Thursday, September 01, 2005

Brownie Bowties

Submitted by Gertdog

Source: Fine Cooking, Winter 2006

Yields 2 dozen cookies

One-third of a batch (about 14 ounces) chilled Cream Cheese Dough (below)
Chilled Brownie Filling (below)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar; more as needed

Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and heat the oven to 350. Line two cookies sheets with foil.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator, stand it up on the rounded edge, and cut it in half (as if halving a bagel) into two equal rounds. Return one round to the refrigerator and, if necessary, let the other dough round sit at room temperature until pliable enough to roll. Square off the dough by pressing the round edge on the counter four times. Roll on a lightly floured surface into a 9x11-inch rectangle a scant 1/8 inch thick. As you roll, check frequently to be sure it isn’t sticking and reflour lightly as needed.

With a pastry wheel or a knife, trim the rectangle to even the edges. Cut the dough crosswise into quarters and lengthwise into thirds to make 12 squares. Set 1 rounded teaspoon of the brownie filling in the center of each square. Set a dish of water on the counter. Pick up two opposite corners of a square, moisten one with a wet fingertip, overlap the corners by about ½ inch, and gently press them together over the filling to seal the dough and flatten the filling slightly. Transfer to a foil-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining squares of dough, arranging the cookies 1 ½ inches apart. If the dough becomes too soft to handle at any point, refrigerate briefly to firm it. Roll and fill the second piece of dough.

Sprinkle the cookies liberally with sugar. Put both sheets in the oven and bake until golden brown on the bottom, 17 to 20 minutes, rotating the pans from top to bottom and front to back about halfway through baking. Let the cookies cool on the sheets for a few minutes before transferring them to racks to cool completely.

Brownie Filling for Bowties

Yields 1 cup.

2 ounces (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, cut into 5 or 6 pieces
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
Scant ½ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon table salt
1 cold large egg
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Melt the butter and chocolate in a metal bowl set in a skillet of barely simmering water, or in the top of a double boiler. Stir frequently with a rubber spatula until the mixture is melted and smooth. Remove the bowl from the water or double boiler. Stir in the sugar, vanilla and salt. Stir in the egg. Add the flour and stir until the mixture is smooth and glossy and cohesive, about a minute. Cover and refrigerate until the filling thickens and is fudgy, at least 1 hour.

Cream Cheese Dough
(this dough also used in the Caramel-Glazed Cardamom Palmiers)

Yields about 2 pounds, enough for 3 batches of cookies.

Don’t chill the dough for more than a couple of hours, as it becomes too hard to roll. If you must chill it longer, leave it at room temperature until it’s pliable before proceeding.

17 ounces (3 ¾ cups) bleached all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
3/8 teaspoon table salt
12 ounces (1 ½ cups) cold unsalted butter
12 ounces cold cream cheese (in bricks)

Combine the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, mix briefly to distribute the ingredients. Cut each stick of butter into eight pieces and add them to the bowl. Mix on low speed until most of the mixture resembles very coarse bread crumbs with a few larger pieces of butter about the size of hazelnuts, about 3 minutes. Cut the cream cheese into 1-inch cubes and add them to the bowl. Mix on medium-low speed until a shaggy-looking dough begins to clump around the paddle, 30-60 seconds. Dump the dough onto the work surface, scraping the bowl. Knead a few times to incorporate any loose pieces. There should be large streaks of cream cheese. Shape it into a fat cylinder, 6 inches long and about 3 ½ inches in diameter. Wrap the dough in parchment or waxed paper and refrigerate until cold and slightly firm but not rock hard, about 2 hours. Portion the dough by measuring the cylinder and cutting it into equal thirds. If you have a scale, weigh each third; each should weigh about 14 ounces.

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