Sunday, December 9, 2007

Recipe of the week from Cookies: Raspberry Almond Shortbread Thumbprints

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Due to unforeseen circumstances I have been unable to test more than one recipe from the book as i had planned, so this stands as recipe of the week.

Prep time: 45 minutes
Chilling time: 60 minutes
Baking time: 14 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes

Makes about 42 cookies.

The cookies:
1 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp almond extract
2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup raspberry jam

The glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar (icing sugar, confectioner’s sugar)
1 1/2 tsp almond extract
2-3 tsp water

Beat butter, sugar and almond extract together in a large mixer bowl at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy (2-3 minutes). Reduce the speed to low and add the flour, beating until well mixed (2-3 minutes). Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Heat the oven to 175°C (350°F). Shape the dough into balls, about 2,5 cm (1 inch) across. Put the balls on ungreased cookies sheets, about 2 inches apart. Make an indentation in the centre of each cookies with your thumb (don’t worry if the edges of the indentations crack slightly). Fill each indentation with about 1/4 tsp of raspberry jam.

Bake for 14 to 18 minutes or until the edges of the cookies are lightly browned. Remove from the oven and let stand for 1 minute, then place on a wire rack to cook. Let cool completely before glazing.

To glaze, stir together the glaze ingredients with a whisk until smooth. Drizzle over the cooled cookies.

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Notes and review:

These cookies (or pastries), even when only halfway well-made like mine, are real showstoppers because it is obvious how much work went into making them. In my case the glazing went a bit wild, and no wonder because I used a spoon to dribble it onto the cookies. Next time I will use my Wilton decorating bag and the tiniest piping tip I can find.

It is obvious to anyone who compares their own final product with the lovely perfection of the photo in the book that the jam was added to the cookies after they were baked – another secret of food photography revealed:

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I made the cookies as instructed in the book, even down to making the balls an inch across, but I still only got about 30 cookies out of the recipe. The only reason I can guess is that the flour I use must be different from what they use in the Land O‘Lakes test kitchen so the dough turned out denser, or perhaps I beat it for too long? It‘s hard to tell with shortbread, because it is so dense anyway.

The cookies are every bit as good as they look. They are dense and a bit crumbly and have a slightly sandy texture. The cookies themselves have only a mild almond flavour, but the glazing has a lot more that is prevented from becoming overbearing by the fruity flavour of the raspberry jam.

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Smurfette79 said...

I spent a lot of time going down your blog. I sure wish you would have posted more pictures of the things you had cooked. The pictures you do post are amazing.

Bibliophile said...

Thank you. It hasn't always been possible for me to post photos. Sometimes they just don't come out good enough, and occasionally the food is just too ugly (most stews, for example, come out in photos looking like nothing you would want to eat). And sometimes I just forget to take photos.