The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Cookies

turosdolci's picture
turosdolci

In Italy desserts are often flavored with honey, chestnuts, pine nuts, hazelnuts and almonds. Cantucci originated in the Tuscany and it is thought that they were flavored with almonds from Prato. They can be found in every pasticceria in the Tuscany. Cantucci are mostly eaten with a glass of “Vin Santo” a sweet wine. Many restaurants serve small almond biscotti with coffee and some will have a bowl of them on the table at all times. It is probably the most well-known and popular biscotti in Italy.

Following is our family recipe for cantucci. Make a full recipe and stored in a metal container, they will last a few weeks. They can be frozen up to two months – they defrost very quickly. You will always have biscotti to serve with coffee when friends drop by. 

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http://turosdolci.wordpress.com/2009/08/01/almond-biscotti-“cantucci”-recipe/


 

 

 

ArtisanGeek's picture
ArtisanGeek

Well, I had a birthday party to go to (pool-side at my Brother-In-Law's house) and I wanted to do something a little different than the standard birthday cake...so I decided to make a giant chocolate chip sandwich cookie. It's about 12 inches in diameter and contains about a pound each of semi-sweet chocolate chips and white chocolate chips. At the end of the mix, I fold in about 4 ounces of walnuts. The cream filling consists of powdered sugar, egg white, shortening, and vanilla. The cookie dough is from a recipe you can find on any Toll-House chocolate chip bag. Its baked a little on the soft side so it slices like a cake. This one didn't last long after this photo was taken....it was devoured in short order!

Giant Chocolate Chip Sandwich Cookie

davidg618's picture
davidg618

(You can, if you wish, skip all my mutterings. The recipe is at the bottom.)


My little Welsh grandmother was a gentle soul with streaks of stubbornness, impishness, and independence just below the surface. Born in Wales in the 1883 she sailed to America, with her coalminer father and her mother in 1894. By the time I knew her only her baking, and a light lilt in her speech hinted her origins; she had become American, through and through.


My grandfather died the year I was born, leaving my grandmother a widow. She spent the rest of her life living with her oldest daughter, Alice, also a widow due a horse drawn milk wagon falling on her husband, who was the duo’s bread winner. She held a good paying job. They lived comfortably, and quietly—until the grandchildren started to arrive. I was the third grandchild born amid six—two each among her other three children—and the first boy, fathered by her oldest son: oldest son of the oldest son. I came to learn that gave me important status in the Welsh culture that shaped grandma. She spoiled me rotten. Childless, Alice spoiled all of us.


Grandma was grateful to Alice for providing hearth and home, but refused Alice’s money to pay for gifts for her grandchildren. To earn money—a necessary tool to spoil grandchildren—she marketed her crafts. She tatted doilies; crocheted doll clothes; made stuffed dolls from working men’s tall, white socks; and she baked. The Third Welsh Congregational Church's white elephant and bake sales were her initial outlet store. By the time I could drive, she had nearly twenty loyal customers throughout the city. I was her delivery boy.  Every Thursday, after school, I drove to Grandma’s house; loaded the family car with bagged, wax paper wrapped loaves—white and whole wheat—and drove her route. The smell leaking from the bags was my teen year’s drug of choice. I got high sniffing bread once a week.


Her prices, for the times, were expensive: fifty cents a loaf, but no customer complained. Wonder Bread’s predecessors sold for about eighteen cents a loaf in the stores. Despite the city’s highly immigrant population, European style breads were missing from the shelves of local bakeries. The phrase “artisan breads” wouldn’t be invented for fifty years.


In the month before Christmas, and only for “special” customers, she also made Welsh cookies—$1 dollar a dozen.


A brief tutorial: England and Wales had many mines: tin, lead, and coal, Miners worked hard, and needed energy to keep going. Mine owners were cruel despoilers. (Ref: watch How Green was my Valley 20th Century Fox, 1941—I find fictional references contain much more imaginative examples than those in nonfictional references.) Miners carried there lunch and snacks into the depths of the mines, and ate lunch on the job.


