I love crunch and I love nuts, and come on friends, we’ve been over this again and again…you know how obsessed I am with chocolate. So here we have it, Chocolate Biscotti, it’s a virtual no-brainer! And, as if this cookie is not already sheer perfection, yes, you guessed it, it’s dipped in a lovely chocolate glaze. Need I say more?
Well…of course I’ll say more, that’s what I do. I love to make biscotti simply because they’re so easy. You shape the dough into logs, bake ‘em, slice them while they’re still warm, and then, bake ‘em again. These biscuits are really perfect to accompany a cup of coffee or a hot cup of tea, but seriously I eat six of these before the coffee’s even brewed. I’m so bad.
But I’m still not done touting the virtues of this humble confection. These little gems will store for at least a couple of weeks in an airtight container (yeah right, like these would last at my house for a couple of weeks!) And, if you’re like me and you love to send your friends and loved ones homemade treats, these will arrive at their intended destination fully intact. So what more could a girl ask for…well, maybe a flat stomach and longer legs, but that ‘aint gonna happen.
From “Great Cookies” by Carole Walter
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/3 cup sifted cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 3 large eggs
- pinch of salt
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter melted and cooled to tepid
- 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
- 1 bag (12 ounce) semi sweet chocolate chips
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/3 cup light corn syrup
- 1 cup sugar
- 8 ounces good quality semi sweet chocolate
- Place the racks in the oven in the upper and lower thirds. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line your baking sheets with parchment or a silpat.
- Sift together the flour, cocoa and baking powder and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs and salt on medium speed until lightened in color, about two minutes. Gradually add the sugar, then beat in the vanilla. Pour the tepid butter down the side of the bowl and beat for 30 more seconds.
- Using a spatula, stir in the walnuts and chocolate chips, then fold in the dry ingredients in three additions, mixing only until ingredients are incorporated. Let the dough rest for ten minutes to thicken.
- Drop the dough by heaping spoonfuls onto the pans and form four logs (2 logs on each pan) measuring about 10 inches by 2 inches wide. Flour your hands lightly so you can easily work with the dough.
- Bake for 25 minutes, or until set on top. Let logs cool on pan for at least 20 minutes.
- Lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees F. Using a serrated knife, cut the logs into 1/2″ slices. Turn the slices cut side up, and return to the oven to bake for 10 minutes. Turn the cookies onto their other side and return to the oven for another 10 minutes until cookies are crisp. When done, remove from oven and let cookies cool.
- To make the glaze: Place the water, corn syrup and sugar into a heavy 2-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil over low heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate. Let it stand for 3 minutes, then whisk until smooth. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes to thicken, then dip the ends of the cookies in the glaze and place on parchment until the chocolate is set.
I had a huge decision to make today. Take a 3 mile hike on the mountainous trails in the state park near my house or bake cookies. I really wanted to go on the hike. No, really I did. But, it was cold and somewhat blustery. Blustery you say, in Southern California! Since leaving the east coast 32 years ago I’ve become a big wuss, and when the mercury dips below 60 degrees I am forced to stay in the house. Well, not really forced, but it seems like the only sane thing to do. Really, what kind of a crazy person would venture out into such grave weather conditions. So, there you go, baking cookies won out.
So naturally, that takes us to Jan Hagel Cookies (pronounced Yahn Hahgel) . I know, that’s a weird name, right. They’re Dutch cookies so I assume they were named for some Dutch guy who liked to bake. But I could be wrong. If you know where the name came from, please let me know. Anyway, when I was a kid growing up in the olden days, Keebler used to make a Jan Hagel cookie. It was one of my favorite cookies, and my mother always had a bag of them in the cookie drawer. But wouldn’t you know it, Keebler, unbeknownst to me, stopped producing the Jan Hagel cookie.
Well, as it turns out I don’t eat commercially packaged cookies anymore, anyway. It’s probably been twenty years since I had a Jan Hagel, so that’s what Mama baked. They’re just perfect. It’s a cinnamon spiced shortbread topped with sugar and almonds that get all sweet and crunchy when you bake them.
