Lemon-Thyme Shortbread and Cocoa-Mint Sandwich Cookies make a sweet Valentine's Day cookie display.
Extend a gesture of “friendliness” with these mint-infused cookie sandwiches. For an extra special Valentine’s Day touch, I’ve cut them into fluted rounds with a small heart “window” in each cookie top. MAKES ABOUT THIRTY-SIZ 1 1/2-INCH ROUND SANDWICH COOKIES
White chocolate-mint mousse
• 1/2 cup loosely packed mint leaves, stems removed, coarsely chopped
• 1 cup heavy cream, divided
• 6 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped
• 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
• 1/2 cup granulated sugar
• 2 large eggs
• 1 teaspoon pure mint extract
• 1/2 cup unsweetened, alkalized cocoa powder
• 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
• About 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, for dusting work surface
• 2 to 4 tablespoons granulated sugar, for sprinkling on cookie tops
• About 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted
1. To make mousse, place mint and 1/2 cup cream in saucepan and bring to scalding over medium heat. Turn off heat. Steep about 30 minutes. Strain cream mixture into another clean saucepan, pressing excess liquid from mint. Add chopped white chocolate to cream and place over low heat. Stir constantly just until chocolate is melted and mixture is very smooth. Transfer to medium bowl. Cover surface flush with plastic wrap and allow to cool to room temperature, about 40 minutes. Using an electric mixer with whip attachment, whip remaining cream to stiff peaks. Fold into chocolate mixture. Chill mousse 3 to 4 hours or until thick and creamy.
2. To make cookies, place butter and 1/2 cup sugar in electric mixer with paddle attachment. Cream until well blended, about 2 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down sides of bowl. Continue to beat at high speed until light and fluffy, another 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in mint extract. Stir together cocoa powder and flour and combine with butter mixture, stirring just until evenly blended. Divide dough, shape into two disks and wrap each tightly in plastic wrap. Chill at least 4 hours or until dough is firm to touch. Meanwhile, with rack in center of oven, preheat to 350 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside. On lightly floured work surface, roll out one disk of dough to about 1/8-inch thickness. Cut with 1 1/2-inch fluted round cookie cutter and transfer rounds to cookie sheet. Using 1/2-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut a window in half of the cookies. These will become sandwich tops. Sprinkle evenly with granulated sugar. Bake 12 to 14 minutes, or until cookies are firm and lightly browned on bottoms. Remove to racks to cool. Repeat with second half of dough. Allow cookies to cool completely. Using a small knife, spread thin layer of melted chocolate on bottoms of windowless cookies and place cookie chocolate side up. Let chocolate set.
3. To assemble sandwiches, fit pastry bag with #10 round tip and fill halfway with mousse. Pipe small amount of mousse on top of set chocolate. Place cookie with window, right side-up, on top of mousse. Press gently to squeeze mousse to edges. Store unfilled cookies in airtight containers up to a week at room temperature. Filled cookies should be refrigerated, and are best served within 24 hours.
Julia M. Usher is a food writer, recipe designer and food stylist in St. Louis. Visit her at www.herbcompanion.com/contributors .
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