Sunday, December 30, 2012

Classic Shortbread with Fleur de Sel: Baked Sunday Morning

I am about cookied-out from all the Christmas cookie baking so I was very slightly hesitant about making these.  But I love shortbread and I have never made it so I forged ahead and I am so glad I did.  I halved the recipe, because I didn't really want to have all those buttery treats hanging around the kitchen calling my name.  I did not have Fleur de Sel and the stores around here don't have all that kind of stuff so
I substituted sea salt.

 These are very simple to make and the result is so incredibly good!

I may have to add them to my holiday cookie list!

The recipe and the results of what all the other talented bakers did are here.  Please take a look see. 

Happy New Year!


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Italian Rainbow Cookies

This cookie is simple to do but it is an all day affair!  This is the first time I have made these, I wanted to do them last year but time got away from me.  I want to add more and more Italian cookies to my Christmas lineup.  I think this one will be a keeper. 

I had lots of air bubbles in my layers after they came out of the oven. Not really sure what could have caused my layers are not even the way I would like them to be. I will give it another shot next year!


Italian Rainbow Cookies
Lidia's Italy in America

8 ounces almond paste
1 cup sugar
2½ sticks unsalted butter, softened, cut into pieces, plus more for the pans
4 large eggs, separated
½ teaspoon
kosher salt
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pans
1 teaspoon red food coloring, gel or paste preferred
1 teaspoon green food coloring, gel or paste preferred
Two 15-ounce jars smooth (not chunky) apricot jam
1½ pounds bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour three 15-by-10-inch rimmed sheet pans, and line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper.

Combine the almond paste and all but 2 tablespoons of the sugar in an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until you have fine crumbles. Add the butter, a few pieces at a time, and pulse until well mixed. Plop in the egg yolks, one at a time, and mix until the batter is smooth. Sprinkle in salt, and mix. Sift in flour, and mix until just combined.

Whisk egg whites in a bowl until foamy. While whisking, slowly add the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, and whisk until firm peaks form. Fold about a third of the egg whites into the batter to lighten it, then gently fold in remaining egg whites.

Divide batter evenly into three bowls. Leave one bowl plain, without any coloring. Add red food coloring to one bowl, stirring to make a deep-salmon color. Add green food coloring to last bowl, stirring to make a medium-green color. Spread batter into each of the prepared pans with a spatula. Bake, rotating pans to opposite racks, until cakes are cooked through and just beginning to brown around the edges, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven, let cakes cook completely on wire racks, then remove from pans.

Trim each of the layers to even out the thickness of the cakes. Put the green cake layer back, cut side up, into one of the lined pans. Spread 1/2 jar of jam over the cake, almost all of the way to the edges. Place the plain layer of cake on top of the jam. Spread the remaining jar of jam almost all the way to the edges of the plain layer. Place the red layer on top of the jam, cut side up. Wrap the entire cake in plastic, and top with another pan, weighted with cans. Chill in refrigerator 4 hours or overnight.

Melt chocolate in a double
boiler. Unwrap the cake, and place on a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet. Pour and spread the chocolate over the top the cake, using a spatula to guide the chocolate over the top and down the sides of the cake. If the kitchen is cool, let the chocolate harden that way; if it is warm, clear a space in the refrigerator to place the cake and let the chocolate harden. When the chocolate is about halfway set, gently rake the topping with the tines of a fork or a dough scraper with dentals, starting from the end of the chocolate covering all the way to the other end, slightly undulating the lines as you move along. Repeat until all of the chocolate has indented stripes. Let the chocolate set completely.

Using a
serrated knife, cut the set and decorated layers into three dozen rectangles, using the outer sides to form perfectly cut rectangles.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Spicy Brownies: Baked Sunday Morning

I have not made any Baked Brownies yet.  I love brownies and I have an all time favorite brownie recipe from the Barefoot Contessa.  I absolutely love her Outrageous Brownies...they are to die for and it has been my go-to recipe for brownies for many years now.   So when I saw that we were baking Spicy Brownies this week I was a little reluctant but very curious about this brownie with chili pepper in it.  I really didn't know what to expect!  I was pleasantly surprised by the subtleness of the spices, in fact it was difficult to really detect the chili powder.  What you get is a nice warm hint of spice. They were chocolaty, fudgy and quite good!  A really delicious variation of on my all time favorite sweets! 

When you want a little something different....give these a try!  You will find the recipe here.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

No-Bake Peanut Butter Cookie: Baked Sunday Morning

I was going to pass this one by because I am in a whirlwind of baking Christmas cookies right now, but this recipe is so darn easy and really tasty I just did it anyway.  They will be a nice treat for all the people that my husband and I work with.

I love that Matt and Renato filled the pages of their Baked cookbooks with nostalgia, that is one of the things that attracted me to these books, however, 
I have no fond memories of Mom or Aunties whipping up these treats in the kitchen, in fact no one in my family has ever made these.   Since they were popular in the seventies, I guess I would have been the Mom making these for my son.  But I never did.  The funny thing is, while I was making these today it made me think of a Weight Watcher treat I used to make in the seventies or eighties....not sure, I have been on Weight Watchers so many times it would make your head spin!  But anyway, we used to take a diet hot chocolate pack or a Weight Watcher shake package and mix it with peanut butter and oatmeal. and water.  At the time I thought I died and went to heaven!  Even in it's Weight Watcher form these cookie/candy things are delicious!

I like that this recipe was no-bake and they literally went together in minutes.  The longest wait was while they were chilling in the fridge.  Give them a try if you never have... you will be amazed as how addictive they are! 

To see what the other bakers did this week and to get the recipe please visit the Baked Sunday Morning site.  There are truly some amazing bakers in the group!  I am happy to be part of it!

Whenever I get the chance I will keep on baking on Sunday morning!

Until then,