Unlike some of my caring, thoughtful and meticulous friends, who have started Christmas baking and packing well ahead of time, I procastinate. I blame everything on the jetlag since I returned from Asia last Thursday.The horrible food on board, various transits and the long hours flights have zapped out most of my energy. All I want to do, is curling up on my favorite spot, drooling over the food photos on tastespotting and foodgawker and eating the snacks I sneaked in from Malaysia.
Having said that, I have shortlisted some cookies to be included in my baking list this holiday, and a list of friends, who may receive the cookies. (It all depends on whether I could bake and send them out on time! )
One of the cookies I intend to make this year is Almond Cocoa Nib Sticks from Alice Medrich's Bittersweet.I have made them once to be sent overseas. Not only are they sturdy enough to withstand the potential abuse when mailed; according to OCT, they taste pretty darn good too. So good that he who usually doesn't like cookies can't stop munching them. I have to stop OCT from snatching yet another stick in order to have enough to fill up a box I need to send.
The almond cocoa nib sticks are not as hard as biscotti but don't crumble as easily as shortbread cookies. They would be perfect by the side of a steaming cup of tea. Although OCT would add that it tastes just as awesome as it is-buttery, nutty, crunchy with a hint of cacao.
Almond Cocoa Nib Sticks
adopted from Alice Medrich's- Bittersweet
3/4 cup (3 3/4 ounces) whole blanched almonds
1 cup plus 2 T. all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 t. salt
6 T. unsalted butter, cut into chunks
2 T. water
1 t. pure vanilla extract
1/8 t. pure almond extract
1/4 cup Cocoa Nibs
Combine the almonds, flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor, and pulse until the almonds are reduced to a fine meal. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture looks like a mass of crumbs. Combine the water, vanilla, and almond extract, drizzle them into the processor bowl and pulse just until the dough looks damp. Add the cocoa nibs and pulse only until evenly dispersed.
The dough will not form a smooth cohesive mass - it will be crumbly, but it will stick together when you press it. Turn it out on a large sheet of foil and form it into a 6 x 9 inch rectangle a scant 1/2 inch thick. fold the foil over the dough and press firmly with your hands to compress it, then wrap it airtight. Slide a cookie sheet under the package and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Position the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment or wax paper.
Use a long sharp knife to trim one short edge of the dough rectangle to even it. Then cut a slice a scant 3/8 inch wide and use the knife to transfer the delicate slice to the cookie sheet. Repeat with the rest of the dough, transferring each slice as it is cut and placing them at least 1 inch apart. If some break, just push them back together, or bake them broken - they will look and taste great anyway.
Bake, rotating the cookie sheets from top to bottom and front to back half way through the baking time, 12-14 minutes, or until the cookies are golden at the edges. Set the pans on the racks to cool completely. (The cookies can be stored, airtight, for several days).
Makes about 30, 6-inch sticks
And now, onto something fun- the Giveaway! The good folks at The Hershey Company are offering to send 3 baskets full of baking goodies, which include: 2 varieties of Hershey Kisses, Peanut Butter, flour, brownie mixes, cocoa powder, spatula, mixing bowl and oven mitt to 3 lucky readers of Fresh From The Oven!
photo provided by The Hershey Company
All you have to do, is leave me a comment to tell me what's your favorite cookies for the holiday season. The deadline is 14th Dec, which is this Sunday. I will conduct a drawing on Monday morning, and 3 lucky readers will each receive a goodies basket, courtesy of The Hershey Company.
The only catch? It's only open to US and Canada residents.