Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!! The title isn’t a statement of dislike for this holiday, it’s just a statement of fact. I don’t plan far enough ahead to make Irish food in advance and post it today. You can think of me as your respite from all posts green, minty, or involving Guinness, corned beef, cabbage, and soda bread. Instead, let’s talk about cookies. Because there’s never a bad time for cookies. 🙂
I’ll be especially nice and not give you 2 sugar-laden recipes. Just 1. 😉 This first cookie is one of the many incarnations of the famed speculoos (aka – Biscoff). Before you get your hopes up, this does not taste like the name brand cookie. (Though trying to recreate that taste at home is why I tried this recipe in the first place.) This is just a light, spiced cookie that seems unprepossessing, but keeps you coming back for more. I didn’t take the time to ice mine, but you could certainly sweeten them up a bit with a glaze. These were easy to make and produced several dozen small cookies. They do have to be chilled for a while so I wouldn’t recommend starting them the same night you want to serve them.
Speculoos Buttons (From the December 2012 issue of Bon Appetit)
For the cookies:
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. cloves
1/2 c. softened butter
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. sugar
2 tbsp. light molasses
1 tsp. vanilla
To pretty it up:
1 egg white
2 c. confectioner’s sugar
Sprinkles or decorative sugar
1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, ginger, salt, nutmeg, and cloves; set aside. In another bowl, beat the butter til smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the brown and regular sugars and beat til smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and mix for 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and mix in the dry ingredients.
2. Divide the dough into thirds and roll each one into an 8 inch log. Wrap in plastic and freeze at least 3 hours.
3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and place the oven rack in the top and bottom thirds of the oven. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment.
4. In a small bowl, beat the egg white, then brush it over 1 of the logs. Roll the log in your sprinkles or decorative sugar. Cut the log into 1/4 inch slices and place them 1/2 inch apart on the baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the freezer and repeat the process with the remaining logs.
5. Bake 2 pans at a time, rotating from top to bottom and front to back halfway through, for 11-13 minutes, til the tops are golden brown and the centers are almost firm. Cool on wire racks.
6. In a small bowl, whisk together the confectioner’s sugar and 7 tsp. water (the glaze will be thick). Spoon about 1/2 tsp. of the glaze on top of each cookie, top with more sprinkles or sugar.
Now this next cookie is very different from those cute little buttons; you could not describe it using the words light, unprepossessing, or plain. These cookies (which I made for the hubby on Valentine’s Day) are rich, decadent, and very sweet. I actually changed up the recipe just a hair by using oreo filling in the middle instead of the white chocolate (Mostly because I forgot to buy white chocolate.), but I don’t think the prescribed filling would be any less sweet. I don’t quite remember how many cookies this made, but it was enough for me and the hubby to eat too many. One mistake I made was using a regular biscuit cutter to cut these out. They were incredibly sweet, so I would definitely suggest using a much smaller cutter (oreo size would be good). Though most people might like the filling best, I actually kept going back to taste the cookie itself. They have a great balance of salt and sweet and were a cinch to roll out. You should definitely give these a try for your next special night!
Chocolate Malt Sandwiches (from Food Network)
For the cookies:
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. Dutch-process cocoa (I used Hershey’s special dark.)
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. malted milk powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
12 tbsp. cubed, softened butter
4 oz. chopped white chocolate
2 tbsp. malted milk powder
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. heavy cream
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees, and line 2 baking sheets with parchment. In a large bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, sugar, 1/2 c. malted milk, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on high, add the vanilla and the butter (a few pieces at a time) and mix til the dough looks like wet sand and holds together when pinched, about 5 minutes. Scrape the dough onto a piece of parchment, pat it into a 1/2 inch thick round, cover with another piece of parchment, and chill til slightly firm, about 10 minutes.
2. Roll the dough out between the parchment to 1/4 inch thick. Peel off the top sheet of parchment and cut the dough into squares or rounds. Repeat til the dough is used up. Place the cookies 1 inch apart on the baking sheets.
3. Bake til the cookies are set and not shiny, 8-10 minutes. Cool 5 minutes on the pan, then cool completely on a wire rack.
4. In a large bowl, combine the white chocolate, 2 tbsp. malted milk, vanilla, and a pinch of salt. Bring the cream to a simmer over medium heat, then pour it in the bowl and stir til smooth. Refrigerate til cold, about 25 minutes. Beat til thick and spreadable, about 1 minute.
5. Spread 2 tsp. filling on the underside of half of the cookies, then top with the remaining cookies.
So, how do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?