Jan Hagel Cookies
From Nick Malgieri
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon (I used Vietnamese cinnamon)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 12 pieces
- small bowl of water and pastry brush for brushing dough
- 1 cup blanched, sliced almonds
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- With a pastry brush and melted butter, butter the bottom and sides of a 10 x 15-inch jellyroll pan, then line the pan with parchment paper and butter that lightly too.
- Place your oven rack in the center position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Put all your dry ingredients into the bowl of a food processor and pulse several times to mix. Add the butter and pulse repeatedly until the mixture is reduced to fine crumbs and looks like coarse cornmeal.
- Evenly distribute the dough mixture in the pan and use the palm of your hand to press it evenly and to make it adhere together. I used a drinking glass turned on its side to act as a rolling pin to flatten out the mixture in the pan. Paint the dough with water and evenly scatter the almond, sugar, cinnamon mixture over the dough, gently pressing it in to make it adhere to the dough.
- Bake the cookies for about 20-25 minutes, or until they are golden in color and the cookies are firm.
- When the cookies are done, take them out of the oven and cut them immediately before they harden. I used a ruler to measure where to score the cookies. I chose to cut them into 1 1/2″ x 3″ bars. I used a large metal spatula to cut into the cookies, but a serrated knife will work fine also.
- When the cookies are sliced, you can place them on a rack to cool.
Makes 30 – 1 1/2″ x 3″ cookies
Slice the cookies immediately after taking them out of the oven as the dough will quickly harden making them too hard to cut.
Recently I was asked if I would bring a dessert to a wedding shower. Of course I would, that’s what I do. That’s what I live to do. I’m always so thrilled when I’m given the task of providing dessert, as it gives me a real purpose in life. So, when I was trying to decide what I should make, I knew immediately that it would have to be a mini dessert. At any gathering of women I’ve ever been too, my observation has been if the desserts are not mini, women won’t touch them. Ultimately I notice, they may eat 2 or 3 mini desserts which equals one normal sized treat. Oh come on ladies, don’t hate me for saying this, you know it’s true.
Well anyway, I ended up making these Mini Almond Bites. Not surprisingly, they went over very well. They’re a little bit chewy like a macaron, and filled with lots of crunch from the abundance of almonds.
Mini Almond Bites
From Brownies & Bars
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup butter
- 1 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 cup chopped almonds
- 1 recipe Almond Glaze
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F with the rack in the center of the oven. Line two 12-cup mini muffin tins with paper liners.
- In a saucepan, combine brown sugar and butter over medium heat and cook until melted and smooth; cool slightly. Then, with a rubber spatula, stir in the egg, and almond and vanilla extracts.
- In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and baking soda. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, and with the rubber spatula, stir just until combined. Stir in 1/3 cup of the almonds. Reserve the rest for topping the cookies.
- Spoon the batter into the muffin cups, filling until half full. Sprinkle with the remaining almonds.
- Bake for 14-17 minutes or until tops are light brown. Cool in muffin tins on a wire rack for 5 minutes. When cooled you can drizzle the cookies with the Almond Glaze.
In a small bowl whisk together 1/2 cup of powdered sugar with 1/4 teaspoon of almond extract and about 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of milk until you reach a good drizzling consistency.
Makes 24 mini bites
What can I say, baking cookies never gets old for me. Yes, I’m at it again, yet another cookie recipe. People ask me all the time, “Sheryl, don’t you ever get tired of doing this?” No, no I don’t. While others are out in the world doing productive things with their lives, I prefer to remain at home in the privacy of my own kitchen measuring out flour and butter, rolling dough into cute little balls and watching them sprout into delectable little cookies.
I know, girl get a life. I do like to stand in front of the oven with the light on watching my dough balls morph into crispy, crunchy edible treats. It’s a harmless obsession really. These Chocolate Pecan Cookies are a particular favorite of mine as I like nothing more in life than chocolate and nuts, best combo ever since Kim and Kanye, am I right? As if these cookies are not already perfect enough, the chocolate drizzle on top is the icing on the cake, or the cookie…you know what I mean.
Chocolate Pecan Cookies
From Bon Appetit
- 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted & cooled
- 1/3 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons, plus 2 teaspoons light corn syrup
- 2 tablespoons whole milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (I used half cup of each)
- 1/2 cup bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate chips
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. Stir the melted butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, corn syrup, milk and vanilla in a medium bowl until you achieve a smooth consistency. Next, stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture. Then add the nuts, stirring to incorporate. Transfer the mixture to a covered container and chill for at least four hours. You can make the dough a day ahead of time, and just keep it chilled in the refrigerator.
