Toffee Almond Shortbread Cookies

Toffee Almond Shortbread

Toffee Almond Shortbread

Shortbread is a traditional teatime cookie, native to Scotland, but loved by everyone.  You know when you have a fine one because they snap crisply,  the butter flavor is intense, and they melt in your mouth.  There’s no need for any extra ingredients, the bare minimum is what these cookies are all about, letting you experience that wonderful butter flavor.

IMG_6961

Ordinarily I don’t add anything to a shortbread cookie, but this recipe calls for finely diced toasted almonds, and toffee bits that have been crushed sightly.  The toffee is not readily apparent when the cookie is baked,  but it does intensify the butter flavor, and the almonds just add a little texture to an otherwise smooth dough. To finish them off I sprinkled the tops with multicolored pink-green sanding sugar.

IMG_6967

By using a cookie cutter that is no more than 2-inches, you will get about 30 cookies.  My square cutter is 1 1/2-inches and I got 37 cookies.  They are small bites, just right for a light finish to a meal, to put on a dessert table, or to go with a cup of tea or coffee.

TOFFEE ALMOND SHORTBREAD COOKIESIMG_6958

Yield:   about 30 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1  1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup, (1 stick) butter
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped toasted almonds
  • 2 tablespoons toffee pieces, slightly crushed  I used Heath Toffee Bits.
  • pink and green coarse decorating sugar

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 325*F.  Baking sheets may be lined with parchment paper, or use un-greased.

2.  Combine flour and brown sugar in a bowl.  Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter, or rub the butter with your fingertips until the mixture looks like fine crumbs, and starts to cling together.

3.  Stir in the almonds and toffee bits.

4.  Bring the mixture together into a ball ( with your hands is best), and gently knead until smooth.

5.  Turn out onto a floured surface, roll out to about 1/4-inch thick. Using your cookie cutter, stamp out as many as are possible.  Gather the trimmings, roll out again, and press out more cookies.  Repeat until all the dough has been used.

Roll out to 1/4-inch thickness, cut with cookie cutters.

Roll out to 1/4-inch thickness, cut with cookie cutters.

 

Transfer to parchment lined  baking sheet.

Transfer to parchment lined baking sheet and sprinkle with sugar.

6.  Put the shortbread on the prepared baking sheets, sprinkle with decorating sugar, and bake for 10 – 12 minutes until bottoms are starting to brown and the edges are firm.  Transfer to cooling racks to cool completely.  Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

IMG_6961

Intensely butter flavored, they melt in your mouth.

Intensely butter flavored, they melt in your mouth.

SOURCE:  Better Homes and Gardens

 

Advertisements

Marbled Stuffed Potatoes

Marbled Stuffed Potatoes

These twice baked potatoes are called marbled because they also contain sweet potato that is mixed with the baked russet potatoes.  They make a colorful addition to any meal.  I prepared them to go along with the smoked tuna I described yesterday.  I have long known how to make them and don’t really have a recipe,  but this is the way I usually prepare them.

MARBLED STUFFED POTATOES

SERVINGS:   4        To make more just adjust the ingredients accordingly.  For every 4 russets use 1 sweet potato.

  • 4 large russet potatoes
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar chees
  • pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste

1.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Pierce each potato in several places and place directly on the oven rack.  Bake for 1 hour, or until tender.  Let cool slightly.

2.  Peel the sweet potato.  Transfer to a bowl and mash lightly with a fork until almost smooth.

Cut a slice off the top of each russet potato, lengthwise.  Scoop out most of the flesh, leaving the shell intact.  To the white potato, add the sour cream and butter and mix in.  Add the scallions, 1/2 cup cheese , nutmeg, 1 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste.

Gently fold in the sweet potato.

3.  Season the potato shells with salt and pepper.  Generously fill with the potato mixture and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

4.  Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees.  Place the stuffed potatoes on a baking sheet or baking dish and bake until they are heated through and the cheese is melted, about 25 – 30 minutes.

Marbled Stuffed Potatoes

MMMMM….mmmmmm!  These are so good !   Give them a try real soon.  I’m sure you will like them.

Red Velvet “Soda Can” Cupcakes

The end of June and beginning of July has been a very busy time with parties to celebrate various milestones within our family and  with friends.  I’ve already told you about my granddaughter’s graduation party and what I baked for that.  Today’s blog is about cupcakes that I made for a friend’s 20th anniversary in professional practice; and  since it is right around the Fourth of July, I went with the Patriotic theme.

I have been reading recently in some of the blogs I follow about a quick way to make a cake or cupcakes using nothing more than a boxed cake mix and a can of soda.  Really?  That’s what I said!  So I tried it and found out they come out really moist and kind of chewy;  The texture is not as fine as a cake’s, but for a cupcake I really liked that.  The cake and soda combo I used was Red Velvet Cake Mix and Cherry Coke.  I think it will be fun to try some other flavor combinations such as lemon cake with Sierra Mist or lemon and lime soda. So many possibilities.  If you haven’t heard about this until now, try it.  It’s a novel idea whose time has come.

For the frosting on my cupcakes, I wanted white, so I made a simple cream cheese and butter cream frosting, piped on with a large star decorating tip.  Then I sprinkled them with a “stars and stripes” sprinkle mix and topped each one with a tiny flag.  So Cute!

This is all you need:  a boxed cake mix and an 8 oz can of room temperature soda.  I poured that amount from a full-size bottle, because I couldn’t find the cans.

This is what it looks like when you start to mix it up.

Use a whisk to mix it up, working out most of the lumps.

Line muffin cups with liners and fill 1/2 – 2/3s full. Do not overfill.

After baking. I got a total of 17 cupcakes, could have gotten 18, by making them a tad bit smaller.

FROSTING:

4 ounces cream cheese

6 tablespoons butter

2 cup confectioners’ sugar

To make the frosting, put the cream cheese and butter in small bowl of mixer and blend together to cream.  Sift in the sugar and continue beating until smooth and creamy.  If you plan to pipe it on with a decorating tip, it needs to be quite stiff.   I refrigerated my frosting a bit after mixing just to get it stiff enough to decorate with.  Unless you are serving the cupcakes right away, it is wise to refrigerate them to prevent frosting melt in this warm weather.

Really Cute! They tasted as good as they looked.

SOURCE:  Thanks to Cookiesandcups.com

Have a happy and safe Fourth of July, everyone.

Sirloin Tips with Butter Sauce

 

There are times when I want to prepare a tender cut of beef,  but using our gas grille is not feasible (it’s raining outside, or too cold); or I do not want to use the oven or broiler ( it’s too hot to turn on the oven).  That’s when I turn to this recipe.   You can prepare a very delicious steak, or any other tender cut of beef very quickly.   I particularly like sirloin tips, but I’ve made it with Hanger steak, and with a sirloin steak, and they have all been wonderful.  This requires only  a few ingredients.

In addition to the meat of your choice, have ready:

  • 1 large or 2 small shallots, chopped fine
  • 2 tablespoons cold butter
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley

Preheat a large fry pan to very hot.  Do not spray or oil the pan.  A hot pan is required to quickly sear the surface of the meat and seal in the juices.  Add the steak to the dry pan, and cook 4-5 minutes/side.  Turn once only. Cooking time is dependent on your preference for rare, versus more will-done.

Remove meat from pan to a platter.  Season with salt and pepper, and cover with foil to keep warm.

Into the hot pan add chopped shallots, and the butter.  Saute, and scrape up browned bits.  Add the lemon juice, chopped parsley, and any juices which have drained from the hot steak.  Warm through, pour over steak, and serve.

SOURCE:  Cook’s Illustrated