Bring on 2021 with good luck foods and recipes | Food & Cooking

Venezuelan-born Elsa Elena Escobar loves to share her culture through the delicious recipes she creates. In 2018, she shared her recipe with us for mochachino almond Christmas log cookies, which happen to be gluten-free.

Mochachino almond Christmas log

Makes 24 cookies

For the cookie:

3½ cups almond flour or almond meal

1 cup granulated white sugar

3 large egg whites

Pinch of salt

1 tablespoon instant coffee powder

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tablespoon boiling water

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 tablespoon Khalua, eggnog or any liquor you prefer. (Can substitute it for 1 tablespoon of any fruit jam or jelly of your preference)

For the decoration:

1 egg white, slightly beaten with a fork

Pinch of salt

1½ cups sliced almonds, placed in a pie plate

Red candied cherries, cut in half

Green candied cherries, cut in fourths

Powdered sugar for dusting the cookies after baking

1. For the cookies: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. In a small bowl, dissolve the instant coffee powder and the cocoa powder with the tablespoon of boiling water. Add the almond extract and the liquor, if using, to the mixture.

3. Combine the almond flour and ½ cup of the sugar in a medium bowl. Set aside.

4. In a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until soft peaks are formed. Add the remaining ½ cup of sugar and keep beating for 1 minute. Add the coffee and cocoa mixture.

5. Add the flour and sugar mixture to the egg white mixture and fold carefully until well combined and a sticky dough is formed.

6. Divide the dough into 24 balls. Roll each ball into a log and place on prepared baking sheet 2 inches apart. You will have 24 logs on the baking sheets. (To roll the balls more easily, wet your fingers with a bit of water, when necessary).

7. For decoration: Take each log from the baking sheet, roll into the egg white mixture first and then roll into the sliced almonds. Place the logs back on the baking sheet and decorate them with the red and green candied cherries. Press the half red candied cherry in the center of the log and the quarter green cherries at the sides, resembling a Christmas flower.

8. Bake the cookies for 20 minutes or until lightly firm. If you prefer a crispier cookie, leave in the oven for 1 or 2 minutes more.

9. Let cool 10 minutes on the baking sheets. Transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. Dust the cookies with the powdered sugar.

NOTE: These cookies can be piped too. Use a pastry bag with a large star tip, such as the Ateco 827. The logs will be a bit more realistic due to the texture of the tip marks.

Can be stored in an airtight container for two or more weeks at room temperature. They freeze very well for 2 to 3 months.

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