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Food
More cookies: biscotti, chocolate chips and nut pastries

Thursday, December 13, 2001

By Arlene Burnett, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

We love baking Christmas cookies -- it puts us in a festive mood. After two weekends of cookie baking, we're deliriously festive.

 

Tested last weekend were Angie's Biscotti, Jane Benet's Really Good Chocolate Chip Cookies and Chocolate Chestnut Pastries.

Of the three types we tested, the chocolate chip cookies were the easiest to make and they lived up to the "Really Good" in their name.

Angie's Biscotti (biscotti in Italian means "twice baked") has more of a soft, spongy texture instead of the familiar crisp, almost hard texture. This biscotti calls for Orville Redenbacher's Gourmet Butter Flavored Oil. We thought the flavored oil might give this cookie an odd flavor -- but we were wrong. They were moist with a buttery flavor with just a hint of the whiskey-soaked almonds. We liked these cookies.

The last cookie, Chocolate Chestnut Pastries, are fried cookies with a chestnut and chocolate filling and a honey coating. Be warned -- these cookies are time-consuming. The chestnuts have to be boiled and then peeled while hot (not an easy task). The stuffed cookies are fried in oil and transferred to paper towels to drain. There is an optional honey coating for the cookies, which we used. If you're looking for a different cookie to make this year, this is it.

Millie Sommer of Bethel Park requested the recipe for Angie's Biscotti. Here's the recipe sent by Marlene Bitner of Baldwin.

Angie's Biscotti

1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup Orville Redenbacher's Gourmet Butter Flavored Oil
3 whole eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon anise extract or 1 tablespoon anise seeds
1 cup slivered almonds or walnuts soaked in an ounce of whiskey
3 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder

Cream butter and sugar, add oil and mix well. Add eggs, flavorings, mix well. Add all other ingredients; mix well. Refrigerate several hours or overnight. Divide dough into 9 equal parts on floured surface. Roll each part into a stick about 14 inches long and the diameter of a broomstick. Place on greased cookie sheet, three to a pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes until faintly brown.

Remove from oven and slice each roll into pieces at a 45-degree angle, about 1/2 inch thick. Return to pan in a single layer, cut side down. Return biscotti to the oven and bake at 425 degrees until slightly brown. Cool. Store biscotti in tightly closed tin.

Yield: about 9 dozen biscotti.

Sammie Green of Jamestown, N.Y., requested a recipe for Jane Benet's Really Good Chocolate Chip Cookie. Thanks to Laura Ackerman of West Mifflin, Priscilla Danchok of Allison Park and Barbara Balzer, McKees Rocks, we have the recipe:

JANE BENET'S REALLY GOOD CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

1 cup margarine (not spread)
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 extra large eggs
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
24 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 cups chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place oven rack on the top. Line a couple of baking sheets with parchment paper. Cream margarine with sugars until light. Beat in vanilla and eggs until smooth. Mix together flour, soda and salt but do not sift. Beat into batter. Add the chocolate chips and nuts and stir to mix thoroughly. Drop heaping tablespoons (or use a small ice cream scoop) onto parchment-lined cookie sheet -- bake for 12 minutes one cookie sheet at a time. At the halfway point, transfer the cookie sheet from top to bottom and turn it; continue baking until done. Remove from oven and slide parchment paper off baking sheets (with cookies) and leave until cookies are barely cool enough to handle, then transfer to racks to cool. Makes about 5 dozen cookies.

Here's the recipe for Chocolate Chestnut Pastries requested by Mary Lou Calcaterra of Lincoln Place sent in by Virginia M. Capozzi of Greensburg.

CHOCOLATE CHESTNUT PASTRIES

Dough:
4 cups flour, sifted
2 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup water

Filling:
1 pound fresh chestnuts
1/4 pound sweet chocolate, grated ( 1/2 cup)
Dash of salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/2 cup honey

Filling:
Slit shells of chestnuts with a sharp knife. Place chestnuts in a saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and boil gently for 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Keep the chestnuts in the hot water while taking one at and time and peeling off the skin. Mash the peeled chestnuts or press through a sieve. Add chocolate, salt, cinnamon, vanilla, nuts and honey to the mashed chestnuts; mix well. Cook in the top of a double boiler over boiling water, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes or until filling becomes sticky. Remove from heat and cool.

Dough:
Place flour in a large bowl. Make a hole in the center. Into the center add eggs, oil and 1/2 cup of water. Make into a dough by folding the flour into the ingredients in the center. Add more water if necessary to make a soft but not sticky dough. Divide dough into three balls. Roll out each ball approximately 1/8 inch thick. Cut into 2-inch circles. Place 1 heaping teaspoon of filling in center. Moisten the edge with water; fold over and seal the edge using your thumb. Heat oil in skillet. (We used a 12-inch round skillet and 2 1/2 cups oil.) Add cookies a few at a time into the hot oil and fry until golden brown. Drain on paper towel and cool.

Optional honey coating:
Heat 1 cup honey and 1/2 cup water to a rolling boil. Drop a few fried cookies at a time into the boiling mixture and coat thoroughly. Drain on rack. Sprinkle with ground walnuts while still warm or let them cool and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Requests

Dave Kleindienst of Valley City, Ohio, writes: "A few months ago I ate at a restaurant in Chicago called Bergoff's. They serve a sweet and sour cooked red cabbage that is out of this world. Would anyone have the recipe or a similar recipe?"

Barbara Sinwell of New Kensington is looking for a cookie recipe that uses maraschino cherries. The cookies are iced while hot with a powdered sugar glaze made with maraschino cherry juice.

Flo Kielkowich of VanAnda, B.C., is searching for an apricot stuffing for pork crown roast.


If you want to answer a recipe request from a reader or are looking for a recipe yourself, please write to Kitchen Mailbox, c/o Arlene Burnett, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh 15222, or e-mail to aburnett@post-gazette.com Please include a name, neighborhood and a daytime phone number on all correspondence.

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