Holiday Sweets with a Touch of Health
Just in time for the long holiday weekend, here are plenty of delectable treats to enjoy with family and friends. All recipes are featured here on Bon Appetit online. They asked me to develop 10 holidays sweets that had a dash of health whisked in...and then had Nicole Franzen take photos so gorgeous, they'll have you breaking out mixing bowls and cookie sheets ASAP. Gluten-free bourbon balls, antioxidant-rich dark chocolate cherry biscotti, uber-rich (and bite-sized) kahula-walnut brownies, and my fave of the bunch, olive oil shortbread with orange zest and fennel dipped in dark chocolate...just to name a few. Here's to a very happy holiday and healthy new year!
Olive Oil Shortbread with Orange Zest and Fennel Dipped in Dark Chocolate
Serves :: 24 cookies
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
Zest of 1 orange
1/4 cup clear sanding sugar
8 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (optional)
flaky sea salt (optional)
Whisk flour, powdered sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat butter in a large bowl until creamy. With mixer running, slowly pour in olive oil; mix well, then gradually add sugar and vanilla extract. Mix well. Stir in fennel and orange zest. Slowly stir in flour mixture until just blended. Form dough into a ball and divide in half. Roll each half into a 6"-long log, making sure log is square-edged rather than rounded. Wrap logs in plastic and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Arrange racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat to 325°. Unwrap dough logs. Spread out sanding sugar on a piece of parchment paper and roll each log in sugar until sides are well coated. Cut each log into 1/3"-thick rounds. Place rounds about 1/2" apart on baking sheets. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until golden brown, 18–20 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks and let cool.
Place chocolate in a bowl set over a medium saucepan of simmering water. Stir until melted. Dip half of each shortbread into chocolate, if desired. Sprinkle sea salt lightly over the chocolate-dipped portion that faces up. Place dipped cookies on parchment paper and chill until chocolate is set, about 10 minutes.
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