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Oct 31, 2010 08:39 PM

November/December 2010 BCTM: READY FOR DESSERT: Cookies and Candies

Our baking cookbook for November/December 2010 is READY FOR DESSERT, by David Lebovitz.

Please use this thread to discuss Ready for Dessert Cookies and Candies recipes. When posting your review, include the source. If the source is a book, include the book name and page number; and if it you found your recipe online, post a link.

The Chowhound Team has asked me to remind you that verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is a violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

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  1. Zimtsterne READY FOR DESSERT pg. 202

    "Zimt sterne" means "Cinnamon Stars" in German, and I'm very glad I tried these. No flour--they are made of ground almonds, powdered sugar, honey, egg white and cinnamon.
    (I ordered some Penzeys cinnamon because I knew I'd be making these. A side-by-side taste test this morning and I tossed my old cinnamon immediately. The Penzeys was brighter and sweeter by FAR.)
    The dough is made in a processor (but doesn't have to be!) and rolled out--1/3 inch, nice and thick. Cut outs are baked at 300F, they keep their shape, no spreading.
    Then a simple glaze is applied, and you have delicious chewy little pictures to eat.
    Notes: I wish I had used even more cinnamon.
    Impossible to leave the raw dough alone!
    The glaze would have been smoother + prettier if it had been a little thinner and easier to spread.

    David L. said they are traditionally cut as 6-sided stars. I had only a 5-sided, until I was finished, when I found the 6 sided one!
    Will make more of these as neighbor gifts for Christmas.

    8 Replies
    1. re: blue room

      Oh my goodness, these are going straight to the top of my list!


      1. re: blue room

        blue room -- is that the Penzeys vietnamese cassia? It is to die for. Strong and sweet.

        I did some research on german holiday cookies for a fundraiser and saw these German stars. (Not looking at David's book but came across them elsewhere.) Didn't know they didn't have flour. And it sounds like they were chewy, not crisp? Wonder if the lack of flour is part of the reason? Maybe also the lower baking temp.

        1. re: karykat

          I got the Penzeys blend (of their 4 cinnamons) -- will try the good stuff next time for sure.
          And yes, they should be soft. A plus is he says they keep for 3 MONTHS if kept airtight.

          1. re: blue room

            These cookies remind me of the walnut balls I regularly make (especially when guests are avoiding butter, etc.). They are delicious and very easy. It's just ground walnuts, egg white and sugar. I sometimes add chocolate bits. They're formed into small balls and baked. Absolutely delicious. Crunchy and chewy.

            If you're interested in the recipe, I think I probably set it out somewhere here a while ago. If you can't find it and are interested, I'd be glad to post.

            1. re: oakjoan

              Oakjoan, funny, Good Housekeeping has Martha Stewart's recipe for Noel Nut Balls, which sound similar to your walnut balls, except for all of the butter in her recipe.
              I'd love your recipe, if you wouldn't mind!


              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                TDQ: I'm sorry that this is so late. I posted this and then never came back to look at this thread until today. The recipe is from The Moosewood Restaurant Book of Desserts.

                Martha Stewart uses lots of butter in hers? Sheesh, mine have NO BUTTER. Good cookie for those watching fat intake.

                1 egg white
                1 1/4 cup nuts (ground) - they say most nuts are good in this recipe. I've only used walnuts and pecans. They also say to finely grind the nuts. I like them a bit more chunky (tiny chunks) and not smooth.

                3/4 cup brown sugar
                1 tsp vanilla
                1/2 tsp cinnamon (they say both the vanil. and cin. are optional - I sometimes use one or the other. It's all good)

                Mix all ingredients together until will mixed. Roll tsps of dough into balls and place on a lightly oiled baking sheet (I use parchment or my silpat) about 2 inches apart. They're then baked for about a half hour. Exact timing isn't important here. I've cooked them less and more. I've also pressed them into more cookie shapes with good results.

                1. re: oakjoan

                  Thank you for this oakjoan. These look wonderful, and I love the idea of the cookie shapes! I shall report back!


        2. re: blue room

          These look great. I just acquired a set of cookie cutters (from a German supermarket as it happens) and this recipe seems like the ideal way to christen them.

        3. Chocolate-Port Truffles, p220

          I feel a bit on my own cooking from this book at the moment but if anyone is reading this, I could do with some advice!

          I'm halfway through making these truffles, and unfortunately my ganache seems to have split. Or more precisely, the butter has risen to the surface and I don't know why. I followed the instructions and boiled double cream before adding chocolate, then butter and port. My butter hadn't been out of the fridge that long and so probably wasn't quite room temperature, as stated. I whipped it all up using an immersion blender as specified. Before I put it into the fridge, I noticed that it didn't seem to be that well amalgamated and was somewhat greasy on the bottom, but as I haven't made truffles before I carried on. When I took the ganac he out of the fridge, the butter had risen to the top and solidified.

          It tastes fine so I've formed the mixture into truffles and will roll in cocoa powder (can't be bothered to do the chocolate shell thing) but I wonder what the problem is. Maybe my butter was too cold. I'm also in Britain so my butter is higher in fat. I also used 70% cocoa chocolate as it's the norm here for good quality chocolate and it's pretty hard to find 50-60% as Lebovitz suggests. Any ideas?

          7 Replies
          1. re: greedygirl

            So I e-mailed David Lebovitz to ask him about my truffle problem and he kindly replied! He said it happens sometimes and is to do with a change in temperatures. "I usually just scrape it off." So now we know that it happens to the best of us!

              1. re: greedygirl

                Now that is astonishing! What a wonderful man to have responded to you.

                1. re: smtucker

                  He's very responsive to posts on his website too!--I've asked him ice cream-making questions.

                  1. re: quirkydeb

                    Yeah quirkydeb, I really like "subscribing" to Lebovitz' website. He's funny and interesting and has good recipes.

                    1. re: oakjoan

                      His book, The Sweet Life in Paris is a delightful read.

                      1. re: oakjoan

                        I just subscribed. I agree -- he's fun and readable. He brings you to a different world. And those sugared popovers look kind of good for a breakfast or brunch.