All of my cooking and baking has been done for family and friends,
and at times, in honor of this blog.
But, I have NEVER entered a professional contest..until now.
If anyone knows me, they will not be surprised that my first contest
would be for a very big prize :)
I seem to wait on things for quite a while, and then pull out all the stops.
Par for the course.
(Yes, I love golf, too. Haven't played in a few years, but I have a really nice set of clubs waiting for me in the basement :)
This contest is for Scharffen Berger Chocolates, and if you want to ENTER too, the more the merrier, and you can use my link here: Scharffen Berger Cookie Contest
THE GRAND PRIZE IS $25,000!
I could find something good to do with that, including pay for
another college course and feed a few kids! :D
So, the past few weeks have been spent developing a recipe that will hopefully, knock-their-socks-off!
I just made the first batch of these cookie-bar-sandwich-things, and it's pretty good...well, I think it is pretty great actually...but we shall see what they think?!
I don't know what to call these babies and hoping someone can offer something snazzy that will reflect the ingredients and style, as well as savvy enough to catch the eye of the judges.
I wanted the character of these bars to be old-world,
Italianate (big surprise, right?) La Dolce Vita!
Thus, I used an old-fashioned, very basic, dry, shortbread cookie base with added goodies like chocolate chips, cranberries and walnuts; giving you a nice, nutty palatable flavor.
I also wanted to include some depth and flavor complexity,
so I used an Irish Cream Liquor in the cream cheese filling,
and also added some spice/heat of chili pepper into the semi-sweet, dipping chocolate.
This helps the depth and gives you that scent of
spice right up your palate and front of your nose :)
I hope this tells you enough about it to see how different these are...very old, world..not too sweet, but really want more kind of sense.
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup confectioners sugar
1 cup chocolate chunks, semi-sweet
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup dried cranberries
Sandwich Cookie Filling Ingredients:
8 oz cream cheese
3 Tbsp Irish Cream Liquor
1/4 cup confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Chocolate Dipping Sauce:
8 oz unsweetened bakers chocolate
2 Tbsp sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
SIFT together flour and salt. Beat butter with hand or stand mixer 5 minutes, until fluffy; scraping down bowl as needed.
ADD sugar, mix another 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture, scraping down bowl again, as needed. Mix only until all comes together (do not overmix).
ADD chopped chocolate, walnuts, cranberries and gently mix or stir with wooden spoon.
POUR mixture onto lined pan and PRESS DOWN with hands or rolling pan into flat square.
CHILL in refrigerator 20-30 minutes.
CUT 2"x3" lines into dough. PIERCE each bar with a fork once.
Remove pan and insert in oven to bake for 55 minutes, or until golden brown and centers are firm.
Combine softened cream cheese, vanilla, confectioners sugar, and liquor into mixer bowl. Whip until all ingredients combined and smooth.
Melt bakers chocolate in with heavy cream, stirring over low/medium heat in saucepan, until creamy. Add sugar, stir, simmer 3 minutes. Add more cream if necessary to make "dippable".
Remove cookies from oven and onto cooling rack. Gently, re-cut cookies along lines. Allow cookies to cool completely.
Gently, swipe cream cheese mixture across bottom-side of a cookie and place another cookie on top, face-side-up.
Dip cookie-sandwich-bar into the melted chocolate. Lay flat on clean parchment paper and allow to completely cool. Repeat for all remaining cookies.
Refrigerate cookies for minimum of one hour before serving.