Ultimate Crumb Brownies

Ultimate Crumb Brownies | Bakewell Junction

Ultimate Crumb Brownies | Bakewell Junction

Hope everyone had a great Mother’s Day.  My family came over for dinner yesterday and I made these yummy brownies.  I would have had a photo of the entire baked recipe but my brother-in-law grabbed some of the crumbs from one end of brownies.

Since everyone loves cake crumbs (at least I think everyone does), I decided to incorporate them into my favorite brownie mix.  I used half the crumb recipe from my Sour Cream Coffee Ultimate Crumb Cake and it turned out wonderfully.  There is some brownie at the bottom of those crumbs.

What did you do this Mother’s Day?  Did you make or do anything special?

Ultimate Crumb Brownies | Bakewell Junction

Ultimate Crumb Brownies

Yield:  12 brownies                 Cook Time:  45 minutes

Ingredients:

Batter:

  • 1 package of your favorite brownie mix (I used Ghirardelli)

Crumbs:

  • 1/2 lb (2 sticks) butter, melted
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons powdered cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Topping:

  • 1 – 2 tablespoons powdered sugar for sprinkling

Directions:

Step 1:  For the batter:  Prepare the brownie mix as described on the package.  Transfer the batter to an 8 by 8 inch pan lined with parchment paper.  Spread evenly in the pan.  Begin baking in a preheated 325 degree oven for 20 minutes.

Step 2:  For the crumbs:  while the brownies are baking, mix together all the ingredients for the crumbs with a fork to start.  Finish mixing with fingers.  There should be large crumbs.  After the brownies bake for 20 minutes, remove the brownie pan from the oven and sprinkle the crumbs evenly across the top of the brownies.  The weight of the crumbs will flatten the brownies somewhat.  Return to the oven.

Step 3:  Raise the oven temperature to 375 degrees and bake on a higher rack for another 20 – 25 minutes.  The crumbs will brown ever so slightly.  Cool in the pan on a rack for at least 20 minutes.  Use the parchment paper to help remove the brownies from the pan and cool completely on a rack.  Transfer the brownies onto a serving tray and sprinkle liberally with powdered sugar.  Cut into 2 to 2 inch squares and eat.

Enjoy!

Crumb recipe from a co-worker.

Tips:  Store in an airtight container.

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Orange and Almond Quick Bread #TwelveLoaves

Orange Almond Quick Bread | Bakewell Junction

Orange Almond Quick Bread | Bakewell Junction

Another busy week and April’s almost gone.  I can’t miss this month’s #TwelveLoaves party but I don’t usually make breads with orange.  I was so happy to find this quick and easy recipe to share with you.

Hope you’re ready for another Italian style recipe.  This recipe is a dense and delicious.  You can have it for breakfast or dessert.

Orange Almond Quick Bread 2 | Bakewell Junction Orange and Almond Quick Bread

Yield:  1 loaf                 Cook Time:  50 minutes

Ingredients:

Batter:

  • 1 1/2 cups of flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 10 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar, room temperature or softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup ground blanched almonds (I measured 3/4 cup silvered blanched almonds and then chopped finely in my mini chopper)
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest (I substituted dried orange peel)
  • 1/2 cup milk

Glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 to 6 teaspoons hot water
  • 1/4 teaspoon orange flavoring

Directions:

Step 1:  For the batter:  Sift together flour baking powder, salt and flour in a medium bowl and set aside.  Cream butter and sugar together until light and creamy; about 1 to 2 minutes.  I beat on high using my hand-held mixer.  Add eggs one at a time beating to combine after each one.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl, as needed.

Step 2:  Mix in the almonds and orange zest until combined.  Fold in half the flour mixture.  Fold in the milk.  Fold in the remaining flour mixture until just combined.  Transfer the batter to a greased or parchment lined 9 by 5 inch loaf pan with a spoon.  I usually like to use parchment paper but this time I used cooking spray.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 50.  Test with a toothpick; toothpick will be clean when done.  Let cool 5 to 10 minutes in the pan.  Remove from pan and cool completely on a rack.

