Posts Tagged ‘Sweets’

Peanut Butter Banana Bread

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

Cooking Light magazine recently had a feature on Banana Bread recipes.

I frequently have a freezer full of too-ripe bananas, just waiting to be turned into Banana Bread. (This has never been more true than lately; I think we’ve got about 12 frozen bananas in there!) I have an old standby recipe for banana bread from David’s family, and I’ve made other types of banana bread before, but I was excited to try some of the Cooking Light varieties, especially after seeing their outstanding reviews. The first one to catch my eye was this Peanut Butter Banana Bread.

I’ll admit, I made some tweaks. For one, I didn’t have chopped peanuts, or creamy peanut butter, so I cut out the middle man and used chunky peanut butter. Worked great. I’m not a fan of super-sweet desserts, usually, and Banana Bread is more of a breakfast treat to me than it is a dessert anyway, so I skipped the extra sweetness from the peanut butter glaze, though I’m sure it would’ve been tasty. I liked the way it turned out. Moist, rich-but-not-too-rich, with just a hint of peanuty goodness. The peanut butter added flavor without overpowering the bananas. The most successful Cooking Light recipes are ones that don’t seem “light,” and this definitely falls into that category. I’ll probably make this one again–if I was making it to give to someone else or to bring to a party or something, I’d probably try the glaze, too.

Peanut Butter Banana Bread
Adapted from Cooking Light, October 2010

For the Bread:

  • 1 1/2  cups  mashed ripe banana
  • 1/3  cup  vanilla fat-free yogurt
  • 1/3  cup  crunchy peanut butter
  • 3  tablespoons  butter, melted
  • 2  large eggs
  • 1/2  cup  granulated sugar
  • 1/2  cup  packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups  all-purpose flour (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 3/4  teaspoon  baking soda
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon  ground cinnamon
  • 1/8  teaspoon  ground allspice
  • Cooking spray

For the Glaze (optional):

  • 1/3  cup  powdered sugar
  • 1  tablespoon  1% low-fat milk
  • 1  tablespoon  creamy peanut butter

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. To prepare bread, combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed. Add granulated and brown sugars; beat until blended.

3. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (through allspice) in a small bowl. Add flour mixture to banana mixture; beat just until blended. Pour batter into a standard 9 x 5-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 1 hour and 5 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven; cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack. Remove bread from pan; cool.

4. If you want to make the glaze: combine powdered sugar, milk, and 1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle glaze over bread when cooled.

Nutritional Info: Calories: 198; Fat: 7.4g; Protein: 4.7g; Carbohydrate: 29.7g; Fiber: 1.9g

Congrats to Kat & Jeff!

Monday, August 16th, 2010

Since I usually post pictures of my cake pops, I figure I might as well post these:

Devil’s Food Cake with white chocolate on the outside and sparkly silver crystal sugar (Courtesy of Duff, a.k.a Ace of Cakes). I made them Friday night for Kat & Jeff’s wedding shower on Saturday.

I’m especially proud of the little tags, actually. I thought they were a nice touch.

Thanks to Sarah and Leah for their help (mostly with tying those adorable little bows!).

Finally, a quick public service announcement: When it’s hot outside, cake pops melt. That is all.

The World’s Best Coffee Cake

Monday, July 26th, 2010

That Pioneer Woman. Somebody should buy me her cookbook. Everything she makes looks delicious, even if it’s something I wouldn’t normally like. I also love her sense of humor. And how she’s not afraid of butter.

We’re eating healthier (most of the time) and so I don’t make these treats for David as often as I once did. And when I do, I try to make something that’s not too tempting for me. I managed to stay away from this coffee cake for most of the week, but I’m not sure it was due to lack of temptation. The cake was the perfect amount of sweetness, with great cinnamon and pecan flavors. It was slightly dense, and had the perfect slightly-crumbly texture. It’s got me dreaming of other things I could put in a coffee cake. So much for avoiding temptation.

I followed the directions from the site almost exactly. I don’t have a pastry cutter, so I put the dry ingredients in the food processor with the cold butter for those steps, and pulsed several times. Just enough to chop and distribute the butter, but not enough to remove the clumps. You want clumps! She recommends a large pan, and I would definitely agree. I used a deep white roasting dish from CorningWare, and the cake rose to the top of the pan. A regular 9×13 Pyrex would’ve been cutting it close for sure.

