Nutella Pinwheel Cookies

 A small bite of awesome. With milk, bein sur.
And yes, those are pink, sparkly nails. 

One of the best things about this time of year is that I can bake and bake and bake and nobody is going to say anything about it. Because a) it's hard to complain when your mouth is full of food and b) of course I'm cooking! It's Christimas!

That said, I thought this year I'd occasionally practice some new cookies and such before the massive Bake-a-Thon that heralds the holiday. When I have to go to Target and stock up on those stupid-cute gift bags/boxes/tins, when I burn myself with melted chocolate at least twice, when I have to drink through a failed baking attempt (last year - gingerbread house, year before - a complicated yule log experiment that involved a mousse that involved a packet of gelatin, a first for me, year before before, gingerbread. it melted.) Anyway, I have a handle on gingerbread now. And I do not yet know what baking attempt will blow up in my face at, probably, an ungodly time of night.

Look forward to that post, I'm telling you.
Be glad you don't live with me?

I stumbled across this recipe at The Galley Gourmet and love love loved it. What's not to enjoy? Nutella? Delicious. In cookie form? Fantastic. Super easy? Even better!

This recipe is a good reason to put "rolling pin" on the list of things I want for my kitchen, but I'll get to that and, really, you can find ways around it. Luckily, I was visiting a friend and she had a rolling pin and LO these cookies were whipped up. The recipe is fantastically simple - I halved it to see if I liked it and it worked swimmingly. You might want to make the whole batch though - they go awful fast.

I'm giving the whole recipe, in it's original form, but I used salted butter rather than unsalted and just a pinch of salt additionally and was no worse for wear.

Nutella Pinwheel Cookies

- 8 oz butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 egg yolks (I used large, she had extra large, but things seemed fine)
- 2 TSP vanilla
- 2 1/3 cup flour
- 1/4 TSP salt (she calls for kosher)
- 1/2 cup Nutella, divided

Now, I did veer a bit from her instructions, but I'm giving you mine rather than hers. They are virtually identical and if you'd like to mix up the flour/salt before hand and then add later, that's fine. I just didn't bother.

You'll want to cream the butter and sugar together, which doesn't take long and is - as always - delicious because, well, it's butter and sugar. Hard to fail. Add in the egg yolks and the vanilla and then mix up for a minute, until it's combined. Slowly add the flour and salt, until it forms a soft dough.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and separate into two halves. Form each half into a square, wrap up in plastic wrap, and put it in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

Now. Amuse yourself somehow. We gossiped and watched some Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

Take out one of the squares of dough and place on a lightly floured surface. Have the top covered in the plastic wrap and proceed to roll the dough out into a rectangle about a quarter inch thick. Remove the plastic wrap and spread half of the nutella over it, evenly. Leave about a 1/4 inch on the edges. Roll up the nutella spread cookie dough (god, those are good words to type) into a log and wrap up with plastic wrap (or parchment paper), then pop it into the freezer for about fifteen minutes.

Repeat with the second square of dough.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. You can either butter your cookie sheet, place some baking parchment down on it, place some foil on it, or use a sil-pat. I used a sil-pat. Consequently, I now really want a sil-pat as well as a rolling pin. Go figure.

 Go ahead. Eat one already. 
You deserve it.

Now. Remove a log of cookie dough from the freezer and unwrap it. Slice into 1/3" slices and place on the baking sheet, an inch or so apart. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until the cookies are olden around the edges. Cool on a wire rack and store in an air-tight container for up to a week.

Or eat in one sitting, either way. Delicious!

This recipe will make four dozen cookies, so, share and share alike!


Garlic Basil Foccacia

 Toasty brown and deliciously crisp.
Not Jewel's foccacia.

"What are you doing today?"
"Oh, I was thinking of making this foccia."
"Yes. Yes, you were."

A good friend of mine was in town recently and we had this sleepy conversation in the early afternoon hours when I was sprawled (and dressed, go me) in bed and he was freshly awoken. I was musing theoretical about ways to spend my day off and we ended up going to get coffee at a nearby coffee shop I'd not been to, but accurately guessed to be the right place to take him, and spent about a zillion hours at Reckless Records (where I found some cheap VHS tapes we needed, he found some albums he needed, and all in all good times were had) and then braved the rains to get home again. Where I tackled this recipe.

Everyone loved it. Most especially, it seemed, the boys. I was pleased because I'm always proud of a positive yeast-bread experience and this one, even with the corners I ended up cutting (just ten minutes! but they were likely meaningful.) was delicious. I even used some of it to make a grilled sammich and that's pretty much the height of living.

My recipe was taken (and based) from the blog So Tasty, So Yummy - it was splendid! Follow that link for the recipe.

The changes I made were to use canola oil instead of olive (we had more. but it was fine.) and instead of rosemary, I used a generous sprinkling of basil. I also used a Portuguese Salt Cream instead of table salt. It's pretty much like sea salt, it's pretty much outstanding.

I also, although this matters less, did not use a mixer - just the good ol' spoon and hand kneading trick.

I hope you love this bread as much as we did! (the whole thing did not last the evening!)