Monthly Archives: December 2009

HERITAGE RECIPE – Poppy Seed Sweet Bread

Fans of poppy seed filled breads come out in force during the holiday baking season.  We get rush orders for people making Opa’s poppy seed rolls or grandma’s kolaches. 

For those without a legacy recipe, we’ve made this tender sweet bread. The dough is soft and rolls easily into a plump loaf.  To contain the poppyseed filling, we encased it into three logs of dough.  Then we braided the dough before putting it into the pan before baking. 

Poppy Seed Sweet Bread

For the Poppy Seed Sweet Bread recipe, click here.

COOKIE EXCHANGE – Chocolate Blackout Crumb Bars

Need something different for this year’s cookie exchange?  Who doesn’t love a buttery shortbread filled with dense chocolate?  Our Chocolate Schmear Filling was created to mimic the filling in the famed Ebbingers Black Out Cake, a favorite of Brooklyn natives.  The bakery is long gone but the filling isn’t.

Chocolate Crumble Bars

These Chocolate Blackout Crumb Bars retain a rich, deep chocolate flavor over a rich buttery crust. (Last time we offered them to 8 friends, the entire batch was eaten in one sitting.)

A fan of sweet and savory took this recipe and finished it with a light sprinkling of fleur de sel, flaked salt.   You can also dress it up with some raspberry jam or chopped nuts. Or try this recipe with our Almond or Cinnamon Schmear filling. Just be certain to make enough to leave for Santa.

FROM A FRIEND – Almond-Chocolate Spritz Cookies with Orange Blossom Water

This delicious recipe, a twist on the holiday cookie favorite, was recommended to us by Cindy Mushet, its creator.  Cindy is an expert baker, cooking teacher and author of The Art and Soul of Baking.  (Her book won a 2009 International Association of Culinary Professional Award.) She graciously offered us the use of some of her recipes.

 A few tips on making these delicious cookies. Orange blossom water is an old world flavoring especially popular in French butter cookies.  Its flavor can overpower so only a small amount is used to add a floral note. Vanilla extract can easily be substituted.

Almond Chocolate Sprtiz Cookies

Make sure to use soft butter and almond paste at room temperature.  This makes the dough pipeable.  We used a cookie press and found the dough easy to pipe. For added taste and eye appeal, Cindy suggests you drizzle a few ounces of melted chocolate over the filled cookies.  For the recipe, click here.

FROM OUR RECIPE BOX – Pignoli Cookies

Almond Macaroons and Pignoli Cookies

At this time of the year, we receive the most requests for a good Pignoli Cookie recipe. And this is the one we recommend, an elegant Pignoli Cookie or Almond Macaroon that is light and tender. We like to savor just one with a dark cup of espresso or a touch of vin santo

This recipe for Pignoli Cookies bakes into nicely puffed rounds.  You add only as much egg white as needed to make a smooth yet firm paste.  (Three large egg whites does the trick for us.)  Bake the dough in small mounds on parchment paper-lined baking sheets.  One trick to get them to release easily from the paper is to pour a tablespoon of water under the paper as soon as the cookies come from the oven.  Some steam is released helping you lift the cooled cookies off the paper. (A nice flat spatula works well too.)

FROM OUR RECIPE BOX – Rustic Macaroons

Rustic Almond Macaroons

Not all macaroons are made with egg whites.  These rustic beauties are bound with egg yolks, which give them a tender bite. Letting the formed cookie dough sit for a few hours gives them time to crust over.  Once baked, the cookies develop a thick, crisp exterior and soft golden center.

Portioning and forming dough for rustic macaroons.

Pinching macaroon dough before baking.

The team at the Malverne Pastry Shop in Malverne, NY make these for many trade shows and special events we attend.  They are irresistible and addictive.  Here is the Rustic Macaroon recipe.

Rustic Almond Macaroons

FROM OUR RECIPE BOX – Filled Hazelnut Sandies or Linzer Cookies

What are the most popular cookies on your holiday cookie tray?  In our house, these hazelnut sandies would be the first to disappear. First there is the double dose of hazelnut in the form of praline paste and ground hazelnuts to add a depth of flavor.  Then there is the crisp texture, always appealing to cookie fanatics.  Then the appealing Linzer cookie shape to catch the eye.  And a generous dusting of powdered sugar elevates this cookie to top billing.

Dusting the tops of the cookies with powdered sugar.

Filled Hazelnut Sandies

This recipe is one of many provided to us by commercial bakers who use American Almond Products.  We scaled down the recipe to a manageable size although you might have to double the batch to make enough for all your fans.

Click here for the Filled Hazelnut Sandies recipe.

Cinnamon Desserts for the Holidays

Cinnamon Galaxy Cookies

Thanks to Betty Miller and her team of sweets-loving bloggers for writing about cinnamon sweets for the holidays.   If you’re looking for a treat to send as a gift, check out her site 100 Cafe Street.  (The Cherry Blossom Cupcake would make a few people we know very happy.)

We appreciate Betty’s interest in a couple of our favorite recipes.   (Kids love these crispy sugar cookies with the kick of Cinnamon Schmear.)  These would be perfect additions to the Santa Cookie Plate. Or, on second thought, something for the Elves to nibble while preparing for his arrival!