"Reclaiming Homemade in a Small Space"

Friday, December 2, 2011

Christmas Cookies Take One: Dipped Vanillas

Christmas is a BIG deal here in the Smith house.  As I type this, I'm listening to the Christmas song, "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" and that is how we feel about the season.  We love the decorations inside and out, the food, the fellowship and most importantly the Reason for the season.  A big part of our celebration are the food traditions.

When Matt and I got married in 1995, it was important that I find our own traditions for our family.  There were the sugar cookies that my mom made every year.  My mother-in-law had several cookie recipes Matt raved about.  I wanted my own set of yummy Christmas cookies.  In 1999, I came across a recipe for Dipped Vanillas in a Taste of Home cookbook.  This recipe is by Karen Bourne from Alberta, Canada.

I LOVE THIS COOKIE.  It's not too sweet...and beautifully buttery and rich, like a shortbread cookie or a pecan sandie.  There are no eggs in them and that lends itself to a delicate cookie that melts in your mouth.  They are drizzled with semi-sweet chocolate that just sends them over the top! The original cookie was dipped in the chocolate half way but I find I like the chocolate drizzled over the entire cookie.

This batch makes about 24 cookies.  I have found that the recipe is easily doubled if you are going to eat them quickly.  If you think that you won't consume them in a short amount of time, then only make a small, single batch.  Because of the high fat content in these, they go stale fast.

Dipped Vanillas:
1/2 c. butter (no substitutes!!!!) softened
1/2 c. ground almonds  (I find 2/3 c. of sliced almonds spun in a food processor yields 1/2 c. ground almonds)
1/4 c. sugar
1 t. vanilla
1 c. all-purpose flour
2 T. cornstarch
2 squares (1 ounce each) semisweet chocolate
OR 1/3 c. semisweet chocolate chips

In large bowl, cream butter, almonds, sugar and vanilla.
Scrape down the sides now and add the flour and cornstarch.
It might seem like the dough looks dry but keep going on low speed, it will come together nicely.
Now take a #60 scoop and grab a spoonful and roll into a ball.  If you don't have a #60 scoop, then use a teaspoon and roll into 1 inch ball.

Take both hands and roll the ball between them like you would make a play-doh snake!
Form it into a crescent shape and place on your baking sheet.  (Notice, I'm using a Silpat baking sheet.  You can also use parchment paper.)

Yes, I'm two short....what can I say, I love raw dough!  Mmmmmmm......  Place them in a preheated 375 degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes.  Don't let them over-brown.  They need to light golden brown around the edges and a nice pale color in the middle.
Remove them carefully to a cooling rack with waxed paper underneath.  The waxed paper will catch chocolate drips when you drizzle.  Let these cool completely before adding the drizzled chocolate.  If you don't wait, the chocolate will slide right off.  After they have cooled, melt the chocolate and shortening in a small bowl in the microwave on half power for 30 seconds.  Stir the chocolate, it will need another 30 seconds on half power.  Take a regular spoon and dip it in the chocolate, then start drizzling the melted chocolate on the cookies.  (I wish I could have taken a picture of this, but it really IS a two-handed process and I was by myself.)  You should come up with some cookies that look like this:
You might want to put them in the fridge to get the chocolate to firm up. Try not to eat all them at once...they are about 100 calories a piece.  And SO worth it!

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