Italian cookie trials and more

It's already November and the holidays are creeping up on us - watch out!!

Lately I've been busy in the kitchen testing out some Italian cookie recipes for holiday gift boxes for a local café. Brutti ma buoni (ugly but good), a ground nut (hazelnut version here) meringue cookie . . . .

Ricciarelli - a classic Senese almond cookie . . . . .

Biscotti doppio cioccolato - double chocolate biscotti . . . .

of course I had to dip some in chocolate!

and semolina shortbread (sorry - no pic!). They all turned out pretty darn tasty!

In the meantime I'm cranking out my own petite shortbread for some sample give away boxes.  I love to hand out goodies for folks to try.

Eight flavors of goodness

Recently I made a batch of reverse puff pastry to have on hand for whatever might come along.  And, being apple season, there's nothing like the combo of buttery puff and lightly sautéed, caramelized apples.  Yum, yum.  Here are some chausson aux pommes I made a couple of weeks ago.

Last week I visited Aquinas College's Browne Center to speak to the ladies there about getting on their "lifelong learning" adult education schedule to teach some pastry classes.  Yeah!

I never like to arrive empty handed so an assortment of treats was in order. In a slightly different take on a chausson I rolled out some puff, cut hexagons, brushed with milk and sprinkled with sugar . . .

and baked them.

puffed and sparkly

I make an indentation in the top of the baked puff, top them with a scoop of the above mentioned apples, drizzle some caramel on and bake them again just to warm the apples through.  So delicious.

I included these apple feuilletée along with matcha-berry financier and some gateau Breton aux amandes et confiture in the goodie box for the Browne center crew.

A brief postscript to the above:  I wrote about gateau Breton in my last post, but this time I topped the dough with either apricot or four fruits jam, a ring of almond cream and some sliced almonds before baking.  What buttery, nutty goodness.

all baked and ready to eat

Lots of fun and much more to do before New Year's Day hits!

Stay tuned.