Embossing cookie dough

Recently, I was offered the chance to try out an embossed rolling pin from embossedco.com.  Jessica, one of the founders of Embossed Company offered to send me one in exchange for blogging about it-something I generally do not do.  However, I have been looking at them on the internet for so long and have always hesitated ordering one because they were shipping from Eastern Europe and I just couldn’t do it.  Luckily for me, Embossed Company makes their pins here in the US and they ship from the west coast.
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Directions for using and caring for the pin are on the website under the FAQ page.  However, I decided to include my step by step experience.  When I roll out dough, I like to position it between wooden dowels to achieve an even thickness.  You can find dowels in any store that sells lumber and they come in all different sizes.  The first set I used are 1/4 inch dowels and on a floured surface, I rolled out my dough with a smooth pin.

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A quick switch to 3/16 inch dowels and to the embossing pin, I started at the surface closest to me and pressed down while rolling away from me.

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The pin leaves a nice impression of the design, this one is called Paisley.

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Your choice of dough really matters here.  If you are familiar with springerle or speculaa cookies, you might already have a favorite dough to work with.  For those of you new to this concept, stick with a cookie dough that doesn’t have a leavener such as a classic rolled sugar cookie.  This is my adaptation of a Spekulatius cookie, a traditional German version of gingerbread.  

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The design is abstract but organized in a manner that you can easily position cutters over sections of the dough to get a specific part of the design or just wing it and see what happens!

IMG_8848Rather than fuss over positioning the cutter, I just worked at placing them in an efficient pattern to eliminate wasted space.  Square cutters are perfect for this.
IMG_8852Round cutters are not, they generate lots of scraps that I saved for the next time I need a few freshly baked cookies.
IMG_8854The dowels may seem unnecessary but they really aren’t.  If you have ever rolled out cookies and had some on the tray burn before others were baked, it is because the thickness of the dough wasn’t consistent.  This is where the dowels come in; they stop you from rolling the dough out thinner than you intended to.
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Once baked, the design is a bit softer but still pretty obvious.  If you have ever baked springerle, you are familiar with the concept of letting the cookies sit and dry before baking-something I might try.  A lower baking temperature might also aid in retaining the design. 

IMG_8860Regardless, the cookies look great, the pin was easy to use and I am thrilled that I agreed to take Jessica up on her offer!  Embossed Company is a new business but they are off to a great start and they even pledge to donate 15% of their profits to non profits that are working towards providing meals to impoverished communities around the world.
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Almond Spekulatius Cookies

makes 4-6 dozen cookies depending on the size of your cutters

 

7 ounces unsalted butter, softened (14 tablespoons, 199g)

1 cup dark brown sugar, packed in the cup (210 g)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 whole egg, large size

2 tablespoons spekulatius spice blend, homemade or purchased*

1/2 cup almond flour (60g)*

1 cup white whole wheat flour (154g)*

1 cup unbleached all purpose flour (140g)

In a mixing bowl, cream the butter with the brown sugar, vanilla and salt until fluffy.  Scrape the bowl as you go to insure it is completely mixed.  Add the egg, mix it in completely.  By hand, fold in the remaining ingredients and form a thick disk with the dough.  Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for several hours and up to several days, you can also freeze it for a month.

When ready to make the cookies, allow the dough to come to room temperature, it should be pliable but not sticky.  Preheat the oven to 350.  Using the method described in the photos above, roll and cut out the cookies.  Place them on sheet pans lined with parchment or silpats and bake until golden around the edges, about 12-14 minutes.  Allow them to cool on the tray for a few minutes and then move them to a cooling rack to finish cooling.  Store them in an air tight container.

Some notes on the ingredients:

Spekulatius spice is fairly common in Germany, we have friends there that sent us some over the holidays but you can easily make it or purchase some.

Almond flour gives a nice crunch to the dough, you can substitute with any finely ground nut that you prefer.  For those with nut allergies, substitute an additional 1/2 cup of all purpose flour.

White whole wheat flour is just another way of adding texture to the dough along with a little extra flour.  Feel free to experiment with other whole grain flours but start by measuring out a cup, they all have different weights!

 

valentine’s share a heart cookies; a two-for-one, cookies and kindness, tuesdays with dorie post

img_7389It is so nice to be back to baking with the Tuesdays with Dorie gang!  Especially when it means baking cookies, lots of cookies!  If you recall my post from earlier this month, Dorie Greenspan recently began a revolution to make the world a sweeter place with Cookies & Kindness.  Each month, she posts a recipe on her website and encourages us to bake and share the cookies.   For February, she chose these easy to make Valentine’s Day Share-A-Heart cookies and this is also the recipe chosen by the Tuesday with Dorie Bakers; a two-for-one recipe!

The recipe calls for making two large hearts that can be decorated and given as gifts.  As soon as I saw the recipe, I knew I would be making them for my daughters but having to ship them to Georgia and California, I chose a smaller size cutter so that the cookies would survive the trip.

img_7391Do not be intimidated by the call for rolling out the cookies with parchment paper.  Over the years, I have rolled out thousands and thousands of cookies and one issue I have always encountered, the added flour from rolling out the cookies can change the consistency of the dough.  If you have read any of my posts on rolling cookies, I have always instructed that you brush off as much of the flour as possible to prevent the dough from changing.  Dorie has a brilliant suggestion in her recipe; place the dough between two sheets of parchment paper and skip the flour!  For small quantities, this is absolutely the way to go and it is definitely a technique I will use again.  The parchment paper takes the place of the flour and the consistency of the dough remains the same from start to finish.  Keep in mind, repeatedly rolling out the dough will toughen it as the gluten becomes developed but for small quantities like this, you won’t have to worry about that happening.

img_7395If you enjoyed this post, think about baking along with us.  Pick up a copy of Dorie’s Cookies and bake cookies to share!  Sweeten the world one cookie recipe at a time!  To see what the rest of the gang did with their cookies, check the website!