September 19th, 2012 § § permalink
I haven’t found a single soul who objects to eating these classic snickerdoodle cookies – sweet, chewy, buttery, and full of cinnamon goodness, they disappear so quickly you’ll be glad you made 5 dozens.
After many complex baking recipes, this classic cookie is a refreshing change of pace. The hunt for the perfect snickerdoodle is still on, but I really like the taste of this particular recipe. If you look closely, you will notice that they did not have those characteristic cracks… not that their lack of cracks has led to disappointed cookie eaters, but I really like the science of particulars and the science of snickerdoodles include cracks. I believe it’s because I forgot to flatten them out from their ball shapes into disks. ..
After a discussion with the roommates, I was told that I should try the Betty Crocker recipe so that’s next on my test list (I’ll try anything once). I’ve had 3 out of 12 roommates tell me these are their favorite childhood cookies which makes my warehouse the perfect testing ground for snickerdoodle experiments. They ate 2.5 dozens in one evening so I need to get to making more ASAP.
Snickerdoodles, Recipe adapted from Joy of Baking
2 3/4 c. flour
1/2 ts. salt
2 ts. baking soda
1 c. butter @room temperature
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 large eggs
1 ts. vanilla
Cinnamon Sugar Coating
1/3 c. sugar
2 ts. ground cinnamon
+ Whisk together flour, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl. Set aside.
+ Using a hand mixer, beat butter in a bowl until softly whipped. Add sugar to the butter and mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, and whisk. Add vanilla extract, scraping down the sides, and mix until well combined. Add flour mixture to the butter and beat until the dough is smooth. Cover the bowl and allow to cool completely for about 2 hours.
+ Preheat oven to 400 °F .
+ Using a melon baller or small spoon, scrape out dough and roll into 1″ round balls. Roll the balls in the cinnamon sugar and place on cookie sheet about 2″ apart. Flatten dough balls with the bottom of a glass bowl or drinking glass.
+ Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and transfer to cookie sheets. They should be very soft. Serve with tea or milk.
+ Makes 4-5 dozen cookies.
September 4th, 2012 § § permalink
There was a time in my life when I was making shortbread cookies once a week. This created a constant shortage of butter and flour in my very petite pantry so we started buying them by the bucket. I sensed our arteries dangerously inflating with each bite but I didn’t care because my bellicose roommates behaved wondrously when fed shortbreads. Eventually I had to quit my perfunctory compulsion for fear of heart failure until I saw this delightful recipe for shortbread sandwiches in Tracey Zabar’s One Sweet Cookie. But Tracey, why have round cookies when you can have daisies?
A large plate of these lemon curd filled poppy seed linzer daisies made everyone smile. They thought the daisies were “cute”. They were. I got a little overexcited and paired them with parsley for some cheesy photos, but that’s really a bit kitsch in retrospect.
These cookies are perfectly textured… the lemon curd is a vibrant layer sandwiched between thin buttery goodness. Their decadence is worth every minute of work.
I gave half a dozen daisies away for a birthday gift and they were very well received. I’m not one to calorie count but I would guess that these are the most dangerous cookies to consume in high numbers. Death by daisies? I am not sure I am ready for that flowery departure, but these made my heart jump a bit after half a dozen. Trust me, these are made for sharing.
Lemon and Poppy Seed Linzer Daisies
Recipe Adapted from Tracey Zabar’s One Sweet Cookie
1 1/2 stick of sweet cream butter (6 oz.) @room temperature
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1/4 powdered sugar (+ more for dusting)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cups of flour
1/4 ts. salt
2 TB poppy seeds
+ Using a hand mixer, cream together butter, sugars, and vanilla until mixture becomes fluffy. Add flour and salt and mix on low until well incorporated. Add poppy seeds and mix for 1 more minute on low.
+ Place dough between two sheets of parchment paper and roll to 1/4″ thickness. Remove top piece of parchment and cut cookie shapes into the soft dough using daisy cutters, scoring holes into half of the cookies for the sandwich tops. Do not remove them from the dough. Place the top parchment paper on top of the dough sheet and freeze for 1 hour. You can prepare this one day ahead.
1 large egg
6 large egg yolks
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. lemon juice (~4 lemons)
zest from two lemons
pinch of salt
1 stick (4 oz) of softened butter
+ Heat a saucepan of hot water to a boil and reduce to a simmer.