- On baking day, preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line 3 large baking sheets with parchment. Measure 2 tablespoons of dough, roll it between your palms to form a ball. Place the ball on your prepared baking sheets. Using your fingers, spread out the dough into a 3-inch diameter disk. If it makes it easier for you; pre-draw 3-inch circles on your parchment paper. Using a 3-inch round cookie cutter, I placed my ball of dough in the center of the cutter and smushed it out inside the cutter to form a 3-inch disk. I fit 6 cookies on each baking pan.
- Bake cookies about 10 minutes until flat and beginning to darken around the edges. Transfer the cookies on the parchment to a cooling rack.
- To make my chocolate drizzle, I took about 4 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate (finely chopped) and about a teaspoon of Crisco and placed it in a bowl. I gently microwaved it at 15-second intervals, stirring after each interval until I got a drizzly consistency of chocolate. I placed my cookies on a cooling rack and then put paper towels underneath the cooling rack before I drizzled the cookies with the chocolate. Let the cookies stand for about 30 minutes until the chocolate sets.
Makes 16 – 3″ cookies.
One of my most useful kitchen accouterments is a cookie cutter set like this. For this particular recipe, I used the 3-inch cutter. I placed the cutter on the parchment covered cookie sheet, and then took my dough ball and pressed it into the cutter to achieve a uniform size for all my cookies. You always want your cookies to be the same size and thickness so that they will bake evenly for yummy results.
We here at Mama’s Gotta Bake just love our cookies. You notice how I said “we”, you know it’s really just me. I like to pretend there’s a group of us here so I can actually justify eating all these cookies. Anyway, “we” spent the entire month of December baking an obscene amount of goodies, but I decided that my last post of 2012 should be the Linzer Cookie.
For me, if there was ever cookie perfection, then the Linzer Cookie is it. They have a tender, nutty dough (check out those gorgeous flecks of nuts in the cookies below), a sweet preserve filling and they’re dusted ever-so-lightly with powdered sugar. Come on, you’re dying for one, admit it!
As we head into 2013, Mama’s Gotta Bake heads into year three, and I just wanted to thank all of you who have stopped by and read my posts. I appreciate your comments, and I can’t believe I get to connect with food lovers from all over the world. I wish everyone a peaceful and Happy New Year.
- 2-1/2 oz. (1/2 cup) sliced almonds
- 2-1/2 oz. (1/2 cup) coarsely chopped hazelnuts
- 9-1/2 oz. (2 cups plus 1 Tbs.) all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tsp. lemon zest
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. table salt
- 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
- 7 oz. (14 Tbs.) chilled unsalted butter
- 1 large egg
- 1 T. cold water
- 1/2 cup of your favorite preserves (I chose four berry preserves)
- Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
- The dough will need to be chilled for at least 3 hours, so keep that in mind when beginning this recipe: In a food processor, process the almonds and hazelnuts with 1/2 cup of the flour until fine textured but not powdered.
- Add the remaining flour, granulated sugar, lemon zest, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and cloves. Pulse to combine. Keep the butter in the refrigerator, it should not be room temperature. Take it out when you’re ready to use it. Cut the butter into 1/2-inch cubes and add to the flour mixture; pulse until the mixture looks like coarse meal. Don’t overprocess. Transfer to a large bowl. Whisk together the egg and water; sprinkle over the flour mixture and toss gently to combine. The dough should hold together when pinched. (If it seems dry, sprinkle on a bit more water.) Gather the dough into two balls and knead briefly just to blend. Wrap in plastic and chill until firm, 2 to 3 hours. I made the dough a day before and refrigerated it overnight.
