WHEN OREOS FALL IN LOVE

Yes, I do have a cookie blog, but when I try a new recipe, it will be here in my Bewitching Kitchen site. These cookies are a marriage of Oreos with Linzer, perfect for Valentine’s Day. They have a wonderful peppermint flavor, both in the cookie and the filling. Simply omit if you are not fond of it. I actually modified the filling a bit, because using the hard candy takes it too much into toothpaste-territory for my taste. Check the original recipe, you might prefer to follow that path. Remember, your kitchen, your cookies!

CHOCOLATE-PEPPERMINT COOKIES
(slightly modified from purewow.com)

for the filling:
1 bag of Moroccan mint tea
½ cup (115g) heavy cream
200g finely chopped white chocolate
Pinch of fine sea salt
pink gel food coloring

for the cookies:
10 tablespoons (142g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
135g granulated sugar
53g brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon peppermint extract
240g all-purpose flour
45g black cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
pink sanding sugar to decorate

Place the tea bag and heavy cream in a small saucepan. Heat until simmering, close the pan and let it infuse for 5 minutes. Remove the tea bag, squeezing it hard. Re-heat the cream and when it is almost boiling, add to a bowl with the white chocolate, together with a pinch of salt. Let sit for a minute, then stir gently until fully dissolved. Add a tiny drop of pink gel food coloring (optional). Transfer to the fridge for several hours. When ready to use, whip it with a handheld blender but do not over-whip or the ganache might seize up.

Make the cookie dough: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the egg and egg yolk; mix well to combine. Thoroughly scrape down the side of the bowl, then add the vanilla and peppermint extracts and mix to combine.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt; add to the mixer and mix until just incorporated. Scrape down the side of the bowl, then mix again briefly on low speed to make sure everything is combined. Divide the dough in half and form each half into a 1-inch-thick disk. Wrap each disk tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (and up to overnight).

Heat the oven to 325 F.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out one portion of dough to ⅛ inch thick. Use a 2-inch round cookie cutter to cut the dough and then transfer each round to one of the prepared baking sheets. Repeat with the second disk of dough. Use a mini cookie cutter to cut a shape from the center of each cookie on the second tray; remove the cutouts. Bake until the cookies are set at the edges, 8 to 10 minutes, rotating the trays between racks halfway through baking. Cool completely.

Assemble the cookies: Flip the cookies without cutouts over, then pipe the filling into the center of each cookie, leaving a ¼-inch border. Place one of the cookies with a cutout on top and press down slightly until the filling reaches the edge of the cookies. Sprinkle sanding sugar on the opening. Let set for 30 minutes before serving. They keep well at room temperature for several days.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I used a small heart-shape cutter for the opening. You can use a simple round or another shape of your choice. I recommend using black cocoa if you really want to take those into the Oreo world. And the peppermint flavor was a nice twist. I visualize those with a Christmas aura, making the center as a round, or a star-shape and using red, white, and green non-pareils to decorate the center.

The cookie itself is very flavorful and I baked some in small little rounds, then decorated the top with dots of Royal icing I had leftover from another cookie adventure. That is of course totally optional, but oh so very cute, right?

If you like Oreos, I hope you give this version a try.

ONE YEAR AGO: Slow-Roasted Sweet Potatoes in Tomato Cardamon Sauce

TWO YEARS AGO: Sweet Potatoes in Tahini Sauce

THREE YEARS AGO: 30-Hour Leg of Lamb with Mashed Sweet Potatoes

FOUR YEARS AGO: Maple-Grilled Pork Tenderloin over Lemony Zucchini

FIVE YEARS AGO: Danish Rye Bread

SIX YEARS AGO: The Best Sourdough Recipe

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Mini-Quiches with Duxelles and Baby Broccoli

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Quinoa and Sweet Potato Cakes

NINE YEARS AGO: Pumpkin Bolo de Fuba’ Cremoso

TEN YEARS AGO: Citrus-crusted Tilapia Filets

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Bran Muffins, not just for Hippies

TWELVE YEARS AGO: Flourless Chocolate Cake

CUCCIDATI, FROM TINA TO YOU

Remember Tina, the winner of The Great American Baking Show, season 4? She is still baking up a storm, doing TV cooking demos, sharing recipes on her blog, and interacting with her fans online. She is not only a superb baker, but a wonderful person! One of the great things about that “tent adventure” is that I got to interact with several of the previous contestants, both in the American and the British show. I think once you go through that experience, a surprising bonding takes place. But I digress. Today I share one of Tina’s many Italian recipes from the holiday season: Cuccidati. They are delicious bar cookies, but can you believe that she forgot to add one important step in the recipe? Do not try the filling before using. You may not have enough left…

CUCCIDATI BAR COOKIES
(very slightly modified from Augustina Zaccardi)

Pasta Frolla Dough:
260 Grams of All-Purpose Flour
60 Grams of Granulated Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon of Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon of Kosher Salt
114 Grams of Cold Unsalted Butter
2 Large Eggs

Filling:
1/4 Cup of Toasted Almonds
2 Tablespoons of Toasted Pine Nuts (I used sunflower seeds)
1 Cup of Diced Dried Figs (stems removed)
2 Teaspoons of Orange Zest
1/2 Teaspoon of Ground Cinnamon
1/4 Cup of Mini Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
2 Tablespoons of Honey
2 Tablespoons of Apricot Preserves
2 Tablespoons of Water
1/2 Teaspoon Rum Extract

Icing:
3/4 Cup of Powdered Sugar
3-4 Teaspoons of Milk
2-3 Tablespoons of multicolored sprinkles

Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a food processor and pulse about 5 times until combined. Cut the butter into 6 pieces and add to the flour. Pulse 10-15 times until the butter is incorporated and the mixture looks powdery or sandy. Add the eggs and pulse until the dough comes together. Dump the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead 5-6 times to form a smooth dough. Divide the dough in half and roll each piece between 2 pieces of parchment paper to an approximately 8” square. The thickness should be about 3/16”. Place both pieces on a cookie sheet and place in the freezer for about 15-20 minutes.

