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Luxe chocolate raspberry truffle sandwich cookies make a great gift

(Scott Suchman for The Washington Post/food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post)
Chocolate-Raspberry Truffle Sandwich Cookies
Active time:1 hour 30 mins
Total time:2 hours 30 mins
Servings:Makes 21 sandwich cookies
Active time:1 hour 30 mins
Total time:2 hours 30 mins
Servings:Makes 21 sandwich cookies

When I was 9, my mom and grandma gave me a small box of expensive chocolate truffles for Christmas. They were a huge splurge and a special gift, because we generally kept to a hippie, sugar-free, no-fun lifestyle, and because we couldn’t usually afford anything so luxurious. For me, the truffles were a revelation, and for a few years they became a Christmas tradition.

Intrigued by the inner workings of something so special, I set out to learn how the truffles were made, which kicked off a lifelong love of working with chocolate. My grandma was an artist and a great baker who was working in a natural bakery to help support us. My mom would go on to become a creative cake decorator and pastry chef. Both inspired my love for delicious, unique and beautiful chocolates and pastries.

13 holiday cookie recipes to bring color and joy to the season

To evoke those truffles in a cookie, I make a velvety chocolate-raspberry ganache and soft, fudgy chocolate cookies. Raspberry liqueur is a foil to the dark chocolate and adds another touch of luxury. I decorate them to look like delicate chocolate truffles, by dipping them in melted white chocolate and adding freeze-dried raspberry powder or luster dust (this would also be a good time to gild with gold foil, if you have it). These cookies still transport me back to the memories of family holidays.

Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Sandwich Cookies

Feel free to decorate the cookies with anything that will stick to the melted chocolate, such as mini chocolate chips, luster dust, sprinkles or even gold leaf.

If you have any leftover ganache, roll it into balls and coat in cocoa powder, nuts or more freeze-dried raspberry powder to make some very giftable truffles.

Make Ahead: The ganache can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Storage: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 week, or freeze, carefully wrapped, for up to 1 month.

Where to Buy: Valrhona Raspberry Inspiration is available online.

NOTES: Valrhona Raspberry Inspiration lends a wonderful flavor and beautiful color to the cookies. You can substitute an equal amount of ruby chocolate or white chocolate colored with red food coloring or mixed with freeze-dried raspberries.

If you aren’t a fan of raspberry and chocolate, the ganache can be made with other flavor combinations, such as Grand Marnier with orange marmalade, or kirsch with cherry preserves. Kahlua, Frangelico and amaretto are all delicious with chocolate, too.

To keep the ganache alcohol-free, you can omit the liqueur and add an equal amount of fruit puree, or just substitute more heavy cream. The ganache can also be made dairy-free by substituting coconut cream for the heavy cream.

The dark chocolate in the cookies and ganache should be the best-quality chocolate available to you with at least 55 percent cacao. Unless you like a very dark chocolate flavor, don’t use a chocolate with more than 75 percent cacao in the ganache. Don’t use chocolate chips, as they don’t melt fully and won’t work in the cookies or the ganache.

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Ingredients

For the cookies

  • Generous 1/2 cup (74 grams) cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup (50 grams) Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 8 ounces (1 1/3 cups/226 grams) dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick/56 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (110 grams) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the ganache

  • 8 ounces (1 1/3 cups/226 grams) dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup (120 milliliters) heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons seedless raspberry jam
  • Pinch fine sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons raspberry liqueur, such as Chambord (see NOTES; may substitute with your favorite liqueur, preserves, fruit puree or heavy cream)

For optional decoration

  • 6 ounces (1 cup/170 grams) chopped white chocolate
  • 6 ounces (1 cup/170 grams) chopped Valrhona Raspberry Inspiration or ruby chocolate (see NOTES)
  • 1/4 cup (20 grams) freeze-dried raspberry powder
  • Luster dust

Step 1

Make the cookies: In a medium bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, cocoa powder, salt and allspice. Make sure there are no lumps.


Step 2

In a microwave-safe bowl, heat the dark chocolate in 30-second bursts on HIGH until melted, stirring after each burst. (Alternatively, you can melt the chocolate in a double boiler, or in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water.) Let the chocolate cool slightly.