Tin mines are especially hazardous, tin ores contain arsenic compounds. Tin miners can’t risk touching their food with their dirty hands. To the rescue, the Cornish pastie: a pot roast en croute; eat the innards; throw away the crust. Live for another day of mining.


Coal is mostly carbon, just like we are. A little coal dust never hurt anyone (discounting Black Lung), right? Welsh coal miners carried Welsh cakes in their pockets; loaded with lard (more about lard, later), and butter, and sugar the cakes were packed with energy almost as dense as that in the dynamite used to harvest the coal: energy to mine more coal, or run like the devil when the roof starts falling (see above reference.).


I haven’t the slightest idea what lead miners ate in lead mines (can’t find a reference.).


Welsh Cakes: the recipe.

The original recipe, complements of Aunt Alice. Grandma’s eyesight had failed by the time I asked for the recipe. Alice only sent the ingredients. I was flattered she had assumed I knew how to assemble them. The inelegant, heavy-handed printing is my notations. Trivia question: What the hell is saleratus? (Answer below.)


Ingredients

12 cups    all-purpose flour (51 oz.) (More may be needed to achieve a stiff dough)
¼ tsp.         Salt (if you use unsalted butter increase to 1-¼ tsp.)
4 cups        sugar
1 lb.         Butter
1 lb.        Lard
6        eggs
½ tsp.    nutmeg (I like the flavor of nutmeg, reduce to a ¼ tsp. if you choose, but don’t leave it out entirely)
1 lemon    zest (Grandma always used lemon, orange doesn’t have it for me.)
2 tsp.    Vanilla
1-½ tsp.    baking soda (answer to Trivia question.)
2 tsp.    cream of tarter
4 tsp.    baking powder
1-½     cup currants (I substituted dried cranberries once, delicious but not tradition!)

Directions

Let’s first get the lard issue out of the way. I had coronary artery bypass surgery twenty years ago. Subsequently, I tried, over and over again, to reduce the fat in this recipe. I failed. Every attempt was a disaster. Then I tried substituting butter for the lard; better, but the texture was heavy. Like good pie dough's flakiness, this recipe benefits from the lard. Trust me; don’t waste your time experimenting. Besides, I think you should really challenge your Lipitor once in a while to keep it at peak performance. Incidentally, most supermarkets carry lard; you will find it where Crisco is displayed, not in the refrigerator section.


Cream the butter, lard and sugar until light and fluffy, add the eggs one at a time, nutmeg, lemon zest, and vanilla and combine thoroughly.


Mix the flour, salt and other dry ingredients; whisk to distribute evenly.


Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Add the currants. Work gently, only until a homogenous, stiff dough is formed; don’t overwork it.


Note: the original recipe calls for milk if the dough feels too stiff. That’s never happened for me. I always need to add a bit more flour to achieve the desired stiffness.


If you are making the whole recipe—I never make less than a half recipe—divide the dough into four equal pieces, roll into balls, and flatten into 1 inch thick discs (just like pie dough). Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least three hours. (I sometimes leave it overnight.)


Work with one disc of dough at a time, leaving the others in the refrigerator. Roll out evenly to ¼ inch thickness on a lightly floured board. Cut out cookie size circles. (I use a 2-3/8 inch diameter biscuit cutter; Grandma used a Welch’s grape jelly glass)


Preheat your griddle. I use an electric, non-stick griddle, with the temperature control set to 350°F. For a stove top griddle, or a nonspecific heat knob equipped electric grill, you’ll just have to experiment. Start with medium. On a non-stick surface no oil is needed, and I highly recommend you use a very light coating (an oiled, paper towel wipe) on other surfaces only if needed. (I make pancakes on a seasoned cast iron griddle with no oil, and no sticking. I think I did the same with Welsh cakes in long past years.)


Fry until deep golden brown on both sides, turning once. Cool thoroughly. Expect a light, almost flaky texture, and a clean taste with hints of lemon and nutmeg.
This recipe makes about 10 dozen. The cakes freeze very well.


One final experiment NOT to try: Do not try baking Welsh cakes; even my dogs wouldn’t eat them!

Sorry, I don't have a picture of the final product. I'll post one in December.

