Monday, December 5, 2005

Do you smell that?

Ah, the smell of Christmas. The smell of cookies baking in the oven, the smell of freshly zested lemon and lime, and the smell of almonds, butter, and sugar carmalizing to a burnt crisp on the stove. :-(

Today I went to pick up a whole cartful of goodie ingredients. And first off I was dying to make the first batch of Almond Roca. Ever since it came into my life two years ago, it has made the number one most requested gift from my family members. The recipe is courtesy of Anna of Cookie Madness, she first brought it to my attention tow years ago on the CLBB, and it has had a home ever since. So I put my ingredients into the pot and started the process. As I was watching the thermometer, I was reminded of a recent batch of horribly burnt pumpkin walnut fudge and thought I had better check my thermometer. So I took my probe and dipped it in the carmalizing goo. Yep, right on. Okay, took out the probe and continued. A while later I definitely started to smell a burnt smell. I was already stirring like a madwoman, and there was no sign of anything darkening, so I just ignored it and thought I had dribbled a little. So I am watching the thermometer, and realizing I have a ways to go before I hit 290, and I am starting to think that that burnt smell is the Almond Roca. All of the sudden, I swear the devil is in the kitchen himslef and has cast a smell because the smoke starts rolling out of the pot!! What the...So I pull it off the heat and check with my probe. That darn candy thermometer IS broken. I am not happy. I ruined my first batch of almond roca (not a good sign for things to come), my NEW candy thermometer sucks, and I have a very very black bottomed pot. Grr.

However, there are also two bright spots to the afternoon, courtesy of Martha Stewart. I tried two new cookie recipes today, and I am very happy with one, and the other is a WOW. The WOW cookie is called a Lime Meltaway. Yum. It is a very small, crumbly cookie about the size of a quarter. It is filled with lime zest and flavor, and then the whole thing is wrapped in a melty powdered sugar layer. They literally do just melt away. And they have such an intense lime flavor. Yum. Did I mention- yum?

The second cookie is a Double Chocolate Coconut Cookie. This one was also very good- especially for the ease of a drop cookie. It will get many repeats here, I'm just not sure it's at Christmas Cookie caliber. For sure it will need a white chocolate drizzle if it intends ot get on my cookie platters. But as I am on the hunt for some new variatuons of cookies, this one may juts do the trick. If nothing else, it is a great quick cookie, a much needed change from the chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin I tend to favor. So here are the cookie recipes, and I will share the almond roca recipe later, once I have made a good batch, that only seems fair.

* Exported from MasterCook *
Double Chocolate Coconut Cookies
Recipe By :Serving Size : 60
1 cup unsalted butter -- (2 sticks) softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
2 cups white-chocolate chunks (about 9 oz)
1 3/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1 3/4 cups coarsely chopped walnuts (about 6 oz)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Put butter and sugars in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Mix in eggs, one at a time. Stir in vanilla.
Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl. Mix into butter mixture on low speed until well combined. Stir in chocolate, coconut and walnuts.
Using a 1 1/2-inch ice cream scoop, drop batter onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing 2 inches apart. Flatten slightly. Bake until set, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks 2 minutes. Transfer cookies on parchment to racks to cool completely. Cookies can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature up to 1 week.
Source: ""Martha Stewart Holiday Cookies, 2005"" - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

* Exported from MasterCook *

3/4 cup unsalted butter -- (1 1/2 sticks) room temp.
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice -- plus grated zest of 2 limes
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups plus two tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, cream butter and 1/3 cup sugar until fluffy. Add the lime juice, zest, and vanilla; beat until fluffy.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, and salt. Add to butter mixture, and beat on low speed until combined.
3. Between two 8-by-12 inch pieces of parchment paper, roll dough into two 1 1/4 inch diameter logs. Chill at least one hour.
4. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Place remaining sugar in a resealable plastic bag. Remove parchment from logs; slice into 1/8 inch thick rounds. Place rounds on sheets, spaced 1 inch apart.
5. Bake until barely golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool slightly, 8 to 10 minutes. While still warm, place cookies in the sugar-filled bag; toss to coat. Bake or freeze remaining dough. Store in an airtight container up to 2 weeks.
Source: "Martha Stewart Living Mag. Dec 98/Jan 99 issue"Yield: "10 dozen" - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

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