Step 3

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using a large bowl and hand mixer, beat the butter with the granulated and brown sugars on medium speed until fully combined and light in texture, 3 to 4 minutes. Scrape down the attachment and the bowl with a flexible spatula.

Step 4

Add the eggs one at a time, beating on medium after each addition until incorporated. Add the vanilla and mix again on medium to incorporate. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.


Step 5

Pour the melted chocolate into the bowl and mix on medium-high until fully combined, 20 to 30 seconds, scraping down the bowl with the spatula to make sure all the ingredients are completely incorporated.

Step 6

Add the cornstarch mixture and mix on low until the dry ingredients are completely incorporated, then increase the speed to medium and mix until a soft dough forms, about 1 minute. The dough should look glossy and resemble brownie batter.

Cover and refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.


Step 7

Make the ganache: While the cookie dough cools, place the chopped dark chocolate in a small, heatproof bowl.

Step 8

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the heavy cream, raspberry jam and salt, stirring until the jam dissolves and the cream is just coming to a simmer. There will be small bubbles forming around the edge of the pan, and it should register 185 to 190 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.

Step 9

Carefully pour the cream mixture over the chocolate and let sit undisturbed until the chocolate melts, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the liqueur and whisk the cream into the chocolate until it comes together into a smooth, glossy, pourable mixture.


Step 10

Place a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper against the surface of the ganache and refrigerate until it is the consistency of spreadable butter — firm enough to pipe or spread and stay where it’s put, about 30 minutes. It will set up to a firmer consistency in the cookies when they are filled and chilled.

Step 11

Bake the cookies: Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees. Line two large, rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.

Step 12

If the dough is too firm, allow it to soften a bit at room temperature. Use a No. 60 disher or a tablespoon measure to scoop out 1-tablespoon (16-gram) balls of dough and place them on the lined cookie sheets, spaced at least 1 1/2 inches apart. The cookies don’t spread that much, so you should be able to get about 20 on each sheet. (You should have 42 cookies total.) Slightly flatten the dough balls by pressing them with the palm of your hand.


Step 13

Bake, one sheet at a time, about 10 minutes, or until the cookies are set around the edges with a shiny, puffy center with some cracks. Let cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Step 14

Assemble the cookie sandwiches: If the ganache is too firm to make sandwiches, let it soften to room temperature.


Step 15

Turn half of the cookies flat side up on a large, rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment. Using a piping bag fitted with a large tip, or a sealed zip-top bag with a corner cut off, pipe about 1 tablespoon of chocolate ganache on each overturned cookie, then top with the remaining cookies to form sandwiches.

When all the cookies have been sandwiched, refrigerate them on the pan while you prepare the decorations.


Step 16

Decorate the cookies: Line a second large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or wax paper.


Step 17

In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the white chocolate in 30-second bursts on HIGH, stirring after each burst. (Alternatively, you can melt the chocolate in a double boiler, or in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water.) Let the chocolate cool slightly. Repeat with the Valrhona Raspberry Inspiration or ruby chocolate.

Working with one cookie sandwich at a time, holding them so that the ganache filling is perpendicular to the bowl, dip each halfway into one of the chocolates. Place the dipped sandwiches on the prepared baking sheet as you work.


Step 18

Decorate the cookies with lines of chocolate by drizzling from a spoon or using a small piping bag. You can use contrasting colors or matching colors.

Dust with the freeze-dried raspberry powder or brush on the luster dust before the chocolate sets. The cookies should look reminiscent of fine chocolates. Be creative and have fun and make them look like miniature works of abstract art.


Step 19

Place the sheet with the decorated cookies, uncovered, in the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes to set the chocolate.

Refrigerate until ready to serve for the best consistency. The ganache can melt if the cookies get too warm.


Nutrition Information

Per sandwich cookie, without decoration

Calories: 204; Total Fat: 12 g; Saturated Fat: 7 g; Cholesterol: 34 mg; Sodium: 45 mg; Carbohydrates: 24 g; Dietary Fiber: 3 g; Sugar: 16 g; Protein: 2 g

This analysis is an estimate based on available ingredients and this preparation. It should not substitute for a dietitian’s or nutritionist’s advice.


From chef and cooking instructor Taffy Elrod.

Tested by Matt Brooks; email questions to voraciously@washpost.com.

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