Almond Wreath Cookies

Almond Wreath Cookies

This is another of my favorites when it comes to Christmas baking.

These Land O’ Lakes Almond Wreaths are a soft, flavorful, fun-shaped cookie.

They take a little effort to construct, but once you get the hang of things, they’re pretty quick to bust out.

Almond Wreath Cookies

The use of confectionery sugar in the batter gives the finished cookies a smooth texture.

Almond Wreath Cookies

They are a little soft, though, so you have to wrap up the dough and refrigerate it before shaping the cookies.

But while they’re in the fridge, it’s a good time to clean up the kitchen or even make a different type of Christmas cookie.

Almond Wreath Cookies

I follow the directions given in the recipe for making my wreaths:  Shape one-inch balls, cut balls in half, roll each half into a rope, twist the two rope pieces together and form the twisted rope into a circle.

Again, it takes a minute or two to get the hang of it, but it’s not nearly as daunting as it looks!

Almond Wreath Cookies

I don’t dye my dough.  You could make the cookies green, but I never do.

In the original recipe, they’re left uncolored and decorated with white icing and white sprinkles.  I change that up a bit by using green sugar sprinkles on top of the icing.  I like the look of it.

Almond Wreath Cookies

After brushing the icing on two or three cookies, add the sprinkles before the icing hardens.

If using a larger decoration, like the sugar pearls I used, add them first, and then add the finer textured sugar sprinkles.

You could also use regular nonpareils for a more colorful look.

Almond Wreath Cookies

This recipe can be found on the Land O’ Lakes website: Land O’ Lakes Almond Wreaths

And if you thought they looked scrumptious, you may also want to check out these:

Spritz Butter Cookies

Soft Iced Sugar Cookies

Chocolate Almond Mummy Cookies

Strawberry Cream Cheese Sandwich Cookies

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies

Ultimate Norwegian Spice Cookies

Elf-Sized Chocolate Chip Confetti Cookies

Easter Bunny Spiced Sandwich Cookies

Yum!

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Cutout Cookies: The Easy Way!

easy cut out cookies

I recently made Chocolate Almond Mummy Cookies.

They were REALLY good.

So when I was craving some homemade cookies the other day, this recipe was still fresh in my mind and I was totally thinking that I could use some more iced chocolate almond cookies.  So I made a batch.

I did not, however, feel like cutting out the cookies.  So I simplified the entire process by using a pizza cutter to cut the rolled out dough into a bunch of squares.

Didn’t even measure.

I did re-roll the uneven outer cookies and re-cut them to make nicer looking squares… but that only took and extra minute or two.

I had some fun with the decorating.  Just poured the icing into a plastic baggy, snipped off the corner, and drew.  Played around with patterns and letters.

And then, the important part:  I ate them.  :)

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Chocolate Almond Mummy Cookies

Chocolate Almond Mummy Cookies

Aren’t those just the sweetest looking mummy cookies you’ve ever seen??

I haven’t made these things in years and I was really craving them, but this year I changed things up a little.

All I did was add some almond extract into the batter and icing, but it really makes a difference.  It adds so much dimension to the cookies.  I feel like vanilla extract gets lost in chocolate cookies, but almond brings out both flavors.

And I like the royal icing as the mummy wrappings because it dries hard and shiny, although royal icing isn’t really known for it’s spectacular flavor… but a little almond is the perfect fix!

Chocolate Almond Mummy Cookies

The cookie batter is based on the Hershey’s chocolate cutout cookies.

It’s an easy recipe, which is part of the reason I like.  You mix the dry ingredients in one bowl, blend the wet in the other, then mix ’em all together.

Chocolate Almond Mummy Cookies

Once you have your yummy chocolate almond cookie dough, cover it loosely with plastic wrap and store it in the fridge for an hour.

Try to do this before you – ahem – “taste test” the entire batch.

Chocolate Almond Mummy Cookies

Roll it out on a floured surface and use some gingerbread men cookie cutters to make the mummies.

My cutters were about 2.5 inches tall and I got 4 dozen cookies.

Chocolate Almond Mummy Cookies

The icing can be whipped up quickly with a fork.  I can’t be bothered dragging out the mixer all the time…

Anyway, if you don’t already have meringue powder, it’s worth picking some up.  I swear this stuff lasts forever.

To easily fill a plastic bag with the icing, put the bag in a glass first and fold the edges over the rim.  Scoop in the icing, and you have an instant decorating bag!

Chocolate Almond Mummy Cookies

Don’t those look gorgeous??

Once the cookies are completely cooled – and once you’ve made sure to place some waxed or parchment paper under the cooling racks – then go ahead and “wrap” your mummies.

Snip a small hole in the corner of that decorating bag you’ve just filled and drizzle it back and forth over the cookies, allowing it to overlap now and then.

When the icing is hard, CAREFULLY remove the cookies from the racks.  {A couple of my guys lost their heads this way because I got impatient.}  Just use a spatula instead of yanking them off and you should be fine.

Chocolate Almond Mummy Cookies

And while the icing is still wet, you COULD add some eyes, by way of mini chocolate chips or mini M&Ms or something along those lines, but I don’t find that necessary.

