Tag Archives: Cookies

Hazelnut Sticks

Crunchy with a strong hazelnut flavor. And they're easy: the nuts don't have to be toasted or skinned.
Makes about 40 cookies
Shopping List

2/3 cup raw hazelnuts

11/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

scant 1/2 cup sugar

6 TBL unsalted butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

Line the bottom and sides of a 9×5 loaf pan with foil. (See note at the end of these directions for how to do this painlessly.)

In a food processor, combine

  • 2/3 cup raw hazelnuts (with skins still on them)
  • 11/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • scant 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Pulse until the hazelnuts are finely chopped. Cut

  • 6 TBL cold unsalted butter

into 1/2-inch cubes, add to the food processor and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Combine

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 TBL cold water

and drizzle into the processor bowl. Pulse just until the mixture resembles damp crumbs – it shouldn’t be a smooth mass, but it should stick together when pressed. Dump the mixture into the lined loaf pan and spread it evenly. Press it very firmly and compactly. Fold the foil over the dough and wrap it tightly. Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Grease two cookie sheets.

Unwrap the dough and transfer it to a cutting board. Use a long sharp knife to cut the dough crosswise into 1/4-inch (or thinner if possible) slices. Use the knife to transfer each slice to the greased cookie sheets, placing the slices 1 inch apart. The slices will be fragile and require the support of the knife in transit.

Bake for 12 to 18 minutes, until the cookies are golden with golden brown edges. Rotate top to bottom and front to back halfway through for even baking. With a metal spatula, transfer the cookies to a rack to cool. May be kept in an airtight container for several days.

Variation: Almond Sticks

I just substituted 2/3 cup raw almonds for the hazelnuts. But I didn’t think the almond flavor was strong enough; next time, I’m going to use almond extract in place of the vanilla, or half almond/half vanilla.

NOTE: ATTN To line pan with foil: Invert the pan, cover it with a piece of foil 4 inches longer and wider than the bottom of the pan, and with your hands press down on the foil around the sides and the corners to shape it like the pan. Dampen the inside of the pan slightly. Without tearing, press the foil into place in the pan.

 

Kiffling (Wedding Cookies)

Rich crescent-shaped almond cookies with a light, crunchy texture. Despite the powdered sugar, they're not too sweet. They're easy to make.
Makes 3 dozen
Shopping List

1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter

1/3 cup sugar

8 oz almonds (unroasted, skins on)

2 cups cake flour

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar, for dusting

These cookies have a delicious crumbly texture. I’m not a fan of confectioners’ sugar, but the coating on the on the outside works perfectly.

Using a mechanical grinder (meat, nut, whatever), grind

  • 8 ounces almonds

I suppose you could use 8 ounces of almond flour, but leaving the skins on provides a darker result and more flavor.

In a bowl, cream

  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter

Add

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

When thoroughly mixed, add the ground almonds. Then blend in

  • 2 cups cake flour

to make a uniform dough. ATTN Using cake flour provides the cookies with a better texture. Place the covered dough in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 325º F. After the dough has rested, measure out uniform pieces. I  used a scale and aimed for 22g pieces: they’re a little bigger than I’d have liked because (to my surprise) the dough rose a bit as it baked. You can just use a spoon or approximate uniform pieces with your eye: ATTN that’s better for your mental health.

Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Form crescents, making sure they taper down at the points. Place the cookies on the parchment-lined pans: they can be fairly close because they don’t expand much.

Kiffling waiting to go into the oven.
Kiffling waiting to go into the oven.

Bake for about 12 minutes and then check on them. If you need to rotate the racks or swap the racks top to bottom. Keep an eye on them until they are golden. At the size I made the cookies they took about 22 minutes to bake, but your timing may vary. You definitely want the cookies watch the cookies until they take on a nice color.

When the cookies come out of the oven, coat them in confectioners’ sugar. The cookies can break, so my approach was to dust them using a strainer with confectioners’ sugar right over the cookie pans. Then I used a spatula to move the cookies over a little to place the bottoms onto some of the spare sugar on cookie sheet.

Some people dust them a second time after they cool, but it’s more sugar than I like.

From my sister, Mindy, who probably got it from a family friend.

 

Rum Balls

Easy: no baking involved.
Makes about 30 cookies
Shopping List

about 11/2 cups vanilla wafers

about 5 ounces pecans

2 TBL cocoa

about 11/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

 

If you have a food processor, it will make chopping the nuts and pulverizing the vanilla wafers, but do each one separately. Next time I make this I’m going to grind the pecans instead of chopping them.

