Sunday, December 14, 2008

A Christmas Cupcake Story

We wanted a special cookie to serve with our cupcakes this Christmas. After a lot of research,and finally remembering Jessie Oleson's photo and post in October ... researching recipes ... as these come by many a name! We baked and baked a few "FAILS" for recipes and then we found the perfect cookie recipe.
We ended up altering a group of recipes to find the flavour we were looking for and came up with the following:

1 tin of Almond Paste (we ordered this from the Vanilla Food Co)
1 cup of butter softened
1 cup white granulated sugar
4 eggs carefully separated
1 tsp Neilsen Massey almond extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
green food colour paste or gel
red food colour paste or gel
1/2 cup of raspberry jam
1/2 cup apricot jam
16 ounces quality chocolate chips (no compounds)

Prepare 3- 13 X 9 inch baking pans with parchment paper, then spray a cooking spray on the paper. Do not omit this spray.
Break up your almond paste in a heavy duty mixer (we use our kitchen aid pro), then loosen it up further by beating in the sugar. Add softened butter and beat until light and fluffy. (we leave the mixer on med-high for 5 minutes) You will see why!
Add your egg yolks and extract and continue to beat very well. Using a hand mixer and clean glass bowl (no plastic) beat egg whites until just almost stiff.
Add 1/3 to your batter and stir up to loosen up texture, then fold in remaining egg whites. Your dough will be quite stiff but workable. It will then be the texture of finger paint. (sticky) I say this because we use our finger a lot on the process of fingerpainting it into the pan!
Then divide your dough up into 3 parts approx 1 1/2 cups each. Fold green colouring into 1 section and put aside. Repeat with pink colour on your second part of dough. Leave your final portion plain. Remember when shading your dough it will slightly fade during baking. Add colour a bit at a time until your desired shades are obtained. (we found an awesome way to reuse Starbucks splash sticks till the end of time, as they are great for picking up little bits of colour gel at a time and wipe clean so easily)
Spread each dough into prepared pan, remember each layer will be very thin. We use an offset spatula and our fingers.
Bake each layer as one batch in the oven to ensure even cooking because it is so thin. I find 7 minutes is ample time in a 350 degree oven.
After each batch make sure to loosen edges of large cookie and place a cooling rack over it ( do not try and take this large cookie out of the pan!) Then turn the rack and pan over letting the cookie fall down onto the cooling rack.
Layering: This is the yummy stuff!
We use real fruit jam that we prepare ourselves. Kraft or Smuckers works well too.
Line a large shallow baking tin with waxed paper. I use a jelly roll pan in the 9X 13 inch size.
Lightly spray the waxed paper, then prepare melted chocolate over double boiler.
Spead half the melted chocolate on the wax paper evenly. Kind of like fingerpainting =o)
Slide the green cookie layer onto chocolate covered waxed paper and cover with the apricot jam.
Carefully slide plain layer on the apricot side of cookie. Then cover with the raspberry jam.
Carefully slide the pink cookie atop the raspberry jam. Cover firmly with a strong plastic wrap and weight down with another pan or cooking board.
This must be chilled for 3-4 hours!
Prepare your chocolate again by melting it over a double boiler do not use direct heat. When melted spread atop pink layer.
When the chocolate is cooled cut large cookie into diamond shapes. Please do not make dough ahead of time, although these do freeze well after baked if stored carefully. Do not freeze after they are layered with the preserves and chocolate!
We think this is a gorgeous topper for a cupcake and although labour intensive it is quite easy with absolutely stunning results!
My motivation to use this cookie came from a blogpost done by one of my cupcake pals Cakespy, Jessie Oleson. If anyone knows desserts it would be her!
I have posted this picture from her blog and will be back to post our Rainbow Inspired Cuppin cakes when we actually have some left!!
Thanks Jessie!


Gigi said...

oooo, I have always wanted to bake this. Looks absolutely divine!

Lyns said...

They turned out so well!