Author Archives: Chacha

Rice and Eggplant Casserole (Arroz y Berenjena en Cazuela)

Perfect as a side dish or standalone meal, this rice and eggplant one-pot dish is easy and delicious. This full-flavor rice can accompany a simple grilled fish or chicken. It is also a great accompaniment to a mix green salad for a meatless dinner. Do not use pre-cooked, pre-seasoned, or converted rice for this recipe. These types of rice will not absorb the flavors or produce the right texture. When selecting the eggplants at the market, feel them to be sure they are firm. If they feel soft, it means they are full of seeds, which is not desirable. The homemade tomato sauce is incredibly easy. It only simmers for 30 minutes, so you can check on it while you pan fry the eggplant.

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Spanish
Level: Intermediate
Prep: 1 hr
Inactive: 1 hr
Cooking: 30 mins
Total: 2 hr 30 mins
Yield: 6 servings

Special Equipment

  • Baking Sheets
  • Shallow bowl
  • Colander
  • Wooden spoon
  • Tongs
  • Paper Towels
  • 2 1/2-quart baking dish
  • 3-quart heavy saucepan or small Dutch oven with tight-fitting lid
  • Large frying pan

Ingredients

For the Casserole

  • 1 cup long-grain raw white rice, cooked (preferably not converted)
  • 2 medium firm eggplants, peeled and cut into slices ¼ inch thick
  • Coarse-grained Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour, for dredging eggplant slices
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for frying eggplant slices
  • 2 cups simple homemade tomato sauce, recipe follows
  • 1 (8-ounce) package mozzarella cheese, freshly grated
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • Unsalted butter, for greasing baking dish

For the simple homemade tomato sauce

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed, peeled, and finely minced
  • 1/2 cup good-quality dry white wine
  • 1 (28-ounce) can good-quality crushed tomatoes in puree
  • 1/2 cup hot good-quality chicken broth (preferably homemade)
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 4 drops hot sauce
  • 6 fresh basil leaves, torn
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley (small tender stem and leaves only)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled (preferably Dominican, Greek, or Mexican oregano)

Directions

  • Arrange the eggplant slices in a single layer on several baking sheets. Sprinkle both sides of the eggplant slices generously with the kosher salt and allow it to sit for about 1 hour to sweat out the extra moisture and with it a good bit of the bitterness of the vegetable.
  • To make the tomato sauce, in a 3-quart heavy saucepan or small Dutch oven with tight-fitting lid, heat olive oil and butter over medium-high heat.
  • Add onion. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook until soft, about 5 minutes.
  • Add garlic and sauté 1 minute.
  • Add the wine. Bring the mixture to a boil and scrape any brown bits up from the bottom of the pan into the onions with a wooden spoon.
  • Add tomatoes, broth, sugar, hot sauce, basil, bay leaf, parsley, and oregano. Stir well to combine. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed. Bring to a rapid simmer. Cover. Reduce heat to lowest setting possible. Simmer very gently, stirring occasionally, until sauce is quite thick and homogenous, about 20 to 25 minutes.
  • While tomato sauce is simmering, transfer the eggplant slices to a colander in the sink, and rinse well under cold water.
  • Transfer eggplant slices to a work surface and pat them dry with paper towels. Set aside.
  • Line 2 baking sheets with paper towels and set aside.
  • Place the flour in a shallow bowl and season lightly with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  • Place a oven rack in the middle position and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  • Lightly butter the bottom and sides of 2 1/2-quarter baking dish. Set aside.
  • Heat about 1/4-inch olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat.
  • When the oil is hot, working one at a time, dredge the eggplant slices in the flour and shake off excess flour. Add as many eggplant slices as you can comfortably fit in a single layer in hot oil. Cook quickly, turning, until golden on both sides, about 2 minutes on each side.
  • Using tongs, remove the fried slices from the pan and place on a paper towel-lined baking sheet.
  • Repeat with the remaining eggplant slices. (Note: Take care to reheat the oil back up to temperature before adding another batch of eggplant slices to the pan.)
  • When all eggplant slices are transferred to the prepared baking sheets, seasoned them lightly with salt and pepper.
  • To assemble the dish, line bottom of prepared baking dish with half the cooked rice. Cover rice with half fried eggplant slices; the eggplant slices can overlap slightly. Evenly sprinkle half of the parmesan and mozzarella cheese over the eggplant. Pour half of the tomato sauce over all to cover. Repeat the layering one more time. Alternating layers of remaining rice, eggplant, parmesan cheese, and sauce, and finishing with remaining mozzarella cheese on top of the sauce.
  • Put the dish in the oven and bake until cheese is melted and bubbly, about 30 minutes.
  • Let stand 15 minutes before serving.
  • Leftovers keep well, covered, and refrigerated, for about 4 days. Reheat before serving.

