I’m afraid that I’ve rather neglected the We Should Cocoa blog challenge over the last few months – another victim of my general disorganisation and just that whole life thing. I had planned to sneak back into the challenge last month, with a knock-your-socks-off mango and chocolate twist bread (the special ingredient was “mango“). I was, however, thwarted by my general inability to successfully work with yeast, and the bread came out a complete failure. So much for that plan.
This month’s We Should Cocoa challenge is being hosted by Victoria of A Kick At The Pantry Door, and she has chosen the marvellous ingredient of “mint“. I have always been a fan of the truly fabulous combination of dark chocolate and mint, and was a champion Bendick’s Mint Crisp and After Eight snaffler as a child (and totally not still as an adult, ahem). Luckily, this month I actually have an entry to send in, in the form of some rather scrumptiously adorable crème de menthe and chocolate sandwich biscuits. Which I realise is quite a wordy recipe title.
These biscuits go in for a double chocolate whammy – there’s cocoa powder in the biscuits themselves, and the filling in the middle is white chocolate based. I know that white chocolate and mint can be quite sickly, but it’s only a thin layer, so actually it works, balanced by the cocoa powder in the biscuits. The mint flavour is quite subtle, which I like. The original recipe referred to them as wafers, but I feel that suggests that they’re quite crisp, whereas actually they’re more on the chewy side of the biscuit spectrum. I love the little holes in the top biscuits – I think they’re rather cute. I’d wanted to use a fluted cutter so that the holes would be all pretty and scalloped, but discovered that I didn’t have one small enough. Next time!
Crème de menthe & chocolate sandwich biscuits
Makes 45-48 sandwich biscuits
Adapted from Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-In-Your-Mouth Cookies
If you don’t have any crème de menthe (or don’t want to use alcohol), you can also use peppermint extract, though in lesser quantities, particularly in the filling – taste as you go. The biscuit dough can be made in advance and kept in the fridge for up to three days, or frozen up to three months. To freeze the biscuit dough, form into a log, wrap in baking paper, followed by tin foil and seal in a ziplock bag or airtight container. You might need to cut the log in two to fit. The finished biscuits will keep in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
For the biscuits:
225g caster sugar
190g all-purpose flour
70g unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
Pinch of salt
200g unsalted butter, softened
3 tbsp whole milk
2 tsp crème de menthe
For the filling:
150g white chocolate
1-2 tsp cream
1 tsp crème de menthe
To make the biscuits:
1. Sift the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a large bowl and stir together. Rub in the butter with your fingers.
2. Mix the milk and crème de menthe in a glass or ramekin. Whilst mixing the sugar mixture with an electric whisk, pour in the milk mixture. Mix until the dough clumps around the beaters. Knead for a few minutes with your hands to make sure it is evenly mixed.
3. Spread a 50cm piece of baking paper or tin foil out on the work top. Roll the biscuit dough into a 40cm long log of about 4cm in diameter. Wrap in the baking paper and twist the ends. Refrigerate for at least 1h until firm. The dough can be refrigerated for up to three days, or if keeping for longer, it can be frozen up to 3 months.
4. Line a couple of baking trays with baking paper. Pre-heat the oven to 175°C/fan 155°C.
5. Once the dough is ready, slice into 4mm slices and space them at least 2cm apart on the prepared baking trays. Refrigerate any slices not going straight into the oven. Bake for 12-13 mins (they will puff up in the oven and are ready about 1½ mins after they’ve deflated again). Using a bottle cap (a wine screw cap works excellently – I found that beer caps were a bit more difficult to get a grip on. An apple corer would also work in a pinch) cut a circle in the centre of half of the biscuits. Leave the cut-out centres in until cool – take care as the biscuits are quite fragile. Remove the biscuits to wire racks to cool fully.
To make the filling & assemble:
6. Once the biscuits are completely cooled, prepare the filling. Break or chop the white chocolate into small pieces and add to a heat-proof bowl with the cream. Melt together over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Once the white chocolate is smoothly melted, remove the saucepan from the heat, and stir in the crème de menthe. Don’t worry if the chocolate seizes up.
7. Spread about ½ tsp of the filling onto each of the base biscuits and top with one of the biscuits with a hole. Allow to set before serving.
PS – The raw biscuit dough is really quite tasty. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.