Tags: baking, cookies
Seems it’s been over a year since we’ve made a cookie from BWJ, but now here comes Nick Malgieri’s Cornmeal-Currant Biscotti. These are his take on a classic Venetian cookie called zaletti. They’re rustic, not too sweet, a little lemony and are a nice nibble with coffee, tea or dessert wine. Making the dough was easy to do by hand, but I had to watch the video of the TV episode before I formed and cut them into their traditional diamond shapes. I tried to form them about the same thickness as Malgieri did, but maybe I should have gone a little thinner…I expected them to be crisp and sandy like shortbread, but instead they had a texture reminiscent of a scone, with a bit of grit from the cornmeal. That’s not a bad thing by any means (and three days on, they still seem to keep well), but it left me a bit curious about these cookies. After doing a little more research on zaletti, I saw that the dough is often rolled out thinner before being cut into the diamonds, or else it is simply done in slice-and-bake form. I normally think of something called biscotti as twice-baked, but zaletti just hit the oven once (the recipe does give a twice-baked alternative for those wishing to bake them that way). Forming them thinner would have made them more crisp with their single bake, I’m sure. They have great flavor, though, and we’re still very much enjoying them.
Tags: baking, cookies
I may not be going back to school this week, but in solidarity with the children, I am happy to indulge in some after-school-style snacks. Oh, wait– I don’t have children. More Jam-Filled Sandwich Cookies for me, I guess!
These little shortbread cookies are so simple, yet so tasty. I was initially expecting them two be to separate cookies glued together with jam, but instead, two cookies are sealed together to form one, with jam hiding in (and, ehem, sometimes peeking out from) the center. Almost like baby handpies. I made two flavors, sour cherry and concord grape. Despite the fact that my kitchen has basically no climate control, I didn’t really have any trouble with these in the heat. The dough came together in like five seconds and rolled out no problem between two sheets of parchment. I chilled it before cutting and afterwards I chilled the rounds before assembly. As I applied the jam blobs to the bottoms, the dough rounds softened just enough to not crack too much when I sealed on the tops. It all worked out deliciously well.
Tags: baking, brownies, chocoate
By rough count I’ve made approximately one zillion brownie recipes here over the last eight years. Well, now I can add Chocolate-Cherry Brownies to that collection. These brownies are made in pretty normal fashion (unlike, say, Brownies for Julia), but have dried cherries and some finely chopped chocolate folded in at the very end. I’m not normally a fruit and chocolate gal, but I must say that I like these with their pop of tartness. My husband, who is a fruit and chocolate guy, declared them to be “excellent” brownies.
The recipe says to first plump up the dried cherries– you could also use cranberries– in port or red wine, but seems someone drank all the wine again (qui, moi?), so I used coffee instead. I made half a recipe in a loaf pan, and it took just about the stated time to bake. Several folks who made the full-sized batch noted that extra time was needed, so always use your baker’s instinct to check and adjust. I like to pop brownies into the fridge for at least a couple of hours after they’ve baked and cooled to room temp. It makes them set up nicely…what could seem underbaked or too gooey if cut right away magically turns into fudgy goodness…and they cut cleaner, too.
Tags: baking, cookies
Anyone remember the Snickery Squares from BFMHTY? I think Crispy-Topped Brown Sugar Bars are BCM‘s answer to those. Junky, but in the best possible way, these homemade candy bars have a brown sugar cookie base and a smear of dark chocolate. The star of the show, though, is the layer of caramelized Rice Krispies on top. You may be tempted to skip caramelizing the Krispies and just toss on a handful as-is outta the box, but it is a step that is worth it. (A couple of people used caramel corn instead of Krispies, and that sounds pretty darn good, too.) Also, you’ll wind up with extra caramel Krispies– score! I shamefully admit that I considered eating those extra sugary puffs with milk for breakfast, but decided to save them for ice cream sundaes instead…far less shameful, right?
I heard that the brown sugar cookie base was very crisp and a bit of a mess to cut when baked at the recipe’s stated time and temp (375°F for 22 minutes), so I baked my base at 350°F for about 15 minutes instead. It was easy to cut into bars and ate like a soft, chewy shortbread. I did only make a half recipe in a loaf tin, but if I did a full size batch, I’d still definitely peek in the oven after 15 minutes and see what’s going on.