Zucchini Rice (Arroz con Calabacines)

Perfect as a side dish or standalone vegetarian meal, this zucchini rice one-pot dish is easy and delicious. This full-flavor rice can accompany a simple grilled fish or chicken. It is also a great accompaniment to a mix green salad for a vegetarian dinner. The rice is cooked pilaf style, meaning that the raw rice is fried first so that the grains will be soft but stand apart. Do not use pre-cooked, pre-seasoned, or converted rice for this recipe. These types of rice will not absorb the flavors or produce the right texture.

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Diet: Gluten-Free
Level: Easy
Prep: 10 mins
Cooking: 20 mins
Total: 30 mins
Yield: 4 servings

Special Equipment

  • Large bowl
  • Fine-mesh strainer
  • 3-quart heavy saucepan or small Dutch oven with tight-fitting lid

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw long-grain white rice (preferably not converted)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 fresh jalapeno pepper, cored, seeded, and finely chopped
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed, peeled, and finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled (Preferably Dominican, Mexican or Greek oregano)
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 zucchinis, sliced
  • 2 cups hot water
  • Chopped fresh cilantro, to taste (small tender stem and leaves only)

Directions

  1. Put the rice in a large bowl and cover with cold water until it reaches 2 inches above the rice. Stir and leave to soak for 10 minutes. Carefully pour off water, leaving rice in bowl. Cover rice with cold water. Using hands gently swish grains to release excess starch. Pour off the starchy water as often as needed until the water runs nearly clear, at least 2 times. Drain rice in a fine-mesh strainer. Set aside.
  2. In a 3-quart saucepan with tight-fitting lid, heat the butter and oil over medium-high heat.
  3. Add the onions and jalapeno pepper. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook until the onions are transparent, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  5. Add tomatoes, cumin, oregano, and lime juice. Stir to combine and cook for 3 minutes.
  6. Add the rice and stir to coat well with sauté. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring almost continually.
  7. Add the zucchini and cook, scrapping the bottom of the pan to prevent sticking, for 2 minutes.
  8. Add water, 1 teaspoon salt, and cilantro. Stir and mix well. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed. Bring to a rapid simmer. Cover (Note: If the lid does not fit tightly, wrap the lid in aluminum foil to trap moisture and steam.) Reduce heat to the lowest possible setting and cook for 20 minutes. (Note: Do not remove the lid or stir while the rice is cooking. If you remove the lid of your pan during cooking, all that steam will quickly escape from the pan, leaving your rice undercooked in the allocated time as this steam is what cooks the rice.)
  9. To serve, use a large folk to turn rice over carefully from the bottom to distribute the flavors evenly. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve immediately.

Creamy Chicken Breast with Mushroom

This 40-minute dish makes for a rich flavorful weeknight dinner with very little effort. It is buttery, comforting, and requires only a handful of ingredients. It is the dish I make when I am exhausted or have guests coming for dinner and need something quick. This dish wins every single time, no matter the occasion.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Level: Easy
Prep: 15 mins
Cooking: 20 to 25 mins
Total: 40 mins
Yield: 4 servings

Special Equipment

  • Meat mallet
  • Large cutting board
  • Heavy-duty plastic wrap
  • Wooden spoon
  • Tongs
  • Aluminum foil
  • 6-quart thick-walled Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid
  • Instant-Read thermometer

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 shallot, peeled, halved lengthwise, and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 8 ounces white mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup good-quality chicken broth (preferably homemade)
  • 1⁄4 cup dry white vermouth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezy lemon juice
  • Freshly chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley (leaves only), for serving

