Making resolutions and desserts…

Looking back at 2010 all I can think is “WHOA!”  It was filled with happy times and it ended on such a wonderful note.

Pete and I spent our Christmas holiday and New Year in Miami!

I’m back to the real world now.  I’ve decided that 2011 will be filled with dreams and challenges I haven’t even realized.  With the excitement of the new year, I’ve set myself some goals.

* Try out one new recipe a week

     * Spend time weekly working on photography
     * Go to bed earlier so I can read more
     * Focus on all the positive bits of life
     * Play the ukulele
     * Together with Pete, learn more about HTML
     * Continue building forgiving martha into a creative and inspiring space

I’m incredibly thankful for a loving family and the best boyfriend, a job I love, and old and new friends alike that stretch all across the country.  
There were my resolutions.  But what about the dessert?

My favorite friend, Pete, mentioned recently that there were some treats from his childhood that he’d like me to make.   From what he described, one was a round cookie made with hazelnuts and covered in powdered sugar.  Being that this was the only information I could summon, pecan sandies are what immediately came to mind (though mine were never round).  I didn’t have hazelnuts on hand, but I did happen to have a new bag of cashews I picked up at Trader Joe’s last night.

After some serious thought and a few modifications, I introduce to you, Hazelnut Cashew Shortbread Cookies!  Turns out, Pete didn’t mind my substitution and you should feel free to try these babies out using whatever nut you have in your pantry.

More cookies after all the holiday hoopla?  I attest to you, these darlings are worth it.  They’re buttery and crumbly and not-too-sickeningly-sweet.  Perfection, I say!   Okay… so I can’t say I know this first-hand because they aren’t gluten-free*… But that’s what my personal taste-tester says!

Cashew Shortbread Cookies
makes 28

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 2 sticks (8 oz) unsalted butter (left to rest out for about 10 minutes- you want it slightly softer, but not room temp.)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • powdered sugar (optional, but let’s be serious…DO IT.)

First I chopped my cashews as finely as this little guy could do.

I got in a little fight with Mr. Black & Decker here. (He won of course.)  First, I was having trouble getting the container-part on straight and then couldn’t get the lid on!  

This was about as fine as I could chop the nuts.  No biggie I suppose. 

I added the nuts to the flour and whisked them together.  

Then I threw in the butter, vanilla, sugar and salt.

This is the point where it may come in handy to use a pastry cutter to mix your ingredients.  I, however, went with those trusty ole’ appendages attached to my arms.  More messy fun that way.

Once it’s well blended, you’ll have a crumbly dough that you will want to form into balls.  Bake these babies for about 20-25 minutes in a 350 degree over.

The final product!