From The Kitchen @ Apartment Therapy–widgets for cooking and baking.
• Epicurious Widget – enables you to search for recipes by certain search parameters such as low-fat, wine pairings, and kid-friendly.
• Tea Timer – never forget your tea, pizza, toast, etc. while you’re at the computer! This widget allows you to set several timers reminding you to get your food or drink.
• Chai – find information on almost any wine vintage. Search by vintage, grape varietal, region of origin, and bottle label!
• Nutrient Source – find out the vitamin and mineral content of foods so you can ensure you are receiving a balanced diet.
• Unit Converter – How many teaspoons are in a cup? How many grams in an ounce? This widget knows.
Related: Three New iPhone Apps For the Home CookRead More
I still can’t accept the fact that Gourmet Magazine will be gone after the November 2009 edition. It has been an inspiration to my baking and cooking for over 20 years. I am sure many of you know about the 1941-2008 cookie recipe collection that was published online by the Gourmet staff last year, but if not, I thought I would share the link and my favorite recipe from 1951.
The link to this fantastic collection is here. It contains about 65 recipes organized by decade. There is a note on each recipe that “Although we’ve retested the recipes, in the interest of authenticity we’ve left them unchanged: The instructions below are still exactly as they were originally printed.” This makes them a bit confusing at times, but still worthy of re-introducing them into today’s culture and into your own baking collection.
My personal find is a recipe from 1951 called “Navettes Sucrees” or Sugar Shuttles. The “shuttle” refers to shuttles on a loom or sewing machine, not space shuttles. I made these cookies last Christmas and really liked the dense rich texture and unusual crunchy sugar coating. The cookies have a hand-rolled cigar shape and a shaggy sugar coating from being dipped in egg-white and sugar.
Here is the recipe, as originally printed.
Sift 1 cup sifted all-purpose flour, 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 teaspoon salt into a bowl. Add 1/4 cup soft butter, 2 egg yolks, and 1 teaspoon vanilla and knead until the dough is well blended. Chill it in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
Divide the dough into portions the size of a small walnut. Roll each piece of dough with the palm of the hand on a lightly floured board to give it the shape of a small sewing-machine shuttle. Dip each in egg white and roll in granulated sugar. Bake on a lightly buttered baking sheet in a moderate oven (350° F.) for about 8 minutes, or until the little cookies are lightly browned.Read More
When October arrives, I begin to think about Christmas. Seriously, I do. So not only do I start shopping for gifts, but I start to plan the annual baking extravaganza. The planning usually includes some new ideas to try and some old ones to modify. I use my October baking to try out some of those new ideas. This October I am also working on recipes for my cookbook. Alas, my baking list for this weekend is very ambitious.
Here is what I have on my list (we’ll see how far I get with the creation):
1. Fig and walnut–Figs are in season and I am hoping to finalize this recipe for my book.
2. Banana, dates, coconut–This is a gluten-free oatmeal recipe also for the book.
3. Dark chocolate with cherries and chocolate chips–At Christmas, I make these awesome bittersweet chocolate chip cookies with dried cherries. I am thinking that this chocolate chocolate chip version may be a variation in the book.
4. Lemon lavender–A cupcake company that I follow on twitter made some lavender cookies this summer. I was fascinated by the idea of dried lavender buds in cookie dough. I have no idea how they will taste, but I am ready to go with my food quality lavender buds.
5. Vanilla malted, maybe with chocolate pistoles–My friend Michael Rechuitti posted a malted cookie recipe in May on his website. I finally tracked down malt powder, so here goes…
6. Old standbys: lime snowballs, flourless peanut butter, bittersweet chocolate with pecans–I am only considering these because I am worried that the fussy (men) people in my life might not find something to eat in #1-5.
7. Also on the list, but de-prioritized: brown-butter cookies (I made brown butter chocolate chip in June but found them not so exciting, so I am thinking of brown-butter without chips…)
8. Also de-prioritized: green tea spritz (I posted this recipe a month ago and have since bought the matcha tea to make it, but I think I won’t be able to make 10 varieties in a day, so maybe next time.)
I will try to take some photos of the finished products.Read More
I managed to bake my way thru 8 of the 10 recipes that I had planned for this weekend. Two cookies stood out as favorites: dark chocolate with chocolate chip and cherries, and lemon-lavender. Runners-up were: fig-walnut, and banana-date-coconut oat.
