We are introduced, at an early age, to the sweet wondernous of a cookie. From teething cookies to soothe the swollen aching gums of incoming incisors, onto animal crackers purchased in rectangular-shaped boxes bearing a string handle for easy toting by little fingers. Deciding which part of the animal should be eaten first-the trunk of the elephant or the tail of a lion-depended on how hungry one was. Savor each and every one or simply gobble them down as fast as possible.

My next cookie memory would be the ever famous, possibly all-time favorite, the chocolate chip cookie. There is nothing better than to bite into a round circle of baked dough sprinkled with gooey melt-in-your-mouth chocolate. A chocolate chip cookie can dry tears, heal broken hearts, mend scraped knees and elbows and solve sibling arguments. Most of the problems in the world could likely be solved by a properly baked, right out of the oven, chocolate chip cookie. The power of a cookie is underestimated.

I will attempt in the next 365 days to prepare and comment on a year’s worth of different cookies-one for each day. My goal is to share with others my extreme love of cookies-baking them and especially eating them! Feel free to send me your favorite recipe, your earliest cookie memories, or how cookies may have influenced your life. Cookies Rule!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Cookie Recipe #110 - Chocolate Raspberry Linzer Cookies

As you bite into one of these cookies, the chocolate-raspberry mixture oozes out of the hole of the top cookie, forcing the tongue to take action in order to catch every last ounce of sweetness. This recipe calls for raspberry jam or preserves; I used strawberry because my family prefers it.

Ingredients: 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 cup granulated sugar, 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks)butter, softened, 2 eggs, 1/2 teaspoon almond extract, 2 cups (12-ounce package) chocolate chips, 6 tablespoons raspberry (or strawberry)jam or preserves, confectioners' sugar.

Instructions: In small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt; set aside. In large mixing bowl, beat granulated sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and almond extract. Gradually add flour mixture. Divide dough in half and wrap in plastic; refrigerate until firm (or overnight).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On lightly floured surface, roll out half of dough to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut with 2 1/2 inch round cookie cutter. Repeat with remaining dough. Cut 1 inch round centers from half of unbaked cookies. Place on ungreased baking sheets.

Bake 8-10 minutes just until set. Let stand on baking sheets for 2 minutes before transferring to cooling racks.

When cookies are completely cool, melt chocolate chips in microwave for 2 minutes, stirring after each minute, until chips are thoroughly melted and smooth.

To assemble cookies: Flip cookies without holes over and spread 1 teaspoonful melted chocolate on the flat side. Top with 1/2 teaspoonful of jam or preserves. Sprinkle confectioners' sugar over cookies with holes then place one of these over a cookie with chocolate and jam to form a sandwich. Repeat with remaining cookies.

Note: With the holes I cut out of half the cookies I made bite-size sandwich cookies. The holes cut out of these smaller cookies can be baked all by themselves, then topped with a little chocolate and a sprinkling of confectioners' sugar.

Makes about 3 dozen sandwich cookies.

"Treasury of Holiday Cookies", Publications International, Ltd, Lincolnwood, IL, 1994.

Cookies Rule!!!

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