Saturday, November 6, 2010

Pecan and Pistachio Chocolate Chip Fingers

I almost always have cookies in my freezer for emergencies, but I had just gotten back from vacation and found out that I was the only one making dessert for a fundraiser celebration that I recently attended. I had frozen a cake beforemy trip, but didn't have time to make anything else, and my freezer was totally void of cookies. The party was at 7 and it was about 4 when I got this news. I wanted t make a simple dessert but didn't want to make brownies or chocolate chip cookies, both of which could have been done in the time allotted. Most of my cookies need chilling time, so I knew they were out, but I do have a lovely Heath bits cookie in my book, and I thought that would be perfect. The only problem was that I didn't have time to shop for Heath bits and didn't have them in my cupboard. What I did have in my freezer, however, was a small bag of left over baklava filling. I thought this might make a very interesting variation on my original recipe, and I wasn't disappointed. The cookies were crispy, buttery and had an unusual flavor due to the pistachios in the recipe.
2-1/2 sticks butter (10 ounces), room temperature
1 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar

2 large egg yolks, room temperature
3 cups (390 grams) unbleached all purpose flour, fluffed, scooped and leveled
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup mixed nuts, chopped finely by hand or in processor
1/2 cup mini-chocolate chips

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup Ghirardelli Sweet Ground Chocolate and Cocoa, for dusting
Decorating Glaze
1/4 cup (2 ounces) mini-chocolate chips
1 teaspoon oil
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. with shelves in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar, just until blended. Beat in the vanilla and egg yolks, one at a time until well blended. Beat in the flour, a cup at a time (If you don't have a heavy-duty stand mixer, stir in the flour by hand.).  Stir together the nuts, choclate chips and cinnamon.  Stir this into the dough.

Shaping the cookies:
1. Use your hand to measure the ball size to about 1 inch.

2. Roll the ball in your palms in a circular motion to make it round and smooth.
3. Roll the ball into a log-shape by moving your hands back forth, parallel to each other.

4. Use your palm size to measure the length of the cookie to about 2-1/2-inches long. They will double in width, so go for a thinner, longer shape.
Transfer the cookies to the prepared cookie sheets, leaving about 2-inches between cookies.

Place the cookie sheets on the two shelves of the oven and bake for a total of 12-14 minutes, switching the pans from top to bottom, etc. after half of the cooking time.

Remove the cookie sheets and slide the parchment onto cooling racks to let the cookies cool for 5 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 275 degrees. When the temperature has come down, slide the parchment paper back on the cookie sheets and bake the cookies for another 10 minutes. Remove and cool, as above for about 5 minutes.

While the cookies are slightly warm, put the ground chocolate/cocoa into a strainer or sugar-shaker, and dust the tops of the cookies with the chocolate mixture.  Let the cookies cool completely before eating.

If you'd like to decorate them as shown in the opening photo, place the chocolate chips and oil in a small microwave-safe container. Micro-cook on medium power (5) for 1 minute. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted.

For this amount of glaze, you'll need a very small piping bag. You can make one out of a plastic storage or zip-top bag. Cut the bag in half, horizontally.
Put the bag into a small glass, and then fill the bag.

Hold the bag closed at the top, with the filled part resting in your palm, and your thumb and index finger holding the top (you can put a rubber band around the top if it is easier). Gently squeeze the filling toward the tip.

Make a very tiny cut in the tip with scissors. Pipe on the decoration.

These cookies keep for several days at room temperature, in a covered container. They may also be frozen in a covered container, with waxed paper between layers. This way you'll be able to defrost each cookie individually. They’ll keep frozen for 3 months. Defrost them at room temperature, uncovered.


Peggy said...

these cookies sound great! love the baklava filling in them! very creative!

Penny Wantuck Eisenberg said...

Thanks Peggy!! They lend themselves to creativity. I was thinking that next time I might crush up some buttercrunch candy and try them in here, too.