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Cookies - Biscotti

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These are tender and easy to,  the consummate holiday cookie. They’re fine plain or iced, or you can consider these addition such as candied fruit, currants, dried cranberries, minced dried cherries (all fruit minced very fine), miniature chocolate or butterscotch chips, oatmeal, other flavor extracts and colorings, all brown sugar. Use all butter for the purists, but the tiny bit of  shortening makes for a crisper cookie. I suggest you spritz a cookie and bake that one cookie to see if it spreads. If it does, spritz the rest of the cookies on a large baking sheet and then chill them 1 hour before baking. Spritz cookies take a bit of practise - not use in spritzing them but in finding a cookie dough that is the perfect balance of rich buttery taste, pipes easily, but also holds it shape during and after baking. Too soft a dough can take a bit more flour; too stiff a dough can use a touch more cream or make sure it is the right temperature to pipe out (a chilled dough will not work).

When more is more

These are wicked good. You know how all recipes regarding sugar cookies with jam in ‘em tell you to roll the dough thin? Forget that. These are half an inch thick or more. What happens is you get a dense cookie, with crisp edges and a slightly chewy center. These are simply out of this world. It is not quite a pastry, not quite a cookie but something boldly inbetween. I use apricot or raspberry jam , or sometimes caramel spread or melted chocolate. What's nicest about these cookies is they are all butter. In a bakery these days, it would be shortening based - with that bland taste and weird fat-on-the-roof-of-your-mouth thing going on.

You got oatmeal, whole-wheat flour, sunflower seeds, dried fruit, touch of milk, canola oil this is a feel good cookie.

Of Dutch origin, these gently caramel and spice cookies are a cross between shortbread and butter cookies. They feature the flavor of Speculoos or Biscoff spread but that product is not in the cookie recipe itself. I use it instead to make these sandwich style cookies. You can find Speculoos (aka cookie spread) spread via Amazon or another version at Trader Joe’s. It spreads like Nutella and tastes like ground up spice cookies. Biscoff cookies on their own are sublime and although they’re a holiday cookie, they’re a classic welcome anytime.

Deep chocolate and a ribbon of cherry preserves, spiked with Cherry Herring or Kirsch, all coated in melt chocolate. A little autumal elegance

You can stray very far from traditional hamantashen (S’Mores, Key Lime, Nutella and Pecan Pie) but when I stray, I still like a fruity filling. This blueberry cheesecake filling turns the average hamantashen into miniature Danish. It’s simply such a treat.

Gooey, rich and summery squares. Big hunks to munch on at the outdoor terrace or city square or courtyard  (those cement and grass squares between buildings) on a lunch break at work or strolling in the park. This classic bar soars to new heights with contemporary touches of berries and white chocolate.

I love hybrids in baking and these cookie scones are a perfect example of why. These are gently crisp on the edges, slightly cakey inside and are like scones without the heft. Purrfect tea or coffee break treat.

Montreal abounds with French pastry shops and most of them sell this quintessential classic, Bretagne or Brittany Butter Cookies. They’re simple but rich and have a sweet-salty taste that’s irresistible. I worked on this recipe a good five times to get it as good as the cookies I’ve bought – but with that homemade extra love. You can make these into thin butter cookies or cut them thick and place them inside a mini muffin tin and bake them up into irresistible buttery ‘tarts’.

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