How many times does that phrase cross your mind in a single day?
Customer Service of "insert retail company here" makes yet another lame excuse as to why they have not yet lived up to their promises - making you want to say "just stuff it".
The mechanic tells you that they can't just replace your brakes - the car needs new brakes and new rotors - front and back. A ridiculous amount of money later, you want to tell him to "just stuff it".
You finally get the salt washed off your car on what appears to be a clear day. If course, that means that it will snow or rain within hours of said car washing. (Raises fist to clouds) "Just stuff it" Mother Nature, "Just stuff it".
The waitress at a restaurant makes a totally bogus excuse as to why she hasn't been to your table in 20 minutes (not realizing that you saw her out back taking a break...). Another "just stuff it" moment.
Fortunately, I have the self-restraint to control these thoughts as they travel across my neural pathways. As satisfying as it might be to express them, I remember that I am an adult and don't have that luxury. Sigh.
I try to confine my "stuffing" to the kitchen.
Stuffed pork tenderloin.
Stuffed cream puffs.
Yep, I can "just stuf it" to my heart's delight in the kitchen.
This month's Daring Bakers challenge gave us permission to "stuff it" - in a good way. Speculaas cookie bars stuffed with almond paste. Now that is a stuffing that I can get behind.
Speculaas Spice Mixture (how I blended it)
Adapted from Francijn of Koken in de Brouwerij
5 Tsp cinnamon (I used a combination of Ceylon, Vietnamese & Indonesian)
1 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground mace
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground galangal
1/2 tsp finely ground white pepper
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground nutmeg
Combine all ingredients in small bowl or 4-ounce glass canning jar. Mix together well (if you use a jar, just place the cover on and give it a good shake).
Adapted from Homemade Winter by Yvette van Boven
2 cups white-unbleached flour
1 Tbs aluminum free baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
2 Tbs speculaas spices (or 1 Tbs ground allspice)
3/4 cup light brown sugar
10 Tbs (1/2 cup + 2 Tbs) cold butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 Tbs cold milk
10 1/2 ounces almond paste
1/3 cup blanched almonds
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and spices together in a medium sized bowl. Set aside. Add the brown sugar, butter and milk and quickly knead the mixture into a smooth dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour or over night.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 325F. Lightly grease an 8" square baking pan. Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator and divide into two equal pieces.
Roll out the first half of the dough on a lightly floured surface into an 8" square. Transfer the square into the prepared pan, making sure it comes to the ends of the pan. Spread the almond paste over the bottom layer - leaving a 1/4"- 1/2" border around the edges of the pan. Roll out the second half of the dough into an 8" square and place over the layer with the paste - pressing down on the edges to seal.
Decoratively arrange the blanched almonds on top of the dough and lightly brush with the beaten yolk.
Place the pan in the preheated oven and bake for ~40-50 minutes - until golden brown on top. Let the bars cool in their pan. When cool, transfer to a cutting board and cut into pieces (~2" square).
Well wrapped, cookies will keep for several days at room temperature.
This post participates in The Daring Bakers. Francijn of Koken in de Brouwerij was our January 2013 Daring Bakers’ Hostess and she challenged us to make the traditional Dutch pastry, Gevulde Speculaas from scratch! That includes making our own spice mix, almond paste and dough! Delicious! The full posting, including recipes and detailed instructions can be found here.