Measure together in a bowl

  • 1 cup (95g) of vanilla wafer crumbs
  • 1 cup (135g) finely chopped pecans
  • 1 cup (110g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 TBL (10g) cocoa powder

Stir to combine ingredients. Add

  • 1/4 cup rum or bourbon
  • 2 TBL corn syrup

Mixture should be refrigerated a couple hours (or overnight) to allow the dry ingredients to fully absorb the liquid. Roll into small balls. (I overthought this and weighed them to target about 14g each.) Roll in confectioners’ sugar. Store in refrigerator.

NOTE: The original recipe made double this quantity, and Betty suggested making half with cocoa and half without cocoa.

From a dear family friend, Betty Rosen. I get a smile on my face every time I think about her.

 

Chestnut Honey Shortbread

 

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup white rice flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted, cold butter, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 TBL chestnut honey

Preheat oven to 325 F.

Pulse together the flours, sugar and salt in a food processor. Add the butter and honey and pulse to fine crumbs. Pulse a few more times until some of the crumbs start to come together, but don’t overprocess. The result will be like powdery crumbs when done, not at all like dough.

Press the “dough” into an even layer in an ungreased 9 x 13 pan, pressing fairly firmly to compact the dough. Bake until golden brown, 25-30 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.

Cut into bars, ATTN while still warm.

Based on a recipe from Melissa Clark.

ANZAC Biscuits

And now the short history lesson, for those of you who were playing hooky that day: ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, the forces that fought in the First World War. You remember: the Great War, the War to End All Wars and all that?

Makes about 4 dozen

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon golden syrup (see tip)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Grease a baking sheet. Preheat oven to 350°. Combine

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup coconut

Melt together

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon golden syrup

Combine

  • 2 tablespoons boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

and add to the butter mixture. Mix butter mixture and dry ingredients. Add a little more water if the mixture is too dry.

Drop teaspoons of mixture onto tray, allowing room for spreading. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool on tray for a few minutes before transferring to cooling racks.

ATTN Golden syrup is a thick, amber-colored form of inverted sugar syrup. The best-known brand in the UK is Lyle’s Golden Syrup, which is now distributedin the U.S. If you can’t find it, look for King brand syrup or substitute a mixture of honey and corn syrup.

From an original recipe provided by Bob Lawson, an ANZAC present at the Gallipoli landing.

Mexican Chocolate Icebox Cookies

Chocolate, cinnamon and not too much sugar. Oh yeah, cayenne!
Makes 40 cookies
Shopping List

11/2 cups sifted flour

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch process

Generous pinch of cayenne

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

6 ounces (11/2 sticks) unsalted butter

11/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup sugar

1 large egg

Sift together

  • 11/2 cups sifted flour (210g)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (62g)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • generous pinch of finely ground black pepper
  • generous pinch of cayenne
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

and set aside. In the large bowl of electric mixer, cream

  • 6 ounces (11/2 sticks) unsalted butter

Add

  • 11/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sugar

and beat to mix thoroughly. Beat in

  • 1 large egg

Turn mixer to low speed and gradually add the sifted dry ingredients, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula and beating only until mixed. Toward the end of the mixing, if the dough starts to crawl up on the beaters, remove the bowl from the mixer and finish mixing with a spatula.

Lightly flour a cutting board or counter. Turn the dough out onto the board. Lightly flour your hands and shape the dough into a cylinder about 10 inches long and 2 inches in diameter. Try to make this as even in diameter as you can.

Wrap the cylinder of dough in wax paper and place it in the freezer until firm (or keep it frozen for as long as you like).

Before baking, adjust two racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat oven to 375°. Unwrap the dough and place it on a cutting board. With a paring knife and a ruler, place marks every 1/4-inch down the length of the cylinder. With a sharp, heavy knife, cut 1/4-inch slices. Place the slices 11/2 to 2 inches apart on unbuttered cookie sheets; the cookies will spread a bit as they bake.

Bake 10 or 11 minutes, reversing the sheets top to bottom and front to back once during backing to insure even browning. The cookies are done when they feel almost firm to the touch. ATTN Watch them carefully to be sure they do not burn. If you bake only one sheet at a time, bake it on the upper rack; the cookies will bake in less time with only one pan in the oven, so watch that they do not burn.

