The alfajor, a traditional Spanish and Latin American cookie, is a sandwich cookie filled with delicious dulce de leche. Sometimes it is sprinkled with powdered sugar, rolled in coconut, or coated in chocolate.
My friend, Theresa, introduced me to this cookie. It was Christmas time and we got together for our annual all-day cookie making fest. Each year we choose a cookie that we haven't made before. She chose alfajores. Although I was skeptical as I watched her make this cookie, I fell in love with it after the first taste. Her version was coated in chocolate and rolled in coconut. It was delicious. Since then, I've been obsessed with finding the perfect alfajores recipe.
There are hundreds of alfajores recipes and each country and region has its own version. The cookie part is made different ways; some recipes using sugar, butter, flour, and cornstarch (alfajores de maizana) and others just using sugar, butter and flour. The recipe below is from Peru and it uses more of a shortbread or butter cookie. I sprinkled the alfajores with powdered sugar but you could dip them in chocolate as well.
Makes about 24 alfajores
Step 1: To make the manjar blanco or dulce de leche: Over medium heat, bring the milk to a boil in a heavy 4 quart sauce pan. Add sugar, vanilla bean, and cinnamon being sure to stir the sugar with a whisk until it’s completely dissolved. Otherwise, your Dulce de Leche will have a gritty consistency.
Step 2: Once the sugar has dissolved, add the baking soda and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to low and cook uncovered at a bare simmer. Stir occasionally, but do not re-incorporate the foam that appears on the top of the mixture. Continue to cook for 1 hour.
Step 3: Remove the vanilla bean after 1 hour and continue to cook until the mixture is a dark caramel color and has reduced to about 1 cup, approximately 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer. Store in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to a month.
Step 4: For the Alfajores: In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and confectioners sugar until smooth.
Step 5: Beat in the egg yolks. Add the zest and vanilla extract and mix well.
Step 6: Sift the flour and baking powder, then mix into the butter mixture to make a dough that is soft but not runny. If it is too soft, add some more flour. Form into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Step 7: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment
Step 8: On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough out to 1/8 inch thick and cut into 1 1/2 -inch rounds. Place on the prepared cookie sheet and bake until set, about 10 minutes; the cookies should not color at all.
Step 9: Remove from the sheet and let cool on wire racks.
Step 10: Spread one cookie with dulce de leche and press a cookie on top. If desired, spread dulce de leche around the sides of the cookie and roll in the grated coconut. Or just sift confectioner’s sugar on top.
Repeat with the remaining cookies and dulce de leche
Great alfajores in Sausalito
Step 1: Grease and flour two standard bread pans.
Step 2: Add flour and baking powder in a bowl and whisk until combined.
Step 3: In bowl on electric mixer, beat eggs until thick and foamy.
Step 4: Add sugar gradually to eggs and beat well.
Step 5: Slowly add oil and then milk and flavorings until combined.
Step 6: Gradually add flour mixture.
Step 7: Divide mixture evenly among greased 2 bread pans. Bake at 350 degree until lightly brown, about 20 minutes. slice and toast in oven.
Step 1: Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Step 2: Add egg, vanilla and orange peel.
Step 3: Sift dry ingredients.
Step 4: Add the dry ingredients alternately with milk. Mix until just combined. Dough should not be sticky. Chill dough for 1 hour.
Step 5: Roll dough to 1/8 inch thick on lightly floured surface.
Step 6: Cut into desired shapes and place on parchment lined cookie sheet.
Step 7: Bake at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 7 to 10 minutes until light brown.
Step 8: Decorate as desired.
I've learned that chocolate macarons are not the easiest to make. In fact I've attempted this recipe three times and finally after the third try, my macarons were somewhat picture presentable. These aren't perfect but they are much improved from the first two attempts. Because of the addition of the melted chocolate to the macaron batter, there seems to be less room for error in your technique for making the Italian meringue and folding the egg whites into the batter.
Makes 72 macarons
Adapted from Fine Cooking, December 2006
To make the shortbread crust: For the best results, measure your flour by weight instead of volume. (1 cup of all-purpose flour equals 4-1/2 ounces) If you don’t have a scale, be sure to use the proper technique when filling your measuring cups.
Step 1: Line a straight-sided 13x9-inch metal baking pan with foil, letting the ends create an overhanging edge for easy removal. Lightly coat the sides of the foil (not the bottom) with nonstick cooking spray, oil, or melted butter to prevent the caramel from sticking.
Step 2: In a medium bowl, stir together the butter, brown sugar, and salt. Stir in the flour to make a stiff dough.
Step 3: Press the mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Prick the dough all over with a fork. Refrigerate the pan for 30 minutes (or freeze for 5 to 7 minutes), until the dough is firm.
Step 4: Meanwhile, position a rack near the center of the oven and heat the oven to 325°F.
Step 5: Bake the dough for 20 minutes, and then decrease the oven temperature to 300°F and bake until the crust is golden all over and completely set, about 15 more minutes.
Step 6: To make the topping: Sprinkle the pecans evenly over the crust.
Step 7: In a heavy medium saucepan, bring the brown sugar, cream, butter, corn syrup, and salt to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring until all the ingredients are melted and smooth. Let the mixture continue to boil, without stirring, until a candy thermometer registers 240°F, about 6 more minutes.
Step 8: Turn off the heat and immediately (but carefully) pour the caramel evenly over the prepared crust. Let the bars cool completely, about 2 hours, before garnishing with the ganache.
