Courtesy of "Dam Good Sweet" by David Guas and Raquel Pelzel. The Tauton Press 2009.
|2 cups semisweet chocolate chips or chunks (58%-62% cacao), roughly chopped||1 cup light brown sugar|
|1/2 cup heavy cream||1 tsp vanilla extract|
|1 stick plus 1 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature||1/2 tsp almond extract|
|1 cup all-purpose flour||1 large egg|
|1 1/2 tsp baking powder||1/4 tsp salt|
To make the ganache, place 3/4 cup of the chocolate in a small bowl. Bring the cream to a boil over medium-high heat and pour it over the chocolate. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 3 minutes, then whisk it from the center of the bowl out to the edges until smooth (don’t vigorously whisk the chocolate mixture—you don’t want to whip in air bubbles). Re-cover with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature for at least 6 hours or overnight.
To make the cookie cake, heat the oven to 350°F. Place a 10-inch cake pan on top of a piece of parchment paper and trace a circle. Cut the circle out and set aside. Grease the 10-inch cake pan with the 11/2 tablespoons of softened butter, and then press the parchment circle into the pan. Grease the top of the parchment with a little more butter and set the pan aside.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl and set aside. Using a stand mixer or a hand mixer, cream the stick of butter, light brown sugar, and vanilla and almond extracts on medium speed until well combined, about 1 minute. Increase the mixer speed to high and beat for 15 seconds. Stop the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the egg. Blend on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add the dry ingredients and combine on low speed until just a few dry streaks remain. Add the remaining chopped chocolate and mix for a few seconds until combined.
Scrape the batter into the prepared cake pan. Dip a rubber spatula in cold water, shake off the excess, and use it to press the batter into a smooth and even layer in the pan. Bake until lightly golden and puffy around the edges (the center should still feel quite soft), 18 to 22 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes and then run a paring knife around the edge of the pan to release the cake. Cool for at least 4 hours before turning the cake out of the pan and onto a large plate (or cutting board). Peel off the parchment, then invert back onto a cake plate or stand.
Use a rubber spatula to fill a pastry bag fitted with an 8-mm tip (or a resealable plastic bag with one corner snipped off) with the ganache. Pipe a decorative border around the edge of the cake and streak the remaining ganache across the entire cake, or write the name of the recipient in the center.
*Make Ahead* Ganache needs to set up for a while to thicken before you can pipe with it. I often make it the night before I plan on using it (cover it flush with plastic wrap and leave it at room temperature). The cake keeps covered (a large, inverted metal mixing bowl works well as a lid), and at room temperature, for up to 1 day.
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