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!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Cookie Recipe #258 - Apricot-Almond Tarts

Each of these little darlings is filled with apricots and topped with an almond paste mixture; a great addition to your next tea party.

Ingredients: 1/2 cup butter, softened, 3 ounces cream cheese, softened, 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup water, 1/3 cup snipped dried apricots, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, 1 egg, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 almond paste, crumbled *(recipe for homemade almond paste below).

Instructions: For pastry, in a medium mixing bowl beat butter and cream cheese for 30 seconds. Stir in flour until well mixed. Cover and chill dough about 1 hour or until easy to handle.

Meanwhile, for filling, in a small saucepan bring water, apricots and the 2 tablespoons sugar to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, about 15 minutes or until apricots are tender. Remove from heat. Mash apricots with a fork until smooth. Cool completely (pour them into a bowl and pop into the freezer for a few minutes to speed cooling-don't let them freeze, though).

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Shape dough into 24 balls. Press each ball evenly into bottom and up sides of 2 12-cup mini muffin pans.

In a small mixing bowl beat egg, the 1/2 cup sugar, and almond paste until combined. Spoon about 1/2 teaspoon of the apricot filling into each pastry-lined muffin cup. Top with a rounded teaspoon of the almond paste mixture.

Bake in preheated 325 degree oven for 25-30 minutes or until pastry is golden. Cool tarts slightly in pan on wire racks. Carefully remove tarts from pan by running a sharp knife around the edges of each cup. Transfer tarts to wire racks to cool completely.

Makes 24 tarts.

"Better Homes and Gardens Biggest Book of Cookies", Meredith Corporation, Des Moines, IA, 2003.

*Homemade Almond Paste Recipe:
Ingredients: 10 ounces dried blanched almonds, 10 ounces powdered sugar, 5 ounces granulated sugar, 1/4 cup corn syrup, 1 cup water.

Instructions: Make a sugar syrup by placing water, granulated sugar and corn syrup in saucepan. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil and let boil for 2-3 minutes. Allow to cool.

Place almonds in food processor and process to a fine powder. Add powdered sugar to almonds and mix. With food processor running, slowly add cooled sugar syrup until mixture forms a paste. (May not use all of the syrup).

Store almond paste tightly covered. If more than a week, store in refrigerator.

Cookies Rule!!!

1 comment:

  1. Wow. These look yummy and healthy, I hope I could have one and taste it. Cookies do rule especially when you have truffles as one of its ingredients.