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European Cookies for Every Occasion
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Format:ebook $14.99 $19.99 CAD
This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around October 8, 2013. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.
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From Chocolate Crescents and Lemon Bars to Jam Blossoms and Cherry Kisses, European Cookies for Every Occasion includes cookies for every skill level. Each recipe includes easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions to make sure you succeed in making the perfect cookies for the holidays as a special treat for your guests or to give as a hostess gift.
Along with more than 200 full-color photographs, the book also includes tips on setting up your kitchen and techniques for working with marzipan, melting and molding chocolate, and handling dough so that your cookies will come out perfectly every time.
Ever since I could remember, I have had a sweet tooth. Although I was born in Romania, my family moved to Germany when I was three years old. My first memories of sweets are of street fairs and typical small-town baking sales in Germany. The cakes and cookies mesmerized me. I felt trapped in a spell of their sugarcoated sweetness. We moved often when I was growing up, and living in different countries broadened my horizons.
When I was eleven, I baked my first cake for Easter. It was an apricot-mascarpone German mole cake. From that point on, I fell in love with creating delicious cakes and desserts. Any opportunity I have to bake, I take it. If someone’s birthday or a holiday is coming up, the first thing I do is surround myself with books and magazines on baking. I spend hours looking at the pictures and reading recipes to get ideas for creating the best desserts for the occasion.
By the time I turned seven, my family had moved to Hungary, exposing me to another interesting culture. All the countries where I lived and visited had one thing in common: cookies for Christmas. While their form and tastes vary from country to country, they all are delicious and beautiful treats. The possibilities seem endless: filled or topped, sprinkled or glazed, decorated with chocolate or with fruit. That is why my biggest passion is cookies. One Christmas season several years ago, I stepped into the world of delicious small pastries of different shapes and fillings and the most incredible flavors. A few cookie recipes caught my eye, so I decided to bake them. So fragile and small, they were cookies you could eat in just one bite. While that baking experience was not an immediate success, I had so much fun doing it. The decorations were so precise, I was essentially painting each cookie, and my family reacted as though I had offered them pieces of edible art.
Since then, I have baked many different kinds of cookies for Christmas. Now, when my name comes up among family members or close friends, it always makes them think of the cookies and cakes that I bake. After a while each Christmas I would try to break my own record. How many different kinds of cookies could I bake? Two years ago, I broke my personal record by baking twenty-seven different types of cookies. I worked on the cookies for two or three weeks. I baked at night as a relaxing way to pass the time, but the only downside was all the dirty dishes! Fortunately, I have an incredibly caring and sweet grandmother. She would chase me away from the sink filled with mountains of unwashed dishes, saying, “Leave it up to me, I am a professional!” I gave her a smooch on the cheek and went happily back to making cookies.
I realized very quickly that baking is like learning how to drive or learning a new language. With practice, you will improve. I believe that anybody can do it with an accurate recipe, precise instructions, and a few baking tips. Of course, in the beginning the result may not be perfect, but don’t give up. Everybody made mistakes at the beginning, even the professional confectioners. It will get easier. You will learn from your mistakes, and eventually you will become confident enough to alter recipes to your own tastes.
The more recipes you try, the more confidence you will have to attempt difficult or “fancy” cookies and desserts. Soon your loved ones will call you “the master of baking.” After all, if you were able to learn how to read or write, baking will be a piece of cake!
I hope my book will erase the mysteries of baking and encourage you to replicate the recipes for yourself. And more importantly, I hope that you will soon develop your own little edible masterpieces. The only things you need are your will, determination, and time!
I wish you all the delights and happiness I have found in baking!
Quick and Easy Cookies
POPPY SEED STARS
Blueberries are one of my favorite berries, and that is the reason I created this recipe. I encourage cooks to use organic blueberries not only because they taste great, but also because they contain dietary fibers, vitamin C, vitamin A, calcium, magnesium, and resveratrol. Resveratrol is a natural compound found in many foods such as grapes and peanuts, and it is thought to protect against cancer and cardiovascular disease by acting as an antioxidant, anti-mutagen, and anti-inflammatory. Some studies have revealed that a blueberry-enriched diet can help people to lose weight and decrease belly fat, but I don’t think these cookies have weight-reducing attributes.
MAKES ABOUT 3 DOZEN COOKIES
2 CUPS (250 GRAMS) ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR
⅔ CUP (150 GRAMS) UNSALTED BUTTER, AT ROOM TEMPERATURE
⅔ CUP (70 GRAMS) CONFECTIONERS’ SUGAR
2 MEDIUM EGG YOLKS
GRATED ZEST OF 1 LEMON
½ CUP (70 GRAMS) FROZEN BLUEBERRIES
⅓ CUP (60 GRAMS) SEMISWEET CHOCOLATE CHIPS
1. FOR THE COOKIE DOUGH: Combine the dough ingredients in a bowl and, using the dough hook attachment of an electric mixer, knead until the dough is smooth, 3 to 5 minutes. Form the dough into a small loaf. Wrap the loaf in plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
2. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180 °C).
3. Lightly flour a working surface and form the cookie dough into a log with a diameter of about ½ inch (1 cm). With a knife, cut the dough into ½-inch (1 cm) pieces and then form little balls out of each piece.
4. FOR THE FILLING: Flatten each of the balls and place one frozen blueberry in the middle. Then fold the dough over the fruit and form it again into a ball. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, place the cookies on the sheet about 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart, and bake them for 15 minutes or until lightly golden. Carefully transfer the cookies to a cooling rack using a pastry spatula and allow them to cool completely.
