Welcome back, folks!
Glad to see you’re back just in time for another round of themes from Fandom Foodies. Are you ready for the nompocalpse?
…Perhaps I asked that a little too casually. I said: “ARE YOU READY FOR THE NOMPOCALPSE?!!111one”
This month’s theme, hosted by Heather over at Food n’ Flix, pits a rag-tag recipe-creators together to evolve a broad range of culinary mutations inspired by the X-MEN! Hit up her link-up by clicking here, or make up your own contribution, link it, and share it under the hashtag #XMenu.
I grew up on cartoons in the nineties, just in time for X-Men the Animated Series to capture my imagination and my heart. I remember making up X-badges and Jean Grey‘s headdress with notebook paper as a kid to save the world with my playground friends, using a thinking pose and MIND BULLETS! These days I’ve started using different crafting materials…
For today’s recipe, I want to talk about a particular, smooth-talkin’ southerner, Remy Lebeau, more commonly known as Gambit. This New Orleans babe from the bayou is a true trickster with a tarnished heart of gold and a hand of cards that could either foretell your fate or make you meet it. If you find yourself on his good side, he’ll be your Knave of Hearts. Otherwise, the card he may draw on you will literally blow up in your face in a blazing explosion of kinetic energy.
While I may have married my own personal Scott Summers, there is something about that Cajun accent that still gives me shivers. Charm, loyalty, and eyes that smolder…
Uh…I might need a minute…
In the meantime, why don’t I introduce today’s recipe: Gambit’s Smokin’ Aces — a chocolate cookie sandwich spiced with cayenne and stuffed with smooth and smokey bourbon buttercream.
So I feel like the spirit of Gambit may have guided me in developing this recipe over the years, the spirit of taking a gamble and somehow winning, that is. Originally I came up with the concept of making a cayenne-spiced chocolate cake with a scotch-sugar glaze. Not too long later, my friends were hosting a cookie swap. The cake turned into cookies, scotch turned into bourbon, and sugar turned into caramel. Through fire, small financial stakes, and lack of patience, I took a gamble and came out with something downright delicious.
The spirit finally came forward with a name a few months later when I was baking up my entry for Battle and Brew‘s first cookie competition. I was ambitious in my efforts to create a cookie inspired by the whole meal gum from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Hours of research, ingredients, and effort culminated into a bland, almost flavorless result. It was late, and I was desperate.
I ended up churning out a batch of that delicious chocolate cookie at the last minute, somehow having all the ingredients already in stock. I needed a name to fit the geeky nature of the competition, so I went to the internet, and I found that name: Gambit. It was a gamble — a gamble I won with Gambit’s “Ragin’ Cajun” Cookies. I still have my prize kitchen canisters.
Fast forward to now when I thought I would make it up again, this time taking more care into fitting the cookie to my subject. Since roux in Cajun cuisine tends use bacon fat instead of butter as its base, I decided to use a mix of both in my cookie batter. I also decided to make rectangles instead of rounds so they would be reminiscent of playing cards. I had this all together, I thought.
Little did I know that Mr. Lebeau had another thing in store for me.
In my hubris and rush to get ready for my good friend Katharina‘s tea party, I thought that I already had all my ingredients in stock. It turns out I did not have any heavy cream. I still had time, though, as my personal Scott Summers flew to the grocery store to aid me.
Halfway through baking, I tried one of the cookies, and my heart fell. The heat was overwhelming, and they were too dry. In my rush, I had forgotten to add eggs to the dough. That’s when my husband brought up an interesting point: maybe Gambit wants Oreos.
That was when this recipe took on its final gamble and mutation. Instead of making up my standard bourbon caramel icing, I instead whipped up a molasses buttercream with bourbon, vanilla, and just a hint of liquid smoke.
The evolution was complete, and it was excellent. I had made the perfect hand of spicy, smooth, spicy, and smoldering with enough chocolate and bacon flavor to sweep me off my feet. So try a hand with this gambling man. This recipe is certainly a gamble that will let the good times roll. Aiiee!
Please also check what else is on the #XMenu over at Food n’ Flix!
Gambit's Smokin' Ace Card Cookies
Equipment: Stand mixer, butter knife, baking sheets, rolling pin, parchment paper, oven, cooling rack, spatula, card suit cookie stencils (optional).
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup bacon fat
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons bourbon
- 2 cups flour
- 1 cup cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup molasses
- 3 tablespoons bourbon
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2-3 dashes liquid smoke
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350° F.
- Cream the butter and sugars in the stand mixer until fluffy. Pour in the bourbon and blend.
- Stir the cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt together in a separate bowl, then add to the wet ingredients. Blend very well.
- Gradually add the flour to the batter until stiff dough forms and all the flour is incorporated.
- Divide the dough into four portions. Take a portion out of the bowl and place on your lightly floured work area. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a towel to keep it moist.
- Roll the dough into a large rectangle about 1/4″ thick. Cut a rectangle about 2″x1.75″ using a butter knife. Use the dough card as a pattern to cut more rectangles until you run out of dough. Place the dough rectangles on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Repeat with the remaining dough portions.
- Bake each sheet of cookies about 8-9 minutes in the oven. Let cookies cool on a cooling rack.
- Clean the stand mixer bowl and beater while the cookies are baking/cooling.
- Add all the ingredients for the icing to the bowl and beat until smooth.
- Separate the cooled cookies into pairs. Spread a layer of icing onto the rough side of one cookie of each pair with a spatula, and top it rough-side down with the other cookie. Repeat with the rest of the cookie pairs.
- Refrigerate about 15-30 minutes to set the icing.
- Optional step: Use the cookie stencil (following stencil instructions) to make suit symbols on the top of each cookie. Refrigerate the cookies again to set the icing.