27 December 2008
24 December 2008
They are so easy to throw together. And yeah, lots of butter but other than that seem fairly heavy for holiday cookies - not much sugar, no eggs (which makes eating the dough guilt-free!). I adore the crumbly texture and buttery pecan flavor. With chocolate chips to boot, mmm. These suckers are perfect.
Preheat oven to 325 F. Mix flour, nuts, and chocolate chips, and set aside.
21 December 2008
3/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
3/4 c. butter, softened
1 1/4 c. granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
15 December 2008
Recently I had a few long-ish flights to a 4-day business meeting that I was attending. I did my usual, stocked up on a few magazines and grabbed a book. This time, I picked up Twilight, because I was hearing about this "Twilight Phenomenon" and how it was "the New 'Harry Potter' for our time" from practically everyplace I went. It was on sale for like 3 bucks, so why not.
So have you read this yet? If you haven't well, let's just say it was a teenage love story about vampires who are sparkly in the sunlight, and leave it at that. The author's writing wasn't the best, and some parts made me crack up where I was probably supposed to sigh over the passion of it all. It is humorous and entertaining in a campy way but I also must say I am slightly embarrassed that I ever picked it up from the Bargain Bin. Jeez, you guys are supposed to warn me about this stuff. To top it off, people kept seeing me with the book on my flights and interrupting me to discuss about the darn thing. They were all "Ooo, Twilight! How-do-you-like-it-what-part-are-you-at-are-you-going-to-see-the-movie??" and I wanted to be like PLEASE LADY JUST LAY OFF I CAN'T GET PAST THIS PART WHERE THEY ARE PLAYING VAMPIRE BASEBALL. (* And yes, they play vampire baseball. With fancy special uniforms and everything! Yeah, it was insanely awesome.)
In the author's defense, so I don't come across as "that jaded mean a-hole Nemmie", I will say that I guess I can see why some of the kids like this book (it is Young Adult fiction, after all). I am just a bit too old and un-romantical for all of that stuff. And I'm not a Mormon. So carry on, little romantics out there. Enjoy your vampire love in all its glittering glory.
So anyway, that story really has nothing to do with these macaroons. However I did get the latest Bon Appetit magazine to get me through the trip as well, and I loved it much much more than the sparkly vampire book. As per usual for the holiday issues of food magazines, there was lots I want to make in that issue, and the first I decided to give a shot was Ambrosia Macaroons. I am not a huge lover of coconut but I do enjoy a nice macaroon, plus the whole "Southern ambrosia style" was kinda cute to me. These guys are totally yummy, too - lots of orange flavor, and the bittersweet chocolate is just right for off-setting the sweetness of the macaroon. Yum! Oh, and easy. Did I mention the easy? They totally are. So give them a shot.
1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 c. sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
2 tsp. finely grated orange peel
3 large eggs
24 oz. sweetened flaked coconut (about 6 c. firmly packed)
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted
13 December 2008
For the crust and crumb:
10 December 2008
Yes, to somehow get a piece or chunk or heck, even a crumb to fall off one of those cookies. You see, the cookies were sure pretty and kept their shape and decorated like a dream, but ah... Were not edible. At all. And this poor girl spent all night trying to get a piece off of just one cookie. My cookies that year, they were the talk of the party let me tell you. Not in a good way. I was totally a sucky baker in college.
Since that time, I have much matured (in many ways). Thankfully, I have also found a much better sugar cookie recipe. I have tried many, believe me: you know how a lot of recipes are either pretty when decorated but too hard/tasteless to enjoy eating? Or on the flip side: taste good, but the shapes spread while baking and you're stuck with 48 undecipherable blobs? Well, this is truly the best sugar cookie recipe I've ever used: they never spread. They taste yummy (it's the citrus, methinks). And they aren't rock hard, the biggest factor of all for me. Total win!
1/2 c. granulated sugar
2 tsp. grated lemon zest (don't like zest? Try 2 tsp. vanilla paste)
1 large egg
1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
Royal icing for decorating
Preheat oven to 350 F.
In a food processor, combine the butter, granulated sugar, and zest and pulse until creamy. Add the egg and pulse 5 or 6 times until fluffy and blended. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add one-third of the flour mixture to the food processor and process until blended, about 45 seconds. Add the remaining flour in two batches, processing after each addition until the dough is smooth.
Turn the dough out onto a well-floured work surface, shape into a ball, and then roll out 1/8-inch thick (you can also chill the dough for about half an hour if you'd like, it helps in rolling out the dough). Using cookie cutters, cut the dough into desired shapes. Then, using a spatula, transfer the cutouts to the baking sheets. Gather up the dough scraps, form into a ball, roll out and cut more shapes, and add to the baking sheets.
Bake until lightly browned on the bottom and pale golden on top, 6-8 minutes. Transfer to wire racks and allow to cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to the racks alone to cool completely.
Decorate the cooled cookies with royal icing, chocolate ganache, sprinkles, etc. etc. etc.
08 December 2008
06 December 2008
04 December 2008
Uh ohs! Almost forgot that today was a posting day... Well, let's see. I have some brownie bites to post, and ice cream, and soup... But I'm still on a cookie kick, at least for now, so that's what you're getting.
I picked up this recipe from Pea's site, yet again. I am like a stalker, no? But these were worth it. I love the little cinnamon roll shape! Plus, the kitchen will totally smell like (yeast-free) cinnamon rolls while baking. And they have the cinnamony, buttery taste down pat. Very glad to find this one floating out in the Interwebs. All I did was add a little zest into the mix, and they were pretty much like my favorite cinnamon roll recipe, just in cookie form :)
½ c. sugar
01 December 2008
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
8 Tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 c. sugar
1 large egg
2 Tbsp. whole milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 c. jam of choice (Dorie recommends apricot; I used cherry)
Confectioners sugar for dusting (optional)
With a an ice cream scoop our a teaspoon, drop spoonfuls of the dough onto baking sheets, forming cookies that are about 1 inch to 1-1/2 inches in size (I used a piping bag, with my largest tip).
29 November 2008
27 November 2008
Hope all you readers are much too busy stuffing yourself with turkey et al. to be checking blogs today :) I just wanted to wish a Happy and Wonderful Thanksgiving to each and every one of you! Will be back first thing Saturday morning.
And now: Sous Chef Mahni would like to show the many ways she would make a lovely new (Peep) mascot for the blog:
1. Well, she's cuter in the get up. Obviously. And great for photo ops. People just gravitate to that little charmer, Peep Mahni.
2. She can run. Really really fast. While still in character.
3. That said, she's got a killer profile. And when necessary, she can hold just as still as any marshmallow Peep.
4. She's great with kids, absolutely a requirement for my child-friendly blog.
26 November 2008
23 November 2008
Another goodie from my last Cooking Club - this time we're giving Stacey's recipe a whirl. Check out her blog: it is sweet treat after yummy sweet treat after another, and yet the girl maybe weighs as much as one of my thighs. So I can only imagine that her actual meals are a bit more on the healthy side...