Tuesdays with Dorie DC: Every-Way Shortbread Fans: The Lemon-Poppy Seed Version

April 21, 2020 at 12:01 am | Posted in cookies & bars, DC, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 3 Comments
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every-way shortbread fans: the lemon-poppy seed version

I mentioned last week that I’m now offering coffee or tea service at home every afternoon (don’t you wish you could come over?), and I’m constantly on the lookout for a good saucer treat. Homemade shortbread fits the bill quite nicely. As the name implies, Every-Way Shortbread Fans can go in a lot of different flavor directions. I went down the suggested lemon-poppy seed topped with glaze route. They have a delicious, buttery Scottish shortbread base, flecked with lemon zest and poppy seeds. I love the crisp, sandy texture of these cookies, and baking them in a cake pan is an easy way to form and shape them nicely. Another elevenses winner here.

For the recipe, see Dorie’s Cookies by Dorie Greenspan. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll. 

Tuesdays with Dorie BCM: Green Tea Sablés

April 14, 2020 at 8:39 am | Posted in BCM, cookies & bars, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 9 Comments
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green tea sablés

Now being home 24/7, elevenses seems to have become a thing I do to break up the day. Green Tea Sablés are a perfect side treat for my new-found tradition. We’ve made many varieties of these buttery, sandy cookies by now, and these ones are flavored, not with matcha, but with more delicate green tea leaves. We have (had? *sniff*) beautiful loose leaf tea at work, including one labeled “Japanese Pan-Fried Green Tea,” which I believe is kamairicha. I brought home a couple of tablespoons just before we closed in anticipation of these cookies.

The dough for these sablés is easily made by hand…like, the butter is actually rubbed in with your fingers, which are the cleanest they have even been, I’m sure. Then it is rolled into logs, chilled, and sliced. Okay, is it just me, or are slice-and-bake cookies infuriating? I feel like they are supposed to be the easiest way to cute round cookies, but, in fact, they always totally crumble when I slice them and then I have to press them back into some sloppy, patched together blobs. Or I cut them slanted. Or some cookies are too thick and others are too thin. Rather than let slice-and-bake cookies make me feel totally lame, I have picked up a few tricks from all of our DC baking and did these sablés in a muffin tin to get a nice coin shape. I only made a quarter-recipe of this dough (my lockdown freezer is stacked up with the half-finished coffee cakes and hot cross buns I am apparently hoarding for the apocalypse), so I took out my mini muffin pan and made these petits sablés.

I had enough of that green tea left over to not only make a small pot to go along with the cookies for elevenses, but also to make a bit of green tea sugar for garnish. Because I was baking the sablés in a tin instead of free-form, rather than roll my log in sugar before slicing, I sprinkled the tops of each cookie with it before baking.

For the recipe, see Baking Chez Moi by Dorie Greenspan. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie DC: Little Rascals

April 7, 2020 at 12:01 am | Posted in cookies & bars, DC, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 3 Comments
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“Little Rascals” brings to mind the goofy gang of kids I used to watch on the tube on weekend mornings. These Little Rascals are jam sandwich cookies, though. Very much like Austrian Linzer cookies, this version’s made with walnuts. The dough comes together with a few zips in the food processor before it’s rolled and chilled. Actually, it’s so soft that it’s easiest to with it frozen. I decided to skip over my set of round cutters and reach for my knife to cut these rascals into rectangles. That way, it was one and done, and I didn’t have to deal with any scrap or re-rolling. I have some plum jam in the fridge and I used that here to make my sandwiches. These are sweet and nutty…crisp on the day they are made, softer the day after that, but both ways delicious.

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

Everyday Dorie: Last-of-the-Bunch Banana Bundt

March 27, 2020 at 12:01 am | Posted in bundt cakes, cakes & tortes, cook the book fridays, everyday dorie, groups, simple cakes, sweet things | 9 Comments
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last-of-the-bunch banana bundt

A cake with bananas, chocolate chips, coconut and rum– sign me up! This Last-of-the-Bunch-Banana Bundt has all my favorite stuff, and thankfully that made it a pantry-friendly recipe for me. I did make a couple of little tweaks as I went along. I played up the coconut flavors by using coconut sugar in place of the brown sugar and coconut milk as the liquid in the glaze. Since this batter is so full of moisture-adding mashed banana and Greek yogurt, I decided I could probably cut out just a bit of fat, and only used half the butter called for (I kept the full amount of coconut oil).

