Thursday, March 01, 2007

Mostly Cookies...

This post will be a recap of the cookies I baked in the last 3 months, but before I get to the cookies, let me mention this dome cake. My real project was another chocolate cake, but at the end of the day, it was the eclectic dome --made with leftovers from 2 seperate desserts-- that stole the show. It had white chocolate mousse, raspberries, pistachio praline, chocolate genoise, whipped chocolate ganache and a chocolate glaze. You may think it a little too extravagant, but it really was just right.

You can find the recipe for these hazelnut cookies here. Instead of filling the thumbprints with melted chocolate before baking them, I bake them blind and fill the holes with Nutella while the cookies are still warm. This time, I reinforced the hazelnut theme by adding a whole hazelnut to each cookie, but they are great plain, too.

These are apricot and pistachio icebox cookies. The recipe is from Gourmet's December issue and can be found online here. I did not have dried cranberries, so I had to substitute dried apricots. You can keep the wrapped cookie dough in the refrigerator for a couple of days and have oven-fresh, delicious sables on a whim.

As you can see, the cookies lost their neat sides and edges as they baked. I think that a pistachio sable border (like here) may help them keep their shape as they bake. The bottoms and tops of sables look different, and you can see both sides in this picture.

This recipe for this cookie comes from a Pillsbury booklet, the kind they sell at supermarket stands. It has a surprise chunk of almond paste wrapped in chocolate cookie dough.

The original recipe suggests rolling the cookies in sugar after they come out of the oven. But if you prefer to take your poison in more subtle ways...

... you can glaze them with leftover chocolate ganache instead. You can even let the ganache thicken a little bit, and write your initials or make designs on them.

Luckily, this recipe is also available online. Next time, I am planning to use two layers of nut paste filling --maybe almond paste wrapped by a thin layer of pistachio paste-- and less of the cookie dough to make a three-color variation. You can, of course, think of other surprise fillings such as a chunk of white or dark chocolate.

These are apricot filled thumbprint cookies. The glaze is flavored with almond extract. My thumbprints usually lose their shape as they bake. As a remedy, one of the commentors to my Turkish blog suggested to fill the cookies after they are partially baked. I will try it the next time.

Another cookie recipe from Gourmet's December issue... These crinkle cookies were really delicious, maybe a little bit on the cakey side. The dough was rich with ground hazelnuts and melted chocolate. The recipe yielded more than 70 cookies, so you may want to consider halving it. The dough has to be really cold for the crinkle effect to be visible. I baked my cookies in two batches, and the second batch came out looking more crinkley because I took the trouble to shape them in my (really) cold porch. The picture above is from my first batch where, as you can see, the powdered sugar partially melted into the cookie dough.

I tried a Rugelach recipe with raisins and chocolate chips. I took them to a gathering of friends, and judging by the fact that I could not even taste one, they were pretty good. The chocolate chips made it difficult to roll the dough; grated chocolate would be a better (and probably messier) idea.

I made these Mexican wedding cakes for another gathering. You can find the recipe here. These had dried Turkish sour cherries and pistachios. They were colorful and delicious.

Last but not least, I made peace with macarons once again. After many trials of which I lost count, I had just started making reasonably good macarons when my oven died on me. With my new oven, it was back to square one for me as far as macarons were concerned. Finally and thankfully, we (my oven and I) got a better result the last time we tried. be continued with little delights soon.