From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...If the smell of flax soap was added to the aromas coming from my kitchen, I'd swear the ghost of Christmas past had reversed time and plunked me in the basement of the apartment complex where I spent my childhood. As Christmas approached, the basement captured the aromas of the cooking being done in the townhouses to the right of ours. The scent of cinnamon and cardamon mingled with that of nutmeg and cloves and one of my favorite pastimes was guessing who was baking on any given day. Hannie and Mrs. P. commanded those kitchens and began their holiday preparations early in December. Hannie took Christmas decor as seriously as she did its baking. Her home was festooned with garlands and boughs and gifts wrapped so beautifully it would hurt to tear them open. The house itself was as comfortable as a Bavarian ski chalet and everyone who entered it felt comfortable and welcome. While Hannie was hanging her garlands, Mrs. P. began her holiday preparations with a cleaning so thorough that it would put the Merry Maids to shame. She washed and scrubbed and polished till every surface gleamed and the smell of flax soap couldn't be separated from the pine scent of her Christmas tree. By the time she was finished, you could perform surgery on her dining room table. Both women made lovely, if quite different, homes, and both kitchens were models of wonderfully wretched excess. I've already shared their holiday recipes with you, so tonight I wanted to feature a recipe I know they would both love and add to their collections. Like so much of what they did, these cookies, too, are a study in wretched excess. They are a lot of work, but they are also the kind of cookie people love to eat. I do hope you will give them a try. Here's the recipe.
Viennese Sandwich Cookies...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite inspired by Taste of Home magazine
1-1/4 cups butter, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1-2/3 cups ground almonds
1 cup apricot preserves
2 cups (12-ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons shortening
1) Combine butter and sugar in a large bowl and cream until light and fluffy. Add almond extract and stir to combine.
2) Combine flour and ground almonds in another bowl. Mix well.
3) Gradually add dry ingredient to creamed mixture and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
4) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Roll dough on a lightly floured surface to a 1/4-inch thickness. Cut with a floured 2-1/4-inch round cookie cutter. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.
5) Bake for 7-9 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.
6) Spread jam on bottoms of half of cookies. Top with remaining cookies. In a microwave, melt chocolate chips and shortening and stir until smooth. Dip half of each sandwich cookie into chocolate mixture, allowing excess to drip off. Place on waxed paper until set. Store in an airtight container. Yield: about 3 dozen.
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Three Years Ago Today: Potato Soup