Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Cookies: Fruitcake, Amaretti and Nutella & Strawberry-Rhubarb Preserve Filled Linzer Sables

I have been contemplating on what cookies to make for Christmas this year for friends, and I have tons of contenders -- the anise flavored pizzelle, the all time favorite chocolate chip cookies, Bill's favorite - the amaretti, the nutella & jam-filled linzer, the holiday inspired fruitcake cookies, the classic sugar cookies and my favorite cookies of all - the crinkle top cookies. So, for the next few weeks, I will be putting all these yummies into test kitchen. Today, I present to you my first three (3) picks --

Fruitcake Cookies
from Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa at Home

The original recipe came from Lee Bailey, who asked her to make 600 pounds of these cookies for him to sell at his store at Saks Fifth Avenue during Christmas. According to her, nobody really likes fruitcake, but everyone loves these delish cookies.

Okay, as I've said before, I love Ina. But I will disagree with her that nobody loves Fruitcake, because I really really do! As a kid, a grandma-auntie, who is a Franciscan Nun, would give us a loaf of fruitcake, amidst the usual gifts of scapulars and rosaries for Christmas. My mom, who also loves fruitcake, would make the cherished loaf last as long as possible by slicing it ever so thinly and give us kids a bite size portion of it every night before bed. A bite of this sherry infused goodness was never enough to satisfy my cravings, thus I made a mental note then to myself that when I grow up and can afford to buy all the fruitcake in the world, I will eat as much as I want in one sitting (talk about greed and ambition, haha!). And yes, now that I can afford to buy my own, I really do indulge when I eat them.

Nutella and Strawberry-Rhubarb Preserve filled Linzer Sables
from Dorie Greenspan's Baking From My Home to Yours

Dorie's take of these Austrian cookie are my favorite. They remind me of nutty shortbreads. Her recipe is a bit spicier, so you can reduce the amount of cinnamon to 3/4 tsp. if you intend to serve it to the youngins. Personally, I like it just the way it is, very much, actually.

I sandwiched these bad boys with nutella (no surprise there) and strawberry-rhubarb preserve that I canned last summer. I skipped the dusting of confectioner's sugar part since I prefer my cookies not overly sweet.

Amaretti Cookies
from Ivonne of Cream Puffs in Venice

I first tried this recipe more than a year ago when I was in search of the Amaretti that will blast my mind (as Peter Russell would say). Ivonne, for you guys who don't know, is one the founders of The Daring Bakers. She's a well known figure in the blogosphere (although she wouldn't admit it). Not only is she talented and a great cook & baker, she also is very sweet and an inspiration to me.

This amaretti is really the best amaretti I've ever had, I kid you not! This is Mama Creampuff's (Ivonne's mom) recipe, which she got from her mother, who got it from a close family friend. These amaretti cookies remind me of Pringles... "Once you pop, you can't stop".


  1. As everyone has suspected, holiday fruitcakes really ARE dense enough to stop a speeding bullet. (With video.) Can a Fruitcake Stop a Bullet?

  2. I'm not much into cookies, but I definitely wanna give the recipe for those last two a try! Maybe later this month I'll do that. :D

    Thanks for sharing.