Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Cinnamon-Sugar Sticks...

I wanted to test out one of the new goodies we are thinking about putting in our holiday gift boxes that we send out after our annual baking spree... and what better way than to bake them for the Weekly Wednesday Treat Day at Jeff's office?

Besides having a festive appearance, I couldn't help but try out these Cinnamon-Sugar Sticks for the simple fact of the intriguing use of Red Hots! You know, those radical little red dots that have an intense burst of cinnamon?

While they are reminiscent of biscotti, these sticks are much more tender and not as dry. However, they still have that classic shape and the dough is rich with ground almonds. When you go to grind the almonds, you'll want to sneak a couple tablespoons away from the cupful of sugar called for in the recipe and toss them in with the cooled almonds. This will give you a little added protection to keep the almonds from turning into a paste or even almond butter while grinding - the almonds don't need to be powder-y fine, but should be finely ground.

I found the cinnamon-laced dough to be quite workable - in fact, I didn't even bother to haul out the rolling pin. I just pressed the dough into the large rectangle shape without much effort. To get the sticks, the dough is sliced in half, lengthwise, with each half of dough then sliced into sticks. Once the cookies had cooled from being baked until they were firm to the touch and golden around the edges, I eagerly dipped the sticks into a shallow dish of melted white chocolate and then into a combination of those crushed cinnamon candies and coarse sugar for added sparkle.

With two doses of cinnamon coming from those candies on the outside and the ground spice on the inside, these cookies will certainly get your attention once you sink your teeth in. I thought that Red Hots might be a little overwhelming, but the sweetness in the cookie and those coarse sugar crystals tamed the intensity and made these quite enjoyable. I am probably a little biased, since I love cinnamon, but I think these would easily please anyone and make a nice addition to a holiday cookie tray (or in our case, into a bunch of gift boxes!). I think these would also make nice Valentine's Day treats!

Well, it didn't take me long to dig into those Thanksgiving leftovers in the freezer - I used a couple of them tonight so I could prepare these Turkey Potato Patties for dinner.

To a cup of mashed potatoes, I added a couple handfuls of both dark and white turkey meat that I diced into cubes. To help bind the patties together, we tossed an egg in, along with a smattering of dried breadcrumbs. To freshen up the flavor, a bit of chopped parsley and green onion were stirred into the mix with a dollop of Dijon mustard for tang. To tie those savory flavors together, sage and thyme season up the patties to bring the essence of Thanksgiving back in.

The mixture held together fine, but it was still kind of loose since you are not adding a ton of binder - kind of like a homemade crab cake. I suggest you treat them as such and use a light hand while working with them. To help the potato patties firm up, place them into the refrigerator, covered, for about a half hour. You could also do this a few (up to 8 or so) hours ahead of time to get the assembly portion out of the way. All you need to do to finish these off is cook both sides in a bit of oil until the center has warmed through and the outside has a lovely golden crust.

We had these with a helping of salsa, but a couple of them would make an outrageous breakfast with a poached egg or two perched on top. If you don't already happen to have cooked turkey, chicken would work equally well! The contrast between the hot, moist inside and that crust on the outside was divine - using both dark and white meat did give the patties a luscious depth, but one or the other would be just fine too.


  1. Oh, I love red hots, and those look so nice!

    I made the gingerbread popcorn you made last year and posted about it ... linked to you, of course ... hope that's ok ... you cook such good stuff!

  2. Love the sticks - they're so festive! They made me smile this morning.

  3. Would you say that the cookies could hold their own without the topping?

  4. Joe, do you think you could sub already ground almonds? I have a package of that, and have been looking for a use to finish it up. These are gorgeous, and I think they'd really jazz up any cookie platter.

  5. Tracy - Oh, we love that popcorn! It is in the plans to make soon too.

    Lisa - Thanks!

    Quinn - good question... I didn't think to try one before I started dunking them! I'll let you know when I make these again

    Erika - I don't see why not. If they are not toasted, you might want to toss them into a pan and shake them around over medium heat just to enhance the nuttiness.

  6. You had me at cinnamon sugar and use of ground almonds confirmed it I need a batch of these! Let's see how well they ship?!

    Love the festive look of these!

  7. Ingrid - I'm hoping they will ship well... I don't see why they won't!