These gluten-free chocolate sandwich cookies are an homage to the chocolate truffles that Taffy Elrod’s mother and grandmother bought her as a special Christmas present when she was a child. Here, fudgy cookies are sandwiched around a silken ganache flavored with raspberry jam and raspberry liqueur.
Feel free to decorate the cookies with anything that will stick to the melted chocolate, such as mini chocolate chips, luster dust, sprinkles or even gold leaf.
If you have any leftover ganache, roll it into balls and coat in cocoa powder, nuts or more freeze-dried raspberry powder to make some very giftable truffles.
Active time: 1 hour 30 mins; Total time: 2 hours 30 mins
Make Ahead: The ganache can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
Storage Notes: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 week, or freeze, carefully wrapped, for up to 1 month.
Where to Buy: Valrhona raspberry chocolate is available online.
Make the cookies: In a medium bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, cocoa powder, salt and allspice. Make sure there are no lumps.
In a microwave-safe bowl, heat the dark chocolate in 30-second bursts on HIGH until melted, stirring after each burst. (Alternatively, you can melt the chocolate in a double boiler, or in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water.) Let the chocolate cool slightly.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using a large bowl and hand mixer, beat the butter with the granulated and brown sugars on medium speed until fully combined and light in texture, 3 to 4 minutes. Scrape down the attachment and the bowl with a flexible spatula.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating on medium until incorporated after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and mix again on medium to incorporate. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
Pour the melted chocolate into the bowl and mix on medium-high until fully combined, 20 to 30 seconds, scraping down the bowl with the spatula to make sure all the ingredients are completely incorporated.
Add the cornstarch mixture and mix on low until the dry ingredients are completely incorporated, then increase the speed to medium and mix until a soft dough forms, about 1 minute. The dough should look glossy and resemble brownie batter.
Cover and refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.
Make the ganache: While the cookie dough cools, place the chopped dark chocolate in a small, heat-proof bowl.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the heavy cream, raspberry jam and salt, stirring until the jam dissolves and the cream is just coming to a simmer. There will be small bubbles forming around the edge of the pan, and it should register 185 to 190 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.
Carefully pour the cream mixture over the chocolate and let sit undisturbed until the chocolate melts, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the liqueur and whisk the cream into the chocolate until it comes together into a smooth, glossy, pourable mixture.
Place a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper against the surface of the ganache and refrigerate until it is the consistency of spreadable butter — firm enough to pipe or spread and stay where it’s put, about 30 minutes. It will set up to a firmer consistency in the cookies when they are filled and chilled.
Bake the cookies: Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees. Line two large, rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
If the dough is too firm, allow it to soften a bit at room temperature. Use a No. 60 disher or a tablespoon measure to scoop out 1-tablespoon (16-gram) balls of dough and place them on the lined cookie sheets, spaced at least 1 1/2 inches apart. The cookies don’t spread that much, so you should be able to get 20 on each sheet. (You should have 42 cookies total.) Slightly flatten the dough balls by pressing them with the palm of your hand.
Bake, one sheet at a time, about 10 minutes, or until the cookies are set around the edges with a shiny, puffy center with some cracks. Let cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Assemble the cookie sandwiches: If the ganache is too firm to make sandwiches, let it soften to room temperature.
Turn half of the cookies flat side up on a large, rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment. Using a piping bag fitted with a large tip, or a sealed zip-top bag with a corner cut off, pipe about 1 tablespoon of chocolate ganache on each overturned cookie, then top with the remaining cookies to form sandwiches.
When all the cookies have been sandwiched, refrigerate them on the pan while you prepare the decorations.
Decorate the cookies: Line a second large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or wax paper.
In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the white chocolate in 30-second bursts on HIGH, stirring after each burst. (Alternatively, you can melt the chocolate in a double boiler, or in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water.) Let the chocolate cool slightly. Repeat with the raspberry or ruby chocolate.
Working with one cookie sandwich at a time, holding them so that the ganache filling is perpendicular to the bowl, dip each halfway into one of the chocolates. Place the dipped sandwiches on the prepared baking sheet as you work.
Decorate the cookies with lines of chocolate by drizzling from a spoon or using a small piping bag. You can use contrasting colors or matching colors.
Dust with the freeze-dried raspberry powder or brush on the luster dust before the chocolate sets. The cookies should look reminiscent of fine chocolates. Be creative and have fun and make them look like miniature works of abstract art.
Place the sheet with the decorated cookies, uncovered, in the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes to set the chocolate.
Refrigerate until ready to serve for the best consistency. The ganache can melt if the cookies get too warm.
NOTES: Valrhona raspberry chocolate lends a wonderful flavor and beautiful color to the cookies. You can substitute an equal amount of ruby chocolate or white chocolate colored with red food coloring or mixed with freeze-dried raspberries.
If you aren’t a fan of raspberry and chocolate, the ganache can be made with other flavor combinations, such as Grand Marnier with orange marmalade, or kirsch with cherry preserves. Kahlua, Frangelico and amaretto are all delicious with chocolate, too.
To keep the ganache alcohol-free, you can omit the liqueur and add an equal amount of fruit puree, or just substitute more heavy cream. The ganache can also be made dairy-free by substituting coconut cream for the heavy cream.
The dark chocolate in the cookies and ganache should be the best-quality chocolate available to you with at least 55 percent cacao. Unless you like a very dark chocolate flavor, don’t use a chocolate with more than 75 percent cacao in the ganache. Don’t use chocolate chips, as they don’t melt fully and won’t work in the cookies or the ganache.
Tested by Matt Brooks.
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