Chocolate Pinecone: this turned out to be one of my most fav projects to experiment with as well as I loved the process of making it. I will admit that I have as of yet to taste the combined components together although I have tasted each of them separately. And the reason why is because the very first pinecone I made was made two days after we had a Christmas party. Since we only have one fridge, there really was no room to store the pinecone in the fridge. Temp outside was in the 30’s so I decided to store it outside. I put it in a paper box and then a Trader Joe’s insulated bag and hung it outside. I returned from work the next day and when I went to grab my pinecone to taste, it was gone. It turns out that some critter had gotten into the TJ’s bag, taken the pinecone out, left the closed the box and gone to enjoy my pinecone elsewhere. Cos there was not even one cookie crumb left. I was so annoyed that I thought ill of the critter. I had been looking forward to tasting that pinecone. Sigh …
Sorry to digress, but when I came across the edible pinecone idea, I was looking for a fun activity for the kiddos for our Baking Masterclass class. I came across the idea and fell in love instantly. I did some research to see if I could find tutorials that showcased the process step by step. While I did find a few, my issue with them was that they all used premade crackers or some kind of nut. Since schools are nut free, that second option was out and since this was a baking class, we had to make the cookie.
What kind of cookie would work best for this recipe? I knew that it needed to be a crisp cookie and it had to be small, less than 1″ square. After thinking about it some time and doing a little research, I thought of fortune cookies. But since I planned to make fortune cookies for Chinese New Year 2019, I wanted a slightly different recipe. I went from fortune cookie to longues de chat and finally tulle.
This is a really great recipe to do with the kiddos. If you do try it, please send me shots of your final pinecone.
So check out the tutorial below for the best Chocolate Pinecone from scratch.
Combine the chocolate chips, butter and cream in a metal mixing bowl.
Using the double boiler method, melt the chocolate. Once melted, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge and cool for as long as possible, about 2 hours is good. If you do not have 2 hours to cool, do as we did not have in class: layer some ice and rock salt (or regular salt) in a bowl and place the bowl of chocolate ganache on top. Stir and mix the mixture making sure to scrap the bottom and sides of the metal bowl. Depending on how much ice you have, it could take as little as 20 minutes to get the right ganache consistency. Once reached, place in the fridge while you work on the cookies.
For the cookie, add softened butter to your mixing bowl and beat until whipped and creamy.
Add the powdered sugar.
Mix on medium speed until well combined.
Add the flour …
And the cocoa powder …
And the egg whites.
Beat until well mixed, about 4 minutes.
Add the vanilla. I am obsessed with vanilla paste right now but use whatever you have on hand. Continue beating until well mixed. Transfer the batter into a piping bag with a basket weave tip #45 or petal tip #150.
Place your template in the baking tray and parchment paper on top.
Pipe your batter onto the parchment paper.
Whole tray all done. Remove the template and place the first batch in the oven to bake for 6 to 9 minutes. For my oven, I found that 6 minutes led to crumbly cookies that broke easily. So 7 to 8 minutes was most ideal. Please keep in mind that how thick the piped cookie is, is the determining factor into how long to bake it. Meanwhile place the template on another tray and start piping another batch. Continue until all the batter is done.
Cooling time. I found that the cookies cooled with no issues when left on the baking parchment paper but removed from the baking tray. I guess what I am saying is that you don’t really need a cooling rack.
Once all the cookies are made and are cooking on the rack, it’s time to get back to the chocolate ganache. This is what the ganache looked like coming out of the fridge.
After years of making chocolate truffles in class, I realized wearing gloves for this part of the process was essential for me. But you don’t have to. At this point, it was time to shape the ganache into the egg shape: flat on the bottom, the circumference wider at the bottom vs the top. Smooth it up as much as possible. Wrapping in plastic wrap to smooth the edges was very helpful.
Ganache egg shape all done.
Starting from the bottom, take one of the cookies and insert a corner into the ganache egg as close to the bottom as possible.
Insert the next cookie as follows: Insert the next cook so that, when the insertion is done, it touches the cookie next to it. Continue until the lower circle is set. It kinda looks like a tutu skirt to me.
For the next level up, the first placement should be between two of the lower cookies. And you don’t want to leave too much space between the bottom row and the next row up. When finished, you should not be able to see the ganache at all. Then continue to the process from there.
Third row all done. Continue until the entire egg is covered with the cookies.
Side view of the edible pines all inserted.
Final step is the dusting of powdered sugar.
All boxed up and ready to gift.