I'll admit that this is going to take some time but the result is so completely worth it! The prep time includes the mixing, chilling and decoration time. Baking time is for all the baking sheets to be baked one at a time. If your guests/family don't fall to their knees in worship of you then they do not deserve you!
- 2 1⁄3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1⁄3 cup sifted Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
- 3⁄4 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons espresso powder, dissolved in
- 1 teaspoon boiling water
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
- 1 egg white, mixed with
- 1 teaspoon water
- pearl sugar or candy sprinkles or nonpareils or colored crystal sugar
- finely chopped nuts
- 1⁄2 cup heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons light corn syrup
- 4 ounces fine semisweet chocolate or 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, such as Lindt Excellence
- 1 tablespoon dark Jamaican rum (optional)
- 1⁄2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1⁄2-1 teaspoon hot water, if needed
- Make cookies:.
- Sift together the flour, cocoa, and salt. Set aside.
- In bowl of electric mixer, using paddle attachment, mix butter on medium-low speed until it is creamy and lightened in color. Add the sugar in a steady stream, and beat until thoroughly combined.
- Add the egg, espresso, and vanilla.
- Scrape down sides of bowl as needed, then mix in melted chocolate.
- Reduce mixer speed to low and blend in dry ingredients in two additions, mixing only to combine after each addition.
- Remove dough from bowl and divide into quarters.
- Form each quarter into a 4" disk and wrap in plastic, refrigerate for 30-40 minutes or until firm enough to roll.
- You should be able to leave an imprint when you press dough.
- Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F.
- Have ready two ungreased cookie sheets. Working with one-fourth of dough at a time, roll on a lightly floured flat surface until 3/16" thick.
- Using a 2 1/2" round cookie cutter or a cookie cutter of your choice, cut cookies from the dough.
- Transfer cookies to a sheet of waxed paper and brush lightly with egg/water mixture. Sprinkle with pearl sugar or other garnishes.
- Carefully place on cookie sheets.
- Bake cookies, one sheet at a time, for 9-10 minutes.
- Transfer cookies to a wire rack while still warm, and cool completely.
- Repeat with remaining dough.
- MAKE GANACHE:.
- Break chocolate into 1" pieces and place into bowl of a food processor.
- Process until chocolate is finely chopped. Empty chocolate into a medium-sized bowl and set aside.
- In a small saucepan, heat heavy cream and corn syrup on low heat until it comes to a gentle boil.
- Immediately pour hot cream over chopped chocolate.
- Let it stand for about 1 minute, then stir chocolate and cream together, slowly mixing until all chocolate is melted and mixture is fully emulsified.
- Blend in rum and vanilla.
- If surface is oily, stir in 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of hot water.
- Glaze should thicken as it stands, but remain pourable.
- If ganache fails to thicken, chill it in refrigerator for 4 to 5 minutes.
- Watch carefully, as it must not be too cold. Spoon ganache over cookies, letting it trickle down the sides.