Every month I participate in The Daring Baker’s challenge and this month I was really excited about the Chocolate Charlotte Russe Cake presented for the challenge. I know you’ve seen one – it’s a round chocolate mousse cake surrounded by vertical ladyfingers and tied with a ribbon. It’s beautiful and tricky to make.
This month, though, work and other events took up my time (in a good way) and when it came down to the deadline date, I didn’t have all the ingredients to make the cake, so I decided just to make the ladyfingers! I’ve never made them before and thought this would be a good learning experience.
There was a good recipe on Allrecipes.com with a lot of good reviews, so I used that one with a few changes gleaned from the comments section. I like to read the tips and suggestions below a published recipe because they’re usually written by everyday cooks who have some good ideas.
Here are my cookies lined up like little soldiers after I had piped them onto the cookie sheet and baked them.
This was only my second attempt at piping with a pastry bag, so give me some slack, OK? Most of them came out right, but a few were peanut-goober shaped and some resembled Australia. Whatever they looked like, I dipped all of them in chocolate and sprinkled mini-chocolate chips on top. The result was quite nice:
The ladyfingers are soft and spongy and the sweet chocolate was a nice contrast to the only slightly sweet cookie.
Although I’ve used melted chocolate for dipping many, many times in the past, today I had the dreaded “seized” chocolate. I found a fix was to pour a bit of boiling water into the chocolate and stir until it smoothed out. Of course, that meant it wasn’t tempered and the chocolate never hardened as I wanted it to. That’s OK, though, as these came out very good and I haven’t had any complaints in the tasting department.
I look forward to making these again and trying variations – maybe the mini chocolate chips stirred into the dough!
***adapted from AllRecipes.com. Soft, pillowy cookies with a sweet chocolate dip. Makes 30 to 40 cookies.
4 eggs, separated
2/3 C. white sugar
7/8 C. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder, plus 1/8 tsp.
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 C. chocolate chips
1/2 C. mini chocolate chips (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Fit a large pastry bag with a 1/2 round tube.
Place egg whites in a small cold bowl and beat on high until soft peaks start to form. Slowly add 2 tbsp. of the sugar and continue beating until stiff and glossy. In another bowl, beat egg yolks, vanilla and remaining sugar. Whip until thick and very pale in color.
Sift flour and baking powder together on a sheet of waxed paper. Fold half of the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture. Fold in flour and then add the remaining egg whites. Refrigerate dough for 10 minutes. Transfer mixture to the pastry bag and pipe out 3″x 1″ strips onto the parchment paper, leaving at least 1 inch between strips. Bake for 7 to 7 1/2 minutes until lightly golden brown.
Cool on pan for a couple of minutes, then move to a rack to cool completely. Meanwhile, in a double-boiler (or in the microwave), slowly melt the chocolate chips until smooth and shiny. Dip half of each cookie into the chocolate, skimming the bottom of the cookie on the rim of the pan so there’s not too much chocolate on the bottom of the cookie. Place on waxed paper and sprinkle the cookies with the mini chips while the chocolate is still tacky.
Cool cookies until the chocolate hardens. Store in an air-tight container.
Tips and Stuff:
I put my bowls for the egg mixtures in the freezer for three minutes before mixing. Also, don’t forget to refrigerate the dough before piping and between batches – the cookies tend to flatten and spread if you don’t.
These would be good sprinkled with coconut or dried fruit. Sweet toppings really complement the barely sweet cookies.