Step 9: To make the ganache: Put the chocolate in a small heat proof bowl.
Step 10: In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil. Remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate. Let sit for 3 minutes. Stir gently with a rubber spatula until combined and smooth.
Step 11: Fill a plastic zip-top baggie with the ganache, snip the tip off a corner, and drizzle the ganache decoratively over the caramel bars (you don’t have to use all the ganache; keep the extra in the fridge for 5 days). Let the ganache set for 30 minutes to an hour.
Step 12: Carefully lift the bars from the pan using the foil sides and transfer them to a cutting board. Separate the foil from the bars by sliding a spatula between them. Cut the bars into 1-1/2-inch squares. They will keep at room temperature for 1 week.
Makes about 40 cookies
Step 1: Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step 2: Melt butter, remove when melted and allow to come back to room temperature.
Step 3: Sift dry ingredients together in a separate bowl and gently whisk for 10 seconds to blend them together. Set aside.
Step 4: Add butter to sugars in the bowl of your stand mixer. Allow it to fully combine running the mixer on low speed, add in vanilla extract. Add eggs and yolks one at a time. Combine fully.
Step 5: Add dry ingredients in scoopfuls. Mix to just combine. Pour in chocolate pieces, and just combine.
Step 6: Scoop out the dough into small balls using an cookie scooper. Evenly place balls a few inches apart on a parchment lined sheet tray.
Step 7: Bake until light and golden in appearance (for 8 minutes, rotate, then bake for 8 minutes more).
Adapted from Cook's Illustrated: Thick and Chewy Triple-Chocolate Cookies, published September 1999
Makes about 4 dozen cookies
Step 1: Sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl; set aside.
Step 2: Melt chocolate in medium heatproof bowl set over pan of almost-simmering water, stirring once or twice, until smooth; remove from heat.
Step 3: Beat eggs and vanilla lightly with fork, sprinkle coffee powder over to dissolve, and set aside.
Step 4: In bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter at medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 5 seconds. Beat in sugars until combined, about 45 seconds; mixture will look granular.
Step 5: Reduce speed to low and gradually beat in egg mixture until incorporated, about 45 seconds. Add melted chocolate in steady stream and beat until combined, about 40 seconds. Scrape bottom and sides of bowl with rubber spatula.
Step 6: With mixer at low speed, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Do not overbeat.
Step 7: Mix in peanut butter chips. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature until consistency is scoopable and fudgelike, about 30 minutes.
Step 8: Meanwhile, adjust oven racks to the upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Leaving about 1 ½ inches between each ball, scoop dough onto parchment-lined cookie sheets with 1¾-inch ice cream scoop.
Step 9: Bake, reversing position of the baking sheets halfway through baking (from top to bottom and front to back), until edges of cookies have just begun to set but centers are still very soft, about 10 minutes.
Step 10: Cool cookies on sheets about 10 minutes, slide parchment with cookies onto wire racks, and cool to room temperature. Remove cooled cookies from parchment with wide metal spatula and serve.
Makes about 3-1/2 dozen
Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Lightly grease 2 cookie sheets.
Step 2: Melt chocolate and butter in top of double boiler over simmering water. Remove from heat. Cool. Alternatively, you may melt the butter and chocolate in microwave by heating about 2 minutes at MEDIUM (50%) power stirring at 30 second intervals.
Step 3: Beat egg yolks and half of the sugar until thick and pale. Slowly beat in melted chocolate mixture.
Step 4: Add anise and almond extract. Alternatively, you may substitute 2 drops of anise oil for anise extract.
Step 5: Beat three egg whites with remaining sugar until stiff but not dry. Fold into chocolate mixture.
Step 6: Sift flour and baking powder in bowl. Add flour mixture slowly to chocolate mixture. Add almonds and blend well.
Step 7: With lightly floured hands, divide dough into four portions. Form dough into cylinder shaped logs (1-1/2" wide by 10 inches long).
Step 8: Place on prepared baking sheets. Brush dough all over with lightly beaten egg whites. Bake until dough is set about 35 to 45 minutes.
Step 9: Remove from oven. Allow cookie log to become firm for 2 or 3 minutes after removal from oven before attempting to slice it, and use a very sharp knife to prevent the fragile slices from breaking. Cut on diagonal into l/2" slices.
Step 10: Arrange on baking sheet, placing the slices on their sides. Return to oven and bake until slightly dry, turning once Bake about five minutes on each side. Cool on wire rack. Cookies can be stored up to two weeks in an airtight container.
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours
Makes about 40 cookies
Step 1: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350º F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat.
Step 2: Sift together the flour, cocoa, espresso powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
Step 3: Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed until pale, about 2 minutes; the mixture may be crumbly.
Step 4: Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs and vanilla and beat for another 2 minutes; don't worry if the mixture looks curdled.
Step 5: Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the dry ingredients in 3 additions, mixing only until a dough forms. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Step 6: Mix in the chopped nuts and chocolate, then turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead in any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing.
Step 7: Divide the dough in half. Working with one half at a time, roll the dough into 12 inch long logs. Flatten both logs with the palm of your hand so that they are 1/2 to 1 inch high, about 2 inches across and sort of rectangular, then carefully lift the logs onto the baking sheet.
Step 8: Sprinkle each log with a little sugar.
Step 9: Bake the logs for about 25 minutes, or until they are just slightly firm. The logs will spread and crack - and that's just fine. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, put it on a cooling rack and cool the logs for about 20 minutes. (Leave the oven on.)
