Tuesdays with Dorie DC: Mincemeat-Oatmeal (Raisin) Bars

December 15, 2020 at 7:59 pm | Posted in cookies & bars, DC, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 5 Comments
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mincemeat-oatmeal bars

These Mincemeat-Oatmeal Bars are Dorie’s “Playing Around” take on her Raisin Bars, with a jammy raisin filling sandwiched between two layers of delicious oatmeal-almond cookie dough. Actually, maybe they are my take on the “Playing Around” take, as I made a very off-the-cuff approximation of a (meatless) mincemeat filling. I don’t even know if I’ve ever had mincemeat, but it is the holidays, so why not give it a shot? I swapped out a couple of spoonfuls of the raisins for candied orange peel, added a few grates of fresh ginger and a big shake of mixed spice and cooked it down in apple juice. Mardi mentioned that she found the Raisin Bars to be too sweet, so I kept that in mind and didn’t sweeten my mix until I’d cooked and thickened it. A little sprinkling of maple sugar was all I thought it needed.

The same cookie dough, made with oatmeal, brown sugar and almonds, forms both the crust and the topping to these bars. It’s like an oatmeal crisp really, and basically any fruit jam would work sandwiched in the middle. I used to make very similar bar cookies for family meal meal at work, using up whatever fruit was on the way out (or often pâte de fruit scrap) for the jam. The only thing I did differently here was to pre-bake the crust layer for ten-ish minutes before finishing the bars. I’m not sure it was necessary, but I knew I’d have these around for a few days, and I planned to bring a couple to the trainers still at the gym, so I wanted to be sure they had a stable base.

There was a time in life when I wouldn’t have touched a raisin, but I’ve really come around in recent years and I thought one of these bars with a scoop of vanilla ice cream was, well, *chef’s kiss*. Oh, and the dudes at the gym requested more, but they’re all gone now, so it’s on to the next…

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: Mint Chocolate Sablés

December 1, 2020 at 5:26 pm | Posted in cookies & bars, DC, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 6 Comments
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mint chocolate sablés

I’d say that the first of December marks the start of cookie season, but isn’t it always cookie season around here? I’ll just put a more festive spin on things this month, starting with these Mint Chocolate Sablés. We make this type of buttery French shortbread on the regular, but this particular sablé has a chocolate base jazzed up with mint oil or extract and little bits of chopped chocolate. Chocolate and mint is a pretty winning combo in my books. If it had occurred to me in advance, I would have bought a nice mint chocolate bar to cut up for the added bits, but, as per usual, my best ideas happen just as I’m about to put something in the oven. These are really good anyway, and I could actually smell their minty-ness while baking…I did add some gold glitter sugar for sparkle, so there’s that. I’m having a cookie tonight with vanilla ice cream and am very much looking forward to it.

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: Thanksgiving Bars

October 20, 2020 at 8:37 am | Posted in cookies & bars, DC, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 1 Comment
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thanksgiving bars

I’m often pretty meh on fruit and chocolates combinations, so I thought about passing on these Thanksgiving Bars, which have a cranberry-raspberry filling inside a walnut and cocoa double-crust. Also, I thought they sounded kind of weird and I don’t normally associate raspberries with Thanksgiving. My TWD friends who made them for the last posting all gave them excellent reviews though, so I didn’t want to skip a good thing…FOMO baking, I guess.

As it turns out, I do like these! That’s probably predictable, though, right? Haha. I reduced the sugar in the cranberry jam by about a third because I prefer it not to be too sweet, although I didn’t skimp on the sparkly sugar coating on the top crust. I like the way that top layer of dough conforms while baking around the whole raspberries in the filling, giving it pretty bumps. These are good with a scoop of ice cream or a cup of coffee.

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: Honey-Nut Nougat

December 24, 2019 at 8:42 am | Posted in BCM, candy, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 8 Comments
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honey-nut nougat

Happy holidays! Is Christmas Eve too late to show you a fabulous edible, homemade gift idea? I admit that I am one of those last minute types, but I really think it isn’t too late, as this Honey-Nut Nougat can be ready to cut up in a just couple of hours (provided you have a candy thermometer and an abundance of nuts in your pantry). And anyway, we still have plenty of party-time ahead of us. This isn’t difficult to make, but the instructions are lengthy, and since you’ll be dealing with a hot sugar syrup, it’s advisable to read them all the way first. Trust me, I would almost never say that, as I would almost never do that, but here it’s important, because timing is everything in candy-making.

