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Chocolate Sweet Hearts
These crisp, delicate cookies have less than 50 calories each. Swap in different cookie cutters for other occasions; adjust the baking time accordingly.
Prep: 25 minutes
Total: 55 minutes plus cooling
1 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 large egg
In a bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, set over (not in) a saucepan of simmering water; place chocolate, butter, and brown sugar; stir frequently until almost completely melted. Remove from heat, and stir until completely melted; let cool slightly.
Add egg to chocolate mixture. With a mixer on low, beat until well blended. Gradually stir in flour mixture (dough will form a ball).
Divide dough in half; roll out each half on a sheet of parchment paper to a 1/4-inch thickness. Transfer each half (still on paper) to a baking sheet; freeze until firm, about 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Working with one half at a time, flip dough onto a work surface; peel off paper. Using a 2-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut out cookies; place, 1/2 inch apart, on two baking sheets. Bake until firm and fragrant, about 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer cookies to a rack to cool. These would be beautiful wrapped up and given as a chocolate cookie gift.
To roll out the dough without using flour (which would mar its color), cover your work surface with parchment paper. Once the dough is frozen, you can peel off the paper and cut the cookies directly on the work surface.
These petits fours conceal a honeyed, cakey interior beneath a crisp, crackly surface embellished by hand with hearts of jam.
Vegetable oil cooking spray
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/3 cup honey
2 cups sliced blanched almonds (6 1/2 ounces), lightly toasted and finely ground
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup sifted confectioners' sugar
3/4 cup sifted cake flour (not self-rising)
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 large egg whites
1 cup raspberries (fresh or frozen), pureed and strained (1/2 cup)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat mini muffin tins with cooking spray.
Heat butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, whisking frequently, until golden brown, 6 to 7 minutes. Add honey, and whisk until combined. Remove from heat.
Using a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine almonds, sugars, flour, and salt on low speed. Raise speed to medium-high, and add egg whites, one at a time, beating after each addition until just combined. Scrape down sides of bowl. Reduce speed to low, and add warm butter-honey mixture in a slow, steady stream. Raise speed to high, and beat for 45 seconds.
Spoon batter into muffin cups, filling each halfway. Spoon a scant 1/2 teaspoon raspberry puree near one edge of each cup. Draw a skewer or the tip of a paring knife through puree toward opposite edge of cup to form a heart shape.
Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until edges are golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool slightly in tins on wire racks. Using a small offset spatula, carefully unmold financiers, and transfer to rack. Financiers are best served warm or the same day they are baked, but they can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature for up to 3 days. If desired, serve or package financiers in decorative paper liners.