Step 10: Working with one log at a time, using a long serrated knife, cut each log into slices between 1/2 and 3/4 inch thick. Stand the slices up on the baking sheet - you'll have an army of biscotti - and bake the cookies again, this time for just 10 minutes.
Step 11: Transfer biscotti to a rack to cool.
I was talking to my mother the other day on the phone and she mentioned that she had made gallettes, one of my favorite cookies. My mom and aunts have been making these waffle cookies all of my life and they will forever remind me of them and my childhood. That night, after talking with my mother, I had a heavenly, sweet, and inspiring dream -instead of the delicious vanilla almond tasting cookie of my childhood, they were chocolate through and through. The next day, I had no choice but to recreate the chocolate gallette in my dreams. And I have to say, they are OMG chocolicious. This is one time where my reality is so much better than in my dreams.
Inspired by Better Homes and Gardens' Chocolate-Peppermint Waffle Cookies
Makes about 6 dozen cookies
Adapted from Gourmet, January 2003
Makes 12 big pies
Step 1: Preheat oven to 350°F.
Step 2: To make the cakes:
Step 3: Whisk together flour, cocoa, espresso powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl until combined.
Step 4: Stir together buttermilk and vanilla in a small bowl.
Step 5: Beat together butter and brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes in a standing mixer or 5 minutes with a handheld, then add egg, beating until combined well.
Step 6: Reduce speed to low and alternately mix in flour mixture and buttermilk in batches, beginning and ending with flour, scraping down side of bowl occasionally, and mixing until smooth.
Step 7: Spoon 1/4-cup mounds of batter about 2 inches apart onto 2 buttered large baking sheets.
Step 8: Bake in upper and lower thirds of oven, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until tops are puffed and cakes spring back when touched, 11 to 13 minutes. Transfer with a metal spatula to a rack to cool completely.
Step 9: To make the filling: Beat together butter, confectioners sugar, marshmallow, and vanilla in a bowl with electric mixer at medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes.
Step 10: To assemble pies: Spread a rounded tablespoon filling on flat sides of half of cakes and top with remaining cakes.
Makes 36 cookies
Step 1: Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease or line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Step 2: Combine the coconut, condensed milk, and vanilla in a large bowl.
Step 3: In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites and salt on high speed until they make medium-firm peaks. Carefully fold the egg whites into the coconut mixture.
Step 4: Drop the batter by tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto the cookie sheets.
Step 5: Bake, 1 sheet at a time, until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown. Let stand briefly, then remove to a rack to cool.
Step 6: To dip in chocolate: While the macaroons are baking, in a stainless steel or glass bowl fitted over a small saucepan of simmering water, melt the chocolate. When macaroons are cooled, dip one half into chocolate and place on cooling rack or parchment lined sheet pans to set.
The cuccidati is the Italian version of the American Fig Newton or actually, more accurately, I think the Fig Newton is the American version of the Italian cuccidati. The cuccidati is a Sicilian fig cookie made typically at Christmas time, and boy is it a pain in the ass to make. The dough is soft and buttery and melts the minute you start to roll it out. Once the dough begins to melt, it becomes incredibly difficult to roll the fig filling in the dough. Here are some helpful tips that I've learned over the years -- Don’t ignore the refrigeration time for the dough, the colder the dough, the easier to roll. When rolling your dough, don't be afraid to dust your counter with a little flour to prevent the dough from sticking. Also, the longer you chill the filling, the more flavorful your cookies will be. You should marinate the fig filling in the brandy, honey, and spices for at least 24 hours or longer. And finally, my best friend when making these cookies is a dough scrapper. You should definitely have one on hand when rolling the dough and forming the cookie logs.
Adapted from Gourmet magazine
Makes about 6 dozens
Step 1: To make the filling: Pulse the figs and raisins in a food processor until finely chopped, then stir together with the remaining filling ingredients in a bowl. Chill, covered, at least 8 hours. The filling can be made 1 week ahead and chilled, covered.
Step 2: To make the dough: Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
Step 3: Add the butter and blend with your fingertips or a pastry blender (or pulse in a food processor) just until the most of the mixture resembles coarse meal with some small (roughly a pea-size) butter lumps.
Step 4: Add the eggs, milk, vanilla, and zest and stir with a fork (or pulse in the food processor) until a soft dough forms (starts to form – for the food processor method; do not over process).
Step 5: Halve the dough and gather each half into a ball, then flatten each half into a rough 6- by 4-inch rectangle between sheets of plastic wrap. Chill until firm, at least 8 hours. The dough can be chilled, wrapped in plastic wrap and then foil, up to 3 days.
Step 6: To form the cookies: Center an oven rack and preheat oven to 350°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat. Set aside.
Step 7: Roll out 1 rectangle of dough (keep the remaining dough chilled) into a 1/8-inch thick rectangle, about 15- by 14-inch, on a well-floured surface with a floured rolling pin. Trim the edges to form a rectangle with one side exactly 13-inches long; another side can be as long as it can be assuming you rolled it evenly thin (chill the trimmings). Then cut the 13-inch side into 4 (3 1/4-inch-wide) strips. Arrange a little bit less than 1/8 of all filling in a 1-inch-wide log lengthwise down the center of each strip, then fold the sides of each strip up over the filling to enclose it, pinching edges together to seal.
