Monday, November 17, 2008


Well, I didn't complete the chosen item for Tuesdays With Dorie last week. Instead, I wanted to try out a recipe for OLD FASHIONED ALMOND COOKIES that I had copied out of a magazine while waiting in a doctor's office (which magazine and which office I can't remember). Usually I note where the recipe comes from, but in this instance I didn't. I ended up being very disappointed with this recipe. The cookies burned like crazy, and I wasn't too impressed with the taste, either. Using my microplane, I attempted to save some of the cookies, but probably grated away half of the cookies! I baked another batch at a lower oven temp (350), but it didn't stop the burning. The recipe says the cookies should "puff and turn lightly brown around the edges," but since I used cocoa powder, they were too dark to be able to judge whether they were browning around the edges.

Tried to save a few by sandwiching them together with a little lemon curd. Still not worth swallowing!

I've decided to post the recipe here, in the hopes that someone will try it and let me know if they have better results, and what I may have done wrong.


8 1/2 oz. blanched almonds
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon, 3 tblsp unsweetened cocoa powder, and 1/2 c. finely chopped pecans to flavor (these are all opt'l)
3 large egg whites, lightly beaten with a fork

1. Position oven racks to divide the oven into 1/3's and preheat the oven to 375 degress (F). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Put almonds and sugar in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade and pulse, scraping down the sides of the bowl now and then, until almonds are finely ground, about 2 minutes. If using cinnamon or cocoa, put it in now and pulse to blend. If you are using chopped pecans, wait to add them after all the ingredients have been added.

3. With processor running, add egg whites in a steady stream. Mix about 30 seconds, only until egg whites are blended into the almonds and sugar. You don't want to incorporate too much air into the batter. Add the pecans, if using them, and pulse just to mix.

4. Spoon out a level tablespoon of batter for each cookie, spacing the cookies about 1-inch apart on the baking sheets. Slide baking sheets into the oven and bake 18-20 minutes, rotating the sheets from front to back, and top to bottom, at the halfway points. The cookies should puff, firm and turn lightly brown around the edges. With a wide metal spatula, carefully lift the cookies off the baking sheets and onto cooling racks. Cool to room temperature.

NOTE: The cookies can be packed airtight and kept for 4 days at room temperature.
These cookies are prime sandwich material. You can "glue" them together with anything from raspberry jam to lemon curd, or ganache!
Since cookies are usually an easy no-brainer type of baking, I really can't figure out what went wrong here. I probably will be crazy enough to try this recipe one more time...MINUS the cocoa powder, so I can monitor the browning process.

I really am hoping someone else will take on the challenge of this recipe...and if they come out great, please send them my way!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

My Favorite Kitchen Gadgets

From time to time, I'll be making note of certain kitchen gadgets that I just ADORE! I don't know why, but I can spend an embarrassing amount of time in the kitchen gadget section of any store. I'm like a kid let loose in a candy store...I just can't get enough of well-made and useful cooking implements. Here are some of my favorites:

Can you guess what this is?

This little guy can quickly remove all the kernels from an ear of corn in a flash, which makes a boring job really easy!

My ball whisks! The best whisks I've ever owned. I will admit, they do make a lot of noise, but when it comes to hand beating they can't be beat (pardon the pun!).

My did I ever survive without it!

This is my brand new mini meatball scoop.

I'm planning to use it for baking cookies for the holidays. I have larger sizes, but this is the one I've coveted for quite a while!

Last, but not is my absolute favorite new kitchen, I mean seriously useful item! (wink) It's the Bakers Edge Brownie Pan, which adds two chewy edges to each serving. And aren't the chewy edges the best part of a brownie? I brought the pan to my DD's house, she made the first batch and immediately declared them the best brownies she'd ever eaten! Forgive the stock photo, but I didn't have my camera with me that day. Next batch will definitely be photographed and posted! I kept putting off buying this pan because I thought the $34.95 price tag a bit steep, but it really is worth every penny!

Well, that's it for now. I think I hear a rugelach calling my name...

My Rugelach - The Baked Truth

Well, the dough was rolled out, the rugelach were filled and shaped, and the oven was preheated and ready to go. I haven't rolled dough for quite some time, and I seem to be out of practice! In my humble opinion, the finished product made up in taste what it lacked in beauty!!

See the strange looking item peeking out on the right side of the plate? As you can see, that's not a rugelach. I took one of the packets of chilled dough, rolled it out a bit, spread some nutella over the top, and then gently kneaded it into the dough. Then I formed pieces of the dough into crescents and baked on a separate cookie sheet along with the rugelach. I don't have a name for these, but they did taste yummy.

I dug out what I call MY traditional rugelach recipe, only to find the only difference was that my recipe was doubled, and the dough gets some sugar and a splash of vanilla.

Actually, I think the hint of vanilla does add a nice touch to the flavor of the dough. Also, combining the sugar with the dough seems to produce better results than sprinkling it on top just before baking.

I recently purchased the flat cover for my Cuisinart food processor.

I can't begin to tell you what a difference it makes! Before having this it would be such a pain to clean the cover that has the tube feed permanently attached! The flat cover makes clean-up a breeze. Why, oh why, didn't I think of purchasing this a long time ago! This is going to make me look forward to using the food processor instead of dreading it because of the annoying clean-up!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Dough Not Touch My Rugelach Dough!

Okay, the dough has been made and it's chillin' in the fridge. I'll roll the dough, fill, shape and bake the little beauties tomorrow morning! Would have completed this by now, except that my sweet little cat, Bella has been feeling under the weather and needed my attention.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Being an avid fan of Dorie Greenspan's baking books, I decided it would be fun to join the well-known blogspot called "Tuesday's With Dorie." I figure it will push me to try out a number of recipes that I have procrastinated about, and to learn from others baking the same things. Rugelach has been chosen for the first week of November, and it's one of Dorie's standards that I've been wanting to try. Now I'll get to see if my tried and true recipe that I've made for years can stand up next to Dorie's if I have any doubts that hers will probably outshine mine by a mile. Well, we'll just have to wait and see what the results will produce. For added fun, I'm planning to make a batch of Dorie's and a batch of my own, both of which will be tested on unsuspecting family members. Stay tuned for the results along with pics.