Wednesday, December 30, 2009
This is another cookie that I made for Christmas. I found the recipe in one of my cookbooks, but I remember my aunt making these at Christmas. As a kid I thought that they were so festive so I wanted to make them this year. They are easy to make and keep very well, so they are perfect for the busy holiday time. They’re actually a no-bake cookie, just mix together, refrigerate and slice.
When I bought the colored marshmallows, I noticed that they are actually different fruit flavors. I thought that they were just colorful! I don’t think that they make that much of an impact on the flavor of the finished cookie. They are quite sweet but nice and airy. I’ve discovered that my husband loves these cookies a lot. This doesn’t make too many (about 24) and I noticed that a lot of them were gone! They’ve ended up being quite popular, as many people said that family members had made them in the past. It was nice to make something that brought back so many fond memories for different people.
1 cup chocolate chips
2 tablespoons butter
2-1/2 cups colorful mini marshmallows
1 cup powdered sugar
½ cup quartered maraschino cherries
½ cup chopped pecans
1 egg, beaten
½ cup coconut
Melt chocolate chips and butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat or in a microwave. Be careful and don’t over heat.
Add marshmallows, powdered sugar, maraschino cherries, pecans, and egg. Stir until combined. Allow to cool until firm enough to handle, about 20 minutes. Shape into a 2-1/2 inch diameter log.
Sprinkle coconut on to waxed paper. Roll log in coconut until coated. Wrap the log in waxed paper and refrigerate until firm. (I refrigerated mine overnight.) Cut into slices, cleaning knife with hot water after each slice.
Recipe from Company’s Coming Most Loved Treats
Friday, December 25, 2009
Merry Christmas! I made a lot of cookie to celebrate Christmas that I will be posting over the next few days. This is one of my favorites and one that I haven’t made in many years. The recipe came from Sunset Magazine, who did an article talking about miniature cookies and how they would be great for the holidays. This is one that they featured. I don’t make mine all that small; I do use a 2-inch cookie cutter. You can use a large or small cutter and any shape that you’d like.
The original article where I found this recipe talked about categories of cookies: chocolate cookies, spiced cookies, fruity cookies and nutty cookies. Certainly there are more categories that you could come up with, but when I am planning on making a lot of cookies for an occasion, I will often think about which cookies I am making and which categories I’ve got covered.
I couldn’t find the original magazine article that has the recipe, but I looked online and was able to find it. The only difference is that I made the dough in the food processor this time, which made making the dough quite easy. I remember always struggling to incorporate all of the flour, and I didn’t have to worry about it this time. I also rolled out the dough between sheets of waxes paper before the dough was chilled, which was different but actually worked well. I hate rolling out super-hard and/or sticky dough, so this way I didn’t have to bother. I love these cookies and I hope that you enjoy them as much as I do!
2 cups flour
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon fresh-ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 sticks butter, at room temperature, cut into slices
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
6 ounces white chocolate chips
3 tablespoons vegetable shortening
In a food processor, combine flour, sugar, ginger, pepper, baking soda, cocoa powder, cinnamon, allspice, and salt. Process to blend. Add butter; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. In a small bowl, mix vanilla, lemon peel, and 1 tablespoon water. Add to food processor; process until dough forms a ball.
Divide dough in half. Roll out each portion between sheets of waxed paper to about 1/4 inch thick. Stack and chill rolled dough until firm, about 45 minutes (or longer).
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cut out cookies with a 2-inch round cutter. Place 1/2 inch apart on silicone mat-lined baking sheets. Bake until pale brown, about 12-15 minutes. Transfer to racks to cool completely.
Melt white chocolate and shortening in the microwave or in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir occasionally until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Dip each cookie halfway into white chocolate mixture, then place on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper. Drizzle undipped half of cookie with more white chocolate mixture.
Recipe from Sunset Magazine
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
We have a holiday party at work every December, and I usually make something savory rather than sweet. I so often make sweets for work that I enjoy the opportunity to make something different. This year I went ahead and made dessert, since we were also celebrating 2 birthdays. I kept thinking of all these different things to make. I think I changed my mind about 100 times! The weekend before the party I went to the bookstore and had picked up a couple of holiday baking magazines. I saw this recipe and I knew I had to make it.