Step 8: Turn the rolls seam-sides down and press gently to flatten the seams. Chill the logs, covered with plastic wrap, for about half an hour before slicing and baking. Cut the logs crosswise with a sharp knife into 1 1/2-inch-wide slices and arrange 1/2 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet. Make more cookies in the same manner with the remaining chilled dough, trimmings (re-roll once), and filling.
Step 9: Bake the cookies, in batches, until golden around edges, about 30 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack and cool until warm, about 10 minutes. Glaze until the cookies are still warm.
Step 10: Make the icing while the first batch of cookies is baking:
Step 11: Whisk together the confectioners sugar, vanilla, and enough orange juice to make a pourable icing.
Step 12: Brush the icing on the warm cookies. Let the icing to dry completely before packing the cookies for storing.
Step 1: To make the cookie dough: sift flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl and set aside.
Step 2: Beat butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar in medium bowl until light and fluffy.
Step 3: Beat in vanilla and egg.
Step 4: Add sifted dry ingredients. Divide dough into two equal portions, wrap in plastic wrap and chill until firm enough to roll, about an hour.
Step 5: To make the filling: Cut dates in small pieces and place in a medium saucepan. Then add 1/4 cup granulated sugar, dash salt, and 1/3 cup water. Bring date mixture to a boil and then simmer for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add chopped walnuts and then cool to room temperature.
Step 6: Roll each dough half, on floured waxed paper, into a 9x12 rectangle. Spread with filling; roll up tightly from end.
Step 7: Wrap in paper; chill overnight, Slice 1/8'" thick.
Step 8: Bake at 375°F for 10 minutes.
I have never been a huge fan of chocolate chip cookies. I think mainly because I have never found one with the right combination of ingredients. They’ve either had too much or too little brown or granulated sugar, or they were too thin, too hard and crispy, or too soft, or they didn’t have the right proportion of chocolate chips to cookie dough. Since I had never found one that I liked I was convinced that I just didn’t like chocolate chip cookies - which seems almost un-American to me. Then one day, my life changed. My boss has been bringing these cookies to all of our office parties for many years. Finally one day I tried one and honestly it was love at first bite. These cookies are perfectly crisp on the outside and chewy in the center. And what really makes these cookies unique is the addition of the browned butter. That along with baking the cookies at a slightly higher temperature (375 degrees Fahrenheit) gives them a wonderful nutty, caramelized flavor and nice brown tops. Many thanks to Denise for finally giving me a chocolate chip cookie I could love.
Adapted from Food and Wine, published June 2012
Makes 6 dozen
Step 1: Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl; set aside.
Step 2: In bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter at medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Beat in sugars until combined and continue beating until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Step 6: Beat egg whites to stiff peaks and fold into dough.
Step 7: Chill batter overnight.
I wish I knew the true heritage of this cookie because it’s one of my favorites. My mother and aunts have been making this hearty and gratifying cookie as far back as I can remember. I’d like to think that this delicious cookie is of Italian origin; however, rumor has it that the recipe hails from my cousin’s mother-in-law who was Eastern European. Whether Italian or Hungarian, this is an awesome cookie for any occasion and one that you should try.
Makes approximately 7 dozen cookies
Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step 2: For the Dough: Place all dry ingredients in large bowl and whisk until well-blended.
Step 3: Add butter and shortening to dry ingredients. Cut in shortening and butter (with a pastry blender) until size of small peas.
Step 4: In a separate bowl, combine buttermilk and eggs. Beat until combined.
Step 5: Make a well in the flour mixture, then add egg-buttermilk mixture. Using pastry blending, mix until dough forms into a soft ball. Dough should be soft but not too sticky. If dough is sticky, liberally add flour to your work surface when rolling dough out.
Step 6: Divide dough into 6 equal pieces (approximately 9.5 ounces each).
Step 7: For the Filling: Combine sugar, finely ground walnuts and 2 egg whites in a bowl. Mix well and set aside.
Step 8: Roll dough into a 4" X 14" rectangle. Arrange approximately 1/2 to 3/4 cup of filling in a 3-inch-wide log lengthwise down the center of each strip leaving approximately 1/2 inch free around the edges. Roll up dough as you would a jellyroll. Turn the rolls seam-sides down and press gently to flatten the seams.
Step 9: Chill the logs, covered with plastic wrap, for about 1/2 hour before slicing and baking.
Step 10: Slice into 1/2 inch slices. Bake on cookie sheet 350°F oven until light golden brown.
Step 11: For the browned-butter icing: Heat two tablespoons butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat until golden brown. Add 2 cups of sifted powdered sugar and 1/4 cup evaporated milk (or whole milk) and beat until smooth.
Step 12: Ice cookies once they are cool.
This is my mother's signature cookie -well these and her biscotti. No one in the world makes these cookies better than her. This recipe dates back for generations. My mother has altered it slightly over the years, replacing milk with orange peel and orange juice. Twelve cups of flour make a boat load of cookies, and it's probably just fine for families of 6 or more people. If you have a small family, feel free to cut the recipe in half. Oh, one other fact about this recipe - it won first place in the 2008 Montgomery County, Maryland Fair in the "Rolled by Hand" cookie category.
Makes about 15 dozen cookies
Step 1: Place all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Sift to combine.
Step 2: Cut butter into 16 pieces and add to the flour mixture. Work in butter with hands until completely and fully incorporated and butter/flour bits are smaller than the size of peas. As my father always said, mix and caress the butter and flour like you love it.
Step 3: Add eggs, orange juice, orange zest and flavorings together in a small bowl. Beat together and set aside.