You can find nougat in every Italian deli/specialty shop year-round, but the nice thing about making it yourself, aside from the freshness and the fun, is getting to choose exactly what goes into it. Dorie’s recipe uses heaps of roasted nuts, so I went for a combo of hazelnuts, almonds and pistachios, along with tart dried cherries. Nougat is traditionally formed between sheets of edible rice/wafer paper to help with the stickiness, but you can use cornstarch and powdered sugar instead. I actually had the rice paper, which I bought the last time I was in Australia (now that I write that down, it seems like a weird souvenier)…you can also get it online and in decorating supply stores.

This is delicious–chewy and full of nuts and honey flavor–and it lasts for a few weeks, so if you don’t take it to a holiday party, you can just cut off little hunks as you want them. Which will probably be often.

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: Snowy-Topped Brownie Drops

December 17, 2019 at 12:01 am | Posted in cookies & bars, DC, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 4 Comments
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snowy-topped brownie drops

What happens when you take brownie batter and treat it like a crinkle cookie? You get Snowy-Topped Brownie Drops! So cute! So tasty! OMG!

Just like making brownies, this is a hand-mixed dough, so it’s easy to put together. I flavored mine with a bit of mint extract instead of vanilla, because ’tis the season for peppermint treats. The dough does need some time in the fridge to firm up before scooping, since it really more of a loose batter when just made. After you scoop and roll the dough into cookie balls, dredge it in a ton of powdered sugar. And I mean coat them well, or else the sugar will sort of absorb into the dough as the cookies bake and it won’t look like a snowy day on Mount Brownie. I baked mine for exactly the time stated in the recipe and they came out fudgy and chewy and with enough powdered sugar still clinging to the crackles to make me cough just a little. Perfect.

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

Tuesdays with Dorie DC: Double-Ginger Molasses Cookies

December 3, 2019 at 12:01 am | Posted in cookies & bars, DC, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 6 Comments
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double-ginger molasses cookies

I love these Double-Ginger Molasses Cookies. I love them so much. Not only do these molasses-spice cookies have double ginger (ground and crystalized), they also have double chocolate (cocoa and bits)! I want to share them with everyone I know, but I also want to eat them all myself. That, my friends, is the sign of a fabulous cookie.

Once you have your dough mixed and portioned into balls, you can bake the cookies free-form, but I went with Dorie’s muffin tin option, which keeps them chubby and chewy and perfectly shaped (especially if you weigh each dough ball…I used 26-28 grams per). The dough is rolled in sugar before baking…I do suggest flattening the balls into pucks before dredging them in sugar, instead of after. You can flatten them gently in your hand and then toss them in the sugar before laying them into the muffin tin. If the sugar gets pressed all the way into the dough, you might lose the sparkly, crunchy effect.

These are definitely worthy of your cookie box, your cookie swap or your secret hidden alone-time cookie tin (I know you have one!). For the recipe, see Dorie’s Cookies by Dorie Greenspan (it’s also here). Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll.

Tuesdays with Dorie BCM: Dark Chocolate Mousse

February 12, 2019 at 12:01 am | Posted in BCM, groups, puddings, custards, mousses, sweet things | 9 Comments
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dark chocolate mousse

Dark Chocolate Mousse…so fancy, I decided it was worthy of the good silver. Definitely Valentine’s Day dessert-worthy, too, if you are into rich, creamy, velvety, chocolatey deliciousness. If you are not, I guess come back next week…when I’m making buttery, smoky, heart-shaped chocolate cookies…haha.

Let’s get down to business here. I could tell that Dorie’s (originally Pierre Hermé’s) recipe would have a large yield– the 1 3/4 cup of cream alone tipped me off– so I decided to make just a quarter of the original. (And, btw, I still got 4 reasonable servings, when I thought I’d only get two.) In order to downsize though, I had to modify just a bit. The recipe calls for folding together melted chocolate and whipped cream, which I did as written, along with eggs and yolks that are whipped fluffy with a boiling sugar syrup. I know from past experience that trying to make a pâte à bombe like this out of just a yolk or two and a small amount of sugar can go very wrong. Instead, I decided to get the volume into my single yolk and half an egg by whipping it with the sugar over a water bath, sabayon-style. While I was at it, I added a splash of cognac, you know, because it’s French.

