Saturday, February 12, 2011

Linzer Cookies

Happy weekend everyone! I hope you all had a good week. It's raining like crazy here, so I've been staying snuggly warm in our house, and knitting my little heart out. Tons of fun!

I'm also getting ready for Valentines Day, and I bet you are too! Here is a wonderful cookie recipe that your sweetheart, family and friends will all love! Each one is a valentine on it's own. You'll love the unique flavor combo, the shortbread like texture, and the snazzy (and easy!) decoration that finishes it off!

Aside from your usual stand mixer, spatula etc., you'll need a Food processor, zester (or the fine side of a grater), a rolling pin, and 2 cookie cutters (one large and one small, preferably of the same design).

Linzer Cookies
1 cup almonds
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup butter
2/3 cup sugar, divided
1 tsp vanilla
2 yolks
zest of 1 lemon
powdered sugar for finishing
1/2 cup raspberry jam, strained

Toast the almonds and let cool. Grind the almonds with 1/3 cup of the sugar.

Add the dry ingredients to the food processor and blend until it's as fine as you can get it. Set aside.

 Beat butter and remaining sugar in your mixer, add the yolks, vanilla and zest.

Beat in nuts and flour mixture.Form dough into a flat disc, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes.

Roll out to 1/4" thick on a lightly floured surface, and use cookie cutters (I used hearts, to keep it festive!). It's best to roll the dough as few times as possible, so get as many cookies from each rolling as possible. You know, pretend you're playing Tetris!

Leave half of your hearts whole, and use the tiny heart to cut out the center of the other half of the cookies.

Bake at 350* for 16 minutes, until edges just start to turn golden. Let cool. Spread wrong side (the side that had been down on the sheet) of  the whole hearts with a thin layer of the strained jam.

Using a sifter, dust the right side of the hearts with cut out centers with the powdered sugar.

Sandwich the cookies together carefully, and admire your handiwork!

Now get to bakin'! Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

CSN Zester/Grater Review

 How's everyone doing this week? I've been enjoying this slow time of year. Reading, knitting, kayaking, hiking and, of course, baking. I've also been playing with a few new toys I got in the mail! CSN stores let me choose some things from their stores to review, so after many hours of drooling over pages upon pages of fun kitchen stuff I chose 3 zester/graters.

I got 3 different ones, each of a different coarseness. The first is your typical zester, and I had to choose the one with the green handle. Of course. Some of the features are updated from the old version. There are nice little rubber caps on the metal edges, and the handle is nice and grippy. It even comes with a blade cover! I absolutely love this kitchen tool! It masterfully separates citrus zest from the pith without spraying the flavorful oils everywhere. It's easy to hold and use, is nice and sharp, and looks oh-so pretty! This is my absolute favorite, and I will use it all the time!

The second grater that I got is the same as the first, but with a coarser blade. It has the nice rubber tips and cushy handle (in black...they didn't have green :( . This one advertises on its handy blade cover that it's good for soft cheese, chocolate and such. I gave it a go on chocolate, which worked out as I was having hot chocolate at the time, and it needed that extra kick! The blades were nice and sharp, and put out a fine shaving of chocolate. It would be so easy for melting, or in my case, decorating baked goods! This should prove useful!

The third grater has all the same features, blah blah, but this blade is good for carrots, cheese, potatoes and the like. I couldn't resist trying it out immediately, so I whipped out some baby carrots and went at it!  Beautiful shavings were my reward. Next time I make carrot cake, this will be a life saver! No more crunchy bits in my bakes goods! This would also be great for latkes!

I can't wait to get down and dirty with these babies in my kitchen! Ben has been eyeing them since I opened the package, and I keep expecting to walk into the kitchen and find him guiltily grating and zesting his heart out. I'm so glad I got these, and I know they will be used frequently. They are great quality, so I know they'll be around for a long long time. I would absolutely recommend these to anyone looking for a zester! The shape and size makes these so easy to use, plus it's super fun that some of them have color options for the handles! Who doesn't like to accessorize in their kitchen?! You can find them here at the CSN kitchen store!

At the bakery I make linzer cookies all the time, and they require lemon zest. I'm going to give the green handled zester a go with that recipe, and then share it with you guys! These cookies are absolutely perfect for Valentines day (it's coming up quick!), not to mention totally delicious! Linzer cookies combine the nuttiness of toasted almonds with cinnamon and lemon for a unique flavor in the dough. Once baked, these heart shaped cookies are sandwiched with raspberry jam, and covered in powdered sugar. Just perfect for your sweetie! Make sure to check back for the recipe! Hope you all enjoy the rest of your week!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Glass Dharma Winner!

Hey everybody! SO sososo sorry about the delay in announcing the giveaway winner!!! Ben and I went on  vacation to Mt. Washington, and I brought my computer thinking there would be service. There wasn't! Despite my short freak-out session about not being able to post the winner, we had a wonderful time!

We stayed 3 nights, went tubing, and went snowshoeing! We had beautiful weather, and a nice little condo to hang out in! Because we had our own kitchen, we were able to do things like have french toast for dinner, and ice cream for lunch! Lots of snacking, lounging, hot chocolate sipping and movie watching ensued. Next time we go we want to try out snowboarding or skiing.

Do you guys have a favorite? I can't decide if I would try the skiing or the snowboarding. I've done both before. I remember liking skiing, and being ok at it. I did one class a long time ago for snowboarding, and spent most of the day on my butt, but I really want to try it again! We'll see when the time comes.

I suppose you're getting antsy about the contest! I guess I have made you wait long enough! The winner of the Glass Dharma giveaway is...
Theresa from Island Vittles!!!

Theresa- Please get your email address to me so I can have your gift certificate emailed to you!

Congrats Theresa! Thanks to all for reading, and participating! Hope you enjoy your new kitchen toys Theresa!

I promise that I'll be posting some good recipes soon! I think my phase of blog-slacking is over! Until next time!