Sarah Bernhardt Cookies
Sarah Bernhardt cookies are as multilayered as their namesake, the famed French actress who once starred in the title role of "Hamlet." An almond macaroon base is topped with silken chocolate filling and then covered in melted chocolate, resulting in a truffle-like cookie with a bit of crunch.
For the Filling
- 12 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 4 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
For the Cookies
- 1/4 pound almond paste
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 large egg white
- 1/8 teaspoon pure almond extract
- Pinch of salt
For the Coating
- 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons pure vegetable shortening
Make the filling: In a heatproof bowl or the top of a double boiler set over a pan of simmering water, melt chocolate, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat, and allow to cool. Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, and simmer until clear, about 5 minutes; remove from heat. Place egg yolks in the bowl of an electric mixer set over a pan of simmering water, and whisk until warm to the touch, about 2 minutes. Transfer bowl to mixer stand fitted with the whisk attachment; with machine on medium, beat in hot sugar syrup. Increase speed to high, and continue beating until cool and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Reduce speed to medium, and gradually drizzle in cooled chocolate, beating until fully combined; if necessary, stop to scrape down sides of bowl. Refrigerate until firm and cold, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper; set aside
Make the cookies: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine almond paste and sugar; beat until smooth. Add egg white, almond extract, and a pinch of salt; beat to combine. Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch tip (Ateco #11). Pipe 1-inch cookies onto a prepared baking sheet, leaving about 1 inch between each cookie.
Bake until firm and golden around edges, about 12 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. The cookies may be stored at this stage in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
Place cookies dome-side down on a cooling rack. Place filling in a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch tip (Ateco #11), and pipe a peaked mound onto the flat side of each cookie. Transfer to freezer until very firm, about 1 hour.
Make the coating: In a heatproof bowl or the top of a double boiler set over a pan of simmering water, melt chocolate, stirring until smooth. Stir in shortening. Cool to barely warm.
Remove cookies from freezer. Working quickly so that the filling doesn't melt, use a chocolate fork to hold cookie above bowl of chocolate, and spoon melted chocolate over cookie. Place filling-side up on cooling rack placed over a baking sheet. Refrigerate until ready to serve.