Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Trios from Gourmet (December 2007)
2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 sticks (½ lb) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
About 2 tbs each of seedless raspberry jam, apricot preserves, and strawberry preserves
Whisk together flour and salt. Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until very pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes, then beat in egg and vanilla. At low speed, mix in flour mixture in 3 batches just until a dough forms. Divide dough in half and form each piece into a 6-inch disk, then chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, until firm, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350° with rack in middle. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
Roll 3 separate level teaspoons of dough each into a ball, then flatten each ball slightly (to 1 inch wide and less than ½ inch thick). Arrange them in a triangle with edges touching in center.
Then make a deep indentation in the center of each round with a wooden spoon handle. Make more cookies, arranging them 1 inch apart on baking sheets.
Fill indentations in each cookie with about 1/8 tsp jam (each cookie should have 3 different fillings).
Bake until cookies are baked through and golden brown on edges, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool on baking sheets 5 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool completely. Bake more batches on cooled baking sheets lined with fresh parchment.
Dough can be chilled up to 2 days. Cookies keep, layered between sheets of parchment, in an airtight container at room temperature 1 week.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Linzer Hearts from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook
In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. In a food processor, pulse hazelnuts until finely ground. Whisk the ground hazelnuts into the flour mixture; set aside.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
These cookies take me right back to childhood. The section of Brooklyn we lived in had lots of Italian bakeries, so we never lacked sweets. These "rainbow cookies" or "7-layer cookies," as they're known, are my favorite, along with those butter cookies sandwiched with the apricot or raspberry jam half-dipped in chocolate with sprinkles (anybody got a recipe for that?). These tricolor cookies are sweet and almondy, and a perfect way to kick off Christmas cookie season.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
2½ pounds baking apples (about 6 medium), peeled cored, and sliced ¼ inch thick
1 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ cup light brown sugar (scant 2 oz.)
¼ cup granulated sugar (1.75 oz.)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp salt
2 tbs butter (1 oz.)
1 tbs + 1 tsp cornstarch (0.5 oz.)
Between two sheets of plastic wrap, roll the bottom crust dough ⅛ inch thick and 12 inches in diameter. Transfer it to the pie pan. Trim the edge almost even with the edge of the pan. Cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 30 minutes to 3 hours.
In a large bowl, combine the apples, lemon juice, sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt, and toss to mix. Allow the apples to macerate at room temperature for 30 minutes to 3 hours.
Transfer the apples and their juices to a colander suspended over a bowl to capture the liquid. The mixture will release at least ½ cup of liquid. In a small saucepan (preferably nonstick), over medium-high heat, boil down this liquid, with the butter, to about ⅓ cup, or until syrupy and lightly caramelized. Swirl the liquid, but do not stir it. Transfer the apples to a bowl and toss them with the cornstarch until all traces of it have disappeared.
Pour the syrup over the apples, tossing gently. Do not be concerned if the liquid hardens on contact with the apples; it will dissolve during baking.
Roll out the top crust large enough to cut a 12-inch circle. Transfer the apple mixture to the pie shell. Moisten the border of the bottom crust by brushing it lightly with water and place the top crust over the fruit. Tuck the overhang under the bottom crust border and press down all around the top to seal it. Crimp the border using a fork or your fingers, and make about 5 evenly spaced 2-inch slashes for steam to escape. Cover the pie loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 1 hour before baking to chill and relax the pastry. This will maintain flakiness and help keep the crust from shrinking. (I brush some beaten egg white on the crust and sprinkle it with sugar.)
Rose's Flaky Cream Cheese Pie Crust
Preheat the oven to 425° at least 20 minutes before baking. Set an oven rack on the lowest level and place a baking stone or baking sheet on it before preheating. Place a large piece of greased foil on top to catch any juices. Set the pie directly on the foil-topped baking stone and bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until the juices bubble through the slashes. After 30 minutes in the oven, protect the edges from overbrowning with a foil ring. Cool the pie on a rack for at least 4 hours before cutting. Serve warm or at room temperature.
