Monday, August 31, 2009
I didn't bake over the weekend...don't know why, just had a lot of other things to do. Fall is around the corner and I like to go through closets and get rid of anything I haven't worn or as the case may be, never get into again! But this morning, I am back to baking. It really is the best thing to do; create something that you know will please all the special someones in your life. My idea to turn the Neopolitan recipe into my own idea of Spumoni cookies worked out beautifully and I'm happy to share the recipe. Let me know if you make these up and what you think.
1 cup unsalted butter
1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. Vanilla extract (I used Sonoma Syrup Co. Special Blend-Vanilla Bean Extract Crush; it has little specks of vanilla bean in it)
1/4 tsp. salt
2 1/2 cups All-purpose flour
Once the basic dough is made up, I divided it into thirds and weighed them to come up with 11-ounces for each portion. (Owning a kitchen scale is a vital piece of equipment I wouldn't do without).
Pistachio Layer: 1/4 tsp. almond extract, 1/3 cup finely chopped pistachios, and 2-3 drops of green food coloring (for effect)
Cherry Layer: 1/4 tsp. LorAnn Gourmet Washington Cherry flavoring, 1/3 cup finely chopped maraschino cherries (I dried the cherries really well on paper toweling to remove any excess juice)
Chocolate Layer: 1 3/4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped, melted in the microwave, and cooled slightly, 1/2 tsp. Chocolate extract
After making the Cherry Layer, I did put the dough in the freezer for 5 to 7 minutes to firm up before layering it on top of the Pistaschio Layer.
I lined my 5" x 9" loaf pan with aluminum foil. I feel the foil gave a more accurate mold as compared to the original recipe calling for waxed paper. I layered the Pistaschio first, then, the Cherry, and finally, the Chocolate. Refrigerate the mold for at least 2 hours or overnight. Here's another hint: After you unmold the dough and cut it in half, horizontally, it can be wrapped in plastic wrap and placed in a freezer bag and stored for up to 6 months. Wouldn't it be great when the cookie-monster in you or your kids showed through, you can grab one of the doughs and bake them up?
Slice the dough into 1/4-inch pieces and bake in a 350-degree oven for 10-12 minutes. Watch the first batch to check for a slight golden brown...don't overbake.
My mother used to bake refrigerator cookies all the time. My favorite were the ones with nuts, but any of them were great. I love the crunchiness of refrigerator cookies. As you may have noticed, there's no baking powder or baking soda in this dough; in fact, it's almost similar to a Scottish shortbread, except there is an egg in the dough. The great thing about this dough is all the combinations you can come up with. I can't wait to try other ingredients. I'm thinking maybe an "Almond Joy" kind of cookie...chocolate layer, coconut layer, and almond layer or Reese's Peanut butter Cup. Let your imagination and creativity go wild!