Thursday, December 19, 2013

First of the Cookies to be Delivered Tomorrow

This is the typical assortment:
Thumbprints - Berry, Mocha, Almond Hearts, Fig ’n’ Flax Thumbprint Cookies, Rosemary-Kissed Orange Thumbprint Cookies, Berry-Sage Thumbprints with my friend Kat's berry jam, Lemon Basil Thumbprints

Icebox Cookies - Apricot-Walnut Triangles, Candied Ginger & Sesame Slices, Cocoa White Chocolate–Cherry Sable

Other - Brown-Butter Oatmeal Cookies, Chocolate Pretzels, Gingersnaps w/ Lemon Ginger Buttercream (I think these are my favorite), Stained Glass Trees, Maple Walnut Macarons, Cardamom Orange Spritz, Cassis Pepper Spritz w/ Black Pepper, and Dutch Windmills - Speculaas - Speculoos

Maple Walnut Macarons
 The macarons taste wonderful, which is a very good thing because they really don't look anything like real macarons. I had first time success and since then, haven't been able to get the beautiful, shiny cookies. I guess I'll have to try again. I think my big problem is that I made them way too small and overcooked them because I didn't realize they were small. I substituted most of the confectioners sugar with maple sugar and the filling is a buttercream with maple syrup and walnuts.
Gingerbread w/ lemon ginger buttercream
Gingersnaps filled with a buttercream flavored with lemon zest and candied ginger.
amaretti cookies

Shara & Alan's favorites - amaretti cookies. I learned that I shouldn't bake these on the silicon mat because it trapped too much moisture and the bottoms didn't get dry enough and they stuck pretty badly. But it did make them stick together nicely to make a sandwich.

I looked at several recipes for Speculoos and almost made the recipe from Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours By Dorie Greenspan , but settled on one from someone's blog that had the same Springerle rolling pin I had. I think it was very similar but he said to start with cold butter where I didn't listen and used room temp. One thing I didn't do well enough was sift the brown sugar and those lovely brown clumps are said sugar. I tried to pass them off as brown sugar candy bits, but couldn't lie. They still taste wonderful!
Apricot Walnut Triangles

Apricot Walnut Triangles - these are amazing. I make an apricot walnut bread and thought the combination would make a good cookie and it does. Just a simple dough - Dorie's Sable actually, and rolled the apricots & walnuts, then formed into a triangle. Refrigerated, sliced & baked. The easiest cookies.

GInger Slices
Took the other 1/2 of the Sable dough and added Garam Masala, candied ginger and rolled the logs in sesame. The candied ginger/sesame was from Smitten Kitchen. Again, slice and bake. Some were overcooked, but we managed to eat the rejects!
Another from Smitten Kitchen. Got a thing in my head for chocolate pretzels, maybe from the Balsam cookie assortments my dad used to bring home from his deli when I was a kid.

Maybe next year I'll recreate this assortment! One more kind to make - think it will need to be more slice and bakes so I can use my new cookie stencils with.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Cookie Therapy

Thursday I had a procedure done to my eye - it was icky and more traumatic than I would have thought. Next day I was almost all better, but when I got home from the appointment I relaxed for a few and then needed to do something to calm myself and be in control. Cookies came to my rescue. I had a nice time all by myself, carefully making thumbprint cookies. I realized as I was doing it that it made me feel much better about myself and not worry so much about my eye, which was hurting a bit and grossing me out. I never would have been able to concentrate on anything involving words, but working with my hands did the trick.
Rosemary Orange Thumbprints

Mocha Berry Shortbread Hearts

Lemon Basil Merlot Jelly filled Shortbread

And this weekend I got a lot more baked!
Chocolate Pretzels

Stained Glass Cookies

Cocoa Sables w/ White Chocolate & Cherries

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Brown Butter Oatmeal Cookies

There's nothing like the smell of brown butter. I love these cookies but honestly don't think they're better than just smelling the butter - not that that stopped me from eating a couple, as you can see by the picture. As I was cropping it, I noticed the 1/4 cookie left on the rack. At least I know they're good enough to share!

Friday, December 06, 2013

Holiday Cookie Time

I'm deeply immersed in everything cookies, from the Cookie Walk at church to holiday baking. First came the Hanukkah Cookies, baked with Shara & my mom.

Then we made the Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies for the Cookie Walk

The Morello Cherries from Trader Joes are so much better than marachino.

Next came the first of the Christmas Cookies. We tried our new Oxo Good Grips cookie press. I have to find out how to get the cookies to stick to the ungreased cookie sheet but when it worked, they came out nice. This is an experimental cookie - Cardamom Orange. I boiled down orange juice to add to the dough with the egg. I made it a pretty thick syrup so I don't think it made much of a difference with the texture. It's based on these Swedish Christmas Cookies.

If anyone wants to buy the press, you can get it at Amazon. I like the press itself. It cleaned very easily, the discs changed quickly and you can see the dough in the press as well as air pockets. I just have to find a recipe that will be a bit stickier maybe? It wasn't a recipe specific to a press, so I'm hoping that was the issue. I may have to try another batch!
So next on the agenda? I'm not sure but I have about 100 recipes I'd like to try. You can check out my Pinterest board of possibilities here.

Follow Laurie Lessner's board Recipes - Holiday Baking on Pinterest.