Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Cream Tart Cookies

The Setting: A lovely Valentine's Eve in chilly Indiana.

The Soundtrack: Gilmore Girls, season 5.

Steaming up the Oven: Bread.

The Scenario: A bite-sized treat to make your V-Day extra sweet.

So I've been fantasizing about these little tarts for a while now.

Initially, they were conceived more as mini-tarts than tart-like cookies. The cream layer was conceived as pastry cream, and the jam layer was supposed to be homemade strawberry jam.

I'm not gonna lie, the original concept still sounds pretty darn good.

But when it came time to finally give these little guys a shot, I couldn't find my pastry cream recipe, and I was was all out of homemade jam. I considered making more jam and going from spotty memory on the pastry cream, but store-bought jam and a no-fool, no-cook cream just sounded, well, easier.

The end result was a more cookie-like creation that could hang out longer at room temperature and be eaten with a few fewer napkins. I'll call that a win.

Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Cream Tart Cookies
These little cookie tarts use the same cream filling as my Homemade Oreos and Homemade Oatmeal Creme Pies. For a different twist, try adding the seeds of a vanilla bean to the filling and substituting orange marmalade for the strawberry jam. 

~tart shells~
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
7 T powdered sugar
1 tsp fine salt
1 1/2 sticks (12 T) unsalted butter, cut into cm-sized cubes and frozen for at least 5 minutes
2 T heavy cream
2-4 T water, milk, or coconut milk

1 batch Oatmeal Creme Pie cream, shaped into a log with a 1 1/2-to-2-inch diameter
3/4 cup strawberry jam

3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 T coconut oil
1 T light corn syrup
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (I used Nestle)
2 T chopped unsweetened chocolate (I used Ghirardelli)

To make the tart shells, process the flour, powdered sugar, and salt together in a food processor. Add the butter pieces and pulse until the mixture is sandy-looking and the largest clumps are roughly pea-sized. Turn the processor on, remove the shoot insert, and gradually pour the cream through the shoot. With the machine still on, gradually add just enough of the remaining liquid to begin to bring the dough together. Turn the dough out onto a piece of very lightly floured parchment paper and press it into a disk. Wrap the disk of dough in the parchment and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Line three standard-sized muffin tins with paper liners and preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Unwrap the dough and sprinkle with a little flour if the dough seems too sticky. Place another sheet of parchment on top, and use a rolling pin to roll the dough out between the two sheets of parchment until it is about 1/8-1/4-inch thick. Use a cookie cutter or drinking glass to cut out 2 1/2-to-3-inch circles.

Press the dough circles firmly into the prepared muffin liners so that the edges come 1/4-to-1/2 inch up the sides, and prick the bottoms all over with a fork.

Bake one pan at a time at 350 for 12-14 minutes or till just cooked through and very lightly golden, rotating halfway through. Carefully transfer the tart shells to a cooling rack to cool completely.

To fill the tart shells, use unflavored dental floss to slice 1/4-inch-thick rounds of the Oatmeal Creme Pie Cream. Gently press the cream rounds into the tart shells, using your fingers to spread the cream out a little if necessary.

Top each cream-filled shell with a teaspoon-sized dollop of jam, using your fingers to spread it out evenly. If you decide to use my homemade jam recipe, the jam will be a little gushier and easier to spread with a spoon rather than your fingers.

To make the fudgy topping, place the cream and coconut oil in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 1 minute. Add the chocolate and corn syrup, and stir until completely smooth. If there are some chunks of chocolate that still haven't melted after about three minutes of stirring, microwave  for 10 seconds and stir until completely smooth.

Let the mixture cool for about two minutes, stirring occasionally to keep it smooth and fluid. Use a spoon to gently apply an even layer of the chocolate mixture on top of the jam layer. Allow the topping to set at room temperature for 1 hour before serving. Leftover topping can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks and eaten with a spoon whenever the chocolate craving strikes, or gently reheated and used as an ice-cream topping.

Makes about 36 cookie tarts.

Thanks for reading! Here's to Being the Secret Ingredient in your life.

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