December 13, 2013: Toffee Grahams AND Gevulde Koeken



I’m tired. I think I need a vacation from my vacation.

(I know, life is so rough.)

First of all, New York was amazing. It was a whirlwind tour; so much packed into three days. We went to two tapings of The Chew, where Carla Hall danced with me, tried on my glasses, and also broke up a fight between me and Disgruntled Husband over a cookie she made. It was kind of awesome.

This is a horrible picture of me, but hey, it’s with Carla Hall!

So now I’m back and back to work, as well as back to baking cookies. I have a couple days to make up, so today is going to be a two-fer!

First up: Toffee Grahams!
These are so easy, even JDub could make them. Seriously, if you can go to a grocery store and boil something, you can make this. 
I’m not kidding.

Line up the grahams, check. Boil butter and brown sugar, check.

After it’s boiled two minutes, you pour it on the graham crackers and sprinkle with nuts. Then it goes in the oven.

After 10 minutes, it comes out and cools. Then you cut it. If I would let my children play with natural gas and natural gas items, they could make this.
Honestly, the hardest part of this recipe is cutting the pieces up. I think it took me longer to do than actually making it.
And a word of warning: No matter how much you want to, do NOT try to eat one until it’s completely  cooled. I’m talking, next morning. A warm piece of Toffee Grahams has the potential to rip out a filling. Just ask my dentist.
Toffee Grahams
(from Gooseberry Patch’s Old Fashioned Country Cookies)
24 square graham crackers
2 sticks butter
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 325. Arrange cracker squares on a lightly greased cookie sheet with edges around it. In a saucepan, bring the butter and sugar to a boil and boil for 2 minutes. Pour over crackers, covering them well. Sprinkle with nuts and bake for about 10 minutes. Cool slightly and cut into 24 squares or 48 “fingers.”
Cookies today: 48
Cookies so far: 733 and a batch of mints
Gevulde Koeken
This cookie is courtesy of my new Dutch friend Anne, who wrote the name of these down on a napkin at the local watering hole last week. What? You don’t go to bars and talk about cookies?
Now, I love almond, and these are all about the almond-y goodness. According to the web site where I got this recipe, Gevulde Koeken are as popular in The Netherlands as Chocolate Chip Cookies are here. So I hope I did it justice.
I mixed up the dry ingredients and then cut in the butter. By the way, it’s a lot easier to cut in butter –especially large quantities–if you cut up the butter first.

I added the cold water, and watched it do…nothing. In the end, I had to add about twice as much water than it called for. Maybe even three times as much. But eventually, it came together.

Into the fridge it went while I mixed up the filling. I had to buy almond paste, which must be made from 14K almonds, because this stuff is expensive.

I took a picture of this because of my high level of maturity.

Once I mixed up the the filling, I took out the dough and rolled half of it. Now, my recipe says to use the rim of a canning jar. Well, gosh oh golly gee, I’m fresh out. So this would have to do:

Yes, that’s my cocktail shaker.
I cut out the bottoms, then added the filling. Then I put the tops on and carefully mashed them down on the edges.

I brushed them with an egg mixture, threw on a single slivered almond, and baked them for half an hour. 

But, they only made 10. So I hope my first 10 friends really enjoy them!

Gevulde Koeken

For the dough:

2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup of sugar

1 scant teaspoon of baking powderpinch of salt1 tablespoon of cold water1 3/4 stick of butter

For the filling:1 cup of almond paste2 tablespoons of sugar1 egg white2 tablespoons of water1 teaspoon of almond extract

For brushing:1 egg yolk1 tablespoon of milk8 sliced or whole almonds

Mix the dry ingredients and cut the butter into the dough, until it has the consistency of wet sand. Add a tablespoon of icecold water and knead the dough into a cohesive whole, making sure all the butter is well mixed in. Pat into an oval, cover with plastic film and refrigerate while you make the paste.

Now crumble up the almond paste and beat it with the rest of the ingredients foamy and thick. If you think it’s too runny, add a tablespoon of flour, but not more. 

Set your oven to 350F and turn it on. Take the dough out of the fridge, cut it in half and roll one half out, to about 1/8 of an inch and cut out eight rounds. I use the canning ring for a wide mouth jar, it’s approximately eight inches across. Roll the other half out and cut another eight rounds (or more of course!). Place one huge heaping teaspoon of almond paste mix in the middle of one cookie, place a second round on top and carefully seal the edges. You can do this with a fork or gently tapping it with your finger. 

When all are done, place them on a parchment lined baking sheet or on a silicone mat. Beat the egg yolk with the milk and brush the top of the cookies, then place an almond on top. Bake for about thirty minutes or until golden.

Cookies today: 10
Cookies so far: 743 and a batch of mints

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