Sarah Bernhardt Cookies

December 8th, 2014

Christmas Cookies 14 2

I made a new cookie for the holidays this year.  The minute I received my copy of  A Kitchen in France by Mimi Thorisson, I knew that the Sarah Bernhardt cookies would be on my Christmas table.  Sarah Bernhardt cookies or cakes, as they are sometimes called, originated in Copenhagan Denmark in 1911 where a local chef made them for the French actress when she traveled there to promote the publication of her memoirs.  She was purported to have loved them.  Mimi Thorisson shared that she learned to make them from her Icelandic Mother-in-law.  They have now become a Christmas tradition in her household.  I can see why.

Christmas Cookies 14 3

They start with a meringue made from egg whites, confectioners’ sugar and almond flour.  I had to experiment with how large to make these and whether to use two spoons to form them or pipe them through a pastry bag.  I would recommend the bag.  It was much easier to handle the sticky dough that way.  After the meringues have cooled and put in the freezer for a short chill, they are frosted with a coffee and chocolate infused mixture.

Christmas Cookies 14 4

After the frosted meringues go back into the freezer to chill, they are then dipped in melted dark chocolate.  Even though there are a lot of steps to making them, Sarah Bernhardt cookies are well worth the time.  They are a mouthful of crisp meringue, soft frosting and rich dark chocolate.  I think it will take me some time to perfect this cookie.  For instance, I frosted the rounded side and dipped that in chocolate so that the flat bottoms would be stable.  The pictures I have seen were rounder because the frosting was piled on the flat side and then dipped in chocolate.  They are even more beautiful garnished with candied violets as I saw on one post.

Christmas Table 1

I am well on my way to completing my cookie baking.  So far I have made Mexican wedding cookies,  Chocolate and Pecan Shortbread Bars,  and the Sarah Bernhardt cookies.  This year I am wrapping my cookies in clear plastic bags tied with red ribbons.

Christmas Cookies 14 1

I hope you will find the time to make these delicious cookies.  They are worth a relaxing moment and maybe a sigh of satisfaction with a cup of tea or coffee.

SARAH BERNHARDT COOKIES (Mimi Thorisson)

Makes 40 to 50 individual cookies depending on size

For the Meringues:
4 large egg whites
2 1/3 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
2 cups almond flour

For the Frosting:
2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 large egg yolks ( I used pasteurized eggs because the eggs are not cooked)
3 tablespoons instant coffee powder, dissolved in 1 1/2 tablespoons hot water and cooled
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

11 ounces good dark chocolate, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Make the meringue.  Whip the egg whites in a large bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until frothey.  Gradually add the sugar, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, and continue whipping until the egg whites form stiff peaks, about 10 minutes.  Gently fold in the almond flour.  Using two spoons or a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip, spoon or pipe the egg whites onto the parchment-lined baking sheets.  The meringues should be 1 1/2 to 2 inches wide and 1/3 to 1/2 inch high.

Bake until crisp, 10 to 12 minutes.  Let cool on the baking sheets for 8 to 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Transfer the cooled meringues to a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze while you make the frosting.

Make the frosting.  With a wooden spoon, in a medium bowl, mix the sugar with the butter until smooth.  Whisk the egg yolks in another medium bowl until pale and thick, then gradually stir into the butter mixture.  Pour in the dissolved coffee, add the cocoa powder, and mix until the frosting is smooth and thick.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate to firm up a bit, 20 to 30 minutes.

Remove the meringues from the freezer.  Use a spoon or a palette knife to spread about 1 1/2 teaspoon frosting over the bottom of each meringue.  Return to the freezer frosting side up for 15 minutes to harden.

Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl.  Bring an inch or two of water to a simmer in a saucepan, put the bowl on top, and melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes ( You can use the microwave if your prefer.)  Remove from the heat.  The chocolate should be just warm to the touch; if it is warmer, let it cool a bit.

Dip the frosted side of each meringue in the melted chocolate so the frosting is entirely covered.  Let set on a large piece of parchment paper.

Line a large container with parchment paper and arrange the meringues in it, layering them between sheets of parchment.  Cover the paper and close the lid tightly.  The meringues will keep in the freezer for up to a month.

Printable Recipe

Christmas Pretzel Hugs and a Merry Christmas

December 23rd, 2013

Pretzel Hugs 3

Here is a very easy Christmas treat.  There is minimal baking and all you need is patience and a steady hand.  The cookies use square pretzels, Hershey’s Hugs and Christmas M & M’s.  I found the recipe on Pinterest from Jaclyn of Cooking Classy.

Pretzel Hugs 1

It makes 70 treats.  We will be taking these to North Carolina for the Grandkids.  I wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year with special hugs from me.  May you have a magical time with your loved ones.

Mimi&Gampy Christmas Card

Card designed by The Green Kangaroo.  Photo by Azul Photography.