I thought that I had made a linzertorte before, but I had actually made a bakewell tart. A bakewell tart is similar, but this has two layers of pastry sandwiched between raspberry jam. In this case, the pastry is a gingerbread pastry. Perfect for the holidays. It takes quite a bit of patience to make this linzertorte, since the dough has to be chilled at many stages in the process, but other than that it’s quite simple to make. The dough is a bit sticky to work with, so rolling the dough between parchment or waxed paper is really critical.
I liked this as a Christmas dessert since it isn’t super sweet and it’s a nice change of pace. The gingerbread has a good flavor that goes very well with the raspberry filling. I could have made the cut outs in the top a little more even, but it’s a little hard to do that since you make the cut outs before you assemble the linzertorte. You could change the cut outs to fit any season, I think this linzertorte would work really well in the fall as well as Christmas.
2-1/4 cups flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon cloves
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
½ cup packed dark brown sugar
½ cup butter, softened
1/3 cup molasses
2 egg yolks plus 1 egg white
1-1/4 cups seedless raspberry jam
In a large mixer bowl, mix flour, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, salt, and pepper. Add brown sugar and mix on medium low until combined. Add butter and mix until incorporated. Add molasses and egg yolks; mix until dough comes together.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Roll 2/3 of the dough into a 12-inch round about 1/4-inch thick. Fit into a 10-inch tart pan. Spread jam over the bottom of shell. Chill until cold, about 30 minutes.
Roll the remaining dough between two pieces of parchment paper into a 10 inch round, about ¼-inch thick. Place the round (with the parchment) on a baking sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Cut shapes out of the round with mini cookie cutters and then chill an additional 30 minutes.
Lightly beat egg white; brush over edge of tart shell. Carefully slide dough round over shell; press edges to adhere. Chill until firm, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Bake until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling, 50-60 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Recipe from Martha Stewart Holiday Sweets
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was selected by Beth of
Someone’s in the Kitchen with Brina. She selected My Favorite Pecan Pie, which is a spiced chocolate pecan pie. I really like pecan pie (although I will often substitute hazelnuts for pecans) , so I was excited to give this a try. To get the complete recipe, visit Beth’s blog and you can also check out how the other Tuesday with Dorie bakers fared with this week’s recipe.
This recipe isn’t all that different from a traditional pecan pie, but a couple of small changes make a big difference. This pie is a lot less sweet that most pecan pies, which I liked. We certainly have a lot of sweet stuff around the house right now! The spices that you add to the filling: espresso powder and cinnamon make all the difference. It made the pie so much more interesting and complex, not the sickeningly sweet filling that you sometimes get with pecan pie.
The recipe calls for 3 ounces of chopped bittersweet chocolate, which I almost omitted, but I did add it. I think I would like to try it without the chocolate, since it is the spices that made the biggest difference. I didn’t chop up the chocolate enough, so when I ate the pie I got a couple of big chunks of chocolate. I also over baked the crust a bit, even though I covered it with foil as the recipe directed. It still tastes fine, so it wasn’t too bad. I really liked this recipe and I will certainly make it again!
Recipe from Baking from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, page 327
Friday, December 18, 2009
A couple of friends from work came over the other day to make Christmas cookies and we had a great time! We made some sugar cookies and also made these macaroons. My friend brought the recipe and the three of us put them together. I still need to decorate the sugar cookies, but I hope to do that soon, so I will be posting those in a bit.
I hadn’t made macaroons in many, many years. I love coconut, so I was happy to give these another try. They use unsweetened coconut, which can be tricky to find in normal grocery stores. My friend had brought unsweetened coconut, but it was in big flakes which would make for a very different cookie. I had some shredded unsweetened coconut from Whole Foods that we ended up using instead. The big flaked coconut will look great as decoration on a coconut cake, so I’ll have to make that soon!
