Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Almond Horn Cookies

You Haven't Lived Until You Try One of These!

Almond horns are one of the loveliest cookies ever. And I don't use the word lovely too often. Something has to be pretty special for me to refer to it as lovely. So if you have never had an almond horn before, make sure you do so very soon.

You might be wondering why I feel these cookies are worthy of such accolades.

There are several reasons...
1. The texture. They are soft and pliable and melt in your mouth.
2. The almond flavor. Since almonds are one of my favorite nuts, I can't resist the pure unadulterated almond flavor.
3. The crunch. Not only do I love the soft chewy almond center of the cookie, but I also adore the crunch of the sliced almonds covering the outside of the cookie.
4. The chocolate, of course. It makes an amazing cookie-superb.

In closing, you may have to search far and high for one of these treasures, since not every bakery carries them. So I suggest making your own. Be prepared to spend a little extra on this cookie recipe, since it is primarily made with almond paste which is fairly expensive. With that said, it is one of the easiest cookie recipes to make and the outcome will be well worth your time. Believe me.

Almond Horns
recipe by

1 can (10 oz.) Love'n Bake ™ Almond Paste
¾ cup (5 ½ oz.) cups sugar
1 whole egg
Sliced natural almonds, as needed
½ cup apricot jam
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips, melted, optional

Preheat oven to 375º F degrees. On slow speed in a mixer with paddle attachment, mix the Love'n Bake ™ Almond Paste with the sugar. Gradually add the egg to create a smooth paste. Mix until well blended. Spread the sliced natural almonds out on a large plate. Scoop a scant ¼ cup of the dough and roll it in the almonds, forming each piece into a 3-inch log.(note: you will only get 9-10 cookies at this size, so I suggest making them 1/2 the size). Curve into a crescent shape and position on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until the cookies are lightly browned, for about 12 to 15 minutes.(Bake for 6-8 minutes for 1/2 size) While the cookies are baking, heat the apricot jam in a small pan or in the microwave oven until it is spreadable. Set aside. Remove the cookies from the oven then immediately brush each cookie with the melted jam. Cool the cookies on a wire rack then dip the ends into the melted chocolate if using.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Butternut Fennel Fettuccine

One For The Bookmark...
I made this a few weeks ago for a Sunday dinner and it was really delicious. As mild as the butter squash is, it really had a great flavor and added a new dimension to a basic vegetable pasta dish.

I adapted a marinade from one of Ina Garden's pasta salad recipes. The lemon juice in the marinade really helped bring out all the flavors in this dish. I also loved the crunch and nutty flavor from the pecans. And since this is the main protein in the recipe - the more the better!

You should try this one, it is simple to make and really satisfying!

It's even pretty before cooking...
Butternut Squash and Fennel Fettuccine
by Mixed Salad Annie

3 lb. butternut squash (1-inch) cubed & peeled
1 large leek, halved lengthwise, 3/4" slices, washed thoroughly
1 fennel bulb (or 2 small), top and bottom removed, halved lengthwise, 1/4" slices, washed thoroughly, (reserve fronds)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 lb. uncooked fettuccine
1/2 cup whole pecans, toasted
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese


1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 cup lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
dash black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fennel fronds

Add all ingredients to a small bowl and whisk to combine.

Preheat oven to 400°. Line a jelly roll pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.

Combine the squash, fennel, leeks, oil, salt and pepper in a very large bowl; toss well (reserve bowl). Transfer to the pan and bake at 4oo° for 25-30 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.

While the squash mixture bakes, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain. Place cooked pasta in reserved bowl. Add dressing; toss well. Transfer the squash mixture to the bowl containing the pasta along with all the accumlated juices; toss to combine. Top with pecans, sprinkle with cheese and serve.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Christmas Dessert...

Cherry Cheesecake for the Holiday...

In keeping with my "healthier eating theme", I decided to go with a light New York style cheesecake. And who would know how to make the "best" light NY style cheesecake? America's Test Kitchen of course!
I do not own the America's Test Kitchens Best Light Recipe cookbook, but I did see this recipe on their tv show on PBS. I usually save the shows that I like on my DVR so that I can go back and watch them over when I want to make something, but this time no such luck. I had to search the internet for the recipe and finally found it.
I don't feel right to post the original recipe since I don't own the cookbook (even though you can find it just like I did) but I will tell you about some revisions that I made.
If you are a fan of America's Test Kitchen, you are probably wondering why I would make revisions to a very well tested recipe.
Well there were 3 simple reasons...

1. I do not own a 9" springform pan which the recipe calls for. I have a 10" pan and I was afraid that if I followed the recipe exactly and used the wrong size pan, something was bound to go wrong.
2. I decided to make this at the last minute and didn't have time to make their version of yogurt cheese which takes 10-12 hours.
3. I wanted to flavor the cheesecake with my own personal touches.
So here are my revisions:

1. Since I was using a 10" springform pan, I increased the amounts in the ingredients for the crust. I used...
11 1/4 whole graham crackers (and I used honey graham)
5 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar

Also the size of the pan affected the cooking time. It was done in 1 hour and 15 minutes.

2. For the yogurt cheese I used...
12 ounces Greek yogurt and strained it for 3 1/2 - 4 hours
and then measured out 8 ounces or 1 cup

3. For the flavorings I used...
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
1 can cherry pie topping~ to which I added 2 tablespoons amaretto liquor and 2 teaspoons almond extract

By the way, the cheesecake turned out really well, everyone loved it and I will definately use this recipe again!
P.S. I could email the recipe if it was an emergency ;P