Posts Tagged 'cookies'

Almond Macaroons a la Martha Stewart

The second type of almond macaroon that I made was considerably simpler and had a finer texture. Definitely a good cookie to sip some tea with…light, crisp and chewy.

The almond paste I purchased for this recipe came in a can. I bought this type because it was an 8 oz can, and the recipe called for 4 oz. I simply used half the can. Now, if I had a digital food scale, I wouldn’t have to guesstimate this stuff!

Add the powdered sugar and salt. Blend until crumbly.

Please use your stand mixer if you have one. I had to cut this in with a pastry cutter and then finish it off with my electric hand mixer…

Add the egg white and vanilla. Blend until smooth.

Drop tablespoons of the batter onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, topping each one with two slivered almonds. This batter will make EXACTLY 12 cookies. No more, no less.

Bake for 20 minutes at 300 degrees, until the cookies are slightly golden.

Let them cool completely. You can just slide the entire parchment onto a wire rack.

You can dust them with powdered sugar for serving, but I didn’t. Also, if you’re going to store these, make sure you put parchment paper between the layers of cookies or they will stick to eachother!

Almond Macaroons
Recipe from Martha Stewart Living

4 ounces almond paste (about 5 1/2 tablespoons)
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more for dusting
Pinch of coarse salt
1 large egg white
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Put almond paste, sugar, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until crumbly, about 3 minutes. Add egg white and vanilla. Mix until smooth and thickened, about 3 minutes.

Drop batter by tablespoons onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, spacing 2 inches apart. Place 2 almond slices on each mound of dough. Bake until cookies are golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Just before serving, lightly dust cookies with sugar. Cookies can be stored between layers of parchment in airtight containers at room temperature up to 3 days

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Almond Macaroons

Our dear co-worker, John, was leaving us to pursue a graduate degree up north. For his farewell, a potluck lunch was organized. I asked him what baked good I could whip up for him and he replied with Almond Macaroons.

I didn’t know what those were, and I was desperately hoping he wasn’t referring to French macarons. I hadn’t quite mastered that art just yet.

I found two recipes: one from Martha Stewart and another from Cook’s Illustrated. The latter being the MUCH more popular one…I thought I’d document it first.

Place 6 oz of blanched slivered almonds in the bowl of a food processor.

Pulse until roughly chopped.

Add 1-1/4 cups of granulated sugar.

Pulse until finely ground.

Almond paste can be found in the baking aisle of some grocery stores (I got mine from Kroger’s). It looks like this and comes in a 7 oz package. Coincidentally, that’s exactly how much you’ll need for this recipe.

Crumble it into the food processor.

Again, pulse until you have a uniform mixture.

I transferred this into a large mixing bowl for the next steps because my food processor is impossibly tiny, but if you’ve got a full-sized one, please continue in there.

Add the egg whites, Amaretto, & extract. If you’re not using Amaretto, you don’t need to add anything to substitute for it!

I mixed this with an electric hand mixer (Yes, I know. I am ill-equipped for someone who loves to bake.) Mix until it forms a ball.

The recipe tells you to let this sit for 20 minutes, but my oven is hot and my apartment is small, so I’d wait for maybe 5 minutes and proceed. 🙂

I used my small disher to scoop out level tablespoons of dough onto my parchment-lined baking sheets. Of course, you can just use spoons.

Bake for 20 minutes at 325 degrees. At the 10-minute mark, rotate your pans 180 degrees and then swap racks if you’re baking two sheets at a time to ensure an even golden color.

Promptly remove them from the oven once golden and let them cool on the parchment. I slid the entire parchment onto the counter to make sure they didn’t continue to cook on the hot baking sheet.

They’ll be crisp on the outside and chewy in the center.

Farewell John!

Almond Macaroons

6 oz blanched almond, silvered
1-¼ cups sugar, granulated
7 oz almond paste (NOT Marzipan!)
3 egg whites from 3 large eggs
1 tablespoons Amaretto (optional)
1 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cover two cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside. You can also use silicone baking mats.

Place almonds into the bowl of a food processor and process until roughly chopped. Add the sugar and continue to process until the almonds are finely ground. Crumble in the almond paste and continue to process until the paste is pulverized and you have a fairly uniform mixture.

Add the egg whites, extract, and Amaretto and continue to process until the dough is smooth and begins to form into a ball at the edge of the processor blades.

