Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Amaretti

November 18, 2014 at 9:50 am | Posted in BWJ, cookies & bars, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 11 Comments
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amaretti

My husband is half-Sicilian, and he and his family live for Italian-American bakery sweets in a way that I can’t quite understand.  I knew he’d be all over Nick Malgieri’s Amaretti cookies because he never passes them up in the case at Court Pastry Shop here in Brooklyn.  They’re easy enough to make at home, though…you just need some canned almond paste, and couple of egg whites and some sugar.

R, my husband, also requires pine nuts on his amaretti.  Am I right that that makes them pignoli cookies?  He has expensive tastes– pine nuts are like $46 a pound here!  Luckily I can buy just a small scoop at Sahadi’s. I tried to be cheap with them without looking like I was being too cheap with them.  I don’t love amaretti the way that R does, but these are good and just like at the bakery…crispy outside, chewy inside, sweet and full of almond paste flavor.

For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan. There’s a video of the BWJ episode showing how to make the amaretti cookies. Finally, don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie BCM: Palets de Dames, Lille Style

November 11, 2014 at 12:01 am | Posted in BCM, cookies & bars, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 29 Comments
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palets de dames

In case you didn’t think Dorie Greenspan’s sweets were well-represented here (I’ve only made about 300 of them), I’m thrilled to tell you that Tuesdays with Dorie, the BCM edition kicks off today! Baking Chez Moi: Recipes from My Paris Home to Your Home Anywhere is Dorie’s latest gem.  It’s a huge book filled with recipes– some are French classics, some are French twists and some are not-so-French, but her Parisian friends love them.   We’ll be baking from BCM on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month, and Laurie, Jules and I hope we’ll see a lot of new bakers join in the fun!  The recipes are awesome, the rules are relaxed and there will be group nominations each month to decide what we’ll make– fun!.  (Don’t worry– we’re not abandoning Baking with Julia.  In fact, we’d love to have more folks jump in as we move through the second half of that book.)

Now, onto Palets de Dames, our first recipe!  Palet means “puck” in French.  While they may be shaped like little disks, there’s nothing hockeypuck-ish about these little cake-cookies.  They’re soft and flavored with vanilla and are a perfect tea or coffee break treat.  The cookie dough is actually like making a simple cake batter and the icing is just whisked together.  Not too hard, although somehow I did manage to make a little screw up.  I think I was actually supposed to dip their bottoms in glaze and serve them upside-down.  I did the opposite.  Oh well…ce n’est pas grave, as they say.  They’re still dainty and cute, and I thought they deserved a little sparkly bling on top of the sweet glaze to celebrate our first BCM post.

For the recipe, see Baking Chez Moi by Dorie Greenspan (it’s also here). Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll and please join us, if you haven’t already!

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Cantuccini

April 15, 2014 at 12:01 am | Posted in cookies & bars, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 20 Comments
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cantuccini

Nick Malgieri’s Cantuccini are thinly sliced, super crisp biscotti.  I put almonds and cardamom in mine, but I bet pretty much any nut/sweet spice combo you want would work well.  Citrus zest and dried fruit would be fine additions, too.  Oh, I wonder if anyone will add chocolate?

The canutccini have to be baked twice, which takes a bit of time, but the dough itself is really quick to make.  The recipe gives “by hand” instructions, but I just tossed everything into my stand mixer.  I probably had that dough ready to go in the oven faster than I was able to make the ghetto cappuccino I dunked them into later!  Just like with the hazelnut biscotti from a couple of years back, lightly wetting your hands helps with shaping sticky dough into a log.  I wish I’d made a fatter log so I would have had cookies that looked more like the slim little half-moons in the book.

The recipe notes say that cantuccini are typically enjoyed with the sweet wine vin santo.  I’ll be looking for a bottle of that at the wine shop this afternoon, since I have lots more of these to eat up (even though I made just a third of the recipe).  For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan.  There’s also a version of it here.  Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Gingersnaps

December 17, 2013 at 10:58 am | Posted in cookies & bars, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 13 Comments
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gingersnaps

Last week I was in paradise, now I’m back to reality.  I’m trying to brighten up the Brooklyn dreariness with a tree and some holiday-spiced cookies.  How convenient that David Blom’s Gingersnaps are up for TWD this week.  Cutout cookies are fun, I think.  Sticky doughs can be tricky to work with and get soft quickly, but I’ve found that rolling out dough on parchment and then chilling the rolled sheet for 10 or so minutes before punching out shapes makes the process a lot easier.

