Wednesday, December 23, 2009

spiced cherry jammies

i always love a versatile cookie dough, one that can be used for several types of goodies. so, out of my holiday laziness and the dough in the back of the freezer, here are...
spiced cherry jammies

1 recipe orange cardamom ginger thin dough
1 small jar sour cherry preserves

1. preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. roll dough to 1/8 inch and cut with 3 inch circle. use a smaller cookie cutter to cut a design into half of the circles. (you can bake the smaller cutouts 7-8 minutes)

3. transfer to parchment lined cookie sheets. bake 10-12 minutes. cool on wire rack

4. spoon about 1 tsp. of cherry preserves onto circle cookies and sandwich together with 'window' tops.

makes about 30 cookies

Saturday, December 19, 2009

gingerbread fudge

ok these aren't cookies. they are more like cookie cousins, who could sit happily next to any kind of cookie (minus bad cookies or tough cookies) on a holiday cookie plate. tastes just like gingerbread!
mine turned out a little grainy...anyone have tips on perfectly smooth fudge? marshmallow?

gingerbread fudge

2 tbs. butter
2 cups sugar
1/3 cup molasses
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup evaporated milk
3/4 cup butterscotch chips
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves

1. line with foil and grease an 8" square pan.

2. in saucepan, combine butter, sugar, molasses, salt, and milk. bring to a boil and cook 3 minutes.

3. remove pan from heat and stir in butterscotch chips until melted.

4. bring mixture back to a boil and cook until it reaches the soft ball stage 238 degrees.

5. remove from heat and stir in vanilla and spices. let mixture cool for 20 minutes until 110 degrees.

6. in bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat mixture on medium speed until thick and less shiny.

7. pour into prepared pan and let sit for 2 hours until set. cut into shapes with cookie cutters or squares.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

i like dem apples

these were inspired by a green apple sorbet from chef b. in which he pureed granny smiths, peel and all, and mixed them with a little simple syrup to create a sour pale green sorbet. it was so pure and simple, like biting into a fresh juicy apple. i wanted to capture that flavor in a cookie. this has a puckery green apple filling on top of a buttery brown sugar crust. if i were to make it again, i would use thinly sliced apples rather than chopped so they wouldn't burn so much during the brulee. i think the flatter surface would caramelize more evenly and look pretty too.

burnt or not, i came home late and ate one very large piece with a glass of soymilk. considering another...

green apple brulee bars

1/4 cup almond meal
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, softened

1. cream together butter and sugar.

2. add remaining ingredients and mix until crumbly.

3. press into greased 9 x 13 pan. bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes.

5 granny smith apples, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch
1/3 cup sugar
6 Tbs. flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
juice of 1 lemon
granulated sugar, for finishing

1. combine all filling ingredients.

2. arrange on top of par-baked crust. bake at 350 degrees 20-25 minutes, until tender.

3. cool and slice into bars.

4. when ready to serve, sprinkle bars with an even layer of granulated sugar. use a blowtorch or broiler to evenly caramelize tops.

makes about 12 bar cookies

Sunday, December 13, 2009


i haven't made macarons in ages, but the release of these two books: here and here are threatening to turn me into a macaron maniac. we didn't make a lot of these in school, as very few americans are willing to pay 1.50 for one little bite-sized cookie...i am just now realizing the potential these simple almond meringue sandwiches contain...the flavor, color and filling combinations are endless! pierre herme even flavored them with ketchup! ok, that sounds disgusting, but maybe if you are a super pastry chef you get bored? speaking of ketchup...somehow mine turned out looking like hamburgers?

here, i've used the basic macaron recipe from chef b. and added lemon zest and filled them with dark ganache. ever since i tried martha stewart's buttermilk cake, filled with lemon curd and iced with velvety ganache, i've been intrigued by the combination of lemon and bittersweet chocolate. this recipe is delicious, although i would like to switch it around and try a chocolate cookie with lemon curd filling for more tarty-ness.

lemon and bittersweet chocolate macarons

1/2 cup egg whites, room temp.
1 tbs. granulated sugar
2 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 cup ground almonds
zest from 3 lemons
few drops yellow food color

1. in electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat egg whites and 1 tbs. granulated sugar until stiff peaks form.