- To bake: preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the cookie sheets with a silpat or parchment. Roll one ball of the dough in between two layers of parchment paper, 3/16 inch thick. (Keep the rest in the refrigerator, and if the dough warms up to the point of being sticky while you’re working with it, return it to the refrigerator.) Cut out as many 2-1/2-inch rounds as possible, rerolling the scraps to make more rounds. Arrange on the cookie sheets about 3/4 inch apart. Cut 1-1/4-inch holes in the center of half the rounds. Reroll these center scraps to make more cookies. Bake until the edges are lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Let cool on the sheets. Repeat with the remaining dough.To assemble: With the back of a spoon or an offset spatula, spread a heaping 1/2 tsp. preserves on the underside of the whole cookie rounds. Top with the doughnut-shaped cookies, bottom sides against the preserves. Be sure you dust the “doughnut shaped” cookie with powdered sugar before you place it on top of the half with the preserves so that you do not cover the preserves with the sugar.
Makes 20 – 2 1/2″ cookies
When you take your dough out of the refrigerator in preparation for baking, let it warm up for 5-10 minutes. Then, roll your dough out in between two pieces of parchment paper. At this point if the dough is too warm and sticking to the parchment, you won’t be able to cut clean edged shapes from it. Lay the dough in the parchment flat on a cookie sheet and return the dough to the refrigerator or freezer. When the dough is cold again you will easily be able to cut your shapes out.
Store the cookies in an airtight container in between layers of wax paper. They should last for 3-4 days. But they won’t last that long, trust me.
I know I told myself that right after Thanksgiving I would go back on Weight Watchers. That I would start lifting those weights I have a sitting in the corner of my bedroom. That I would walk my dog Jimi everyday for an hour, and that I would get in my car and go to the gym and pretend to sweat. But who am I kidding. The first free day that I get when I can actually implement these new policies and what do I do instead. Bake cookies. I just couldn’t help it. The lure of cinnamon, ginger, cloves and molasses was just too strong for me to resist. It was calling to me. And I answered. HELLO COOKIES!
These Molasses Cookies are a real family favorite. I seriously can’t keep them in stock. I made them on Friday, and they were gone by Saturday. And no, I didn’t eat them all. I shared. They’re very easy to make actually, as you mix them up in just one pot. Yes a pot! This sinfully chewy cookie just oozes rich molasses flavor and spices. I can assure you, these will become one of your family favorites also.
Okay, so I’m off to the gym now, see ya.
From Great Cookies by Carole Walter
- 1 1/2 sticks, unsalted butter
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, plus more for rolling cookies in
- 1/4 cup dark molasses
- 1 large egg
- Melt the butter in a 3 quart, heavy saucepan over low heat.
- Strain together three times the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, salt and cloves and then set it aside.
- Using a wooden spoon, stir 1 1/2 cups of the sugar, molasses, and egg into the butter, mixing until smooth. Add the dry ingredients, one-half at a time, and blend well. Put the dough in a large plastic freezer bag, or wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes until firm.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and place the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Line two cookie sheets with parchment.
- Shape the dough into 1-inch balls or you can use a ice cream scoop to form the balls. Place some sugar in a shallow bowl, and roll the dough balls in the sugar to coat them. Place the balls on the prepared cookie sheets 2 inches apart from one another as they will spread.
- Bake the cookies for 8-12 minutes until the tops begin to crack. Remove from the oven and leave them on the cookie sheets for three minutes and then remove the cookies with a thin metal spatula to cool on a rack.
Makes 24 cookies
These cookies freeze really well. You can store them in an airtight container, just layer the cookies with wax paper in between and they should last up to 3 weeks.
All cookies need to be the same size so that they will bake evenly. To insure that all your cookies will be the same size, use an ice cream scoop.
If your shipping your homemade cookies for the holidays, these ship extremely well.
I do believe I’ve had a love-affair with cookies my whole life. Friends who knew me growing up can attest to the fact that I ate cookies for breakfast most days. Well why not. Back in the day I could plow through bags of Oreo’s, Mallowmars and Chips Ahoy cookies, but I’ve come a long way, baby!
Once I began making cookies from scratch there was no turning back for me. I don’t think I’ve eaten a packaged cookie in years. I just lost my taste for them. I don’t want to eat anything with high fructose corn syrup, partially (why partially) hydrogenated soybean oil or artificial flavors in it.
Don’t misunderstand me. It’s not that a homemade cookie is health food. It’s still butter, sugar and flour, and full of calories. However, if one is going to indulge, and one is going to indulge in moderation, then you’ve got to eat the real thing. When I bake at home, I try to use the best ingredients I can find. Good quality vanilla, chocolate chips, and butter result in a very tasty end product. And you guys agree with me that it’s all about the flavor.
