I know I sometimes take the homemade thing to excess. There are times when I wonder what I am doing – taking the time to make something that I could pick up at the store. Other times I stand by my homemade goodies, because they taste so much better than the commercial version. This is one of those times.
Rich found a recipe for a chocolate tart that he wanted to try last weekend. It called for chocolate cookie crumbs for the crust, and suggested chocolate wafers ground in the food processor. I debated if I wanted to go to the store to buy some, then I decided to make my own. The store wafers, or the ready-ground chocolate crumbs, are fine, but they do have a certain taste to them that I wanted to avoid. I didn’t want to take the time to make a decadent dessert, with butter, cream and good quality chocolate and have the crust taste like commercial cookies. Does that make me a cookie crust snob?
I decided to make the cookie crumbs from a chocolate sandwich cookie recipe I have developed. Since I was going to make crumbs, I pressed the whole recipe of dough into a sheet pan and baked it in one big piece. I had it mixed before the oven preheated and it baked in just over five minutes.
I cut the big wafer into pieces and ground about half of the recipe to make crumbs for the tart crust. We ate the rest. The cookies are darkly chocolate, slightly buttery and beautifully soft. They really resemble a commercial chocolate cookie not at all. And I am fine with that.
I made the recipe again so I could take pictures, and so we would have more cookies to eat. I debated rolling out the dough and cutting out rounds before I baked them. But it was hot in the kitchen and I wanted to make them quickly, and with as little work as possible.
I decide to try cutting them from the baked cookie, right after it came out of the oven. It worked beautifully. And it was so much quicker than rolling out raw dough and cutting and re-rolling the scraps. Yes, the edges are a little apt to make crumbs, but I can live with that to have fresh chocolate wafers, made with real butter in less time than it takes me to go to the store.
We are going to make ice cream sandwiches with some of the most recent batch of wafers. We will sandwich a few more with whipped cream. I will try to save enough to make another batch of crumbs to make the chocolate tart again (it was really good). I do have a feeling if I want enough cookies to make crumbs, I am going to have to bake another batch – this batch is mysteriously disappearing rather quickly.
From The Cook’s Life
Makes one 12 by 17 inch sheet,
24 2-inch rounds or 30 rectangles
Use this dough to make chocolate cookie crumbs for cheesecake or tarts. Or cut round or square wafers for other desserts. These make great ice cream sandwich wafers.
½ cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 12 by 17 inch half sheet pan or two 9 by 13 pans. Set aside.
Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and egg and beat again. Add flour, cocoa powder and salt and mix until thoroughly combined. Dough will be stiff and slightly dry.
Press dough into a thin layer on the prepared baking sheet(s). It is easier to get it even if you dollop it out in about 10 globs before you start pressing. Try to get the dough in a layer about ⅛-inch thick. Don’t obsess over it, especially if you are making crumbs with it later.
Bake the dough for 5-7 minutes, or until set and slightly shiny on top.
If you are making rounds or rectangles, cut the shapes with a cookie cutter or sharp knife as soon as you take the pan out of the oven. By the time you get done cutting, the wafers will have firmed up enough to move them to a wire rack to cool.
If you are making crumbs, cut the wafer sheet into rough rectangles and use a spatula to move them to a wire rack to cool. Once the wafers are cool, process them in a food processor until crumbs form.
Store wafers or crumbs in an airtight container until ready to use. The cookies are very soft, but good keepers. After a few days, they will start to dry out slightly. Freeze to keep them at their freshest if you aren’t using them within 3-4 days.