December 20, 2008
The holiday season is full force, with the baking, eating, shopping, eating, and did I mention the baking? Until now I've been pawning off my holiday treats on my husbands co-workers but now that he is on vacation, what is a avid baker who is still desperately trying to fit into her skinny jeans to do? With so many cookie recipes to try and my "limited waist availability" situation there was really only one recourse- the neighbors. Lucky for me, some of my dearest friends just happen to live within a 2 block radius of my house. Perfect for sneaking by and making a little sweet-filled deposit on their doorstep at odd hours. Foisting goodies on unsuspecting friends and neighbors is a wonderful holiday tradition to start in your town. If stealth cookie gift bombs are wrong, I don't want to be right!
Almond Cardamom Stars With Orange Icing
adapted from Cooking Light, December 2008
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup almond paste, crumbled
1 tbsp butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1/3 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
3 tbsp canola oil
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tbsp skim milk
1 tbsp fresh orange juice
1 tsp orange zest
Pulse 1 cup sugar, baking soda, cardamon and salt in a food processor until combined. Add almond paste and butter until blended. Combine juice and oil in a separate bowl then slowly add to dough and process until dough forms a ball. Working with half the dough at a time, press dough into a square on plastic wrap. Cover with additinal wrap and roll out to 1/4 inch thickness. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 375F. Remove plastic wrap from dough and cut out stars with a cookie cutter. Place on parchment lined baking sheets and bake for 6-8 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on wire racks.
Prepare icing by whisking sugar, milk, juice and zest in a small bowl until smooth. Spoon over cookies and chill 1 hour.
Cinnamon Sugar Palmiers
adapted from Ina Garten & Nooschi
1 packaged store bought puff pastry sheets, thawed
2 cups sugar
1/8 tsp kosher salt
2 tbsp cinnamon
Preheat oven to 450F. Combine sugar, salt and cinnamon. Using parchment or wax paper, place one sheet of puff pastry over an even layer of the sugar mixture. Sprinkle another layer of sugar on top of the pastry and roll out into a 13x13 inch square, making sure the sugar is pressed evenly into the dough. Fold the sides of the square towards the center so they go halfway to the middle. Fold them again so the two folds meet exactly at the middle of the dough. Then fold 1 half over the other half as though closing a book. You will have 6 layers. Slice dough into 3/8 inch slices and arrange on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 6 minutes until the bottoms have turned golden brown, then flip cookies over with a spatula and bake for an additional 2-4 minutes until the tops have carmelized. Transfer to a wire rack to cool