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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Galettes: One of My Favorite Things.

I absolutely love baking during the holidays (and just about any other time of year). There's just something special about donning a holiday apron and making delicious treats that you know you're going to eat way to many, and end up giving the rest away instead of using your self control :)

Every year, my Aunt sends us a lovely little package from Harry & David, filled to the brim with yummy snacks. My favorite thing in the box is their galette cookie- a light sugar/shortbread cookie hybrid crafted into an incredible jam sandwich. I'm usually not one for fruit mixed in with my dessert (chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate please!), but these cookies are truly something special, and I've found myself looking forward to them every year.

So, this year I decided, 'why wait for Aunt Fran to send them?' and spent quite a few hours in the kitchen trying to perfect the recipe myself. Goodness knows it would be cheaper to be able to make them myself! And then that way I can share them with the world and have them any time I want :)

They're actually fairly simple to make, and have a total of 9 ingredients, all of which are fairly standard kitchen-y things so this is one cookie recipe that doesn't require running out to the grocery in the middle because you don't have some crazy random thing!

Here's what you'll need:

3 1/4 cups of flour (whole wheat or white, doesn't matter!)
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder (NOT soda! I definitely grabbed the soda at first...yikes!)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cups of butter, softened
1 cup of granulated sugar
1 large egg
1T of milk
2 1/2 tsp. of vanilla
A jar of your favorite jam or fruit preserves for the filling

As far as the flour goes, you get a very different texture of cookie if you use white vs. whole wheat. The first time I made these I did all whole wheat, and they turned out wonderful- a bit firmer than the galettes I'm used to, and slightly more "grainy" in texture, but I really enjoyed them. The dough, however, was a pain in the butt to work with. So, the second time I used half wheat and half white, and it was about the same outcome. Yesterday I made them with all white flour, and the dough was so much easier to work with, and the cookies were basically of a 'melt-in-your-mouth' texture. They're all delicious, so its up to you what type of cookie you want, and what type of dough you're willing to work with.

And yes, I love these cookies so much I've made 3 batches in the past week. Judge me- I dare you.

Start off by just mixing the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl, and set that aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, beat together the sugar and softened butter until its fluffy. And I mean fluffy- this is one of the keys to getting your dough to have the right consistency. The photo above still isn't fluffy enough. I'd beat the butter and sugar together probably for 5 minutes or so, just to be safe :)

Add in the egg, milk, and vanilla, and keep mixing! Once everything is mixed together, slowly add in the flour mixture, and keep beating. Eventually you'll get dough :)

If you used whole-wheat flour, and/or didn't make the butter and sugar fluffy enough,  you may have to press together the dough to make it into lumps- no worries if this happens, just knead it for a while and that should help!

Separate the dough into 2 halves, and let it chill in the fridge for at least 15 minutes. Note: when I used the white flour, I let it sit for almost an hour because it was very soft. Once its set for long enough, knead it a bit and roll one of those halves out! 

Use your favorite cookie cutters to start cutting the dough. I'd recommend small shapes or just a simple circle because these cookies are meant to be small. As in one or two bites small. And if you don't have a cookie cutter anywhere in your house, like yours truly, you can get creative. I used a cup :)

It works quite well!!

Transfer the cookies to a cookie sheet (you'll need about 3, I'd say), and pop those babies in the oven. I've baked mine for anywhere from 7-12 minutes, but the minute the thinnest cookie starts getting brown on top, take them out! I burned the second batch, and that was a big no-bueno. 

I bake one tray at a time- it takes a bit longer, but it ensures that all of the cookies get the same lovin' in the oven. :) 

Let them cool for a few minutes, and then be sure to move them to foil or to a plate because they'll stick super quickly to the sheet. And then once they dry they're breakable. I also ruined half of my second batch this way. You live and learn though! 

Once they cool completely (aka after 2 or so hours), you can start jamming those babies up. Just spread or dollop about half a teaspoon onto a cookie, and top with another one. You're basically making sandwiches with these suckers. 

If you want to eat them right away, I don't blame you at all- they're magical! However, if you let them sit out overnight on a plate covered by clingwrap or foil, the texture will completely change by morning- they'll become much softer and buttery, and more like one cookie than two stuck together by jam. I've used peach, strawberry, and blueberry jam, and they're all fantastic.

I've brought these cookies into the office, to get together, and just served them last night after dinner, and everyone has loved them. I hope you enjoy them as much as my friends and family have!

Merry Christmas to all of you! I hope that you all have wonderful days filled with love and happiness.


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