Step 3:  For the glaze:  Mix the powdered sugar, orange flavoring and 3 teaspoons water together with a fork.  Add additional water in small increments until desired consistency is reached.  I used all six teaspoons.  Drizzle across the top the loaf.  Slice and serve.

Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Italian Dessert Recipes.

Tips:  Store in an airtight container.

Here is our fantastic April-Oranges breads from the incredible #TwelveLoaves bakers:

#TwelveLoaves April: Oranges. The month of March was filled with gorgeous strawberry breads!  We have chosen ORANGES for our April theme!  Choose a recipe including oranges.  Your bread of choice recipe must include in the recipe:  oranges, orange marmalade, orange zest.  In addition to being in the dough, it could also be added to a glaze.  Whatever you bake, (yeasted, quick bread, crackers, muffins, braids, flatbreads, etc) have fun and let’s have a delicious month of bread with ORANGES. Let’s get baking!

If you’d like to add your bread to the collection with the Linky Tool this month, here’s what you need to do!

1. When you post your Twelve Loaves bread on your blog, make sure that you mention the Twelve Loaves challenge in your blog post; this helps us to get more members as well as share everyone’s posts.  Please make sure that your bread is inspired by the theme!

2. Please link your post to the linky tool at the bottom of my blog.  It must be a bread baked to the Twelve Loaves theme.

3. Have your Twelve Loaves bread that you baked this April, 2014, and posted on your blog by April 30, 2014.

#TwelveLoaves is a monthly bread baking party created by Lora from Cake Duchess. #TwelveLoaves runs so smoothly thanks to the help of the lovely Renee from Magnolia Days and Heather from girlichef.

You are next… Click here to enter

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JWsMadeWLuvMondays

St. Joseph’s Pastry (Sfinge)

St Joseph's Pastry (Sfinge) | Bakewell Junction  Delicious Italian Pastry that's traditionally made March 19th through Easter.

St Joseph’s Pastry (Sfinge) | Bakewell Junction

Happy Easter!  The day is almost over but I wanted to share this lovely recipe with you.  This pastry can be found at any Italian bakery throughout NY city and the surrounding suburbs on beginning on March 19th for the feast of Saint Joseph’s and usually through Easter.

The filling for the sfinge is either Cannoli Cream or a pastry crème that’s similar to a custard.  It can be vanilla or almond flavored but my family and I favor Cannoli Cream, so that’s what I made.  The shells are fried most of the time but I’ve seen them baked and I opted for baking to gain a small amount of health benefit.

At first I wasn’t happy with the results of the shells because they weren’t as tall as I thought they should be but they turned out to be quite delicious when filled.  My instructions will include details about how to get a better result.

For Palm Sunday and Easter this year I made my Easter Bread (one batch for Palm Sunday and one for Easter) and Chocolate Babka in addition to these sfinge.  What special Easter recipes did you make this year?

St Joseph's Pastry (Sfinge) | Bakewell Junction

St. Joseph’s Pastry (Sfinge)

Yield:  48 pastries                 Cook Time:  20 minutes

Ingredients:

Dough:

  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups water
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons lard (I used all butter)
  • 6 large eggs

Cannoli Cream Filling:

  • 2 lb container Polly-O ricotta cheese, drained overnight in a 2-ply cheesecloth (it drains best at room temperature, provided it’s cooler than 70 degrees)
  • 1 1/2 t vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 c powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2/3 c mini chocolate chips; plus some additional for garnish

Topping:

  • powdered sugar for sprinkling
  • Maraschino Cherries (optional; I didn’t use these)

Directions:

Step 1:  For the filling: at least three days before serving, mix drained ricotta, vanilla and sugar together.  Move the mixture to a food processor (I used a small Kitchen Aid chopper) and mix until the filling is smooth and is the right consistency.  Depending on the size of your food processor or chopper, you may need to mix in small batches.

