A world of recipes exists beyond standard chocolate-chip and oatmeal varieties that will help to capture sales from dessert-loving customers.
by Joanna Pruess
As popular and infallible as chocolate-chip and oatmeal cookies are, there is a veritable world of small confections to capture the attention of sweets-loving customers—and many opportunities and creative ways to sell them. Mexican rose petal cookies, or bizcochos de rosas, can take the spotlight around Cinco de Mayo, or add dulce de leche–filled alfajores to any a South American promotion. The good news is that sweets sell.
The cookie recipes that follow come from Egypt, England and Switzerland. Part of a cookie’s appeal is its texture, whether soft or firm. Egyptian manenas are a seductive marriage of both: tender, buttery dough wrapped around an exotically spiced dried fruit center and topped with crunchy sesame seeds. Similarly, the crunchy meringues in English Pollyannas are partnered with praline filling, velvety buttercream and toasted hazelnuts. Like sesame seeds, large sugar crystals on Swiss basler brunsli add a toothsome complement to the macaroon-like texture of these chocolate-almond-spice biscuits made with chocolate and cocoa powder. Made with almond flour, this cookie is great for gluten-intolerant customers.
Carole Walter is an award-winning baker and author of Great Cookies. Her
version of Swiss cookies from Basel—made with almond flour, cocoa and
spices—is decorated with sparkling white sugar and has a chewy,
macaroon-like texture. Cut into any shape using a 2-inch cutter.
Traditionally made with Kirschwasser, a fruit brandy, these gluten-free
cookies can also be made with orange liqueur, as they are here.
Yield: 24 cookies • Preparation time: 1 hour 40 minutes, including unattended resting and baking time
Shelf life: up to 3 weeks in an airtight container
4 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons strained Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¹⁄8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 large egg white, at room temperature
³⁄8 cup superfine sugar
½ tablespoon Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur
1½ cups lightly packed almond flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar, for rolling
1 tablespoon sparkling white sugar
1. In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, combine the chocolate, cocoa, cinnamon and cloves, and process until finely ground, 45 to 60 seconds, scraping down the sides and edges of the bowl occasionally. Remove the mixture from the bowl and set aside
2. In a large, wide bowl using an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the egg white into soft peaks. Add the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time over 2 minutes and beat into a stiff meringue. Using a flexible spatula, fold in the Grand Marnier, followed by the chocolate mixture and almond flour. Remove and shape into a rectangle, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3. Lightly coat a flat surface with 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar. Line a tray with wax paper.
4. Place the dough on the sugared surface and turn two or three times to coat with the sugar. Roll out until ³⁄8-inch thick. With a small cookie cutter no larger than 2 inches, cut the dough into pieces and place the cutouts on the wax paper. Sprinkle on the sparkling sugar and let the cookies air-dry for 1 hour before baking.
5. Meanwhile, position the shelves in the upper or lower third of the oven. Heat to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; transfer cookies to the lined baking sheet.
6. Bake the cookies until just set, 9 to 10 minutes, rotating the pan back to front halfway through the cooking time. Make sure not to over-bake; the cookies will firm up as they cool. Remove the baking sheet and let the cookies rest for 2 to 3 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack. Store in airtight containers with wax paper between layers.
NUTRITIONAL DATA (per cookie): Calories: 70; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Sodium: 10 mg; Fat: 1.5 g; Dietary Fiber: 1 g
Joanna Pruess is a regular contributor to Specialty Food Magazine.