Step 4: Make a well in the flour and add egg mixture to flour mixture. Mix dough with hands until the dough is smooth and firm enough to roll out. You will most likely need to add a little flour to your surface and knead the dough for a few minutes.
Step 5: Roll into desired shapes and bake at 325 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes until lightly brown.
Step 6: For the glaze: Add powdered sugar, milk and vanilla together and mix. The icing's consistency should be runny and easily spreadable. I sometimes use orange juice instead of milk in the icing.
Step 7: Cool cookies completely, then glaze cookies with powdered sugar icing.
Makes 66 cookies
Step 1: In bowl, mix flour, baking powder, cocoa and salt.
Step 2: Melt chocolate and butter, stirring; cool.
Step 3: In mixing bowl, mix chocolate mixture and sugar and beat on slow speed to blend. Beat in eggs one at a time, then vanilla.
Step 4: Beat in flour mixture. Stir in chips and nuts.
Step 5: Cover, refrigerate overnight. Let dough rest for 10 minutes before rolling next day. Roll level tablespoons into 1” balls; roll in sifted powdered sugar.
Step 6: Spray baking sheet and place balls 2” apart. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake 12 to 14 minutes until tops crack. Store in airtight container for up to two weeks.
Makes approximately 3 dozen cookies
Step 1: Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step 2: Cook raisins in 1 cup boiling water for five minutes. Set aside and cool. Do not drain raisin mixture.
Step 4: Cream shortening, butter, and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and beat well.
Step 5: Add vanilla and cooled raisin mixture.
Step 6: Gradually add dry ingredients and blend well. If you are using nuts, add them at this time and mix with wooden spoon.
Step 7: Drop by teaspoon on greased cookie sheet.
Step 8: Bake at 375 degrees until lightly brown 12 to 15 minutes.
I love this cookie. I have wanted to try this recipe for some time but I found making the pastry dough and horns a little intimidating. This recipe belongs to one of my mother's friends, who was kind enough to teach us how to make them. It was actually much easier than I had anticipated.
Step 1: For the dough: Mix flour and butter as you would pie dough. I used a pastry blender. Softened or room temperature butter will incorporate better into the flour.
Step 2: Add sour cream and buttermilk. Mix until blended. You may need to add a little more flour if dough is too sticky. I added an additional 1/2 cup of flour.
Step 3: Divide dough into four parts. Roll each part like a pie shell then fold all four corners to make a square wrap.
Step 4: Wrap each square in wax paper and refrigerate overnight. Next day, roll each square long about 24 inches long and 3 inches wide.
Step 5: Cut into strips approximately 1/2 inch wide (perpendicular to the long length). Wrap strip around rod so that edges overlap slightly.
Step 6: Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Slide horn molds quickly off of rods while still hot.
Step 7: Let cool completely.
Step 8: For the filling: Add 2 cups of milk and flour to saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer over medium heat. Cook until thick and let cool completely.
Step 9: Beat 2 cups shortening and 2 cups sugar - add sugar a little at a time. Add two cups of powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1 cup marshmallow cream.
Step 10: Add cooked milk/flour mixture and cream well.
My mother's friend, Mary Ann Malcolm.
Makes about 3 dozen cookies
Step 1: Preheat oven to 350°F.
Step 2: Sift your flour first, then measure the required amount. Sifting, for this particular recipe, is an important step that you shouldn't skip. Sifting aerates the flours, which alters the texture of the cookie, resulting in a lighter, airier, melt in your mouth texture.
Step 3: Beat butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy.
Step 4: Add 1/2 cup of the powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt; beat until well blended. Stir in flour and nuts. Note: you should also sift your powdered sugar beforehand to remove any lumps.
Step 5: Shape into 1-inch balls. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets.
Step 6: Bake for about 13 to 15 minutes until cookies are slightly brown around the edges. Remove from baking sheets.
Step 7: Immediately roll hot cookies in remaining powdered sugar. Place sugared cookies on wire racks to cool. When cool, roll again in sugar.
Biscotti, which literally means twice-baked, is a traditional Italian cookie that’s named after its baking process. These cookies are actually baked twice and made purposely dry and hard because they are meant to be dunked in a drink, such as coffee, tea, or wine. This particular biscotti is one of my mother’s signature cookies and the best biscotti recipe ever. It’s perfectly flavored with almonds, anise and vanilla.
Step 1: Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step 2: Sift the flour, black anise seeds (if using seeds instead of flavoring), baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
Step 3: Beat butter, sugar and orange zest until fluffy, about 5 minutes.
Step 4: Beat in eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla, almond extract and anise flavoring (if not using the seeds).
Step 5: Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in almonds.
Step 6: Divide dough into 2 equal portions, about 15 ounces each.
Step 7: Form dough into two logs about 1-1/2" wide by 14" long. Put on a baking sheet about 3" apart.
Step 8: Brush the top of each log with egg whites.
Step 9: Bake until golden brown, about 45 minutes.
Step 10: Remove logs from oven and reduce oven temperature to 250°F.
Step 11: Allow cookie logs to cool and become firm for 2 or 3 minutes after removal from oven before attempting to slice it, and use a very sharp knife to prevent the fragile slices from breaking. Cut logs into 1/2" slices, and put the cut-side up on baking sheets. Instead of a baking sheet, my mom turns a cookie rack upside down and places the cookies on the rack.
Step 12: Bake until dried, 30 to 40 minutes. If using a baking sheet, turn cookies over after 15-20 minutes. If using the cookie rack, it's not necessary to turn the cookies over.