5. FOR THE DECORATION: Melt the chocolate (see page 10), and use a teaspoon to pour a small drop on each cookie. These cookies are good for about two weeks stored in an airtight container at room temperature.
BAKING TIP: The reason for using frozen blueberries is because fresh ones would overcook and burst after 5 to 7 minutes.
This is a variation of the Vanillekipferl (Vanilla Crescent), which is well known in Germany, Austria, and Hungary. The origin of the vanilla crescent cookie dates back to the pagan times, but it became popular more recently due to a nineteenth-century German researcher. He discovered the synthetic substitution for the vanilla bean, which is the main ingredient for this biscuit, and he called it vanillin. Today it has become an integral part of a traditional Christian’s Christmas baking. In my variation, the chocolate is dominant, which makes the taste totally different and surprisingly less sweet. It is a beloved tea or coffee biscuit that can be served all year long.
MAKES ABOUT 6 DOZEN COOKIES
1 CUP (170 GRAMS) SEMISWEET CHOCOLATE CHIPS
2½ CUPS (300 GRAMS) ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR
½ CUP (100 GRAMS) GRANULATED SUGAR
4 TABLESPOONS VANILLA SUGAR (SEE PAGE 14)
¾ CUP (150 GRAMS) GROUND ALMONDS
2 STICKS (200 GRAMS) UNSALTED BUTTER, AT ROOM TEMPERATURE
1 MEDIUM EGG
1 CUP (100 GRAMS) SEMISWEET CHOCOLATE CHIPS
1. FOR THE COOKIE DOUGH: Melt the chocolate (see page 10). Combine the flour, granulated sugar, vanilla sugar, and ground almonds in the bowl of an electric mixer. Stir to mix and then add the butter and egg. Beat the dough with the dough hook attachment until it is smooth. Add the melted chocolate to the dough and beat it with the electric mixer until it is smooth, 3 to 5 minutes. Form the dough into a small loaf. Wrap the loaf in plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for about 1 hour.
2. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
3. Divide the dough into four equal portions and shape each portion into a roll that is about 9¾ inches (25 cm) long. Using a sharp knife, cut the rolls into slices about ½ inch (1 cm) thick and form the slices into balls. Roll the balls in your palm and form them into crescent or half-moon shapes.
4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and then place the crescents carefully on the pan about 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart. Bake the cookies for 8 to10 minutes. Carefully transfer the cookies to a cooling rack using a pastry spatula and allow them to cool completely.
5. FOR THE DECORATION: Melt the chocolate (see page 10) and dip both ends of the crescents into the melted chocolate. Place the cookies back on the cooling rack and allow them to dry at room temperature. These cookies are good for about three weeks stored in an airtight container at room temperature.
BAKING TIP: If you oil the cooling rack before placing the cookies on it, the chocolate will not stick and it will be easier to remove your cookies once the chocolate is cool.
Faux is a French word meaning “false” or “copied.” I wanted to create a little treat that resembles the size and appearance of pralines without using chocolate. This light, lemony confectionery is a refreshing alternative to chocolate and candies that will not melt in the heat of summer. And because the pralines are wrapped in praline papers, they can be put into decorative boxes to be given away as unique gifts.
MAKES ABOUT 2 DOZEN COOKIES
1½ STICKS (170 GRAMS) UNSALTED BUTTER, AT ROOM TEMPERATURE
⅔ CUP (75 GRAMS) CONFECTIONERS’ SUGAR
1 MEDIUM EGG
½ TEASPOON LEMON JUICE
GRATED ZEST OF 1 LEMON
2 CUPS (250 GRAMS) ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR
2 TABLESPOONS HEAVY CREAM
1 MEDIUM EGG WHITE
2 CUPS (200 GRAMS) CONFECTIONERS’ SUGAR
3 TABLESPOONS LEMON MARMALADE OR LEMON JUICE
1. FOR THE COOKIE DOUGH: Beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until the dough is a smooth consistency, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the egg, lemon juice, and lemon zest and then add the flour one spoonful at a time. Beat until combined after adding each spoonful of flour. Add the heavy cream and mix the dough until it is a smooth consistency, 3 to 5 minutes.
2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Fill a pastry bag with the cookie dough. Use a star-shaped tip and form about 60 small rosettes on the baking sheet about 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart. Put the filled sheet in the refrigerator for about 60 minutes.
3. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
4. Remove the rosettes from the refrigerator. Bake them in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes until they are lightly golden. Carefully transfer the cookies to a cooling rack using a pastry spatula and allow them to cool completely.
5. FOR THE FILLING: Beat the egg white with an electric mixer until it is semi-hard. Add the confectioners’ sugar and whisk it until it becomes stiff and shiny, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the marmalade or lemon juice and stir it carefully into the egg white mixture with a wooden or plastic spoon.
6. Scoop the filling into a paper cone (see page 12), or use a teaspoon to fill the cookies.
7. Scoop a dab of filling onto a cooled-off cookie and cover it with a second cookie. You don’t need to transfer them on a cooling rack, just simply put them on a plate or anything available in the kitchen.
8. Let the cookies dry for about 2 hours and then put them into small praline papers. Store them in an airtight container at room temperature. These cookies are good for about two weeks.
- On Sale
- Oct 8, 2013
- Page Count
- 208 pages
- Running Press