Update:

Here is the promised pictures. We started our annual Christmas cookie bake today.

Rolled out, and cut.

Six or seven minutes on a side at 350°F.  An electric grill sure beats the top of a wood-fired stove Grandma learned on.

Ready for Christmas.

David G.

gothicgirl's picture
gothicgirl

Poted on www.evilshenanigans.com on 4/20/2009

If given the choice of any dessert I want, I almost always pick the cookie.  I adore them.  During the Holidays I tend to eat and bake so many cookies that I get a little tired of them and I can't stand to make them until Spring is fully underway. 

Almond and Chocolate Filled Butter Cookies

These cookies have a delicious secret hidden in them.  A mixture of ground almonds, mini-chocolate chips, vanilla sugar, and cinnamon.   I love little suprises like this in my desserts.  People always think you slaved to make something so impressive, but I must confess ... these are so easy to make!  The dough is supple and easy to work with, and they hold the filling well. 

Fresh From the Oven 

Once baked they maintain their shape well, and once cool completly are sturdy little things.  The dough is not terribly sweet, it is more like a pie dough than a cookie dough in many aspects, so the dusting of powdered sugar is a welcome addition.  If you do not want to roll or dust your cookies, and often I feel that step is one step too many myself,  feel free to add a tablespoon or two of additional sugar to the dough.

These cookies are crisp, buttery, delicate, and remarkable good.  They keep for as many as five days in an air tight container on the counter.   

Almond and Chocolate Filled Butter Cookies 

Plus, they just look darn pretty!

Almond and Chocolate Filled Butter Cookies   Yield 36 cookies

Dough:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons vanilla sugar (or 2 tabplesoons sugar with 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla)
1 cup salted butter
2 tablepsoons milk
1 tablespoon water

Filling:

1/2 cup ground almonds
1/3 cup vanilla sugar
3 tablespoons mini-chocolate chips
1 1/2 teaspoons water

Powdered sugar for dusting

Heat the oven to 350 F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Filling 

Mix the almonds with the sugar, chocolate chips and water.  Mix well and set aside.

Making the Dough Dough

In the bowl of a food processor add the flour, cinnamon, sugar, milk, water, and butter.  Pulse the mixture until it forms a ball.  You may need to add up to an additional tablespoon of water.

Dough Rolled into a Log Roll the Dough

Roll the dough into a log about 18″ long, then cut into 1/2″ slices.  Roll each slice into a ball.

Starting the Cup Formed into a Cup  

Take one ball of doug, press your finger into the center, then shape the ball into a cup. 

Filled CupPull the Edges InPinch the SeamAll Rolled Up  

Fill each cup with a little of the filling then pinch the dough closed.  Roll gently between your palms to round the ball and place seam side down on the prepared pans.  Repeat with the remaining dough.

Ready to BakeFresh From the Oven  

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until lightly golden.  Cool completly on the pan.

Almond and Chocolate Filled Butter Cookies 

Roll in powdered sugar before serving.

Almond and Chocolate Filled Butter Cookies

gothicgirl's picture
gothicgirl

www.evilshenanigans.com

Have you ever craved something, let's say a cookie, and could not find a recipe that looked like it would be any good?

     

That is the predicimate I found myself in when I came up with this recipe.  I was fresh off my Lime Bars and I had lime on the brain, but I wanted a cookie.  Something subtle, sweet, and creamy with a hint of lime tang.  So I searched the internet, looked in various baking books, but I could not find a recipe that met my specifications. 

White Chocolate Lime Cookies Fixins, Pt. 1

What is an ingenious baker to do?  Why, make up her own cookies, of course!  I fully expected my first try at this recipe to be a failure.  Most of the time my first go at any recipe requires a fair bit or tweaking, but this time was different.  I would not add one single tweak.  They were crisp at the edges, chewy in the center, creamy from the white chocolate chips, and had a subtle underlying note of lime.  Visually, they were really pretty with golden edges, pale centers, and just the right amount of puff.  In short, perfect!

