Thursday, 1 October 2009

National Cookie Challenge - September Entry

Today I entered the National Cookie Network Baking Challenge, an online international cookie competition, where each month, competitors have to make a cookie based on a "secret ingredient", then post their recipe and a photo of their entry onto the national cookie network forum for judging. This month, the secret ingredient was "Strawberry". I had a lot of fun coming up with ideas for cookies, but settled on the following recipe as my entry:

Mascarpone Cookies Filled With Strawberry Ganache

115g butter (softened)
1 cup caster sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. baking soda
Dash salt
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese (room temp)
1 egg
2 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup fresh strawberries
2 tsp. caster sugar
120g white chocolate

Preheat oven to 175C. Beat butter with an electric mixer on medium speed for 1 min in a large mixing bowl. Gradually add caster sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, baking soda and a salt. Continue beating the mixture until it is combined, scraping the side of bowl occasionally. Mix in mascarpone cheese, vanilla and almond extracts, and egg. Then beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Once it is too thick to use the beaters, use a wooden spoon to stir in any remaining flour. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour or until dough is easy to handle.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough and use cookie cutters (I used 3-inch fluted circles) to cut out the dough. Use a smaller cutter (I used a small heart) to cut out the centre of half of the cookies. Place cookies on a line baking tray and bake until edges start to brown (5-7mins depending on oven). Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool.

Puree the strawberries and mix in the caster sugar. Strain the puree through a sieve to remove seeds. Melt chocolate in a bowl over a pot of simmering water, stirring continuously to prevent the chocolate from burning. Remove the chocolate from the heat and stir in the strawberry puree. Cover with plastic wrap and cool to room temperature.

To assemble the cookies, spread the flat side of each whole cookie with a teaspoon of the ganache. Top with a cutout cookie, and dust with icing sugar if desired. Cookies store well in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Happy Baking x

1 comment:

  1. I know I'm years late but these are beautiful! Thank you so much for the idea. I'm going to try them for Valentine's Day!