I like the look of them without any eyeballs.  More elegant.  If mummies can be such a thing…

Chocolate Almond Mummy Cookies

Chocolate Almond Mummy Cookies

Ingredients:

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 large egg
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups confectionary (powdered) sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons meringue powder
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3 to 4 tablespoons water

Blend the butter, egg, sugar, and almond extract. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture until fully incorporated. Cover and refrigerate for one hour.

Preheat oven to 325°F (170°C). On a floured surface, roll out the dough to about a 1/4 inch thick. Use a 2 to 3 inch cookie cutter in the shape of a gingerbread man for the mummies. Place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes or until you can lightly touch the cookie without leaving an indentation. Cool completely on wire racks.

For the icing, use a fork to blend the sugar, meringue powder, extract, and 3 tablespoons water. Continue to add about half a tablespoon at a time until you reach your desired consistency. You should be able to lift the fork out of the bowl and have the icing slowly drip off in a thick line.

Put the icing in a decorating bag or in a plastic baggie with the corner snipped off, and decorate the cookies by moving the icing back and forth over them. Be sure that you have something under the racks to catch the excess icing, such as waxed paper.

Once the icing has hardened, very carefully remove the cookies from the racks. Store covered.

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Here is the free printable PDF version of the recipe:  Chocolate Almond Mummy Cookies

And a few things you may need:

Wilton Christmas Cookie Cutters Wilton Meringue Powder Imitation Almond Extract Organic Almond Extract

Enjoy!

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Tropical Almond French Toast

Tropical Almond French Toast Recipe

First, with the polar vortex turning everyone’s blood to ice, and now with this “bombogenesis” upon us, I decided to metaphysically warm up with a tropical breakfast.

I took my Homemade Bread and turned it into Tropical Almond French Toast, based off of the Coconut-Almond French Toast with Tropical Fruit recipe from a January 2014 issue of Woman’s World, but with a few changes.

Tropical Almond French Toast

Here are some of the ingredients I used, although I forgot to put the coconut in the photo.  Anyway, the french toast gets its amazing almond flavor from the almond milk and almond extract.

The coconut is added before you cook it, and the diced fruit afterwards, as a topping.  I used bananas and mango mixed with some brown sugar and lime juice, but you could add in just about any fruit here that you like, or whatever’s in season.  I found this to be a good combination, especially because the banana and mango were flavorful but still mild enough to allow the almond and coconut flavors to really shine through.

French Toast

Just like my usual french toast, I took day-old bread and dunked it into a mixture of milk and eggs and flavoring.  The bread needs to be crusty and dry to absorb the liquid.  If it’s fresh bread, the liquid will only cover the surface instead of absorbing.  You’ll know for certain it was too fresh if you have a bunch of milk mix left over after soaking all of the bread.  The best way to get the right consistency of bread is to leave it out, with the slices spread out, at least overnight.

coconut on french toast

After letting the bread soak in the milk mixture for a minute, turning it to ensure even coating, gently pull the bread out of the milk.  The bread will be heavy with the milk, so be careful to support it.

Just before placing the bread on a greased griddle, sprinkle it with some sweetened coconut.  Then, lay it coconut-side down on the griddle and sprinkle coconut on the side that’s facing up.  The coconut is an important step because I love the sweet, crispy crust that it forms toast.

Tropical Almond French Toast

Let the french toast brown, then flip and brown on the other side.  Make sure the bread cooks long enough that it cooks all the way through.  At least 3 or 4 minutes, or longer if your bread is thick like mine – you don’t want gooey egg on the inside when you’re eating it.

Tropical Almond French Toast

Once the french toast is done, put it on a plate and top with the fruit mixture.  I suggest a wee bit more fruit than what’s pictured here.  I didn’t want to overload it for the photos, but I added more while eating it.

Also, a slight sprinkle of powdered sugar over the top adds a nice balance of sweetness, as does a drizzle of honey, which also adds a little extra moisture but functions as a substitute for syrup.  You could use maple syrup if you prefer, but I like how the honey blends with the fruit.

Tropical Almond French Toast

If you cut the slices of your bread thick, then one slice should be enough per person.  The leftovers freeze well, but also keep in the refrigerator for awhile.

Enjoy!  Let me know what you think!

Tropical Almond French Toast

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups almond milk
6 large eggs
4 Tbsp packed brown sugar, separated
1/2 tsp almond extract
8 to 10 thick slices day-old bread
1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes
1 mango, diced
2 bananas, diced
1 Tbsp lime juice
confectionary sugar
honey

Whisk together almond milk, eggs, 2 Tbs. brown sugar, and almond extract in a large, shallow bowl.

Dip bread into mixture for about a minute on each side, allowing bread to absorb the milk. Carefully remove bread from bowl allowing excess liquid to drip back into the bowl (use a fork or spatula to prevent tearing if it’s become too soggy) and sprinkle each side with coconut flakes.

Place bread on a greased, flat skillet or griddle over medium to medium high heat. Cook until browned, about 3 or 4 minutes per side.

Meanwhile, mix the mango and banana pieces with the remaining 2 Tbs. brown sugar and the lime juice.

To serve, place French Toast on a plate and top with the fruit mixture. Then sprinkle powdered sugar over top and drizzle with honey.

(Note: you can use just about any combination of fruit you like, in addition to or in substitution of the mango and banana. Also, you can substitute maple syrup for the honey, if you prefer.)

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And here is the FREE printable PDF:  Tropical Almond French Toast

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