Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas baking

I think I'm almost done (pant, pant). So far I've churned out:

10 pounds of apricot cherry granola (for teachers)

2 of these amazing boozy fruit cakes (no nasty fluorescence in them--more like really good trail mix, soaked in rum and bound together with a minimal amount of flour/sugar/eggs and some spices. I swapped out dried blueberries for dates and added lots more pecans.)

a batch of espresso chocolate chunk (substituted dark brown sugar for the light and hand-chopped 70% chocolate which makes for nice non-uniform bits and blobs)

a batch of currant ginger shortbread

a batch of almond orange biscotti

and a batch of slightly altered Italian wedding cookies (recipe below) (pecans instead of almonds, some orange zest and orange flower water mixed in).

You would never know from this list that I don't really have much of a sweet tooth...

Italian Wedding Cookies
(sort of)

2/3 C of pecans
1 C unsalted butter
1/4 C powdered sugar (plus 1/2 - 1 C more for rolling and dusting the cookies with after baking)
1 t vanilla extract
3 t orange blossom water
zest of two oranges
2 C all purpose-flour
1/4 t salt

Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicon mats.

Toast nuts: toss nuts on a baking sheet and bake for about 8 minutes. They should smell good and, you know, nutty. Cool completely.

Take half the cooled nuts and put them in a food processor with 2 T of flour. Pulse until they are finely ground. Add the rest of the nuts and pulse a couple of times to just chop them.

In the bowl of a mixer cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla extract, orange blossom water and orange zest. Add the rest of the four and salt and beat until combined. Stir in the nuts. Cover and refrigerate dough until firm (about an hour).

Form dough into 1 inch balls and place them 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Bake for 12-15 minutes until they are brown around the edges. Remove and cool.

Put about 1/4 C of powdered sugar in a plate then put the cooled cookies on top of the sugar. You can then roll them around or (as I prefer) sift the rest of the sugar over the tops.

Makes about 3 dozen.

1 comment:

gooroodesign said...

Hey Kate,

Would you mind writing a post on making an organic, veggie pizza? :)

I'll gladly send a pizza slicer your way as a thank you!

All the Best,