Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Mary's Butterballs

We’re into the second and last week of the school holidays, and the girls and I have been making the most of the time we’ve got left to do all the things that we want to do. I have hardly had any blogging time whatsoever this week and the last, but that’s ok, as there’s always next week to catch up. Chloe and I made ‘Mary’s Butterballs’ on Tuesday (Paige is more interested in the eating bit) and we were so happy with the way they turned out that I had to put up a post on it this week, the other posts lined up will just have to wait.

We were at Borders two Sundays ago when I flicked through a copy of Gale Gand’s Chocolate Vanilla. The pictures were oh so yummy, but I was especially mesmerized by ‘Mary’s Butterballs’. I was oogling over them when the girls and Ming declared that it was time to go. A couple of days later, I was on Ivonne's Gorgeous Blog when I thought the picture looked familiar the moment her post appeared on my screen. It was ‘Mary’s Butterballs’! Ivonne had posted a review on Gale Gand’s Chocolate and Vanilla. This was a definitive sign that I should get the book.

I must confess that I did not follow ALL the instructions on the recipe, I of course used Salted Butter for starters and being the impatient baker that I am, I did not chill the dough for “3 hours”, instead, I thought that they were firm enough to handle after an hour and 15 minutes. After rolling the dough into balls, I popped them into the freezer for no longer than 10 minutes instead of the 30 minutes specified.

I encountered one problem though; I couldn’t get the floured mixture to form a dough even after approximately ½ an hour of mixing on medium speed with my Kitchen Aid. I don’t know what went wrong there but the problem was fixed the moment I added 50g of melted butter to the mixture – It transformed the crumb like texture of the mix into a ball of dough!

See how you go with the recipe, and if the flour mixture doesn’t form a dough, you know what to do. These lovely little cookies were very popular, and like Ivonne, I used nutella to sandwich them together. I had a lot of comments from the family about what the cookies looked like though, my loving husband Ming, not the most refined man I know, thought that the cookies looked like little ‘buttocks’ and decided to call them “Carol’s Love Lumps”. Poor Gale, I’m sure she would be absolutely mortified!

Adapted from Gale Gand’s Chocolate and Vanilla
Makes about 40 to 50 cookies

1 cup salted butter, softened
½ cup granulated sugar
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup raspberry jam or chocolate ganache
2 cups vanilla sugar, for rolling

Chocolate Ganache
3 oz semi-sweet chocolate melted with 1/3 cup heavy cream. (refrigerate until consistency becomes spreadable)

Vanilla Sugar
1 vanilla bean (can be one that was previously used)
2 cups sugar (In an airtight container, bury the vanilla bean in the sugar and let it sit overnight. I did not have any vanilla sugar on hand, I just rolled the cookies in caster sugar)

In a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until it’s light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Mix in the granulated sugar and when the mixture is well blended add the flour and mix until it forms a dough. Wrap the dough in plastic and chill for at least 3 hours to make it easier to handle. This also helps prevent the balls from flattening out too much when they’re baked.

Preheat the oven to 375F.

Taking off pieces of dough with your hands, roll small (3/4 –inch) balls of dough. Chill them for 30 minutes in the freezer, then place them 2 inches apart on cookie sheets to allow for some spreading. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or just until the cookies are firm but not browned. Remove from the oven and let cool on the pans.

Spread the flat face of half of the cooled cookies with the jam or ganache and top with a second cookie to form a little sandwiched ball. The filling will not show very much. Once you’ve sandwiched them all together, bury them in vanilla sugar to coat the entire outside.