Petit Fours

These little dessert bites are the perfect way to celebrate any special occasion (I made these for Mother’s Day this past weekend).  I started with my Italian Rainbow cookie recipe.  Instead of coloring the batter with food coloring, I left it as is.  My daughter-in-love Melissa (I call her Missy) has a lot of chickens, and she is so gracious to share some of the many eggs with me.  Fresh eggs are so delicious and they make baked goods taste amazing!!  You could add a little gel food coloring to the batter if you would like, but the beautiful color of my egg yolks actually made the cakes a pretty peach color.

Missy and my son David are traveling across the country with their sons, Seth and Kory (our adorable grandsons…just saying), in an RV that was gifted to them by Missy’s parents.  They are having an amazing time!  With this past year gradually in the rear view mirror, they are finally able to have some fun family quality time:)!!  They’ll be home tomorrow and I can’t wait to hear all about their adventures!

Now, let’s get started making these treats!  These petit fours can definitely be made in one day, just make sure you get started early.  I like to make them over two days.  I make them up to the point of the first refrigeration, with the cans on top, and finish them the second day by cutting and covering them with the pourable fondant.  They can be decorated as fancy or plain as you would like.  I topped these with royal icing leaves, rosebuds and roses, but you could top them with sprinkles or chocolate drizzles too.  Hey, they’re your petit fours, and you can decorate them any way you want:)!!

Ingredients for petit fours:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar (200 grams)
  • One 8-ounce can almond paste
  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, softened and divided (339 grams)
  • 4 eggs, separated (room temperature)
  • 1/4 cup milk, room temperature (61 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (279 grams)
  • 1/2 cup raspberry jam, divided (160 grams)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325° and grease three 9-by-13-inch quarter sheet pans with cooking spray, then line each with parchment. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the sugar, almond paste and 1 stick of butter. Mix until smooth and lump free, being sure to break down the almond paste as best you can. Add the remaining 2 sticks of butter and continue to mix until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

 

Gradually add the egg yolks, followed by the milk and almond extract. Mix until combined. Add the flour and slowly mix until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Once the flour is combined, set aside.

In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites until they form stiff, fluffy peaks. Fold the whipped egg whites into the flour mixture to form a smooth batter, then divide equally between the three pans.

Evenly spread the batter into the greased and parchment-lined quarter sheet pans, and bake, rotating halfway through, until set, 10 to 12 minutes. Let them cool completely.

Once cooled, spread half of the jam to cover the surface of one the cakes.  Making sure the parchment is discarded, place another cake directly on top, sandwiching the jam.

Repeat this step by spreading the remaining jam on top, and placing the last layer directly on top of it, discarding the parchment.

Remove the weights and plastic wrap.  You can now cut the cake into any shape you like. I like to trim the cake into a 7 1/2″ X 10 1/2″ rectangle (remember to keep those scraps for snacking…yum!). Now, using a ruler, cut the cake into 1 1/2 inch squares. Place cakes on a cooling rack and return them to the refrigerator. Chill for 30 minutes, until set.

Ingredients for the poured fondant:

  • 8 ounces chopped white chocolate (226 grams)
  • 1/4 cup corn syrup (88 grams)
  • 3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar (420 grams)
  • 1/3 cup very hot water (79 grams)

Instructions for coating and decorating the petit fours:

  • While the petit fours are chilling, chop the white chocolate and place it in a bowl set over a pot of simmering water, stirring occasionally. While the chocolate melts, sift the confectioners’ sugar into a large bowl and then add the hot water and corn syrup, folding together with a spatula until combined. Stir in the melted white chocolate until smooth if the consistency of the fondant is a bit thick, you can mix in more hot water a teaspoon at a time. If you keep the bowl over the simmering water (over a very low heat), it will keep the icing at a nice pourable consistency.

  • Remove the cake cubes from the freezer, place one on a fork then dip the bottom into the fondant. Lift and spoon more fondant over the top until the sides are coated. Tap the fork on the bowl’s edge to remove excess fondant, then return to the wire cooling rack (placed over a baking sheet) to set. Repeat the process for the remaining cubes. The petit fours will take an hour or two to set.
  • Decorate with a drizzle of melted white chocolate, icing, or you can use some royal icing to pipe little roses on top using a small petal tip (102) and leaf tip (349).

I hope you make these for your next special occasion, or maybe a fancy tea party…ohhhh that sounds fun!!

If you do make these, please tag me on Instagram @goodeatsbymimi.  I would love to hear from you and see your photos!

Italian Christmas Cookies Zuccarini

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My first teaching position was at a private preschool in a nearby resort town.  One year, one of the moms brought these amazing Italian cookies in to share with us.  Oh my goodness, they were about one of the best cookies I had ever eaten.  I asked if she would share the recipe with me, and she did!

I love the taste of anise, and these cookies are loaded with anise flavor!  They are so light and buttery.  They are one of my hubby’s favorites:).  From the buttery cookie to the sprinkles on top (please don’t forget the sprinkles), these are sure to please!!   

Ingredients:

  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (200 grams)
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature (113 grams)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean extract (or pure vanilla extract)
  • 3½ cups all-purpose flour (489 grams)
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • pinch of fine kosher salt

Icing:

  • 2 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla (or anise)
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk
  • sprinkles

Instructions:

In a bowl sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.  Set  aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar for 2 minutes.  Scrape sides of mixing bowl and paddle.

Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Stir in the vanilla.  Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined.  Refrigerate for one hour.

Scoop or cut off a small amount of dough and roll on floured surface into 6 inch strips.

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Roll into shape and place on greased cookie sheets.

Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes (the bottom should be lightly browned but the tops should remain light).

Remove cookies to wire rack and cool completely before glazing.

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Add the icing ingredients to a bowl and whisk until smooth.  You want it more thick than thin, but still runny.

Dip the tops of the cooled cookies into the glaze, allowing it to drip down the sides of the cookie.  Top with sprinkles while the icing is still wet.

Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to set (about an hour).  Enjoy with your hot beverage of choice (mine is a nice cup of hot black coffee…yum!).

I hope you make these, and if you do, I am sure they will be one of your favorites.  Maybe they already are your favorite and you misplaced your recipe (it could happen).  Either way, tag me on Instagram @goodeatsbymimi.  I would love to hear from you and see your photos!