Step 2:  Fold in the mini chocolate chips, cover loosely and store at least overnight (better yet two nights) in the refrigerator.  When ready to fill, transfer the filling to a gallon size Ziploc bag make a 1/2 inch cut on one corner of the Ziploc bag.  Use as a pastry bag to fill the chocolate chip cookie cups.

Step 3:  For the dough:  Mix the flour, salt and baking soda in medium bowl; set aside.  In a large saucepan or small stock pot, heat the water, butter and lard.  Let the mixture come to a boil and then remove the pot from the heat.  Add all the flour mixture at once and mix vigorously with a wooden spoon until incorporated.  Return the pot to a medium to high heat for about 5 minutes while still mixing continuously; this will dry out the mixture and the dough pulls away from the sides of the pan.  Remove the dough from heat and let cool for 10 minutes.  Add the eggs one at a time and beat into the dough to combine before repeating with the remaining eggs.

Step 4:  Using a pastry bag with a 1/2 plain nozzle (I substitute a Ziploc bag with 1/2 inch snipped off the corner), pipe 2 inch shells in circles onto a parchment lined (or greased and floured) cookie sheet and about 1 inch high, leaving 1/2 inch between each.  Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 20 minutes until golden.  Repeat with the remaining dough until finished.  Cut a slit in the side of the shells so the insides don’t become soggy.  Transfer the shells to cooling racks.

Step 5:  For the assembly:  cut the tops from the shells and pipe the Cannoli Filling using a Ziploc bag with at least a 1/2 inch opening (so the chocolate chips don’t get stuck) into the center of the shell.  About 2 tablespoons depending on the size of the shell.  Top with the top of the shell and then add a small amount on the top of the shell.  Add a maraschino cherry if using and sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with Espresso or coffee.

Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Ciao Italia by Mary Ann Esposito.

Tips:  Store assembled pastries in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few days.  The shells can be frozen in airtight Ziploc bags and then assembled at a later date.

This post may also be entered in these linky parties.  Click the here to visit the other great posts in the blog hops.

JWsMadeWLuvMondays

Pastaciotti (Italian Custard-filled Tarts)

Pastaciotti (Italian Custard-filled Tarts) | Bakewell Junction

Pastaciotti (Italian Custard-filled Tarts) | Bakewell Junction

Pastaciotti (Italian Custard-filled Tarts) | Bakewell Junction

Have you tried these Italian pastries?  They are a lovely addition to any dessert table and can be found at any Italian bakery throughout NY city and the surrounding suburbs.  Since Easter is just around the corner you may want to impress your family with this lovely recipe.

The filling for the tart is usually almond flavored but I used vanilla instead because I have some family members who won’t eat anything with almond extract.  The almond flavored filling is just as delicious as the vanilla, so feel free to use either based on your preferences.  You don’t even need to have tart pans to make these, you can make them in regular-sized muffin pans or mini muffin pans.

On another note, I’m so glad Spring has finally sprung.  How do I know, you might ask.  Some Crocus finally bloomed in the yard this week, I heard peepers in the distance and the last stubborn snow pile is almost gone – yay!  Are you ready for warmer weather and Easter?

 

Pastaciotti 

Yield:  12 tarts                 Cook Time:  15 minutes

Ingredients:

Dough:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening (I used the shortening in bar form)
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 large egg, beaten

Filling:

  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg yolk, slightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract (I substituted 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)

Egg Wash and Sprinkle:

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • powdered sugar for sprinkling

Directions:

Step 1:  For the filling:  Mix the sugar and cornstarch together in a medium saucepan with a whisk until all lumps are gone.  Slowly add the milk while continuing to whisk the mixture.  Add the butter to the mixture.  Place the saucepan on medium heat and cook  while stirring with a wooden spoon.  The butter will melt as the mixture heats up.  The mixture will thicken in about 7 to 8 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside.  Let cool.

Step 2:  For the dough:  In a large bowl, sift together the dry ingredients.  Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut the shortening into flour mixture until it looks like a coarse cornmeal.  Add the remaining ingredients and mix with your hands to combine.  The dough should quickly come together into a smooth ball.  Cover with plastic wrap and set aside until the filling cools completely.