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Pat chicken breasts dry with paper towels.
  3. Spread a sheet of plastic wrap on a cutting board. Place 1 chicken breast in the center of the sheet and top with another sheet of plastic. Gently pound it with the flat side of a meat mallet to an even thickness, about 1/2-inch thick. Arrange chicken in a single layer in a large shallow dish and repeat process with the remaining chicken breast.
  4. Season both sides of the chicken breasts with salt and pepper.
  5. Heat the butter in a 6-quart thick-walled Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid until it is foaming.
  6. Stir in the shallots and cook until softened but not browned, about 1 minute. Add the mushrooms and cook until softened but not browned, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add garlic and cook until fragant, about 1 minute.
  7. Using tongs, add the chicken to the pan, and turn to coat in the butter mixture (No browning here — just butter up both sides). Cover pot and transfer to the oven.
  8. Bake until the chicken is fully cooked and reaches an internal temperature of 165°F, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  9. When done, remove the pot from the oven and transfer the chicken to a plate leaving mushrooms mixture in the pot.
  10. Cover chicken loosely with aluminum foil to keep it warm while making the sauce.
  11. To make sauce, place the pot on the stovetop over medium-high heat. Pour the broth and vermouth into the pot. Bring liquids up to a boil and let reduce slightly, about 4 to 5 minutes.
  12. Stir in the cream and bring to a rapid simmer. Adjust the heat so that the sauce gently simmers. Cook until sauce has thickened slightly, about 3 to 4 minutes. The sauce should be thick enough to lightly coat a spoon.
  13. Turn off the heat. Add lemon juice. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed.
  14. Return chicken and any juices that collected on the plate to the pot. Using tongs, turn to coat chicken with sauce. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve immediately right out of the pot.

Gluten-Free Berry Crumble

This Gluten-Free berry crumble recipe is my favorite summer dessert, with the perfect balance of sweet to tart, tender to crisp, and fruit to crumble. Vanilla ice cream on the side is highly recommended.

Course: Dessert
Diet: Gluten-Free
Level: Easy
Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 35 to 40 mins
Additional: 15 mins
Total: 1 hr 25 mins

Special equipment

  • Stand mixer with a paddle attachment
  • Large mixing bowls
  • 9 by 13-inch baking dish
  • Flour sifter
  • Whisk
  • Cooling wire rack

Ingredients

  • Non-stick cooking spray, for greasing baking pan
  • Vanilla ice cream, for serving

Filling

  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup fresh red raspberries
  • 1 cup fresh black raspberries
  • 1 pound fresh strawberries, halved, or quartered if large
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 lemons, zested
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Pinch cayenne pepper

Topping

  • 1 cup America’s Test Kitchen gluten-free flour blend, at room temperature, recipe follows
  • ½ cup old-fashioned oats
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

America’s Test Kitchen Gluten-Free Flour Blend

Yield: 42 ounces (about 9 1/3 cups)

Ingredients

  • 4 ½ cups plus 1/3 cup white rice flour (Bob’s Red Mill strongly recommended)
  • 1 2/3 cups brown rice flour (Bob’s Red Mill strongly recommended)
  • 1 1/3 cups potato Starch (Make sure you use potato Starch, not potato flour)
  • ¾ cup tapioca starch
  • 3 tablespoons instant nonfat dry milk powder

Direction

Mixing gluten-free flour blend

In a large bowl, gently whisk all ingredients together until well combined. (Note: Take your time and make sure it all gets turned over well.) Then sift the flour blend. To ensure freshness, transfer blend to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 months. Bring it to room temperature before using in a recipe.

Making the Gluten-Free Berry Crumble

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Lightly coat a 9 by 13-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, make filling by combining the blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, granulated sugar, the cornstarch, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Toss until combine. Pour the berry filling into the prepared dish in an even layer. Set aside while preparing topping.
  4. Make topping by combining the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, oats, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the butter and mix on low speed until the mixture is crumbly. Distribute the topping evenly over the berries, covering the fruit completely. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the juices are bubbly, and the topping is browned.
  5. When done, remove crumble from oven and let rest on a wire rack for 15 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream.

My Go-To Swiss Steak

Delicious tender beef cooked to perfection with peppers, onions, and garlic in a flavorful tomato sauce. For the ultimate meal serve over mashed potatoes!

Course: Main Course
Level: Easy
Prep: 30 mins
Cooking: 2 hr
Total: 2 hr 30 mins
Yield: 4 servings

Special equipment

 

  • 6-quart thick-walled Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid
  • Meat mallet
  • Heavy-Duty plastic wrap
  • Cutting board

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 pounds (¾ to 1 inch thick) Bottom Round, Chuck or Sirloin Steak
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and sliced
  • 1 fresh serrano pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 (28-ounce) can good-quality diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed (preferably Mexican or Greek oregano)
  • 1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley (leaves only), for garnish, optional
  • Mashed potatoes, for serving.

