Monday, November 16, 2009

Almond Cinnamon Cookies with Browned Butter Drizzle

In case there is anyone I haven't complained to yet, Favorite has dragged me kicking and screaming into Nanowrimo this year. If you an unfamiliar Nanowrimo stands for National Novel Writing Month. This is basically some cockamamie idea some guy came up with where you force yourself to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. I have never written any substantial piece of fiction and the last time I wrote ANY fiction was probably 5th grade. Needless to say, after two weeks of writing, and 25, 000 words under my belt, I am in pain. For those math whizzes out there, 50K in 30 days means 1667 words a day. So after working, Favorite and I sit down every night and bang away at our keyboards until we fall over. Well the other night I couldn't take it any longer. I decided to take a night off and make up for it later. So when Favorite got home and mentioned turning on his computer I said, "Do what you want, but I need to bake cookies." He did question my usage of the word "need", but I assured him it was correct. I decided to make another recipe out of my Holiday Baking magazine.

Almond Cinnamon Cookies with Browned Butter Drizzle

3/4 c. butter, softened
1 1/2 c. sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup blanched almonds, ground
2 c. all purpose flour

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, beat butter on medium high speed for 30 seconds. Add the sugar, baking soda, cream of tartar, and cinnamon. Beat until combined scraping side of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Beat in ground almonds. Beat in flour.
  3. Shape dough into 1 inch balls or use a 1 inch cookie scoop. Place balls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
  4. Bake cookies for 13 minutes or until light brown. Transfer to wire rack and cool.
  5. Drizzle cookies with browned butter drizzle.
Browned Butter Drizzle

In a small saucepan heat 2 tbsp of butter until it is golden in color and nutty smelly. Remove from heat. Slowly stir in 1 1/2 c. powdered sugar, 1 tsp vanilla, and enough milk to make of drizzling consistency.

Note: I didn't actually make new Browned Butter Drizzle. I had left over frosting from my Pumpkin Bars and I simply added milk until it was drizzly.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Sour Cream Pumpkin Bars with Browned Butter Frosting

Another recipe from my Better Homes and Gardens Holiday Cookbook! Another delicious treat! I normally don't go for for frosted things as often both Favorite and I find that frosting, overly sugared and of dubious textures, can ruin an otherwise delicious dessert. However, something assured me that I would want to make this recipe in its entirety (ok, it wasn't something, it was my mom).
Sour Cream Pumpkin Bars

1/2 c. butter, softened
1 1/3 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 sour cream
1/4 c. milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1 c. chopped pecans or walnuts

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Grease a 15x10x1 inch pan (I used two 8X8s)
  3. In a large bowl, beat butter on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Beat in eggs, pumpkin, sour cream, milk, and vanilla until combined. Add flours and beat until combined. Stir in nuts.
  4. Spread mixture evenly into prepared pan. Bake for 25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack.
  5. Prepare browned butter frosting and spread over cooled bars. Cut into bars. If desired top with nut halves.
Browned Butter Frosting

1/2 c. butter
3 c. powdered sugar
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla

  1. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium low and continue to cook for 5 or 6 minutes or until butter becomes brown and fragrant.
  2. Remove butter from heat and cool slightly.
  3. Put butter and remaining ingredients in medium mixing bowl. Beat until combined. Beat in additional milk 1 tsp at a time, to make frosting spreadable.

These bars were less dense than I expected them to be. I was thinking they would be almost like a blondie brownie but they were almost cake-like. Either way, the toasty flavor of the browned butter frosting was delicious with the sweet pumpkiny bar. I would have been remiss to try these without their topper!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Gingersnap Shortbread Cookies

If you've already read my Pumpkin Kuchen post you should know that I have in my possession a copy of this year's Better Homes and Gardens Holiday Baking magazine and that I want to make pretty much everything in it. That's where the kuchen came from and it's where this recipe came from as well. Gingersnap Shortbread. Just the name brings up all kinds of warm fuzzies. It just sounds like the holidays.

This recipe was really pretty basic, simply a shortbread cookie spiced with the same stuff that goes in gingerbread. The one thing I did not expect though was the molasses. I've never put anything wet into my shortbread and even though the amount was small I was a little worried. Well I should not have been because the cookies were delightful! Crisp and spicy with thick sweet molasses flavor. The recipe below is the one I used (straight from the magazine, I halved mine though) but if I were to make them again I am sure I would use a heavier hand with the spices and maybe even add some nutmeg. I love the whole dessert spice family and I've never encountered "too much".

Gingersnap Shortbread

2 c. all purpose flour
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1 c. butter (two sticks)
2 tbs molasses
granulated sugar (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. Combine flour, powdered sugar, and spices in a large bowl.
  3. Cut butter and molasses into dry mixture until it resembles fine crumbs. Knead until mixture forms a ball and divide in half.
  4. Pat each ball into an 8" circle on ungreased cookie sheets. Form decorative edge with your fingers and dust with granulated sugar if desired.
  5. Prick cookies every inch or so with the tines of a fork and slice into eight wedges, without separating them.
  6. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until bottoms just start to turn golden brown and centers are set. Recut wedges while warm.
  7. Transfer wedges to a rack to cool.