Monday, November 9, 2009

German Cookie Bake-Off part 2

The sweet saga of our German cookie extravaganza continues! On to Cream Cheese Cookies!
This delightful batter is laced with almonds (of course) and cream cheese. (Cream cheese. Shouldn't it be called creamed cheese? I always feel funny saying, "cream cheese". Maybe it's just me. I'll have to do some research.)
These little nuggets get a dusting of powdered sugar after baking. I've found that most of these recipes are not overly sweet like our American cookies, so the extra dusting is a nice touch.
Ta Da! Careful not to over bake them. I think we kept ours in the oven for just a minute too long. Boo! They are super when they aren't burnt. I also suggest making them this size. Small. I couldn't imagine them big. I think they might fall apart under their weight if they were big. Besides, the smaller they are, the more there is to share!
Cream Cheese Cookies
Preheat oven to 390 degrees F.
Combine 200g. cream cheese (or an 8oz. block), 50g. shortening, 120g. sugar, 1 Tbsp. vanilla sugar, ½ tsp. almond extract and cream until light.
Add 50g. flour, pinch of baking powder, 200g. ground almond, and 1 tsp. lemon zest. Mix until just combined.
Whip an egg white, and gently fold into batter.
Drop by the Tablespoon full on to greased baking sheet.
Bake for 20 minutes or until just browned on bottom.

OK, you're in for a surprise with this next cookie. The Linzer cookie everyone has seen, but this recipe has an unusual ingredient. Well, not so unusual, but an unusual way of using it.
This recipe calls for 1 whole egg, 2 egg yolks, and 2 HARD BOILED egg yolks! WEIRD! I don't know what the purpose is. Texture? Flavor? (But you can't taste them in the cookie.) I'm so confused and in awe at the same time. Follow me through this incredibly labor intensive recipe. If you're looking to impress someone, this is the cookie to make for them. Just watch.
There's all the stuff. See the crumbled hard yolks?! I still can't get over it.
After some chill time in the fridge, we rolled the dough out very thin. It puffs up some in the oven. Check out the ancient cookie cutter. It's my mom's.
We used a large round cookie cutter and a small heart for the top cookie layer. (You'll see.) Nadia and I had such a hard time keeping the dough cool. The kitchen had been so warm all day from baking and the dishwasher was on. (Which we were working on top of.) We rotated the dough SEVERAL times, from counter to freezer and back again.
After they had made it out of the oven and cooled off a bit, we "painted" the round cookies with jelly that we'd loosened on the stove. No lumpy jelly for our cookies!
The top cookies get a healthy dusting of powdered sugar before being layered on top of the jellied cookies. I might add that it is wise to bake the top cookies separately from the bottom cookies because they cook more quickly.
Theoretically, the cookies should be the same size, but we had so much trouble transporting the dough, we warped them quite a bit. Arg! Not done yet. One more step.
Fill the holes to the brim with more jelly. They look rather nice like this. An impressive cookie for very much loved, appreciative cookie eaters.
Awww. Look how cute the parchment paper looks afterward. Just darling.

Linzer Cookies
Ingredients: 250g. flour, 250g. ground almonds, 250g. sugar, 250g. softened butter, 2 egg yolks, 1 whole egg, 2 hard boiled egg yolks crumbled, ½ tsp. cinnamon, and ½ tsp. ground clove.
Mix all ingredients together until just combined and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Roll out dough to ¼ inch thick. Cut with circular cookie cutter. Using a small cookie cutter (about 1 inch wide.) cut out the centers of half of the cookies.
Bake on a greased sheet for 10 minutes. Let cool.
Heat jelly until warm and runny. Pour and brush on a small amount of jelly to the whole circle cookies. Sprinkle the cookies with the hole in the center with powdered sugar. Place the powdered sugar cookies on top of the jelly covered cookies. Fill the hole with jelly and let the jelly set up.

Cookie #6: Almond Moons or Marzipan Crescents. The almond lover's cookie.
When Maike gave me the list of ingredients that we needed, I really had my doubts on finding marzipan. She actually found it. I had no idea it was on our grocery store shelves all along. Who knew! I'd like to meet those Americans using marzipan. Who are you, and why aren't you friends with me?
The mixer was not needed for this recipe. Although Nadia totally fell in love with my mom's stand mixer. Honestly, what's not to love? It was too big to fit in her already crammed suitcase though. (It's probably over the allotted weight limit anyways. Sorry, Nadia.)
Here Nadia is squishing marzipan, ground almond, lemon juice, and an egg white together. (I lied about the lemon juice. We forgot that part, but it's in the recipe.)
A generous dusting of powdered sugar!
More squishing and mushing until the dough comes together.
Patience should be an ingredient listed here because making the dough balls into crescents is time consuming. But it's TOTALLY worth it. This recipe was tied for first place with another cookie that I've yet to talk about. Soooo good!
This is a very pretty cookie. It's got a regal quality, I think.
I'm working on my patience and crescent-shape making. Grab ball, roll in almonds, shape into crescent. Grab ball, roll in almonds, shape into crescent....
They plump up after baking. PS - I don't even like marzipan, but these cookies are a dream.
To fancy them up even more, you can dip the ends into melted chocolate. I, a chocolate lover, actually prefer them *gasp* without chocolate. Go figure.
Almond Moons/Marzipan Crescents
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Mash together by hand 200g. marzipan, 100g. ground almond, 2 Tbsp. lemon juice, and 1 egg white until just combined.
Sift 100g. powdered sugar over the dough and mix in with hands.
Roll into tiny ½ inch logs. Roll logs in sliced almond pieces. (Approx. 100g.) Shape into crescent.
Bake on lightly greased baking sheet for 10-12 minutes. Let cool. Option: dip or drizzle with chocolate.
Keep your pants on. The third and last issue of our cookie bake-off will be coming soon. Sweet!

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