I have no idea how an entire year went by during which I watched so few current films. As of Oscar night, I had seen exactly two of the movies nominated for Best Picture. As usual, we attended an Oscar party and bet on the outcome of the awards. I was sure the Academy would pick George Clooney as Best Actor, and in my typical Oscar-betting fashion, I was wrong. At least I had these cookies to enjoy during the ceremony. They’re little squares of pastry that get folded over a filling of brownie dough and end up looking a little like bow ties. I thought bow tie cookies seemed appropriate for Oscar night. The recipe is from Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies, and I have a couple of things to tell you about making these cookies. First, Alice Medrich is always very precise with her instructions, so rolling the pastry dough and cutting it to the size she suggests works well. She then instructs you to fill each pastry square with one rounded teaspoon of brownie dough and fold two corners of the square in and seal at the top with water. Maybe I rounded my teaspoons of brownie dough too much because the first batch I placed in the oven came out looking like they sort of exploded and not much like bow ties. So, less than you think of the brownie filling per cookie is better. The other thing I wanted to mention is that Medrich suggests optionally grating some cinnamon stick or nutmeg over the cookies before serving. I suggest definitely doing so. I used both cinnamon and nutmeg. When I tasted a cookie that hadn’t been dusted with the spices, it was of course delicious, but it seemed lacking or naked compared to the ones with spices.
You begin by making a cream cheese rugelach dough which needs to be refrigerated for at least a couple of hours before being rolled out. Next, you make the brownie dough by melting butter and chocolate in a double-boiler. Some sugar is added to the butter and chocolate followed by vanilla, salt, and eggs. A little flour is whisked in, and then this chocolate dough is also refrigerated for at least an hour or overnight. I made both doughs a day in advance of rolling, cutting, and filling. Working with one quarter of the rugelach dough at a time, it is rolled out and trimmed into a nine inch by eleven inch rectangle which is then cut into twelve squares. A barely rounded teaspoon of the chilled brownie dough should be placed in the center of each pastry square. Then, two opposite corners are pulled up and over the brownie dough, and the pastry corners are pinched with water to secure. Just before going into the oven, the cookies are brushed with milk and sprinkled with sugar, and they are baked for about 20 minutes. After cooling, I highly recommend grating cinnamon and nutmeg over the cookies.
These aren’t the quickest cookies to bake, but all of the steps involved are simple enough. The cream cheese pastry is delightfully flaky, rich, and tender for a cookie, and it makes a very nice wrapper for a bite of dark chocolate brownie. They’re dressy, little cookies suited for a black tie kind of night.