Step 3:  For assembly:  You can prepare your tart or muffin pans by spraying them with cooking spray or line your muffin pans with paper cupcake liners.  I use the cupcake liners for easier cleanup.  Sprinkle a clean work surface with flour.  Divide the dough in half and transfer the dough onto the floured surface.  I usually flour the rolling pin too.  Roll the dough to about 1/4 inch thickness.  If you’re using 3 by 1 1/4 inch tart pans, use a 3 inch round or fluted  biscuit cutter to cut the dough for the tops and bottoms.  If you’re using regular-sized muffin pans, use a 3 1/4 to 3 1/2 inch biscuit cutter to cut half the dough for the bottoms and a 2 1/2 inch biscuit cutter for the remaining dough for the tops.  Reroll dough scraps as needed to cut out all the circles.

Step 4:  For each of the 12 tarts, press the 3+ inch dough into the bottom and up the sides of the tart or muffin wells.  If using the tart shells, place them on a cookie sheet.  Add about 2 tablespoons of the filling in each tart.  When using muffin tins, place the smaller 2 1/2 inch dough circles on top of the tarts and pinch the edges closed.  When using the tart pans, place the remaining 3 inch dough circles on the top of the tarts and pinch the edges closed  Mix the beaten egg and milk and use a pastry brush to spread some of the egg wash on the top of the tarts  Place the tarts in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Step 5:  Bake the tarts for 12 to 15 minutes in the middle of a preheated 425 degree oven until the tops are golden brown.  Cool on racks.  If making the miniature tarts (mini muffin pans; about 24 tarts), bake for 8 to 10 minutes.  Serve sprinkled with powdered sugar and coffee or espresso.

Recipe adapted from Celebrations Italian Style by Mary Ann Esposito.

Tips:  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few days.

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JWsMadeWLuvMondays

Italian Finger Sandwich Butter Cookies

Italian Finger Sandwich Butter Cookie | Bakewell Junction

Italian Finger Sandwich Butter Cookie | Bakewell Junction

The last few days were unseasonably warm and a lot of the snow has melted.  Happy day!  The eight foot piles are down to about four feet.  Today the cold weather is back.

I’ve said this before but it bears repeating…I love recreating recipes that are purchased from bakeries or pre-packaged from the supermarket.  A couple of weeks ago I shared Italian Butter Cookies with you and now I’d like to share Italian Finger Sandwich Butter Cookies.  The dough was a little thick for piping, although I did not puncture the Ziploc bag while piping the dough, my hands did get tired.

This is another recipe from The Italian Bakery book by Lee Mangione Cirillo.  I think everyone has seen the sandwich butter cookies in bakeries.  Most of the time they are filled with jam or preserves but sometimes they are filled with chocolate which is what I chose to do because my hubby loves the chocolate version.  These are a tender and delicious cookie – you won’t be able to stop at just one.  Which version would you and your family prefer?

Italian Finger Sandwich Butter Cookie | Bakewell Junction

Italian Finger Sandwich Butter Cookies

Yield:  80 individual cookies                  Cook Time:  7 minutes

Dough:

  • 3/4 pound (3 sticks) butter, room temperature or softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 eggs (for 1/2 an egg, beat an egg in a small bowl; take 1 1/2 tablespoons to equal 1/2 an egg)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • green (30 drops), red (40 drops) or yellow (optional)

Filling and Garnish:

  • jam (about an 8 ounce jar)
  • coconut, shredded
  • chopped nuts
  • 3 ounces chocolate chips, melted with 1 to 3 tablespoons shortening (double if sandwiching with chocolate)
  • sprinkles
  • powdered sugar for dusting (optional)
  • additional chocolate for drizzle (optional)

Directions:

Step 1:  For the dough:  In a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar for 5 minutes at medium speed.  Combine egg yolks, vanilla and food coloring (if using) with butter mixture and mix until completely combined.  Mix in baking powder and flour at low speed.

