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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Bärentatzen without nuts

One of my friends has nut allergies in the family, and she wondered if it would be possible to make the German Bärentatzen cookies without the one cup of ground almonds.  This is an extremely good question, my first thought is that by the time you sandwich the cookies with jam, dip them in chocolate and drizzle with white chocolate, any cookie would work.  But the challenge here is to have a cookie as soft and delicate as the original almond cookies.  

I looked at shortbread recipes, especially those containing corn starch.  The proportions of corn starch and flour to butter seemed about the same as the original recipe, but they did not include an egg.  So what I did was I made the original recipe exactly without adding the nuts, but of course the dough was too soft to roll out.  I then added flour and cornstarch a 1/4 cup at a time to stiffen the dough.  After an additional 1/2 cup flour and 1/4 cup cornstarch, the dough seemed to be about the right consistency.  It was slightly more difficult to roll out, next time I will refrigerate it in plastic wrap for several hours before rolling.  But between the stone countertops and nonstick rolling pin, it rolled fairly well and without too much added flour.

So the final recipe becomes:

Bärentatzen without the almonds

1 cup butter = 250 grams butter
3/4 cup sugar = 175 grams sugar = 2.1 deciliters sugar
1 tsp. vanilla or vanilla sugar
1 egg
2 cups flour = 5 deciliters flour
1 cup corn or potato starch = 2.5 deciliters

Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 Celsius) for 10-12 minutes, then use preserves to double and chocolate to dip.

For more detailed instructions on the process, visit my earlier blog page, here.

I finished up my jar of Fruits of the Forest reduced sugar preserves from Aldi's that I was using in the almond version of the cookies.  Now I am using some blueberry preserves from Trader Joe's.   Try your favorite jam or jelly!

Oh, and an update on Conan O'Brien, he still is unable to get on the air in Finland, YLE, the government TV monopoly, won't budge.  Evidently now there are protesters in the street in Helsinki, there is a Swedish language article about it here.  Guess there will be no Christmas rice pudding at Conan's house...

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