If you were wondering what had happened to me, I do apologise. Last week was the real week from hell, where I had to juggle so many things I have no idea how I managed to make it until Sunday. And yes, for once Sunday was an actual day of rest, much to my partner’s surprise. Usually you would find me buzzing around the kitchen or the flat, or maybe pushing my partner out of bed to go somewhere. This time, I just wanted to chill out. This week looks like it might be slightly quieter, which is good as I can resume my gym duties. Last week was also the last time this year (I think) I was summoned at the University to mark some of the interpreting exams. A pleasure and an extremely interesting experience, as usual, it proved to be the perfect even to bring some of these wonderful cookies.
In case you’re not a big fan of cakes or you don’t feel confident enough to bake one, this recipe is perfect for you. You can get (more or less) the same flavour of a big Sachertorte in a tiny mouthful. This cookie has crunch, provided by the biscuit base, topped by a soft and gooey heart (the apricot jam), encased by a crisp and melt-in-the-mouth chocolate layer. One bite and you will be converted. The recipe comes from one of my many Italian baking books, called The Tastiest Biscuits in the World – a promise just from the name. You don’t have to go all bakery like me and try and make these of the same size or use a piping bag to distribute the jam. I believe homemade if the way to go, I just can’t help to use some of the tools I have in the kitchen!
- 300g plain flour
- 40g cocoa powder
- 250g unsalted butter, softened
- 50g golden caster sugar
- 1 large egg
- 160g apricot jam
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 200g dark chocolate
- 30g unsalted butter, softened (for the glaze)
- Line two to three baking trays with parchment, then set aside.
- Put the butter and sugar in the bowl of a freestanding mixer, then beat with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy. Add the egg, then beat briefly until incorporated.
- Pour in the dry ingredients (flour, salt and cocoa powder), then mix briefly until the mixture comes together. It shouldn’t be either too sticky or too hard.
- Transfer the bowl onto your working surface, then use your hands to take walnut-sized amounts of the dough. Roll them between your hands to make them into a ball, then place them slightly apart onto the baking sheet and press your finger into the middle to make an indentation. If you suffer from a (completely made up and very) mild form of OCD like I do, you can use a measuring spoon to make the balls all equal. I used a 1/2 tablespoon measuring spoon.
- Put the trays in the fridge to rest for at least 30 minutes. In the meantime, pre-heat the oven to 170C.
- Bake each batch for 15 minutes or until slightly hard to the touch. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack.
- Transfer the apricot jam to a piping bag, then snip off the end. You can do this with a couple of teaspoons, but I would make a mess. Fill the indentation in each cookie with the jam, then set aside. You should have enough to fill them all.
- In the meantime, melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl over a pan of simmering water, then set aside to cool slightly. The chocolate shouldn’t be too fluid or it will run away when drizzled. Once ready, use a tablespoon to drizzle some of the chocolate on the cookies. Make a criss-cross pattern if you want, but any way is fine. The aim is to encase the apricot jam in a layer of chocolate, so try and not to overdo it! Leave to cool and harden, then enjoy!