Almond Rusks

December 19, 2013 § Leave a comment

The spice I most associate with Christmas is cardamom. The rich scent immediately brings me back to holiday treats. Cardamom is included in my dad’s famous kuchen (coffee bread with loads of cardamom and citrus zest) and these amazing rusks. My mom always made these, often gave them away, and let me eat the ends she cut off. What a treat.

In addition to cardamom we add almond extract and sliced almonds to give with a delicious nutty flavor. And they’re twice baked, making them dry and hard. I realize that sounds gross but trust me, they’re still amazing. It’s even better if you enjoy them with a cup of coffee.

Depending on how you cut these the recipe makes roughly 60 rusks so feel free to share with co-workers, neighbors or your mailman.

Almond Rusks

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of butter, softened
  • 1 and 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tsp almond extract
  • 1 tbsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 5 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 1 cup slivered almonds

To Make

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper
2) Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and almond extract. In another bowl whisk together flour, cardamom, baking soda, salt and flour. Using a mixer (or stand mixer), add flour and sour cream to butter mixture, alternating. Before you add the last of the flour, stir in almonds. Dough will be sticky.
3) Separate dough into four equal parts. Directly on parchment paper, shape dough into logs, roughly 12 inches long and 3-4 inches wide. Bake 30-35 minutes or until lightly browned on top. Cool on wire racks. Using serrated knife, slice into pieces roughly 3/4 inch wide.
4) Turn down oven to 225. Place rusks back on baking sheets and bake until crisp about 45 minutes. Cool and enjoy, dipped in coffee.

Coffee Shortbread from Maximum Flavor

December 16, 2013 § Leave a comment

It’s Christmas treat week here. A lot of baking has happened and it’s been intense, delicious and awesome. My stomach celebrates the sugar and butter and then I have a serious sugar crash by 3 pm and it’s all downhill from there. Oh well.

I want to introduce you guys to this awesome cookbook. It’s Maximum Flavor by Aki Kamozawa and H. Aleander Talbot. They’ve created a book celebrating science in the kitchen. Check out this review from The Kitchn to find out more about it. I’ve made a few of the recipes now and they’ve all been winners.

This week I slightly adapted their coffee shortbread recipe. It’s a crispy, shortbread cookie with a little something extra: espresso powder and white chocolate. Best part about this? You get to eat the scraps after you cut the shapes out!

We start out combining almonds and instant espresso granules into a powder, combine that with flour and set aside. Then we mix butter, brown sugar and sea salt using a mixer. Add in chopped white chocolate.

Dump in the dry ingredients, still until combined and you get this beautiful dough. It has to chill in the fridge for about an hour. Take it out, roll it out, bake it and cut shapes out and you are in business. I find it goes really well with a cup of coffee or a cold glass of milk. Enjoy!

Just as a heads up I found it easiest to do cookie shapes that didn’t have points (like a snowflake). Since you’re cutting them while dough is still warm the points broke off when transferring on some of them. A circle cookie cutter would work very well.Coffee Shortbread
from Maximum Flavor

Ingredients

  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 3.5 oz white chocolate, chopped

1) In a food processor combine almond and espresso powder, pulsing until a find powder forms. Pour into separate bowl, whisk in flour and set aside.
2) Using paddle attachment on a stand mixer, stir butter, brown sugar and salt until light and fluffy 3-4 minutes. Add in white chocolate all at once, mixing just until combined. Pour in the flour mixture all at once and mix just until combined, making sure to scrape down the sides once. Put dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate about one hour.
3) Preheat oven to 325. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Take dough out of the fridge, using a large rolling pin roll dough into rough rectangle shape. It’s easiest if you keep dough on plastic wrap while rolling out. Dough should be about 1/4 inch thick. Transfer to baking sheet by lifting up plastic wrap from counter and flipping carefully onto baking sheet.
4) Bake 20-25 minutes until browned on edges slightly and cooked through. Cut out cookie shapes immediately and transfer to cooling rack. Enjoy!

Cranberry, Brie & Arugula Crostinis

November 30, 2012 § Leave a comment

It’s already more than a week past Thanksgiving. But I have an issue with Thanksgiving, or any holiday meal really. My problem? It’s appetizers. I love them and eat way too many. Then I’m full and can’t truly appreciate the corn bake or sweet potatoes. First world problems, I know.
This Thanksgiving my brother-in-law made these amazing cranberry, brie and arugula crostinis. I could eat these for just a meal. So make a batch just for yourself. Or they would be perfect to make for a Christmas party. Win-win-win.
Cranberry, Brie and Arugula Crostinis
Ingredients:
  • 1 French baguette
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 round Brie cheese, at room¬†temperature
  • 2 cups homemade cranberry sauce**
  • 3 cups arugula
To Make:
1. Preheat oven to 350*. Slice baguette into 1/4 inch slices. Brush olive oil onto top side of slices and place on baking sheet. Bake in over for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
2. While slices are baking cut brie into thin slices (as many slices as pieces of bread you have). When bread is done remove from oven and place one slice of brie on each. Not necessary but its delicious if you put it back in the oven for just a few minutes to let brie melt a little more.
3. Put a spoonful of cranberry sauce and a few pieces of arugula on top and enjoy!
**to make cranberry sauce combine 1 cup water and 1/2 cup sugar in a small saucepan and heat until sugar is dissolved. Stir in 12 oz fresh cranberries and 2 tbsp orange zest or 2 slices or orange peel and bring to boil. Once boiling reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until cranberries start to release juices. Let sit until cool, then refrigerate.

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