Tuesday, April 26, 2011

TWD: Cornmeal Shortbread Cookies

I have almost never enjoyed chametz so much. (Chametz is essentially all the stuff you can't eat during Passover, which these cookies absolutely are). It's now over for me, and I jumped right back into baking.

I don't think Dorie has ever steered me wrong with her butter cookie recipes. This one is no exception. These have two wonderful twists that really make them special. First is the cornmeal. It adds a great crunch and a little texture that gives these bite. The second is the fresh lime zest. The recipe called for lemon, but I had a lime, and I love lime and corn together. Her trick of rolling out the cookies in a plastic bag is genius.

I learned that Dorie's butter cookies should be VERY COLD before baking. I cut them into squares and then put them back in the fridge until just before they go in the oven. It's what helps them keep their shape. I didn't bake them until they were very crispy, but I think I enjoyed them with a little chew instead of snap.

Just out of the oven. Mmmmm.

On the plate, where they did not last.

These are definitely going to be made in my house again. Thank you Valerie of Une Gamine dans la Cuisine for choosing this recipe.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Not a TWD: It's Passover

So, nothing leavened here. Dinner for 15 tonight, though, so there was some serious cooking going on. In the past four days I made: chicken soup, matzo balls, almond macaroons, matzo toffee, orange chiffon cake, matzo farfel kugel, roasted asparagus, hard boiled 18 eggs, charoset, and roasted salmon.

The seder was lovely. The friends were even lovelier. Passover ends next Monday night, so I'll try to get the next recipe in before posting time.

Looking forward to more matzo at my house!

Go see Jeanette at The Whimsical Cupcake for this week's recipe.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

TWD: Strawberry Rhubarb Double Crisp

I love rhubarb. Love. It. I buy lots of it when it's in season, and I slice and freeze about half of that so I'll have it all winter. I even started growing my own so I would (hopefully) never run out. That's how much I love rhubarb. Right now is the very very beginning of rhubarb season. My freezer, alas, is empty. My go-to-source for frozen? Sold out until more can be grown and processed. I saw people subbing cranberries for the rhubarb. They're tart, right? But no. I wanted rhubarb. Five (5) stores later, I had my rhubarb. Woo hoo!

This particular rhubarb recipe? Outstanding. It's in my top three of all the recipes in the book. It's in my top five of my favorite fruit desserts ever. It combines some of the best flavors in the world - rhubarb, strawberry, ginger (two forms), almond and oats. I've made it a number of times before, and I was very happy to make it again.

Just look at that delicious crust and the ruby fruit peeking out on the sides.

This is a pretty easy recipe. Essentially, you make a crumble that you press into the pan for the bottom crust and sprinkle over the top for the crisp. In the middle is juicy, succulent fruit. There is powdered ginger mixed in with the berries and crystalized ginger in the crust. The strawberries are cooked with a little sugar, water, and cornstarch to thicken. I cut down a bit on the sugar because my berries were pretty sweet. The recipe calls for walnuts, but I really like almonds with this one.

Lots of Dorie's recipes call for placing the baking vessel on a Silpat or parchment covered sheet pan. 99% of the time I ignore that instruction. The first time I made this, I ignored. And I learned very quickly that dripping sugar and fruit goo creates a nasty burning smell when it hits the heating element in the oven. Learn from my mistakes!

This one is a huge hit at my house. Everyone loves it - especially warm with a bit of vanilla ice cream. I am positive that we'll make this one again and again. I couldn't wait for this to really get cool, so it was a little sloppy in the bowl.

If I have it with yogurt, it's breakfast, right?

Thank you Sarah of Teapots and Cakestands for letting me revisit an old favorite.

Friday, April 08, 2011

TWD Extra!

So excited for my friend Laurie, who is the founder of TWD as well as French Fridays with Dorie (featuring another excellent cookbook - Around My French Table). She is featured in an article in O Magazine that showcases both blogs. She is a total rockstar, and I'm thrilled to be able to work with her. Go Laurie!

Monday, April 04, 2011

Not a TWD: I did some other baking instead

Sorry, Jessica of Domestic Deep Thought of the Day. I did not make a coffee ice cream tart. I made Apple Butter Bread. I made nuts spiced with Chinese five spice and cayenne. I made very messy, custardy lemon bars. But there is no ice cream tart in my house.

Please go see her gorgeous tart, make it yourself, and tell me how goofy I was to pass this one up.