Step 2:  The original recipe specified “Using star tip #4 “s” tube, pipe out in 2″ bars on greased baking pan.” but since I don’t have those particular items, I used a Ziploc bag, cut off one corner (about 1/2 to 3/4 inch opening) and piped the dough onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.  My cookies were about 3 to 4 inches long and I got about 80 cookie bars which turned into 40 cookie sandwiches  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 5 to 7 minutes.  I needed to bake for 7 minutes.  Cool completely on racks.

Step 3:  Filling and Garnish:  Melt 3 ounces of chocolate in the microwave in two or three 30 second increments.  Add shortening and microwave for 20 seconds. Mix thoroughly.  I found that 1 tablespoon of shortening was enough per 3 ounces of chocolate.  Place desired garnishes in small bowls.

Step 4:  Once cookies are completely cooled (it’s better to wait overnight because they are very tender), pair the cookie bars together based on length and shape.  Dip the flat bottom side of the cookie into the melted chocolate or spread with jam.  Top with the flat side of the paired cookie.  Dip one end of cookie sandwich into the melted chocolate on all sides.  While the chocolate is still soft on the end of the cookie, dip chocolate end into garnishes until covered.  Place on wax paper or parchment until dry.  Let garnishes set before storing.

Storing:  Store in a sealed plastic container for a few days.

Note:  The pastry star tube is the large commercial size and may be purchased at any restaurant or baking supply house.  4 “S” – 3/8 inch opening.  Use a No. 12 inch pastry bag; cut opening to fit large pastry tube.

Enjoy!!!

Recipe minimally adapted from The Italian Bakery book by Lee Mangione Cirillo.

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Italian Butter Cookie Hearts

Italian Butter Cookie | Bakewell Junction

Italian Butter Cookie | Bakewell Junction

It’s almost Valentine’s Day and I found a recipe for Italian bakery butter cookies that I wanted to try, so I made them into heart shapes.  They’re topped with chocolate frosting and chocolate is always a must have on Valentine’s Day.

I must have made my cookies a lot larger than the original recipe called for because I only got 16 cookies.  I found the dough to be very thick and I needed to add a fourth egg yolk as described in the notes at the bottom of the recipe.  Even with the extra egg yolk, I had a hard time piping the dough.  I wound up puncturing the Ziploc bag with my finger while piping the dough.  While the frosting was a bit easier to pipe, it was pretty thick also.

I love recreating store bought treats at home, whether they are prepackaged snacks or store or bakery made.  While searching for a suitable recipe, I found resources on the internet saying that The Italian Bakery book by Lee Mangione Cirillo is the best.  I searched for the book but there are none to be found.  Someone sold one on Ebay last year but that’s as close I got to finding a copy.  I’m so glad I found these wonderful cookies and shared them with you.  This doesn’t mean that I won’t by cookies from the bakery sometimes but now I can make them myself whenever I want.  What store bought treats have you tried to recreate at home?

Italian Butter Cookie Hearts

Yield:  36 – 41 small cookies                  Cook Time:  10 minutes

Dough:

  • 8 ounces (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (4 1/2 ounces) sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (10 ounces) flour

Rosette Chocolate Frosting:

  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

Step 1:  For the dough:  In a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar for 5 minutes at medium speed.  Combine egg yolks and vanilla with butter mixture and mix until completely combined.  Mix in flour at low speed.

Step 2:  The original recipe specified “Pipe with bag onto ungreased cookie sheet into rosettes with a #7 “S” tube (or roll into 1 ” balls, place on cookie sheet and flatten slightly).” but since I don’t have those particular items, I used a Ziploc bag, cut off one corner and piped the dough into heart shapes onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.  You can optionally top with colored sprinkles (jimmies).  Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 7 to 10 minutes.  Cool completely on racks.

Step 3:  Rosette Chocolate Frosting:  Sift together powdered sugar and cocoa and set aside.  Cream butter for a few minutes and then beat in 1 cup of sugar and cocoa mixture.  Mix in vanilla.  Mix in remaining sugar alternating with milk.

