It has often been said that artists are their own worst critics. This is a statement, of which I definitely am inclined to agree. I hold myself to such an impossible perfectionist standard with this blog, demanding only the best and most creative recipes, writing and photography from myself always. ( I would probably go so far as to say that three quarters of my creations do not even make it onto the site, even the ones I am most proud of or the ones that truly tasted the best!).
I have become so focused on striving to ‘better and perfect’ each post – to top every previous effort that in the process I seem to have lost sight in the fun and excitement of blogging… and I have forgotten the important growing lessons that imperfection in the kitchen teaches. I need to take a step back and learn to loosen the reins, to lower the perfectionist standard and to try to continue to keep blogging an enjoyable and artistic experience.
It can’t always be perfectly styled and decadent gateaux, exquisite tarts and pastries on butter and brioche every week. And I would hate to give the impression that I regularly bake and eat these treats every. single. day…my cooking normally resides much more in the real world than that.
Though lately, I have found myself baking more and more. And I cannot deny that I have been indulging in decadent home-baked treats more often than not. Conveniently around this same time, I acquired the Decorated Cakes cookbook by April Carter (of Rhubarb and Rose) and the book has undoubtedly become one of my favourite baking bibles.
This Salted Chocolate Chunk Cookie Layer Cake is my adaption of the Chocolate Chip Cookie Layer Cake featured in Decorated Cakes. And it is the epitome of rich decadence. The cake is comprised of eight layers of salted chocolate chunk walnut cookies that sandwich a wicked liqueur infused dark chocolate ganache.
The large cookies are buttery, textural, crisp but gooey and are so terribly delicious that they can easily be devoured alone… though I do highly recommend layering the dark chocolate ganache between them.
This Salted Chocolate Chunk Cookie Layer Cake makes me excited… like this is the most fun I’ve had in the kitchen in a long time excited. I can see the beauty in its lopsided height, in the stray flakes of sea salt, and in the imperfect browned edges and cracks that grace the cookie tops. Oh and in all that oozy-messy ganache too.
There is in my view, no such thing as being too chocolate-y and I have a feeling you too would rather agree… so here is the recipe for my Salted Chocolate Chip Cookie Layer Cake. Enjoy.
- 125 g / 4 ½ oz. unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ⅓ cup / 85 g / 3 oz. caster sugar
- ⅔ cup / 125 g / 4 ½ oz. brown sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla essence
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 175 g / 6 oz. dark chocolate, chopped
- ½ cup / 50 g / 1.7 oz. walnuts, chopped
- 2 cups / 225 g / 8 oz. plain flour
- 1 tsp. bicarbonate of soda
- 1 tsp. Maldon flaky sea salt, plus extra for sprinkling
- 265 ml / 9 fl. oz. double cream
- 3 tbsp. chocolate liqueur (optional)
- 300 g / 11 oz. dark chocolate, chopped
- Using a stand mixer or with electric beaters, beat the butter, sugars and vanilla until the mixture is pale and fluffy, roughly 5 minutes. Add the beaten egg to the mixture and mix well to combine. Add the chopped chocolate and walnuts.
- Sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda into a separate clean bowl. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, beating to just combine, then stir in the flaky salt. Cover the bowl and chill for at least two hours.
- When the cookie dough is firm, pre-heat an oven to 170 C / 335 F. Line 3 baking trays with baking parchment. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces, roughly 100 g / 3 ½ oz. each. Roll the dough pieces into balls with your hands, and gently press them into thick discs. Place on the baking trays 5 cm / 2 inches apart as the cookies will spread slightly as they bake. 3 cookies should be able to fit per tray.
- Bake the cookies for 10 – 12 minutes or until crisped and golden at the edges. Leave the cookies to cool on their trays for 2 minutes before transferring, on the baking parchment, to fully cool on a wire rack.
- To make the chocolate liqueur ganache, bring the cream and liqueur to a simmer in a small saucepan set over low to medium heat. Place the chopped chocolate in a bowl and pour the simmering mixture over it. Let it stand for 2 minutes then whisk until completely smooth. Let the mixture cool to room temperature before chilling for 20 minutes or until it is firm enough to spread. Once set, beat by hand until it is smooth.
- To assemble, spread about 3 tablespoons of the ganache almost to the edge of the first cookie layer, press the second cookie layer on top and repeat to use up all the cookies and ganache. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes to set the ganache and soften the cookies. Finally, sprinkle with extra flaky salt and serve at room temperature.
– “Try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless and above all have fun.” – Julia Child