Friday, October 17, 2014

Chocolate Dipped Almond Apricot Bear Claw Cookies and a Beautiful Madeleines Baking Book


It was a small coincidence this beautiful Madeleines: Elegant French Tea Cakes to Bake & Share recipe book by Quirk Books arrived just as I was working on a recipe for bear claw cookies.


Barbara Feldman Morse's book is absolutely gorgeous. From sweet chai tea madeleines to a savory pine nut pesto version, her creative recipes elevate these lovely French origin tea cakes to an art form. The book will be officially released on October 21st. I've already earmarked some favorites, including Hazelnut and Frangelico madeleines to make for the holidays.


Regarding these bear claw cookies, I had already figured out the recipe. However, the book had some great tips in it for using the pan as well as different methods for making madeleines and tips to make perfect results.
The bear claw cookies, or Bärentatzen in German, contain both almond and cornmeal. The two parts are glued together with tangy apricot preserves and then the whole cookie is dipped in chocolate. It is a potent cookie for sure.

Chocolate Dipped Almond Apricot
Bear Claw Cookies
Prep Time: 30 minutes 
Cook Time: 15 minutes 
Yield: 1 dozen 
Ingredients:
  • 2 sticks (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature 
  • 3/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup almond flour* 
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup apricot marmalade 
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, hacked into small pieces. 
  • 1 -2 teaspoons vegetable shortening 
*To make almond flour: Place whole almonds and powdered sugar in a blender (1 tablespoon to one cup of almonds ratio) and pulse until the almonds are ground into a flour consistency. The powdered sugar will prevent the almonds from forming a paste.

Directions:
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 
  • Coat a Madeline cookie form pan with baking spray. 
  • In a mixer, cream together the unsalted butter and granulated sugar at medium-high
  • speed.
  • Add the egg and almond flour. Combine thoroughly. 
  • Mix in the pure vanilla extract. 
  • Alternate adding the all purpose flour and cornmeal until well combined. 
  • Spoon the dough into the coated madeleine pan. Spread the dough evenly out in each well making sure all the ridges of the pans are filled. 
  • Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes or until they become very slightly browned. 
  • Remove from the oven. Let cool in the pans for 15 minutes then de-pan the cookies. Transfer the baked cookies to wire racks to cool completely. 
  • In the meantime, place the apricot marmalade in a strainer over a bowl. Use the back of a spoon to push the marmalade through the strainer to filter out any large pieces of apricot. Discard the contents of the strainer and set the bowl of strained marmalade aside with a pastry brush. 
  • When the cookies are cool to the touch, brush one cookie on the flat side with the apricot marmalade. 
  • Place another cookie on top of the apricot marmalade, fastening them together. Repeat until all the cookies have been sandwiched together with apricot marmalade in the middle and return the doubled cookies back onto the cooling racks. 
  • Line baking sheets with parchment paper and position the racks with the cookies on them over the baking sheets. 
  • In a double boiler, heat the bittersweet chocolate pieces with the shortening over low heat stirring to help transform it into a smooth consistency. 
  • If the chocolate seems too thick for dipping, add a bit more shortening until it thins out. Stir until the chocolate and the shortening has melted together. 
  • Dip the narrower end of the cookie sandwich into the melted chocolate and replace on the wire rack. Repeat until all the cookies have been dipped in chocolate. 
  • When the chocolate has hardened, they are ready to serve. 

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