Directions

  1. Put flour in a shallow dish and season it with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. On a cutting board, cut meat into 4 equal size pieces and season on both sides with salt and pepper.
  3. Dredge one of the pieces of meat in the seasoned flour, coating both sides. Put the piece of meat between 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Using a meat mallet, pound it to an even thickness, about 1/2-inch thick. Dredge the meat in the seasoned flour one more time, liberally coating all sides. Then shake to remove off any excess. Arrange meat in a single layer in a shallow dish and repeat process with the remaining pieces of meat.
  4. In a 6-qt Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat until just smoking. Working in 2 batches, add meat in and cook until browned all over, about 2 minutes per side. As the meat browns, transfer to a plate leaving drippings (fat) in the pot.
  5. After all, 4 pieces of meat are browned, add the peppers, onion and celery to drippings. Season well with salt and pepper. Cook until the vegetables are crisp-tender, about 6 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute.
  6. Add the tomato paste and stir to combine. Sauté for 1 to 2 minutes.
  7. Add the canned tomatoes into the pot along with the juice. Stir well scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to get all the flavorful bits off the bottom; cook for 3 to 5 minutes stirring often.
  8. Add the oregano and Worcestershire sauce and stir to combine.
  9. Add the browned meat and any juices that collected on the plate into the pot. Make sure that the meat is flat and down in the sauce. Bring to a rapid simmer. Cover and reduce heat to the lowest possible setting. Cook until fork tender and falling apart, about 1 ½ to 2 hours.
  10. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper, only if needed.
  11. Serve over mashed potatoes and garnish with chopped parsley if desire.

Boneless Chicken Breast Stuffed with Cheese

This mouthwatering cheese stuffed chicken breast recipe completely delivers. It always turns out tender and juicy. It is delicious, low carb and very easy to make! This is a recipe you will come back to time and time again.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Level: Easy
Prep: 15 mins
Cooking: 20 to 25 mins
Total: 40 mins
Yield: 4 servings

Special Equipment

  • Meat mallet
  • Large cutting board
  • Heavy-duty plastic wrap
  • Small mixing bowl
  • Silicon spatula
  • Tongs
  • Skewers or toothpicks, for securing chicken rolls closed
  • 12-inch heavy skillet with a tight-fitting lid

 Ingredients

  • 4 large boneless chicken Breast
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened at room temperature (Do not leave unrefrigerated for more than 2 hours)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 green onions (green and white part), thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, for dredging
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup good-quality chicken broth (preferably homemade)
  • Chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley (leaves only), for garnish

Directions

  1. In a small mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, chopped green onions, garlic and lemon juice using a spatula until mixed. Set aside.
  2. In a shallow dish, add the flour and season with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Set aside.
  3. Pat chicken breasts dry with paper towels.
  4. Spread a sheet of plastic wrap on a cutting board. Place 1 chicken breast in the center of the sheet and top with another sheet of plastic. Gently pound it with the flat side of a meat mallet to an even thickness, about 1/4-inch thick.  Arrange chicken in a single layer in a shallow dish and repeat process with the remaining chicken breast.
  5. Season both sides of the chicken breasts with salt and pepper.
  6. Put 1/4 of the cheese mixture onto the center of each chicken breast. Starting at the long side, roll chicken breast up, keeping the cheese mixture in the center. Secure with a skewer or toothpick and dredge in the seasoned flour, shaking to remove off any excess.
  7. Heat the butter and oil in a large heavy skillet with a tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat.
  8. Using tongs, lower the chicken breasts into the skillet seam side down and cook until lightly browned on both sides, about 2 minutes on each side. Transfer the chicken to a plate reserving the cooking juices in the skillet.
  9. Add broth to the reserved cooking juices in the skillet. Using a wooden spoon, stir and scrape the bottom of the pan to get any flavorful browned bits left behind off the bottom of the pan. Return chicken and any juices that collected on the plate into the skillet. Adjust the heat so that the sauce gently simmers. Cover and simmer over low heat for 20 to 25 minutes or until tender.
  10. When done, transfer the chicken to a cutting board and remove the toothpicks. Slice each breast into 3/4-inch rounds.
  11. To serve, arrange the sliced breasts on a serving plate and pour the sauce over the top. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve immediately.

Bistec de Palomilla (Top Sirloin Steak with Onions)

Bistec de Palomilla is a traditional Cuban dish which uses thinly sliced top sirloin steaks and onions as the main components. This is a meal you will need to plan ahead for. The steak used for this recipe is not the most tender cut, so it is important to marinate the meat before pan-braising it, even if it’s only for one hour. 4-8 hours is best. This delicious dish is traditionally served topped with sautéed onions and accompanied by white rice, black beans, and tostones (Twice-Fried Plantains).

