Friday, June 19, 2009

Being a Good Guest/Cookies

As the heat gets more and more unbearable, cooking has become less appealing well actually it's always appealing but I am concerned about my health when my whole apartment is as hot as the oven. This weekend I am escaping the heat for a 3 day stay on my cousin's sailboat in Sardegna, it should be incredible. When I am in the middle of the sea with the wind blowing through my hair and an occasional spritz of salty water on my back, I just feel in my element. For me, the world is a perfect place when you're on a boat, just writing about it makes my heart flutter with joy. Yet, I also don't think that I can ever really write about it in a way that could really evoke those feelings. It's a good thing, something I can keep for myself, a feeling that only I can feel.

We all know that food can only enhance most experiences, so I decided that as a thank you to my cousin I would make some cookies to bring on board. And so, despite the heat, I have been baking away for the past two days. The temperature in my apartment has reached ungodly levels and the combination of flour and sweat on my face created a paste that would not go away, but I think this week when I am bobbing around in the Mediterranean, it will be well worth the strife.

I am sorry to have such a short post, but I am running off to the airport, but I wanted to make sure that you have these recipes because not only are they easy, but they are delicious too. Make some dough this weekend and then freeze it, or bake them off and bring them to a friend or familie's house. Trust me, by the end of the night all you'll have is a plate of crumbs (which I highly suggest you eat too, because good cookies, make good crumbs).

Checkerboard Cookies
from Martha Stewart
Makes about 4 dozen

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure lemon extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 large egg

•In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until well blended, 1 to 2 minutes. Add vanilla extract, lemon extract, and salt. With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour, scraping down sides of bowl.

•Turn dough out onto a clean work surface; it will be loose and crumbly. Knead dough by pushing small amounts away from you with the heel of your hand for 1 to 2 minutes. Divide dough in half. Sprinkle cocoa powder over one of the halves. Knead until cocoa has been fully incorporated.

• Place each half of the kneaded dough between two sheets of plastic. Using a rolling pin, shape dough into two 7-inch squares, about 3/8 inch thick. Using a sharp knife and a ruler, slice each square into nine 3/4-inch-wide strips.

• Whisk together the egg and 1 tablespoon water. Cover work surface with plastic wrap. Place three strips of dough on plastic, alternating white and chocolate strips. Brush tops and in between the strips with egg wash. Gently press strips together. Repeat, forming second and third layers, alternating colors to create a checkerboard effect. Wrap assembled log in plastic. Repeat process for second log, reversing color pattern. Refrigerate 30 minutes, or freeze 15 minutes.

• Preheat oven to 350 degrees. line a baking sheet with a Silpat baking mat or parchment paper. Slice each log into 1/4-inch-thick slices; place on baking sheet. Bake until done, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove baking sheet from oven, and let cookies cool 2 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Store cookies in an airtight container up to 2 days.

Vanilla-Almond Crescent Cookies (aka. Vanillekipferl)
Makes about 40 cookies
From Martha Stewart


2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (3 ounces) blanched almonds

2/3 cup superfine sugar
14 tablespoons cold (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into very small pieces
3 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar, for sifting


• Sift flour and salt. In a food processor, grind almonds fine. Add sugar, sifted flour, and salt. Pulse to combine. With machine running, slowly add pieces of butter through feed tube. Add yolks and vanilla. Process for 20 seconds. Divide dough into two pieces. Roll each into a 1 1/2-inch-thick log, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 3 hours.

•Line two baking sheets with parchment. Cut dough into 3/8-inch-thick pieces. Pinch each into a 3-inch crescent; place on baking sheets about 1 inch apart. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

•Heat oven to 350 degrees. Bake crescents for 10 minutes, rotate sheets between oven shelves, and bake about 8 more minutes; cookies should not brown. Transfer parchment with cookies to a wire rack; let cool 5 minutes. Sift confectioners’ sugar over before serving.


maris said...

These look so elegant! What wonderful cookies.

Elena said...

La nonna en a acheté dans un marché de Noël et ont les a mangé hier mmmmmh! Sauf qu'évidement il y avait un sujet de discussion à propos de ces biscuits entre ma mère et la Nonna,tu sais comment ça marche ...

Alors, la Nonna dis que ce sont des biscuits autrichiens et que ce sont les meilleurs. Ma mère dit que ce sont des biscuits allemands et que ce sont les allemands les meilleurs.

Et moi qui croyait que c'était italien parce que j'ai toujours mangé ça à Pantelleria ... :{

D'où viennent-ils????