Chocolate Dulce de Leche Viennese Whirls

Viennese Whirls
Sigh. It’s the end of 8 ½ months of doing (or not doing) whatever in the hell I want. Every. Single. Day. I do admit it’s been lovely.  There’ll be no more daily sleeping until noon, alfresco reading of the news and drinking bottomless cappuccinos before leisurely mid-day bike rides. No more museum visits and beach days and hours spent endlessly cooking in my pj’s. My sabbatical has ended and, today, I’m once again joining the working class. While the company will be a new one, my coworkers, for the most part, will be old friends from my previous job – if one must work for a living, one truly couldn’t ask for a better situation. I really do admire and respect these people. My dreams of being an Innkeeper are not forgotten, just postponed. The search for my dream property has been tougher than expected. I’m convinced it will happen when the time is right.

With an 8-5 schedule, and little time to bake just around the corner, this weekend I decided to belly-up to my stove and make a batch of cookies as a thank you to those friends who have helped me during my 8 month much-needed break. As could be expected from my track record, the first batch made it into my belly rather than their doorsteps – requiring a second batch that were packaged and delivered as intended.

Here’s to beginning my next chapter – and a growing belly that didn’t think it came quick enough.

Chocolate Dulce de Leche Viennese Whirls

These cookies were inspired by two of my favorite cookie recipes – these Viennese whirls and these chocolately dulce de leche bar cookies.


    Chocolate dulce de leche ganache
  • 6 oz. dark chocolate (at least 60% cocoa)
  • 6 oz. heavy whipping cream
  • 12 oz. dulce de leche
  • Cookies
  • 9 oz. unsalted butter, very soft (not European style)
  • 1 ¾ oz. confectioner’s sugar, sifted
  • ⅛ teaspoon table salt (not kosher salt)
  • 8 oz. all-purpose flour
  • 1 oz. cornstarch


  1. Make ganache: Place the chocolate and heavy whipping cream in a microwave safe bowl and microwave, stirring every 30 seconds, until completely melted (60-90 seconds). Add dulce de leche and stir until completely combined and smooth. Cover and refrigerate until spreadable consistency, about 90 minutes.
  2. Make the cookies: Preheat the oven to 375F. Line 3 baking sheets with baking parchment. Using a 2” round cutter as a guide, draw 8 circles on each sheet of paper, spaced well apart. Turn the paper over so the pencil marks are underneath.
  3. Beat the butter, confectioner’s sugar and salt in a bowl until pale and fluffy. Sift in the flour and cornstarch and beat until thoroughly mixed. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a medium star nozzle. Pipe 24 swirled rounds (not rosettes), inside the circles on the baking sheets. Refrigerate cookies for 15 minutes before baking (this will help cookies retain their shape).
  4. Bake in the center of the oven for 13—15 minutes, until pale golden-brown. Cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes then carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. Assemble: Pipe a layer of ganache onto the flat side of 12 of the cookies and sandwich with the remaining cookies. Dust with confectioner’s sugar. Enjoy!.

Chocolate dulce de leche whirls


Cookie Plate

Cookie Assortment

Gisslen’s Professional Baking recipe was the winner, with some tweaking, of course – more butter, more sugar and ¼ of the sugar switched to brown sugar. Two weeks after the initial batch, I’ve created six different cookie recipes using the same base – each passed my taste test and I’ve gained two pounds to prove it. I also shared them with the masses – coworkers and neighbors. Starting from the top of the plate:

  • Cardamom Caramel Triangles (one of my favorites, but the cardamom scares some people)
  • Almond crescents (very similar to Mexican Wedding Cookies)
  • Hungarian Apricot Disks (easy and popular) – needed a drizzle of glaze
  • Key Lime drops (also easy, but not so popular) – may try lemon next time
  • Cherry Streusel Bars (very popular with the neighbors, but the last cookies on the plate in the office)
  • Walnut Derby Cups – in center (delish, but labor intensive)

I’ve made each of these recipes at least twice, plus three additional recipes that didn’t make the cut (Coriander, Curry  & Coconut anyone?), plus more versions of butter cookie base than I can remember. I submitted the photo and descriptions to the steakhouse and suggested we a schedule a tasting.  This was the answer:

“looks delicious.. how about a choc chip??”

Really, that easy? Chocolate chip?! Ugh – back to the drawing board.

Groundhog Recipes



Last Sunday felt like the Groundhog Day for recipes. I baked seven versions of basic butter cookie dough – again and again and again. Yep, seven, all using relatively the same ingredients – all distinctly different – and not one passed the test.  Who knew finding the perfect cookie base would be so difficult?

There’s a purpose to my butter cookie baking compulsion – an excellent reason, in fact. The owner of the steakhouse where I briefly worked called me unexpectedly. He wants help with his dessert menu. Me? Me! – for his 4.9 star -rated restaurant. They are looking for a citrus dessert as well as a cookie plate, hence seven versions of basically the same cookie. Sadly, none of them hit the mark.

Here’s the lowdown:

Cookies 1-3: The cookie recipes from, Taste of Home and Good Housekeeping were all similar and didn’t stand out, perhaps from my overworked flavor receptors. Good texture, but tasting like the Wonder Bread of the cookie world. Slap some canned Birthday cake frosting and sprinkle with jimmies and we have Albertson’s Lofthouse sugar cookies with the thick, super-sweet overly colorful frosting.

Pro:        Good texture, minimal spread, versatile
Con:       No flavor

Cookie 4: A straightforward, well-textured cookie – versatile, but with barely more flavor essence than the three above. Possible save – try with more salt and possibly substitute pastry flour for APF. This recipe was from BBC Good Food.

Pro:        Similar to above, good texture minimal spread, versatile
Con:       Limited flavor – try ramping up with salt

Cookie 5: My favorite in regards to taste are these brown-sugar, crisp yet chewy delight from Cookies and Cups. These would be addicting sandwiched with a brown butter frosting or made into a nutty or chocolaty treat. Nutella sandwich cookies, anyone? I however, need The Ultimate in versatility. Nope, not going to work – but a recipe definitely worth saving. I devoured almost the entire Tupperware container of these until I felt sick. True confessions – I even shoveled a few more in my mouth after my stomach protested.

Pro:        Great flavor, minimal spread, good crispy texture
Con:       flavor may not work well with lime

Cookie 6 and re-bake 7: The recipe from Sugarywinzy has the most potential with a prominent butter taste without the limiting flavor of brown sugar. I was so hopeful this cookie would be it. It has a similar texture to the cookie from Cookies and Cups, but these cookies spread in an odd uneven manner.   My first reaction was, “user error” – I didn’t allow these to firm up enough. Unfortunately, I let them set up overnight and they did the same thing the next morning. My next move was to try a hotter oven to set them up faster. Nice try, but no dice, these cookies still spread oddly. Strangely, this recipe didn’t call for any eggs, so I may give it one more try with an egg, but I’m not hopeful.

Pro:        Great Flavor, Great versatility
Con:       Spreads unevenly

Ready to fling the cookie plate across the room and move on to the citrus dessert instead, I have three more iterations to bake this weekend: Cookie 6 with egg, Cookie 4 with salt and pastry flour…and if neither of those work…the recipe in Gisslen’s Professional Baking tome, which I probably should have made first. I have a sneaking suspicion that one is going to be the winner.

Miles to go before I sleep – after I finally decide on a base, I need to decide on the actual cookies.