First of all, I owe you a recipe for these Chocolate Cinnamon Ganache Hanukkah Cookies. It is below, for your sugary pleasure. Sorry for the delay, mea culpa, and get off my back.
Second of all, it's time to vote. Thanks to all of you who submitted cookie swap ideas. Now get ready to bring ecstatic joy and crushing sorrow to your fellow bipeds. Here are the rules:
1. Vote for three cookies from Friday's comments. Please take a minute to drink in the contestants' own descriptions here, as some of them worked hard to impress you. Please give (a) the contestant's name and (b) a brief cookie title/description for all three of your votes.
2. You MAY vote for your own cookie, ONCE. This will reward those of you who participated in the contest and bothered to come back to the blog to see it through.
3. EVERYONE may cast three votes. You do not have to have submitted a concept in order to vote.
4. I was going to offer an extra vote to those of you who donated to the food bank, but Colin told me that was inappropriate and unethical so I won't. Hrrmph.
5. Do you want to Tweet about this post and get all 6 billion of your followers, FB friends, and mortal enemies to come stuff the ballot box on your behalf? Go ahead. What do I care?
6. As a reminder, the top three vote recipients will be considered finalists, and I will contact them on Friday for their recipes. If there is a tie, I will announce a 24-hour runoff on Facebook here.
7. Voting begins now and will end at noon PST on Friday, December 11, 2009. Again, this is where you go to see the full entries.
Here's a synopsis for lazy people: Carey's gingerbread cookies; Roz's curried pb cookies; Susan's crispy cayenne-y gingersnaps; Gala's pistachio white chocolate cookies with pistachio meal; Saveur's cinnamon snaps; BethieofVA's soft molasses spice cookies; Suzy's macadamia Mexican Wedding/Russian Tea cookies; Lee G's sugar cookies; Jennifer's butter spritzer M&M cookies; Cheryl A.'s candy cane bark; dunngood's gingersnaps (maybe with crystallized ginger/maybe chocolate dipped); Gin's white chocolate raspberry rugelach; Nancy's Russian tea cakes; Pei-Lin's croq-tele made out of randomness; Runaround's Red Velvet Elvis banana sandwich cookies with sprinkles and pb buttercream; Elisa's ultimate ginger cookies with several kinds of ginger; stephchows 7 layer cookies with marzipan, chocolate, and apricot jam; Dana McC's white chocolate-filled lemon macarons; Tara's vanilla almond macarons with chocolate ganache and pb filling; Nicole's bite-sized milk chocolate espresso cookies; heather's coconut chocolate bullseyes w/ ganache; and Diana's spicy oatmeal cranberry cookies.
Let the voting begin.
Recipe for Chocolate Cinnamon Ganache Hanukkah Cookies
Adapted from The Ultimate Cookie Book (Wiley, 2007), a book my kids got me last year without my knowledge and with which they are singularly obsessed. Please note that I flavored the ganache with cinnamon oil, which I happen to have in my baking bag of tricks. Substitute ground cinnamon (to taste) if you like.
Makes about 3 dozen
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 egg, at room temperature, lightly beaten
6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon oil (see head note)
Melt butter and brown sugar in a medium saucepan, stirring occasionally with a heatproof spatula. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla, and let cool completely.
Sift together flour and cocoa powder. Add to cooled butter mixture, along with the egg, and mix until combined and flour particles are absorbed. Do not overmix. Divide dough in half, wrap in plastic, and chill for at least 30 minutes. (I chilled it for a full day, then let it soften a bit at room temp and it worked just fine.)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and generously flour a board or work surface. Whack the dough a few times if it's hard,then roll out to 1/4" thickness. Stamp out stars with a star-shaped cookie cutter. Re-roll scraps as necessary. (Please don't leave dough at room temperature for too long. If you only have one or two baking sheets, keep the dough cold and work in batches.)
Place stars on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and bake for 8 or 9 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.
To make ganache, place chopped chocolate in a bowl. Heat cream to a bare simmer, then pour over chocolate and set aside for five minutes, at which time give it a nice, steady stir until the chocolate dissolves and melts into a smooth, chocolaty cream. Add the cinnamon oil, or ground cinnamon to taste. Cool until thick. This may take a while (20 minutes, 30 minutes, longer), so relax.
Sandwich the ganache between two star cookies, sprinkle with powdered sugar, and serve.