I haven't baked too terribly much in a long time. This winter is different though. I got bit bad by the baking bug. I have a lovely Solstice party coming up and I fully intend on no one leaving hungry. I may have gone a bit over board though: Snickerdoodles, Soft Ginger Cookies, Butter Tarts, Apple pie and the most amazing Stollen Pinwheel Cookies.
The following cookie recipe is that later named. I found it in a Fine Cooking magazine and it blew my socks off, so I thought I'd share.
Stollen Pinwheel cookies
These pinwheel holiday cookies are reminiscent of the classic German Stollen, dried fruit and almond paste and memories of winters past. (Note: These cookies need to freeze completely before baking, so allow for 6 hours in the freezer or let them freeze over night.)
1 1/4 cup almond flour
3/4 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large egg whites
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
2 2/3 cups flour, sifted
1 cup almond flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup dried strawberries or cherries, chopped
1/4 cup dried pineapple, chopped
1/2 cup chopped candied citrus peel
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup butter, melted
~2 cups confectioners’ sugar (for dusting)
Making the filling:
1) In an electric mixer, combine the flour, almond slices, sugar, egg whites, and salt.
2) Beat on medium speed until combined, about 1 1/2 minutes. (The almond slices will break apart.) Set aside.
Making the dough:
1) Using an electric mixer, beat sugar and butter on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
2) Add eggs and egg yolk. Beat on low until just incorporated.
3) Sift in the flours, baking powder and salt. Measure in strawberries, pineapple, candied citrus peel and vanilla. Mix on low just combined. Don’t overmix.
Assembling the cookies:
1) Using a rimmed rectangular baking sheet (approx. 9X13’) lined with parchment paper, spread the dough out evenly to about 1/2 inch thick.
2) Use a second piece of parchment overtop the dough to smooth any bumps flat. Leave covered.
3) Refrigerate the dough until it’s firm but still pliable, about 30 minutes.
4) Remove the top layer of parchment. Spread the almond filling evenly over the top the entire surface of the dough. (If needed, wet your fingers and use them to spread the filling to the edges.)
5) Starting with the long side of the dough, roll the dough tightly around the filling. Peel back the remaining piece of parchment as you roll.
6) Pinch the long seam closed along the cookie log. Wrap the dough in parchment and freeze until completely solid, about 6 hours or overnight.
Baking the cookies:
1) Preheat the oven to 350’F.
2) Line 2 baking sheets (or more) with parchment.
3) Unwrap the cookie log and transfer to a cutting board.
4) Using a sharp knife, cut log in half and replace one half back into the freezer to keep it solid.
5) Slice the dough into 1/4 inch medallions. Space the cookies about an inch apart. (If the dough begins to become soft again, replace in the freezer to firm up.)
6) Brush cookies with melted butter.
7) Bake until golden brown, about 12 to 14 minutes. (Rotate baking sheets once during baking if using more than 2 sheets in one oven.)
8) After baking, brush the still warm cookies with melted butter again and dust with confectioners’ sugar.
9) Let cool on baking sheets for 15 minutes. Then transfer to a rack to cool completely. Store cookies in an airtight container.
Makes approx. 54 cookies.
Even if I don't get to go back to AB again this year, it's nice to have that feeling of being close in memory to those you love and miss so much.
Happy Holidays people! And enjoy the people, the food and the fun of the season.
The Half-Assed Hobbyist