From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...If you've been cooking for a while, you know that food fads and fashions come and go, and you've probably seen new waves of each replace more of the old than was ever necessary. Much of what is tossed aside will not be missed, but each generation produces some stellar dishes that should be protected by any caring cook who has ever made them. While I try not to bore, and truly embrace much of what is new, I tend to think of myself as a keeper of the keys and really do embrace and try to save the best of the old recipes, especially at this time of year. I've been going through the holiday recipes I've collected over the decades and wanted to share some of the more unusual ones with you this Christmas season. This cookie, which I've never seen elsewhere, is one of them and it comes from the Swedish kitchen of a neighbor who introduced me to cooking when I was a child. When bread was not baking, the aromas in her kitchen were a strange mix of cinnamon, cardamom and Murphy's Oil Soap. The soap blended nicely with the smells of the bread and cookies made in that kitchen, and heaven knows, only the bravest of germs would dare to lurk on a floor so clean that surgery could be performed on it. I think most of you will find this cookie to be unique, and while it is not a beautiful confection, it is delicious and worthy of a place on your holiday cookie tray. I love its simplicity and the ease with which it comes together, and if you are looking for a new cookie to add to your holiday collection, this one might well be it. Here is how these Christmas rondels are made.
Sweet Chocolate and Almond Rondels...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite
3/4 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
Finely grated zest of 1 small orange
4 (1-ounce) squares of sweet chocolate
2 tablespoons cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 egg white
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup ground almonds
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
1) Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Blend in cardamom and orange zest.
2) Add chocolate to cream in a small saucepan. Melt chocolate over low heat, stirring well to blend with cream. Cool slightly. Add to butter mixture with vanilla and salt. Blend well. Slowly stir in flour. Chill for 30 to 60 minutes.
3) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease 2 cookie sheets.
4) While dough chills, make almond topping. Beat egg white until foamy. Beat in sugar, blending well. Stir in almonds and almond extract.
5) Remove dough from refrigerator. Using a 1 teaspoon measure, form dough into small balls and place on prepared cookie sheets. Make a depression in center of each ball. Fill depression with almond topping.
6) Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Do not brown. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool completely. Yield: 2-1/2 to 3 dozen cookies.
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