By far his favorite is my faux madeleines – really nice sugar cookie dough baked in madeleine pans and dusted with powdered sugar – which he prefers to the actual little cakes made in the same pans. Much as he likes them, though, I worry about boredom setting in and him falling off the no-packaged-snacks wagon, so keep looking for alternates… I gotta say, cutting out chocolate (also a NoNo) makes it a challenge.
Enter Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins and their Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook, the sequel to the Silver Palate Cookbook, and this tasty little confection of dough and almonds and orange zest – tho’ I was out of oranges, so used clementine and lemon zest to bring the spritz of citrus.
I should note that this recipe more or less requires a food processor, but as with the Chicken Orloff, usage is planned so you only have to clean everything up once.
•1-1/2 cup flour
•1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
•9 tbsp cold butter, cut into pieces
•1 tbsp water
•2 cups ground almonds
•2/3 cup granulated sugar, plus more for dusting
•2 tbsp orange zest
•1/2 tsp almond extract
Process the flour, confectioners’ sugar, and cold, cold butter in the processor fitted with the metal blade until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
With the machine running, add the egg, and then the one tablespoon of water, by drops, JUST until the dough begins to pull into a ball. Wrap in Saran Wrap and chill for two hours.
Place the almonds, 2/3 cup granulated sugar, zest, and almond extract in the food processor and process to a coarse paste (mine wasn’t very paste-y – don’t know why).
Divide your chilled dough in two and roll out on waxed paper (or a floured surface) into a rectangle about 1/8 inch thick.
Sprinkle half the nut paste/mixture on to each dough rectangle and press firmly into the dough with your rolling pin. Roll up as tightly as possible, like a jelly roll.
Freeze the rolls on a tray for fifteen to twenty minutes to make them easier to slice.
Heat the oven to 350º.
Slice each roll 1/4 inch thick and arrange on parchment lined (or greased) cookie sheets (these babies won’t spread, so feel free to crowd the pans). You’ll get about 40 total.
Bake at 350º for eight to ten minutes (they’ll be lightly, LIGHTLY browned). Transfer immediately to a rack to cool.
Roll each cooled cookie in a shallow bowl of granulated sugar to coat – this step more or less makes the cookie, so don’t skip it.
This is a nice, not-too-too-sweet cookie – perfectly suited for tea or coffee (ermmm, or to bring the tin to the folk at work) – but the faux madeleines remain king of all baked treats in our house…