My original thought for a California cookie was something with figs. Probably because I love figs so much. There's a restaurant here in town that makes these awesome roasted black mission figs stuffed with goat cheese. I could eat about twenty. When I first brought up the idea for this part of the blog to my friends at Two Peas in a Bucket, I was strongly discouraged from the fig idea. Instead, I chose to go with a Ghirardelli chocolate cookie filled with a red wine ganache (thanks Peas!).
This recipe uses some serious dark chocolate. The chocolate I used is about 66% cocoa. Super dark and super bitter. I'm not such a fan of dark chocolate, but my mother and my husband are so these cookies are right up their alley. I wasn't too fond of the cookie, not just for the bitter chocolate taste, but because they were very crumbly and didn't hold up so well. I sliced them a little thinner and got a crispier cookie that was able to handle the ganache sandwiched between.
The ganache, however, was fabulous. I think next time I won't use such a dark chocolate, but the redwine flavor hits your palate rather late and lingers like a glass of good wine should.
Ghirardelli Chocolate Cookies with Red Wine Ganache
4 ounces 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate
3 tablespoon(s) Unsweetened Cocoa
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup white granulated sugar
1 large egg
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon(s) instant espresso powder
2 tablespoon(s) boiling water
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup 60% cocoa bittersweet chocolate
4 tablespoons California red wine of choice
Melt bittersweet chocolate in a double boiler and set aside to cool.
Cream together butter and sugar. Add egg and vanilla until well mixed. Mix in cooled chocolate.
In a medium bowl, sift together cocoa powder, flour, salt, and baking soda. Add espresso powder to boiling water and stir until dissolved. Add flour mixture to butter/egg mixture alternating with espresso - starting and ending with flour. Transfer dough to a sheet of wax paper and roll in to a log. Wrap tightly and chill for one hour.
Meanwhile, make the ganache. Heat cream in a small sauce pan over low heat until small bubbles form around the edge of the pan. Combine chocolate and wine together in a heat safe bowl. When the cream in heated, pour over chocolate and wine and whisk until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth and glossy. Let the ganache reach room temperature and then refrigerate until firm.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice the cookie dough about 1/8" thick (this was the thickness that worked best for me) and place on a parchment lined baking sheet about and inch apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes until done around the edges. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
When the cookies are cooled, place about a tablespoon of ganache in the center of half the cookies and top with the other half of hte cookies to form a sandwich.
If it's really warm in your kitchen, you might want to keep these cookies in the fridge to keep the ganache firm.