Monday, January 17, 2011

Butter Tarts

I'll admit that picture looks pretty gross; but that just goes to show that it is what is on the inside that matters.

My favorite food is raisins.  They are nature's candy, and they become (candy)^2  when combined with butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup in this lovely family recipe (which, sorry, but I won't share).  

The crust is a basic pie pastry (something I have certainly improved in making since the pumpkin pies of Thanksgiving and Christmas), both buttery and flaky.  

On my last day at home during winter vacation my best friend (aka Mom) and I made these together.  Not once did I attempt to commandeer the baking process (another improvement), and the tarts tasted all the better for it, I'm sure. 

I won't bake again until I go home for the 3-day weekend in February, but I see much baking in my future.  Why, you ask? 

Today I found out that my application has been approved and I will have my own studio apartment in June!  I will be able to bake, cook, and blog to my heart's content with reckless abandon, without fear of the countless germs that loom in the dorm kitchen but will be recognized enemies in my pristine studio. 

Truly home, sweet home (away from home).

(only remembered to take a plated photo after I had taken a few bites, oops)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Italian Almond Macaroons

This is a classy cookie.  It is the kind of cookie I imagine eating as I sit in a cafe in some little Italian town while sipping at my white china cup of espresso.  Please ignore the lack of class in the photo exhibited by the Gadware container these cookies sit in.  They were popular with company, and it wasn't until evening that I noticed they were almost gone.  I could waste no more time!

These cookies are unique, using no flour whatsoever, but almond flour (ground up almonds).  This adds even more to the almond flavor that comes from the almond extract in the batter and crushed almonds on top. 

Even though this cookie was popular with others, I didn't particularly like them.  The recipe (which I won't bother pasting here) was a bit bizarre.  It claimed it would make 24 cookies, and instead made 50!  Also, almond flour is very temperamental to work with--it literally sweats in your hands!  Who needs hand lotion?  The texture was what bothered me the most though, they were hard upon first bite, and instead of being crumbly, felt like a stale cracker on the tongue.

They are tasty dipped in coffee, but I'd save myself hours of work and buy a biscotti from the store any day.