Chocolate week continues here on West of Persia, with easy chocolate recipes in honor of Valentine’s Day, and also in honor of chocolate in general. As you may have noticed, I’m sort of in love with chocolate. But as I was melting chocolate at 8 in the morning today, even I had to think , “This is slightly insane!” By the time the actual Valentine’s Day roll around, I may indeed have hit chocolate fatigue. Maybe.
So this recipe is based on another I posted back in December. Chocolate Drop Cookies with Sour Cherries and Pistachios.
In today’s truffle cookie, we are using slightly different flavorings, plus apricots and almonds as our fruit and nuts respectively. At right is a not really necessary but still fun pic of the Chocolate drops with Sour Cherries and Pistachios.
Now on to today’s cookie:
Chocolate-Apricot-Almond Truffle Cookies
Prep time- 15-20 minutes
Cook time- 8 minutes Max
Yield: 5 dozen (or slightly less if you like cookie dough as much as I do)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/4 cup all-purpose flour (I used pastry flour, and it worked perfectly)
1 scant teaspoon cardamom powder
1 scant teaspoon freshly ground allspice
3 egg whites (save the yolks for another use. Perhaps for a custard or for feeding a pet)
Small pinch of salt
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chunks or chips, melted and cooled (If you are avoiding dairy, check the ingredient list to make sure there are no milk products in the chocolate chips/chunks).
Generous 1/3 cup chopped, dried apricots, plus approx 2-3 Tablespoons more for garnishing.
Generous 1/3 cup slivered almonds, plus approx. 2-3 Tablespoons more for garnishing tops of cookies
Generous 1/3 cup chocolate chips or chunks, NOT melted
Optional: 3-4 ounces chocolate, melted.
1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the cocoa and flour and cardamom powder.
3. With a hand mixer, or a stand-up mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and salt at medium speed until frothy. (You’ll see bubbles). With the mixer running, slowly add in the confectioners’ sugar. When all of it has been added, raise the speed to high, and beat until the egg whites are the consistency of marshmallows. (This took me about 5 minutes with the hand mixer. Yes, I’m low-tech like that. The gorgeous Kitchen Aid stand mixer has yet to make an appearance in my life. St. Valentine, are you listening?) Now beat in the vanilla.
4. Reduce the mixer speed to medium, and beat in half of the melted, cooled chocolate. Then beat in half of the cocoa-flour mixture, scraping the sides of the bowl to incorporate all ingredients. Repeat with the rest of the chocolate and cocoa-flour mix. Stop the mixer.
5. By hand, gently fold in the apricots, almonds, and chocolate chips or chunks. Let sit until thick enough to scoop, about 5 minutes.
6. As dough sets, prepare parchment paper and place on cookies sheets.
7. Now it’s time to scoop the cookie dough onto the cookie sheets. Scoop by the level teaspoonful. Leave about an inch in between cookies. Try to keep the cookies the same size to ensure they cook evenly.
8. Garnish cookies with almond pieces and bits of apricot. Looks so festive and pretty!
9. Bake 5-8 minutes, until cookies are a bit cracked on the outside. (I personally like my cookies on the soft, moist, and chewy side, so 5 minutes was plenty of time for mine in my particular toaster oven. In the big oven, these cookies take about 7 minutes. If, like me, you prefer softer cookies, remember, they might look slightly undercooked when first taken out of the oven).
10. Remove from oven and let cool. This is the part where recipes always say to cool the baked goods on a wire rack. Well, I don’t own any wire racks, so mine just cooled on the sheets, and no one’s complaining.
11. OPTIONAL: To make the cookies more truffle like, do this: As the cookies are cooling, melt the 3-4 ounces of chocolate. Then dip the underside of the cooled cookies in the warm chocolate and allow to cool.