What always surprises me, no matter how often or how varied my creations, is that it is truly a matter of taste. Some like banana; some hate banana. Some like cherries; some hate cherries. Most like chocolate, but some love only citrus. It always fascinates me that taste is not universal. And because of that fact, I like to try different ideas and see who likes what and why.
As a result of sharing my weekend baking, I got a lot of requests for the lemon-lavender recipe. So here it is. If you try it, look for food-grade lavender buds. I found mine at an herbal tea shop that sells teas and spices. You don’t need much, so buy the smallest quantiy possible. Also note-worthy is that this recipe makes a lot of cookies. When I made it, I cut it in half (including the egg), so that I yielded about 2 1/2 dozen cookies. Cutting an egg yolk in half is pretty easy if you do it in one stroke, using a spoon. (I use a 1/2 tablespoon measuring spoon.) I hope you enjoy the reicpe. It is a very crispy cookie that is exceptionally lemony with a hint of lavender.
3/4 cup (5 1/4 oz.) granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. grated zest plus 2 Tbsp. juice from two lemons
2 teaspoons lavender buds
1 3/4 cups (8 1/4 oz.) all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder
12 Tbsp. ( 1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½” cubes
1 lg. egg yolk
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
In the bowl of food processor, process granulated sugar, lavender and zest until it looks damp and zest is thoroughly incorporated, about 30 seconds. Add flour, salt, and baking powder; pulse to combine, about 10 one-second pulses.
Scatter butter chunks over. Pulse until mixture resembles fine cornmeal, about 15 one-second pulses. In a measuring cup or small bowl, beat lemon juice, yolk, and vanilla until combined. With machine running, add juice/yolk mixture in slow, steady stream (process should take about 10 seconds); continue processing until dough begins to form ball, 10 to 15 seconds longer.
Turn dough and any dry bits out onto counter (or board); working quickly, gently knead the dough together to ensure no dry bits remain and dough is homogeneous. Roll dough into cylinder approximately 10 inches long and 2 inches in diameter. Center dough on piece of parchment (waxed paper or plastic wrap will work in a pinch ). Fold paper over dough. Grasp one end of parchment. With other hand, use bench scarper to firmly press parchment against dough to form uniform cylinder. Roll parchment and twist ends together to form tight seal. Chill dough until firm and cold, about 45 minutes in freezer or 2 hours in refrigerator.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Remove dough log from wrapping and, using a sharp chef’s knife, slice dough into rounds 3/8-inch thick. Place on prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 1 inch apart.
Bake until centers of cookies just begin to color and edges are golden brown, 14 to 16 minutes, rotating baking sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through baking time.
Cool cookies on baking sheet about 5 minutes, using wide metal spatula, transfer cookies to wire rack and cool to room temperature.
I don’t know what’s up with whoopie pies, but they seem to be very popular these days. Here is a pumpkin whoopie pie recipe, to celebrate the Fall pumpkin harvest.
Pumpkin Whoopie Cookies
Makes 12 whoopie pies
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon ground cloves
2 cups firmly packed dark-brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 cups pumpkin puree, chilled
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the filling:
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat; set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves; set aside. In another large bowl, whisk together brown sugar and oil until well combined. Add pumpkin puree and whisk until combined. Add eggs and vanilla and whisk until well combined. Sprinkle flour mixture over pumpkin mixture and whisk until fully incorporated.
Using a small ice cream scoop with a release mechanism, drop heaping tablespoons of dough onto prepared baking sheets, about 1 inch apart. Transfer to oven and bake until cookies are just starting to crack on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of each cookie comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Let cool completely on pan.
Sift confectioner’ sugar into a medium bowl; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until smooth. Add cream cheese and beat until well combined. Add confectioners’ sugar and vanilla, beat just until smooth. (Filling can be made up to a day in advance. Cover and refrigerate; let stand at room temperature to soften before using.)
Assemble the whoopie pies: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Transfer filling to a disposable pastry bag and snip the end. When cookies have cooled completely, pipe a large dollop of filling on the flat side of half of the cookies. Sandwich with remaining cookies, pressing down slightly so that the filling spreads to the edge of the cookies. Transfer to prepared baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate cookies at least 30 minutes before serving and up to 3 days.Read More