Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Something Nutty

More recipes today! Three, in fact.

Mmmm....see that, it's called Tiger Butter and it's wee Ian's favourite. Like the rest of the Christmas baking, I make this treat early and then squirrel it away in the freezer to dole out in small plate-fuls through the holiday season, most other years I've noticed this item dwindles quite quickly, despite being frozen solid, as Ian would quietly help himself after school. This year has been different, and even now, so close to Christmas, there's still plenty in its little box in the freezer. It tastes just as good as always, so I suspect that Ian, now 14, is simply going through a "lacking initiative" phase (also evident in his algebra marks).

It's one of the easiest of all the Christmas baking, involving simply measuring, melting, marbling and cooling. It's important to use good quality chocolates and a natural peanut butter for this recipe, it makes a huge difference in the flavours. I use Bernard Callebaut chocolate and I purchase it at Scoop 'n Weigh on Taylor Avenue.

Tiger Butter

1/2 lb. white chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1/2 lb. semisweet chocolate, chopped

Line the bottom of a 9-inch square cake pan with wax paper. You will use two glass bowls set separately over a saucepan with hot, but not boiling water. In first glass bowl, melt white chocolate. Stir in peanut butter, and pour into prepared pan. In second glass bowl, melt semisweet chocolate over hot water. Pour the semisweet chocolate over white chocolate in prepared pan. Spread evenly, then draw a table knife through both layers to create a marbled effect. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes, or until solid. Cut into wedges or squares to serve.

More nuttiness:

Here's a classic Northern and Eastern European Cookie, Almond Crescents, the little lovelies on the plate aren't actually "almond", other nuts can be substituted for the ground almonds, I've used pecans in the past and this year I used ground hazelnuts. They're very nice, but I'm going to recommend almonds, because the flavour is stronger and more defined (more festive...?). Nigel and I both agreed that the hazelnuts were just a little too delicate in flavour.

Almond Crescents

1 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 cup coarsely chopped almonds (or other nuts)
2 1/3 cups flour
more icing sugar for dusting

Cream the butter and icing sugar together until fluffy. Beat in the vanilla and almond extracts, than add the almonds. Stir in the flour and beat until well combined. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line baking sheets with parchment. Divide the dough in half and form each half into a roll 1-inch in diameter. Cut each roll into 3/4 inch slices, roll each slice into a cylinder 2 inches long, place 1 inch apart on baking sheet and form into crescent. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until lightly golden. Let cool, then dust liberally with icing sugar.

This next recipe is from the Canadian Living Holiday Best magazine from 2005, reading through the recipe, they sound a little fiddly to make, but they're not as bad as they initially seem, and very tasty if you're partial to coconut.

Coconut Macaroons

1 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup icing sugar
1 egg, separated
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp each coconut and almond extracts
2 cups flour
45 chocolate macaroon candies (this would be one box of Neilson Original Macaroons)
1 3/4 cups sweetened flaked coconut

Line baking sheets with parchment or grease; set aside. In large bowl, beat butter with sugar until fluffy; beat in egg yolk, salt and extracts. Add flour, stir until smooth. Roll dough into 1 Tbsp balls. Press 1 coconut macaroon candy into centre of each, covering candy with dough. Roll with hands into smooth balls. In small bowl, beat egg white with 1 Tbsp water. Place coconut in shallow dish. Dip each cookie into egg white mixture; roll in coconut to coat. Place, about 2 inches apart on prepared pans. Bake in 350 degree F oven until coconut is lightly browned, about 18 minutes. Transfer to racks and let cool. of my new faves.

Meet me here tomorrow, I'll have two more recipes for you!

1 comment:

noricum said...

My Austrian-Canadian grandma used to make almond crescents for us at Christmas time. Thanks for the recipe! I've saved it to try later. :)