There’s a good amount of batter here, and I was a little nervous that it was too much for the pan. Turned out it wasn’t, though…it baked up into a tall, glorious Bundt, which would have been delicious and pretty enough on it’s own, to be sure, but a little glaze and sprinkle didn’t hurt either.

For the recipe, see Everyday Dorie by Dorie Greenspan (it’s also here), and head over to Cook the Book Fridays to see how the group liked this one.

Tuesdays with Dorie DC: Garam Grahams

March 17, 2020 at 10:29 am | Posted in cookies & bars, DC, groups, savory things, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 7 Comments
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garam grahams

Boy– a lot has happened in a week! The restaurant I cook for in the now-ghost town of NYC is closed, and while my job is 86’d for the time being, I am thankful to be healthy and will try to put my self-isolated energy into some long-neglected household organization projects, as well as some more fun cooking and baking stuff. I’ll start here….with cinnamon and honey and earthy notes of cumin and coriander, these Garam Grahams ride the line between sweet and savory and are in the “cocktail cookies” section of the book. Like the last time we made graham crackers, these are speedily whizzed together in the food processor. Unlike the last time we made them, though these have garam masala and black pepper for a funky Indian-ish twist. Sounds weird, but tastes good.

They’re finished off with a dusting of sugar, salt and pepper before going into the oven. I don’t know if you can really tell from the photo, but I used a coarse gold sanding sugar to give them a bit of Bollywood sparkle. I think they go as well with wine or beer as they do with a cup of chai or coffee…whichever best helps calm anxious nerves.

For the recipe, see Dorie’s Cookies by Dorie Greenspan. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll and please join us anytime!

Tuesdays with Dorie BCM: Coco Rochers

March 10, 2020 at 3:35 pm | Posted in BCM, cookies & bars, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 5 Comments
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coco rochers

Coco Rochers…what are those? Turns out, they are coconut macaroons. Just four ingredients (unsweetened coconut, sugar, egg whites and vanilla) get heated up for a gently cooked batter that’s then chilled, scooped and baked. I have to confess to you that I added a pinch of salt, too, so I guess that’s really five ingredients. If you want to make it six, add a chocolate drizzle or dip…something I’ll do next time, for sure. My unsweetened coconut is the very fine and fluffy desiccated stuff. I was able to pack the mix pretty tightly into my cookie scoop, and it made for macaroons that were a lot like the Manischewitz-type ones in a can. I’m a big fan of those, by the way. I made just 1/4 batch with the one egg white I had already separated in the fridge. I’m wishing I had more, but they are easy enough to make again anytime.

For the recipe, see Baking Chez Moi by Dorie Greenspan. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie DC: Almond Crescents

March 3, 2020 at 2:32 pm | Posted in cookies & bars, DC, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 4 Comments
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almond crescents

I feel as though I say this with like every other cookie we make, but these Almond Crescents are the perfect coffee or tea treat. Tasty, slightly nutty, crispy and a bit delicate, buttery, sugar coated, cute…shall I go on? I used the guidelines that Dorie gives in the recipe intro to make my cookies on the smaller side. They looked kinda runty when I formed them, but really pleasantly plumped up in the oven. (BTW, when I first looked at this recipe I wondered if maybe I should try toasting the almond flour before using it for even more nutty flavor. But then I forgot all about it. Does anyone regularly do this with almond flour?)

Now comes the snafu! When I took my bag of powdered sugar out of the cupboard I saw that I had, well, almost nothing left. The first cookie I coated was the bottom right one. You can see that I was basically throwing what sugar I did have around–so wasteful! You can track my work up the sheet tray, getting more and more tight-fisted with it…there was just a sprinkle at the end remaining for the one on the top left. I ate that one first.

I shared these, like I often do, with the trainers at the gym. The owner made it a point to tell me a couple of days later how much he liked them. And as I was leaving today, he called out, “More almond crescents!” So I guess I’ll need to get another bag of 10x and make a second batch (or be forced to do extra pull-ups!).

For the recipe, see Dorie’s Cookies by Dorie Greenspan. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll.

