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Blog

Filtering by Category: cookies and bars

Puffy Star Cookies

Patricia Reitz

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This is my variation of a traditional Mexican cookie that bakes up to have a puffy appearance. From the very first time I made those cookies, which are usually shaped like little piggies, I thought they’d look nice cut into the shape of stars. Actually, there are many shapes that I think would work well for this dough, but stars were the first that came to mind. Because these cookies aren’t overly sweet, I recommend sprinkling them with confectioner’s sugar once they’ve cooled completely. Or you can decorate them with a glaze of royal icing and festive sprinkles, like I did.

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Start by combining the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl; set aside until needed.

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The next step is to simmer a flavorful concoction of water, dark brown sugar, a cinnamon stick, and Lyle’s golden syrup until the sugar dissolves.

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If you haven’t had the pleasure of discovering golden syrup, I strongly, repeat STRONGLY, encourage you to try it. In a word, it’s amazing - thick and sweet and full of caramel flavor. It’s an excellent substitution for any recipe that calls for honey or corn syrup. It’s actually a byproduct of the sugar refining process, which results in this amazing invert sugar (bonus - that means it doesn’t crystalize very easily).

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If needed, you can replace the golden syrup with an equal amount of honey or light corn syrup, but Lyle’s golden syrup is superb and I promise you won’t be disappointed.

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Okay, back to the recipe. Heat the sugar syrup on the stove top, stirring frequently, until the brown sugar completely dissolves.

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Remove the sugar syrup from the heat and discard the cinnamon stick.

Add the cold butter and stir until the butter melts. Allow the mixture to rest for about 10 minutes as it cools.

After 10 minutes, add an egg and whisk well to combine.

That was easy!

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Add the reserved flour mixture to the sugar syrup.

Stir with a silicone spatula until no traces of dry flour remain, being sure to press out any lumps as you stir.

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Don’t be alarmed when the dough looks and feels like peanut butter - it will firm up after it chills.

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Put the soft dough in a quart-size zipper bag and seal it closed.

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Chill the dough in the fridge for at least 2 hours (or up to 5 days).

Break off chunks of dough and roll them between lightly floured layers of waxed paper to 3/16 to 1/4-inch thickness. I like to use rolling guides to ensure every cookie is exactly the same thickness.

Place the cutouts on silicone-lined sheet pans and bake for 8-12 minutes (depending on size) or until golden brown.

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Transfer cookies to a rack to cool completely before sprinkling with confectioners sugar or decorating with royal icing (recipe below).

For chewy cookies, enjoy on the day they’re baked. After that, they firm to a crisp texture which is particularly good dipped in a hot beverage.

Items used to make this recipe:


Puffy Star Cookies

makes 3-4 dozen cookies

Printable Recipe

Ingredients

  • 11.25 ounces (about 2 1/4 cups) all purpose flour, plus more for rolling

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt

  • 5 ounces (about 11 tablespoons) dark brown sugar

  • 6 tablespoons (90ml) water

  • 1 tablespoon (30ml) Lyle’s golden syrup (may substitute honey or light corn syrup)

  • 1 cinnamon stick (or 1/4 teaspoons ground - try to find Ceylon or “true” cinnamon)

  • 8 tablespoons (4oz or 113g) unsalted butter, cold

  • 1 large egg (50g without shell)

  • optional: confectioners sugar or royal icing for decorating (recipe below)

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer), whisk together to flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

  2. In a small saucepan oven medium heat, combine the dark brown sugar, water, golden syrup, and cinnamon stick; stir until sugar completely dissolved.

  3. Remove sugar mixture from heat and stir in butter until it melts; allow to cool for 10 minutes, then vigorously whisk in the egg until completely incorporated (be sure sugar mixture isn’t hot of the egg will scramble).

  4. Add the brown sugar/egg mixture to the flour mixture and mix by hand using a spatula until no traces of dry flour remain, being sure to press out any lumps that may have formed..

  5. Transfer the dough to a large plastic zipper bag and chill for at least 2 hours (or up to 5 days).

  6. When you’re ready to bake the cookies, preheat oven to 375F, place rack in center position, and line 2 half sheet pans with silicone liners.

  7. Roll chilled dough between layers of floured wax paper to 3/16 to 1/4-inch thickness; cut out desired shapes using cutters dipped in flour and place on prepared sheet pans (I use rolling guides to ensure each cookie is exactly the same thickness).