2. gently fold in powdered sugar, ground almonds, lemon zest and food color.

3. pipe onto parchment lined baking sheets in 1 inch circles (try to keep as uniform as possible).

4. bake at 300 degrees for about 15 minutes, until tops are dry.

5. cool, then carefully remove from parchment.

6. pipe filling onto half of cookies and sandwich together.
makes about 30 sandwiches.

bittersweet ganache filling

8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup heavy cream
2 tbs. butter, softened

1. boil cream

2. pour over chocolate and let sit 1 minute.

3. slowly whisk cream and chocolate together until smooth. add butter and combine.

4. let sit on counter until a pipeable consistency (the texture of soft butter).

Thursday, December 10, 2009


i've never tried a whoopie pie until today, and i was pleasantly surprised. i adapted a basic recipe from martha stewart. they are made with a luscious marshmallowy peppermint buttercream sandwiched between soft chocolate cake. they feel like little pillows in your mouth! i'd like to sleep on a giant one and have sweet dreams.
peppermint whoopie pies

3 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
4 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 cups cocoa powder
2 sticks soft unsalted butter
2 cups packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. peppermint extract
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. preheat oven to 400 degrees. whisk together flour, salt, baking soda and cocoa powder.

2. in electric mixer, fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar until light.

3. add eggs and vanilla and peppermint extracts. combine sour cream and milk in bowl.

4. alternately add dry ingredients and sour cream/milk mixture to the butter, beating well with each addition.

5. add chocolate chips and mix to combine.

6. using ice cream scoop, spoon batter onto parchment lined baking sheets. bake 12 minutes, cool.

7. pipe icing onto bottom of cooled cake and sandwich together.

makes about 24

2 sticks soft unsalted butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 (7 1/2 oz.) jar marshmallow fluff
1 tsp. peppermint extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup crushed peppermint candy canes

1. beat together butter and powdered sugar until light.
2. add remaining ingredients and mix until combined.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

cranberry bars

you can find unsweetened 100% cranberry juice at trader joes or a natural food store. these are an equally tart variation on lemon bars. next time i would like to try and make them with a fresh cranberry puree.
cranberry bars

1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
2 cups flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
zest of 1 orange

2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cranberry juice
5 tbs. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
4 eggs

1. preheat oven to 350 degrees. combine butter, flour, powdered sugar and orange zest just until dough begins to come together.

2. pat mixture into 9x13 inch baking dish. bake 20 minutes until just starting to turn golden. cool completely.

3. combine sugar, cranberry juice, flour, baking powder and eggs. pour over cooled crust.

4. bake 25 minutes at 350 degrees. cool completely and cut into squares. sprinkle with powdered sugar.

5. store in fridge.
makes 12 2-inch squares

Monday, December 7, 2009

eggnog shortbread

these are full of buttery nutmegy eggnoggy creaminess!

eggnog shortbread

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cornstarch
3 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 lb. (4 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
2 egg yolks
1 tbs. vanilla extract
powdered sugar

1. mix together sugar, cornstarch, flour salt and nutmeg.

2. add butter and mix until crumbly.

3. add egg yolks and vanilla extract and continue mixing until dough comes together.

4. form into two disks, wrap in plastic, and chill for 2 hours.

5. preheat oven to 325 degrees.

6. on floured surface, roll dough to 1/4 inch. cut with 2-3 inch cookie cutters and place on parchment lined cookie sheets. (you can also use a pizza cutter to cut diamonds or squares)

7. bake 20 to 25 minutes until light golden brown on the edges. cool on wire racks.

8. toss cooled shortbread in powdered sugar to coat.
makes about 4 dozen 2 inch cookies