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Old 11-09-2004, 12:06 PM   #1
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Giada De Laurentiis Italian American Sandwich Cookie problem

Hi all,

I couldn't find a message forum for any of the food network shows, so I figured I would post this here.

I don't know if anyone else has ran into this problem, but I have piped these cookies into the star shapes, and when baked they ended up spreading, leaving me with a flat cookie instead of a lightly browned star shape. I decided to try it several more times, using different methods, in hopes that the star shape would remain.

First, I creamed the butter cold, with the sugar, insuring that it wouldn't soften too much, which I thought might be the reason for the spreading. After I piped the dough into perfect stars, I chilled them in the fridge for two hours. I was positive the cookies would hold their shape, but they spread. I decided to try again, this time freezing them for two hours, They were so firm, you could have played ping pong with them, and they still would have retained their shape! I preheated the oven once again (I forgot to mention that I tried preheating for only 10 minutes, to insure that the oven wasn't too hot, and when that didn't work.. another time, I preheated it longer -- still didn't work), and checked the cookies after 15 minutes..they had spread.

On my third try, I decided to add a little more flour to the dough, and then chill it. No dice. I give up! Could anyone here who managed to keep the cookies in their perfect star shape, please enlighten me?

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Old 11-09-2004, 02:01 PM   #2
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It sounds like there is still too much butter to flour in there. Without seeing the recipe though it is hard to tell. Can you post it...or tell us where to go look at it?

I am not much of an expert, so I suspect someone who IS expert will be along shortly to help you out.
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Old 11-09-2004, 02:14 PM   #3
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I'm with Alix - sounds like a bum recipe.

For the record, I don't use recipes from anyone - especially on FoodTV - who is more actress than certified cook/chef.

I'd get and use a spritz cookie recipe from the company that made your cookie press, and use that.
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Old 11-09-2004, 02:20 PM   #4
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she's too skinny to be a real cook!!!!!!!!!!!!! but i do like some of "her" recipes, tho.
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Old 11-09-2004, 02:31 PM   #5
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Thank you all for your replies Here is the link to the recipe, but in case it doesn't work, I'll post the recipe itself. Maybe some of you can try it, and see if you get the same result. As for using a cookie press, I didn't, I used my pastry bag with a star tip as the recipe suggests. (any excuse to use my pastry bag is fine with me..LOL..I love it!)

http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/reci..._28841,00.html

Italian American sandwich cookies

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips, optional
1/2 cup strawberry, raspberry or other fruit preserves

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Line 2 heavy large baking sheets with parchment paper. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a large bowl until fluffy. Beat in the egg. Add the flour and mix just until a dough forms.

Fit a pastry bag with a large star tip, and fill the pastry bag with the cookie dough. Pipe the dough onto the prepared baking sheets into stars, spacing 1-inch apart. If desired, press about 4 miniature chocolate chips into the center of each star at this point. Bake the cookies until they are pale golden around the edges and on the bottom, about 15 minutes. Cool the cookies for 5 minutes. Using a metal spatula, transfer the cookies to a rack and cool completely.

When the cookies have cooled, spoon approximately 1/4 teaspoon of preserves atop the flat side of 1 cookie. Press a second cookie onto the preserves. Repeat with the remaining cookies and preserves. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Store between sheets of waxed paper in an airtight container at room temperature.)

Cook's Notes: Alternately, the cookies can be made into thumbprint cookies. To do so, refrigerate the dough until it is cold, about 2 hours. Roll 2 teaspoons of dough for each cookie into 1-inch-diameter ball. Place the cookies on the baking sheets, spacing 2 inches apart. Make a deep indentation in the center of each cookie by pressing the back of a teaspoon into the cookies. Fill each indentation with 1/2 teaspoon of strawberry or raspberry preserves or chocolate chips, and bake as directed.

A chilled chocolate ganache may be used in place of the preserves to fill the indentations in these cookies. To do this, do not fill the indentations before baking the cookies. While the cookies bake, make the ganache by mixing equal parts of warm cream and chocolate until the chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth, then chill the ganache. Once the cookies have baked and cooled, and the chocolate ganache is cold and firm but still spreadable, spoon or pipe the chilled ganache into the empty indentations on the cookies.

I wouldn't want to change the recipe, although I'm assuming something has to be off! There was a recipe for a spritz cookie in last month's Cooking Illustrated, and it contains 1 egg yolk instead of a whole egg, and 2T of heavy cream. I will try it, but I still want to get to the bottom of this one.
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Old 11-09-2004, 02:48 PM   #6
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Hey, Lisa! A big welcome to the boards!

This recipe is practically identical to the one given to me by a neighbor's very Italian mother. It is called "Italian Butter Cookies" and she states that the are traditionally served as a sandwich cookie with either strawberry or raspberry preserves, but chocolate is delicious, as well.

The notable difference is that hers also includes 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder. The mixture is placed into piping bags and chilled for a couple of hours (as you did). The cookies, however, are piped into 2" bars (I use a #4 star tip for that), but she says the traditional variations also include star cookies.

Also slightly different in her recipe is the length of baking time...in a preheated 350 degrees (F) oven, but only for 5-7 minutes until the cookies just begin to brown at the edges.

I've made these cookies many times and have not had the difficulties you are having. They come out in the same shape in which they are piped and practically melt in your mouth, as butter cookies do. I wonder if the success on my end is from the baking powder? Would any resident scientists out there care to offer some insight here?

I hope that helps and it's sure good to have you join us!
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Old 11-09-2004, 03:32 PM   #7
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Thank you so much for your warm welcome, Audeo! It's nice to be amongst fellow foodies :)

Now, was the recipe you used identical to Giada's except with the addition of the baking powder and change in baking time?
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Old 11-09-2004, 03:44 PM   #8
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Although I'm loathe to suggest breaking the recipe, since you've done the obvious stuff, perhaps a small modification is in order. Perhaps you would consider replacing a portion of the butter with shortening.
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Old 11-09-2004, 03:59 PM   #9
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GASP, jasonr!!!!

Lisa, with the exception of the baking powder and baking times, the recipes are practically identical! Here's the recipe:

Italian Butter Cookies

Cream:

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Add 1 large egg and cream again to totally incorporate the egg. Then add 1-1/4 cup all purpose flour and blend well.

Load into piping bag and chill 2 hours.

Pipe with star tip into 2" long bars onto lightly greased cookie sheet.

Bake in preheated 350 degree (F) oven for 5-7 minutes until the edges just begin to brown. Cool on wire racks.

To assemble, place a small amount of stawberry or raspberry jam on the bottom of one cookie and top with another to make a sandwich cookie. Other fillings may be used and using a dark or semi-sweet chocolate is true to tradition.

*********
Edited to add the obvious omission of baking powder in the recipe! Egads!
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Old 11-09-2004, 04:00 PM   #10
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PS: Jasonr, you know I'm just trying to yank that chain of yours....feel the love....
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