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Christmas Cookie Project: Linzer Cookies

23 Dec

With 2 more days till Christmas, I decided to switch gears and make some cookies.  There are lots of cookies outside and I wanted to make some traditional cookies for Christmas.  This time I decided to make some Linzer cookies.

To make the linzer cookies, I first toasted up some hazelnuts and grounded them.  I then creamed the butter and sugar.  Once the butter/sugar mixture was nice fluffy and incorporated, the eggs and vanilla were added.  Continue mixing and add the salt.  Next came the dry ingredients.  Add the cake flour, cinnamon, bread crumbs, baking powder and hazelnuts.   Mix and form ball with the dough and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Roll out the dough and cut with cookie cutters.

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Bake at 350 for 8 to 10 minutes.  Spoon jam onto the cookies without the holes and coat with icing sugar on the cookies with holes.

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Linzer Cookie Ingredients  (Culinary Institute of America)

3 sticks unsalted butter

1 1/4 cups sugar

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

pinch salt

2 eggs

3 cups cake flour

2 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

2 cups bread crumbs

2 1/2 cups hazelnuts

Confectioner’s sugar for coating

Raspberry jam for filling

Result:  These cookies were light and crispy.  Delicious and beautiful.  Perfect for gift giving.

Happy Holidays!!!

Chinese Walnut Cookies

2 Jul

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Chinese Walnut Crackers
2 cups cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
7 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten and divided in half
3/4 cup finely chopped toasted walnuts, plus 12 raw walnut halves

Home made-Bouchon Better Nutters

23 Jan

Boo hoo….I think I just threw my New Years Resolution out the window!!!!! My stomach is going to laugh at me again. You and your resolutions as it says.

Big surprise….Baking again. It has been a couple of weeks in which I did not bake and write on this blog and as a result I am craving some baked goods again. Don’t know why but recently I have been craving cookies again especially after work. I have been going to some local bakeries for some cookies to satisfy my cravings. While standing and pondering over the bakery counter and admiring the goodies, salivating no doubt, the peanut butter cookie stood out at me. Really…. I am Pavlov’s puppy. Better yet I must be related to Homer Simpson except I grow weak at the knees for cookies instead of doughnuts.
MMMMM…peanut butter goodness. Crunchy on the outside and creamy on the inside. I would have gone back for more but that was when I recalled the Bouchon Book had a recipe for the Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookie called the Better Nutters. Made it I did.

Prior to making the cookie, I studied the recipe first. Unlike most peanut butter cookies, Thomas Keller uses oats in his cookies. He also uses vanila paste in the dough as well. I think he is trying to achieve crunchiness.

To make the cookie, fist measure the dry ingredients such as flour, baking power and soda and combine them into a bowl. Oatmeal and peanuts were next measured. Once the dry ingredients were measured, combine the peanut butter and butter and beat until creamy and light. Add the brown sugar once the peanut butter mixture is fluffy. Next add the egg and vanilla paste to the peanut butter mixture. Mix until every ingredient is well blended. Add the dry ingredients next. Alternate with flour, oatmeal and peanuts into the mixture. The dough will be soft once all the ingredients are added. To harden the dough, Keller mentioned to place the dough into the fridge for about an hour to harden. Once the dough is hardened, bring out the dough and roll out. Use a circular cookie cutter and cut out the cookies. Bake them at 325F for 12-15 minutes.

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In this version, I used a simplified peanut butter butter cream. Creaming together peanut butter, icing sugar and butter, I piped the icing onto the cookies and assembled them.

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Better Nutters

peanut halves 30 grams
all purpose flour 198 grams
Baking Soda 9.1 grams-1 3/4 teasp. + 1/8 teasp.
Baking Powder 3.8 grams
Unsalted Butter 210 grams
Creamy Peanut Butter 86 grams
Light Brown Sugar 106 grams
Eggs 54 grams- 1 large egg
Vanilla Paste 8.5 grams ( I used vanilla extract)
Oatmeal 106 grams

Result: This recipe is a keeper as it really as crunchy on the outside and creamy on the inside. As an alternative and spice things up next time, I will add jam to the cookies.

Happy Baking!!!!

Christmas!!!

25 Dec

Christmas is finally here. Vancouver is beautiful with the snow capped mountains. I am typing this while I munch on dimsum. Been baking up a storm in anticipation of the holidays this year. I made chocolates and cookies for gifts and finally hosted my first chrismtas cookie exchange. A memorable Christmas to remember with all the work involved.

First off, I made some roasted pistachio truffles

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Pistachio Truffles
Pistachios
Cream
White Chocolate
Butter

Coconut Truffles
Toasted Coconut
White Chocolate
Cream
Butter

To make truffles, first chop the chocolate into pieces. Next boil the cream and when the cream has boiled pour into the chocolate. Stir until the cream and chocolate become mixed together and develops a sheen. Add the butter and cool to set. Once set use a spoon or mellon baller to scoop out ball sized ganache. Dip into melted chocolate and set. Once set dip the chocolates again and into the toasted pistachio or coconut.