White Chocolate Lime Cookies Fixins, Pt. 2  

I had my husband and co-workers taste test these for me, lest I be blinded by 'mother's love' for my cookies.  My husband had four cookies, strictly for quality control purposes he assured me, and declared they were really good and I should not change them.  My co-workers did not say much because they all went for seconds with cookie still in their mouths.  There were a couple of moans.   I took that as a good sign!

 

White Chocolate Lime Cookies 

So, break out the zester and bake a batch of these refreshing cookies!!

  White Chocolate Lime Cookies   Yield 5 dozen cookies

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon lime juice
1 tablespoon lime zest
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 - 12 oz bag white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two sheet pans with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, sugar and butter until combined but not fluffy.

Add eggs one at a time, then add vanilla, lime juice and lime zest.  Mix to combine. 

Whisk together flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

White Chocolate Lime Cookie Dough

Mix into creamed mixture until just combined.  Fold in the white chocolate chips.

White Chocolate Lime Cookie Dough 

Shape the dough into 1″ balls, and place 2 inches apart on the baking sheet.  Bake for 10 minutes, or until the edges are golden and the centers just set.

White Chocolate Lime Cookies - Cooling  

Allow to sit on the pan for three minutes before moving to wire racks.

White Chocolate Lime Cookies

 

Posted on www.evilshenanigans.com - 3/15/2009

johnster's picture

"Big-City" Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookies?

February 2, 2009 - 2:36pm -- johnster

I know chocolate chip cookies is a rather mundane topic.....but, I've found EXCEPTIONAL chocolate chip cookies at bakeries.  First, I though that it was only in Chicago.  Now I live in Boston (MetroWest, anyway) and I've found the SAME cookies.  Does anyone have a recipe and technique to share?

 

smartdog's picture
smartdog

Enjoying a nice piece of challah with a slice of swiss cheese and fresh tomato slices from our garden toms. Was a bit ambitious yesterday and made chocolate almond biscotti and a challah. :)Almond and Chocolate Biscotti Just another Challah

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manuela's picture
manuela

I think these cookies are really wonderful

 

Ingredients

3 oz. (3 squares, 85 g) unsweetened chocolate

1 lb. (454 g) sifted confectioners’ sugar

1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla extract

3 egg whites (or as needed), slightly beaten

granulated sugar as needed

The egg whites must NOT be added all at once, but little by little or the dough will be too soft and the recipe will fail. 

Melt the chocolate over hot water then add it to the confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer.Using the flat beater attachment mix briefly on the lowest speed, adding the vanilla. The mixture will be lumpy and most of the sugar will not be incorporated. Add the egg white 1 tbsp at a time, mixing on the lowest speed. You won’t probably need all of the amount indicated. The dough is ready when it is stiff and holds together when you work it by hand. The final consistency should be like play-dough.

 

choclate-hearts-dough.jpg

Keep the dough in a bowl covered with a plate–plastic wrap does not work well—the dough tends to dry if left exposed to the air even for a few minutes.

Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C). If the temperature is higher, the cookies will puff up too fast and loose their shape.

Sprinkle a very generous layer of granulated sugar on a board and take an orange-size piece of dough, leaving the rest covered. Work the portion of dough briefly between the palms of your hands, then place it onto the sugar covered surface and roll it 1/8-inch (3 mm) thick (not thicker). Flip the flattened dough a couple of times while rolling it so that both sides are well covered with sugar.chocolate-hearts-rolled.jpg

Form the cookies with heart shaped cookie-cutters and place the cookies on a very lightly greased baking sheet. The dough scraps cannot be kneaded again because of the granulated sugar, so try to minimize the spaces between cookies while you shape them. The scraps can be baked as well and will make cookies as delicious as the rest, albeit of less perfect shapes.

Bake the cookies for about 10-12 minutes, they will puff up a little and dry like meringues. When they are ready switch off the oven leave them in the oven for a few more minutes to ensure they are really dry.

Cool the cookies on racks and store in airtight containers.

Note: these quantities will yield approximately 4 baking sheets of cookies. You can halve the recipe, but they are so good it would be a pity to bake a smaller quantity.

 

from bakinghistory

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