I heard that these cookies tasted more like molasses than ginger, so I doubled the spices in my batch.  I also reduced the water called for in the recipe to just 1 tablespoon, as I didn’t think the dough needed so much extra moisture.  Since I was trying to boost the spiciness, I skipped the molasses glaze and sprinkled my stars with sanding sugar instead.  While I baked these a few minutes longer than the recipe called for, they were still a little more chewy than snappy.  They never quite dried out in the center.

These may not be my ideal gingersnaps (those are from Miette, although I’ve only had them in the shop and have not tried their recipe in my own kitchen), but they were tasty enough and the recipe was small enough that I don’t mind too much.  They were good with tea.

For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan (it’s also here).  Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Double Chocolate Cookies

November 19, 2013 at 12:01 am | Posted in cookies & bars, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 18 Comments
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double chocolate cookies

Rick Katz’s Double Chocolate Cookies came along at just the right time…I have been majorly craving chocolate lately.  I’ve hardly touched the stuff in the last six months, and that’s just plain unnatural!

I knew exactly what these cookies would be like.  I’ve worked in two places where we made cookies very similar to this, method and everything (just in way bigger batches).  In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if my two former chefs started with this recipe originally.  These are rich– a dark chocolate batter with extra chocolate bits mixed in (preferably a high percentage bittersweet)– and exactly the fix I was looking for.  The recipe intro calls them something like “half cookie, half brownie,” and that about sums it up.  You have to whip the heck out of the eggs and sugar when you make these, so they get that awesome brownie-like crackle shell, but they’re really soft inside.  As soon as they cool from baking, they’re pretty gooey.  But give them the better part of a day, or even overnight, and they become chewy.  So good.

For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan (it’s also all over the Interwebs) Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: X Cookies

October 1, 2013 at 12:26 am | Posted in cookies & bars, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 9 Comments
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X cookies

Finally–Nick Malgieri’s X Cookies!  I’ve had a little hunk of pasta frolla in the freezer waiting for these guys ever since we made pizza rustica.  What’s that you say?  That means it’s been in the freezer for almost a year and a half?  Details, details…

X cookies are a take on a traditional Sicilian cookie called cucidati…a sweet dough filled with a paste of dried figs, raisins, orange, nuts, rum, spices, etc. Think of a more grown-up Fig Newton and you’re on the right track.  Truth be told, I’m not the biggest fan of darkly flavored dried fruit and spice stuff like this.  I probably would have skipped this recipe, but the process looked fun, and my husband’s half Sicilian, so I thought he might like them.  Of course I tried them, too.  And while they aren’t my favorite (although, as predicted, my husband likes them quite a lot), I can see their appeal when dunked in hot coffee or eaten with a little scoop of vanilla ice cream.

The instructions for forming the Xs were very clear.  It could have been a long process if I’d made a full batch, but I sure don’t need five dozen of them hanging around.  I did just a quarter batch for fifteen cookies.  I didn’t have any dried orange peel, so I improvised by using Grand Marnier instead of rum.

X cookies

We’re going without hosts now for TWD, so for the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan.  It’s also here, and there’s even a video of Nick and Julia making the cookies together. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Mocha Chocolate Chip Cookies

March 19, 2013 at 1:01 am | Posted in cookies & bars, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 20 Comments
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mocha chocolate chip cookies

I don’t think Rick Katz’s Mocha Chocolate Chip Cookies are meant to be a before bed treat.  These are zippy!  Two to three tablespoons of instant coffee and a pound of chocolate may just keep you wired.  Too be honest, you could back off a bit on either of those and you’d still have a delicious chocolate chip cookie.

My dough looks dark compared to some others I saw online.  Maybe it’s because I used instant espresso instead of coffee, or because I used Billington’s molasses sugar (which is a bit stronger than regular dark brown sugar).  Anyway, I liked these a lot.  Pre-scooping the dough and then baking them straight from the fridge or freezer helps keep the cookies from spreading too much.  While I left out the suggested apricots, I used a mix of dark, milk and white chocolates because I’m crazy like that.  Also, ice cream–well, you can see what I did there.

For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan or read Peggy’s Galettista Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Best-Ever Brownies

November 20, 2012 at 12:01 am | Posted in cookies & bars, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 15 Comments
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Rick Katz’s brownies for Julia

It wasn’t until yesterday when I actually got cracking on Rick Katz’s Best-Ever Brownies, that I realized I’ve made this recipe before.  Back in Season 1 of TWD.  Only then they were called Rick Katz’s Brownies for Juila.  Different book, same recipe, same strange egg whipping technique.  I am cheaply recycling the photo, because I missed my light window both yesterday and today (curses to work!).

