One of the perks-slash-problems of having a job that involves making candy at home is that, at the end of the day, I end up with a lot of candy at home. (Duh.) It’s awesome because I love eating sweets, but it’s also dangerous, because: see above. Some weeks I do a good job of moderating my intake, and some weeks I could be the president of Sugar Addicts Anonymous.
We try to give away as much candy as we can, but it’s inevitable that some remains around the kitchen, lurking, taunting, tempting me in the wee hours when I’m nibbly and bored. Eventually I usually grown a backbone and throw away the excess candies, but when they’re really special I try to re-purpose them for this blog, so they don’t go to waste.
These Balsamic Truffles are one such special candy. Yes, they have balsamic vinegar, and no, they don’t taste a bit like vinegar. They’re fruity and a little tangy and really, really good. After I made them for the candy site, I couldn’t bear to throw them away—they were too tasty! So I came up with another way to showcase these gorgeous truffles.
All of that was an extremely wordy way of saying:
I made truffles. I stuffed them in chocolate chip cookies. I baked them. And they were good.
I wasn’t sure what would happen to the cookies when they baked—would the dough be able to hold itself around the truffles? Would they leak everywhere and be a big mess? To try and avoid any leakage, I used a recipe that produced thick, chewy cookies, and upped the flour a bit so that they wouldn’t spread too much and would easily hold their shape.
I admit, I was a little surprised these worked so well. Not a single leak! The cookies baked perfectly around the truffles, and the ganache in the middle stayed together, so that when they were cut into they had a gooey, flowing, lava-like center of molten chocolate.
The cookies themselves are soft and chewy, with a generous helping of semi-sweet chocolate chips throughout. I used a different, darker chocolate to make the ganache, and we loved the mix of chocolates in every bite. You could even use white chips or peanut butter chips instead of chocolate, to let the ganache center really shine.
These are pretty much a chocolate chip cookie on steroids, so they don’t need any embellishments to be enjoyed—although I heartily recommend a quick trip to the microwave to liquefy the chocolate center. However, if you do want to get a bit fancier, I think these would be incredible as the base of an ice cream sundae, or used to make ice cream sandwiches.
As mentioned above, I made these with balsamic truffles, but I figured folks might appreciate a plain version instead, so I’ve omitted the balsamic vinegar from the recipe below. If you’d like to give it a try (again—no vinegar taste! Pinky swear!) you can add 1-2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar to the ganache after you whisk in the butter. Whichever version you choose, be aware that the truffles need to be made a few hours before the cookies are baked, so be sure to leave yourself enough time, or do it in stages over the course of a day or two.
Truffle-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies
yield: 20 cookies
Cookie recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
For the Truffles:
5 ounces finely chopped semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate
4 ounces (1/2 cup) heavy cream
1 tbsp butter, softened to room temperature
For the Cookies:
11.8 oz (2 1/4 cup) all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
6 ounces butter, melted, not hot
7 ounces (1 packed cup) brown sugar
3 1/2 ounces (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1 egg yolk, room temperature
1 tbsp vanilla extract
8 ounces (1 1/3 cup) chocolate chips
To Make the Truffles:
Place the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl. Pour the heavy cream into a small saucepan and place it over medium heat. Heat the cream until it comes to a simmer and bubbles form along the sides of the pan. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let it sit and soften the chocolate for one minute. Gently whisk the cream and chocolate together until your ganache is shiny and smooth. Add the room temperature butter and whisk it in to incorporate it.
Press a layer of cling wrap on top of the ganache, and refrigerate it until it is firm enough to scoop, about 60-90 minutes. It should be hard enough to roll into a ball, but not so firm that you can’t easily scoop it. While you’re waiting for the truffles to set, make the cookie dough (instructions down below).
Use a small 1-inch candy scoop or a teaspoon to form twenty small balls of ganache. Roll them between your palms to make them round, and if necessary, dust your palms with cocoa powder to prevent them from sticking. Refrigerate the truffles until they are very firm and you’re ready to bake your cookies. Truffles can be made in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
To Make the Cookies:
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (162 C). Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl and set aside for now.
In the large bowl of a stand mixer, combine the melted butter and both sugars, and mix them on medium speed with a paddle attachment until the sugars are moist. Add the egg and mix until it is well-incorporated, then add the yolk and mix well again. Add the vanilla extract. Finally, with the mixer running on low, add the dry ingredients and mix just until they are almost fully incorporated and there are just a few streaks of flour remaining. Add the chocolate chips and stir them by hand, scraping down the bottom and sides of the bowl with a spatula until everything is well-mixed. For the best results, chill the dough for 45 minutes, until it is firmer but still able to be rolled into balls. If it’s too hard straight from the refrigerator, let it warm up on the counter for a few minutes once you’re ready to use it.
To form the cookies, use a cookie scoop or a large tablespoon to form a 1.5-inch ball of dough. Press your thumb in the center to create an indent and spread the cookie out a little bit. Set a chilled truffle in the center of the cookie, then place a little more dough—about the size of a quarter—on top of the truffle. Pinch the bottom and top of the cookie dough together, then roll it between your palms to make it round. Place the cookie on an ungreased parchment-lined sheet, and repeat until the sheet is filled, leaving 2-3 inches between the cookies.
Bake the cookies at 325 F for 12-13 minutes, rotating halfway throughout. They’re done when the cookies have spread, have a touch of color along the outer edge, and the raw sheen is off in the center. They should still be soft in the middle.
Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet until they’re just warm, then carefully transfer them off with a spatula. These cookies are best enjoyed slightly warm, so if you aren’t lucky enough to eat them fresh from the oven, I recommend heating them in the microwave for 10-15 seconds to melt the centers.
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