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Happy New Year!  Bouchon’s Gougeres

Happy New Year! Bouchon’s Gougeres

Happy Gougere! What?!  Too cheesy? I had writer’s block when I sat down to compose this post.  Staring at my screen, fingers poised on the keyboard, sipping a glass of wine and munching on these cheese puffs I just pulled out of the oven, I was […]

Bouchon’s Shortbread  Cookie

Bouchon’s Shortbread Cookie

This month’s Food52 Baking Club pick is Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery Book. A gorgeous, very heavy (a workout just lugging it around) opus on all things delicious. My copy has languished on a shelf for quite some time but this gave me a reason to […]

Salted Chocolate Chip Tahini Cookies Revisited

Salted Chocolate Chip Tahini Cookies Revisited

I reserved some of the  Salted Chocolate Chip Tahini Cookie dough to bake knowing I would be going to Monday morning coffee with the moms. Who can resist freshly baked cookies?  Having scooped out all my dough on the first day, I had cookies ready to bake in the fridge.  I came home from the gym (New Year’s Resolution number 1), turned on the oven, plopped the little doughboys on a sheet and popped them in the oven.  Easy peasy-freshly baked cookies in a jiffy.  I had lined the cookie sheet with a Silpat and whoa, what a difference.  This latest batch was much more reminiscent of a Mrs. Field’s cholate chip cookie (who remembers those, lol), a bit denser, definitely softer and lacking that lightness and crispy edge from the first day.

The moral of the story: If you like crisp and light, bake on parchment and after 12 hours of chilling.  If you like a classic chewy cookie, bake on Silpat and chill the dough for longer.  The next time I bake these I will test my theory again.

Cookie on the left baked after 12 hours of chilling time and on parchment.  The cookie on the right after 48 hours in the fridge and baked on a Silpat mat.

But do bake these cookies, they are absolutely scrumptious!

“Open Sesame” Salted Chocolate Chip Tahini Cookie Treasure Revealed

“Open Sesame” Salted Chocolate Chip Tahini Cookie Treasure Revealed

Holiday Cookie List: Number EIGHT. Very LATE. But worth the WAIT! My friend Mel mentioned a recipe she had tried recently from the NYTimes for Salted Chocolate Chip Tahini Cookies.  She could not stop raving about them, light, crispy, buttery, hint of sesame, they sounded scrumptious. Always on […]

Tartine’s Lemon Cream Tart  P-Squared, Pie Perfection

Tartine’s Lemon Cream Tart P-Squared, Pie Perfection

The kids were home for the holidays and have now gone back to school.  It was nice having them home although our house looks like a tornado came through.  When home, Jordan catches up on sleep while Jamie bakes and watches her favorite TV shows.  Marathon […]

Marie-Helene’s Apple Cake (An Apple A Day, Have It In Cake)

Marie-Helene’s Apple Cake (An Apple A Day, Have It In Cake)

I have been eyeing Dorie Greenspan’s recipe for Marie-Helene’s Apple Cake for awhile and finally found the perfect occasion.  A New Year’s Eve gnocchi party hosted by friends Pam and Paul.  I could hardly show up empty-handed when they were going to teach me how to make gnocchi.  I love gnocchi, feathery light pillows of pasta dough, a dish I have only when dining out.  That was about to change.  Yes, HOMEMADE gnocchi, so excited. If I bring dessert maybe I’ll get to take some home!

This apple cake is homey, reminiscent of a rustic country dessert, the perfect ending to our gnocchi dinner.  The cake comes together quickly. Dorie suggests using a variety of apples for flavor and texture.  I used a combination of Fuji, Mutsu, Jonagold and Golden Delicious. The batter made of butter, flour, eggs and flavored with vanilla and rum serves to bind the apples together. The apples are the star and definitely shine in this cake.

The cake can be served warm or at room temperature.  Served with whipped cream or ice cream, I’m sure I’ll get extra gnocchi to take home.