Anyway, I’ve been making these soft and chewy Olive Oil Cookies with Lemon & Thyme for several years now. Why, because they wallop you with flavor. I use the best quality oil oil I have, and farmer’s market fresh lemons and thyme. One bite takes me back to the green, rolling hills of Tuscany covered in olive trees. Okay, a bit overly dramatic…but you get the picture.
Olive Oil Cookies with Lemon & Thyme
Adapted from 805 Magazine, September 2009
- 2/3 cup olive oil
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon finely minced thyme
- sugar for rolling
- powdered sugar for dusting
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cover a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer using the paddle attachment, add olive oil, sugar, egg, vanilla, lemon zest, and lemon juice and beat on low speed until smooth. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Beat to incorporate all ingredients.
- Add the thyme and mix on low just to incorporate.
- Using about a teaspoon amount (or more if you like a larger cookie), roll dough into balls and then roll the balls into a bowl of granulated sugar.
- Place the balls onto the cookie sheet, and flatten slightly with the bottom of a cup.
- Bake about 8-10 minutes, and then cool on a wire rack.
- When completely cooled, dust with powdered sugar.
Makes 32-36 cookies
Though I like to think I have a sophisticated palate, if the truth be told, my favorite thing in the entire world to eat is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. On two slices of very fresh white bread, with a big glass of milk, it’s heaven. Admit it, you like it too. It makes this middle-aged woman feel eight years-old. And who doesn’t want to feel like a kid again. I’m always looking for ways to elevate this most common of sandwiches. I’ve tried creamy peanut butter, organic peanut butter, 9-grain bread and even the addition of bananas. But none of these other options have sent my beloved sandwich into the stratosphere. Until I tampered with the jelly component that is.
A restaurant just opened in my neighborhood called La Pain Quotidien. It’s owned by a Belgian company with locations actually, all over the world. They have restaurants throughout the US and in places like Austrailia, London, Moscow, Kuwait and Turkey, just to name a few. I like the look and concept of this operation. It’s casual dining; soups, salads, sandwiches, but the thrust of their business is their selection of homemade breads. Within these restaurants they do sell a wide array of other packaged, gourmet products. When I set my eyes upon this jar of preserves it was as if there was a glow around it, as if it had a little halo hovering above it.
When I arrived home with my new find, I quickly made my way to the kitchen and whipped out the Wonder bread to give these preserves a test drive. This my friends was the holy grail of preserves. Not too tart, not too sweet and loaded with big chunks of Morello cherries. I had to find another venue where this glorious concoction could shine. Jam Shortbread cookies seemed like an obvious place to start, and they did turn out quite well. In the coming months it will be my mission to find other ways to let this product shine.
Cherry Shortbread Cookies
Adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 10 1/2 tablespoons salted butter, room temperature
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
- Le Pain Quotidien Morello Cherry Preserves, or any jam you like
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Whisk flour, sugar and baking powder in a large bowl. Add butter; using your fingertips, rub in butter until coarse meal forms. In another bowl, whisk egg and egg yolk together and add to flour mixture, stir just to blend.
- Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll dough into little balls. Place on baking sheets spacing 2″ apart. Make an indentation in each ball and fill with jam.
- Bake cookies until golden, 12-14 minutes.
- Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Mama’s tips: To bring eggs to room temperature quickly; place eggs in a bowl of warm water and let sit for 5 minutes.
I’m really excited that I’ll be participating in the 2012 Los Angeles Foodbloggers Bake Sale on April 28th. This year it’s being hosted by my new friend Chung-Ah Rhee from Damn Delicious. The bake sale is being held at BLD Restaurant, located at 7450 Beverly Boulevard in Los Angeles from 11:30-2:00 pm. The proceeds will benefit the No Kid Hungry Campaign. What could be a better cause than that. Last year the sale brought in $25,000, but this year they’re goal is $50,000.
I haven’t really decided what I’ll be baking for the sale, but I thought I would definitely do these Cherry Walnut Biscotti. They’re a big favorite of my friend Carol, who was recently out here on a business trip from Philadelphia. I made a batch just for her, but between the two of us they were gone in about an hour. I doubt she’s going to like me telling you this, but she’ll never find out.
