...more Holiday Baking and first post for 2012

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For New Year's Eve, I made more cookies.  No more sugar cookies, as I had no more time to spare for decorating.  I made hazelnut cookies instead, with a jam filling.  You can use any flavor; experiment to find a combo you like.  I still had some of that strawberry peppercorn jam left from a previous post so this was the perfect cookie recipe for it.
 I love the dusting of confectioners' sugar on the cookies, it makes everything look so festive.
Hazelnut Cookie recipe (from Martha Stewart):

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup ground hazelnuts
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 Large egg yolks
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • confectioners' sugar, for dusting
  • desired filling
1. In a bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.  In a food processor, pulse hazelnuts and the flour mixture to combine.  Add butter and pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.  Add egg yolks and vanilla and pulse until dough just comes together.  Form dough into 2 disks, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate 30 minutes.

2. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Working with 1 disk at a time, roll out dough between floured parchment paper to 1/8-inch thickness.  Stack dough in parchment on a baking sheet; refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.  With a lightly floured 2 1/2-inch fluted round cutter, cut out dough.  Place cookies on parchment-lined baking sheets.  With a 1-inch cutter, cut out dough in centers of half the cookies.  Bake until cookies just begin to brown at edges, 10 to 12 minutes.  Transfer cookies to wire racks and let cool completely.

3. Lightly sift confectioners' sugar over cutout tops.  Spread filling on bottoms of remaining cookies and sandwich with sugar-dusted tops.

Since the oven was already fired up I might was well make pies, too.  Savory this time, since there's enough sweetness in the cookies to last us for the coming year.  I wanted to serve the pies as hors d'oeuvres so I made bite sized goodies.  
I pre-baked the pie crusts (recipe here) in a mini muffin pan at 350°F for about 15 minutes, and when they cooled down, I put the cheese filling.  For the cheese filling, combine diced tomatoes, chopped mozzarella cheese, chopped basil leaves, about a tablespoon of olive oil, and some salt and pepper.  Put the pan back in the oven and bake until the cheese starts to brown. 
Better make a lot of these as they are very addictive.

Here's wishing everyone good health, prosperity, and good eats for 2012.  Happy New Year!

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