A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure to attend a cookie exchange party at Laurie's beautiful country home... There is nothing better than an afternoon of cookie indulgence with wonderful people!!!
I came home with a second place tie for my Almond Sighs with dulce de leche.... These are incredibly addictive and it is hard to stop eating them!! Below is the recipe, but don't blame me if you get addicted too!!
Almond Sighs with dulce de leche
4 large egg whites
1 cup sugar
pinch of salt
3/4 cup (about 3 ounces) ground almonds
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup dulce de leche*
1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F and set racks in thirds in the oven. Cover 3 sheet pans with parchment paper. Set aside.
2. Beat the egg whites and salt in a mixer with the whisk attachment, on medium speed, until white and opaque.
3. Increase the speed to high and pour 1/2 cup sugar in, in a steady stream. Beat until whites are very firm but not dry.
4. In a medium bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 cup sugar with the almonds and cornstarch. Fold it into the egg whites.
5. Using a pastry bag with a round 3/8“ tip, pipe circles about 2“ wide.
6. Bake for about 12-15 minutes, rotating and turning the trays in the middle. Watch them carefully to see when they are lightly golden and fairly dry (I have to eat one to tell). Cool on a drying rack.
7. Once the meringues are cool, you can sandwich a thin layer of dulce de leche between 2 meringues. Store the meringues in a cool room temperature if you are serving that day. Store in an airtight container in the fridge to keep longer.
* to make dulce de leche, submerge 1 can of condensed milk into a pot with water (remove the label) and boil for about 2 hours. Let cool before use.
Here are a couple more recipes for some of my (and my kids') favorites from that cookie exchange...
Pecan Pie Cookies
1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 Tbsp sugar
1/4 cup dark corn syrup
1 large egg, separated
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
3 Tbsp unsalted butter 1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp dark corn syrup
3/4 cup finely chopped pecans
Beat 1/4 cup butter and sugar at medium high speed with a stand mixer until light and fluffy. Add 1/4 cup corn syrup and egg yolk and mix well. Gradually stir in the flour until combined. Chill for one hour.
Meanwhile, melt 3 Tbsp butter in a small saucepan. Stir in powdered sugar and 1 Tbsp corn syrup. Bring to a boil over medium high heat and remove from heat. Stir in pecans and chill for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Roll dough into 1 inch balls and place 2 inches apart on a prepared cookie sheet. Bake for six minutes. You may have to flatten the balls with a spoon after the first round of baking. Top each smashed cookie with 1 tsp of pecan mixture. Return to oven and bake for 8-10 minutes more, until golden brown.
Nutella Gooey Butter Cookies
1 box chocolate cake mix
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter (room temperature)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup Nutella (add more if you like)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add the egg, then beat in the Nutella and vanilla extract. Mix in the cake mix. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours to firm up so that you can roll the batter into balls. Roll the chilled batter into tablespoon sized balls (I used a medium cookie scoop) and then roll them in powdered sugar. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake 12-14 minutes. The cookies will remain soft and gooey.
Now excuse me, I hear my kitchen calling my name....