Monday, December 30, 2013

Snezhinki (Snowflake Cookies)

Snezhinki: a crisp butter cookie and a baked meringue cookie sandwiched together with chocolate buttercream. I found the inspiration through Yelena Sweets, though I reinvented them Dough Puncher-style. 

The original butter cookie base was a piped cookie, however I wanted a dough that could be rolled out and cut into fluted rounds (..because I like fluted rounds). To the meringue, I added some vanilla and cream of tartar (for stability), and in the center, a much chocolatier chocolate buttercream (because I have a chocolate problem). 

Hopefully I didn't just commit Russian cookie blasphemy (the original found here, looked pretty fantastic). Yelena, you be the judge - would your mom approve?



Also, because I am completely out of touch with any Russian culture whatsoever (other than reading Crime and Punishment in high school...totally counts), I decided to watch 'Doctor Zhivago' so I could feel more in touch with my imaginary Russian roots. 

...Dr. Z ended up being a 4-hour-commitment-of-a-movie (the 2002 made-for-TV version) which was entirely depressing and also which momentarily killed any hope in marriage I had ever had. What the heck Yuri?! Your wife was pregnant with YOUR child! YOUR SECOND CHILD. Not to mention Tonya was about 10 times classier than Lara. D--chbag. Get your crap together. 

Raskolnikov might have axed down a couple people, but at least he was loyal to Sonia. WHY IS THAT SO HARD.  

Okay. *Deep breaths*. Maybe I'll watch Anastasia next time? I don't think my temper could handle another encounter with Yuri Zhivago. Even if he was handsome as heck. 

The cookies, however, turned out great! I would never have thought to pair two cookies with such different textures together, but I love it! And chocolate frosting in the center? Come on. I never doubted.

























Snezhinki 
Adapted from this post at Yelena Sweets
For the Meringue Cookies
3 egg whites, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Butter Cookies
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 cups all-purpose flour
2-3 tablespoons milk
For the Chocolate Buttercream
1/2 cup butter, softened (salted or unsalted, doesn't matter)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted and cooled slightly
3 cups powdered sugar
1-2 tablespoons milk
For the Drizzle
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1) Make the Meringue Cookies: Preheat oven to 200F. In the bowl of a stand mixer fit with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites, cream of tartar, and vanilla on medium-high speed until frothy. Gradually add the sugar, and continue whipping until stiff, shiny peaks form.

2) Line two baking sheets with either parchment paper or Silpat baking mats. Place meringue in a pastry bag fit with a Wilton 1M tip, and pipe rosettes about 1.5 inches in diameter. They won't expand while baking, so they can be piped close together. The goal is to have meringue cookies that will be roughly the same size as your butter cookies, so base the diameter of your rosettes on the cookie cutter you plan to use for your cookies. Bake at 200F for 1 hour, then reduce temperature to 175F, and continue baking another hour. You don't want the cookies to brown, so keep an eye on them during the last 30 minutes of baking. 

3) After removing from oven, they should cool in about 3-5 minutes - after cooling they should be crisp and completely dry inside (they may still be a little gummy right after they come out, give them a couple minutes). If not, return them to the oven and bake until they reach that texture.

4) Make the Butter Cookies: Preheat oven to 350F. In a stand mixer fit with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla. Add the salt, baking powder, and 1 cup of the flour and mix until incorporated. Continue adding the flour, adding the milk as necessary to keep the dough from getting too stiff. 

5) Divide the dough in half and shape into 2 disks. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. 

6) On a lightly floured surface, roll chilled dough, 1 disk at a time, to 1/4 inch thick. Cut with desired cookie cutter and place on a parchment-lined (or Silpat-lined) baking sheet. Chill in the freezer for 7-8 minutes before baking. Bake at 350F for about 10 minutes, until edges and bottom of cookies are lightly golden. Let cool on wire racks. 

7) Make the Chocolate Buttercream: In a stand mixer fit with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and melted chocolate. Add the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, adding milk as needed to keep the frosting at a pipe-able consistency. Place the frosting in a pastry bag fit with an Ateco 846 tip. 

8) Assembly: Melt the 1/3 cup chocolate chips and place in a ziploc sandwich bag. Cut out a small corner from the bag, creating a quick/easy/cheap pastry bag to drizzle the chocolate from. Take one butter cookie and pipe a rosette with chocolate buttercream that is about 1/8 inch smaller in diameter than the cookie. Place a meringue cookie on top and lightly press down to adhere. Drizzle with melted chocolate. Repeat with the rest of the cookies and frosting. 

Store in an air-tight container for up to one week. 

2 comments:

  1. Haha. Oh, Dr. Zhivago…I remember watching that ages ago. There are a lot of happier and un depressing Russian movies out there :) but the cookies look fantastic! Thanks for trying them out.

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