Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Cookie Exchange Part 3

Part three of the cookie exchange.  Check out what my colleagues made!

Cranberry Almond Florentines
Adapted by Justyna from here.

Florentines are traditionally baked on cookie sheets using sliced almonds to achieve a delicate feel. This recipe is for a thicker cookie, which is easier to cook in a tartlet pan. For more of a candy feel, use a mini-cupcake pan and replace the cranberries with the more traditional candied orange.

1 ¾ cups chopped almonds
3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons finely chopped dried cranberries
¼ teaspoon fine salt
½ cup sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
2 Tablespoons almond milk
5 Tablespoons unsalted butter
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Stir together the nuts, flour, fruit and salt in a large bowl.
2. Put the sugars, almond milk and butter in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture comes to a rolling boil and sugar is completely dissolved. Continue to boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla, then pour mixture into almond mixture and stir just to combine.
3. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Set the batter aside until cool enough to handle, 30 minutes.
4. Scoop flat tablespoons of batter into each space on the pan (enough so that they will cover the bottom when spread out). Bake until the cookies are just golden brown, rotating pans halfway through baking time, about 8 to 11 minutes.
5. Cool on pan for 5 minutes. Give each cookie a small turn to loosen it from the pan and transfer to a rack to cool.

Lemon Tarts
Made by Vivian

Tart shells
From here.

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
Flour as necessary
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon sugar
pinch of salt

1. Heat the oven to 410° F (210° C). 
2. In a Pyrex type oven-safe bowl, combine the butter, oil, water, salt, and sugar. 
3. Place in the hot oven for approximately 15 minutes, until the mixture is boiling and the butter starts browning. 
4. Remove from oven, add flour quickly, until it forms a ball. Keep adding flour, one spoonful at the time, until it pulls off the sides of the bowl. 
5. Once the dough is cool enough to touch, press it in to the tart mold evenly with your fingertips. 
6. Pierce the bottom with a fork, line the sides with the back of the fork to form ridges. 
7. Bake for 15 minutes or until the crust is light brown and shows fine cracks. 
8. Cool completely on rack.

Lemon Filling
From here.

½ cup + 2 Tablespoons lemon juice 
3 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
¾ cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1 cup unsalted butter

1. Pour water to a depth of about 2 inches into a saucepan, place over medium heat, and bring to a simmer. 
2. Combine the lemon juice, whole eggs, yolk, sugar, and salt in a stainless steel bowl that will rest securely in the rim of a saucepan over, not touching, the water. (Never let the egg yolks and sugar sit together for more than a moment without stirring; the sugar will cook the yolks and turn them granular.) Place the bowl over the saucepan and continue to whisk until the mixture becomes very thick and registers 180° F on a thermometer. This will take 10 to 12 minutes. If you don't have or trust your thermometer, don't worry. It should thicken to the point that your whisk leaves a trail through the curd. 
3. Remove the bowl from over the water and let cool to 140° F, stirring from time to time to release the heat. 
4. Cut butter into 1-tablespoon (15-ml) pieces. When the cream is ready, leave it in the bowl if using an immersion blender, or pour it into a countertop blender. With the blender running, add the butter 1 tablespoon at a time, blending after each addition until incorporated before adding the next piece. The cream will be pale yellow and opaque and quite thick. 
5. Spoon cream into tart shells. Top with whipped cream.  Store in refrigerator.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Snowballs
By Sophie
Makes 4 ½ to 5 dozen.

1 cup (250ml) smooth peanut butter                                      
½ cup (125ml) icing (confectioners) sugar                             
1 cup (250ml) Rice krispies cereal                                             
½ cup (125ml) finely chopped walnuts                   
1 Tbsp (15ml) butter or margarine, softened                      
4 x 1 oz. (4 x 28g) semi -sweet chocolate squares                             
2 Tbsp (30ml) grated parawax (paraffin)                               
A bag of coconut flakes

1. Measure first 5 ingredients into bowl. With your hands, mix together well. Shape into 1 inch (2.5cm) balls. Chill for 2-3 hours. 
2. Melt chocolate and wax together. Dip balls to coat, drain and roll straight away in coconut flakes (chocolate dries very quickly) and place on waxed paper.
Stay tuned for Part 4 of the cookie exchange!

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