Saturday, February 18, 2012

A Tip o' The Hat - Almond Tricorn Hats (Pfaffenhutchen)

These have got to be one of my favorite old world cookies.  They are kind of involved to make, but well worth the effort. They are molded into a tri-corn shape; like hats from the colonial era (The History channel is showing something on the Revolutionary war as I am typing this) though I guess, since they are also known as "Parson's Hats", the clergy use to wear something similar.

Don't like almonds?  Don't worry, you can replace the almond filling with the more traditional Hazelnut one (which I will include as well) or simply place a cherry in the middle and call it a day.  :)

The oddest thing about this dough, is how it goes together.  You don't cream the sugar and butter together like is the practice with most cookie recipes.  This dough requires some of the flour to be worked into the butter first, sort of like making a Pate Brisee or Broken dough.  Working the flour into the fat first does 2 things;  not only does it make for a more tender cookie, but it also prevents the sugar from "cutting" too much air into the butter and causing excessive puffing while baking.  This would not normally be a bad thing, but in this case it could compromise the structural integrity of the "hat", thus leading to a "lava flow" of Almond Paste oozing over the rim.  That would be sad.

Almond Tricorn Hats

(or Parson's Hats or Pfaffenhutchen)
Almond Filling:
228 g (8 oz) Almond Paste
Pinch of Kosher Salt
1 large Egg
50 g (1/4 cup) Granulated Sugar
1 TB (15 g) AP Flour

Cookie Dough:
304g (10.7 oz) (1 1/3 cups) Unsalted Butter
450 g (15.8 oz) (3 1/2 cups) AP Flour, divided
300 g (10.6 oz) (1 1/2 cups) Granulated Sugar
2 large Eggs
58 g (2 oz) (2/3 cup) Dutch Cocoa Powder
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Kosher Salt

Almond Filling:
Beat crumbled Almond Paste, Salt and Egg until smooth.

With the mixer running, slowly sprinkle in the Sugar and Flour, beating until everything is well combined and smooth (about 5 minutes)

Move the mixture to a bowl, then cover and chill until needed.

Cookie Dough:
In a large mixing bowl beat margarine or butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed until fluffy.

Add 1 1/2 cups of the Flour and mix on low until combined.

Add the sugar and continue beating until it is incorporated as well.

Add the eggs and beat until combined.

In a separate bowl, combine the remaining Flour with the Cocoa Powder, Baking Powder and Salt.

Slowly add this mixture to the dough and beat until well blended.

Remove the dough from the mixer and knead it a little to ensure you have a well formed dough.

Divide the dough in half and form 2 disks, then wrap with plastic film and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Remove 1 disk from the refrigerator, roll to 1/4 inch thick on a lightly floured surface and cut 2 1/2 inch rounds of dough.

Place them on a parchment lined baking sheet leaving 2 inches of space between the cookies.

Gather any scraps, re-wrap and refrigerate again.  (work with the second disk and then combine the scraps from both)
Spoon 1/2 tsp of the Almond Filling (or the hazelnut filling) onto the center of each round.

Lightly brush the edges with water.

Pinch the edges together to form a tri-corn hat leaving the filling exposed in the center.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes or till edges are firm and the filling has begun to puff up.

Remove the cookies from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet before moving them to a cooling rack.

mmmm Tasty!

Next up?  Banket!  Or rather, Banketstaaf ...  The Dutch Treat of Christmas... Though it's a little out of season. 

Hazelnut Filling: (substitute for Almond Paste filling)
170 g (6 oz) (1 1/2 cups) finely ground Blanched Hazelnuts (Hasselnusse)
200 g (7.1 oz) (1 cup) Granulated Sugar
1 tsp Orange Zest
2 -3 TB Orange Juice

Mix Hazelnuts, Sugar and Orange zest together in a small bowl.
Add just enough Orange juice for form a thick paste.


1 comment:

Patti T. said...

These are so cute, and hubby would love the flavors, chocolate and almond are among his favorite.