Sunday, December 16, 2012

Labbits Like: Eggnog & Almond Cookies

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...because it's finally snowing in southern Vermont, the kind of snow that actually sticks. The snowfall put Clover in a cheerful mood. She's looking forward to all her favorite Christmas things, like decorating the tree, finding fun, unexpected gifts, artfully wrapping the presents, and of course, there's the food. Eggnog is a creamy, frothy, dairy based drink that is sweetened, often spiced, and...often spiked! Whipped up eggs give it its frothy-ness, nutmeg and cinnamon give it spiciness, and rum, bourbon, brandy or whiskey will give it some kick.

These spiced cookies are rolled in almonds and baked with a little well created by your thumb or a spoon handle. The well is then filled with an eggnog inspired mix of milk, sugar and rum extract. You can roll the dough into little balls or press them into a more traditional thumbprint cookie shape. Either shape they are a tasty holiday treat! Print the recipe here.


Eggnog & Almond Cookies
Ingredients:
2/3 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, separated
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 cup finely ground almonds

Filling:
1/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup confectioner's sugar
1/4 tsp rum extract
2 tsp whole milk

Preparation:

Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.


Beat in egg yolks and vanilla. (Save the egg whites!)


Gradually stir in flour, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon. Roll into a large dough ball, wrap in plastic wrap and cool in the refrigerator for a half hour or until firm.

Meanwhile, there's a cup of almonds to be chopped. This is easy enough in a food processor, but if you want more of a workout, you can do it with a manual food chopper.


You'll have to do this in batches, but it can be fun. Just put some almonds in the chopper...









...and hop your way to finely chopped almonds! It really does take quite a bit of work though, so...eventually Clover gave up and used the food processor. It does a faster, much easier and less sweaty job of finely chopping almonds.


Yes, that's how we want them!


Preheat oven to 350°F. In a small bowl, whisk the egg whites until frothy.


Oooh, that's a fuzzy picture. Apologies!
Take some dough in your clean paws and roll into either a 1.5" ball or a thick disc shape about 1.5" in diameter. Dip dough in egg whites, then roll in almonds.  Place on a baking sheet lined with lightly greased parchment paper, spaced 2 inches apart.

Clover's first batch was Eggnog Balls. The second and third batches were thumbprint cookie shape.

With your paw, your thumb, or the handle of a wooden spoon, make a little 1/2" dip in the center of the ball or cookie.

Bake at 350°F for 12-13 minutes or until the center is set. Allow to cool slightly before transferring to a plate.


For the filling, cream together the butter, confectioner's sugar, rum extract and eggnog or milk. Fill a pastry bag (or a ziploc bag with the corner snipped off) with the filling. Pipe enough filling to fill the indent and create a small mound on top of the cookie. Sprinkle with nutmeg or cinnamon, and serve!

Yields: 3 dozen cookies

Recipe: Adapted from Taste of Home Cooking

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