associated with something so awful. We joked about bagging them up and leaving them on a counter somewhere - just walking by and saying "wow, someone brought in some cookies", but I felt bad for tricking anyone into eating these disgusting cookies - so they were fated for the garbage can.

I plan to retry this cookie, but I think next time I am going to make up my own recipe, prepare the ganache according to standard practices and see how it goes. Stay tuned for a redo!

Overall, the pictures turned out better than the actual cookie. So learn from me - skip these two recipes from the book and just enjoy my photos.