CHRISTMAS PRETZEL HUGS

70 Square pretzels (Do not use Butter Snaps)
70 Hershey’s Hugs, unwrapped
70 milk chocolate M & M’s. (I used Christmas ones)

  • Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper. Align pretzels on cookie sheet in a single layer then top each pretzel with one Hershey’s Hug chocolate. Bake in preheated oven for 4 – 5 minutes, until the chocolate is shiny and soft (but NOT melting, the chocolates should still hold their shape).
  • Remove from oven and carefully place one M&M in the center of each soft Hug and press down on M&M to spread the chocolate. Place in refrigerator and allow to rest until chocolate has set, about 5 minutes. Store in an airtight container.
  • Printable recipe

Glazed Citrus Rounds

December 20th, 2013

Glazed Citrus Rounds 1

Santa Baby may find these cookies to his liking.  They are not too sweet and have a strong citrusy tang that will keep him going on his rounds.  We will be spending Christmas with the grandkids and their parents this year.  It means a trip back to North Carolina, but it is so worth it.  Christmas through a child’s eyes can’t be beat.

Glazed Citrus Rounds

 Baking cookies has not been high on my holiday priority list this year.  Since I am trying to simplify and relax this year, baking sweets seemed to be an obvious task to relegate to the “I’ll get around to it when I can” list.  Well, I found time this week on a sunny afternoon.  Gifts were ordered on line, the tree was up, wreaths on the door and cards were mailed.  Butter, flour and sugar were calling my name.

Glazed Citrus Rounds 2

 

These are very easy cookies to assemble.  I didn’t have time or the inclination to do anything more complicated.  They are also very good, even though someone in the family would have preferred chocolate.  That will be coming up next.

GLAZED CITRUS ROUNDS ( The Food Network Magazine)

Makes about 30 cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons finely grated citrus zest (orange, lemon, lime or grapefruit)
2 large egg yolks
3/4 teaspoon lemon extract
1/4 teaspoon orage extract
1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 to 3 tablespoons fresh citrus juice (use the same kind as the zest)

Whisk the flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.  Beat the butter in a large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until smooth.  Add the granulated sugar and 1 tablespoon citrus zest and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Beat i the egg and orange extracts.  Reduce the mixer speed to low; add the flour mixture and beat until a soft dough forms.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  Scoop rounded tablespoonfuls of dough about 2 inches apart onto the prepared baking sheets.  Freeze at least 30 minutes or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Bake the cookies straight from the freezer, 1 baking sheet at a time, until the edges are set and the bottoms are lightly browned, 15 to 17 minutes.  Let cool 3 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the glaze: Whisk the confectioners’ sugar, 2 tablespoons citrus juice and the remaining 1/2 tablespoon zest in a medium bowl until thick and smooth.  (Add 1 more tablespoon citrus juice if the glaze is too thick.)  Spread on the cookies; transfer to a rack and let set, about 1 hour.

Printable Recipe

Rugelach and other cookies

December 17th, 2012

 

I was inspired to make these cookies this year by my friend Maxine.  Rugalach is a traditional Jewish dessert served during Hanakkuh.  But it is also a cookie that originated in Eastern Europe and was embraced by many ethnicities.  My Mother made a similar cookie with leftover pie dough.  It is interesting that so many traditions were shared by various immigrants to our country.  I remember as a child loving the rolled dough pieces with cinnamon more than the pie that was the reason for their existence.

 

 

Rugelach are made with a pastry that includes cream cheese.  The filling usually includes apricot jelly, ground walnuts and sometimes chocolate.  Because I love chocolate, that was a necessary  inclusion.  I made the pastry one day while I also made the dough for my sugar cookies.  It made it easy the next morning to pull each wrapped dough out of the refrigerator as I needed it.  All was finished by noon.

 

 

Here are some of the snowflake sugar cookies.

 

 

The rest of the sugar cookies, above.  It is nice to have a variety of cookies ready for the Grandkids.  My heart is full of gratitude that I can hold them close this year.  The events of the past week have broken my heart.

 

RUGELACH (Martha Stewart)

For the Dough
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
3 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon pur vanilla extract
Pinch of coarse salt
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out dough

For the Filling
4 ounces walnuts
1/2 cup sugar
Pinch of cinnamon
Pinch of salt
12 ounces apricot jelly, melted*
2 cups mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, or currants or a combination

For the Finishing
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup fine sanding sugar

Directions

1. Make the dough: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and cream cheese at medium speed.  Add sugar, and beat until fluffy.  Beat in egg yolks, on at a time, beating to combine after each addition.  Add vanilla and salt, and beat to combine.  Reduce speed to low, and beat in flour.  Remove from bowl, and divide into 3 pieces on a lightly floured surface.  Pat into disks, and wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, and up to overnight.

