December 31, 2008

Pignoli Amaretti (Pine Nut Cookies)

I had this cookie for the first time in an Italian cafe and had since tried to find the perfect recipe for it. Vance was highly amazed that this cookie recipe does not require flour. Make sure that you get "Almond paste" not "Marzipan" because they are not the same. Also, make sure you get the canned almond paste instead of the tube ones.

2 cans (8 oz.) almond paste
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large egg whites
2 tablespoon honey
1 cup pine nuts

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper (I ran out of parchment paper and used non stick aluminum foil, which was a bad idea because it browns the bottom of the cookies faster so try only using parchment paper to line the cookie sheet).

In a food processor, pulse almond paste into small pieces. Add in confectioners sugar and salt. Pulse until it turns into small crumbles. Add in honey and egg white and pulse until well combined.

With a bowl of water next to you, wet your fingers. This is to prevent the sticky batter from sticking to you. Spoon a teaspoon full of batter and with your wet fingers loosen the batter into the cookie sheet. Place cookies about 2-inch apart. Sprinkle some pine nuts on top of the cookie and flattened it a little bit.

Bake cookies in upper and lower thirds of oven, switching position of cookie sheets halfway through baking until golden. Bake for approximately 15 minutes until lightly browned and soft and springy. Remove from oven and and transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

December 27, 2008

Hazelnut Tea Cookies

I haven't been cooking lately especially since December is finals week. I just don't have any time! However, finals are over and now it's time to cook (or bake) again. I was going to bake this for Christmas but I was just too overwhelmed by final exams and papers. I'm making this today to de-stress myself from writing my research proposal the whole day.

I got this Hazelnut Tea Cookie recipe (by Aida Mollencamp) from Food Network's 12 Days Of Cookies 2008. It is also known as Mexican Wedding Cake or Cuban Wedding Cake. Once you have a piece of these light, buttery and nutty cookie you will not stop eating them!

2 cups all purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
2 sticks butter, softened
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups hazelnut, toasted and finely chopped
Additional confectioners sugar for rolling cookies in

Preheat oven to 325 °F. Sieve flour and salt into a bowl. Set aside.

Beat butter in a mixer for about 3 minutes or until fluffy. Add in confectioners sugar, vanilla essence and half of the nuts. Beat for another 2 minute, until whipped and light. Add in remaining nuts and flour combination into the mixture. Mix well.

Shape dough into 1 teaspoon balls and place on a cookie sheet. Bake for about 25 minutes or until the underside of cookie is brown. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes.

Place some confectioners sugar in a medium bowl. Roll cookie in confectioners sugar and tap off excess. Let cool completely about 20 minutes. Coat again with confectioners sugar. Tap off excess sugar before serving.

December 13, 2008

Pecan Pie

I love pecan pies. It's actually not that hard to make. Just make sure the pecans are roasted to avoid being chewy.

1 frozen pie crust (9 inch)
2 cups chopped pecans
1 cup white corn syrup
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon molasses (optional)
3 eggs

Roast pecans in the oven on 350°F for 5 minutes. Set aside and let cool.

Thaw pie crust. In a bowl, mix white corn syrup, brown sugar, salt, melted butter, vanilla and molasses until it turns into a smooth batter-like consistency. In a separate bowl, lightly beat eggs. Add eggs into the batter. Mix.

Pour mixture into pie crust. Sprinkle pecans on top. Place pie on top of a cookie sheet and bake on a 350°F oven.

After 30 minutes, take pie out and line the edges with foil to prevent it from burning.

Put pie back into the oven and bake for another 30 to 40 minutes. Insert a knife into the middle of the pie, if it comes out clean then it's ready. Let it cool on a wire rack. Slice and serve. YUM!