My sweet tooth usually craves a cookie, preferably a rich buttery shortbread. Next, I’d choose a thin slice of a decadent dark chocolate tart. Finally, I’m truly fond of eating a slice of a French pound cake with a hint of lemon and a hot cup of tea in the afternoon. Are you ready to bake? Here are my three favorite recipes.
I keep a stash of shortbread cookie dough in my refrigerator or freezer all the time. You’ll understand once you’ve made your first batch of these vanilla/almond shortbread hearts! Cut them into any shape that you like.
This Italian chocolate tart is unlike any I’ve tasted. The rich tender sweet crust compliments the filing of dark chocolate and heavy cream. Top the tart with toasted pine nuts and a dollop of whipped cream.
Alas, everyone loves pound cake. The recipe preparation may seem unorthodox, however the result is are worth following the steps. Bon sweet tooth appetit!
Vanilla Almond Shortbread Hearts(Yield about 3 dozen cookies)1 cup, (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup chopped toasted almonds To prepare:Working in the food processor fitted with the stainless steel blade, add butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and almond extracts and process until light and fluffy. Add salt, both types of flour and process until combined.
Transfer the dough to a gallon zip-lock bag. With a rolling pin, evenly roll the dough to the corners, seal the bag, slide it onto a flat baking sheet and refrigerate overnight until ready to bake.
To bake: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Place a rack in the center of the oven. Place the plastic bag on a flat surface and remove the top of the bag. With a cookie cutter or sharp knife, cut out the shortbreads and transfer them to an ungreased baking sheet. With a table fork gently poke the tines through the cookies until the tines hit the cookie sheet.
If desired, press a few chopped almonds into the tops of the cookies. Chill the sheet of cookies in the refrigerator or freezer until the dough is firm, about 10 minutes. Bake the shortbreads until they are firm and have a slight hint of brown on the edges, about 15 to 18 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool. Store in an airtight container and freeze.Dark Chocolate Crostata(11-inch tart serves 8) For the crust:
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into small pieces
2 large egg yolks
1 large egg
10 ounces bittersweet (70% cocoa) chocolate finely chopped
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/1 to 2 tablespoons honey
For the topping:
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted with a pinch of sea salt
About 1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped with zest
Grated lemon zest, to tasteTo prepare:Working in the food processor fitted with the stainless steel blade, add flour, powdered sugar, salt and pulse to mix. Add butter, egg yolks, and egg and blend until most clumps form. Transfer the dough to a flat surface, knead it into a ball and flatten it into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill the dough for 30 minutes or overnight.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to a 14-inch round disk. Transfer the dough to an 11-inch removable bottom tart pan. Cut off all but about 1/2 inch overhang. Fold the dough in pressing to form a double-thick side that extends a little above the rim. Refrigerate until set about 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the crust for 5 to 6 minutes. With a fork, press up the sides of the crust if it slips down. Continue baking, piercing with a fork if the crust bubbles, until golden brown, about 15 minutes longer. Cool on a rack until room temperature.
For the filling, place chocolate in a medium bowl. In a saucepan over moderate high heat, bring the cream to a simmer. Pour the cream over the chocolate, let sit for 2 to 3 minutes, then with a wire whisk, stir until absolutely smooth.
Whisk in honey. Pour the filling into the crust and chill until set, about 3 hours or overnight. To serve, sprinkle with pine nuts and top with a dollop of whipped cream.French Version Of Pound Cake(1 loaf cake) 6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Freshly grated nutmeg (about 13 grates)
1 1/4 cups cake flour To prepare:Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9” x 5” x 3” loaf pan and set aside.
Working with the electric mixer bowl, beat the butter until it becomes smooth and creamy. Transfer to a side bowl.
In a clean electric mixer bowl, add the eggs and beat until frothy, then with the beaters running, slowly add the sugar in a steady stream, add lemon zest, vanilla, and nutmeg. Increase the speed of the mixer and continue beating until the eggs are pale and fluffy about 5 to 6 minutes.
Meanwhile, measure out the cake flour and sift it onto waxed paper. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually but quickly sprinkle the flour into the batter until mixed.
Next, with a rubber scraper, quickly add the fluffy butter bit by bit, incorporating it into the egg mixture, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Immediately transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Smooth the top, and lightly tap the bottom to remove any air pockets. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center, about 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then unmold on a rack to completely cool.
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