Mocha Cinnamon Shortbread Squares


Shortbread is a rich buttery eggless cookie which originated in Scotland.Nowadays Shortbread comes in a number of flavors, but I love the combination here, chocolatey ,spicy with a hint of coffee. These tender ,crisp treats are sure to be a hit any time they are served.

Gourmet Magazine

1 stick  (1/2 cup ) unsalted butter ,softened

1/2 cup plus 2 tbs confectioners sugar

1 cup all purpose flour

1 tbs instant espresso powder

1 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder

1/8 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

2 oz bitter sweet chocolate , chopped

Preheat oven to 350*F and butter an 8 inch square baking pan.

In a bowl with an electric mixer beat butter with sugar until light and fluffy.

In another bowl whisk together flour ,espresso powder ,cocoa powder ,salt and cinnamon. Beat flour mixture into butter mixture until combined.

On a lightly floured surface knead dough about 5 times until it just comes together. Press dough evenly into prepared pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes.

Cool shortbread in pan for 10 minutes. Loosen edges with a sdharp knife and invert onto a cooling rack. Cut into 9 squares.

In a metal bowl over a pan of simmering water melt chocolate and drizzle over shortbread. Leave to cool completely.

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Buttery Eggless Pistachio balls


I love a pale cookie spekled attractively with the green from pistachios, besides ,honestly these are one of my two favorite cookies!!! Garnish these beauties with a light dusting of powdered sugar prior to serving. Makes about 48 cookies

source Better Homes and Gardens

1/2 cup of blanched toasted almonds finely ground

3/4 cup butter ,at room temperature

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 tbs water

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup finely chopped pistachio

Halved pistachio nuts ,rubbed to remove the dark outer skin, for garnish

Powder sugar for garnish

Preheat oven to 325*F

In a medium bowl beat butter with electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add granulated sugar , beat till just combined. Beat in the water and vanilla. Turn mixer to low and stir in the flour. Stir in the ground almonds and chopped pistachios.

Roll dough into 1 inch balls. Place balls on an ungreased cookie sheet, place a pistachio half  on top of each ball.

Bake for 16 to 18 minutes or until bottoms are light brown. transfer to a wire cooling rack. Sift powdered sugar over cooled cookies.

Grand Marnier tulies , Le Cordon Bleu


Everything about these delicate , elegant cookies screams French. Tuile ,is the French word for tile . These cookies are slightly rounded to represent the tiles found on many european and Mediterranean homes roofs. I love to serve these along side a fresh fruit sorbet or perhaps as part of a  fruit and ice cream platter , especially if I have vegetarian friends over . Oh , did I metion they are eggless!!!

2  1/4 fl oz orange juice

Zest of 1 orange

1 3/4 Grand Marnier

8 oz superfine sugar

3 1/4 oz unsalted butter, melted and cooled

6 1/2 oz almonds ,finely chopped

4 oz All purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 375 *F. Brush two baking trays with melted butter and refridgerate. Keep a rolling pin ready to help shape the cookies when baked.

Place Orange juice and zest , Grand Marnier and sugar in a bowl. Stir in the melted butter, chopped almonds and flour.

Drop a level teaspoon of mixture on to a baking tray and flatten slightly with a spoon.

Using a damp fork , evenly spread the mixture out so that it is very thin.

Bake for about 5 minutes. ONE TRAY AT A TIME ONLY.

Remove tuiles from tray while still hot and place on a rolling pin briefly , to shape. Transfer to a wire rack  to cool.

Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Snowballs


When the holidays roll around and the snow starts falling I am reminded of these deicious , melt in your mouth ,cookies from Carole Walter . I think I have often mentioned my great admiration for her teaching skills and recipe precision. These cookies rolled twice in powdered sugar ,air dried and last about 3 weeks stored in an airtight container ,making them ideal for gift giving ,shipping or just a treat to have on hand.

Makes 32   1  1/2 inch cookies

1  1/4 cups pecans

2 cups all purpose flour ,divided , spooned in and leveled

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter ,at room temperature

2 tbs strained confectioners’ sugar

1 tbs cold water

2 tsp pure vanilla

1  1/2 cups strained confectioners’ sugar spooned in and leveled ,for coating

MAKE THE DOUGH

Place the pecans and 1/4 cup of the flour in a bowl of a food of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse 5 or 6 times, then process 8 to 10 seconds or until the pecans are chopped medium fine. Add the remaining 1  1/4 cups flour and the salt and pulse 2 or 3 times ,just to combine.