Cherry Walnut Biscotti
From Williams Sonoma
- 1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature*
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup roughly chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup dried cherries, coarsely chopped
- 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter on high-speed until fluffy and pale yellow. Add the sugar and continue beating for about 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.
- In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Gradually add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and beat on low speed just until blended. Mix in walnuts, cherries and orange zest until evenly distributed. The batter will be very soft.
- Turn the batter out onto a generously floured work surface and divide in half. With well-floured hands, transfer one half to a baking sheet and shape into a log 12 inches long and 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Repeat with the other half of batter on the next baking sheet.
- Bake the logs until the edges are golden, about 25-30 minutes. Place pan on wire rack and let logs cool for about 10 minutes. Using a serrated knife, cut the logs (I gently transferred my log to a cutting board) 1/2 inch wide. Carefully turn the slices on the side back onto the baking sheet and return to the oven for another 10 minutes. Let the biscotti cool completely on the pans. Store in airtight containers.
I really hope that if you’re in the neighborhood on April 28th, you’ll come out and support the bake sale. A lot of the best food bloggers in Los Angeles are participating, so you know all the goodies are going to be good!
Valentine’s Day is all about the Love, and I love cookies. I was recently contacted by Ogilvy Public Relations and asked if I would like to participate in a campaign for their client the American Chemistry Council. They had asked four bloggers to submit their favorite Valentine’s recipe for the campaign. As part of the project, ACC would send me an array of their plastic baking products such as mixing bowls, measuring cups and spoons, storage containers and silicone baking pans, (three big cartons full).
My recipe and photos are currently on their website for their “Plastics Makes It Possible” campaign, and you can view it right here. I was very honored that they chose to feature me, and was delighted to use the products that they sent me, as they really did enhance the baking process.
So, with Valentine’s Day being just a few days away, I hope you’ll try these shortbread cookies for your sweet-heart. The combination of fresh orange zest, cardamom and bittersweet chocolate is delish, and I put them on a stick…just because it’s fun! The first time I made these cookies, I dipped them in melted Nestle’s bittersweet morsels and I just couldn’t get the chocolate to the right consistency. I tried them again with Scharffen Berger Bitterweet Chocolate Baking Bar and the consistency was perfect, as was the taste. The better chocolate was twice the price of the morsels, but the appearance and taste of the Scharffen Berger was twice as good.
Bake some LOVE today!
Orange Cardamom Shortbread Sweet-Hearts
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- zest of 2 oranges
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
- 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
- 2 teaspoons vegetable shortening
- paper lollipop sticks from craft store
- heart-shaped decorations
- In a medium bowl, add the flour, salt and ground cardamom, and whisk to incorporate all the ingredients. Set this bowl aside.
- Slice the butter into 1″ pieces and let it sit out until room temperature. Do not microwave. Using the paddle attachment on the electric mixer, beat the butter until creamy, scraping down the sides as needed.
- Add the sugar to the butter, beating for several minutes to incorporate. Then add the vanilla and continue to beat a minute longer. With the mixer on low-medium speed, add the orange zest.
- With the mixer on the lowest speed, add the flour mixture just until incorporated and a dough begins to form.
- Take the dough out of the mixer bowl and press dough into a rectangular shape. Flatten out the rectangle with your rolling-pin and then wrap in plastic wrap for at least 2 hours or overnight.
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
- When dough is chilled, roll out dough turning the dough 1/4 turn to achieve consistent thickness of the dough. Using cookie cutter, cut heart shapes. Cookies should be on the thicker side so that the sticks can be inserted into cookie.
- Gently maneuver the sticks into the cookies. If the stick pops through in the back, patch with a piece of scrap dough. Chill cookies for 20 minutes
- Prepare cookies sheets with parchment paper. Bake cookies 9-11 minutes, or until edges turn lightly brown.
- Let cookies cool on sheets for 10 minutes, then place cookies on cooling rack.
- When cookies are completely cooled, gently melt chocolate over a double boiler, or in the microwave. Add the vegetable shortening and stir until dissolved.
- Dip cookies half way into melted chocolate and then place cookies on parchment covered sheets until chocolate is set.
- Decorate with chopped nuts, sprinkles of other garnish while chocolate is still wet.
Makes 24 cookies