My little switcheroo seemed to work just fine. After I chilled my mousse, I was able to scoop it nicely into my little silver coupes. Dorie says the mousse also makes a nice cake or cream puff filling, but whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles seemed to be a more expeditious way for this chocoholic to enjoy it.

dark chocolate mousse

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

Tuesdays with Dorie DC: Christmas-Spiced Greek Honey Dainties

December 4, 2018 at 4:23 pm | Posted in cookies & bars, DC, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 9 Comments
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christmas-spiced greek honey dainties

Greek Honey Dainties are more often known as melomakarona, and I see them all the time in bakeries in NYC. It’s about time I made some of this deliciousness at home. I sadly never seem to get around to making many Christmas cookies, so I took this as an opportunity to get festive and made the Christmas-Spiced Honey Dainties version. The batter is easy to put together and flavored with so many good things, like orange juice and zest and the usual holiday spice suspects. It is a soft dough though, so I chose to refrigerate it for about half an hour before I scooped and shaped the cookies into their traditional ovals.

After baking and cooling, the cookies are drenched a few times over in a honey syrup similar to the one baklava is soaked in and sprinkled with walnuts (which I toasted while the cookies baked). The honey syrup, btw, is amazing! I veered slightly off the recipe, which called for orange peel, cinnamon stick and whole cloves, and used some mulling spice mix that I have in a little tin (it also has allspice berries and star anise pods in it) and finished it off with a splish of Grand Marnier while it cooled. You bet I saved every leftover drop….I think it will be awesome in tea or hot toddys. The cookies, too, are awesome. They must be handled carefully, but they do keep their texture, even with all that syrupy goodness poured over them. So perfect with coffee, and I’ll soon test them with vin santo…if there is probably a Greek sweet wine I should know about pairing with them, please let me know.

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 if you haven’t already.

Tuesdays with Dorie DC: Chocolate Saucisson

December 19, 2017 at 12:01 am | Posted in candy, cookies & bars, DC, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 8 Comments
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chocolate saucisson

Sometimes I want to make something just because it amuses me. That was the case with this Chocolate Saucisson (or salami). I just love this…especially the powered sugar “mold” on the outside. It’s a confection that’s made all over Europe, but I think the chocolate salami is actually having a moment here in New York. This holiday season I’ve seen them for sale at several of the small “fancy food” shops around Brooklyn and Manhattan. TWD– so on trend!

This seems more like a candy than a cookie to me, although it does have cookies in it. It’s no-bake, with the crushed cookies and dried fruit and nuts bound into a log by a truffle-like chocolate mixture (containing raw eggs, btw). I used Thé Brun cookies that I had leftover from the Moka Dupont I made a couple months ago, apricots and pistachios, but I think you could certainly mix up the add-ins. A little slice of the saucisson is all you need, because it’s really rich. That said, I keep going into the fridge to cut off slivers, so I’m glad I only made a small one!

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

Tuesdays with Dorie BCM: Classic Linzer Cookies

December 12, 2017 at 10:43 pm | Posted in BCM, cookies & bars, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 7 Comments
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classic linzer cookies

I’d pretty much slack off on making Christmas cookies if it weren’t for TWD. I’m glad for the nudge, though, because it’s fun, and when they’re roll-out cookies like these Classic Linzers, a good excuse to bust out my special cutters. The main recipe for these Linzer cookies is actually a cocoa and spice one. I’ll try that sometime, but here I decided to skip the cocoa powder and most of the spicing and go with Dorie’s classic Bonne Idée alternative instead. This recipe is an almond-based one, although hazelnuts are also traditional for Linzer cookies and I bet can be successfully subbed. The dough is made in the food processor…I love this…so easy.

I dipped into my fridge jam collection to fill these…some with lingonberry, some with cherry and others with huckleberry. Linzers can be sandwiched with many things, including ganache if you fancy chocolate inside, but a snowstorm of powdered sugar on top is always a must.

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

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