12 tbs unsalted butter, cold (6 oz.)
2 cups all-purpose flour (10 oz.)
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp baking powder
4.5 oz. cream cheese, cold
2 tbs ice water
1 tbs cider vinegar
Cut the butter into small cubes. Freeze it until frozen solid, about 30 minutes. Place the flour, salt, and baking powder in a reclosable gallon-size freezer bag and freeze for at least 30 minutes. Place the flour mixture in a food processor with the metal blade and process for a few seconds to combine. Set the bag aside.
Cut the cream cheese into 3 or 4 pieces and add it to the flour. Process for about 20 seconds or until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the frozen butter cubes and pulse until none of the butter is larger than the size of a pea. Add the water and vinegar. Pulse until most of the butter is reduced to the size of small peas. The mixture will be in particles and will not hold together. Spoon it into the plastic bag.
Holding both ends of the bag opening with your fingers, knead the mixture, pressing it from the outside of the bag, until the mixture holds together in one piece and feels slightly stretchy when pulled. Wrap the dough with plastic wrap, flatten it into 2 discs, and refrigerate at least 45 minutes, or overnight.
My notes: I didn't freeze the butter, using it straight from the refrigerator. I also didn't freeze the flour mixture, and kneaded the dough in a bowl instead of a bag. The crust still came out great.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
The best butternut squash soup I've ever had was at the Museum of Fine Arts cafe here in Boston. I haven't been able to find a recipe like it, but this one is pretty good, too, and probably healthier. I just roast a squash with onion and garlic, and whiz it in the food processor. And don't skimp on the cream: trust me, it's a small amount and it's better with.
Butternut Squash Soup
1 butternut squash
1 small yellow onion,quartered
1 head garlic
2½ cups chicken broth
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
¼ cup cream
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 400°. Roast your squash one of two ways. Slice it lengthwise, unpeeled, and scoop out the seeds; then place it face-down on a baking tray (you can lightly oil the cut side if you're not using a silicone mat). Or dice the squash, peeled, into bite-sized cubes, and toss with a tablespoon of olive oil. Use a very sharp knife, since the squash is hard to cut.
Place the garlic on a sheet of foil and drizzle with a bit of olive oil, then wrap up the garlic in the foil. Drizzle a bit of olive oil on the onion quarters as well. Place the onion and garlic on the baking sheet, and roast all the vegetables for an hour, until the flesh is easily pierced with a fork (the halved squash might take an extra 15 minutes).
When the vegetables have cooled a bit, remove half of the roasted cloves from the head of garlic, and out of their skins. Puree them with the onion and about 5 cups of the squash (you can increase quantities of the other ingredients if you have more squash) in a blender or food processor. You may need to add half of the chicken broth if the blade gets stuck. Pour the puree into a pot, adding the rest of the chicken broth, and heat the soup. Add the nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste, and stir in the cream. Serve with a crusty piece of bread, spread with some of the remaining roasted garlic, if you like.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
These are delicious and easy to make. I used the Tender Cream Cheese Pastry dough from Ken Haedrich's Pie, and it had recipes for turnovers with various fillings, but not apple. I was craving apple filling. So I winged it, throwing in the usual cinnamon and sugar, with some flour for thickening, and adapting the cutting, shaping, and baking instructions. Luckily, it worked!
2 apples (use apples good for baking), cored and peeled
2 tsp flour
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 egg beaten with 1 tbs water
Cut the apples into a small dice. Toss them in a bowl with the flour, sugar, and cinnamon.
Roll each ball of dough out to 6 inches by 6 inches and trim the edges straight with a pastry wheel or knife. Place 3 tbs of the apple filling on each square of dough, and brush the border with egg wash. Fold the dough over into a triangle, and use a fork to crimp and seal the edges (merely pinching them resulted in some leakage the first time). Place the turnovers on two baking sheets lined with silicone mats or parchment paper. Cut three small slits into the top of each turnover to allow steam to escape. At this point, you can freeze some or all of them -- bake frozen turnovers, without thawing, for a few minutes longer.
