My Motto

May the muffin rise to greet you, may your friends be always at your door, and until we meet again, warm a single-malt in the palm of your hand and make something homemade for someone you love.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Italian Spumoni Cookies

"Cookies are made of butter and love"
~Norwegian proverb
This one is for all of my friends who work long hours, yet still want to whip up something special.  You start with Pillsbury sugar cookie dough that you doctor up, shape and refrigerate overnight.  The next day you have this beautiful slice and bake.  It's really easy and is the last of the recipes I raided from my mother's Taste of Home magazines.  Generally I have the time and inclination to cook from scratch.  It's my hobby, after all...but I appreciate a good shortcut as much as anyone.  The thing is, you have to be careful because shortcuts are only worthwhile if the end product doesn't suffer from it.  In this case, it doesn't, and these cookies would hold their own at any cookie exchange or party.
When it comes to baked goods, I'm really picky but I LOVED these cookies, and the Mister did too!  If you're a purest, by all means, make a batch of your favorite sugar cookie dough and use 2 pounds of it to complete the recipe (don't add the extra flour in that case).  Knock yourself out...OR use the Pillsbury cookie dough to make it fun, easy, quick...with no sacrifice in taste or texture....and no one will ever guess....MWA-HA-HA-HA!

The recipe called for pistachios for the green dough, but I didn't have any, so I substituted chopped toasted almonds.  I think a couple drops of almond extract would make them even better!  A few tips:  let the dough come to room temperature for a least an hour so it will be easy to work with.  When dividing into three pieces, do your best to make them as equal as possible.  That goes miles toward making the three pieces fit together correctly in the end steps.  Remember to start these cookies the night before!

Italian Spumoni Cookies
makes 30 cookies
A Taste of Home Recipe

2 16-ounce tubes Pillsbury sugar cookie dough
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup chopped maraschino cherries
red food color
2 tablespoons cocoa
2 teaspoons hazelnut liquor
1/3 cup chopped pistachios (or almonds)
1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
green food color

Allow cookie dough to come to room temperature (at least an hour).  Empty both rolls into a large mixing bowl.  Using an electric mixer, beat in 3/4 cup of flour.  Divide dough into 3 equal parts.
Place one of the 1/3 portions of dough back into bowl.  Beat in 1/4 cup of flour, then 6 drops red food coloring and the 1/4 cup of chopped maraschino cherries.  Shape dough into a ball and set aside.  

Wipe inside of bowl with paper towel, then place another 1/3 portion of dough in.  Beat in 2 tablespoons of cocoa and 2 teaspoons of hazelnut liquor.  Shape dough into ball and set aside.
Wipe inside of bowl with a paper towel and add last 1/3 portion of dough.  Beat in 1/3 cup chopped nuts, 5 drops of green food coloring and almond flavoring (if desired).

Shape each ball of dough into an equal length log...about 15 inches long.  Place log on a piece of plastic wrap and using a rolling pin, flatten into a 1/2 inch thick rectangle.  Pat sides and end square with a spatula.

Repeat with each portion of dough, then stack them in this order; cherry, chocolate, then pistachio.  Pat ends and sides with spatula to ease them to fit together. 
Wrap rectangle of dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Remove dough from fridge, cut in half, re-wrapping and returning half to fridge (or freezer to use later).  Slice dough into 1/4 inch thick slices and place on ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake 8-10 minutes.  Cool 2 minutes, then using a spatula, carefully place cookies on cooling rack.  Cool completely, then store cookies at room temperature in an airtight container.


Amanda said...

So, were you reading me & my mom's minds yesterday when we were talking about this recipe that she used to make every Christmas until I (purportedly) lost the recipe for it?? She said she got it in a package of Pillsbury dough or something. Lol, I cannot believe that you posted this yesterday and I found it today, perfect! These are my very favorite - my mom used to put the pistachios in the green part and almonds in the chocolate part. SO YUMMY! Thanks! I will definitely be making these for Christmas this year!

Margaret Murphy Tripp said...

@Amanda: Well, I'm so happy to have helped. Glad to hear you like them as much as we do! Thanks so much for taking the time to tell me! Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

ÉCLAIR said...

wow they are beautiful! i love them- thanks for sharing :)

Margaret Murphy Tripp said...

@Eclair: Thanks!

Mary said...

This is a wonderful recipe to have on hand. The cookies look and sound delicious and I love workable shortcuts. These cookies sound like winners. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

Kristen said...

I appreciate short cuts, too. Thinking about how much work it would be to make those cookies from scratch has me thankful that you found this cheater recipe. The cookies are great looking and sound delicious!

Margaret Murphy Tripp said...

@Mary: Thanks so much, Mary. So far, everyone who has tried them, likes them.

@Kristen: Thanks! BTW, I really enjoy your blog. Glad you popped by.

Anonymous said...

Is there a quick substitute for the hazlenut liquor if there is none onhand? Looking forward to making this recipe. Many thanks.

Margaret Murphy Tripp said...

Well, in that case I would just go with vanilla extract. An anise flavored liquor is common in Italian cookies, but it would clash with the almond. I think it would be best to just use vanilla instead. Good luck!