Mini Cranberry Caramel & Dark Chocolate Cookie Tarts

http://cravingchronicles.com/2011/11/29/mini-cranberry-caramel-dark-chocolate-cookie-tarts/

Makes 24 or more bite-sized tarts

I had some trouble figuring out the best way to get these tarts out of the pan. Baking spray in my first, slightly less non-stick pan yielded some stuck shells that broke when I tried to get them out. Generously buttering my other very non-stick pan the second time had the shells pop right out, but left them somewhat crumble-y around the top. Whatever you do, generously grease your pan. If you have a mini cheesecake pan with removable bottoms, that would probably work best.

Ingredients

3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus 3 tablespoons
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup dark cocoa powder plus 1 tablespoon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
15 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 3/4-inch cubes, at room temperature

1/2 to 3/4 cup Cranberry Vanilla Bean Caramel

1/2 heaping cup bittersweet chocolate chips, such as Ghirardelli 60% Bittersweet Chips
3 tablespoons heavy cream

Directions

Prepare the Cranberry Vanilla Bean Caramel according to directions. Chill. Can be done up to a week ahead.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously butter or coat with baking spray one 24-cup mini muffin tin, two 12-cup mini muffin tins, or a mini cheesecake pan.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add sugar, flour, cocoa powders, baking soda and salt. With the paddle attachment, mix on low speed (with a towel over the mixer to keep the dust down) until combined. With the mixer is running on low, add butter a few pieces at a time, waiting a moment after each addition. Once all butter is added, continue to beat until sandy mixture gathers into a ball of dough.

Dump the dough out onto a floured or parchment/wax paper covered counter. Using your hands, form dough into a roughly 5 x 7-inch block. Cut block in half. Working with one half at a time, roll out dough to between 1/6 and 1/8 inch thickness. Using a 2-inch round cookie / biscuit cutter (or one slightly larger than your muffin tin cups), cut out rounds of dough. Gently place each dough round into a cup in the prepared muffin tin(s), folding over dough and smoothing sides as needed to form a shell. Gather scraps, re-roll, and cut out more circles just once. Using a small fork, lightly prick the dough at the bottom of each shell to prevent it from puffing up too much.

Bake at 350ºF for 12 minutes. Remove from oven, cool 1 minute. While tart shells are still hot, use the bottom of a slender glass (I used a shot glass) or the handle of a wooden spoon to reshape the hollow space in the shells for maximum filling space. Cool to room temperature.

With the tart shells still in the pan, spoon about 1 teaspoon of previously prepared cranberry caramel into each cup. Chill until caramel firms up. (You can speed this up by popping the whole thing in the freezer for 15-30 minutes.)

While caramel chills, make ganache. Warm chocolate chips and heavy cream in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently, until a smooth chocolate ganache forms. Remove from heat and cool for about 5 minutes.

Place a dollop of warm (not hot) ganache on top of each filled tart. Chill until ganache is firm. Tap pan upside-down to release tarts.

Refrigerate tarts until ready to serve. Can be assembled 1-2 days ahead and kept refrigerated. The tarts can be enjoyed straight out of the fridge, but are best when set out at room temperature for about an hour before serving.