The World’s Best Coffee Cake (According to The Pioneer Woman)

FOR THE CAKE:

  • 1-½ stick Butter, Softened
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • 3 cups Flour, Sifted
  • 4 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1-¼ cup Whole Milk (I used 1 cup of 1% milk with 1/4 cup of cream, because oddly enough, I keep 1% AND heavy cream on hand, and never have whole milk)
  • 3 whole Egg Whites, Beaten Until Stiff

FOR THE TOPPING:

  • 1-½ stick Butter, Softened
  • ¾ cups Flour
  • 1-½ cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Cinnamon
  • 1-½ cup Pecans, Chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat egg whites and set aside.
  2. Cream butter and sugar. Add flour mixture and milk alternately until combined. Don’t overbeat. Fold in beaten egg whites with a rubber spatula. Spread in a well-greased 9 x 13 (or LARGER!) baking pan. A cake pan with higher sides would be best.
  3. In the bowl of your food processor, pulse topping ingredients until crumbly. Sprinkle all over the top.
  4. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until completely set. Enjoy!

Happy Easter!

Sunday, April 4th, 2010

Happy Easter, everyone! David and I are headed to a family gathering, where I was asked to bring a dessert. I ended making two desserts, because I’m ridiculous: Easter Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing and Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting. You’ll here more about the cupcakes someday soon, I promise. In the meantime, here’s the details on the cookies.

Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing
Adapted from marthastewart.com

* 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
* 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
* 2 cups granulated sugar
* 2 large eggs
* 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
* Royal Icing
* Sanding sugar, for sprinkling (optional)

Directions

1. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
2. Beat butter and granulated sugar with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time. Reduce speed to low; add flour mixture, and beat until combined. Add vanilla. Wrap dough in plastic, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Roll out dough to 1/8-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut out egg shapes with a 2 1/2-inch oval cutter. Transfer cookies to parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing about 1 inch apart. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes. Bake until edges are golden, 8 to 10 minutes (Mine took 11 minutes, baking the cookies one tray at a time. It took 13 minutes with two trays in the oven). Let cool. Using a pastry bag fitted with a 1/8-inch tip and filled with royal icing, decorate as desired. If you want, sprinkle with sanding sugar while icing is wet. If adding dots or stripes, let base layer dry first.

Royal Icing

  • 1 pound confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 cup meringue powder
  • 1/2 cup water, plus more if needed
  • Gel-paste food coloring in colors such as violet, lemon yellow, soft pink, or leaf green for tinting

Directions

  1. Combine sugar, meringue powder, and water in the bowl of a mixer. Beat on medium speed until smooth, about 4 minutes. (If icing is too thick, add more water, 1 teaspoon at a time.)
  2. Divide icing into batches, and mix in a different shade of food coloring to each to tint.

Note: I like the way these turned out: super cute! The cookies themselves don’t have a ton of flavor, which makes them pair perfectly with the super-sweet royal icing. They turned out kind of crunchy, which makes sense, so they’re great for dunking. I got the best results for decorating with the squeeze bottles I use for cake pops. I just need a few more so I can work with more colors at one time!

Also, a HUGE thanks to Leah for helping me out with all the decorating. She’s awesome!

Lightened-Up Banana Bread

Saturday, March 6th, 2010

I love banana bread, and zucchini bread, and everything in that family, but most recipes I come across are insanely unhealthy. My grandma’s recipe for zucchini bread worked out to 15 points for a one-inch slice. Yummy, but yikes!

I tried this recipe with a healthy dose of skepticisim. I am suspicious of fat free cream cheese, for one. And I wasn’t quite sure how the baking mix would turn out in this.

It turned out great. The loaf made the house smell amazing, and I couldn’t wait for it to be finished so I could try it. It was one of those things I had to struggle to let cool before I tried it. Fortunately, it was worth the wait. The texture was light and crumbly–a little less dense than a traditional banana bread, and a little lighter in color. Otherwise though, the flavor was excellent. Next time, I think I’ll try it as muffins or mini-muffins, for a little built-in portion control. As it was, baked in the traditional loaf pan the nutritional info worked out to about 160 calories, 4 grams of fat, and less than one gram of fiber per slice, or 3 points.

Lightened-Up Banana Bread

1 cup sugar
1 (8-ounce) package fat-free cream cheese
1 cup mashed ripe banana (about 2 medium)
2 large eggs
2 cups reduced-fat baking mix (such as Bisquick)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350°.

Place sugar and cream cheese in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add banana and eggs; beat until well blended. Add the baking mix and walnuts, and stir just until moist.

