Sunday, December 26, 2010

Cookies!!! Part Three

Finally, Cookies Part 3. Thanks to that water main break, there was no baking Wednesday night as planned. So we crammed it all in on Thursday - we even got some help from our 5 year old nephew, who arrived Thursday afternoon. I should mention that the water main issue plagued us again earlier today -- around 10:30 am, SP & I went to try out my new cappuccino/espresso maker and there was no water when we went to fill the water tank. Sigh. So we were again water-less until around 5:30 pm. Quite annoying. This time, it was our neighbor's yard.

So here are the final 3 Christmas Cookies:

Ischl Tartlets

These cookies have been appearing on our holiday cookie tray for many years, first made by grandma, then my aunt, and now me. I started making them when I was 14 years old. They don't show up every year, but they are almost always requested. We made these this past Halloween with the Halloween cutters SP bought. As always, a hit with the family.

Rugelach is a new cookie on our cookie tray. I saw a recipe in a Food Network Christmas Cookie email, but the recipe we used is from the Baking Illustrated cookbook that SP gave me for my birthday.These are very tasty and definitely worth the effort. We made the dough Tuesday night. It's very crumbly when it gets dumped out of the food processor:It's then smushed together and formed into a log which is cut into 4 equal parts. Here's one part:Each part is rolled out between pieces of plastic wrap. Yes, plastic wrap.The rounds are stacked and then chilled for at least an hour or frozen for up to a month. We froze ours overnight.Of course overnight turned into 48 hours thanks to the water main issue. So Thursday afternoon, we topped each round with apricot preserves, then chopped dried cranberries (instead of raisins) and then chopped walnuts:They also have cinnamon-sugar sprinkled inside and then on top the rolled crescents. The round looks like a pizza and is cut into 8 wedges:Each wedge is rolled up like a crescent roll. The rolls are placed on a parchment lined cookie sheet.They are popped into the freezer for 15 minutes before baking:Mmm yum! I am a bit surprised I like these as much as I do because I am not much of a nuts in my dessert kind of person. SP is - he loves nuts, and that's why I wanted to try these. They sounded very much like a cookie he would really enjoy and they were a new one. Sometimes making the same cookies is kind of... unexciting. I like trying new ones.

The final cookie:

PalmiersLast year we made Almond Frangiapane Palmiers. There were a few 'issues.' Like my typed recipe wasn't exactly clear and we (I) kind of messed up the proportions of ingredients. Oops. We decided to make cinnamon-sugar palmiers this year. We had just one sheet of puff pastry in the freezer. We rolled it out, brushed it with melted butter, and sprinkled on the leftover cinnamon sugar mixture from the rugelach. They're supposed to look like little scrolls, sort of like this:But owing to our utter exhaustion after a very sleepless night, a very busy day in the kitchen, and the craziness of guests arriving, we sort of mangled them and they had interesting shapes:Oops. Oh well. They still tasted OK.

So that's the end of our holiday cookie baking! Thirteen kinds of cookies in 6 days! The biscotti were a huge hit with everyone. I think they are joining the 'permanent rotation.' My niece and nephew loved the sugar cut out cookies. Dad and my brother loved the Triple Ginger cookies. We put quite a dent in the cookie stash. Unfortunately, we forgot the cookies for S & SSO on Christmas Day and then my friends from VA cancelled our plans to meet up because of the snow storm approaching the DC/VA area, so we couldn't give them the tray of cookies we made. But we did take some to our neighbors as we all commiserated over the second water main break in 5 days!

Now it's time to take a break from baking!

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