Let them cool for a few seconds on the sheets until firm enough to transfer to a wire rack. Then, with a wide metal spatula, transfer the cookies to racks to cool.

Store cookies in an airtight container. They freeze well.

Adapted from Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Chocolate Desserts

Gingerful Biscotti

These are crisp, spicy and they’d last a long time if they weren’t so addictive.

Makes 60 to 70 biscotti

4 ounces (1 loosely packed cup) crystallized ginger

7 ounces (11/4 cups) whole almonds, blanched or unblanched

3 cups sifted flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

11/4 teaspoon finely ground white pepper

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground mustard powder

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 cup sugar

3 large eggs

1/2 cup honey

Cut

4 ounces (1 loosely packed cup) crystallized ginger

into thin slices and then crosswise to make pieces about the size of small green peas. Scissors may make this task easier. Set aside.

Toast

7 ounces (11/4 cups) whole almonds, blanched or unblanched

in a shallow pan in a 350° oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until lightly colored, stirring once during toasting. Set aside to cool

Into a large bowl, sift together

3 cups sifted flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

11/4 teaspoon finely ground white pepper (or 1 teaspoon purchased ground white pepper, since it packs down while standing and doesn’t taste as good anyway)

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground mustard powder

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 cup sugar

Stir in the crystallized ginger and nuts. In a small bowl, beat together

3 large eggs

1/2 cup honey

and add to dry ingredients. Stir until the dry ingredients are completely moistened. Place two 18- to 20-inch lengths of plastic wrap on the counter. Form two strips of the dough, one on each piece of plastic wrap. Do this by spooning half of the dough by heaping tablespoonfuls in the middle, lengthwise, of each piece of plastic wrap to form strips about 13 inches long. Flatten the tops slightly by dipping a large spoon in water and pressing down on the dough with the wet spoon. Keep wetting the spoon to work the dough more easily, as the dough is sticky.

Lift the two long sides of one piece of plastic wrap, bringing them together on the top of the dough. Press the plastic wrap in place on the top, and, using your hands, smooth the dough to form an even strip about 13 to 14 inches long and 21/2 to 31/2 inches wide and no thicker than 3/4 inch high. If any air bubbles form, pierce a small hole with the tip of a sharp knife to let the air escape, then press on the plastic wrap to spread the dough into that space. Shape both strips, place on a cookie sheet and freeze for at least an hour or until firm enough to unwrap (or as much longer as you wish).

To bake, adjust two racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat oven to 300°. Line two large cookie sheets with baking parchment or aluminum foil, shiny side up. Place one strip of dough diagonally on a lined sheet, and slowly peel the plastic wrap off the dough. Repeat with the second strip of dough and the second cookie sheet.

Bake for 50 minutes, reversing the sheets top to bottom and front to back once during the backing to insure even baking. These will turn quite dark during baking.

Reduce the oven temperature to 275° and remove the sheets from the oven. Immediately—carefully and gently—peel the parchment or foil away from the backs of the strips and slice the strips while they are still very hot. On a cutting board, use a clean towel to hold a strip in place and slice with a serrated knife. Slice on an angle; the sharper the angle, the longer the cookies, and the more difficult it will be to slice them very thin. Do your best. Cut them about 1/4 to 1/3 inch wide. ATTNI have an electric slicer and it lets me make incredibly thing biscotti.

Place the slices on a cut side on the cookie sheets; don’t worry about leaving any room between the biscotti. Bake at 275°or about 25 minutes. (If you re-bake the biscotti one sheet at a time they will bake in a bit less time.) Because these are so thin, you will not need to turn them upside down during the second baking, but you should reverse the sheets top to bottom and front to back once during the baking. Bake just until dry; you will need to test them when they are cool to know if they are crisp enough. Do not overbake.

Store in an airtight container after they cool.

Adapted from Maida Heatter’s Brand-New Book of Great Cookies

Oatmeal Shortbread

Real chew-food: the uncooked oats are delicious and not overly sweet.

Makes one 9×13-inch pan, about 24 pieces

31/2 cups rolled oats (not quick-cooking oats)

2/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup white or whole wheat flour

3/4 cup butter, softened

1/2 tsp salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

Heat oven to 325° F. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl with a wooden spoon or your fingers. Butter a 9×13-inch pan and put the dough in it, pressing down and evenly distributing dough. Bake 30 minutes. When cool, cut into squares.

Adapted from The New York Times Natural Foods Cookbook

Quick Chocolate Wafers

Preheat oven to 350 F convection.