Make the filling: Place the almonds in a food processor and pulse until they are coarsely chopped. Add the remaining ingredients and process until all the ingredients are combined and the mixture is a paste but with still some visible pieces of chocolate and almonds. Set aside. AVOID SAMPLING IT.

Assemble the cookies: Spread the filling as a 8 inch square over plastic wrap over a cookie sheet. Place in the fridge as you prepare the cookie component. Line the bottom of an 8” square pan with parchment paper so that some of the paper overhangs the sides. Remove one piece of the dough from the freezer and trim it into an 8” square or the size of the bottom of your pan. Place it in the bottom of the pan. If the dough softens a bit place it back in the freezer. You want the dough to firm when you spread the filling or it could tear. Carefully lay the filling over the dough, using the plastic wrap to help you out. Gently spread the filling to the edges with a spatula. Remove the second piece of dough from the freezer and trim it to the size of the pan and place it on top of the filling and gently press.

Bake for 23-25 minutes or until the top is a light golden brown.

Remove from the oven and place the pan on a rack to cool. When completely cool, remove the bars form the pan, peel off the parchment paper and place on a board. Mix together the powdered sugar and milk until smooth. Pour the icing on top of the bars and spread with an offset spatula. Scatter the sprinkles over the top. When fully set, cut in diamond shapes or any other shape you prefer.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I tell you one thing, the filling is spectacular. I envision it in small tartlets, bite-size, in a future adventure. It is sweet, nutty, complex. This was my first time making cuccidati, so I was not quite sure if the amount of filling was too much but I am glad with the way it turned out. I used the full amount for the 8-inch square pan. These are cookies perfect for the holiday season, but if you change the color of the sprinkles, it will be a Birthday-Easter-4th of July-Valentine’s-whatever you feel like it cookie. It is that good!

Tina, thank you for the constant inspiration!

ONE YEAR AGO: Festive Macarons to Welcome 2021!

TWO YEARS AGO: Episode 6, Cookies in The Great American Baking Show

THREE YEARS AGO: Brazilian Chicken and Heart of Palm Pie

FOUR YEARS AGO: Roasted Butternut Squash with Walnuts and Tahini Sauce

FIVE YEARS AGO: The Complicit Conspiracy of Alcohol

SIX YEARS AGO: Candy Cane Cookies

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Macarons: Much better with a friend

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Our Mexican Holiday Dinner 

NINE YEARS AGO: The Ultimate Cranberry Sauce

TEN YEARS AGO: Edamame Dip

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Gougeres

TWELVE YEARS AGO: Beef Wellington on a Special Night

BLACK TAHINI SHORTBREAD COOKIES

I have a weak spot for shortbread cookies. And that spot gets even weaker if the shortbread flirts with a savory side, like a touch of sesame, in this case, black tahini. The darker, grayish color of the dough makes it perfect for Halloween times. If you stop by my cookie blog tomorrow, I will be sharing particularly spooky versions using this exact same dough. Heads up: a little tutorial I used for one of the spooky cookies is available in the Facebook group “Painting with Sugarprism.” If that interests you, check it out and ask to join. It is a super fun and interesting group, hosted by Michelle Ingalls. And now, without further ado… the Black Tahini Shortbread Cookies…

BLACK TAHINI SHORTBREAD COOKIES
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

1 cup (226g) unsalted butter, very cold, cut in pieces
280g all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
50g brown sugar
50g granulated sugar
2 tablespoons black sesame paste (I used Kevala)
luster powder + vodka to paint (optional)

Heat oven to 350F.

Place the butter, flour, cornstarch and salt in the bowl of a food processor and process pulsing on and off until the butter is in small little pieces. Stop the processor, add the sugars and the black sesame paste. Keep processing until the mixture forms a ball that starts to glue together. You might need to clean the bowl and spread things around once or twice.

Stop the processing, transfer the dough to a countertop, cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for about 20 minutes. Roll the dough and use any type of stamp of cookie cutter of your choice. Place the cut cookies on a parchment covered baking sheet and freeze for about 15 minutes.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Times will vary depending on the size of your cookie and your oven.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I’ve been using the food processor method for shortbread as described by Helen Fletcher in her new book, which I recently reviewed. For my personal taste, these are total winners. Shortbread is a very simple cookie, that needs pretty much nothing in terms of adornment. No icing, no dusting with powdered sugar, although those things can still happen if you like to gild the lily. The tahini gives the cookie an adult feel, less sweet, very intriguing. And the color of the cookie screams Halloween. I invite you to stop by my cookie blog tomorrow to get spooked. But in the meantime, consider adding this recipe to your list of things to bake. You won’t regret it.

Cookie press available here.

Cat fondant press available here.

ONE YEAR AGO: A Fruitful Trio (of Macarons)

TWO YEARS AGO: Halloween Entremet Cake

THREE YEAR AGO: Pork with Prunes, Olives and Capers

FOUR YEARS AGO: Kansas Corn Chowder

FIVE YEARS AGO: Impossibly Cute Bacon and Egg Cups

SIX YEARS AGO: Pulling Under Pressure

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Cooking Sous-vide: Two takes on Chicken Thighs

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Miso Soup: A Japanese Classic

NINE YEARS AGO: On my desk

TEN YEARS AGO: A must-make veggie puree

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Vegetarian Lasagna

TWELVE YEARS AGO:  Brazilian Pão de Queijo