Chocolate Stuffed Almond Cookies

Chocolate Stuffed Marzipan Cookies

Chocolate Stuffed Marzipan Cookies

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.

Chocolate Stuffed Almond Cookies

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

1 dozen

Ingredients

5 ounces almond paste
½ cup butter, softened (1 stick)
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
3 oz of your favorite Dark Chocolate (recommended: Dove)

Instructions

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

Almond Chocolate Cookies

Looking for a great charity to donate to this season? Check out Cookies for Kids Cancer

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Chocolate Chestnut Slices

Chocolate Chestnut Slices

Chocolate Chestnut Slices

Chocolate and chestnut, what a pair! As mentioned by Nat King Cole in The Christmas Song, Chestnuts roasting on an open fire are a holiday favorite. But over the years, chestnuts seem to have become less and less prominent. Frequently seen at most street carts around New York during the holidays, I have yet to find one this year. Maybe because most Chestnuts now come from Asia or maybe it’s just the trend life cycle. A whole article could easily be written on the history of chestnuts. I’m just here to share this delicious chocolate chestnut slices recipe.

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Stroopwafel House Mug Toppers

Stroopwafel House Mug Topper

Stroopwafel House Mug Topper

I’m not usually the DIY type but how cute are these?! They have little to do with classic recipes (or the focus of my blog) but I couldn’t help sharing these stroopwafel non-gingerbread gingerbread house mug toppers. The name isn’t the only mouthful – these little houses are made from stroopwafel, the caramel cookie often used as a hot beverage accompaniment (learn more about stroopwafels in this cool Huffpost article). These round dutch cookies sit on top of your tea or coffee mug. The steam softens the caramel center, creating an ooey gooey sweet treat. Alone, they are a tasty complement to hot coffee, tea, or even hot cocoa. As a stroopwafel mini mug topper house, they just might be the cutest (yet functional) holiday mug topper ever. Yes, ever. Even the chimney works – if you look closely at the photo you can see the steam coming out. :)

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Soft Gingerbread Drop Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting

Soft Gingerbread Drop Cookies

Soft. Gingerbread. Drop Cookies. Need I say more?

Most of us think of gingerbread as cut out shapes or decorated houses. The idea of mixing, chilling, rolling, cutting, baking, and finally decorating gingerbread cookies may seem overwhelming. How can you make gingerbread less of an event but still have that great nostalgic spiced molasses cookie taste? Soft gingerbread drop cookies with cream cheese icing, of course.

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Ginger Almond Sandwich Cookies

Ginger Almond Sandwich Cookies

Ginger Almond Sandwich Cookies

There is no shortage of cookie recipes this time of year. Everyone seems to have a favorite type of cookie or baking tradition that they don’t normally stray from during the holidays. I am no different. I have few really good cookie recipes that I repeat for special occasions. A recipe has to be both special and scrumptious to make it into that repeat category. But this year, I used a familiar good cookie recipe and promoted it to an amazing one by creating these sandwich cookies. These are delicious cookies. Seriously. After taking just one bite, a friend commented “you should sell these,” and he doesn’t even like dessert.

Ginger is an obvious go to flavor this time of year and I’ve been making these tasty almond cookies from “The Art of Fine Baking” for a few holidays now. I even shared the popular recipe in culinary school when we were required to make a gourmet buffet of sorts. Molasses, cinnamon, cloves, and ground ginger provide these buttery cookies with a rich spicy kick. Sliced almonds add a tender crunch to the soft (but not gooey or crumbly) finished cookies. Since the dough (if you don’t eat most of it first) is formed into a log, chilled, and then sliced into even symmetrical rounds, these are easy candidates for sandwiches. Lemony butter cream was the logical choice to help balance the strong spices that accent the deep molasses flavor. Piping this sweet cream onto the cookies proved surprisingly quick. I had to stop myself from eating each cookie sandwich as I made them.

It’s easy to fall back into the same habits and bake the same desserts every holiday season but without trying anything different, you may never establish your next favorite baking tradition. This is the lesson I’m learning…as I gobble down another gingery lemon scented sandwich cookie.

Ingredients:

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup molasses
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups sliced almonds
3 1/4 cups all purpose flour

Lemon Buttercream
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Cream butter and sugar. Add egg, molasses, spices, baking soda, and almonds. Mix in flour. Form dough into two logs about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Chill for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease or line baking sheets with parchment paper. Slice dough logs 1/4 inch thick and place slices on prepared baking sheets about 1 inch apart. Bake 8-10 minutes or until just lightly browned.

While cookies cool, make the lemon cream:

Beat butter with sugar in an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Mix in zest, lemon juice, and vanilla.

When cookies are cool, fill a piping bag with lemon cream and pipe an even layer of cream on half the cookies. Top each cream filled cookie with a plain one to create sandwiches.

Yield approximately 30

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