When ready to bake, brush the tops with egg wash, and sprinkle each turnover with a pinch of sugar. Lower the oven temperature to 375° and bake for 20 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through baking. Eat them warm or at room temperature.Tender Cream Cheese Pastry from Ken Haedrich's Pie
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
½ tsp salt
2 tbs sifted confectioners sugar
2¾ cup all-purpose flour
Combine the butter, cream cheese, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater attachment. Blend for 30 to 45 seconds on medium-low speed. Stopping the machine before each addition, add the confectioners sugar and 1 cup of the flour. With the mixer on low, blend until the flour is incorporated. Add another 1 cup of the flour and blend. Add the remaining flour. When all of the flour has been added and the dough starts to ball up around the beater, stop the machine. Remove the bowl and scrape the dough onto a lightly floured work surface.
Knead 2 or 3 times, then divide the dough equally into 8 balls to make turnovers. Flatten them into disks, then wrap them in plastic and refrigerate for at least one hour.
Friday, October 31, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
When it comes to pizza, I'm a less-is-more gal. Friends who know me as a meat lover may find it strange that I don't like meat on my pizza, but chicken or beef weighs it down. And I sure don't want servings of baked ziti on top, and I prefer the traditional sauce-and-mozzarella version. I like a topping of tomato slices with fresh basil, or my other favorite, which I made here -- Roasted Eggplant & Caramelized Onions. You may say you don't like eggplant (eggplant parmigiana seems to be everyone's exception), and I used to say that, too. But try eggplant roasted, slightly caramelized and well done, and it's nothing like that spongy, underdone stuff that restaurants sometimes serve up.
I roast a skinny Chinese eggplant (peeled, sliced, and tossed with olive oil, salt, and pepper) in a 300-degree oven for 15 minutes. I also caramelize some onions in a saute pan with a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper until they're translucent and slightly brown at the edges. Toss them on top of your pizza before it goes into the oven.
From Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker’s Apprentice
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Moosewood's Cheesy Potato Soup
3 tbs butter
2 cups chopped onions
1 garlic clove, minced
2 large potatoes, peeled in large dice
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped into chunks
3 cups vegetable stock or water
2 tbs fresh dill
4 oz. cream cheese
1½ cups milk
1 cup grated cheddar (3 oz.)
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot, saute the garlic and onions in the butter until translucent. Add potatoes and carrots and saute 5 minutes longer. Add the stock and dill and simmer until vegetables are tender (expect 15 to 20 minutes). Stir in the cream cheese and milk. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the cheddar and cook until just melted.
Then return the velvety mixture to the pot, stir to combine, and add the cream cheese and milk.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Sometimes you just get the craving for fried chicken, and not the drive-through kind. After doing some reading on the subject matter, I threw together a simple enough flour mixture, though I admit there was a second try for some tweaking. Serve it with some mashed potatoes or biscuits, and one obligatory healthy side, and you're in heaven.
One other note: a thermometer is necessary. It takes longer than you'd think to get the oil up to temperature, and the oil needs to be hot enough and the chicken cooked long enough to get the perfect browning outside and doneness inside. A candy thermometer works great for this. I also have a deep fryer, but I find I like my enameled cast iron dutch oven better.
- About 9 chicken thighs, wings, and drumsticks
- 1 cup buttermilk or 1 egg plus 1 cup milk
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tbs baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp ground cayenne pepper
- Enough oil to fill half of a large dutch oven
- Start heating your oil to 360º (the temperature will drop to about 350º when you add the chicken, which is where you want to keep the temp). It may take more than 10 minutes to heat up.
- Trim the skin off the drumsticks and thighs, if you'd like. Place all the chicken in a bowl filled with the buttermilk, or the egg and milk. In a shallow bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, and peppers. Dredge the chicken pieces through the flour mixture and set aside.