These are fairly simple, but you really need a stand mixer to beat the egg whites. The original recipe said that it would take 8-10 minutes for the egg whites to get to the stiff peak stage, but it took much longer than that. I say below that it was 12 minutes, but I actually lost track of time and it may have been even longer. Folding in the coconut is easy since the egg whites aren’t all that fragile. We dropped this by tablespoons on the baking sheet, but you could also pipe these if you want a fancier cookie. I had forgotten how much I like macaroons; they have such great a great nutty, coconut flavor.
2 egg whites
½ cup sugar
3 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/3 cup flour
3 cups unsweetened coconut
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats.
In a large mixer bowl, whisk the egg whites until frothy and the egg whites start to expand. Add the sugar, honey, and extracts and beat on high until the egg whites are stiff and hold peaks, about 12 minutes. Fold in the flour and coconut.
Drop by tablespoonfuls on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until lightly browned and set. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for a minute before carefully removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
Recipe from my friend Kate’s cookbook
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
One of the perks of my job is that I have a lot of time off this time of year since I only work when classes are in session. While I am technically off right now, I do go in from time to time for different reasons. A friend at work was having a birthday the other day and I wanted to make something for her since I was coming in and I would see her. I decided on these muffins since they were cute and portable.
I had made a similar muffin many years ago, and it was the only time that someone ever called me up and thanked me for making them since they were so good. This is a variation, made in miniature, and I think the muffin has a richer flavor due to the buttermilk and sour cream in the dough. You have the option of different toppings, and I chose to make the cinnamon sugar and the powdered sugar varieties. There was also a chocolate-covered variation, but I will save those to make another day.
These are so good and taste exactly like cake donuts! They keep fairly well, but they taste best fresh out of the oven. They are not difficult to make and look really good when you are finished. I like the cinnamon sugar ones the best. Something about rolling the warm muffins in the butter and the cinnamon sugar makes a wonderful crust on the muffins. If you are having company during the holiday season, this would be a great choice for a quick breakfast or brunch.
1-1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon baking soda
2/3 cup milk or buttermilk
¼ cup sour cream
6 tablespoons butter, softened
¼ cup sugar
3 tablespoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons butter, melted
½ cup sugar combined with 2 teaspoons cinnamon
-or- ½ cup powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 2 mini muffin tins with cooking spray. This recipe makes 24 muffins, so I used two muffin pans.
In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and baking soda. In another bowl, combine milk and sour cream; stir to combine.
In a mixer bowl, cream the butter, sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg. Add the flour mixture alternatively with the milk mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix until all of the ingredients are incorporated, but don’t overmix.
Place 1 tablespoon of batter into each muffin cup. Bake muffins until they are golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 12 minutes. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then turn them out of the pans. Apply topping while warm.
To apply the topping, roll the warm muffins in the melted butter and then roll in the cinnamon sugar. Alternatively, roll the warm muffins in powdered sugar. (If you top the muffins with powdered sugar, don’t roll them in butter.)
Recipe from Cuisine at Home Holiday Baking
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was selected by MacDuff of The Lonely Sidecar. She selected the Café Volcano Cookies. These are some really interesting cookies so if you would like to see how the other Tuesdays with Dorie bakers fared with this recipe, check out the Tuesdays with Dorie blog.
These are the most unusual cookies that I have ever made. Putting them together, just really can’t imagine that they are going to turn out, but they really do! This was also about the easiest recipe ever selected by the group, which was a nice surprise. All you do is toast some nuts, then put those in a saucepan with egg whites, sugar, and espresso powder, warm them up until they are warm and bake. They just look so odd putting them on the cookie sheet, I guess they sort of look like pralines. You don’t beat the egg whites or anything so I was really wondering how on earth these would rise or anything.
Some sort of magic happens when these are in the oven, because they puff up and look like cookies! They are crispy and crumbly, light and airy. They have a great flavor; the coffee isn’t too strong. When I first took a bite, they flavor was vaguely reminiscent of caramel popcorn, and they are similar in texture, too. You do have to be really careful with these, since they crumble with the slightest touch. I was really glad I had the opportunity to make these cookies this week, since they were so different than anything I had made before.