  8. Bake cookies, one tray at a time, for 8-12 minutes (depending on the size) or until puffed and golden brown.

  9. Allow cookies to cool completely before dusting with confectioners sugar or glazing with royal icing.

adapted from Pati Jinich

Royal Icing

makes 2 cups

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Using the whisk attachment on a hand mixer, beat the confectioners sugar, meringue powder, water, and pure vanilla extract together in a medium mixing bowl for 5 minutes, adjusting consistency by adding more water or confectioners sugar if needed.

  2. If desired, color icing with gel paste.

  3. Dip cookies in icing or pipe icing on cookies; sprinkle with edible decorations and allow icing to set for at least 1 hour before serving.

Italian Pine Nut Cookies

Patricia Reitz

Italian Pine Nut Cookies - ButterYum. how to make pine nut cookies. how to make pignoli cookies. Italian cookie recipe with pine nuts. Italian cookie recipe. how to bake Italian bakery cookies at home. Pinoli cookie recipe. pignoli cookie recipe.

By far, the most popular cookie recipe among my extended family during the holidays. These chewy pignoli cookies are completely bursting with deep almond flavor. Pine nuts (pignolis) are pricy, but they’re such an excellent compliment in both texture and flavor, they’re worth using. If you want to be frugal, just place the pine nuts on the top of the cookies before baking; if you want to be decadent, roll the entire ball of cookie dough in the nuts before baking. Pine nuts are highly perishable so be sure to store them in an airtight container in the freezer.

how to make delicious pine nut cookies like a bakery

Start with a bowl of pine nuts (try not to eat them before you make the cookies).

Start with egg whites, confectioners sugar, and a pinch of fine salt.

italian cookie recipe that uses almond paste. what to do with almond paste. how to use almond paste.

And the star ingredient, pure almond paste (not marzipan). Canned almond paste is best…

italian cookie recipe that uses almond paste. what to do with almond paste. how to use almond paste.

But there are some packaged almond pastes that are ok - squeeze the package to see if the paste inside is soft. This brand uses a foil-wrapping inside the box. There are also foil-wrapped logs available that are usually ok, but I find the clear cellophane-wrapped logs are usually hard and dried out. Avoid hard almond paste if you can.

Here you can see the 2 different brands are 2 different colors, but that’s okay - the food processor is going to take care of that in no time.

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Place the almond paste in the food processor and pulse on and off until it resembles coarse sand.

italian cookie recipe that uses almond paste. what to do with almond paste. how to use almond paste.

The sight of ground almond paste makes me happy!

Add the confectioners sugar and salt to the ground almond paste.

Pulse a few more times until the confectioners sugar disappears, then add the egg white and process until a smooth paste forms.

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I like to transfer the paste to a smaller container which makes it easier to work with. Use a #60 scoop (1 tablespoons) to portion out the sticky cookie dough.

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Roll the dough in the pine nuts.

Place the pine nut coated balls of dough on a silicone lined half sheet pan and press the balls slightly so the pine nuts stick after baking.

Bake the cookies for 20 minutes and allow to cool for 10 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely. Store in airtight container for up to a week (best eaten within 3 or 4 days).

Items needed to make this recipe:


Italian Pine Nut Cookies (Pinoli, Pignoli, Pinon)

makes 60 cookies (#60 scoop)

Printable Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds (680 grams) canned almond paste (not almond filling or marzipan)

  • 1 1/3 cups (150 grams) confectioners sugar

  • 3 large (90 grams) egg whites, room temperature

  • pinch of salt

  • 1/2 pound (227 grams) pine nuts (aka pinoli, pignoli, pinon)

  • optional: confectioners sugar for dusting

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325F, place rack in center position, and line 2 half sheet pans with silicone liners.

  2. Pulse almond paste in food processor until it resembles crumbs.

  3. Add confectioners sugar and salt; pulse until it resembles sand.

  4. Add egg whites and processes until a fine paste forms.

  5. Use a #60 scoop to portion dough; roll in pine nuts and place on half sheet pan (12 per pan).

  6. Flatten each ball of dough slightly and bake for 20 minutes; rest for 10 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely.

  7. Dust with additional confectioners sugar if desired.