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Sunday, October 27, 2013

Dulce de Leche- Thumbprint Cookies

Oh these are such wonderful cookies you really need to bake some up. ok I couldn't decide which cookie to make so I made some of each with the variety of nuts

½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg
½ tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp salt
1 1/3 cups all-purpose
1 egg white
1 tsp water
1 ½ cups salted cashews, chopped
1 ½-2 cups dulce de leche (depending on how much you fill)

Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Add egg, vanilla extract, and salt to creamed mixture. Beat on low speed until fully combined.
Add in flour, beat on low until fully combined. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Using a fork, beat together egg white and water in a small bowl. Place cashews in a separate bowl.
Remove dough from fridge and shape into 1-inch balls. Dip balls in egg white, allowing excess to drip off. Roll dough balls in cashews to coat.
Transfer cookies to the prepared baking sheets, spacing cookies 2-inches apart. Using a 1-tsp measure, or your thumb, make an indentation in each cookie.
Bake cookies, one sheet at a time, until the edges are set, 12-13 minutes. I like to at this time repress my thumb or tsp measure to make the indentation really big in the cookie when the cookies come out of the oven. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack.
When cookies are cool, fill the cookies by piping dulce de leche into the indentations.
Adapted from Cuisine at Home Magazine Special Production: Holiday Baking

Pecan Polvorones with Dulce de Leche

1 ½ cups (5.25 ounces) pecans
1/3 cup (2.33 ounces) sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened and cut into chunks
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk (optional)
2 cups (9 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour

2/3 cup (4.625 ounces) firmly packed dark muscovado sugar
1/3 cup heavy cream
Scant 1/8 teaspoon salt

1. Pulse the nuts in a food processor until most are finely ground and the largest pieces are about ¼ inch. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
2. Wipe the processor bowl with a paper towel to remove excess oil from the nuts. Add the sugar and salt and process until fine and powdery. Add the butter, vanilla and egg yolk, if using, and pulse until the mixture is smooth. Add the flour and pulse until the dough starts to clump together. Add the nuts and pulse just until combined. Transfer the dough to a bowl and knead it by hand briefly to make sure it is evenly mixed.
3. Shape the dough into 1-inch balls (0.5 ounce each) and place them slightly apart on a plate or tray big enough to hold all the balls yet small enough to fit in your refrigerator. Press the handle of a wooden spoon dipped in flour (or your finger) into each ball to form a depression. Cover and chill the cookies for at least 2 hours, and preferably overnight.
4. Preheat the oven to 325⁰F. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven.
5. Remove the cookies from the refrigerator and place them 1 inch apart on the lined or ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, until the cookies are lightly colored on top and light golden brown on the bottom. Rotate the pans from top to bottom and from front to back halfway through the baking time to ensure even baking. Cool cookies completely.
6. To make the filling: while the cookies are cooling, combine the muscovado sugar with the cream and salt in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over low heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Boil gently for about 2 minutes without stirring. Cool the sauce briefly.
7. Spoon a little filling into the depression in each cookie. Allow the filling to cool completely. May be stored in airtight container for at least a week.

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