Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Eggless Almond Cookies

1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp nutmeg powder
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
20 almonds ground to powder
1 tsp almond extract
3-4 tbsp of milk
Pistachios and Cashews for garnishing

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cookie tray with parchment paper or aluminium foil.

Mix both the flours, baking powder, nutmeg and cardomom powders, almond powder together in a bowl. In a different bowl, mix the butter and sugar and beat it till it fluffy and light. I usually do this with hand. To this add the flour mixture and the almond extract and start kneading the mixture into a firm dough. If the mixture is too dry, add the milk one tbsp at a time until you reach to a firm consistency dough. You will generally need 3-4 tbsp milk.

Make small round balls with this dough and flatten it out a little bit about 1/2 inch thick. You can prepare around 15-17 cookies from this dough. Place the cookies on non-greased cookie tray. Garnish them with grated pistachio and cashews. Bake in the oven for about 8-10 minutes or until the cookies are lightly brown. Let them cool on the rack for around 15-20 minutes. Store in an airtight container.

1. Since I used half all purpose and half whole wheat flour the cookies turned out to be a little chewy rather than crispy. Using only all purpose flour will give more crispy texture to the cookies.
2. If you want the cookies to be more sweet, use regular powdered sugar instead of the confectioner's sugar.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Royal Shortbread Cookies

1 cups all-purpose flour
1 stick salted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup finely chopped semi sweet chocolate, for dipping

With a hand mixer on the medium speed, beat the butter until smooth and creamy for about a minute. Add the sugar and beat until smooth. Beat in the vanilla extract. Then gently stir in the flour mixture and make the dough out of the batter by kneading it gently on a lightly floured surface. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill the dough until firm (at least 1-2 hours).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper.

On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough upto a 1/4 inch thick circle.  Cut into the desired shapes using a cookie cutter. I used the heart, oval and the round shapes. For the round shapes, to have a different design, I used a toothpick and pressed it into the dough to create the lines over the cookies. Place the cut cookie shapes on the baking sheet and place in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes. The refrigeration helps the cookies to maintain their shapes even after baking. Bake for 6-8 minutes or until cookies are very lightly browned. Mine were done in about 7 minutes. Let the cookies cool.

For Chocolate Dipping: Place 1/3 cup finely chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl and place it over a saucepan of simmering water. Once the chocolate has melted, remove it from the heat. Don't overheat. Taking one cookie at a time, dip one end of each cookie in the melted chocolate and place it on a parchment lined baking sheet. The chocolate which I used was the one with almonds so the dipping has a rough edge and not smooth as seen in the photo. Once all the cookies have been dipped in the chocolate, place the baking sheets in the refrigerator until the chocolate has hardened (for 10-15 minutes). I made around 15 cookies with 1.5 inches of cookie cutters.

For the video you can visit http://www.joyofbaking.com/shortbreads/shortbreadcookies.html

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine Butter Cookie Pops

These are the cookie pops I made for my son's school friends on this Valentines Day!! He and his friends just loved it and have ordered some more....Got the recipe for the butter cookies from  http://www.joyofbaking.com/ButterCookies.html  and made some changes in the basic recipe. If you are a butter cookie lover, you have got to taste these cookies!!

1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/4 to 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon nutmeg powder
Red colored decorating sugar
20 Wilton 8-inch lollipop sticks

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

With a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy in the bowl on a medium speed. Afterwards, beat in the egg and vanilla extract. Gradually add the flour to the creamed mixture and beat just until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. The dough is not very firm; if it is still very loose you can add the flour to make it to the right consistency. Don't make the dough to firm. Put the dough in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for about 1/2 an hour. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thickness and cut out the heart cookies with a cookie cutter ( I used the around 2.5-3 inches cookie cutter). The cookies have to be a bit thicker as the lollipop stick needs to be inserted into it.

Place the cookies on the baking sheet in an opposite direction, spacing about 2 inches apart (Around 6 cookies will fit on a baking sheet). Then slowly insert the lollipop sticks at the base of the cookies and roll them upwards till you reach around 1/2 the cookie. While doing this apply firm pressure by one hand on the cookie area where you are inserting the stick to avoid breaking the cookie. Decorate the cookie with the red decorating sugar by sprinkling it over the cookies in the manner you like. Bake the cookies for about 10-15 minutes or until the edges of the cookies are golden brown. The more you bake the more crisp the cookies will come out, but be sure not to burn them!!