These bars sounded like they had the potential to be very sweet, so I used a 72% bittersweet chocolate with a tiny pinch of salt sprinkled in to keep it under control. They are rich enough that I could say a little goes a long way, but really, they are moreish enough that I could have eaten the whole loaf pan in one go!
Tags: baking, brownies, dessert, giveaway
By no means do I follow a gluten-free diet (more like a gluten-full diet), but I know plenty of people who do, and I’ve had to do an increasing amount of gluten-free baking for customers at work. So I’m interested in it, even if I don’t do that much gluten-free baking at home, and was excited to see a copy of Gluten-Free Flour Power by Aki Kamozawa and Alex Talbot (from the very cool Ideas in Food) show up in my mailbox. They’ve developed gluten-free flour blends and devised recipes to use them that run the gamut of baking…breads, cookies, cakes, pies…heck, even kougin amann and cannelés! There’s pasta, dumplings, steamed buns and Japanese fried chicken, too.
Flipping through my new book, I fixated on a brownie that’s made gluten-free, not with a blend, but simply with the use of oat flour. When it comes to brownies, I’m not loyal to any one recipe. I play the field and always seem to be trying a different recipe out. Oatmeal-chocolate chip cookies are a favorite of mine, and I knew I’d like a bit of that wholesome flavor in brownie-form. You can buy oat flour at most stores or make it yourself by blitzing old-fashioned rolled oats in your food processor, blender or spice grinder. I use oat flour often for whole-grain pancakes and when I need it, I usually go the homemade route because it’s something that’s a lot cheaper to DIY (and it’s quick and easy). Just make sure the flour or the oats you buy are certified gluten-free if you also want your brownies to be.
These brownies use melted chocolate and a healthy amount of natural cocoa powder, so they really fix a chocolate craving. They’re tall and kind of straddle the line of being a little cakey on the edge and fudgy in the middle (I’m assuming this structure comes from having 6 eggs in the batter). And yeah, I could taste the oats, but no, I didn’t mind one bit. They’re delicious. A scoop of coffee ice cream on the side is delicious, too.
The kind folks at W.W. Norton sent me a copy of Gluten-Free Flour Power, and now I want to send a copy to one of you! Just leave me a comment (one per person, please) on this post before 5:00 pm EST on Sunday, March 29 and I’ll randomly choose a winner from the list. Be sure your e-mail address is correct so I can contact you.
Double-Chocolate Brownies– makes a 9-16 brownies
adapted from Gluten-Free Flour Power by Aki Kamozawa and Alex Talbot
Steph’s Note: If you grind your own oat flour and are using cup measures, grind more than you think you’ll need and measure again after. You can save any extra to add to other recipes. Also, nuts were not included in the original recipe, but I like them in brownies and added them to mine.
6 oz/ 170 g bittersweet chocolate, chopped
12 tbsp/ 6 oz/ 170 g unsalted butter, sliced
1 cup/ 130 g oat flour
2 cups/ 400 g sugar
1/2 cup/ 60 g natural cocoa powder
1 tsp/ 6 g fine sea salt
6 large eggs (cold)
1/2 cup toasted and roughly chopped nuts (optional)
-Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Butter an 8-inch square baking pan. (You can line the pan with buttered parchment if you’d like, and the brownies will be easier to remove.)
– Put the chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 30 second increments, stirring between each until melted and smooth. It should take about 2 minutes total. You can do this in a double boiler on the stovetop if you prefer. Let the mixture cool.
–Put the oat flour, sugar, cocoa and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to blend. Add the chocolate/butter mixture and whisk to blend. Add the eggs, one by one, stirring in each well with a rubber spatula before adding the next. If using nuts, fold them in now. Once all ingredients are incorporated, give the batter another 20-25 strokes to insure the batter is well-blended.
– Spread batter evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the brownies are just set in the center. They should feel firm when gently pressed and they will not jiggle if you shake the pan.
– Let brownies cool completely before cutting them with a sharp knife. (I like to refrigerate brownies for a couple of hours before cutting them.)
***Giveaway Winner Update: I used random.org to generate a random comment number to find the winner. Congratulations to Becky Ellis! I’ll be in touch soon.***
Tags: baking, cake
By now, I’ve made several of Dorie’s madeleine recipes, but these Lemon Madeleines were the first to give me that coveted backside bump! The trick, apparently, is to keep the batter super-cold until the second the shell-shaped pan hits the oven. Hmmm…perhaps I should revisit one of the older recipes (chai was a favorite)?