Step 4:  Once cookies are completely cooled, fill a pastry bag with half the frosting recipe at a time and pipe a large rosette in the center of the cookie.  Let frosting set before storing.

Options:  You may use yellow or pink frosting for rosettes by eliminating cocoa powder and increasing powdered sugar another 2/3 cup (or more if needed), until reaching piping consistency and adding desired color.

Note:  If dough is too firm to pipe through bag return dough to mixing bowl and beat in another egg yolk.

Storing:  Store in a sealed plastic container for a few days.

Enjoy!!!

Recipe minimally adapted from The Italian Bakery book by Lee Mangione Cirillo.

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Anise Cookies #12WksXmasTreats

Anise Cookies | Bakewell Junction

Anise Cookies | Bakewell Junction

It’s time for the seventh week of 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats blog hop.  It’s hosted by Brenda Thompson from MealPlanningMagic.com.  The blog hop goes live every Wednesday until Christmas.  If you’d like to join us, please fill out the form on Brenda’s blog.

I’m always looking for recipes that remind me of childhood favorites and homemade versions of commercially made ones.  This Anise Cookie fits the bill for both and reminds me of the Stella D’oro Anisette Sponge cookies we had all the time as kids.  My Dad used to work for the company when I was in grade school and we had all different types of their cookies in the house all the time.

This Anise Cookie recipe is easy and you can add powdered sugar if you like but I think they are lovely as is, possibly with coffee or tea.  My husband and his friend gave their hearty approval.  Although the cookie has the shape of biscotti, they are a sponge cookie.  I know you would love them too.

Anise Cookies

Yield:  24 cookies                  Cook Time:  20 minutes

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup oil (I used olive oil)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons anise extract or 2 1/2 tablespoons Anisette Liquor
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

Directions:

Step 1:  Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.  In a medium bowl, mix together flour and baking powder and set aside.

Step 2:  With an electric mixer, beat together oil and sugar.  Beat in each egg individually.  Beat in the anise extract.  Mix in the flour in two additions until just combined.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let batter relax in a warm place for 25 minutes.

Step 3:  Transfer half the batter to one cookie sheet and form using a silicone spatula into an oblong log about 6 inches wide and 14 inches long.  The dough will be about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes.  The edges will begin to become lightly browned.  Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes before slicing with a serrated knife.

Step 4:  Repeat step 3 for the remaining batter.  Serve when cool and dust with powdered sugar if desired.

Storing:  Store cookies in a sealed plastic container.

Recipe minimally adapted from My Italian Grandmother.

12 Weeks of Christmas Treats Blog Hop | Hosted by MealPlanningMagic.com

12 Weeks of Christmas Treats Blog Hop

Week 7, November 6, 2013

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Vanilla Venetians #12WksXmasTreats

Vanilla Venetians | Bakewell Junction

Vanilla Venetians | Bakewell Junction

It’s time for the sixth week of 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats blog hop.  It’s hosted by Brenda Thompson from MealPlanningMagic.com.  The blog hop goes live every Wednesday until Christmas.  If you’d like to join us, please fill out the form on Brenda’s blog.

I’ve been looking for a Venetians recipe that I could make for my sister-in-law.  Although she hasn’t tasted the almond flavored ones I’ve made (which can be found here), she always says she doesn’t like them.  I looked for a Venetians recipe that didn’t have the almond paste.  This was no easy task because they sometimes go by Rainbow Cookies, Tri Color Cookies or Seven Layer Cookies and most of them have almond paste.  I found this one that looked good.  My husband and his friend said they were fantastic.  I like them but I may need to try some more recipes so don’t be surprised if you see some more.