 

Marie-Helene’s Apple Cake (An Apple A Day, Have It In Cake)

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 large apples (if you can, choose a variety)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons dark rum
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Instructions

  • Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter an 8-inch springform pan and put it on a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
  • Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in small bowl.
  • Peel the apples, cut them in half and remove the cores. Cut the apples into 1- to 2-inch chunks.
  • In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk until they're foamy. Pour in the sugar and whisk for a minute or so to blend. Whisk in the rum and vanilla. Whisk in half the flour and when it is incorporated, add half the melted butter, followed by the rest of the flour and the remaining butter, mixing gently after each addition so that you have a smooth, rather thick batter. Switch to a rubber spatula and fold in the apples, turning the fruit so that it's coated with batter. Scrape the mix into the pan and poke it around a little with the spatula so that it's evenish.
  • Slide the pan into the oven and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the top of the cake is golden brown and a knife inserted deep into the center comes out clean; the cake may pull away from the sides of the pan. Transfer to a cooling rack and let rest for 5 minutes.
  • Carefully run a blunt knife around the edges of the cake and remove the sides of the springform pan. (Open the springform slowly, and before it's fully opened, make sure there aren't any apples stuck to it.) Allow the cake to cool until it is just slightly warm or at room temperature. If you want to remove the cake from the bottom of the springform pan, wait until the cake is almost cooled, then run a long spatula between the cake and the pan, cover the top of the cake with a piece of parchment or wax paper, and invert it onto a rack. Carefully remove the bottom of the pan and turn the cake over onto a serving dish.
  • The cake can be served warm or at room temperature, with or without a little softly whipped, barely sweetened heavy cream or a spoonful of ice cream.
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Gnocchi!

 

Salted Butter & Chocolate Chunk Shortbread (New Year’s Resolution #2: Finish 12 Days of Cookies)

Salted Butter & Chocolate Chunk Shortbread (New Year’s Resolution #2: Finish 12 Days of Cookies)

A rift on CCC! Salted Butter & Chocolate Chunk Shortbread, buttery, filled with chocolate topped with fleur de sel and edged with sugar. Delicious!

Mushroom Bourguignon (New Year’s Resolution #1)

Mushroom Bourguignon (New Year’s Resolution #1)

I have a bucket list of New Year’s resolutions this year. Resolution #1, “EAT MORE VEGGIES and less meat”. This is going to be EASY and I am going to be a BOSS and slay this resolution. Why? Recipes like Smitten Kitchen’s Mushroom Bourguignon, that’s […]

Soft Gingerbread Tiles with  Rum Butter Glaze: Day 6, 12 Days of Cookies!

Soft Gingerbread Tiles with Rum Butter Glaze: Day 6, 12 Days of Cookies!

My kitchen gadget addiction got the best of me yet again. The culprit? A beautiful holiday cookie from Ottolenghi’s latest book, Sweet, Soft Gingerbread Tiles with Rum Butter Glaze. The cookies are made with either an embossed rolling pin (which I purchased to make graham crackers not so long ago) or cookie stamps (which I had to have and found on Amazon).  After my cookie stamps arrived I immediately set out to make these.

The dough is a snap to make. The aroma that filled my kitchen while they baked made me smile. The cookies are soft, cakey and spicy.  Just like a classic gingerbread cookie.

The recipe calls for blackstrap molasses which is the last extraction of sugar from sugarcane.  It’s pretty bitter.  The first extraction produces cane syrup (like Golden Syrup), the next produces molasses and the final extraction, with even less sugar left, produces blackstrap molasses.  I wanted to be faithful to the recipe so I used blackstrap molasses.  The cookies are not very sweet at all. I learned that regular molasses is about 70% sugar whereas blackstrap is about 40%, BIG difference.  I plan on trying this recipe with both cane syrup and regular molasses just for the added sweetness.

The most difficult part of the recipe is stamping the cookies.  During baking, the cookies will rise and the pattern blurs a bit so be sure to press the cookies well so the imprint is really bold and defined in the dough.