Next I made some Chocolate Kisses or Baci di cioccolato. To make these cookies, hazelnuts were toasted and ground finley. The dry ingredients were next measured and set aside. I then creamed the butter and icing sugar until light and fluffy. Once fluffy, the rum and vanilla was added in and mixed. Finally the dry ingredients, such as flour, salt, baking powder, cocoa, nuts were added in. At first the cookie batter seemed dry but once some kneeding and squeezing the ball of dough came together. Using a spoon, spoon out the dough and roll into spheres. Roll into granulated sugar. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes.

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Chocolate Kisses (Baci Di Cioccolato)

1/2 cup whole blanced almonds ( I used hazelnuts)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar plus more for rolling
1 1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teasp. baking powder
1/2 teasp. salt
1 cup unsalted butter softened
1 cup icing sugar
2 teasp. vanilla
1 tablespoon dark rum

The truffles and cookies came out well. The Chocolate kisses had a subtle hazelnut flavour to them and is a keeper. I definitely chose the right cookies to give as gifts.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!

Pistachio Sables

26 Oct

Cookies again. Nothing warms the heart like freshly baked cookies and the aromas when done mmmmmmm…….
This time I decided to make sables. I first fell in love with the cookie after tasting it at Thomas Haas Pastry but learned to make it on my own. The cookie is quite light and crispy in comparison to the other cookies nonetheless it contains the same key ingredients as found in most cookies. Flour, separated egg, salt, butter, nuts, icing sugar and baking powder were the key ingredients.

To make the cookie, instead of creaming the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy, I decided to experiment with the method of pate sucre or biscuit dough where you combine the butter and flour and for lack of a better word sand between the hands until finley ground. Next came the icing sugar and continue to mix until I resembles loose sand. Add the baking power and vanilla to the mixture as the next step. The mixture will look like powder, nice and dry. Finally add in the yolk as a binding ingredient. The dough will be crumbly but mix well into a ball.

One could then roll the ball into a log to slice into rounds but I found it too dry. More importantly you could not acheive perfectly round cookies seen at pastry shops. I referred to Sadaharu Aoki’s tip. Unlike slicing the dough like ice box cookies, he rolled out the dough and used a round cookie cutter to cut out the cookies. Perfection, now I have round cookies!!!! Yippee 🙂 As a finishing touch, I brushed the white on top.

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Bake at 325F for 15-20 minutes.

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Pistachio Sables adapted from here

3/4 cup Pistachio (3 oz), toasted and cooled
2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons confectioners sugar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 large egg, separated
Special equipment: a 2-inch round cookie cutter

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Happy Cookie Baking.

Bouchon Oatmeal Cookies

27 Apr

Cookies….mmmmm….I am referred to by some friends as the cookie monster minus big eyes and blue hair. I love cookies and better yet eating them. Recently I found the best chocolate cookies in town from Creme de la Crumb and it was melt in your mouth goodness. Because of this craving for crunchy and chewy cookies I decided to make some. I have been flipping through recipe books again as my appetite for sugar and baking is high. As I gazed over the pages of tantalizing desserts, my gaze stopped at the oatmeal raisin cookies from Bouchon.

Most of you know oatmeal cookies are a tradition and I am a fan of tradition….so here we go. Key to making cookies are the creaming of butter and sugar and the incorporating of eggs one at a time. Cream the butter and sugar until it is light and fluffy and then add in the eggs until well mixed. Add the dry ingredients next. The recipe calls to refrigerate the dough but I skipped the step. Spoon and roll the dough into balls and flatten and bake at a preheated oven of 325F for 15-17 minutes.

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Here is what they looked like once baked.

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Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

144 g all purpose flour ( I used 160 grams flour)
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
140 g light brown sugar
69 g granulated sugar (I used only brown sugar and used 150 g sugar and it was sufficient)
155 g unsalted butter ( I used 150 g)
1/4 cup or 62 g eggs ( 1 large egg)
1 1/4 teaspoon vanilla paste ( I used homemade vanilla extract)
2 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup raisin ( I used cranberries)
Opt chocolate chips

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This recipe is a keeper as the cookies were chewy and crispy. The chocolate and cranberries added complexity to the recipe but if it were raisins it too would have been an awesome cookie. Next time as an alternative nuts will be added as well. Eat cookies!!!!

Matcha Sable Cookies

22 Nov

Finally back writing. After a month’s break, I finally got time to do some baking. Matcha Cookies this time.

Match Sable Cookies
240 g cake flour
15 g matcha powder
150 g butter
90 g icing sugar
2 egg yolks

Tips:
-instead of rolling into a tube of cookies, I read a tip from Sadaharu Aoki. Use a 2 1/2 inch round cutter and cut out the cookies. The cookies will be more uniform in size and shape.

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The matcha cookies turned out to a beautiful green after baking. I chose to use the biscuit way in which the butter and flour were mixed into a sand like texture and then added the rest of the ingredients. As a tip for matcha, one should use the matcha soon after opening as it tends to oxidize and as a result the colour will not be as vivid. These cookies will make a lovely snack for a friends birthday.

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