Friday, July 15, 2011

From Paris Sweets: Croq-Télé, TV Snacks for the World Cup

Croq-Télé, TV Snacks for the World Cup
The World Cup is highly anticipated in our household, and we could not be happier that the U. S. Women’s National Team has made it to the final. Their beautiful athleticism and big-hearted play are exciting to watch.

I’m so proud they are representing my country.

For the game on Sunday, I will serve these Croq-Télé — TV Snacks — from Dorie Greenspan’s Paris Sweets. They are salty-sweet, crunchy little things adapted from a recipe by pâtissier Arnaud Larher.

I hoped to make them Wednesday in honor of the USA-France semi-final but didn’t have time. We watched the game without snacks, unless you consider that I bit my nails during the second half, fearing a victory by the formidable French who played with great style and creativity.

It bears mentioning that France’s women played with kilos more class than that nation’s men’s team did in World Cup 2010.

The women did not butt heads, either, to recall the 2006 World Cup final when Zinedine Zidane fell from grace, breaking hearts, causing a superior French team to lose to an unsporting Italy. (Yes, still bitter about that.)

During that 2006 World Cup, we happened to be vacationing in Paris. Excitement about the French team’s success was palpable, and we joined the camaraderie in restaurants and on the streets. Each warm, sunny day faded into a long, blue twilight.

On game nights, we looked out our rented apartment window to see and hear neighbors calling fouls and cheering goals. Our street was one grand living room as we beheld the games on our respective televisions.

I wonder what kind of TV snacks those neighbors ate? There must have been wine for I do recall they sang “La Marsailleise” well into the night.

Croq-Télé or TV Snacks
adapted from a recipe by pâtissier Arnaud Larher via Dorie Greenspan’s Paris Sweets

Note: The recipe calls for 1/4 to 3/4 t salt. As Dorie writes in the book, the full 3/4 t creates a very salty cookie. I used just shy of 3/4 t and was happy with that. I toasted the almonds as she suggested to intensify the almond flavor, but the recipe does not require toasted almonds. If you have hazelnuts on hand, you could substitute 1/4 c toasted and skinned hazelnuts for 1/4 c of the almonds.

3/4 c (3 1/2 oz or 100 g) blanched almonds
1/2 c (100 g) granulated sugar
1/4 to 3/4 t salt, according to taste
1 c (140 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
7 T (3 1/2 oz or 100 g) cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

If you are toasting the almonds, place them on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool before proceeding with recipe.

Adjust oven racks into thirds and preheat to 350 degrees. Lay parchment paper on two baking sheets.

Place almonds, sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse until they are finely ground. Pour this mixture to another bowl and set aside. Place flour in the food processor and, with the machine running, drop in the pieces of butter. Process until the mixture looks sandy. Add the almond-sugar mixture, pulsing until small clumps form. Remove the dough to a piece of waxed paper or parchment.

Remove cherry-sized pieces of dough and form into irregular shapes, placing them on the baking sheet about 1/2 inch apart.

Bake for 9 to 11 minutes, rotating sheets after 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the cookies rest for 3 minutes. Then carefully transfer them to a cooling rack using a metal spatula.

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