Monday, August 20, 2012

Amaretto Sandwich Cookies

I have a baking unrelated story to share today, so if you don't care you can just skip on down to bottom of the post. :)

I was abruptly awoken this morning by the other half, flying into the bedroom flipping on all the lights and yelling that his car was stolen. He was right, the car was gone, and I hadn't even gotten to ride in it yet being that he had just purchased it on Friday and had gone out of town for the weekend. So I had to start my day with phone calls to credit cards and such because he had already put his gym bag in the trunk with his wallet in it, all of this before even having my first cup of coffee. Whoa. The officer ended up showing up to make the police report while we were left to figure out what to do with him being carless. Insurance takes care of a rental car so we were soon on our way to pick up a rental car until they either found his car or he bought another. Of course we found out after waiting for 15 minutes that he couldn't rent a car without a valid id, duh! what were we thinking? So off to the good ol' dps we went to get him his temporary id. After about a lovely hour long stay there we were back on our way to the friendly rental car place, that's when they called us. The SAPD had already found the car and they wanted us to meet them to pick it up, luckily for us it had a lojack system on it. We met them at a rundown apartment complex on a questionable side of town, where we found the car's steering column all broken off and believe it or not the sun shade up. You know, you’ve got to have a cool car to joy ride in, even the car thieves have to beat the Texas heat. Back in the trunk where his gym bag was everything was rifled through, all but the one pocket that contained his wallet. We couldn't believe it, everything was still there, cash and all! Whew, what a day.

Now to get back on topic....I love love love the smell of almond extract. I remember back when I was too young to drink, before I had a palate for wine or beer, I loved amaretto. That sweet nutty flavor was delicious and I put it in everything. Even though now it's a little too sweet for my taste to go and order an amaretto sour, I still love the smell and flavor, especially in baked goods. So this is an ode to one of my favorite flavors. What's your favorite flavor?

The cookie is soft and chewy, and with amaretto and almond extract in the batter it really shines though. The filling is a smooth buttercream spiked with amaretto, and for a little texture I added some of the almond flour (finely ground almonds), which I think gives it a little more of a nutty kick.

Amaretto Sandwich Cookies

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups almond flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 tbsp amaretto
2 tsp almond extract

1.  In a large bowl sift together all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, then whisk in almond flour.

2.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until fluffy.

3.  Beat in eggs one at a time until incorporated, and then add almond extract and amaretto. Add the flour mixture and mix until just incorporated. Cover and chill for 1 hour.

4.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with silpat or parchment paper. Place a tablespoon of dough 2in apart.

5.  Bake until the cookies are golden around the edges, about 13 minutes. Let cool on baking sheets for 10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack.

Amaretto Buttercream
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp almond flour (which is finely ground almonds)
3 tbsp amaretto
2 tsp vanilla
Pinch salt

1.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a whisk attachment, cream butter until smooth.

2.  Add powdered sugar and almond flour a little at a time until combined.

3.  Then add salt, amaretto, and vanilla. Beat until smooth.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Sopapilla Cheesecake

I've got an easy one for you.

(Didn't get the best photos, took it to work so photos are snapped
 from there, but it doesn't make it any less delicious.)

The first time I ever heard of sopapilla cheesecake was this last year at the other half's company Christmas party. They had a dessert contest where this dessert won. By the time I had made my way to the dessert table there was none of it left for me to try. (I know, you think I'd be there first one there, but I was in public, I couldn't just run over like a crazed five year old trying to get her sugar fix). Of course the one that won was one of those super easy desserts, not the complicated recipes that takes hours to make. All the better, right? It's got a light pastry crust, then the creamy cheesecake layer, then a crispier pastry top that is topped with cinnamon sugar. Yum, yummy!

Sopapilla Cheesecake

2 (8oz) packages cream cheese
2 cans crescent dough roll sheet
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup cinnamon sugar (mix 1/2 cup sugar and 1 tbsp cinnamon)

1.  Using a 9 x 13 baking pan, unroll one package crescent roll dough and line the bottom of the pan.

2.  Mix together the cream cheese, sugar, egg, and extract and spread over the crescent roll dough.

3.  Unroll the other can of crescent roll dough and place on top of cream cheese mixture.

4.  Pour one stick of melted butter over the top and sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar mixture.

5.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

It's a Pillsbury recipe. See the original recipe here!


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