I like madeleines, but I never really think of them until they roll around for TWD. They’re easy enough to make…the batter is quickly whisked together by hand and it can even out in the fridge for a few days. Madeleines are for sure best eaten fresh, so it’s handy to be able to bake them off as you want them (I did about four a day until the batter was gone). These ones came out nice and spongy. And lemony, of course, because of zest in the batter and juice in the glaze.
Madeleines often find themselves dunked into a cup of tea, but there was some lemon curd left from last week’s BWJ recipe, so we swiped them in that.
Tags: baking, cookies
Granola and yogurt is my standard weekday morning brekkie. It’s fast, it’s easy and I like it. Sometimes I add a banana to jazz it up but, all in all, I keep it all pretty plain, so it’s fairly healthy. A lot of store-bought granola is anything but, with loads of sugar and add-ins. Store-bought granola bars are usually the same way…more like candy bars than healthy snacks. I eat enough sugar for dessert, so I try to avoid those “extra” sweets during the day. If you wanna control what goes in it, I guess you gotta make it yourself!
These Granola Energy Bars are loaded with nuts, seeds, dried fruit (I used raisins, cherries and apricots) and oats, of course, bound together with brown rice syrup. I think the brown rice syrup helps keep the bars chewy, too, but corn syrup or golden syrup would be likely substitutes if you can’t find it easily. These were a cinch to make, and I feel good about what went into them. And they’re filling, too, if you just need a little something to hold you over.
I bought the brown rice syrup at the health food store just for this recipe, so I’m not sure what I’ll do with the rest of the jar…apart from making more granola bars. Perhaps I’ll tweak the recipe to make my own homemade, fresh version of the candy bar kind with mini chocolate chips and peanuts, for dessert, of course.
Tags: baking, chocolate, cookies, dessert, holiday
Every Christmas, I have visions and hopes of a cookie baking extravaganza. And every Christmas, other things (work, visitors, forgetting to buy sugar, general laziness) seem to get in the way…not only is there no baking extravaganza going on in my kitchen, there is not a single cookie to be found. I try my best not to poop out on TWD each week, and lucky for me these Chocolate-Mint Nightcaps from Marcel Desaulniers are, ya know, seasonally flavored. I think I’ve finally make a Christmas cookie– yay!
These are little cocoa sandwich cookies, filled and (night)capped off with a squiggle of dark chocolate and mint ganache (the recipe calls for steeping fresh mint, but a drop or two of peppermint extract is what I used in its place). Before I had even read the recipe, I made the assumption that the cookies would have a fauxreo thing going on…I was a little surprised that I wound up with a cakey batter when I mixed the dough. I made these late in the day and sandwiched a few as soon as they’d cooled. They were so soft and crumbly…even though it was clear that they weren’t going to be crispy wafers, I was not expecting them to fall apart like they did. Kind of of discouraging, but I decided to let the rest of my batch of cookies hang out unfilled overnight. Actually, I decided to let them sleep in the freezer, thinking that would really help them set (whether or not that was necessary, I don’t know). When I put them together with the ganache the next day, they’d firmed up and were like fudgy, minty brownie cookies. Seriously good….I only made a quarter-batch, or I’d definitely leave a couple out for Santa.
Tags: baking, cookies, dessert
The Rugelach That Won Over France is a spiral of cinnamon sugar, coconut, pecans, chocolate and dried cherries. I’ve made other Dorie rugelach once, no twice, before…in fact, hers is the only rugelach I’ve ever made. She uses essentially the same cream cheese pastry dough in each, and it’s great. It’s easy to make in the food processor, pretty easy to roll out and bakes up nice and flaky. But, while this version may have won over France, it wasn’t my favorite flavor combination. I thought it was a little dry compared to the other two, and I realize the difference is likely because they had some sort of jam in the filling and this one didn’t. I’d certainly give this a shot again, but would swap out the chocolate for some fruit jam.
I followed the recipe here, but instead of freezing my rolled up rugelach logs before slicing, I just chilled them in the fridge for a couple of hours. Then I cut them an inch thick, rather than 1/2-inch thick, for chunkier cookies.
Tags: baking, cookies
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.
That’s so random
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