Course: Main Course
Level: Easy
Prep: 10 mins
Marinating: 1 hour
Cooking: 15 mins
Total: 1 hour 25 mins
Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 boneless sirloin steaks, sliced to ¼ inch thick (approx. 6 to 8 ounces each)
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • ½ teaspoons Adobo seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed (preferably Dominican or Greek oregano)
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley (leaves only), for garnish
  • Lime wedges, for serving, optional
  • White rice, black beans, and fried plantains, for serving, optional

Directions

  1. In a small mixing bowl, add the garlic, Adobo seasoning, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper to taste. Combine well.
  2. Place the steaks in a in a shallow dish and season, on both sides, with the prepared seasoning mix.  Drizzle the lime juice over the steaks, basting both sides. Cover the steaks with plastic wrap and let rest on the counter for at least 1 hour or in the refrigerator overnight.
  3. When ready to cook, place the sliced onions into a small mixing bowl. Sprinkle with the vinegar. Set aside.
  4. Heat olive oil over medium-high in a large, heavy skillet.
  5. Remove steaks from marinade, shaking off excess marinade back into the dish. Reserve the marinade.
  6. Carefully, place 2 of the steaks in hot oil so they are not overlapping. Cook steaks quickly, no more than 2 minute per side — less time if you like your meat rare. You don’t want to overcook the steaks as they will become tough and hard to cut and chew.
  7. Once cooked, place the steaks on a serving platter and cover loosely with aluminum foil to keep warm.
  8. After all, 4 steaks are cooked, add the butter, onions, and any reserved marinade to the pan juices. Season well with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 to 7 minutes or until onions are lightly golden.
  9. To serve, pour the onion and pan juices over the steaks on the platter. Garnish with chopped parsley. If desired, serve with lime wedges, white rice, black beans and fried plantains on the side.

 

Almond Tea Cakes

Toasting the almonds is the secret touch to a perfect nutty flavor. Toasting the almonds first forces the almonds to release their oils and take on a richer and nuttier flavor. The cookie dough itself is not very sweet because the cookie balls are coated twice in powdered sugar. The first coating happens two minutes after the cookies come out of the oven. The warm exterior of the cookie causes the powdered sugar to stick, and as they cool, the powdered sugar adhering to the surface becomes very sticky. It is this sticky surface that makes the second coating of powdered sugar cling to the cookie and form a dry and powdery sweet casing for the rich and nutty cookie.

Course: Dessert
Level: Easy
Prep: 25 mins
Chilling: 1 hr
Cooking: 10 to 12 mins
Cooling: 12 mins
Total: 1 hr 49 mins
Yield: 48 cookies

Special equipment:

  • Simple food chopper or food processor
  • Hand mixer or stand mixer with a paddle attachment
  • Flour sifter
  • Large baking sheets
  • Parchment paper or silicon baking mats
  • Plastic wrap
  • Silicon spatula
  • Cooling wire racks

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup unsifted powdered sugar
  • 2 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted, for rolling

Directions

Almond Tea Cakes Dough

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Bake almonds in a single layer in a large baking sheet 5 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through. Cool completely, about 20 minutes.
  3. Place the toasted almonds in the bowl of a food processor, and process until finely ground or the texture of coarse cornmeal, 15 to 30 seconds. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, sift together the flour and salt. set aside.
  5. In the bowl of the electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.
  6. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Using a spatula, scrape down sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla and almond extracts; beat to combine.
  7. Reduce the speed to low; gradually add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture and mix on low until incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix in the toasted ground almonds.
  8. Use your hands to press the dough into a solid mass. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Making the Almond Tea Cakes

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicon baking mats. Set aside.
  3. Remove dough from refrigerator.
  4. Scoop and shape dough into 1-inch balls, by rolling 2 teaspoons of the dough between the palm of your hands. (Note: The dough will be crumbly, so you will be rolling dough into spheres between the palms of your hands.)
  5. Place cookies 1 inch apart on lined baking sheets.
  6. Bake until edges are lightly browned, about 10 to 12 minutes. (Note: Do not allow these cookies to get brown. it is better to undercook them than to overcook them. Cookies look very pale when done.)
  7. When done, remove from the oven and allow cookies to cool on baking sheet until cooled enough to handle but still quite warm, about 2 minutes. (Note: The cookies will immediately fall apart if handled straight out of the oven, but firm up nicely when cooled.)
  8. When cookies are cooled enough to handle, place the sifted powdered sugar into a shallow dish and roll each warm cookie gently in the powdered sugar until completely coated. Transfer the sugar-cover cookies to wire racks to cool completely, about 10 minutes.
  9. Once completely cooled, roll cookies again in powdered sugar until completely coated. Store in an airtight container. (Note: Make sure cookies are cooled before storing them, otherwise they will get soggy.)