Sift together (through a strainer) 1 cup + 2 TBL flour, 2/3 cup cocoa and 1/2 tsp baking soda. In a medium saucepan, melt 11/2 sticks (3/4 cup) butter. When thoroughly melted, add 1 cup sugar and 1/4 cup corn syrup. Stir and remove from heat. Stir for one minute to help some of the heat dissipate. Add 1 beaten egg. When incorporated, add the dry ingredients. Add 11/2 tsp vanilla.

Form into 11/4” diameter balls (I have a 11/2 tsp scoop that does this), and place onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake for 11 minutes. Cookies will fall after they come out of oven and form chewy chocolate wafer. Baking them a little longer will produce crisper cookies. Let rest for 2-3 minutes before removing to a rack to cool. Makes about 5 dozen small cookies.

NOTE: the dough will get stiffer the longer it sits and this will change the way the cookies come out. I prefer to work quickly but the cookies are great either way.

Hamentaschen Sugar Dough

Combine and set aside

  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt

In mixer, blend

  • 1 cup unsalted margarine

When softened, add

  • 3/4 cup sugar

When fully blended, add

  • 3/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 2 TBL water

Depending on the humidity, size of the egg, etc., you may have to adjust the flour by 1/4 cup or water by 1TBL  to get the dough to hold together or not be sticky. Refrigerate dough overnight before using.

Working with about 1/4 of the dough at a time, roll to desired thickness (about 1/8 ” inch), cut into 3″ circles, top with 1 tsp filling (see Poppy Seed Filling or Prune Filling or buy commercial fillings), moisten outer ring of dough and form into triangles. Transfer to greased cookie sheet and brush with beaten egg. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes at 325 F convection; they should turn a golden color from the egg wash, but sometimes it doesn’t happen.

Depending on how thick you roll the dough and how large you cut the rounds, the yield will vary. This made about 5 dozen hamentaschen. If you go for thicker cookies (3/16 “), you’ll get about 3 dozen hamentaschen.

ATTN Because of the leavening, the cookies have a tendency to burst apart at the corners if they are not securely held together.

See Hamentaschen Honey Dough for an alternate recipe.

Poppy Seed Filling

Combine and soak overnight in the refrigerator

  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups poppy seeds

In the morning put in large saucepan. ATTN The mixture can boil up quickly so don’t start in a too-small pan. Add

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup almond flour (or finely ground almonds)

Bring to a simmer, stirring regularly and ATTN watching that it doesn’t boil over. When it reaches a simmer, lower the heat and maintain the simmer for 15 minutes. The mixture should be thicker.

Remove from heat and let cool. When cool add

  • 1 beaten egg

This is used to make Hamentaschen or Fluden.  See the recipes for Hamentaschen Sugar Dough and  Hamentaschen Honey Dough. This makes enough filling for about 80 hamentaschen, but it can be used for other recipes as well. It will keep for up to 6 months in the freezer.

 

Hamentaschen Honey Dough

In a mixer, combine: 4 cups flour, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp baking powder in bowl of mixer. Add 1/2 cup softened shortening, 4 eggs and 1 cup honey. Combine until smooth. You may need to add up to 3/4 cup additional flour to get the dough to a good consistency: think cookie dough… that’s what it is.

You can use this to make Hamentaschen: Roll dough to 1/8-inch thick, cut into 21/2 inch circles, fill (see Poppy Seed Filling or Prune Filling or buy commercial fillings), form into triangles, brush with beaten egg and bake for 15-18 minutes at 350 F convection). It’s also the dough for making Fluden. See Hamentaschen Sugar Dough for an alternate recipe.

Prune Filling

Combine 24 ounces dried prunes, 12 ounces dried apricots, 1/2 lemon, 1 orange (cut into 8 pieces) and water to just cover in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer until water is almost gone and fruits are soft. Let cool. Grind with 11/2 to 2 cups walnuts. Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar to taste.

An alternate approach I’ve used is to simmer 20 ounces of prunes with 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water. I cooked them for 8 minutes in the microwave until they were fully rehydrated. I ground them in the meat grinder, added the grated peel from one large orange and 1/4 cup almond meal. I added no sugar.

Extra filling can be frozen and will easily keep for a year in the freezer. If you’re not making a big batch of Hamentaschen or Fluden, you might want to cut the quantities back. See the recipes for Hamentaschen Sugar Dough and  Hamentaschen Honey Dough.