March 30, 2012

Recipes From the Last Month (and have a great weekend!)

Pin It now! I always have good intentions on making something for the week or trying a new recipe, but as the weekend passes by, there's laundry and chores to do or TV to catch up on, and baking something new never happens. I've made a few things over the last month though even if it wasn't something every weekend.

For Chinese New Year, I made almond cookies which came out just as good as the ones I've had in the bakeries and Chinese restaurants (assuming you think those are good!).  The almond flavor seemed a little artificial to me (I added more extract than the recipe asked for) which is probably from the extract, but everyone else didn't think so at all.  I skipped adding an almond on top since I forgot to buy whole almonds  It was a bit labor intensive since it took two days to make (you need to chill the dough), but at the end it was worth it.  The cookies came out crispy and light, and the house smelled warm and delicious. 

Chinese Almond Cookies - Makes 5 dozen
from Simply Recipes, posted by Garrett McCord
1 1/3 cups of almond flour, lightly packed
1 cup of unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
Pinch of kosher salt
2 eggs
1 teaspoon of almond extract
1 3/4 cups of flour
1 cup + 2 tablespoons of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
Thinly sliced almonds
  1. Place the almond flour, salt, and butter into an electric beater with a paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for three minutes. The mixture will become course and chunky looking.
  2. Add one of the eggs, reserving the other for later, and the almond extract. Mix on low speed until just incorporated.
  3. Sift together the flour, sugar, and baking soda then add to the butter mixture at low speed. Mix until just combined.
  4. Take the dough and flatten it into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Place it in the refrigerator for two hours to chill.
  5. Preheat the oven to 325F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the other egg into a bowl and beat it.
  6. Take pieces of dough and roll them into balls about a half-inch wide. Place them on the sheet about and inch apart and then press them down slightly with your palm to make a coin shape.
  7. Place a slivered almond onto each cookie and lightly press it into place, then paint the surface of the cookie with some of the beaten egg using a pastry brush or your finger (this will give the cookie a lacquered appearance once it bakes).
  8. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until the edges just being to tan. Cool on the sheet on a wire rack.
Earlier this month, I made this Nutella Pear tart for a neighbor's party and it tasted as good as it sounds.  I used the homemade tart crust I've used before for the fruit tarts I've made and next time I won't soak the pears as I slice them in cold lemon water (to prevent browning).  The pears didn't dry completely and the tart was a bit watery.  I also just used whatever cranberries and nuts we had in the pantry to top it off.
2 Bartlett pears
Pie crust (or this recipe for a homemade tart crust)
Orange Marmalade

1. Start by pressing your dough into an oven safe dish (I used a tart pan). Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Spread a huge generous layer of Nutella across the crust.
3. Thinly slice and layer pears on top.
4. Melt about 1/3 cup of marmalade. Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Brush over the pears.
5. Lastly, chop and sprinkle hazelnuts over the top. (You can use also use chopped pecans or walnuts.)
6. Bake about 20 minutes until crust is golden brown.

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