We just finished the coldest Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade on record here in New York City so that means it’s now officially the holiday season and COLD. I haven’t posted in just about 2 years but something about this fall meets winter time of year gets me in the baking and sharing mood. So to break my hiatus, I’m sharing these easy yet crave-worthy super soft Chocolate Stuffed Almond Cookies.
Cookies are probably the easiest dessert to bake and share with friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, and really anyone during the holiday season. They are the classic go-to for festive baking and it seems very few people will turn down a good cookie. Even that friend that’s constantly on some new healthy diet will make an exception and at least break off a little piece of one. Then there are those of us who have a hard time stopping at 2 or 3 cookies, especially ones that contain gooey chocolate and almond paste, a taste commonly associated with Marzipan this time of year. The almond paste makes these chewy delights just festive enough to pass as holiday cookies but not so festive that you wouldn’t be able to enjoy a batch whenever you please.
You’re probably more accustomed to seeing marzipan in the shape of fruits or maybe occasionally stuffed in chocolate, especially in Germany or perhaps Belgium. But these Chocolate Stuffed Almond Cookies offer a fluffy chewy texture that is often lacking in plain sugary marzipan sweets. Fresh out of the oven, these have that same lovely almond flavor associated with marzipan, but a more balanced sweetness and light almost cake-like exterior that hides a gooey chocolate surprise.
Happy Cookie Baking! And Eating!
Chocolate Stuffed Almond Cookies
5 ounces almond paste
½ cup butter, softened (1 stick)
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
3 oz of your favorite Dark Chocolate (recommended: Dove)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Break or chop the almond paste up into small pieces. Mix the almond paste with the butter in a large mixing bowl until combined.
Add sugars and mix until creamy. Add the eggs and the vanilla extract. Mix until smooth.
Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl. Add to the butter sugar mixture and stir until just combined.
Chill 15-30 minutes. Meanwhile break the chocolate into roughly ¾-1 inch pieces.
Take a heaping spoonful of dough and flatten in the center. Place a piece of chocolate in the center of the dough ball and fold the dough over the top to completely cover the chocolate. Place onto the parchment-lined baking sheet.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the cookies are just turning golden brown on the edges and just starting to turn golden on top but still appear soft.
Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes. Serve warm!
Makes about 1 dozen
Looking for a great charity to donate to this season? Check out Cookies for Kids Cancer
This classic Italian Christmas bread you see in those funny shaped boxes in just about every supermarket this time of year, is somewhat of a holiday staple. I’ve never been a huge fan of Panettone, but it’s hard to resist this rich sweet bread hot from the oven. It’s a fairly simple recipe that yields impressive results. In the original recipe from “The Art of Fine Baking,” my grandmother says to use the “extra-rich coffee cake dough” which calls for 12 eggs. Since I’m always a little apprehensive about recipes that use more than 8 eggs, I decided to use just the basic coffee cake dough recipe which uses a moderate 6 eggs instead. The result was perfectly satisfying- as I said, it’s hard to resist warm rich raisin bread right from the oven. Happy Holidays!
Basic Coffee Cake Dough or Extra-Rich Coffee Cake Dough
1 1/2 cups additional all-purpose flour (if using the extra rich coffee cake dough)
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup black raisins
2/3 cup diced candied citron
1/4 cup melted butter
If using Extra-Rich Coffee Cake Dough, follow recipe and add enough additional flour to make a fairly firm dough. Otherwise, follow Basic Coffee Cake Dough recipe.
After dough has risen, knead in raisins and candied citron. Do not handle dough more than necessary after fruit has been added, or it will turn gray.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease Panettone holders or grease a large baking sheet. Divide dough in half. Shape each piece into a ball. Place balls into Panettone holders or space well apart on greased baking sheets and enclose with a 5-inch collar made of greased heavy brown paper. Secure collars by pinning them (if necessary).
Let dough rise until almost double in bulk. Brush with melted butter. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees. Continue baking 30-40 minutes longer, brushing twice more with melted butter. Bake until golden brown.
Adapted from “The Art of Fine Baking,” by Paula Peck.
This festive cookie recipe from “The Art of Fine Baking” was actually recommended by a few of you readers. Lightly spiced but with a brightness from the lemon zest, they are the perfect alternative for ginger cookies. Cut them in whatever shapes you like and eat them with or without icing. This versatile cookie can be served for dessert, with tea, as a fix for that sudden sugar craving, or even left out with a glass of milk for Santa. I may just have to make this a new holiday baking tradition.
1 cup unsalted butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup
2/3 cup maple syrup or honey
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon dark rum
4 1/2 cups sifted all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon cinnamon
frosting or icing of your choice (optional)
Cream butter with sugar. Add syrups, lemon zest, and rum. Mix well. Add flour mixed with salt, baking soda, and spices. This should make a soft dough.
Chill dough until firm enough to roll.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour baking sheets.
On a well-floured cloth, roll dough very thin (less than 1/8 inch, if possible). Cut into desired shapes. Transfer cookies to baking sheets with a spatula. Bake 8-10 minutes, or until cookies are puffed and lightly browned. Cool and frost (if using icing or frosting).
Yield: approximately 9 dozen