I tried two methods for stamping the cookies. For the first method, the dough is rolled into a sheet about 1/4 inch thick, stamped and cut out with a round cookie cutter.  For the second method, the do/ugh is rolled into a ball (about 1.5-2 tablespoons of dough) which is then pressed with the stamp to create a cookie.  Both methods worked well.

I loved the rum butter glaze. It was really easy to put together and added a sheen and sweetness/flavor to the cookie.  Though I brushed the glaze on, I think dipping the cookie or spreading the glaze with a spatula would make a nicer finish.  The cookie does need to be warm when glazing.

These cookies are a showstopper.  I can’t wait to bake another batch.

Gingerbread Tiles with Butter Rum Icing: Day 6, 12 Days of Cookies!

Ingredients

  • YIELDMakes 12–14 (depending on the size of stamp and cutter)
  • Dough:
  • 6 tbsp (85 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/3 packed cup plus 2 tbsp (90 g) dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (100 g) blackstrap molasses (can substitute golden syrup or reg molasses 1:1 for sweeter cookie)
  • 1 large egg yolk*
  • 1 3/4 cups plus 2 tbsp (235 g) all-purpose flour, plus extra for pressing
  • 1 tbsp Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • *On Food52 it was suggested to use extra-large egg yolk or add 1 teaspoon-1 tablespoon of water to dough if it doesn't come together. I added about 1 teaspoon water. It won't come together until you knead it)
  • Rum-Butter Glaze:
  • 2/3 cup (80 g) confectioners' sugar
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp (15 g) unsalted butter, melted and warm
  • 1 tbsp dark rum (or lemon juice)
  • 1 tsp warm water

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F/190°C.
  • Place the butter, sugar and molasses in the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment in place.
  • Beat on medium speed until smooth and incorporated. Add the egg yolk and continue to beat until fully combined.
  • Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, salt and pepper into a bowl. Turn the speed of the mixer to low, and add the dry ingredients to the butter and molasses. Once the mix comes together, tip the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead gently.
  • Roll out the dough so that it is about 1/4 inch/ 0.5 cm thick. If the dough is very soft, you will need to chill it.*
  • I also tried instructions from the cookie stamps, roll 2 tablespoons fo dough into a ball and flatten with cookie stamp. With both methods, make sure you press firmly enough to create a bold definite pattern in dough!
  • Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  • Dip the cookie stamps in a small bowl of flour, shake off any excess and then press them firmly into the dough, one at a time, to create a deep imprint. How far you need to press to get an imprint will depend on your stamp; the patterns on some are more deeply cut than others. Bear in mind that the cookies rise a little when cooked, so any soft imprints will disappear.
  • Using a round cookie cutter that is slightly larger than the pattern, cut out the pieces of imprinted gingerbread. Transfer the cookies to the lined baking sheets, spaced about 3/4 inch/2 cm apart. Reroll the dough and continue to stamp and cut cookies until all the dough is used up.
  • Bake for 9–10 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through, until firm to the touch. They will continue to firm up as they cool, so don’t be tempted to bake them for any longer.
  • To make the rum butter glaze while the gingerbreads are in the oven, as the glaze needs to be brushed onto the cookies while they are still warm, sift the confectioners’ sugar and cinnamon into a small bowl. Add the melted butter, rum (or lemon juice) and water and mix with a spoon until smooth. The glaze will thicken slightly if it sits around, so stir through a little more warm water if you need to—it should be the consistency of runny honey.
  • Remove the cookies from the oven, leave them to cool for 5 minutes, then brush or dab the glaze all over with a pastry brush. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Make-Ahead
  • Once the dough is made, it can be covered in plastic wrap and kept in the fridge for up to 2 days before baking.
  • Storage
  • These will keep for up to 5 days in an airtight container. The glaze will discolor and crack a little, but this will not affect how they taste.
  • Cooks' Notes
  • If you want to keep the glaze booze-free, the rum in the icing can be replaced with lemon juice.
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