Lemon cats' paws (spritz variation)

Yield: 3 Dozen

Measure Ingredient
¾ cup Almonds, sliced unblanched
2⅓ cup Flour; divided
⅔ cup Sugar
⅓ cup Sugar, confectioners
½ teaspoon Salt
1 \N Egg; chilled
4 teaspoons Vanilla extract
4 teaspoons Lemon zest
15 ounces Chocolate, Swiss dark; coarsely chopped
1 cup Butter, unsalted; chilled & cut into 1/2\" cubes

Make the cookie dough:

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375 F. Put three heavy, large ungreased baking sheets in the refrigerator.

In a food processor fitted with the metal chopping blade, process the almonds with 1 cup of the flour for 3O to 45 seconds, or until the mixture is ground to a fine powder. Add the remaining 1¼ cups plus 2 table- spoons flour; granulated sugar confectioners' sugar and salt. Process for 10 to 15 seconds, or until the mixture is thoroughly blended.

Evenly distribute the butter cubes in a circle around the chopping blade. Add the egg, vanilla and lemon zest. Process for 45 to 60 seconds, or until the mixture is creamy. (Make sure that the butter is completely blended into the batter.) Fill a pastry bag fitted with a closed star tip (such as Ateco #6) with one-fourth of the cookie dough. (Slightly open the teeth on the end of the pastry tip so that any small nut particles do not get caught between the points as you pipe.) Remove a chilled baking sheet from the refrigerator. Starting at the left-hand side of the midsection of the baking sheet, pipe 1 ½-inch long "cats' paws" about 2 inches apart, across the center of the baking sheet. (This will enable you to pipe straight and even lines across the baking sheet.) Continue piping until the bottom half of the baking sheet is covered with piped cookies. Turn the baking sheet 180 degrees and continue piping cats' paws onto the other half of the baking sheet.

Refrigerate the baking sheet for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the piped cookie dough is firm. Pipe the rest of the cookie dough onto the remaining chilled baking sheets and refrigerate.

Bake the cookies one baking sheet at a time for 12 to 15 minutes, or until lightly browned. Turn the baking sheet halfway through baking for even browning. Using a metal pancake spatula, immediately transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool.

Assemble the cookies:

Melt the dark chocolate according to the melting instructions in the Chocolate Key OR temper the chocolate following the tempering instructions on page 72. Scrape the chocolate mixture into a small heatproof bowl. Place the bowl of chocolate over a smaller bowl of warm (86 F to 90 F) water.

Using a small metal cake spatula, coat the flat side of half of the cookies with a thin layer of melted or tempered chocolate. Top each chocolate-coated cookie half with a second cookie. Place the cookies on a waxed paper-lined baking sheet and refrigerate for 5 to 10 minutes or until the chocolate is set.

Dip the pointed tips of the cookies halfway into the melted or tempered chocolate. Place the cookies back onto the waxed paper-lined baking sheet and refrigerate 5 to 10 minutes, or until the chocolate is set. Store the cookies dipped in melted chocolate in a airtight container in the refrig- erator for up to two weeks. The cookies filled with tempered chocolate may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three weeks.

YIELD: Approximately 35 cookies PREPARATION: 1 ½ hour plus baking, chilling and cooling times. FROM: Sallie (Austin) Krebs : (Cooking In Rockford <815-282-9248 HST> (1:2210/518.0)) Source: Chocolatier magazine, January 1991

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