While each of our chocolate bars and confections are labors of hand-crafted love and make for perfect gifts, if you want to truly go above and beyond this Valentine’s Day, we've got just the project for you: chocolate heart sandwich cookies. These special cookies deliver a double dose of chocolate, with tender dark chocolate shortbread hearts enclosing silky milk chocolate ganache. You'll need two bars each of Theo 45% Milk Chocolate and Theo 70% Dark Chocolate, not counting the chocolate you may want to nibble on while you bake.
Rolled cookies such as these are a care-free afternoon or evening project that big and little kids, as well as parents, can get behind. They're especially good if you missed out on making decorative cookies amidst the chaos of the December holidays. But even if you didn't, these cookies are unique and delicious enough to warrant getting out that rolling pin one more time. The dough is beautiful in its simplicity, and in taste and texture as well. These cookies literally melt in your mouth. Plus, it doesn't require a mixer, which means more hands can get in on the fun! It is also egg-free, so those cookie dough-eaters in your household can rest easy. You may want to make extra ganache filling to roll into truffles!
CHOCOLATE HEART SANDWICH COOKIES
Adapted from Cookies Unlimited by Nick Malgieri
Makes about 24 sandwiches, depending on cookie cutter size
FOR THE COOKIE DOUGH
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tbsp powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves, cardamom, or other spice of your choice
- 16 tbsp (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 6 oz. Theo 70% Dark Chocolate, melted and cooled
Combine the flour, sugar, salt, and spice in a bowl and whisk to mix. In a separate bowl, beat the butter with a wooden spoon until soft and creamy. Add the cooled chocolate to the butter and beat to combine. Gently stir in the flour mixture to create smooth dough. Scrape the dough into a piece of plastic or parchment paper and pat into a roughly 1/2-inch thick rectangle. Wrap and chill the dough until firm, about 1 hour.
FOR THE GANACHE FILLING
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp honey
- 6 oz. Theo 45% Milk Chocolate, chopped
In a small saucepan, combine the cream, butter, and honey. Bring to a boil, stirring. Remove from heat and add chopped chocolate, shaking the pan to be sure all of the chocolate is submerged. Set aside for several minutes. Whisk until a smooth ganache forms. Cool to room temperature.
TO BAKE AND ASSEMBLE
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Divide the dough into thirds. Place one third on a lightly floured surface. If it is too firm, soften by pressing gently with your hands or pounding it lightly with the rolling pin. Then, flour the surface of the dough and roll it out to roughly 3/16 inch thick. Cut the cookies with a 2 or 3 inch heart cookie cutter. Place on parchment-lined baking sheets and bake for 12-15 minutes, until firm and dull in appearance. Enjoy the heavenly scent of chocolate filling your kitchen. Repeat with the remaining sections of dough (scraps can be saved and re-rolled once more). Cool cookies on the pans on racks.
To sandwich the cooled cookies, first be sure the ganache is sufficiently soft to spread easily, or it will break the tender cookies. If it has become too firm, warm by microwaving for just 3-4 seconds and then stir, but be careful! Ganache is very heat sensitive and will become soft quickly.
Once the ganache is ready, spread 1/2-1 teaspoon on the back of a cookie and top with another cookie. Depending on how generously you fill, you may have extra cookies leftover after you've used all of the ganache. The un-filled cookies are still delectable on their own!
Roll the outside of the sandwiched cookies in sprinkles, if desired.
Cookies will keep for about a week in a tin with a tight-fitting lid.