I love cookies and adore making them. Most of all I love to eat them. For me, the perfect cookie is always crispy, very buttery, not too sweet, has a hint of salt, and lots of vanilla flavor. When Christmas rolls around gingerbread cookies take center stage at the bakery.
My cookies are very crisp and have a real snap when you bite into them, not to mention the right amount of ginger flavor. I always decorate these cookies with chocolate as I am not a lover of royal icing and food coloring. These ginger tree cookies are dipped in white chocolate and sprinkled with small silver candy balls (dragees). The important thing to know is that you must temper the chocolate. You can use this technique for decorating your own favorite cookie recipes.
(coats approximately 24 cookies)
BAKERS NOTE: Tempering chocolate is a specific way of melting the chocolate so it sets with a glossy finish. Untempered chocolate will streak and stick to your fingers when you touch it. • You will need a digital thermometer to help gauge the precise temperatures. It is difficult to temper less than 12 ounces of chocolate, and there may be leftover chocolate after dipping, depending on how many cookies you dip. • Simply spread the leftover melted chocolate on a sheet tray covered with parchment paper to set. • After it cools you can break it into small pieces and store in a plastic bag to reuse at another time.
12 ounces white or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped and divided
Small candy balls (dragees), optional
1. Bring 1 inch of water to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Reduce the heat to very low. Place 8 ounces of chocolate (white or semisweet) in a wide, heatproof bowl. Place the bowl on top of the saucepan, being sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water.
2. Let sand, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate reaches 110ºF on a digital instant-read thermometer.
3. Remove the bowl from the heat and place on a kitchen towel. Add the remaining 4 ounces of chocolate and stir until melted. Let stand, stirring every minute or so, until the chocolate reaches 88ºF.
4. Line a half-sheet pan with parchment paper. One at a time, dip each cookie in the chocolate. Let the chocolate come about one-quarter up the side of the cookie. Give the cookie a gentle shake to remove excess chocolate, then carefully place the cookie on the pan. Push each cookie with your finger to move it about 1/8 inch from its position on the pan to dislodge and remove the "foot" of chocolate that has formed. Let the cookie stand until it begins to set. Sprinkle with your favorite dragees. (Optional)
Chocolate Marmalade Sandwich Cookies and Buttery Shortbread Cookies
Recipes can be found in Sarabeth's Bakery: From My Hands to Yours (Rizzoli, 2010)