For the next 21 days I will be indulging myself in christmas movies, music, decorations, and of course food. Christmas is my favorite time of the year because the decorations are gorgeous, the music is jolly, the movies are classics, and the food is simply sweet and delicious. But, one day of Christmas just isn’t enough for me, so I celebrate all month long. In honor of this one month celebration, I’m starting out with one of my favorite Christmas cookies, vanilla almond crescents. These cute delicate little cookies are crumbly and melt in your mouth. I used to eat them plain, but then decided why not dip them in chocolate!? Chocolate goes with just about anything, especially these! I recommend white chocolate, but milk chocolate is just as tasty. I like to sprinkle them with crushed candy canes to add a small splash of color and hint of holiday peppermint. These cookies are perfect for a light after dinner dessert or mid-day snacking. You choose!
• 1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
• 1/2 cup sweet butter (1 stick)
• 1/2 cup ground almonds
• 2 tablespoons sugar
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 1/2 cup of confectioners’ sugar
• Chocolate melting disks (recommend white or milk chocolate)
• Vegetable shortening
01 Preheat the oven to 350º and line A baking sheet with parchment paper.
02 Cut the butter into the flour using a pastry blender, until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
03 Grind you almonds with a food processor. If you don’t have a food processor you can also use a food chopper.
04 Stir the ground almonds, sugar and vanilla extract into the flour and butter mixture. I like to continue using the pastry blender to do so. Then work the mixture with your hands until it becomes a soft dough.
05 Squish and roll small pieces of the dough into 1/2” thick by 2” long pieces. Shape these pieces into crescents.
06 Bake cookies for 20 minutes until they are pale golden in color.
07 While crescents are cooling on a wire rack, melt the chocolate of your choice in a double boiler. Depending on how many cookies you want to dip, the amount of chocolate you need will vary. You should be safe with 1 to 1 1/2 cups of chocolate melting disks. Do not get a single drop of water in your chocolate or it will seize. If your chocolate is too thick, add a little bit of vegetable shortening to thin it out.
08 Dip crescents half-way in melted chocolate and set on a sheet of parchment paper to harden. Decorate with crushed candy canes before the chocolate has hardened.
09 Once the chocolate has completely hardened, lightly sift confectioners’ sugar over the top of each crescent.
10 You may also leave the crescents plain with no chocolate if you desire. In this case roll each plain crescent in confectioners’ sugar.
Enjoy! You can view the printer friendly version by clicking right here.
GUEST COLUMNIST / KAYLA BILL
Kayla Bill is a designer
and foodie who finds cooking + baking very therapeutic. She bakes, cooks, photographs, and develops recipes for the fab foodie
I wanted to share with you all a sweet instagrammer that I love following. It’s hard NOT to be inspired by Annette Pehrsson, who has simple + delicate images that I swoon over with each and every new post. There’s a whole lot of art, food, and fashion – my favorite – which I think many of you would enjoy, too! Her instagram username is annettepehrsson … definitely check her out.
I’m guessing most of you have heard about Mignon Kitchen Co. by now, right?? It’s such a beautifully curated shop for all of your kitchen needs … I certainly wish I could live in the actual website. Is that nerdy? Probably, but it’s just so well done!! Their product photography is also ON PAR, which is what I wanted to gush about today. Not only are the compositions great, but these shots are working – let me tell ya – I want to buy everything.
I am loving this branding for Burger Joint in Amman, Jordan by Warsheh (Workshop). It’s so cool how each thing they sell has it’s own mini logo going on, in interesting ways of depicting the ingredients. I’ll be honest, I’m one of those annoying designers who can’t help but judge a restaurant by it’s “cover.” I’ve been proven wrong many times, but something as well designed as this would definitely get me in the door so much quicker.
These meringues are simple to make, impressive to serve, and reasonably guilt-free to eat! The brown sugar in these meringues makes them taste like a lightly toasted marshmallow -
4 egg room-temperature egg whites
1 cup of lightly packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
The first rule of making meringues is that if any oil or yolk gets into the mixture, it won’t thicken up properly – so separate your eggs while they are cold to make the process less frustrating! Just before you get started, preheat your oven to 250/F. In a spotless glass or metal bowl, beat the egg whites slowly for about one minute – this will help those proteins to unravel and prevent a chunky meringue. Beat the egg whites at a higher speed until soft peaks form – and start adding in the sugar one tablespoon at a time until it’s all well incorporated. Add the salt and vanilla, and then continue to beat the meringue until stiff peaks form – when you lift the beater out of the mixture, it shouldn’t slump at all. It takes about 10-12 minutes to get to that point, but once you’re there you can be sure your meringues will hold their shape in the oven!
This part is entirely up to you – drop the mixture by spoonfuls, pipe little stars, or create fun new shapes (clouds, flowers) onto a silicone baking mat. The meringues in the photo were about the size of a half-dollar, and that is a good size for making sure the meringues cook all the way through. Place your baking sheet in the oven for 70 minutes and leave the meringues in the oven for about 20 minutes afterwards to prevent cracking. You can then eat them on their own, use them as a decorative edible on a fruity dessert (top a peach pie with them!), or dip them in chocolate for a super fancy but small dessert bite. Store uneaten meringues in an airtight container in the coolest part of the kitchen – heat and moisture make these babies chewy and rather unpleasant to eat!
I’m feeling some chocolate dipped meringues with graham crackers on the top to mimic a little s’more.
→ By Abilgail Bradshaw, designer.