Remove from the food processor and allow mixture to stand for 20 minutes.

Drop level tablespoons of the mixture onto your prepared parchment paper leaving about 1-½ inches of space between each cookie. You can also use a disher, ice cream scooper, or roll them a bit with your hands.

Bake for 20 minutes, rotating the cookie sheets top to bottom and 180 degrees during the baking process. The cookies should be golden all over, but not too dark.

Remove cookies from the oven and allow to cool completely on the parchment paper. Makes 3 dozen cookies.

TIPS:

1.You must have a food processor to make thise recipe. It’s blades are sharp enough to cut through those almonds. A blender would just make almond butter.

2. You could buy whole blanched almonds, but slivered is better so your food processor doesn’t have to do so much work.

3. DO NOT skip on the parchment paper or silicone baking mats. You will regret it if you do. The cookies will spread and/or stick and that would very very, very sad.

4. To make them extra fancy-schmancy, a drizzle of dark chocolate would be sublime! (Because I can’t leave well enough alone!)

Homemade Oreos and Thin Mints

I saw this picture in a Food Network newsletter and I knew what I’d be doing this weekend!

The recipe was given by Trois Pommes Bakery in New York. It is definitely a keeper!

Here are some of my observations:

It calls for Dutch process cocoa powder, which isn’t sold in regular grocery stores, so I headed over to Whole Foods and picked some up for a hefty $8.99. I figured I shouldn’t try to substitute regular cocoa powder and mess up the recipe. Wondering what’s the big difference? Here’s your answer.

It doesn’t say “Dutch Process” on the box. It just says imported from Holland. Here’s a picture of what it looks like:

It says to only re-reoll the scraps once, but I did it maybe 3 or 4 times to use up all the dough…no big deal. (Especially since I spent $9 on the cocoa powder!!)

It says the recipe yields 64 cookies or 32 when sandwiched together. I got about 100, probably because of all the re-rolling I did.

I used a 2-inch round cookie cutter like the recipe suggested, but I think a smaller bite-sized one would be better.

I used my linzer cookie cutter set (just the heart) to make decorative imprints in the cookies. Since the cookies don’t rise, you can take a lot of creative liberty here. You could use rubber stamps (with not too much detail) or even just prick them with the tines of a fork.

It also says to space them 2 inches apart on the cookie sheets. This is totally unnecessary since they don’t spread. You can just space them 1 centimeter apart!

Here are all the cookies: plain round, imprinted round, and round with fluted edge.

Since Girl Scout cookie season ends on March 29th, I thought this would be a good time to experiment with making Thin Mints. I melted some Andes Mint chips in the microwave and dipped all the ones with a fluted edge.

I sandwiched the rest with the creme filling:

The final product!

They don’t really look like the ones in the Food Network picture, but hey, I am really proud of them!!

Valentine’s Day 2009, Part Trois (last one!)

Project 3: Alfajores

Many of my co-workers are Argentineans. I have also traveled to Argentina for work and I couldn’t help but notice the Starbucks-like popularity of these Havanna Cafes. These chic cafes, nestled on every corner in Buenos Aires, peddle rich espressos and delicious confections.

One confection in particular, alfajores, are extremely popular. You can’t leave Argentina without a box of these. They are shortbread-like cookies filled with dulce de leche and coated in chocolate, coconut, or meringue. The Havanna variety are wrapped in regal, gold wrappers…Think, the Rolls-Royce of Hostess Ding Dongs.

I tried my hand at making these, with a Valentine’s flair, of course.

I used this recipe I found on the net, but any shortbread recipe would do. I would also highly recommend the “semi-homemade” version of making rolled cookies by kneading 1/4 C. of all-purpose flour into one tube of sugar cookie dough. I got that idea from Giada. It yields an ever-so-slightly-cakey cookie that is just sweet enough. Plus, they really keep their shape while baking; no need for spacing them out because they don’t spread!

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For the dulce de leche, I was fortunate enough to find it in the international foods aisle of my local grocery store, but you can easily make it by boiling a can of condensed milk for hours and hours. Instructions found here.

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I dipped them half way in semi-sweet chocolate melted in a double boiler.

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Place them on a platter and adorn with wrapped chocolates and watch them disappear!

They were a HUGE hit and even the Argentineans raved about them. I will definitely make these again, maybe with a fluted round cookie cutter next time…