Pasta FrollaThis is the basic dough you can use to make four other recipes: Chocolate and Vanilla Sandwich Cookies, Dulce de Leche Crumb Bars, Holiday Cutouts and Infasciadedde (Sicilian Twists); see separate recipes.
Italians use pasta frolla to line pans for baking a variety of pies, sweet and savory, and to make simple sugar cookies and all sorts of elaborate filled cookies. Using it as a base for bar cookies is simply an extension of its pan-lining capabilities.
The dough is best made in a food processor, but you can also make it by hand, rubbing in the butter and incorporating the eggs with a fork. You'll have to knead handmade dough a little to get it smooth; just don't overdo it. Pasta frolla can be made and refrigerated 3 to 4 days in advance.
Yield: 2.2 pounds of dough
· 4 cups flour (spoon flour into a dry-measure cup and level off)
2/3 cup sugar
· 2 teaspoons baking powder
· 1 teaspoon salt
· 8 ounces (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-size pieces
· 4 large eggs
· 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (may substitute 1 teaspoon each vanilla and lemon extracts)
· 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon or orange zestDirections
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Pulse 3 or 4 times to mix. Add the butter and process 10 to 15 seconds or until it is finely mixed into the dry ingredients. Add the eggs, vanilla extract and zest. Pulse a few times, until a ball of dough forms. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Form the dough into a fat cylinder and use immediately, or wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.
To make the faggotini di albicocca, roll the dough out 1/4 inch thick, cut out 2 1/2 inch circles, place of dab of apricot jam in the middle, paint the edge of the circle with beaten egg and seal tightly to form a half moon. Do this with each 'biscut'. Arrange cookies on greased cookie sheet or parchment paper on cookie sheet giving them at least an inch between cookies. Brush the tops of the cookies with beaten egg before baking 10 minutes in a 375F oven. Watch the cookies to ensure they do not burn. Let cool a minute on the pan then remove to a cookie rack to complete cooling. You may dust them with confectioners sugar before serving or just enjoy as is.