Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Not a TWD: Too much other stuff

I did not make the cheesecake. Truth be told, I'm not much of a cheesecake fan. Still, I like chocolate, so I would have made it.

If I didn't already have:

pecan pie
cinnamon chocolate chip sour cream coffee cake
cinnamon sugar nuts
and chocolate mint cookies

in my kitchen. And subsequently on my hips and various other anatomical parts.

Go check out Tea and Scones for the recipe and a cheesecake shot!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

TWD: My Favorite Pecan Pie

This is going to be a drive-by-posting. Just finished baking, and I'm off to see The Addams Family tonight.

Here's a photo of the pie. VERY dark crust. I used Dorie's recipe, but I think I'm going to go back to my favorite. I just find it easier to work with. My family will chomp tonight, I'll taste it tomorrow, and I'll let you know the verdict in an update.

***Edited to add - This pie got mixed reviews. The girl thought there were too many nuts. We did try to tell her it was pecan pie, but ah well. The husband thought it had too much cinnamon. I think the coffee flavor is a bit too pronounced. But I love the texture and the fact that it's not too sweet. I would definitely make it a get with a bit less espresso powder and cinnamon. And the crust that I like better.

Check out Brina's blog, Someone's in the Kitchen with Brina for the recipe.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Kitchen Reader Cookie Exchange

This month, instead of a book review, we're posting a favorite/meaningful/holiday-ish cookie. My cookie is a double gingersnap. I've been making then for more years than... well, for a long time. I got the recipe from this book: The Wellesley Cookie Exchange. Apparently, this is one of the oldest exchanges around. I'm unsure of the actual history, but I know they've been doing it a while and there are two cookbooks based on their treats.

This was my first real taste of ginger. I have absolutely grown to love this cookie like no other. This is my favorite winter cookie. It's the one people request when they ask me to bake for them. They are spicy and sweet, slightly crunchy and chewy, and, I think I need to go bake. I only ever need to look at this recipe once a year, usually in the fall, to refresh my memory. The page in the cookbook is appropriately stained.

I have no photos of the cookies that come from this recipe. I think we just always eat them before I ever get to take any. I'm stealing this photo (with full credits) because mine look just as yummy.
Ginger Snaps Recipe

Here's the recipe if you'd like to have some ginger nirvana:

Double Gingersnaps (courtesy of the Wellesley Cookie Exchange cookbook)

3 sticks butter, softened
2 c. granulated sugar
2 eggs
1/2 c. molasses
4 c. flour
2 t. baking soda
2 t. cinnamon
2 t. ground cloves
4 t. ground ginger
*sugar for rolling

In a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and molasses and mix well. Blend the dry ingredients together. Add carefully to the mix. Stir just until no flour remains. Refrigerate the dough AT LEAST four hours. (I always make this the day before I want to bake.) Roll the dough into walnut-sized balls, and then roll in sugar. Place on ungreased sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for about 13 minutes. The cookies will puff up and then shrink and crackle.

*I have experimented with different kinds of sugar - granulated, coarse, ginger (the sugar left from candied ginger). All are delicious.

Happy cookies!

TWD: Cafe Volcano Cookies

Now doesn't that name just scare you a bit? There was no photo of this finished product. I had no idea what to expect. It was a pretty simple recipe with ingredients I had on hand, so it had that going for it. What the heck. I'll try it.

Luckily, we made sables last week, which called for egg yolks. This week's recipe needed egg whites. I love how that worked out!

This was a meringue-like cookie. Instead of beating the egg whites, however, we warmed them up with sugar and, in my case, cocoa. The original recipe called for espresso powder (hence the cafe part of the name). But the boy and girl are not fans of coffee things, so I went with cocoa.
I also used mostly toasted almonds and pistachios in place of the nuts Dorie called for. Since both my nut varieties were pre-toasted, I had even fewer steps to make these!

The whole recipe was made in one saucepan and then baked on a silicon mat. It was close to the easiest Dorie recipe yet. The resulting recipe was surprisingly good. The toasty flavor of the nuts went very well with the cocoa. And I loved the crunchy texture of the cookie. I made a half batch, and it disappeared within a day.

You can see how the cookies is reminiscent of a craggy lava field. But much tastier.

Since I used the girl's painted bowl last week, I had to use the boy's this week.

Thanks to MacDuff of The Lonely Sidecar for picking this one. I never would have tried it on my own. It's definitely an option for those extra egg whites left over from the sables that I have to make again.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

TWD: Sables

Today's entry is short and sweet. Not unlike this week's recipe! Today I made sables. These are sables with an accent on the e. Not sables with a long a sound. Here's the good news; no matter how you pronounce it, they are delicious!

This is a basic French butter cookie. There were many variations in the book. While in the future I think I'd really enjoy a citrus, pecan, or spice version, for my first round I stuck to the basic recipe. This one was really simple. There were few ingredients. It only took one bowl and one piece of plastic wrap. I made half a recipe because we are full up on cookies here. (chocolate cappuccino and maple almond)

These are simple and lovely. I think next time I'll make them a little thicker to give them a sandier texture. These had a bit of snap because I let them get a bit brown. The edges might look a bit more brown than they are because I rolled them in demerara sugar.

One other bonus to these cookies - you can make the dough ahead of time and roll and freeze it. Then when you need a cookie fix, just roll them in sugar, slice, and bake! Thank you Barbara of Bungalow Barbara for this week's choice. Go check her blog for the recipe. Or go buy the book already!

***Just a little side note -- the girl painted the bowl, and she's loving all of the sweet comments that you are leaving about it!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Not a TWD: But it's Cookie Carnival Time

This week's recipe was supposed to be the Rosy Poached Pear and Pistachio Tart. And while it sounds delicious, and the title is fun and alliterative, I didn't make it. The recipe had a little too much going on for me after a weekend of enormous eating. Go see Lauren of I'll Eat You to see the tart. I just stopped by, and it's gorgeous.

This month's Cookie Carnival was a group effort. We voted on the cookie that we'd all bake. The winner: Pecan Pie Cookies courtesy of Land O Lakes butter. This was an incredibly easy cookie to make. It was a one bowl dough. Into the fridge for a bit of chill. The pecan topping was also really easy. I added a splash of maple extract because I love it in pecan pie.

The cookies were rolled into medium size balls. Then I got to stick my finger in the middle. Hehehe. The indention was filled with the pecan mix. A 12 minute bake later I had.... a mess. The cookies really spread and the filling leaked out of a lot of the cookies. They stuck to the baking sheet and it was hard to remove them.

For every one of these:

I had a lot more of these:

And these:

The really big problem with the broken cookies? I couldn't put those in the cookie jar! I wouldn't want anyone to see them. You can see where I'm going with this, can't you? I had to hide the evidence of my bad cookie removal. There was only one thing to do. See, did I mention the fact that these cookies taste AMAZING? I think I ate at least four or five or.... I think I'm going to have to try these again. Maybe freeze the dough this time, or use parchment or lots of spray to help stop the stick.

I'll be back next week with sables. Yum!