Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Chocolate & Coconut Dipped Shortbread Cookie Hearts

You are going to see a lot of cookies in the coming weeks.  And a lot of dark chocolate.  But that's all perfectly acceptable because those two things are much better than green smoothies made with kale and pencil shavings.  Promise you there will be none of those recipes here.  Exclusive buttery goodness.

And oh yes, these shortbread cookies are full of buttery goodness. And dark chocolate.  And toasted coconut flakes. And since I used heart shaped cookie cutters they are full of LOVE too.

I used SprinkleBakes's recipe for the shortbread because I kind of love her.  It's like she's with me in the kitchen!

 And I am glad I did.  I am still working out the kinks of rolling out dough, and had some trouble but it had nothing to do with the recipe and all to do with me running out to order pizza and refrigerating the dough for too long.  So just don't do that all you're all set. I was also making these at a friend's, so unfortunately I had some trouble with the oven as well, so they were browned more than I'd like.  Hopefully my next batch  (next week) will come out prettier.  But taste wise?  The shortbread was perfect.  Like a fine wine, they get better with age.  I would prepare these 2-3 days before you serve them.

Shortbread Cookies
Made aprox. 20 3-inch cookie hearts.
Bake for about 12 minutes at 350*

2 cups (4 sticks) non salted butter, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup confectioners/powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
4 cups flour
1 pinch of salt

1. In a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar together until fluffy.
2. Add in the confectioners sugar, beating just until incorporated completely.
3. Add vanilla.
4. Add 2 cups of flour and mix on low until a dough forms.  Add additional 2 cups and continue mixing on low until a very stiff dough forms.
5. On a floured surface, separate dough into two equal sections and roll each piece with a floured rolling pin until dough is about 1 inch thick  Wrap well in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
6. While still cold, but pliable, roll our further until 1/4 inch in thickness.
7. Use cookie cutters in whatever shape you'd like.  Dough can be rolled out one more time.
8. Bake in oven until edges are slightly brown.  Set aside to cool on a wire rack.

Remember that any cookie cutter is fine to use with these.  Someone do a chocolate dipped dinosaur!!!

As you can see, those are two different shaped hearts.  No heart is the same right? :)

Dark Chocolate Glaze
6 oz dark chocolate chips
1 tsp butter

1. In microwave melt chocolate chips in 30 second intervals, stirring in between each round.  Should take about 2 minutes total.
2. In a separate bowl, microwave butter until fully melted and add to chocolate and whisk until smooth.
3. Use chocolate to dip cookies. Simply dip into the bowl and use a spatula to cover any missing parts.  Place on wire rack to drip.

Coconut Topping
2/3 cup shredded coconut

1. On parchment paper on a baking sheet, toast shredded coconut for 4-8 minutes at 200*.  This can be done in a small toaster oven as well.
2. Sprinkle desired amount on top of chocolate covered cookies while chocolate has not set yet.
3. Let cookies harden, store in air tight container.  3-4 day old cookies are delicious.

These would be perfect for a Valentines Day treat.  Nothing says  "Please Be My Valentine" like cookies.

Well no I lie.

Maybe give them three cookies.  The more cookies, the better.


P.S.  Thanks to Katie who was my sous baker for these. Even though her husband laughed when I insisted she did a good job helping, she DID!  

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Linzer Cookies

Linzer cookies have been on my "to bake" list for ages.  Literally months ago I bought half of the ingredients to make them but never did.  This past December though a co-worker started talking about them and I eagerly accepted a photocopied recipe out of her Parade magazine.  I mean they claimed to win best "rolled out cookie" for 2012.  Worth a try, no?

So when scheduling a baking date with my dear Rachelle (cuz you know, that's what we do) I knew that we had to make these.  She obliged and I think I now have to rename this blog "My Feelings Taste Like Cookies" because I seem to have forgotten how to make anything else this holiday season!

We used the food processor for this recipe, but not the stand mixer.  

Linzer Tart Cookies
Taken from Parade Magazine, December 2012.  
Bake for 10-12 minutes or until sides are golden at 350* 

3/4 c. unsalted almonds
1 1/2 c. sifted flour
1/2 c. butter, at room temp
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
1 tsp lemon zest
1 egg, at room temp
Fruit preserves - any flavor
Confectioners sugar for dusting

1. In a food processor, chop nuts and 1/4 c of the flour until fine.
2. In a bowl, combine nut/flour mixture, remaining 1 1/4 c. flour, butter, sugar, zest and egg.  Stir by hand until it turns doughy.
3.  Divide dough into two equal pieces and cover in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
4.  Roll out dough on a floured surface.  Use Linzer cookie cutters to cut out bottom and tops of your sandwich cookies.  You will need an even amount.
5. Bake on parchment paper until sides are golden brown and let cool.
6. Spread fruit preserves on the bottom cookies.  On the tops (the ones with the cut outs), dust with  confectioners sugar.  Sandwich top cookie to bottom cookie.

I sucked at using the cookie cutter by they way.  Rachelle did most of the stamping because I was making messes.  Aren't the baby cut outs cute though?  We used stars and flowers. But like the recipe mentions, they have winter linzer cookie cutters too with things like mittens on them!

For the fruit preserves I  bought apricot-pineapple and boysenberry.  You can use any preserve, but I chose a few little lesson common ones to make things interesting.  I really liked the boysenberry one, personally.

My tip to you is that you can't use enough preserves.  Add more before you sandwich them together.

We rolled out the cookies twice, the last time we couldn't reuse the middle cutouts so Rach decided to bake the few we had -- tiny equals cute people.  

And then we sandwiched them together too -  into teeny tiny bite sized cookies. Literally bite-sized!

Baking dates with Rach are the best.  If we fail, we fail together!  But two sharp minds with pretty solid baking instincts don't fail.  :)

We actually made these back in December but I had't had time to post about them. They came out too pretty not to though!  You can see the specks of lemon zest, the pieces of almonds and of course the preserves peaking out.  And truth be told, I have a thing for scalloped edges.

The stars were the boysenberry.

The flowers were the apricot-pineapple.

Now that the holidays are over I need to stop baking cookies and maybe learn to bake some vegetables.  So next week look for carrots.  Ha, totally kidding.  (Unless it's carrot cake.)