Pour batter into a 9-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray; bake at 350° for 45 minutes. Tent bread with foil, and bake an additional 15 minutes.or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

Yield: 16 servings (serving size: 1 slice)

Note: I think this recipe came from the Weight Watchers message boards, but I’m not 100% sure. If anyone knows the source, let me know and I’ll be sure and give credit. This would be great with chocolate chips, dried cranberries, or any of the other classic additions to banana bread.

Does anyone else have any favorite “light” baked goods recipes?

Easy Cheese Danish

Sunday, February 14th, 2010

This recipe was a treat for my David. I came across the recipe while browsing online, and it sounded so simple (plus, we had about 2 pounds of cream cheese hanging out in the fridge that I was anxious to use up) that I decided to make it for him. He really likes breakfast pastries, like danishes and sweet rolls (who doesn’t?), and cheese danish is one of his favorites, so I thought I’d give it a try. I’m glad I did.

The filling is absolutely perfect. The right balance of richness and sweetness. The pastry is just crescent roll dough, so nothing spectacular on its own, but it lends just the right texture to the danish, and doesn’t get in the way of the filling, which, of course, is the star.

One problem: There’s nothing healthy about this treat. It was about 12 Weight Watchers points for a slice, which is a LOT. I have some thoughts on how I might lighten it for the next time around, though. I think I’ll be trying that soon.

Easy Cheese Danish

  • 2 (10 ounce) cans refrigerated crescent roll dough
  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, diced
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons sour cream
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9×13 inch baking pan.
  2. Line bottom of baking pan with 1 can of crescent rolls. Pinch all seams together to seal.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together cream cheese, white sugar, lemon juice, vanilla extract and sour cream. Spread filling on top of rolls. Place second can of rolls on top of filling.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 30 minutes.
  5. In a small bowl, stir together confectioners’ sugar, milk and butter. After Danish has cooled, drizzle with icing.

Coconut Cake

Saturday, January 16th, 2010

Here’s the recipe for David’s birthday cake, his favorite cake…Alton Brown’s Coconut Cake. While this recipe is a lot of trouble, it really does seem to be worth it all. Using the fresh coconut gives the most light and true coconut flavor. It’s incredible how much better it is than the typical sweetened coconut you’re used to using. If you like coconut, you owe it to yourself to try this cake.

Alton Brown’s Coconut Cake with 7-Minute Frosting
As seen on Good Eats

Ingredients:

  • 1 coconut, see Cook’s Note

For the cake:

  • Vegetable oil, for cake pan
  • 14 1/4 ounces cake flour, plus extra for pans, approximately 3 cups
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup fresh coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup fresh coconut cream
  • 8 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 16 ounces sugar, approximately 2 1/4 cups
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/3 cup coconut water

For the 7-Minute Frosting:

  • 3 large egg whites
  • 12 ounces sugar, approximately 1 3/4 cups
  • 1/3 cup coconut water
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Grated coconut from 1 coconut, approximately 8 to 10 ounces

Directions

Cook’s Note: To open a coconut: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place the coconut onto a folded towel set down in a large bowl. Find the 3 eyes on 1 end of the coconut and using a nail or screwdriver and hammer or meat mallet, hammer holes into 2 of the eyes. Turn the coconut upside down over a container and drain the water from the coconut. Store the water in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Place the coconut onto a 1/2 sheet pan and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven. The coconut should have cracked in several places. Using an oyster knife or other dull blade, separate the hard shell from the brown husk. Using a serrated vegetable peeler, peel the brown husk from the coconut meat. Rinse the coconut meat under cool water and pat dry. Break the meat into 2 to 3-inch pieces. With the grater disk attached to a food processor, grate the coconut.

For the cake:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil 2 (9-inch) cake pans. Line the bottom of each pan with parchment paper. Oil the parchment paper and then flour the pan. Set aside.

Place the flour, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine.

Combine the coconut milk and coconut cream in small bowl and set aside.

Place the butter into the bowl of a stand mixer and using the paddle attachment, cream on medium speed until fluffy, approximately 1 minute. Decrease the speed to low and gradually add the sugar slowly over 1 to 2 minutes. Once all of the sugar has been added, stop the mixer and scrape down the sides. Turn the mixer back on to medium speed and continue creaming until the mixture noticeably lightens in texture and increases slightly in volume, approximately 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the coconut extract.

With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture alternately with the milk mixture to the butter and sugar in 3 batches, ending with the milk mixture. Do not over mix.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Fold the egg whites into the batter, just until combined. Divide the batter evenly between the pans and bang the pans on the counter top several times to remove any air and to distribute the batter evenly in the pan. Place in the oven on the middle rack. Bake for 40 minutes or until the cake is light golden in color and reaches an internal temperature of 200 degrees F.

