Starry starry night cookies

starry starry night cookies

When doing my all-too-infrequent freezer clean-out last month, I came across a bag of little chocolate nuggets that made me pause, searching my memory for what the heck these could be.

I took one out of the bag and inspected it more closely — black with dark chocolate, coated heavily in bright sugar crystals, they were adorable, button-sized, and unblemished by freezer frost.

Finally, in that weird, mysterious way the mind works to retrieve long forgotten info — the round-about word association game … starts with … sounds like … followed by the sudden burst of memory — I remembered: starry starry night cookies, delectable little freezer-friendly chocolate-chocolate, almond flour cookies.

I had no idea how long they had been in there, as they had worked their way to the back wall of the freezer, but it was worth a shot, baking them up to see what happened.

starry starry night cookies 2

As I’m certain you can guess from the fact that I decided to post about these starry starry night cookies, the results were amazing.

starry starry night cookies 3

It’s not a quick recipe. It’s not an add-water-eggs-and-shove-in-the-oven kind of thing. And I failed this recipe not once, but twice. But these starry starry night cookies are worth the effort. It’s worth it.

My failures came from, I’m guessing, the brand of chocolate. The key to producing round chocolate drops, as opposed to super-flat chocolate disks, is that the cookie dough must freeze solid before going into the oven.

The recipe author warns to use only Callebaut, but on the first two tries, I stubbornly used Valhrona, an equally high-quality chocolate that apparently is resistant to freezing solid (and the cookie dough did not). Both times, they came out of the oven flatter than a pancake. Delicious — still totally delicious — but wafer-thin. (And, humorously, if you google these cookies, you will see plenty of pictures of perfectly flat starry starry night cookies — I wasn’t alone in having chocolate issues.)

However, purchasing Callebaut solved the problem, and the results were these wonderful little, gluten-free chocolate-chocolate morsels. It was a recipe worth conquering — everyone who has tried them has loved them unconditionally.

An unexpected benefit: keeping a bag in the freezer means chocolate decadence is only 10 minutes away. Unannounced company standing on your doorstep? No problem. Crank up the oven and let them in. You will blow their minds.

“These are brilliant, you say? Why, I just threw them together.”

It’ll be our happy little secret.

Karen xo

Starry starry night cookies
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
recipe from "Confections Of A Closet Master Baker" by Gesine Bullock-Prado
Author:
Serves: 80 mini cookies
Ingredients
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2.4 ounces ( 1/4 cup plus one tablespoon) sugar, plus additional for dipping
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 8.2 ounces bittersweet chocolate*
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2.6 ounces slivered almonds (about 5/8 cup sliver almonds measured before grinding) ground to a fine powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons non-dutch processed cocoa powder*
Instructions
  1. Combine the eggs, sugar, and honey in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat with the whisk attachment on high speed until the mixture reaches a thick ribbon stage.
  2. Melt the chocolate and butter together in a heatproof bowl over simmering water, stirring to combine. Cool slightly.
  3. Toss the almond flour, salt, and cocoa in a bowl until well combined. Add to the melted chocolate and mix until fully incorporated.
  4. Add a quarter of the whipped egg mixture to the chocolate to lighten. Stir until no egg is visible. Gently fold the remainder of the egg mixture into the chocolate until well combined, being careful to maintain the aerated quality of the eggs.
  5. Chill in the refrigerator until solid.
  6. Place a few tablespoons of sugar in a small bowl. Using the
  7. smallest cookie scoop
  8. available (about the size of a melon baller), scoop out individual cookies, roll them in the sugar, and place on a parchment-lined sheet pan 1/2 inch apart. Freeze uncovered until very hard, about an hour.
  9. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Before baking, roll each cookie in sugar again. Bake 10 minutes, rotating the pan after 5 minutes to ensure even baking. Cookies should be slightly crackled but the sugar should not be browned.
  10. Make ahead: after freezing, place the cookies in a sealable plastic bag and store in the freezer. To serve, remove what you need and continue with the directions above (i.e., dip in sugar again and bake).
  11. *This recipe is rather persnickety when it comes to ingredients. The first couple of batches I made used the luscious Valrhona chocolate and cocoa powder. The cookies simply would not freeze, which causes them to flatten and melt during baking. They were still delicious, but not attractive. The author recommends using either Callebaut or Lindt chocolate, and Callebaut Extra Brute cocoa powder. Eventually, I caved and bought the Callebaut. The effort of hunting it down was worth it, both for this recipe and the lovely quality of the chocolate in general. If you can't find Callebaut locally, try the Lindt, as Gesine suggests. I also found that using 2 heaping teaspoons of cocoa powder (rather than leveled) seems to allow the cookies to reliably freeze solid.

Comments

  1. I love this kind of thing! Anything that I can use to impress my friends with my culinary brilliance, whether real or imagined, is something I need in my life…

  2. Hmmm…I am keeping in mind your comments about your “failures” with these cookies in regards to having specific ingredients. But what do you think about using Trader Joe’s almond meal for the ground slivered almonds. I notice in the instructions the words “almond flour” is used. And I know there is a difference between almond meal and almond flour. Using what I have might save me a step. Any educated guesses as to what might happen?

    • As I mentioned, I’m fairly certain it was the chocolate. I remember when I was researching the first flop, I came across Gesine’s (the recipe author’s) web site, where she happened to be giving a polite but stern lecture to others with the same question, about the importance of using her recommended ingredients. The specific brand of chocolate was not printed as part of her recipe, but it does appear in the narrative in her book, so I’ve made sure to include it here (especially in light of my own experiences).

      I believe almond “meal” and almond “flour” are interchangeable terms for ground almonds. You should be able to use what you have on hand.

  3. I did the same thing, persisted in using a brand of chocolate that I ordinarily swear by, and twice enjoyed delicious, flat cookies. You’ve convinced me to try again with the prescribed brand because I would love to see those round-as-a-button-mushroom results in my kitchen.

    • The sorta bummer is that there are two kinds of chocolate, and, not knowing which was the problem-child, I bought Callebaut for both. In the end, it worked out, as the Extra Brute cocoa powder that had me on the fence – I’m thinking the chunk chocolate is the culprit, not the cocoa powder) – turned out to be completely lovely, and I’m happy to have it on hand.

  4. Oh man. I love finding freezer treasures. I figure that if I liked it well enough to throw it in the freezer, it is worth giving a shot when I finally discover it.
    These are sweet little gems. I am pretty sure I don’t have anything that good hiding out these days.
    Do you think there is a different in fat/ cocoa content that was driving the issue with the flat cookies? (My mind is pondering over what could have been different between the two types of chocolates.)

    • It must be, or some odd ingredient that inhibits freezing. I don’t have Valrhona on hand any more, so I can’t check the label, but, they just wouldn’t freeze solid. And if they don’t freeze solid, they’ll flatten in the oven. It’s a good thing they were worth the aggravation of sourcing chocolate!

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