Makes 112 cookies
Step 1: Measure oatmeal and blend in a food processor to a fine powder.
Step 2: Cream the butter and both sugars. Add eggs and vanilla
Step 3: Mix together flour, oatmeal, salt, baking powder and soda. Gradually add to egg mixture, Add chocolate chips, hershey bars and nuts.
Step 4: Roll into balls and place two inches apart on a cookie sheet.
Step 5: Bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees.
Every Italian family has their own recipe for Italian Wedding Cookies. My family happens to have two recipes - one that belongs to my mother's family and one that belongs to my father's family. The recipe below belongs to my nonna on my father's side. It is similar to my mother's recipe but uses oil instead of butter. This recipe, like my mother's, makes a ton of cookies. The cookies freeze really well so I often make a whole recipe- you can store them in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Makes at least 10 dozen cookies
Step 1: Beat eggs until thick and lemon colored. Add sugar gradually and blend well. Gradually add oil while beating. Add flavorings.
Step 2: Sift flour, baking powder and salt. Add flour and orange juice alternately to egg mixture. Add enough flour to make a soft dough. Dough will be sticky. Refrigerate overnight.
Step 3: Roll out and shaped into braids or knots.
Step 4: Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet 350 degree until lightly brown, about 10 minutes. Do not over bake.
Step 5: Ice cookies with powdered sugar icing.
Step 1: Preheat oven to 350; line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Coarsely chop white chocolate. Make sure to use a good quality white chocolate. I used Ghiardelli brand
Step 2: Whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl; set aside.
Step 3: Cream butter, both sugars, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl with a mixer until light and fluffy. Add flour mixture; stir with a tubber scraper or wooden spoon until completely blended.
Step 4: Fold the oats, cranberries, and white chocolate into the dough until evenly distributed.
Step 5: Drop dough in 3 tablespoons mounds (a #40 cookie scoop is perfect) onto prepared baking sheets, spacing about 2 inches apart.
Step 6: Bake for 11 to 13 minutes, or until golden but still a little moist. Let cookies cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack. If desired, dip cookies in melted white chocolate.
Makes approximately 4 dozen cookies
Step 1: Sift dry ingredients.
Step 2: Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Step 3: Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Add vanilla.
Step 4: Add flour gradually beating only until combined.
Step 5: Roll into a 1- or 2-inch balls and then roll each ball in sugar. Press each sugar-coated ball with the bottom of a glass that has been coated with butter. Sprinkle each flattened cookie with decorative sugar.
Step 6: Bake at 350 degrees for about ten minutes or until lightly brown
Makes about 4 dozen cookies.
Step 1: Heat oven to 375°F. Remove wrappers from chocolates.
Step 2: Beat shortening and peanut butter in large bowl until well blended.
Step 3: Add 1/3 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar; beat until fluffy.
Step 4: Add egg, milk and vanilla; beat well.
Step 5: Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into peanut butter mixture.
Step 6: Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar; place on ungreased cookie sheet.
Step 7: Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned.
Step 8: Immediately press a chocolate into center of each cookie; cookie will crack around edges. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely.
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan: Baking: From My Home to Yours
Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step 2: Stir dry ingredients.
Step 3: Cream butter and peanut butter. Add sugar. Then eggs one at a time. Combine with dry ingredients. Fold in peanuts.
Step 4: Bake on lightly greased cookie sheets, roll cookies in raw sugar, press down with fingers or fork.
Step 5: Bake for 12 minutes, cool on rack.
Step 1: Line an 8 by 8-inch baking pan or casserole with aluminum foil, with long flaps hanging over each edge.
Step 2: For the cookie: Put the butter in a heatproof medium bowl. Bring a saucepan filled with an inch or so of water to a very slow simmer over medium-low heat. Set the bowl over, but not touching, the water. Once the butter is melted, add the sugar and cocoa, and stir to combine.
Step 3: Add the egg and cook, stirring constantly with a whisk, until warm to the touch and slightly thickened (it should be about the consistency of hot fudge), about 6 minutes.
Step 4: Remove from the heat and stir in graham crumbs, coconut and nuts. Press the dough firmly into the prepared pan. (Save the pan of water for melting the chocolate.)
Step 5: For the filling: Beat the butter, peanut butter and confectioners' sugar together in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until light.
Step 6: Spread over the cookie and freeze while you prepare the chocolate glaze.
Step 7: For the glaze: Put the chocolate and butter in a medium heatproof bowl, and set over the barely simmering water. Stir occasionally until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. Alternatively, put the chocolate and butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Melt at 50 percent power in the microwave until soft, about 1 minute. Stir, and continue to heat until completely melted, about 1 minute more.
Step 8: When cool but still runny, pour the chocolate layer over the chilled peanut butter layer and carefully smooth out with an offset spatula. Freeze 30 minutes.
Step 9: To serve, remove from the freezer and let sit at room temperature for 5 minutes. Pull out of the pan using the foil flaps and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into 1-inch squares with a sharp knife. Serve cool or at room temperature.
Step 1: In a large mixing bowl, combine peanut butter and butter -- mix 30 seconds at medium speed. Add sugars and beat until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and beat well.
Step 2: Add flour, baking soda and baking powder in a separate bowl and whisk to combine. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix to combine. With wooden spoon, stir in oatmeal and chocolate chips.
Step 3: Drop dough by 1/4 cupfuls onto cookie sheet about 3" apart. Press into 4" circles. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes.
