Monday, April 9, 2012

Allergy-Friendly Easter Dessert

Desserts are usually the hardest part of a family meal for us because of the many allergies that our family has. I do not know if you have ever tried one of the many varieties of allergy-free mixes or ready made desserts, but they leave something to be desired. They are great in a pinch or for regular use, but for something special we usually want...well, something special! We have found that the best way to get around allergies is to cook from scratch, the same way our grandmothers and great-grandmothers did, with a few substitutions. 

We came across this recipe for Bird's Nest Cookies on Martha Stewart's website and thought this could be an option. It has basic ingredients, although we did alter a few. This is what we did:
  • 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup, plus 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups of all purpose flour, plus a little more for rolling the dough out
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup Ghiradelli Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • shredded white chocolate
  • candy coated chocolate eggs

  • Mix the butter and sugar together in a mixer with a paddle attachment. In a large bowl, combine flour, salt and the cocoa powder. Add the two mixtures together on low speed just until stiff.  Place three candy covered chocolate eggs on each egg.

dough wrapped
Transfer dough to plastic wrap, keeping it tightly wrapped, and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes. 

chocolate ganache
In a double boiler, heat chocolate, heavy whipping cream and the espresso powder. This is going to make a ganache, so it will need to be stirred occasionally.  On a lightly floured surface, roll out the chilled dough. Use a round cookie cutter, about 2" or so, to cut out the cookies.


Place the cookies on parchment lined cookie sheets. Put the cookies on the cookie sheet back into the fridge to chill for about 20 minutes before baking. Bake for about 14 minutes at 350 or until set.

 Bake for about 14 minutes at 350 or until set. Spread the chocolate ganache over the top of the cookie once the cookie has cooled slightly.
Sprinkle the white chocolate on top of the ganache on the cookie. 
 Place three candy covered chocolate eggs on each egg.

These cookies were rich and chocolatey, but not too much. Like I said, it is so hard to adjust good recipes for allergies, but this one definitely worked. In fact, the cookie part was good even without the ganache and everything else. 
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