Sunday, June 1, 2014

Chocolate Almond Marsala Cookies

These little Italian cookies are quite unique.  Just by appearance, the first thought is- did you want a little cookie batter with your add ins?  That batter does not just hold everything together, it actually provides the spice to these cookies.  The cinnamon spice is a good flavor base to enhance all those add ins.  The batter is studded with almonds, dried fruit and mini chocolate chips.  Also, since the recipe includes 1/3 cup of Marsala wine, these cookies can be classified as Italian. Especially since this recipe makes only 2 dz cookies.

Concerning the "high gloss" look that the cookies have, it can be attributed to the use of an egg wash prior to baking.  

The original recipe is stated below.   My tweaks on the original are: that I used dried apples instead of candied orange peel and mini choc chips instead of the standard. Candied orange peel, if you are not already aware, is a specialty ingredient that cannot be found at a regular grocery store.  The recipe  cautions not to buy candied fruit as a substitute, but to use the real candied orange peel.  As far as my twist, the dried apple was already in the pantry and it did not hurt that I love the flavors of apple, cinnamon and chocolate melded together.  The mini chocolate chips were chosen based on the fact that these are a slice cookie.

Chocolate Almond Marsala Cookies
adapted from Martha Stewarts Cookies

1/2 cup or 4 oz chopped chocolate
1/2 cup finely chopped candied orange peel
1/2 cup chopped toasted almonds
1/3 cup Marsala wine
2 large eggs
3 tbs honey
1 1/4 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp gnd cinnamon

Prepare 2 baking sheets by lining with parchment paper and dust a flat surface lightly with flour.  In a small bowl, whisk 1 egg and wine together until frothy.  Set aside.  Pull out a larger bowl and sift together cinnamon, baking powder, salt and flour.  Pour wine mixture into sifted ingredients and fold together until a dough is formed.  Mix in honey. Then knead in all the almonds, chocolate chips and orange peel into the dough, using 1/4 cup increments of each of the add ins.

Once all is distributed, knead dough lightly on floured surface until it holds its shape.  Divide dough into 2 equal pieces.  Form each piece into a log, measuring 10 1/2 x 1 1/2 x 1.  Place each log on a wax paper lined plate.Cover and chill in refrigerator for about 45 minutes. At the 30 minute mark, preheat the oven to 250 degrees. 

Remove and slice each log crosswise, ending up with 12 slices per log.  Slices should be approx 3/4 of an inch thick.  Flatten bottom half of slices, so the slice actually looks like a 1/2 moon.  Place cookies on cookie sheet about 1 inch apart with the bottom half facing down and the top curved part facing up, so the cookies are actually standing up from the pan.  Each is cookie is kind of like the sun coming over the horizon, with the pan being the horizon. 

Once all the cookies are on the pan, take the remaining egg and whisk in a small bowl.  Then brush on tops and sides of each cookie. Place pan in oven and bake for 20 minutes.  Increase the oven temperature to 350 degrees and rotate the baking pan.  Continue to bake cookies for an additional 10 minutes. The should turn a golden color when done.

Cool cookies completely by placing pan over rack. 
                                      **LAST YEAR: Cherry Ripe Cake***