Step 4: Cool on wire rack.
Adapted from Carole Walter, Great Cookies: Secrets to Sensational Sweets
I love Christmas time because it’s really the only time of year that I bake cookies. In fact you could say that I run a cookie baking marathon during the Christmas season, baking a different batch every other evening after work during the month of December. I have traditional cookies that I always make and sometimes I’ll try something new. I’ve only made this particular biscotti once before and I’m not sure why I've waited so long to make it again because it's so delicious. It’s also very festive with all the colors of the holiday baked right into the cookie, and it's perfect for decorating your Christmas cookie tray. This biscotti just may become part of my Christmas cookie tradition.
Adapted from Bon Appetit, December 2003
Step 1: Preheat oven to 325°F. Line 1 large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Step 2: Sift first 3 ingredients into medium bowl.
Step 3: Using electric mixer, beat butter and sugar in large bowl on medium speed until creamy about 5 minutes. Beat in eggs 1 at a time. Mix in lemon peel, vanilla, and black anise seeds (or anise extract if using instead).
Step 4: Beat in flour mixture just until blended. Stir in cranberries and pistachios (dough will be sticky).
Step 5: Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. Gather dough together; divide in half.
Step 6: Roll each half into 15-inch-long log (about 1-1/4 inches wide). Carefully transfer logs to 1 prepared baking sheet, spacing 3 inches apart.
Step 7: Bake logs until almost firm to touch but still pale, about 28 minutes. Cool logs on baking sheet 10 minutes. Maintain oven temperature.
Step 8: Carefully transfer logs still on parchment to cutting board. Use a serrated or very sharp knife to gently cut logs crosswise into generous 1/2-inch-thick slices.
Step 9: Place slices, 1 cut side down, on remaining 2 prepared sheets. Instead of a baking sheet, you can also use a cookie rack and turn in upside down and place the cookies on the rack. Bake until firm and pale golden, about 9 minutes per side. If using the cookie rack, it's not necessary to turn the cookies over. Transfer cookies to racks and cool.
Step 10: Line another baking sheet with waxed paper.
Step 11: Stir white chocolate in top of double boiler over barely simmering water just until smooth. Remove from over water.
Step 12: Dip one end of each cookie into melted chocolate, tilting pan if necessary; shake off excess chocolate. Place cookies on prepared sheet. Chill until chocolate is firm, about 30 minutes. (Can be made 5 days ahead. Store airtight between sheets of waxed paper at room temperature.)
Adapted from Gourmet, December 2007
Step 1: Make dough: Stir together flour, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl.
Step 2: Beat together butter, granulated sugar, and zest in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Step 3: Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture in 3 batches, mixing until dough just comes together in clumps, then mix in pistachios and cranberries.
Step 4: Gather and press dough together, then divide into 2 equal pieces.
Step 5: Using a sheet of plastic wrap or wax paper as an aid, form each piece of dough into a log about 1 1/2 inches in diameter.
Step 6: Square off long sides of each log to form a bar, then chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, until very firm, at least 2 hours.
Step 7: Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
Step 8: Brush egg over all 4 long sides of bars (but not ends). Sprinkle decorative sugar on a separate sheet of parchment or wax paper and press bars into sugar, coating well.
Step 9: Cut each bar crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices, rotating bar after cutting each slice to help keep square shape. (If dough gets too soft to slice, freeze bars briefly until firm.)
Step 10: Arrange cookies about 1/2 inch apart on lined baking sheets. Bake cookies, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until edges are pale golden, 15 to 18 minutes total. Transfer cookies from parchment to racks using a slotted spatula and cool completely.
Dough bars can be chilled up to 3 days or frozen, wrapped in plastic wrap and then foil, 1 month (thaw frozen dough in refrigerator just until dough can be sliced).
My parents have been making this Italian pastry for Christmas for as long as I can remember. It's almost unbelievable and I'm embarrassed to say that I have only just recently (in Christmas 2016) made this recipe for the first time. Luckily, my parents and my aunt and uncle were all available to help me out this year and to impart their wisdom on the proper technique and traditional way our family makes them.
In addition to making them the traditional way, this year, we made a couple of 21st century changes to the recipe. First, my uncle suggested that we add a layer of grated milk chocolate on top of the raisin and nut filling. In my opinion this was an excellent suggestion because the chocolate added a nice depth of flavor to the pastry. I liked it so much that I plan to intensify the chocolate flavor the next time I make them by bumping it up to a semisweet instead of a milk chocolate. The second change we made was in how we traditionally roll, bake, cut, and serve the pittas. There are many ways to roll and assemble the pastry. My parents traditionally roll the pitta 'mpigliata into a log, bake the log, and then cut the log into slices and serve. For some, we decided to slice the unbaked logs and then bake the slices. For others, we rolled each little pitta individually into rosettes. I think my preference is slicing the unbaked log first, then baking the individual slices, rather than rolling each pitta individually or baking the logs first and then slicing before serving. My only caution with slicing first before baking is that you should make sure that you roll the pittas tightly and seal the ends and bottom of the pitta logs so your slices will stay round and pretty while they bake. Regardless of how you do it, I promise you, they will be delicious. As we say in Italy, "meglio di nostri!"
Learning to make pita 'impigliata has been on my bucket list for quite some time and now I can happily cross it off. So here is our family recipe for the famous pastry that hails from the small village of San Giovanni in Fiore in the Sila. Also, on your way to San Giovanni in Fiore, you won't want to miss a stay at the fabulous Hotel Grandinetti, nestled in the Sila mountains, and only a few minutes by car away from San Giovanni in Fiore.