Recipe from Baking from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan
Friday, December 11, 2009
I went to the bookstore the other day and ended up leaving with a new cookbook and a couple of holiday baking magazines. I just can’t say no! I picked up the Taste of Home magazine because they had a couple of cookies that were interesting variations of classic cookies. I’ve generally had good luck with recipes from this magazine, since they are usually reader recipes. Sometimes recipes developed in professional kitchens just don’t turn out.
This is a type of shortbread cookie, with a cream cheese peppermint filling. I thought they sounded just right for this time of year. The cookie is as simple as can be, but I would substitute peppermint extract for the vanilla, since it needed more peppermint flavor. I refrigerated my dough for longer than an hour and it was really difficult to shape, so don’t refrigerate it too long. It was hard (and really messy) to fill the balls with the filling. Poking a hole in the dough made such a small hole, and then it was so hard to seal the filling in. Some I filled that way and some I halved the dough balls, added filling, and then tried to seal it all up. Neither worked all that well.
I ended up making snowballs with half of the dough and the other half I rolled into balls, flattened, and baked. I made little sandwich cookies with the left over filling, and that worked ok. If you decide to make sandwich cookies, flatten the dough balls so you don’t get too thick of cookie. The elements of this cookie are good, but they don’t taste very pepperminty. I would add peppermint extract to the cookie dough and to the filling to get that strong peppermint taste! They do look fairly festive!
1 cup butter, softened
½ cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-1/2 cups flour
2 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
½ cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon milk
3 tablespoons crushed peppermints
Additional powdered sugar, for rolling
In a mixer bowl, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the vanilla and then stir in the flour. Knead dough by hand until it is smooth. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
To make the filling, combine all of the filling ingredients and stir until combined.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Shape the dough into 1 inch balls. Poke a hole in the dough and fill with ¼ teaspoon filling. Seal in the filling with additional dough and reshape into balls. Roll in powdered sugar and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until firm.
Recipe from Taste of Home Best Loved Cookies and Bars
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was selected by Barbara of Bungalow Barbara. She chose Sablés, which are a classic French butter cookie. Check out her blog for the complete recipe. Since this cookie lends itself so well to variation, check out how the other Tuesdays with Dorie bakers fared this week.
This is a very simple butter cookie that you form in a log, refrigerate and bake. They are the perfect cookie for this holiday season since they come together so fast. I wanted to make a variation since this cookie can be changed up so easily. I decided to do the spiced variation, adding ginger, cinnamon and cloves to the dough. I also had espresso-flavored sanding sugar that I wanted to use, so I ended up making espresso spiced sables.
I halved the dough, so there wasn’t a lot of dough for my mixer to work with, but it did ok. The dough comes together with no problem, and I then refrigerated the dough overnight. My espresso sugar didn’t really want to stick, but I was able to get some of it to stick. This was a bit messy though, and I am still cleaning up random sugar crystals off of my counter! I cut the cookies about 1/3” thick and I baked them the time the recipe specifies, but I think I should have taken mine out of the oven a minute or two earlier. They seem a bit too crispy, so next time I will check them a little earlier in the baking time.
Recipe from Baking from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, pages 131-133
Friday, December 4, 2009
Ah, December! The time of year when I can bake lots and lots of cookies. I have a list of cookies that I want to make, all favorites that I remember from childhood and beyond. My original plan was to make “12 Days of Cookies” but we’ll see if that happens. Of course, if I did the 12 days of Christmas right, I would start posting on December 25 and end on January 6. Since most people are done with the sweets of Christmas by the new year, that probably won’t work. So I’ll make a bunch of cookies now and share them with you as I make them.
Nanaimo is a town in British Columbia, Canada, which isn’t too far from where I live. I’ve actually been to Nanaimo once (to catch a ferry), but I am much more familiar with Nanaimo Bars. I don’t know how regional these are, but they are fairly common in the Seattle area. They do vary somewhat. I’ve found different recipes, but the one I am using here is fairly standard, with a graham cracker crust, custard filling, and a chocolate topping. When you buy them in a coffee shop, they are usually quite thick, but I like these since they are nice and thin.
These layered no-bake cookies take a little bit of patience, but overall they come together without too much effort. You have to be careful when you are assembling the layers. The custard layer has to be spread fairly thin, so take your time with this. I ended up adding a little extra heavy cream to that layer because it was just too thick! These cut easily if you use a knife that’s been dipped on hot water. These thin little bars are very rich, so cut them small!
