Tiramisu(Courtesy of AP) Tiramisu is an Italian dessert made from espresso-soaked ladyfinger cookies, a mascarpone cream, a sprinkling of shaved chocolate and a dusting of cocoa powder. For our cookies we opted to make a crumbly espresso-flavored almond cookie. After baking, we topped the cookies with a mascarpone cream and sprinkled them with chocolate.

Tiramisu(Courtesy of AP) Tiramisu is an Italian dessert made from espresso-soaked ladyfinger cookies, a mascarpone cream, a sprinkling of shaved chocolate and a dusting of cocoa powder. For our cookies we opted to make a crumbly espresso-flavored almond cookie. After baking, we topped the cookies with a mascarpone cream and sprinkled them with chocolate.

TIRAMISU DROPS
Start to finish: 45 minutes
Makes about 40 cookies

1 cup slivered blanched almonds, lightly toasted
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp instant espresso or coffee powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
8-ounce tub mascarpone cheese
3 tbsp powdered sugar, divided
1 tbsp cocoa powder
Shaved chocolate, to decorate, if desired

Heat the oven to 350 F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a food processor, pulse together the almonds and granulated sugar until finely ground but not reduced to a paste. Add the butter and vanilla, then pulse to incorporate. Add the espresso or coffee powder, salt and flour and pulse until a crumbly dough comes together.

Shape the dough into 1-inch balls and place on the prepared baking sheets. Using your finger, or the handle of a wooden spoon, press an indent into the top of each cookie. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden and firm. Allow to cool on the baking sheet.

When the cookies are cool, in a medium bowl stir together the mascarpone and 2 tablespoons of the powdered sugar. Transfer the mixture to a pastry bag or a zip-close plastic bag with the corner snipped off. Pipe a dollop of the filling into the indent of each cookie.

Sift the remaining tablespoon of powdered sugar with the cocoa powder. Sift over the tops of the cookies. Decorate with shaved chocolate, if desired.

Nutrition information per cookie (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 100 calories; 70 calories from fat (66 percent of total calories); 7 g fat (4 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 15 mg cholesterol; 7 g carbohydrate; 2 g protein; 1 g fiber; 15 mg sodium.

An interactive detailing 12 days of holiday cookies inspired by classic desserts is available at http://hosted.ap.org/interactives/2011/holiday-cookies/

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