+ Prepare a large bowl of ice water. In a metal bowl, whisk all but the butter together and place it on top of the saucepan with simmering water, being sure to not allow the bowl to touch the water. Continue to whisk the mixture until it reaches a temperature of 170°F. Remove the bowl from heat and mix in the soft butter. Strain the curd through a mesh sieve into a metal bowl. Place this bowl into the ice bath and allow to cool completely.
Bake Cookies and Assemble:
+ Preheat oven to 325°F. Line 3 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
+ Remove cookies from the freezer – they should now easily ‘pop’ out of the sheet. I usually let the remaining cookie dough come to room temperature and re-roll/re-cut to make more cookies. Bake cookies for about 8 minutes and allow to cool on wire racks.
+ Dust the daisy tops (the ones with holes in the center) with powdered sugar.
+ Pipe 1/2 ts. of curd onto the bottoms of the sandwiches and gently top with sugar dusted daisy tops.
August 7th, 2012 § § permalink
Proust has made his way into my kitchen. Not only is he in there but he has decidedly roosted in the confectioner’s corner, deliberately enticing my memories with those little cliché cookies. It was a reading of Swann’s Way this summer that prompted a subsequent cookie pan splurge:
She (Marcel’s mother) sent for one of those squat plump little cakes called “petites madeleines,” which look as though they had been molded in the fluted valve of a scallop shell … I raised to my lips a spoonful of the tea in which I had soaked a morsel of the cake. No sooner had the warm liquid mixed with the crumbs touched my palate than a shudder ran through me and I stopped, intent upon the extraordinary thing that was happening to me. An exquisite pleasure invaded my senses …
And suddenly the memory revealed itself. The taste was that of the little piece of madeleine which on Sunday mornings at Combray … when I went to say good morning to her in her bedroom, my aunt Leonie used to give me, dipping it first in her own cup of tea or tisane …. and the whole of Combray and its surroundings, taking shape and solidity, sprang into being, town and garden alike, from my cup of tea.
Petite Madeleines did not figure into my personal record until my mid twenties with my inaugural “un cafe”, when I delightfully nibbled on the miniature treat while sipping that bitter Parisian espresso. If only my recollections were as nectarous as Marcel’s.
And the tisane? I’ve chosen a delicate floral infusion with mostly rosemary, latin for dew (ros) of the sea (marinus). The herbal evergreen grows wild on the Italian coasts where it receives moisture from the Mediterranean sea. Most importantly, Rosemary is said to aid memory, so it’s quite Proustian. Rosemary infusions tend to mature around 5 minutes or less depending on your preference. Just bring your water to a boil and pour it over the herbs and flowers until the desired strength is achieved. I save the buds of my abundant summer herb purchases for infusions. Sara Perry (The Book of Herbal Teas) recommends these combinations:
+ basil, lemon thyme, and lemon verbena
+ catnip, chamomile, marjoram, spearmint
+ lemongrass, rosemary, thyme
+ spearmint, sage, lemon balm
+ rosemary, ginger
Recipe Adapted from Tracey Zabar’s One Sweet Cookie
This recipe uses real vanilla beans, which gives the cookie an amazing flavor though most uses extract. They are best when fresh, though I savor them for days after baking.
6 TB sugar
1 TB brown sugar
pinch of salt
2/3 c. pastry flour
1 ts baking powder
1 vanilla bean
1 lemon, zested
3/4 stick of melted butter (unsalted)
+ The night before baking your Madeleines, make the batter and let it proof overnight. Nicole Kaplan suggests doing this in order to get a better rise of the little cookies. You should also butter and flour the madeleine pan and store it in the freezer overnight. This recipe makes 24 mini madeleines. I used this pan to capacity and filled some large ones into this one (The beaufriend and I have different preferences when it comes to their sizing).
+ Batter: Using a hand mixer, combine sugars, salt, flour, baking powder, vanilla seeds and lemon zest in a bowl. Mix in eggs, one at a time, and then the melted butter. Cover your bowl in plastic wrap and place it in the fridge overnight.
+ Bake: Preheat oven to 325 °F . Using a piping bag, pipe batter into madeleine molds (2/3 full). Bake for 10 minutes (mini madeleines). Remove from molds immediately and allow to cool on racks – I ate them as they came out.