Crunchy dark chocolate cookies with a layer of matcha icing and a light sprinkle of black lava salt. Not overly sweet, these flavors make a lovely pairing!
Flashback… I was maybe about 12 years old… I had decided to make a chocolate Valentine’s Day cake. With the recipe before me, I began to gather the ingredients, but soon became puzzled as to why on Earth “salt” was an ingredient in a sweet chocolate cake. Salt belongs on fries and in soups and all things savoury, so it couldn’t possibly belong in a cake. Believing it was a misprint, I left it out.
No big deal, however – the cake still turned out just fine and I didn’t miss that salt one single bit.
But, oh, the things I’ve learned since then!! How silly was I! When they say that
Salt makes everything taste better
they aren’t kidding. Salt does make everything taste better, and not just your fries and savoury foods. A bit of salt added to chocolate, or caramel, for example, expertly enhances the sweetness, making them taste extra, extra delicious. How does it do it? Well, I don’t really know; it’s quite scientific, actually, and has something to do with the ions in the salt happily suppressing bitter flavours. Go figure!!
The Salt Box, here in Australia, knows all about salt. In fact, they have salts from all over the world available in their online shop and I think that is truly astonishing! As you can imagine, I was very flattered when the good people from The Salt Box contacted me and offered a sampling of a few of their salts.
I’m going to start out with the Hawaiian Black Lava Salt today. The Salt Box has this to say about their Black Lava Salt:
Introducing our Hawaiian Black Lava salt, a naturally derived Hawaiian sea salt which has been blended with activated charcoal derived from coconut shells. Its grain makes it easy to use and its presence known, but in a subtle way. Well, as subtle as you can be when you are as beautiful as this salt is.
They recommend this salt be paired with red meat, fish, potatoes, fruit and buttered popcorn, to name a few, but I’ve decided to pair it with something a bit sweeter.
Crunchy dark chocolate cookies… sweet matcha icing… yes, indeed, a touch of salt will work wonderfully here.
I’m just going to come right out and say it. I love this salt. It’s as black as the blackest night, and gave these cookies, which, admittedly, are not overly sweet to begin with, a gorgeous subtle hint of saltiness. Even my 13-year-old daughter fell in love with them!
The original recipe comes from good old BraveTart. I tweaked it by adding matcha to the filling and, of course, the addition of the Black Lava Salt. The matcha flavor was not strong at all, which was slightly disappointing for me, but the cookies still tasted amazing.
The dark chocolate cookies themselves are thin, delicate and crunchy, just like a real Oreo. The filling, while soft and creamy when first prepared, firms up quickly and sets, again, just like a real Oreo. The overall recipe is easy to prepare, and relatively quick. If you don’t have any matcha, or Black Lava Salt, on hand, then it is still worth making the recipe – just leave those two ingredients out, of course!
Hmm… now what can I make with the other salts I received? Stay tuned to find out!
Remember, if you are in need of matcha, I highly recommend Matcha Me. I used the Original Culinary Matcha in this recipe. You can still receive your 20% discount when using my special code SWEETEST at checkout when shopping at Matcha Me! Yay!
- For the cookies:
- 115g unsalted butter, room temperature
- 100g caster sugar
- 3 tablespoons (55g) golden syrup
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ⅛ slightly rounded teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon coconut extract (optional)
- 165g plain flour
- 35g Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- For the filling:
- 170g unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch of fine sea salt
- 240g icing sugar
- 1 slightly rounded teaspoon matcha powder (optional)
- Hawaiian Black Lava Salt, to taste (optional)
- For the cookies: Place butter, sugar, golden syrup, baking soda, salt, and coconut extract (if using) in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed to combine, then increase speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes, pausing to scrape the bowl as necessary.
- In a separate bowl, sift together the flour and cocoa powder. With mixer running on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture into the butter mixture. It will seem dry and mealy at first, but continue mixing to form a smooth dough. Turn the mixer off, remove the bowl from the stand mixer and use your hands to knead the dough against the side of the bowl to form a smooth ball (I removed the dough and simply kneaded it with my hands in mid-air!).
- Divide the dough in half and flatten into disks. Use immediately or wrap in plastic and refrigerate for up to 1 week; soften cold dough 30 minutes at room temperature, then knead on a bare surface until pliable and smooth.
- Preheat oven to 180C (160C fan-forced).
- Roll one portion of the dough out between two sheets of baking paper to 3mm thick. Cut out rounds using a 5cm (approximately) cookie cutter (I stamped my rounds with a cookie stamp after cutting).
- Note that I needed to differ from the recipe here. The raw dough was too soft to transfer from my cutting area to the baking sheet. I needed to chill the dough in the freezer for 5-10 minutes before I could transfer the cut dough without it becoming misshapen.
- Arrange the cut rounds of dough on a baking paper-lined baking sheet, leaving approximately 1cm between cookies. Gather the scraps, knead, re-roll, and cut as before. Repeat with all the remaining dough. Keep in mind, you may need to chill the rolled dough before cutting if you find it is too soft.
- Bake until the cookies are firm and dry, about 10-15 minutes (careful not to over-bake, as they are thin and can burn easily). Cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes, then carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before filling. Fill immediately or store in an airtight container for up to 1 week at room temperature.
- For the filling: Before making the filling, flip half the chocolate cookies upside down so they can be filled immediately after preparing the filling, as it will quickly set. Keep the other half in reserve.
- Sift together the icing sugar and matcha powder in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Place butter in a small saucepan and set over medium heat. Melt completely and bring to a simmer, stirring with a heat-resistant spatula, while butter hisses and pops. If the butter starts to brown, reduce heat to low. Continue cooking and stirring until butter falls silent, then strain into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
- Add vanilla and salt, followed by the icing sugar mixture. Mix on low to combine, then increase speed to medium and beat until creamy and soft, about 5 minutes.
- Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a 1.3mm (approximately) tip and immediately pipe the filling onto the upside down cookies. This icing will set very quickly, so you cannot make it in advance! Use approximately 1 tablespoon per cookie, sprinkle over a few flakes of the black lava salt and immediately top with a reserved cookie, gently squashing it down against the filling until it reaches the edges.
- Let the cookies set for about 30 minutes before enjoying. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week at room temperature, 1 month in the refrigerator, or 3 months in the freezer. Let chilled cookies come to room temperature before serving.
I was all out of golden syrup so I substituted with malt syrup.