Friday, December 11, 2009

Dried Cherry and Almond Cookies w/ Vanilla Icing

Recipe from Giada De Laurentiis

These have to be my favorite cookies so far. They're easy to make and taste so complex. Also you can make many logs ahead of time and pop a batch in the oven for unexpected guest.

Dried Cherry and Almond Cookies w/ Vanilla Icing



1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup, plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 large egg
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup coarsely chopped dried tart cherries (see Cook's Note)
1/2 cup slivered, blanched almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped (see Cook's Note)


2 3/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons water, plus extra, as needed


For the Cookies:
In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat the butter, sugar, vanilla extract, almond extract, cinnamon, and salt until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes, then beat in the egg. Add the flour and beat on the lowest speed until just blended. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the dried cherries and almonds.
Transfer the dough to a sheet of plastic wrap and shape it into a log, about 12-inches long and 1 1/2-inches in diameter. Wrap the dough in the plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. (Dough can be made up to 3 days in advance).

Arrange an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 heavy baking sheets with parchment paper.

Cut the log crosswise into 1/2-inch thick slices. Transfer the dough slices to the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 1-inch apart. Bake until the cookies are golden around the edges and puffed, about 15 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely before icing, about 30 minutes.

For the Icing:
Put the powdered sugar in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in the vanilla extract and water, adding more water, 1 teaspoon at a time, until the mixture becomes a drizzling consistency. (Makes about 2/3 cups icing, enough to ice both variations.)

Put the cooled cookies on a wire rack set over a baking sheet. Using a spoon or a fork, drizzle the cookies with the icing, allowing any excess icing to drip onto the baking sheet. Allow the icing to set before serving, about 1 hour.

Cook's Note: To toast the almonds, arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven for 6 to 8 minutes until lightly toasted. Cool completely before using.

Cook's Note Alternative: Replace the dried cherries with 1/2 cup coarsely chopped dried apricots and add 2 tablespoons of toasted pine nuts. Also, use 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and omit the almond extract.


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