Tuesdays with Dorie BCM: Carrément Chocolat, The Simple Loaf

February 25, 2020 at 8:38 pm | Posted in BCM, cakes & tortes, groups, simple cakes, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 9 Comments
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carrément chocolat, the simple loaf

This Carrément Chocolat cake has a fancy French name but it’s just a “simple loaf.” Actually, it’s an outstanding chocolate-chocolate chip loaf. Why did we wait so long to bake this? Why did I only make a little half-recipe cake? Life’s regrets…

The cake batter is basically whizzed up in stages in the food processor, so that is simple. There’s a bit of prep to take care of first though, and that’s to make a batch of salted chocolate to chop up for chips that get mixed into the batter. This is just as it sounds: melted dark chocolate with sea salt mixed in (you can take a shortcut and buy a couple of nice sea salted dark chocolate bars at the store instead). Dorie says to spread the chocolate out and freeze it hard before chopping. Frozen chocolate is a shardy mess to chop up, so I’d recommend setting it up in the fridge instead. I actually tempered my chocolate, which I’m used to doing at work, and let it harden at room temperature so it cut fairly easily into neat chips.

As I said, I regrettably made only a half-recipe of this cake, but it sounds as though the full batch may be a bit too much for the 8.5×4.5-inch loaf pan called for. Either using a 9×5-inch pan instead or scaling back to 3/4-recipe for an 8.5×4.5-inch tin is something to consider.

I tried to layer the cake batter and salted chocolate chips in my loaf pan to keep the chips from sinking, but they headed right to the bottom anyway. (I would recommend lining your loaf pan with parchment for this reason.) Oh well, that made for a nice little black bottom-style surprise treat. The baked loaf gets brushed with a sugar syrup to help keep it moist. I added espresso powder to my syrup to give it some flavor, but I almost went with rum. I will save that idea for next time.

For the recipe, see Baking Chez Moi by Dorie Greenspan. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie DC: Lavender-White Chocolate Sablés

February 18, 2020 at 9:12 am | Posted in cookies & bars, DC, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 5 Comments
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lavender-white chocolate sablés

Back-to-back lavender and white chocolate treats this month! In these Lavender-White Chocolate Sablés, I again used the candied lavender I took from work. I was able to basically crumble it into a powder with my fingers to flavor the cookies. These are baked in a muffin tin…we’ve done this now with many of Dorie’s butter cookie recipes to make perfect circles with crispy rims. Rather than roll out the dough and cut out circles and then deal with scraps, I just portioned it with a little scoop into the greased muffin tin and pressed the balls flat into the cavities with a juice glass. Then I chilled the tin for a couple of hours. I will say, though, that I made a small batch of these (1/8th if I remember correctly) and only had to use the tin once, so this method was quick and easy for that.

These cookies are really crisp and buttery. The lavender is not the in-your-face flavor here that I was worried about…it’s pretty subtle. The white chocolate bits I think are star of these sablés…they get a little caramelized in the oven and sort of butterscotchy. The general consensus seems to be to check on the cookies a couple of minutes early, as they may not need the full 16-18 minutes of bake time.

For the recipe, see Dorie’s Cookies by Dorie Greenspan. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll.

Tuesdays with Dorie DC: Pink Peppercorn Thumbprints

February 4, 2020 at 1:40 pm | Posted in cookies & bars, DC, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 5 Comments
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pink peppercorn thumbprints

These sweet and dainty little Pink Peppercorn Thumbprints are a perfect teatime treat. Pink peppercorns and white chocolate are two surprise twists in the dough, which comes together quickly in the food processor. The peppercorns didn’t break down as much in the food processor as they would have in a spice grinder, and I think the little unground bits and pieces were where I noticed their pop of flavor the most. You wouldn’t really know these cookies have white chocolate in the dough because that did get fully incorporated, but it gives them a richness that they wouldn’t have otherwise. Dorie uses strawberry jam in her recipe to fill the thumbprints, but I had some plum in the fridge and used that instead. I think most any jam would do nicely here. In keeping with the pretty in pink theme, I dusted them with pink powdered sugar (sugar sieved along with a crushed freeze dried raspberry).

For the recipe, see Dorie’s Cookies by Dorie Greenspan. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll.

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