2. Make the filling;  In a food processor, combine walnuts, sugar, cinnamon, and salt,  Pulse until fine.

3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line baking sheets with Silpats or parchment paper.  On a lightly floured surface, roll one piece of dough into a 12-inch round, less than 1/8 inch thick.  Brush evenly with jelly.  Sprinkle with one-third of the walnut mixture and one-third of the chocolate chips.  Using the rolling pin, gently roll over filling to press.

4. Cut the round into 16 equal-sized wedges.  Beginning at the large base of each wedge, roll to enclose filling, forming crescent shapes.  Pinch to seal.  Place on prepared baking sheets.  Repeat with remaining dough and filling ingredients.  Brush tops with beaten egg, and sprinkle with sanding sugar.  Bake until golden brown 20 to 25 minutes.
* I did not use all of the apricot jelly.  I just smeared a thin layer on each of the rounds.

 

ICED SUGAR COOKIES

Makes 24 to 36 cookies

2 1/2 cups cake flour, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1-pound box confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons meringue powder (Available at Michael’s)
Nonpareils, for decorating (optional)

1. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl.

2. Beat the butter and granulated sugar in a large bowl witha mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes.  Add the egg and vanilla and beat until incorporated.  Reduce the mixer speed to low; add the flour mixture in 2 batches and beat until just incorporated.  Divide the dough in half, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.

3. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  Working with 1 piece of dough at a time, lightly dust the dough with flour and roll out between 2 pieces of parchment paper until about 1/8-inch thick.  Refrigerate until slightly firm, about 15 minutes.  Cut out shapes using 2-to-4 inch cookie cutters and transfer to the prepared baking sheets.  Gather the scraps and refrigerate until firm; reroll once to cut out more cookies.  Refrigerate the cutouts until firm, about 30 minutes.

4. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat to 350 degrees F.  Bake the cookies, switching the position of the pans halfway through, until just golden, 13 to 15 minutes.  Let cool 5 minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer to racks to cool completely.

5. Meanwhile, make the icing; Sift the confectioners’ sugar and meringue powder into a large bowl.  Beat in 6 tablespoons water with a mixer on medium speed until soft, glossy peaks form.  Spread on the cookies and decorate with nonpareils.  Let set, about 1 hour.

 

Printable recipe: Rugelach

Printable recipe Iced Sugar Cookies

 

 

Cinnamon Pinwheel Cookies

December 9th, 2012

 

This is such a pretty cookie to add to your Christmas cookie tray.  It was one of the cookies featured in The Food Network magazine December issue.  Now if you look at the cookie in the magazine, you will see  a much prettier cookie.  The swirls are more defined and even.  But hey, I’m not complaining.  I still like the looks of my cookies.

You start with a basic sugar cookie dough, divide in half and add food coloring, chocolate and cinnamon flavoring to one half.  Roll out each dough on a piece of parchment.

 

Turn the red half by lifting the parchment and place it on top of the plain half.

 

 

Trim the edges.  I saved this dough and made multi colored cookies from it.  Once the edges are trimmed roll the dough into a log.

 

 

There are a number of trips to the refrigerator for this dough but it is easy once you reach this stage.  Just slice and bake.

 

 

I am making several types of cookies this year because the Grandchildren will be here for the holidays.  Making cookies certainly has a way of putting you in the holiday spirit.  I am also taking the time to wrap my presents with pretty bows.  I will tell you more about that technique in my next post.

 

 

Enjoy!

 

CINNAMON PINWHEEL COOKIES  (The Food Network Magazine)

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon extract (optional)*
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon red food coloring
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon sanding sugar (clear or red), plus more for coating

Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bow.  Beat the butter and granulated sugar in a large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes.  Beat in the egg and vanilla until incorporated.  Reduce the mixer speed to low; add the flour mixture and beat until just combined.  Remove half of the dough and wrap in plastic wrap. Add the cinnamon extract, cocoa powder and food coloring to the remaining dough beat until incorporated; wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate both pieces of dough until firm, about 1 hour.

Dust the dough with flour and roll out each piece on parchment paper into a 10-by-11-inch rectangle.  Flip the red dough on top of the plain dough; remove the top piece of parchment and trim the edges.  Sprinkle the ground cinnamon and sanding sugar on top  Starting from a shorer end, tightly roll up the dough, using the parchment to help; roll the log in sanding sugar.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 3 hours or overnight.

Position rack in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.  Slice the log crosswise 1/4 inch thick; arrange the slices about 1 1/2 inches apart on the baking sheets.  Bake, switching the position of the pans halfway through, until slightly puffed and lightly golden on the bottom, 12 to 15 minutes.  Let cool 5 minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer to rack to cool.

* I could not find cinnamon extract, but did find cinnamon oil at Hobby Lobby in the cake decorating department.  It is stronger by 4.  I used 1/16th of a teaspoon.  To be honest, I don’t think you need it.

Printable recipe

 

© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.