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Archive for the ‘Fancy Cookies’ Category

[I could not find this recipe on Martha’s website to link to.  Here’s why I don’t include the recipes in my posts.]

These are great little summer cookies. There is just a little bit of flour in these and I think a non-gluten flour like almond flour or coconut flour could be used instead making these a gluten-free treat!

The main dry ingredient is unsweetened shredded coconut.

You start with a simple mix of brown sugar, corn syrup, and butter. This is all melted together…

…and poured in with your other ingredients which include a lot of lime zest.

Then it’s just a matter of mixing everything together.

These are very similar to the Chocolate Florentines I made quite some time ago. I revisited that entry before baking these and the tips I mentioned there came in handy, particularly the tip about making the cookies small because they spread out so much while baking.

So I started out using a teeny tiny cookie scoop.

One thing I noticed with the first batch that went into the oven was that some didn’t completely flatten. There would be this weird mound in the middle. I never ran into this problem with the Chocolate Florentines.

So for the next tray I smooshed them a little with my fingers before baking. This worked – no more middle mounds!

After baking, the cookies are almost immediately transferred to a rolling pin to cool – this gives them an interesting curved form, like a Pringles potato chip.

It doesn’t take them long to cool – just five minutes or so.  They are pretty greasy from the butter, although they do dry out after 20 minutes or so.

I experimented with some bigger portions and while I didn’t experience the same problems as I did with the Chocolate Florentines, the resulting cookies did end up too big and a little unruly.

I formed some of the bigger ones over tartlet pans to create little cups. I loved the way they turned out!

I will say that smaller is definitely better for this recipe. Unless you’re going to make bowls like I did above, stick with a teaspoon-sized portion of dough.  This will yield individual cookies that are about two-inches across, which is perfect for how sweet they are.

These taste a lot like candy but the coconut and the lime really come through.  They are very brittle but then become quite chewy as you chew them.  They were okay by themselves, but they were absolute dynamite paired with some vanilla ice cream. I would argue that this is the only way these tuiles should be eaten! Crunchy, sweet, and citrus-y paired with creamy vanilla ice cream – I have not had a better summer treat!

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Palmiers

This attempt marks the first time I have ever made Palmiers and the first time I’ve ever eaten one.  I am now a big fan on both counts.  These are fun (and easy) cookies to make if you have some puff pastry on hand.  And as for eating them – well, they’re just so satisfying in every way.

This is also the first recipe I have attempted using the MSBH’s puff pastry and it beats store-bought puff pastry in every way.  These cookies are crisp, fresh, light, and they melt in your mouth with a perfect balance of rich buttery flavor that follows the initial sweet, sugary crunch.

The puff pastry portion is thawed and placed on a sugar-dusted piece of parchment paper.  More sugar is liberally dusted on top.

The puff pastry is rolled out into a large, thin sheet.  This is pretty quick and easy; the puff pastry cooperates like a champ.

The edges are trimmed straight.

The surface of the pastry is again sprinkled with sugar and the ends are rolled “tightly” to form the shape of the palmier, which is named after a palm tree (palmiers is the French word for palm tree).  I found rolling the ends tightly was difficult.  Perhaps if I had rolled my dough thinner it would have been easier.

Once the two rolled ends meet in the middle the shaped pastry is frozen prior to slicing into individual cookies.

The slicing is easy; again, the dough cooperates well.

The cookies are placed on a baking sheet and smashed down flat by hand.  I actually smashed some and left some un-smashed and they both baked up identically.  Your mileage may vary.

The baking takes some attention, as you have to lower the temperature per the recipe’s instruction  mid-bake.  You also have to flip the cookies at one point.  All of this carries out without a hitch.

All my palmiers unfolded to some degree during baking.  The photo in the MSBH shows very tight, perfect curls post-bake but none of mine maintained their pre-formed shape.  I found both frozen and slightly-thawed cookies unfurl similarly during baking.  Again, the puff pastry probably should have been rolled out thinner.

Even though I ended up with cookies that look more like pretzels than palm trees, I could not be happier with them.  I still think they look attractive and interesting and they taste so good.  All those layers of pastry and butter and sugar come together beautifully.  The ingredients are so simple but the end result is so sophisticated.

This recipe makes a lot of individual cookies.  I chose to freeze most of them.  I can take out a few at a time to bake rather than all at once.  These cookies taste so good, they’re quite addictive.  Better to pace yourself.

I layered the unbaked palmiers in a freezer-safe container and then put that in a freezer-safe Ziplock bag to avoid frost burn.  They taste just as good as the freshly baked ones.

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These are less cookies and more candies, although they are in the Cookies chapter of the MSBH (under the subheading “Fancy Cookies”).  Regardless, they are gluten free as there’s no flour – just almonds, butter, sugar, cocoa, and a few other minor ingredients.  The taste and texture is pure chocolate toffee candy.  Delicious!

There is definitely a knack to making these, however, and I can tell it will take me a few tries to perfect them.  The process itself is a little involved – after all, you’re making candy rather than cookie dough.  First you get yourself some sliced almonds and you toast them in the oven.  While still warm from the oven, you crush them with a rolling pin.

I first thought that perhaps this step could be done in the food processor if one was in a hurry, but you really should take the time to do it, if only to enjoy the aroma that wafts up from the warm almonds while you crush them.  It’s heavenly.  And it didn’t take too long in the end – just a minute or so.

The finely crushed almonds are then mixed with dutch processed cocoa.  This step smells really good too.

Then you make the caramel/toffee stuff.  Mine is very yellow in color because I used some Irish butter I had on hand.  I don’t know if that was a good idea or not – I’ll have to make it with regular butter and report back.  In any event, it boils for a while and you have to use a candy thermometer to make sure it gets to the proper temperature.

Then it is simply mixed in with the almond/cocoa mixture and spooned onto the baking sheet.

The recipe instructs for “rounded teaspoons” and I discovered you have to take that quite literally.  My smallest cookie scoop is about a tablespoon in size and it was far too big.  My first batch ran together horribly and I ended up with one big amorphous cookie.  (It tasted fine, I just broke it into big shards by hand.)

So with the next pan, I reduced the size of the individual cookies to a teaspoon and also notched the temperature on my oven down about 15°F.  And lo and behold, the cookies turned out much better!  They still seem awfully big so I might try to make them even smaller next go-round.

From the oven, you carefully transfer each cookie to cool on a rolling pin in order to give them a curved shape as they cool.  You don’t have to do this, but it does make them more interesting for sure.

They are quite pliable until cooled and then they are very brittle.  Mine were also kind of greasy, which may be due to the type of butter I used.  I let them sort-of “dry out” on a paper towel.  About an hour after baking, they were no longer greasy at all.

They taste like a fancy Heath Bar – chocolate and toffee, crisp then chewy.  I packaged a bunch of them up, separated by tissue paper, and gave them away at some meetings I had this week.  Everyone loved them – they were a huge hit.  I think if I make these a few more times I could get really good at it.

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