We had a bake sale at work today to raise money for a co-worker who is having some additional unexpected medical expenses and won't be able to work for quite awhile. Fortunately, the people who work there are very generous and the bake sale raised almost $1000 for her. Tomorrow is a casino lunch fundraiser which I imagine will bring in quite a bit more money to help her get through the rehab she has ahead of her. It was really nice to see how everyone came by to support her and donated beyond the cost of the homemade baked goods.
When we were asked if people would volunteer to help with the sale or make something for it, I immediately responded that I would do both. Not only because of what she's going through, but I've known her for nearly 11 years and worked with her for a good portion of that time. Once I made the commitment to help out, I began going through my various cookie cookbooks and magazines. I ended up going with a recipe from my newest addition to my growing collection,Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Baking: Recipes and Techniques for Succcessful Home Baking (Williams Sonoma Essentials).
The cookie that I made was the Vanilla and Chocolate Spritz Cookie. I've always loved the delicate texture of spritz cookies. I also haven't used my cookie press in years, and this was a good chance to break it out again. My cookie press is pretty old, not even sure how old since it used to belong to my mom and I pretty much packed it up and took it with me when I moved out on my own (didn't know that did you, Mom?). I did have trouble getting the disks with the cute shapes to work - the flower and the triangle shape. So, I ended up using a ridged line disk that I pressed out 12 inch lengths of dough. I baked them in these lengths and then cut them into smaller pieces after removing them from the oven.
Once they were fully cooled, I melted some chocolate for dipping. I had to work quickly as the chocolate kept wanting to set up on me. They turned out really well, and I may have to make more to add to my holiday gift baskets!
Lots of food bloggers are gearing up for holiday baking. Check out these recipes for ideas on what you can add to your cookie trays and gift baskets this year.
Sunday Baker made White Chocolate Peppermint Bark that will make beautiful gifts. I'll be sharing my version of this in December, mine has a layer of regular chocolate!
The Layered Chocolate Cheesecake Bars over at Chocolate Bytes look so decadent that a glass of milk will be required when eating them. Beware this site is very addictive if you love chocolate!
If you haven't checked out The Pioneer Woman Cooks, you don't know what you've been missing. Her posts are entertaining, and full of step-by-step photos. She's sharing her Pecan Pie, which I know many people will be making for Thanksgiving.
Vanilla and Chocolate Spritz Cookies
Source: Adapted from Williams-Sonoma, Baking
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
Position rack in the middle of the oven, and preheat to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine the butter through salt. Beat on medium speed until smooth. Add the vanilla and almond extracts, followed by the egg and beat until well-blended. Mix in the flour on low speed just until incorporated.
Divide the dough into 4 equal portions. Roll each portion into a log that will fit into a cookie press. Pack the 1st log into the cookie press fitted with the disk of your choice.
Press the dough onto the cookie sheet and allow about 1 inch in between each cookie. Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, for about 12-17 minutes. The edges should be a light brown. Remove and allow to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then remove to wire racks.
Melt chocolate in a double boiler, then dip cookies so that they are covered on one side. Place each cookie on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Once all are done, place in freezer for about 30 minutes to help the chocolate set-up.
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