Thursday, February 09, 2006

Bolle di Neve al Torino

These are "Snowball" cookies from the Italian mountains. In honor of the Winter Olympics we have a cookie formula adapted from "The Italian Baker" by Carol Field, another great find from Chef Bob. That man is brilliant, a walking encyclopedia of baking and pastry knowledge. Check out his book, "Gourmet To Go" for sale on Amazon, an excellent resource on starting a food business. I asked him about the cookie known as "ossi di morere" and he immediately knew where to look. Rather than going through the time and trouble of grinding up almonds and powdered sugar, which is sometimes not a reliable method, we are using Odense almond paste, a very good product, sometimes a bit expensive, but for these little "bolle di neve" it saves a lot of time and energy. Similar in appearance to little Mexican Wedding Balls, they have a hint of citrus flavor from the candied orange peel. Excellent paired with a warm cup of cocoa or brewed hot tea while watching the Winter Olympics.

Bolle di Neve - makes about 4 dozen
9 ounces Odense almond paste (in the supermarket baking section)
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons candied orange peel
1 level cup powdered sugar, minus 2 teaspoons
2 or 3 teaspoons egg whites, unbeaten
Powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a large baking or cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Place almond paste and orange peel in a food processor and grind to a coarse powder. Add to bowl of KA mixer, fitted with the paddle and add powdered sugar. Beat until blended, add 2 teaspoons egg white and mix well till dough becomes firm but not dry. If needed, add the last teaspoon of egg white gradually. Set aside. Dust the work surface with powdered sugar, keeping about 1/2 cup additional powdered sugar off to the side. Turn out the dough on to the work surface with a plastic scraper or large spatula and then roll into a log about 1 inch in diameter. Cut the log into 1 inch sections. Roll each section into a ball and then into the additional powdered sugar coating evenly. Place balls on cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for about 18 to 20 minutes till golden brown, turning pan from front to back about half way through baking time. Cookies will be soft inside. Let cool completely on racks.

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