Napoleonshatte are cookies (that look like Napoleon’s hat!) filled with marzipan and dipped in chocolate. I don’t think I’ve ever seen them offered here in the States, but every respectable pastry shop in Denmark carries them. So simple a creation, but looks can be a bit deceiving. I wouldn’t say they are hard to make, but for a beginner the shape can be difficult to achieve. At least it was for me. Halfway through, I switched to making Napoleon’s logs :P Surprisingly the marzipan filling was not as difficult as I expected. It just required a little patience.
If I actually knew anything about baking and pastries, I could be more specific about the cookie dough. The only thing I can say is the perfect specimen is made with a dough that is slightly crumbly, but also chewy, maybe some kind of cross between a sugar cookie and a pate brisee (likely made with some almond flour), if that makes any sense at all. There are a few recipes out there, but the one I chose seemed easy and straightforward. However I’m not going to link to it because 1) it’s in Danish and 2) the recipe didn’t give me the texture I’m looking for. Don’t get me wrong, they were fine, resembling sugar cookies, but I wanted more of the chewiness. I've got a couple recipes I want to try, but if you have a killer recipe, do let me know. When I do find that perfect recipe, I will definitely post the link.
I have 2 logs of marzipan left, totaling a little over 1/2 lb. Any ideas what I should do with them?
I do, however, have a link for the marzipan. It’s from Sara Moulton, one of my all time favorite chefs. She’s just got a down-to-earthness about her that is often missing in the new generation of chefs. The recipe is fantastic. Hubby, the marzipan expert in this house, raved about the result. The only thing I did differently was use 1 tsp almond extract instead of 4 tsp vanilla because I didn’t want any competing flavors. The grinding was a bit taxing on the nerves because the almonds have to be ground to a fine powder. That’s hard to do with most home spice grinders. I had to walk away a couple of times so my grinder could cool down. Count on it taking at least 1 hour (not 15 minutes as stated in the recipe) with the blanching, chopping, grinding, sifting and mixing. Other than that, it’s a perfect recipe. Not too sweet, which is often the case with store-bought, mediocre marzipan.
Lastly, the chocolate ganache. I just melted 8 oz (by weight) dark, semi-sweet Belgian chocolate in ½ cup heavy cream. I did this in the microwave on 50% power, stirring every 2 minutes until the chocolate was melted and uniform. Some people add a pat of butter (but I never do). The ganache takes a few hours to set up. Don’t be tempted to put the cookies in the freezer to speed up this process. You’ll just end up with condensation or something that affects the texture of the coating. The fridge might be okay after a couple of hours. Traditionally the cookies are only coated on one side, but I completely coated a few of the logs, thinking I was doing my chocoholic husband a favor. I stopped when Sonny commented that they looked like turds. Don’t you just love the unbridled honesty?
This is my entry to Weekend Wokking, a blogging event created by Wandering Chopsticks that highlights a different theme ingredient every month. This time it's almonds. If you want to get in on the action, send your submissions to me, blazinghotwok(at)gmail(dot)com, by Sunday, March 1st. Guidelines about the event can be found by clicking the link, and be sure to check back for the round-up on the March 4th.