Friday, 20 July 2007

A Sweet Treat

Posted by Bonita

july20_03

There's something special about European cookies. Whereas your average American cookie is usually a drop cookie or a freeze and slice cookie, something that's fast and easy and simple to make in our busy, hectic lives, I find that cookies from abroad tend to require a lot more time, a lot more patience and a lot more love. But despite all the extra work, it's all worth it in the end. I really do love European cookies, even though I don't make it as often as I would like, frankly because I too don't usually have the time to spend on cookies.

I was in one of my baking moods today and really wanted to make cookies. I tried making Rugelach two weeks ago, and while they didn't taste bad, I did have some problems with them. Both the dough and the filling were hard to work with, and in the end, I had pretty ugly looking cookies. However, the problematic cookie did not discourage me. I went back to internet to search out another Rugelach recipe I could try out, and found one over at one of my fave food blogs, Milk and Cookies. The recipe looked appealing enough (plus the pictures of her cookies were the real clincher), and fortunately for me, I had all the ingredients on hand. Thus, I whipped up the dough in less than 10 minutes in the afternoon and popped them in the fridge so that they would be ready for me after dinner.

The assembly of these cookies does take a bit of time, but it's really very simple. Mostly just a lot of measuring and a bit of chopping, but once you have all your filling ingredients in front of you, the rest is pretty easy. This dough was absolutely a delight to work with. Compared to the other previous rugelach dough, this dough still had a bit of softness to it coming out of the fridge, which made it so much easier to roll without cracking on me.

july20_01

Once I rolled it out to about the right size, I spread on my filling ingredients on top. Sliced the dough with a pizza cutter into 16 triangles and rolled them up crescent-roll style. Gave me no trouble at all. I opted to forgo the glaze and sugar topping and just popped them into the oven after chilling them for 30 minutes, as was directed. When they were done, I took them out of the oven and let cool for 5 minutes on a rack before dusting them with icing sugar. These cookies are absolutely delicious. The pastry is nice and flaky and filling is to die for. The combination of the apricot jam, cinnamon sugar, dried currants and chocolate is surprisingly delightful, and it makes for a real treat when you bite into one of these cookies. The good thing is that these are pretty small in size, so I don't feel as bad when I indulge in one...or two.

I also made Lemon Drop Cookies for my best friend this morning, who I haven't seen for awhile. I'm always happy to bake when I have an excuse, so what better reason than to make some for a friend, especially one who loves my baking! These cookies are really simple and you can whip them up in 10 minutes flat. They're actually called a drop sugar cookie, but it departs from your traditional sugar cookie because it's not crisp, nor does it contain any butter (**gasp**). But do not cringe! Just because it's missing butter doesn't mean these don't taste cook. They're really heavenly. These cookies rather have a more cake-like texture to them, soft and light. Plus the hint of lemon in these makes these cookies to die for. This recipe was actually passed on to me by a really close family friend.

july20_02

Lemon Drop Cookies
Makes about 2 dozen
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar (plus additional sugar for topping)
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest
  1. Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl and mix well
  2. Whisk eggs in a large bowl until blended. Add sugar, oil, vanilla extract and lemon zest and mis well. Stir the dry ingredients into egg mixture until blended. Chill, covered, for 30 minutes or longer.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400°F (if you know that your oven runs really hot, you might want to decrease it to 350-375°F).
  4. Drop the cookie dough by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Mist the bottom of a 3-inch flat-bottom glass with water and dip glass in additional sugar. Press the top of each cookie lightly with the glass to flatten, misting glass with water and dipping in sugar before pressing each cookie.
    (N.B. Alternatively, you could try rolling the cookies into a ball by hand, and then rolling them in sugar before pressing them. I haven't tried this method yet but I'll probably give it a go next time I make it, only because none of my glasses have a completely flat bottom and it was frustrating how the sugar wasn't sticking to the bottom of the glass very evenly.)
  5. Bake cookies until lightly browned, about 8 min. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.

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