Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Romany Creams

Well, yesterday was quite a busy day, I am now halfway to my 12 dz cookies for donation.  I always strive to make something a little different so the recipients will have more variety. These cookies, called Romany Creams, are not very well known in the US.  However, they have been a long time favorite in South Africa.  Not only is the  recipe all across the internet (Baking101, ifoodtv,, but this cookie is actually packaged and sold in several grocery stores in Africa.

The most unique thing about these treats are the texture.  One bite and they quickly melt into several tiny crumbs to reveal the chewy taste of coconut and a rich chocolate center.  Since the cookie part is very lightly sweetened, the chocolate filling really pulls the flavors together. Also, the filling is not a thick cream like most sandwich cookies, but just pure chocolate.

I know, some 10 flavors-in-one dessert may be all the rage now, but there are some simple flavors that will always endure. Chocolate and coconut are two that are on that flavor list.

Come back home to classic, simple flavor by experiencing the taste of Romany Creams.  And they say you can never go home again. What a sad mistake.

Romany Creams

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs (room temp)
9 oz or 2 sticks and 2 tbs of butter (room temp)
1 1/2 cups dessicated or unsweetened coconut
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 tsp of baking powder
2 tbs cocoa
2 1/2 cups of flour
3/4 cup sugar
8 oz or more of chocolate (chips or chopped)

In a medium size bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and baking powder.  Sift a second time and set aside.

Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter, oil and sugar together until fluffy.  This should take about 3 minutes, depending on how soft the butter is.  Add the vanilla extract. Then add the eggs, one at a time, beating 30 seconds after each addition. 

Using a light touch, fold the sifted ingredients into the batter in three increments until no dry areas remain.  Stir in the coconut .

The dough will be softer and lighter than most, so it will need to be formed and chilled.  For sliced cookies, place the dough in plastic wrap and roll into a cylinder or log, about 2 1/2 inches in diameter.  If using a cookie cutter, roll out the dough between two pieces of  wax paper.  It should be about 1/4-5/8 inch thick.  Place the wrapped dough on a cookie sheet and chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Place wax paper on a smooth surface for the cooled sandwiched cookies. The cookies will rest on the wax paper as the chocolate filling hardens.

Once the dough is cold enough to work with, pull out and slice or cut into cookies. Place on a baking sheet about 1 1/2 inches apart.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until edges are lightly toasted.

Transfer cookies from baking sheet to rack to cool. Once cooled, match cookies (since they all will not be perfectly sized) together in pairs facing upside down with bottom part of sandwich cookie in one row and top cookie in the next row.

Take out a double boiler and fill bottom with water (making sure that water will not touch bottom of top pan when stacked).  Put chocolate in top pan and stack on top of water pan.  Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally as chocolate melts.  Remove from heat once all is melted.

With one hand, grab a cookie from the bottom chosen row   In the other hand, use a spoon and scoop out some melted chocolate and drizzle it on to the bottom side of the cookie.  Place cookie back on cooling rack and then put the corresponding chosen cookie on top.  Put cookie on wax paper for filling to harden. Continue until all cookies are filled and sandwiched together.

This recipe makes about 32-36 sandwich cookies.

Tip:  I froze sheets of dough until hard and then cut with the cookie cutter.  It is easier to handle and you can peel the frozen dough off the wax paper and place it on the cookie sheet.  Also, it is a good fix if your are in a humid climate.