Monday, December 22, 2008

Linzer Cookies

It'z X'mas time and time to bake and give back to family and friends! I love the xmas season and all the festivities, the lights, the goodies everywhere, great holiday cookies etc. Its a lot of fun baking and giving goodies to your close ones. I believe that food is the best gift to give :) Its made with love and one can taste it in every bite taken :)

I saw this recipe in a Gourmet or a Bon Appetit magazine, and loved it! I had to try it as part of my gift package. I went to Sur La Table especially to get the Linzer Cookie cutters! They turned out beautiful and very yummy as well:) Ahh the joys of Baking!! :)


2/3 cup almond meal (3 oz)
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 mashed banana
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 12-oz jar seedless raspberry jam

Special equipment: a 2- to 2 1/4-inch fluted round cookie cutter and assorted 1/2-inch shaped cookie cutters or aspic cutters


Pulse almond meal and 1/4 cup brown sugar in a food processor until nuts are finely ground. Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Beat together butter and remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes in a stand mixer (preferably fitted with paddle) or 6 minutes with a handheld. Add nut mixture and beat until combined well, about 1 minute. Beat in banana and vanilla. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture, mixing until just combined. With floured hands, form dough into 2 balls and flatten each into a 5-inch disk. Chill disks, wrapped in plastic wrap, until firm, at least 2 hours.

Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 350°F. Roll out 1 disk of dough into an 11-inch round (1/8 inch thick) between 2 sheets of wax paper (keep remaining dough chilled). If dough becomes too soft to roll out, rewrap in plastic and chill until firm. Cut out as many cookies as possible from dough with larger cookie cutter and transfer to 2 ungreased large baking sheets, arranging about 1 inch apart. Using smaller cutters, cut out centers from half of the cookies, reserving centers and rerolling along with scraps (reroll only once). Bake cookies, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until edges are golden, 10 to 15 minutes total, then transfer with a metal spatula to racks to cool completely.

Make more cookies from second disk. Spread about 1 teaspoon jam on flat side of 1 solid cookie and sandwich jam with flat side of 1 windowed cookie. Sandwich remaining cookies in same manner.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Pumpkin Choco-chip Walnut Loaf with Cream Cheese Frosting

In keeping with the thanksgiving theme, I made a pumpkin loaf to take it to LA for my in-laws. I made a couple mini loaves, so that we could keep one as well. Adding the cream cheese frosting just added that extra touch, that made every bite so delicious!

Below is the recipe :)


1 3/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup canned pure pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup whole milk
3/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 (4 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour 9x5x2 1/2-inch metal loaf pan. Sift first 5 ingredients into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until smooth. Gradually beat in sugar, then beat in eggs 1 at a time. Beat in pumpkin and vanilla. Beat dry ingredients into pumpkin mixture alternately with milk. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts. Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake loaf cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Cool in pan on rack 15 minutes. Turn cake out onto rack; cool completely. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Wrap in plastic; store at room temperature.)

In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Mix in the vanilla, then gradually stir in the confectioners' sugar. Store in the refrigerator after use.

Layer the cooled cake with the cream cheese frosting generously, and its ready to dig in! Tastes great with coffee. YUMM!!