Cool the cake in the pans for 10 minutes then remove and transfer to a cooling rack. Once the cakes have cooled completely cut across the equator of each to form 4 layers. Place the 1/3 cup coconut water into a small spritz bottle and spray evenly onto the cut side of the 4 layers. If you do not have a spritz bottle you may brush the coconut water on with a silicone pastry brush. Allow to sit while preparing the frosting.

For the frosting:

Bring 1 quart of water to a boil in a 4-quart saucepan over high heat. Decrease the heat to medium to maintain a steady simmer. In the meantime, place the egg whites, sugar, coconut water, cream of tartar and salt into a medium size-mixing bowl. Place the bowl over the simmering water and immediately begin beating with an electric hand mixer set to low speed. Beat for 1 minute and then increase the speed to high and continue to beat for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and beat in the coconut and vanilla extracts for 1 minute. Allow the frosting to sit for 5 minutes before using.

Place approximately 3/4 cup of the frosting on the first layer of cake, sprinkle with 1/2 cup coconut and top with the next layer. Repeat until you reach the top layer. Frost the top and sides of the cake and sprinkle with the remaining coconut. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Oreo Truffles

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

That Bakerella never steers me wrong. Cake Pops, Pound Cake…and now Oreo Truffles. These little bites of chocolate-covered oreo flavor are delicious, but also pretty easy to make. Much easier than cake pops, since you get to skip that whole stick and wrapping and ribbon part. Didn’t even have to wait for a cake to cool!

White Chocolate Covered Oreo Truffles
Adapted from Bakerella.com

  • One package of oreo cookies
  • One 14 ounce package of white chocolate bark
  • One 8 ounce package of cream cheese
  • Sprinkles or decorating crystals (optional)

1. In a food processor fitted with the blade attachement, process oreos until a fine crumb is formed.

2. Add the cream cheese through the feeder tube in approximately two ounce chunks, while the machine continues to run. Once all of the cream cheese is combined, you should have a soft, gooey dough.

3. (I did this part wearing gloves) Shape the dough into balls with your hands, and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment. I got about 40 truffles out of one package of oreos. Let rest in the freezer for at least 15 minutes—this will help everything stay together when you dip them in chocolate.

4. Melt white chocolate bark or candy melts according to package directions. Place chocolate in a small bowl, and dip the oreo truffles in chocolate using a spoon. Carefully shake off the excess chocolate and place back on the parchment-lined sheet. You can  add sprinkles or decorating crystals now, while the chocolate is still wet, if you desire. Once all of the truffles are dipped and back on the baking sheet, place the sheet in the freezer for 15 minutes or in the refrigerator for half an hour or so, to allow the chocolate to set. Enjoy!

Note: I used the white chocolate bark from the grocery store for these, but I think I would have prefered the Wilton’s candy melts that I normally use for cake pops. They melt better, and I’m just used to the consistency. The oreo dough balls didn’t hold up quite as well as cake pops in the chocolate, so my white chocolate was kind of cookies-&-cream flavored by the end. I poured it out on a parchment lined sheet, added some broken candy cane pieces, and made oreo-peppermint bark anyway! Didn’t get any complaints.

Christmastime is for Cookies again…

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

Last year I went kind of crazy with Christmas cookies, but between following Weight Watchers and how busy things have been, holiday baking just hasn’t been a priority. Which is not to say that I haven’t made some delicious treats.

As a repeat of last year, I made Alton Brown’s Paradise Coconut Macaroons. They turned out well again, and David’s still happily munching on them. The one hiccup was that as I went to make the cookies, I realized I was out of sweetened condensed milk. Luckily, I found a substitution recipe online that worked perfectly, using ingredients we already had on hand. Success! Check it out at the bottom of the page if you’re interested.

I also made peppermint bark again, and my friend Cara came over and made mock-turtles. Very tasty, very simple, and with her perfect football-shaped pretzels, very cute. You may hear more about that soon.

But the point of this post is the new recipe I tried this year: Shortbread. The most recent issue of Food Network Magazine had an awesome little pullout booklet of 50 cookie recipes. The gist of the pamplet is summed up here. What I liked about it is that you started with just a handful of classic, straightforward recipes, followed by several creative variations on the same recipe. I took the classic Shortbread recipe and doubled it, making one batch of Chocolate-Dipped Shortbread and one batch of Lemon Shortbread Squares. I tweaked the basic recipe to get the texture that I wanted, and was very happy with the instructions below. It’s for the Chocolate-Dipped Shortbread, but if you want plain shortbread, skip the chocolate dipping steps, and if you want it to have a little bit of bright, lemony flavor, add a little bit of fresh lemon zest with the flour mixture.

