Holiday Entertaining Guide - Page 16 - Bake batches of Christmas memories (3)

Holiday Entertaining Guide
- Page 16
Bake batches of Christmas memories (3)
Note: To make superfine sugar, place granulated sugar in a blender and process on high for about 15 seconds, until almost powdery.

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease with additional butter. Pile the flour in a mound on the counter and make a well in the center. Beat 3 of the eggs in a small bowl. Place the sugar, beaten eggs and lemon zest in the flour well and stir with your handheld like a paddle, gradually incorporating a little of the flour. Stir in the softened butter and almonds and, finally, incorporate the rest of the flour. Work the dough briefly. You can also accomplish this process with an electric mixer on its lowest speed.

2. Turn the dough onto a floured counter and use a large, heavy kitchen knife to roughly “chop” it until you have broken up the almonds. Knead the dough until it is thoroughly combined; divide in half, and shape it into two thick cylinders. Place these on the prepared sheet and flatten slightly. Beat the remaining egg and use to glaze the dough.

3. Bake 15 minutes, then raise the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Using a sharp, serrated knife, immediately cut both “loaves” into 1/2-inchthick slices. Carefully lay the slices flat on the baking sheet and return to the oven for a few more minutes, turning them once so that they brown lightly on both sides.

Per piece: 76 calories; 4 g fat; 1 g saturated fat; 22 mg cholesterol; 2 g protein; 8 g carbohydrate; 2 g sugar; 1 g fiber; 7 mg sodium; 15 mg calcium

Recipe from “The Art of French Baking,” by Ginette Mathiot

Chocolate cream-filled croquantes
Yield: About 14
• 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (41/2 ounces) granulated sugar
• 1/2 cup sifted cake flour or all-purpose flour
• 2 large egg whites
• 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
• 8 ounces chopped semisweet chocolate
• 1/2 cup crème fraîche, see note
• 1/4 cup chocolate sprinkles

Note: Crème fraîche is available in the dairy section of fine grocery stores. If you cannot find it, use heavy cream.

1. Place the sugar and flour in a medium bowl and whisk to blend. Whisk in the egg whites and vanilla until well-blended. Whisk in the melted butter until a smooth, thin batter is formed. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and position an oven rack in the center. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon mat. Drop about 1 tablespoon of the batter onto the mat. Use a thin spatula, preferably offset, to spread the batter into a thin circle about 4 inches in diameter. Make 3 more circles, spacing them 3 to 4 inches apart. Bake 7 to 9 minutes, until the edges are golden brown but the center is still pale.

3. Transfer cookies to a rack and let cool for 1 minute, until they can be loosened and lifted from the sheet without tearing. Wrap the cookies loosely around a clean pencil, small dowel or the handle of a wooden spoon until they harden. Allow to cool completely before adding filling.

4. Place the chocolate in a small heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water. Heat, stirring occasionally, until smooth. Remove from heat and add the crème fraîche, stirring well. If using heavy cream, place the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl, heat the cream to just under boiling and pour it over the chocolate. Allow the mixture to stand