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Thursday, April 28, 2011

International Baking

There's something about making old recipes.  They often have quirky measurements, odd instructions, or bizarre names.  Take Swedish Thumbprint cookies.  I somehow doubt one will find this is the national dish of Sweden.  In fact, it's probably about as authentic as the Swedish Berry or the Swedish Chef.

There's also an incredible simplicity to a lot of these old standards.  Four ingredients, really.  It tops out at six, if you count something to roll them in and fill them with.

Butter, sugar, and egg yolk in the bowl.  Beat it up until its a nice, light yellow colour.

After you've mixed in the flour, it looks about like this.  Good enough to eat right out of the bowl, apparently.

You are going to need something crunchy to roll them in.  The recipe technically calls for nuts.  Growing up, we used whatever crunchy cereal needed using up. Corn flakes, Special K, you name it.  Today, we are featuring Rice Krispies.

I was playing around, trying to devise clever ways of crunching up the cereal.  I should have just mushed the bag with a rolling pin.  This method (if you can call it that) was just plain old painful.

Not a very uniform crush.  Definitely better to mush in the bag.  Note to self.

Again, another opportunity to use the handy-dandy ice cream scoop.

Perfect little cookie balls into the egg white.  The egg white that was 'left over' from making the cookie dough.  I love frugal and efficient recipes.

Now, perfect little cookie balls coated in egg white into the crunched up cereal.  This part can get a little tricky.  The wet hand-dry hand method probably would work best.  In my case, I just employed child labour.

And onto the cookie tray.  You don't have to worry about spacing them too far apart.  They will not spread like a drop cookie will.

The cookie balls do look a little alien once they are coated in cereal.  Half bake them at a low, 300 F oven, for about 15 minutes.  Don't worry - the world won't end if you leave them there for 20 minutes because you got caught up watching the Food Network.

Now for the fun, and slightly dangerous part.  You are now going to jam your thumb into the middle of a hot, butter-based cookie.  Work quickly.  After the first couple of burns, your thumb nerves will become desensitized and you won't feel a thing any more.

Now, for the homemade jam.  What?  No homemade jam at your house either?  I thought we had talked about this earlier?  No salsa, OK, I can let that pass.  But no jam?  We are going to have to work on that this summer.

Fill all the little indents you have made with just the tiniest bit of jam.  Because it is going back into the oven, the jam will temporarily liquify again and run all over if there's too much in there.  I used one of those tiny tea and crumpets teaspoons for this.

Pop them back in the oven again for 15 minutes at 300 F.  When they are done, you will have a delicious little morsel.  Several of them in fact.  This recipe doubles, triples, even quadruples, with incredible ease.  These will store in an air tight container for about a week, depending on what type of crunchy coating you have used.

You can also sub out the jam for a candy of some description.  Hershey's Kisses are popular.  At Christmas, candied cherries cut in half add a very nice decorative touch to dessert trays.

This one is great for kids.  With only a few ingredients, it is a quick recipe to make, perfect for short attention spans.  And what little kid doesn't love to squish their fingers in something gooey like egg white?

A word to the wise, though.  Wait until they have completely cooled off before gnashing.  You will be tempted to pop the entire thing in your mouth and the sugary middle holds the heat for a long time.  Take it from one who knows. 1. 2.
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