Monday, December 21, 2009

Pam's favorite: Java sticks

My dad's cousin Pam is a wonderful baker. Her introduction and recipe are taken from the cookie cookbook that my mom compiled for my sister Dayna's wedding. My Italian family has a nice tradition of having a cookie table at the wedding reception, where aunts, mothers, sisters and cousins contribute. It's definitely one of the reasons I have a food and family blog today - I couldn't live without either one.

From Pam:

Flo Baker, an award-winning cookbook author and baking expert, has devoted her life to making Thumbelina-size sweets, including these mocha-flavored fingers edged with white chocolate and walnuts. They are not too sweet – I like them with a mellow cup of hazelnut coffee. The recipe was taken from “Holiday Cooking with America’s Top Chefs."

Java sticks
1 ½ cups unsifted, unbleached all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup walnuts
¼ cup unsweetened, Dutch-processed cocoa powder
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon instant coffee powder, dissolved in 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped
4 ounces (1 cup) walnuts, finely chopped
Adjust rack to lower third of oven and preheat to 325° F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
Dough: In a food processor, pulse the flour, salt, sugar, ¼ cup walnuts and cocoa powder just until blended. Add the butter and coffee powder mixture and process with on/off bursts just until the mixture forms a ball.
Place half the dough in a 16-inch pastry bag fitted with a ½” plain decorating tip (such as Ateco #6). Pipe dough into sticks 1 ½” in length and 1” apart on baking sheets. To cut off the dough at the end of each stick press the decorating tip down toward the sheet. You may wish to anchor the parchment paper by dabbing dough under each corner of the paper. Fill the pastry bag with remaining dough and pipe it into sticks.
Bake, one sheet at a time, 8 to 11 minutes, or until the cookies no longer appear shiny and are pale tan in color. (Sticks spread to about 1” wide.) Cool sheet on wire rack.
Decoration: Melt chocolate in a bowl over 110° F. water. Spread finely chopped walnuts on a plate. Lightly dip both long edges of each cookie in chocolate, then into the walnuts, placing each cookie on a clean baking sheet as you finish. Refrigerate sheet a few minutes to set the chocolate. Store in a single layer in a foil-lined box at room temperature up to 3 days.

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