In a large bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment ,mix the on medium low speed until creamy and lightened in color. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the 2 tbs confectioners’ sugar., 1 tbs cold water ,and the vanillaand continue to mix on low speed, scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Add the flour nut mixture in three additions ,mixing JUST until combined. DO NOT OVERMIX. Remove the bowl from the mixer ,cover with plastic wrap and chill the dough for at least 30 minutes.

BAKE THE COOKIES

Position the shelves in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Heat the oven to 325*F. Line the pans with parchment.

Form the dough into 1  1/4 inch balls and set about 2 inches apart. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes or just until cookies begin to brown lightly on the bottom. Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes, then carefully loosen with a thin metal spatula.

SUGAR THE COOKIES

Place the 1  1/2 cups of confectioners’ sugar in a large ,shallow dish, while the cookies are still warm.,roll in the sugar ,coating each heavily. Handle gently; they are very fragile. When the first coating of sugar is complete, roll the cookies a second time. Place on wire cooling racks and let air dry for several hours.

STORAGE

Store in an airtight containerlayered in between strips of wax paper for up to 3 weeks. These cookies maybe frozen.

Buckingham Palace Shortbread


Shortbread is a simple pleasure I cannot resist,it’s delicious with tea,great as a gift and the aromas wafting from the kitchen while baking make everything feel warm,fuzzy and comfortable. I discovered this recipe in a book by Sara Perry,where she claims this very recipe is prepared for the Queen’s afternoon tea.

2 cups cake flour

3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup unsalted butter,at room temperature

1/3 cup granulated sugar

up to 1/4 cup superfine sugar for sprinkling  (or granulated sugar whirled in a blender until fine,about 20 seconds)

In a medium bowl,whisk together the flour,cornstarch,and salt until well blended.

In a stand mixer set on medium speed,beat the butter until creamy. Beat in the granulated sugar until light and fluffy,about 2 minutes,scraping down the sides and bottom of bowl as neccessary. On low speed,add flour mixture in 2 to 3 additions until it forms a soft dough. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven for 30 minutes. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or leave ungreased.

On a lightly floured surface,roll the dough out to 3/4 inch   thick slab,about 5 by 8 inches. transfer to the baking sheet and bake until lightly golden and firm to the touch,about 40 minutes. Slip the parchment with the shortbread onto a hard surface,immediately sprinkle the shortbread with the superfine sugar. While still warm ,use the ruler and a paring knife ,pointed straight down,to cut the shortbread into 1 or to 11/2 inch pieces. Let cool completly. The shortbread tastes best at room temperature.

The best chocolate chip recipe


This recipe was recently sent to me by a cooking group member called Donna. This is her mother’s old recipe and she calls it the best,with good reason. With the holidays around the corner I am always seeking to satisfy the sweet tooth of both children and aldults and,I believe ,this is the perfect medium…who does not love Chocolate chip cookies? Thanks Donna.

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1 cup butter,at room temperature

1 large egg,at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla

21/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup coarsely chopped nuts(optional)

1 package (12 oz) semi sweet chocolate chips (2 cups)

Heat oven to 375 degrees

Mix sugars,butter and egg in large bowl with large bowl until blended.

In small bowl,mix dry ingredients together. Mix dry ingredients into batter (dough will be stiff). With a wooden spoon stir in chocolate chips and nuts(if using).

Drop dough by rounded tablespoons about 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until very light brown (centers will be soft). Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet. Cool on a wire rack.

Chocolate Almond Florentines


When living in NYC I had the privilage and sheer delight of having desert at Grimble’s owned by Sylia Hirsch. Everything there was delicious and fresh. She was one of the suppliers of NYC Carlyle hotel,Park lane hotel and Macy’s. How can you go wrong.

Cookie sheet ,buttered

1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup ight cream

1/3 cup light corn syrup

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup flour,sifted

1 cup blanched coarsely grated almonds

1/3 cup diced candied orange peel.

CHOCOLATE ICING

21/2 oz  semi sweet chocolate

3 tablespoons extra -strong coffee

1 tablespoon butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

In a saucepan,combine the sugar,cream,syrup,and butter over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Increase the heat and boil until the temperature reaches 238 degrees F on a candy thermometer.

Remove from heat and add the sifted flour,grated almonds and diced orange peel. Blend well and drop by teaspoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheet, about 21/2 inches apart. Bake in preheated oven for 8-10 minutes. The cookies will be brown. Remove from oven and cool 1-2 minutes,until set enough to lift from pan. Remove from pan and place on rack to cool.

To make icing: In a saucepan ,combine the chocolate,coffee,and butter over low heat,stirring until the chocolate is dissolved. Remove from heat and place a teaspoon or more on top of each florentine to ice. Chocolate will set.

Makes 24026 cookies