Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Baked Bundles of Joy

DIY & Food.

As a Hip Hostess, I believe that it is the little unexpected special touches in any event or evening that your guests will remember. One thing that I love to do is put together a pretty little package of treats as a parting gift. Who wouldn't like that? It combines two of my favorite things - pretty packaging and food. And the best thing is that it's super simple and cheap to make.

Mini Linzer Tarts in an Origami Favor Box.

Favor Box (originally from Martha Stewart Living).
1. Cut book weight paper to the following 2 sizes: 8 1/8" (for the bottom) and 5 13/16" (for the top).

2. Fold the corners of each square toward the center, using a bone folder or other thin blunt tool to make precise creases.

3. Fold one side of the bottom 1 1/4 inches toward the center; crease and unfold. Repeat for other three sides. Do same for lid, folding each side in 3/8" inch.

4. At each corner of bottom and lid, fold diagonal crease that bisects the small square created by previous folds.

5. Unfold the two opposite sides. Refold remaining two sides of square along crease so they stand upright and form two walls of box.

6. Fold up third side, tucking diagonal corner folds inward against it; wrap third side over folds; lay in place. Repeat for fourth side. Glue points together at the center.

Linzer Tarts

3/4 pound unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Ice water
3/4 cup good preserves, raspberry or strawberry look great
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the butter and sugar until they are just combined. Add the vanilla. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt, then add them to the butter-and-sugar mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together, you may have to add a little bit of ice water. Dump onto a surface dusted with flour and shape into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.

Roll the dough 1/4-inch thick and cut 1 1/2-inch rounds with a cutter. With 1/2 of the rounds, cut a hole from the middle of each round with a heart or flower shaped cutter. Place all the cookies on an ungreased baking sheet lined with parchment and chill for 15 minutes.

Bake the cookies for 10 t0 12 minutes, until the edges begin to brown. Allow to cool to room temperature. Spread raspberry preserves on the flat side of each solid cookie. Dust the top of the cut-out cookies with confectioners' sugar and press the flat sides together, with the raspberry preserves in the middle and the confectioners' sugar on the top.

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