Chocolate-Dipped Shortbread

  • 2 sticks butter (preferably unsalted. If using salted butter, omit additional salt below)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • bittersweet chocolate chips (I used Ghiradhelli)
  • flake sea salt

Beat 2 sticks butter, 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar until fluffy. Whisk 2 cups flour and 1 teaspoon salt, then stir into the butter mixture. Press into a buttered 8-inch square or 9-inch round tart pan. Score into strips with a fork, then chill 30 minutes. Bake about 1 hour at 300 degrees. Cool, then slice along the scored lines.

Melt bittersweet chocolate in a double boiler. Dip cooled shortbread pieces in chocolate, and sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt. Allow to cool completely before serving.

Sweetened Condensed Milk Substitute

  • 1 cup instant non-fat dry milk
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup boiling water
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter

In a blender, combine ingredients and blend until smooth. Store in refrigerator until ready to use. Makes the equivalent of one 14 ounce cane.

      Title: SWEETENED CONDENSED MILK SUBSITUTE
 Categories: Misc, Sauces
      Yield: 1 Servings

      1 c  Instant non-fat dry milk
    2/3 c  Sugar
    1/3 c  Boiling water
      3 tb Melted butter

  In a blender, combine ingredients and blend until smooth. Store in
  refrigerator until ready to use. Makes the equivalent of one 14 oz.
  can.

Chocolat Mint Meltaway Cookies

Sunday, November 1st, 2009

My mom, sister, and my sister’s boyfriend David came over on Saturday to do some baking. They chose a number of tasty treats and then we spent all day making them. It was a long day, but a lot of fun. And I got to try a few different recipes, which is always fun!

This recipe came from my Bon Appetit Cookbook. The finished cookies taste a lot like Mint Milano cookies, which is a good thing. The cookie itself is light and airy, with a soft crunch. We piped the cookies, as the recipe suggests, though I’ve read in other places now that other people just roll them into balls and flatten them to get round cookies. Seems like that would probably work. The ganache we ended up with was a bit thin. Not sure if it’s because we didn’t use as high-quality chocolate as the recipe suggests, or if something else went wrong. We ended up with a thin layer of the ganache, and then because it was so sticky, we just drizzled chocolate over the bottoms, instead of trying to dip the cookies. The instructions below are for the correct method, which I think would turn out prettier than ours. The good news is the cookies tasted fantastic—we didn’t mess that part up!

meltaway cookies

Chocolate Mint Meltaway Cookies
Adapted from
The Bon Apetit Cookbook

Ingredients

For Cookies

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

For Ganache Filling

  • 1/4 cup whipping cream, plus 2 tablespoons
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 9 ounces imported white chocolate, chopped (such as Lindt)
  • 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract

For Chocolate Coating

  • 9 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (we used chips)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable shortening

Directions

For Cookies:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F Butter 2 heavy large cookie sheets. Using electric mixer, cream butter and extracts in medium bowl until light. Beat in sugar. Beat in half of flour. Stir in remaining flour. Place the dough into a piping bag fitted with large star tip. Pipe into two inch ovals onto prepared cookie sheets. Bake until golden brown on edges, about 12 minutes. Transfer to paper towels and cool.

For Ganache:

2. Bring cream and butter to simmer in heavy small saucepan over low heat. Add chocolate and stir until smooth. Mix in extract. Refrigerate just until firm enough to spread, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.

3. Line two cookie sheets with foil. Using a small metal icing spatula, spread 1 teaspoon ganache over the flat side of each cookie. Arrange ganache side up on foil-lined cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining cookies. Refrigerate until ganache is firm, about 30 minutes.

For Coating:

4. For coating: Melt bittersweet chocolate and vegetable shortening in top of double boiler over simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from over water.

5. Grasp cookie on sides and dip ganache side into bittersweet chocolate; shake cookie to remove excess chocolate. Place cookie on same sheet, chocolate side down. Repeat with remaining cookies. Chill until chocolate sets, 30 minutes. Remove cookies from foil.

(Can be prepared 2 weeks ahead. Refrigerate in single layers in airtight containers. Let stand 10 minutes at room temperature before serving.).