Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Almond Flour Linzer Cookies

The richness of almond flour has me always looking for excuses to use it. I'm a fan of la richesse... at least in taste, at least in sense. Two of these cookies are almost too much. I've resigned myself to eating but one at a time, what a change, and savoring each little bite. Because, let me tell you, it turns out the blueberry jam and almond cookies are just about the two most delicious things you can combine. It's good for the same reasons that peanut butter and strawberry jelly (never grape; I'm sorry) is good really, but the contrast of textures here... c'est top bon.

I also needed an excuse to break out these adorable cookie cutters. There was a fish, a duck, some pigs, a fox, a rabbit and what I think is a donkey but cannot be sure. See rabbit below.

 Almond Flour Linzer Cookies

1 1/2 cup almond flour
1 egg
1 tablespoon butter (room temperature)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Blueberry jam for filling

Preheat oven to 325º. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. I found that using my hands to "knead" the cookie dough was the most efficient way to combine the ingredients completely. Form the dough into a ball and place on a sheet of parchment paper. Press the ball flat and sprinkle some more almond flour on top. Place another piece of parchment paper over the dough and roll dough to about a 2 centimeter thickness. 

Cut out 20 round discs with a cookie cutter. Place 10, or half (whatever your count my be) on a cookie sheet. Using a smaller cutter (bitty hearts? woodland creatures? stars?) cut the centers from the discs left behind, then place these on the cookie sheet as well. 

Bake for 10-12 minutes. Let cool completely before attempting to remove from the sheet. Spoon approximately 1/2 tablespoon on each cookie acting as bottom, then complete by setting the decorative peer on top. 

 Jam on.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Blood Orange Curd

Mmmmmm morning. Sweet morning. Sweet-smelling tossed blue sheets sunshine streaming Innocence Mission kisses fleeting morning.

A morning that calls for a celebration, if only that celebration celebrates living. Praising citrus season, I'd stopped at our little co-op the evening before and filled my basket with blood oranges and lemons, and thinking perhaps that this morning would indeed be such a morning, set out to find a dessert-for-breakfast-esque experience.

(Being a chef sometimes means that you must prep ahead for the morning after.)

Partial to curds (curd is to England what crème brulée is to France in terms of MUST HAVE culinary tours of the respective regions and genres... both heavy on the eggs and sugar. Both a giggle of delight at breaking the crust with a spoon) I searched around for a recipe, and found a concise, simple version on Lavender and Lovage. The recipe below has been tweaked to suit my tastes (bring on the tart!)

Blood Orange Curd

3 medium blood oranges
2 large lemons
1 1/4 cup cane sugar
6 eggs
1/2 cup butter

Ready a bain-marie (double boiler) over low heat whilst you:

Grate the blood orange and lemon peel into a dish. Taking a second dish, squeeze the juice from recently-grated oranges and lemons. Strain seeds. Beat eggs into the juice, then add the sugar and butter. Pour mixture and grated peel into the bain-marie, stirring well. 

Minding that it doesn't heat too quickly, slow cook curd until the consistency tips from liquid to creamy. (This should take approximately ten minutes).

Transfer curd to clean jam jars and seal. Place in fridge with enough time to set (overnight) before breaking in.