Well, there is one difference between the two recipes.  This version in Baking with Julia calls for 1/4 cup of extra flour.  I prefer it with that extra little bit of flour…I think it gives the brownies a bit more structure.  The batch I made yesterday looks the same as the one in the photo, but they are a little taller.  This time I made half a recipe and baked it in a 9″ x 5″ metal loaf pan lined with parchment for 30 minutes exactly.  Then I pulled them out of the oven to come to room temperature before I put them in the fridge to chill through.  I did the same thing the last time around, because I remembered this made the chocolate goo solidify into chew.  They were good brownies back then, and they are still good now.

For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan or read Monica’s A Beautiful Mess.  Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Hazelnut Biscotti

July 3, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Posted in cookies & bars, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 16 Comments
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hazelnut biscotti

I’m not supposed to be home writing this post right now, but the last three days we’ve had power outages at work and closed up shop early.  Hard to work in a food business when your refrigeration is down.  I feel bad for the store owners because it’s truly a mess and they lose sales when this stuff happens, but it’s a little bonus time off for me.  Time off means time for a cookie break with Alice Medrich’s Hazelnut Biscotti!

These super-crunchy biscotti are the perfect little something on the side of a plate.  Good with coffee (naturally), ice cream or fruit.  The recipe calls for skin-on hazelnuts and has kind of a kooky method for removing the skins (just watch this video…ick).  I went a far more straight-forward route– I bought pre-blanched nuts!  I just toasted them as directed before proceeding with the dough.  A tip that worked well for many of us this week is to lightly wet your hands before shaping the dough into logs.  This helps neatly deal with the stickiness.  And I recommend slicing the cookies pretty thin after the first bake, because after the second, the cookies are so crisp that a fat cookie would be hard to bite down on.  They have proven to be good keepers, even with the heat and humidity we’ve had here this past week. 

For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan or read Jodi’s Homemade and Wholesome and Katrina’s Baking and Boys.  There’s also a video of Alice and Julia making the biscotti together.  Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!  I kept mine pretty plain and simple, but I’m sure there are lots of fun substitutions and biscotti variations this week.

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Hungarian Shortbread

May 1, 2012 at 12:01 am | Posted in cookies & bars, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 20 Comments
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Hungarian shortbread

Glad I didn’t have to wait very long for TWD to choose Gale Gand’s Hungarian Shortbread…this recipe has been calling to me since I bought Baking with Julia years ago (but I was rather painfully pretending I couldn’t hear because of all the butter).   Shortbread dough with a homemade rhubarb jam layered in between– oh, come on.  Actually, I didn’t find rhubarb at the greenmarket in my neighborhood the weekend I made these, so I used it as an excuse to help clear out the fridge and went with store-bought jam instead (I used Sarabeth’s Plum Cherry).

I made half of a recipe, which worked wonderfully in an 8-inch square metal cake pan (I prepped it with parchment first).  The dough is pretty cinchy to layer in the pan because you freeze it and grate it….then just sprinkle the grated dough fluff right in and pat without really pressing much.  I grated my dough the old-fashioned way, but I hear a food processor works great, too. I figured my store-bought jam would likely be sweeter than a homemade rhubarb one, so I cut back on the sugar in the shortbread just a tad to compensate.  Then I added in a splash of vanilla and bumped up the salt with an extra pinch.  I didn’t want the bottom layer to be rawsies (which can sometimes happen with multilayered bar cookies), so I decided to par bake the bottom crust before adding jam and top layers.  Twenty minutes in the oven was enough to make the bottom layer look set but not browned, which was all I was going for.

I went to Budapest back in the nineties, but I didn’t have anything like this.  I’m certain I would remember, because these are really delicious (so don’t feel bad at all if you want to skip the homemade filling and use jam from the shops).  And they hold up very well refrigerated, as I can assure you, since it takes us days for the two of us to get through an 8-inch pan.  In fact, I wound up freezing the last couple of pieces before my husband and I went out of town for our anniversary this past weekend (nine years– what?!?), and they were perfect after they defrosted to room temp…even the powdered sugar on top was still intact!

Hungarian shortbread

For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan or read Lynette’s 1smallkitchen and Cher’s The Not So Exciting Adventures of a Dabbler…  Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

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