½ cup butter, melted
¼ firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 egg whites, slightly beaten
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
½ cup chopped pecans
2 cups powdered sugar
4 tablespoons butter, softened
¼ cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons custard powder
2/3 cup chocolate chips
4 tablespoons butter
Line a 9 x 13 pan with parchment paper, allowing the paper to hand over the sides. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the melted butter, brown sugar, cocoa powder, egg whites, graham cracker crumbs, coconut, and pecans. Mix completely. Press firmly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Freeze for 30 minutes.
For the second layer, combine the powdered sugar, softened butter, cream and custard powder. Stir until smooth; mixture will be stiff. Spread evenly on top of the graham cracker layer. Refrigerate while making the topping.
For the top layer, melt the chocolate chips and butter, either in the top of a double boiler or in the microwave. Spread the chocolate mixture on top of the other layers and refrigerate until cold.
Grasp the parchment paper and lift the cookies from the pan, and then cut into bars.
Recipe from Nordstrom Friends and Family Cookbook
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was selected by Lauren of I’ll Eat You. She selected the beautiful Rosy Poached Pear and Pistachio Tart, which you can see from the title of this post, I didn’t make. The tart she picked is lovely, but fairly labor intensive. You poach pears in wine, make a pastry cream, and caramelize pistachios. Lots of good things, but after the Thanksgiving holiday, I just didn’t have time to make it. Check out Lauren’s blog and the other Tuesdays with Dorie bakers to see how others faired with this recipe
Instead I am posting this variation of a recipe that was selected in April for Tuesdays with Dorie. I made the cake back then, and it was great! The original recipe called for amaretti, which are great but are hard to find in the store. I had thought about making this with another cookie, and I decided to try it with gingersnaps. The hardest part of this recipe was figuring out how many cookies to use, since I wasn’t sure how many gingersnaps equaled 6 large amaretti. I guessed around 15, and it seemed to work ok.
This turned out really well! It wasn’t quite as soft as the amaretti torte (which was the consistency of softened butter), but it still melted in your mouth. My glaze wasn’t as smooth as I had hoped, and I’m not sure what exactly happened there. It wasn’t that bad, but it looks a little different than when I made the glaze the first time. I made this cake for my friend at work’s birthday and it was a hit. If you are looking for something special, something that’s a bit different, this is the cake for you.
15 crunchy gingersnaps
3/4 cup almonds (I used sliced almonds)
1 stick butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
For the Glaze:
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons water
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8-inch round cake pan, line the bottom with wax paper and butter the paper. Dust the inside of the pan with flour, tap out the excess and put the pan on a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat.
Put the gingersnaps and almonds in a food processor and pulse to grind them finely and evenly. Turn out onto a piece of wax paper and set aside.
Put the butter, sugar and eggs into the processor and process for about 3 minutes, until the batter is very smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Pour in the gingersnaps and almonds and the melted chocolate and pulse just until they are thoroughly incorporated. Turn the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out almost clean - streaky is more what you're looking for. The cake will dome slightly and the top will look dry; it might even crack - don't worry. Transfer the cake to a rack to cool for 15 minutes.
Run a knife around the sides of the pan and unmold the cake onto the rack. Peel off the paper liner, invert the cake and cool to room temperature right side up. When you are ready to glaze the cake, put the cake, still on the rack, over a sheet of wax paper (the drip catcher).
To Make the Glaze:
Put the chopped chocolate in a 2-cup Pyrex measuring cup or in a bowl with a spout.
Stir the cream, sugar and water together in a small saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Pour the cream over the chocolate and wait for 1 minute, then, using a small rubber spatula, gently stir until the glaze is smooth, blended and shiny. Pour the glaze over the top of the cake and, with a long metal icing spatula, spread it over the top, allowing it to spill over the sides of the cake; then smooth the glaze over the sides. Press additional gingersnap crumbs around the edge of the cake. Refrigerate the cake for about 30 minutes to set the glaze.
Recipe adapted from Baking From My Home To Yours by Dorie Greenspan