- When the oil comes to temperature, add your chicken pieces. Don't overcrowd the pot or they won't cook evenly; 4-5 pieces at a time is best. Cook the chicken for about 13 minutes, turning the pieces halfway through the cooking time with a handheld brass strainer like the one in the picture. The chicken should be about the color in the photo. Drain the chicken on paper towels and pat dry, and serve.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
I made this recently for my friend Jill's birthday. I know she doesn't like a big fuss, so a simple french yogurt cake seemed perfect. I dressed it up a bit with almond cream and toasted almonds. The birthday girl says she loved it!
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan's French Yogurt Cake
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup ground almonds (or, if you'd prefer, omit these and use another ½ cup of all-purpose flour)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 1 cup sugar
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- ½ cup plain yogurt *low-fat will work*
- 3 large eggs
- ¼ tsp pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup flavorless oil, such as canola or safflower
- Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350º. Grease an 8½ x 4½ inch loaf pan and place it on a baking sheet. * I used a 9-inch springform pan for a taller, traditional-looking cake*
- Whisk together the flour, ground almonds (if you're using them), baking powder, and salt.
- Put the sugar and zest in a mixing bowl, and with your fingertips, rub the zest into the sugar until the sugar is moist and aromatic. Add the yogurt, eggs, and vanilla and blend well. Add the dry ingredients, then fold in the oil. You'll have a thick, smooth batter with a slight sheen. Scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top.
- Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan; it should be golden brown and a thin knife inserted into the center will come out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for 5 minutes, then run a blunt knife between the cake and the sides of the pan. Unmold, and cool to room temperature right side up on the rack.
Martha Stewart's Almond Cream*You may want to double this recipe*
- 4 tbs butter, room temperature
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 large egg *If you don't want to use a raw egg, try 2 tsp mayonnaise*
- ½ cup whole blanched almonds, finely ground in the food processor
- ¼ cup all purpose flour
- ¼ tsp pure almond extract
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg. Add the ground almonds and flour, and beat until combined. Stir in the almond extract and salt. Continue beating until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. The almond cream can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
Toasting the almonds
Pour 1 cup of slivered, blanched almonds into a dry nonstick pan and shake the pan every few minutes, until lightly toasted and aromatic. Or spread 1 cup of slivered, blanched almonds in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast lightly in a 200º preheated oven for 20 minutes.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
I only had one tray of the mini-muffin molds the recipe calls for, and didn't want that single tiny tray baking by itself for 30 minutes, so I also used 10 tartlet molds measuring 1¾ inches across and ½ inch deep, and they worked well (same amount of time in the oven). If you have rectangular molds, you can bake them in their traditional shape resembling gold ingots. They are tasty, and perfect for teatime!
Little Next Door's Raspberry FinanciersTotal time: 1 hour, 10 minutes plus chilling time for the dough
Servings: Makes 2½ dozen
- 4 egg whites
- 1¼ cups powdered sugar
- 11 tablespoons butter
- ½ cup flour
- ½ cup almond flour (I just ground up blanched almonds very fine in a food processor)
- ½ pint fresh raspberries
- Combine the egg whites and sugar in a medium bowl. Place the bowl over a similar-sized saucepan to form a bain-marie or double-boiler filled with gently simmering water. Stir the egg whites and sugar with a whisk just until the whites warm slightly and the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- In a small saucepan, cook the butter over medium heat until it begins to brown and gives off a nutty aroma. Remove from the heat to prevent the butter from overcooking. Set aside, but keep very warm.
- In a large bowl using a hand mixer, or in the bowl of a stand mixer, begin whisking the egg white mixture at low speed. With the mixer running, gently add the flour, followed by the almond flour, and mix just to combine. Add in the warm butter in a thin stream, mixing at low speed until it is incorporated. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, and continue to mix 10 seconds more to ensure the batter is completely combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight.
- Heat the oven to 325º. Spray or butter a tray of miniature muffin molds (our molds measured 1¾ inches wide by ½ inch deep). Fill the molds two-thirds full with batter, and place a fresh raspberry on top of each. Place the tray in the oven and bake 30 to 40 minutes, until golden. Remove and cool on a wire rack. Repeat with the remaining batter.
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Saturday, August 30, 2008
RED VELVET CUPCAKES (Adapted from Paula Deen's)