Tuesday, February 22, 2011

From Valerie's Kitchen - Rolled Almond Cookies


This past week I had the pleasure of spending a day at home with my 3 year old. We completed puzzles, worked on crafts and played with Legos. He took a nap, the dogs ran circles round the yard enjoying a warm February day, and I got lost in food, again! 

The item that consumed the most oven hours was the pork rib roast; a dish I winged with some inspiration from a recipe for pork roast I found in  Jan Karon's Mitford Cookbook. (Super yummy ... maybe if I get a free moment tomorrow I will post the recipe. No photos, though, it didn't last!)

The item that brought the most smiles to my families faces and assembled in a cinch was the scrumptious little heart cookies that Bodie and I made. Below you'll find their recipe, found in the Cookie and Biscuit Bible which I received a couple years back as a gift. Next time you're wanting to make cookie cutter cookies, try these, and share the joy!


Rolled Almond Cookies
Makes 24
Ingredients:
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ¼ cup superfine/baker’s sugar
  • 1 tbsp ground almonds
  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2tbsp cornstarch
Tools:
  • 2 baking sheets
  • baking parchment or silicone baking sheet (if not greasing pans)
  • Whisk
  • 1 Large mixing bowl, 1-2 small mixing bowls
  • Sifter
  • Wooden spoon
  • Plastic wrap
  • Rolling Pin
  • Flour to dust work surface
  • 2 ½ in. fluted round cookie cutter (or any cookie cutter of roughly the same size ... I used a heart)
  • Palette knife or metal spatula
  • Cooling rack
  • 12oz. Squeeze bottle

Process:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two baking sheets or line them with baking parchment/silicone baking sheet. Beat the butter and sugar together until creamy in large mixing bowl. Gradually add the egg, beating well after each addition, then beat in the almonds. Sift over the flour and cornstarch and mix to a soft dough.
  2. Lightly knead the dough on a floured surface for a few seconds until smooth. Do not overwork the dough or the butter will start to melt and the gluten will “develop”, giving the cookies a tough texture.
  3. Shape the dough into a ball then flatten slightly into a round. Wrap in plastic wrap to prevent the dough from drying out and chill for about 30 minutes, or until firm but not too stiff to roll. (If you are making a large quantity of dough, divide it into pieces so you will be able to handle it more easily when rolling.
  4. On a floured surface, roll out the dough lightly and evenly in one direction to a thickness of about ⅛ in.
  5. Stamp out 2 ½ in. rounds using a fluted cookie cutter. Gather up the scraps and re-roll to stamp out more cookies.
  6. Transfer the cookies to the prepared baking sheets using a palette knife or metal spatula. Rolled cookies shouldn't spread as much as drop cookies during baking, but you should still leave at least 1” between each cookie. Chill the cookies for at least 30 minutes before baking them, as this will help them to retain their shape.
  7. Bake for 10 minutes until the cookies are a pale golden brown, making sure you rotate the baking sheets halfway through the cooking time. Remove the cookies from the oven and leave on the baking sheets for 2-3 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack using a metal spatula to allow them to finish cooling.
  8. Decorate with royal icing (recipe to follow) after cookies have cooled to room temperature.

Royal Icing 
(this icing sets hard to give a beautiful finish - great for piping designs/words on cookies)
Covers up to 30 cookies

Ingredients:
  • 1 egg white, at room temperature
  • 2 cups confectioners sugar, sifted, plus extra if necessary
  • food coloring, if desired

Process:
  • Beat the egg white and a couple of drops of food coloring, if using, for a few seconds with a fork. Mix in the confectioners sugar a little at a time until the mixture stands in stiff peaks. Transfer to squeeze bottle or pastry bag with tip. Decorate cookies as desired. Leave to set.

~ Enjoy!