Step 1: Mix walnuts, raisins, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1-1/2 tablespoons cinnamon, amaretto or orange-flavored liquor, honey, and orange zest together in a large bowl and let set overnight.
Step 2: Melt shortening. Add oil, wine, and brandy or amaretto to the melted shortening.
Step 3: In stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat eggs, then add oil mixture to eggs and beat until incorporated.
Step 4: Dissolve yeast in lukewarm water. Add dissolved yeast to the egg mixture and beat on low speed.
Step 5: Sift dry ingredients together. Gradually add dry ingredients to liquid ingredients. Knead until dough is smooth and elastic.
Step 6: Divide dough into 9 equal parts. Let dough rest for about 30 minutes.
Step 7: While dough is resting, finely grate chocolate, if using. Set aside. Mix together 2 teaspoons of cinnamon and 1 cup of sugar in a bowl. Set aside.
Step 8: To roll out in logs -- roll out each piece of dough and brush lightly with melted butter.
Step 9: Spread honey over dough. Sprinkle with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar.
Step 10: Spread raisin and nut filling over dough. Sprinkle with chocolate (if using). Top with a small amount of honey. Roll as desired.
To roll out individually into rosettes:
Step 11: Bake at 325°F for 30 minutes or until light brown. Do not over bake. Slice cooled rolls and serve.
Step 1: Cream butter and sugar until creamy.
Step 2: Add beaten egg yolks and sour cream and vanilla.
Step 3: Sift dry ingredients. Gradually add to creamed mixture mixing well after each addition. Fill cookie press.
Step 4: Press cookie dough on cookie sheet and sprinkle with decorative sugar.
Step 5: Bake at 375 degree until lightly browned.
In 2006 and then again in 2013, I visited Paris and each time I fell in love with the French macaron. It is basically two meringue biscuits filled with ganache, buttercream, or jam. The macaron should have a soft, almost meringue texture in the middle with an egg shell-like outer crust. A perfect macaron should have feet that surround the flat side of the cookie.
Step 1: Mix eggs, oil vanilla, lemon peel and sugar.
Step 2: Make a well with flour. Pour wet ingredients into center and gradually work in. Add enough flour to make a stiff dough. Let dough rest for 20 minutes.
Step 3: Roll dough, cut and form into ladders.
Step 4: Deep fry in oil until golden.
Step 5: Dip cookies in honey while still warm.
Step 1: Combine flour, sugar, lemon peel, and salt together.
Step 2: Place flour mixture on a board and make a well in the center.
Step 3: Add eggs, egg yolk, and oil. Mix and work dough well.
Step 4: Shape dough into very small balls about the size of marbles, and fry in 2 cups of hot oil until golden. Fry only a few at a time.
Step 5: When balls are done drop them in the honey and remove with a strainer spoon. Pile on a serving dish into a conical mound. Cool.
Step 6: Top with candy sprinkles or powdered sugar or leave plain.
Step 1: For the Filling: Place raisins, both sugars, salt, cinnamon and 5 cups of water in a heavy kettle. Cook over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Cook for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally. Add cornstarch which has been dissolved in a little cold water. Cook a few minutes longer until mixture thickens. Add butter and lemon juice.
Step 2: For the Cookie Dough: Sift together dry ingredients. Work in crisco and butter using a pastry blender as you would for piecrust dough. You could alternatively use a food processor.
Step 3: Beat eggs and then add milk and vanilla to eggs.
Step 4: Make a hole in center of flour mixture. Add egg mixture and mix well. If dough is too soft to roll out, add some flour for right consistency.
Step 5: Roll out dough in a long piece, about 4 inches wide. Place raisin filling on dough. Roll another piece of dough the same size. Place on top of dough with the raisin filling. Use a cookie crimper to cut and seal cookie.
Step 6: Bake for about twenty minutes in a 350 degree oven about 20 minutes until cookies are light brown in color.
Turdilli, a traditional Christmas cookie from San Giovanni in Fiore in Calabria, are sweet deep fried cookies, shaped like gnocchi and drizzled with honey. They are delicious and one of my favorite cookies.
Step 1: Sift together the flour, nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, baking powder, and salt and set aside.
Step 2: In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the first seven ingredients until well blended.
Step 3: Add dry ingredients on low speed until mixture forms a cohesive mass.
Step 4: Scrape the dough onto a very lightly floured board. Knead lightly until smooth. Shape the dough into a ball, flatten, and place in a bowl. Dust the top lightly with flour, cover with a towel or plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight to allow the dough to relax.
Step 5: Roll into logs and cut one inch pieces. Roll down on fork or gnocchi board. The deeper the grooves on the cookies the better as they puff up as they fry and the ridges, unless deep, tend to disappear.
Step 6: Heat the oil in a deep-fryer or deep pan to 350 degrees F. Deep fry until golden brown. Each batch should include enough cookies to cover the surface of the oil. Any fewer and the oil gets too hot and browns the cookies before they are cooked through. Stir the cookies while they fry so they do not stick together. Remove cookies just as they turn a light milk chocolate color or a little before. Drain on paper towels.
Step 7: While still hot, put the cookies in a large shallow dish and pour the honey over them. Toss the cookies several times as they cool. If the cookies absorb all the honey, add more - they should be fully saturated. Cookies will keep for about 1 week in an air tight container.