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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve-Day...Bake While the Stores are Still Open!

Happy Tuesday everyone! It's Christmas Eve-Day - is that a holiday? I'm not sure. While my own baking continues (I started Saturday night), you may still need one or two last minute ideas to contribute to the Christmas table. So without much fanfare (because who are we kidding, you really need to bust a move at this point), here are a few last minute recipes!

Thumbprint Cookies with Toasted Nuts and Whole Grains
Adapted from Tartine Book No. 3 by Chad Robertson for NYT

  • 1 1/2 cups pecans (6 1/2 ounces)
  • 1 1/2 cups dark rye flour (6 1/2 ounces)
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar (4 1/2 ounces)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 9 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces and softened at room temperature
  • Jam, marmalade or lemon curd, for filling 
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spread pecans on a baking sheet and toast until golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats.
  2. In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, combine nuts, flour, sugar and salt and pulse until very finely ground, about 1 minute. Transfer to a large bowl and add butter by hand, a few pieces at a time, massaging butter into dry ingredients until it forms a shaggy dough. (If dough seems dry and is not coming together, work in water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it does.)
  3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and bring it together with your hands. Have a bowl of warm water at hand nearby. Divide dough in half, dip your hands in water and roll each lump into a thin log, about 15 inches long and 1/2 inch across. Cut each log into 1/2-inch slices and roll each slice into a ball, dipping hands in water as needed to prevent dough from sticking. Transfer balls to prepared pans, spacing them about 1/2 inch apart.
  4. Using your pinkie or the rounded end of a small wooden spoon, press into the top of each ball to make a well. As you press, use your other hand to hold the ball and shape it around the finger or handle into a small, flat-bottomed cup. The goal is to give the dough an even thickness throughout the cookie. Place pans in refrigerator and chill cookies for at least 30 minutes or up to 12 hours.
  5. Bake cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, rotating baking sheets halfway through to ensure even browning, until cookies are golden around the edges.
  6. Remove baking sheets from oven and let cookies cool completely. (The recipe can be made up to this point 3 days ahead and stored in an airtight container.) When ready to serve (up to 8 hours ahead of time), use a pastry bag or a small spoon to fill each well with jam, marmalade or preserves.

Swedish Dream Cookies

  • 1 2/3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 8 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla sugar
  • 1/3 cup corn oil   
  1. Heat oven to 300°. In a small bowl, whisk together flour and baking soda; set aside. In a large bowl and using a handheld mixer on medium speed, beat butter and sugars until pale and fluffy, 1–2 minutes. Add oil and mix until smooth. Add dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
  2. Using a tablespoon-size measuring spoon, divide dough into about 40 portions. Using your hands, shape dough portions into balls. Place dough balls 2" apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake 1 sheet at a time until cookies crack on top and are just set, 25–30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool before serving. 

Happy baking everyone and Merry Christmas! My pictures will come soon, and I hope you will share some of your own! Enjoy the time with friends and family!

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