Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Blogmas Day 7

I am delighted to see that my friend Sandra from the blog Diary of a Stay at Home Mom is doing the Blogmas of Christmas this season. You can check her out here and come play along!

Day 7~  Cookies I Can Bake
Last year I found the linzer cookie cutter at a cute kitchen shop... we made these with my  little granddaughter....

Linzer Cookies Recipe:

1 cup (150 grams) whole almonds(blanched or natural)

2 cups (260 grams) all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon (1 gram) ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) salt

Zest (outer yellow skin) of one small lemon 

1 cup (226 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated white sugar , divided

1 teaspoon (5 grams) pure vanilla extract

2 large (40 grams) egg yolks


1/2 cup (60 grams) confectioners' (Icing or Powdered) Sugar

1/2 cup (120 ml) Raspberry or Black Currant Jam (can use other flavored jams), well stirred

Linzer Cookies: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) with the oven rack in the center of the oven. Place the almonds on a baking sheet and bake about 8-10 minutes, or until lightly browned and fragrant. Remove from oven and once the nuts have cooled, place in a food processor, along with 1/4 cup (50 grams) white sugar, and process until finely ground. 

In a separate bowl, whisk or sift together the flour, cinnamon, salt, and lemon zest. 

In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter and remaining 1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes). Beat in the vanilla extract and egg yolks. Finally, beat in the ground almonds and then the flour mixture. Divide the dough in half, cover each half with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm (30-60 minutes, or up to two days).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Remove one ball of dough from the refrigerator. On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough until it is about 1/4 inch (.5 cm) thick. Using a 3 inch (7.5 cm) cookie cutter (round, square, heart, etc.) cut out the cookies. Place the cookies about 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart on the prepared baking sheet. Use a smaller cookie cutter to cut out the centers of half of the cookies on the baking sheet. Reroll any scraps and cut out the remaining cookies. Repeat with the second ball of dough. (Note: If you find the cookies are soft, place the baking sheets with the unbaked cookies in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes to chill the dough. This will prevent the cookies from spreading and losing their shape when baked.) Bake the cookies for about 12 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.

Assemble Cookies: Place the cut out cookies on a baking sheet and lightly dust the tops with powdered sugar. Spread a thin layer of jam on the bottom surface of the full cookie (top of cookie will face out). Place the cut-out cookie on top and gently sandwich them together. Using a small spoon or a piping bag, fill the cut-out with a little more jam.

The filled cookies will soften when stored. If you want the cookies to stay crisp, assemble the day of serving. The assembled cookies can be stored in the refrigerator, in an airtight container, for several days.
Makes about 26 - 3 inch (7.5 cm) Linzer Cookies.

Another of my favorite traditional bakes is Cranberry Walnut Scones for Christmas morning!
 photo christmasparty110-1.jpg
Cranberry Walnut Scones 
3 c Virginia’s best self rising flour 

1 T baking powder 

½ c sugar 

¾ c butter…slice in tablespoon slices to make working it in easier 

1 c fresh cranberries… I added golden raisins to make a cup 

½ c chopped English walnuts.. I used pecans 

1 1/2 T orange zest 

1 c buttermilk I used clabbered milk ( 1 cup milk with 1 table of white vinegar) 

To top unbaked scones. 

1 T cream or milk 

1 T sugar mixed with ¼ teaspoon cinnamon 

Stir together all dry ingredients at top of list.. Rub the butter slices into the mixture until only coarse crumbs form… Like cornmeal…. Incorporate the butter evenly.. no large chunks….Stir in cranberries, nuts, and zest. Add buttermilk and mix with a fork until evenly moistened.Will be fairly sticky  
  work a bit of flour into it  gingerly and keep the dough  tender.  I didn’t mix it too much and as soon as I saw it coming together I poured it out on a floured surface and shaped it into a ball. Pat the ball into a ¾ inch thick circle. Don’t work the dough too much… it should be fairly easy to work with you will have a lot on your fingers ... 

As it will be moist. So incorporate just enough flour so not so sticky 

But keep it pliable. 

Cut rounds with a biscuit cutter and place on a greased sheet. Brush tops with the cream or milk and sprinkle the sugar mixture on top. Bake at 400 for 14-16 minutes or until golden… if you desire lightly sprinkle with powder sugar. 

Cream topping: 

8 oz cream cheese. I used mascarpone and thought it was much better. But it is much more expensive 
1 T zest of an orange
2 T honey but I didn’t have honey so I sued 1 T of orange Marmelade This is a fine spread for any specialty bread!

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