Sunday, April 27, 2014

Cherry Almond Cobbler Cookies

Here it is.  A good recipe for making individual cobblers without using ramekins.  Besides the assembly, just make the two cookies and the filling.  One pan to wash when it comes to the filling and only dessert plates and forks to wash when nothing is left to eat!

Sandwiched in between the cookies are whole cherries (bought frozen) flavored with cinnamon and lemon.  For the cookies, almond streusel is baked on to the top cookie and the bottom is plain.

I did have to tweak the recipe in regards to volume on both the streusel and the filling.  Even with the tweak , I was surprised at the amount of cherries needed for just a little over 2 dz sandwich cookies. More cherries than the syrupy liquid....hmmm...not really a bad thing!

These would be perfect for the 4th of July celebration.  That is if you can wait that long.

Cherry Almond Cobbler Cookies
adapted from the Cooking Channel

Ingredients/Cherry Crumble
1/4 cup chopped blanched almonds
1 1/3 cup flour
1/4 cup of sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup or 1 stick of butter
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp gnd cinnamon

Ingredients/Cookie Dough
2 eggs
1 cup or 2 sticks of butter
1/4 cup corn syrup
1 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups of flour
2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup chopped dried cherries
1/2 cup packed brown sugar 
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup confectioners sugar

Ingredients/Cherry Filling
3 lbs frozen cherries, thawed and drained
2 tbs lemon juice
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Start with making the crumble.  Melt the butter in a small saucepan, remove from heat. Stir in the almond extract. Next, fill a medium size bowl with both sugars, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Mix until evenly distributed.   Pour the liquid into the sugar mixture, stir and then mix in the flour.  Then fold in the chopped almonds with a wooden spoon and set aside.

To make the dough, you will need 3 bowls: two medium size and one from a stand mixer. In the first bowl, stir together all the sugars.  In another bowl, sift together baking soda, flour and salt.  In the third and stand mixer bowl, add the butter.  Beat the butter on medium speed, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Continue to beat until the butter has a smooth consistency.  Mix one egg into the butter, beating for about 30 seconds.  Repeat with the additional egg.  Then add the corn syrup and both extracts.  Beat for another 30 seconds.  Remove bowl from mixer and fold in the sifted ingredients.  When no dry streaks remain, stir in the dried cherries.

Separate dough into halves.  The first half will make up the bottom of the cookies. Scoop out a heaping tablespoon of dough and flatten it on the prepared cookie sheet. It should be about 2 1/2 to 2 3/4 inches in diameter.  Repeat with process, making sure the flattened cookies are about 1 inch apart on the baking sheet.  Bake for about 9-12 minutes or until cookies have a toasty or golden hue on the edges.  Let rest on baking sheet for 2 minutes, then transfer to rack to completely cool.  For the top cookie, follow the same instructions with one difference: before your dough is completely flattened to size, evenly sprinkle a heaping tablespoon of streusel on top.  Then press down lightly to flatten to desired size. Once all are baked, turn off the oven.

After all the cookies have cooled, match the tops with the bottoms.  Since they are free form, they will not match perfectly, but this task will keep you from having a big difference in size from top to bottom.

To start on the filling, you will need a cake pan (I used a 9X13 size) and foil to cover the top.  Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  In a large mixing bowl blend the cinnamon, salt, cornstarch, lemon juice and the granulated sugar.  Then fold in the cherries.  Pour mixture into cake pan and spread evenly.  Cover tightly with foil and place in oven to bake for 30-45 minutes.  At 15 minute intervals, remove from oven, uncover and stir.  Then cover and place back in oven.  After baking, uncover and let cool for 15 minutes.  It should be like pie filling, not watery but not rubbery either. If it still has a watery consistency, cover and put back in oven to bake some more and check at 15 minute intervals.  Bear in mind mixture will thicken upon cooling. Let cherry mixture completely cool prior to using as filling.  My cook time was the full 45 minutes.

To assemble, spoon desired amount of filling on bottom cookie and top with streusel cookie.

Tips and Notes:
1.  Make sure your cherries are completely frozen and well drained.  Otherwise, filling cook time will be longer to eliminate the excess liquid.

2. I have thought that maybe rolling the dough between waxed paper and cutting it into circles is a way to go for a more exact match of top and bottom cookies, but the issue would be pressing the streusel on top. Also, I was very liberal with the streusel, making sure the cookie was completely covered, even the edges.

3. Other tweaks to the cookie part of this recipe include chopping dried cherries and almonds.  Also there was no reference to type of cherries (fresh, frozen, dried) used in the cookie dough so I opted for the dried.

4. The cookies are chewy and soft in texture which makes them a bit delicate.  Care is needed when handling. When assembling do not press down on the top cookie, just set on top.  The cookies can be eaten by hand, but due to the filling they are better served with a fork.

5. Since the filling is not completely enclosed in the cookie, assemble and serve the same day.
                                  **LAST YEAR: Ube Macapuno Cake**