Thanks Peta for the challenge!
1/2 tsp baking powder
80gr butter, room temperature
150gr brown sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
50gr cocoa powder
30gr tia maria
1/2tsp instant coffee
as preferred vanilla
1/2 cup powdered sugar for dusting
Shift flour, cocoa and baking powder together,melt the chocolate in a bain marie and cream the butter with the sugar until soft. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and add the melted chocolate while mixing with the paddle attachment. Dissolve the coffee powder in the milk, combine it with the liquor and vanilla and pour the liquid in the batter. Add the flour mixture, beat until the ingredients are fully combined, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours. Then, while the dough is still cold shape 3.5cm-diameter balls and roll them in powdered sugar until completely covered. Finally simply place the balls on a lined tray and bake at a preheated oven to 180C for 15min.
The original recipe calls for about 260gr marzipan as the inner coating and shape of the branches, however preferring chestnuts I include chestnut paste in the recipe instead. As for the filling, if using cake instead of cookie crumbs reduce the water down to as few as 15gr water. In either case adjust the amount of liquid aiming to a smooth consistency.
Cookie dough filling (for 15 pastries)
450gr cookie crumbs
35gr almonds or walnuts, crushed fine
85gr melted chocolate
400gr boiled and peeled chestnuts
30gr powdered sugar
approximately 70gr simple syrup
300gr dark coating chocolate, melted
1/4 cup powdered sugar
For the cookie dough filling first heat the liquor with the raisins and macerate for a few hours. Then grind leftovers of baked cookies in a blender -or omit this step if only using cake scraps- and mix them with water using the paddle attachment and adjusting the amount of liquid to achieve a smooth mixture. If the raisins are still quite dry and hard, chop them coarsely in a food processor and add them to the mixture along with the liquor and nuts. While beating, pour in the melted chocolate and as soon as it has been incorporated, wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate until hard. For the chestnut paste, process the boiled chestnuts with the powdered sugar in a food processor and add as much simple syrup as needed for the paste to be moist and pliable enough. When ready, divide the filling into 3 pieces, roll each one to a 38cm-long rope and cut them to 5 cylinders 7,6cm-long. For each individual log use 21gr of chestnut paste to cover its round surface and since rolling is not useful make the layer by attaching around the filling and spreading four stripes of paste. With some of the remaining paste make 15 9mm-thick and 2cm-long cylinders (branches) and cut them in half at an angle. With the rest of the paste shape mushroom cups and stems. Melt the chocolate and with either the logs or the branches cold use some chocolate as glue to stick the oblique side of each branch with a log. In a similar way assemble the mushrooms. As soon as the branches are well attached ad stable,dip the logs in chocolate, drain of as much as possible and use a knife not only to remove the excess couverture but also to create a wooden texture. Before the chocolate has completely set, place the mushrooms and optionally decorate with chocolate leaves. Finally dip the circular sides in powdered sugar.