Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Jelly, Nutella, or Baileys?

I don't have any Irish blood coursing through my veins, and neither does SP. So we don't celebrate St.Patrick's Day. At all. Green beer is not for us. I also don't usually cook 'theme meals' for holidays like St. Patrick's Day or Cinco de Mayo. But this year, every time I went past the liquor cabinet, I saw the bottle of Baileys Irish Cream that SP gave me for Christmas. Still unopened. And I suddenly had this huge need to make something with the Baileys for St. Patrick's Day. But what to make? It had to be not too complicated. It also had to just use Baileys - I didn't want to need to buy Irish Whiskey or Guinness.

Finally I thought of thumbprint cookies with a Baileys chocolate ganache filling. But then the thumbprint project got a little... complicated. I knew that SP would prefer the traditional jelly thumbprints, and we certainly have plenty of partially filled jelly/preserves jars in the refrigerator, so I decided I should make some jelly thumbprints. Then I started wondering how Nutella thumbprints would taste so I made some of those, too. End result, we have 3 kinds of thumbprint cookies: jelly, Nutella, and Baileys.

First, the jelly ones.
Raspberry, cherry, apricot, and peach. I like raspberry best.
Next, the Nutella ones.
I wasn't sure if I should fill the thumbprints before or after baking. Would the Nutella melt and run all over the sides of the cookie and then the cookie sheet? So I baked one Nutella thumbprint in a corner of the jelly filled cookie sheet as a test. The Nutella did not melt, nor did it harden. So I filled a dozen and baked them.

Instead of vanilla extract, we used a vanilla bean for the vanilla in the cookie dough. Some large pieces of bean are visible in the dough, like in this photo on the lower right part of the cookie:
In this one, you can see the tiny specks of vanilla. Yum!
A photo of the creamy Nutella interior.
Stacked in their own container. I decided to not toss all three kinds into the same container. Each kind got their own container. Since the Nutella baked, the tops got a wee bit hard, but not crispy hard. They just aren't the usual gooey consistency of Nutella so they aren't too messy to handle and stack in a container.
Finally, the Baileys thumbprints. These thumbprints were filled after baking.
I wanted a chocolate ganache flavored with Baileys. In my mind, melted chocolate, Baileys, and something like butter or cream to help the chocolate melt and get a bit smooth/creamy. But I wanted a recipe to follow since I'm not good at figuring out how much butter or cream or Baileys to use. So while I shaped and baked the cookies, SP looked up Baileys chocolate ganache recipes. He thought this one from Joy the Baker sounded good. I didn't ask too many questions about it.
It wasn't until after he completed the first steps of making the ganache that he mentioned chilling the mixture then mixing it in a mixer with powdered sugar and suddenly I had a bad feeling. That sounded like frosting, not ganache. But I didn't say anything because he'd already started making it, I was feeling tired (stupid spring ahead thing), and... well. I just let it go.

Turns out it is a delicious frosting-like ganache. I loved sampling it by itself. It is OK in the thumbprints. Not exactly what I wanted. I would not fill thumbprints with this ganache/frosting again. I would, however, frost a cake or cupcakes with this ganache/frosting.
Thumbprint recipe here. We doubled the dough to get about 4 dozen cookies.

Last time I made these here (May 2010). These jelly ones are just as tasty as last time. I think jelly thumbprints are my favorite. I'll have to keep searching for a tasty cookie with Baileys in it since these thumbprints are just OK. Or just make chocolate cupcakes with this frosting.

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