Vanilla Venetians

Yield:  36 cookies                  Cook Time:  10 minutes

Batter:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 4 to 6 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 8 to 10 drops red food coloring
  • 8 to 10 drops green food coloring

Filling and Icing:

  • 8 to 10 ounces apricot or seedless raspberry preserves
  • 6 ounces special dark chocolate bar (I used Hershey’s)

Directions:

Step 1:  Prepare 3 11 by 7 inch pans.  I used the half tray disposable aluminum pans for this.  Spray the pans with cooking spray, line with wax paper and then spray the wax paper with cooking spray too.  You can make these in a pan that’s just been sprayed with cooking spray but they are very thin and you will have difficulty taking them out without breaking them.

Step 2:  With an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar for about five minutes.  Add the egg yolks and vanilla and beat until combined.  Mix in the flour in small batches.

Step 3:  In a medium bowl beat the egg whites on high for about 10 minutes until stiff.  Fold into the batter until incorporated.

Step 4:  Take 1/3 of the batter (about 1 cup) and add 8 drops green food coloring.  Mix the food coloring using a folding motion to mix the food coloring throughout the 1/3 portion of the batter.  Add additional drops as necessary to get the color you want.  Spread the batter as evenly as possible in a prepared pan and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.  This works best if the rack is in the middle of the oven.

Step 5:  Take 1/3 of the batter (about 1 cup) and add 8 drops red food coloring.  Mix the food coloring using a folding motion to mix the food coloring throughout the 1/3 portion of the batter.  Add additional drops as necessary to get the color you want.  Spread the batter as evenly as possible in a prepared pan and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.  This works best if the rack is in the middle of the oven.

Step 6:  Take the remaining batter (about 1 cup) and spread the batter as evenly as possible in a prepared pan and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.  This works best if the rack is in the middle of the oven.   Cool all three cakes completely.

Step 7:  Warm the apricot preserves in a bowl in the microwave at 30 second intervals while stirring between intervals.  Heat for a maximum of 1 1/2 minutes.  Place wax paper on a cookie sheet and then the invert the green layer onto it (be sure to invert the green layer if you’re using a pan with ridges on bottom).  Spread 1/2 the apricot preserves on the green layer.  Place the untinted layer on top of the green layer.  Spread the remaining apricot preserves on the untinted layer.  Place the red layer on top of the untinted layer right side up and cover with wax paper.  Place another cookie sheet on top of the layers and place weight on top.  Chill everything overnight in the refrigerator.

Step 8:  Remove the cookies from the refrigerator and remove the weight.  Cut the edges of the layers so there are clean edges.  The cut pieces are great for snacking.  Carefully melt 1/2 the chocolate in a double boiler or the microwave.  Spread the chocolate on the top and sides of the cookies.  Let the chocolate dry.  Turn the cookies over, melt the remaining chocolate and spread on the bottom also.  Let the chocolate dry.  Turn the cookies over and cut into 6 by 6 pieces.

Storing:  Store cookies in a sealed plastic container.

Tips:

  • When the apricot preserves are heated, you can remove any large apricot chunks before spreading.  Heating the apricot preserves allows the preserves to soak into the layers and helps the layers cling together better.
  • To cut the layers into pieces, carefully use a sharp serrated knife.  Have the layers placed with the long edge closest to you. Run the knife under hot water and dry it.  Cut the layers in six slices along the long edge of the layers.  To minimize cracking in the chocolate, start cutting in a sawing motion with the warm knife until you break through the chocolate; then press down until the knife cuts through to the bottom of the layers and chocolate.  You will likely need to repeat running the knife under hot water after four slices.  Turn the pieces that look like long narrow logs sideways.  Repeat running the knife under hot water.  Using the same sawing motion to get through the top layer of chocolate and then pressing down to cut through to the bottom of the layers and chocolate, cut each log into 6 pieces.  You will likely need to repeat running the knife under hot water for each log you cut.  Plus if some of the chocolate cracks, then you have a great snack.
  • Making these a few days ahead of time allows the flavors to meld and they taste even better.

Recipe adapted from My Italian Grandmother.

12 Weeks of Christmas Treats Blog Hop | Hosted by MealPlanningMagic.com

12 Weeks of Christmas Treats Blog Hop

Week 6, October 30, 2013

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