Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Spitzbuben (Sandwich Cookies)

I made these cookies with my son this year as part of his Kulture Project for German I class. He is really enjoying German. It is a very logical language or so he tells me. We made a double batch of these because we had to send 2-1/2 dozen to school. They are really very pretty cookies and they are also quite tasty. In my opinion, the most difficult part was straining the jam.  Straining the jam was a pain in the neck and we lost quite a bit of jam because of the straining. Next time I will definitely purchase seedless raspberry jam and I may try putting the apricot jam into a food processor rather than trying to strain it. Of course, you can use other types of jam. I think the original German recipe calls for red currant jelly. Some recipes call for hazelnut and almond in the dough but I couldn't do that because my son is allergic to nuts. The original German recipe for these cookies requires adding rum and lemon juice but we couldn't add rum to the cookies we were sending to school.  Actually, his teacher said it was okay because it would be cooked out but I wasn't about to do that. We dusted the tops of our cookies with powdered sugar as you can see from the photo. I purchased a box of Linzer cookie cutters to make these whereas I read that other people have used a fluted cutter to make the cookie and a small Chrismas cutter to make the peek-a-boo for the jam to peek through.  I thought it would be cute but my son would not do it.  Next time...

SPITZBUBEN (Little Rascals) Sandwich Cookies
Gourmet | December 2000
Yield: Makes about 5 dozen
Active time: 1 hr
total Time: 2-1/2 hr
For cookies:
·         3 cups all-purpose flour
·         1 1/4 cups confectioners sugar
·         1 tablespoon vanilla powder
·         3/4 teaspoon salt
·         2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter, softened
·         2 teaspoons powdered egg whites
·         2 tablespoons warm water
·         1/4 cup sanding or granulated sugar

For fillings:
·         1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam
·         1/2 cup apricot preserves, strained
Make cookies:
Sift together flour, confectioners sugar, vanilla powder, and salt.
Beat butter with an electric mixer until creamy. Mix in flour mixture at low speed just until blended. Form dough into a disk and chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, until firm, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 300°F.
Roll out dough slightly less than 1/4 inch thick on a lightly floured surface and cut out 1 1/2-inch rounds.
Arrange 1 inch apart on greased baking sheets. Reroll scraps once (cookies become tough if dough is worked too much). Whisk together powdered egg whites and water. Brush cookies with egg whites and sprinkle with sanding sugar.
Bake cookies in batches in middle of oven until pale golden, 10 to 15 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool.

Fill cookies:
Sandwich jam and preserves between unsugared sides of cookies, filling half with raspberry and half with apricot.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Caramelized Butternut Squash

I made this squash because I read that butternut squash was good for people who have Crohn's Disease.  My son was diagnosed with Crohn's back in April.  I have to find things he enjoys eating but that won't cause a flare up for him.  This butternut squash recipe went over well with both of my boys.  I will definitely make it again.  It may appear on my Thanksgiving table, too.

Caramelized Butternut Squash
By Ina Garten


2 medium butternut squash (4 to 5 pounds total)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup light brown sugar, packed
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut off and discard the ends of each butternut squash.  Peel the squash, cut them in half lengthwise and remove seeds.  Cut the squash into 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 inch cubes and place them on a baking sheet.  Add the melted butter, brown sugar, salt and pepper.  With clean hands, toss all the ingredients together and spread in a single layer on the baking sheet.  Roast for 45 to 55 minutes, until the squash is tender and the glaze begins to caramelize.  While roasting, turn the squash a few times with a spatula, to be sure it browns evenly.  Taste for seasonings and serve hot.


The Creative Cook