This chiffon cake is lightly sweet, and because of the egg whites, lower in calories. It’s the perfect dessert because you can have your cake and eat it too. I enjoy chiffon cakes. They are light and airy, and also fun to bake. What I don’t like about them is the amount of egg yolks wasted. But I wanted to try this recipe just because there would be leftover yolks– I plan to use them to make a buttercake. You have to plan ahead when you make these chiffon cakes. So my next cake project is Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Downy Yellow Buttercake.
2 1/4 cups (225g) cake flour
1 1/4 cups sugar, divided (169g, 112g)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
2 tablespoons espresso powder
1/2 cup boiling water
1/4 cup cold water
1/3 cup canola oil
5 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons hazelnut liqueur/Frangelico (I used hazelnut syrup)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used vanilla bean paste)
10 large egg whites
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
4 oz semisweet chocolate, broken up
1/2 cup fat free half-and-half
Toasted chopped hazelnuts
1. Heat oven to 325˚F. Place oven rack at position just below center. You’ll need a 10 inch tube pan with removable bottom. Whisk flour, 3/4 cup sugar (169g), baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
2. Whisk cocoa and espresso with boiling water in a large mixing bowl until dissolved. Add cold water, oil, yolks, liqueur or syrup, and vanilla. Stir cocoa mixture into flour mixture. Beat until smooth and blended.
3. Beat whites and cream of tartar in a large bowl with mixer on medium high speed until soft peaks form when beaters are lifted. Gradually beat in remaining 1/2 cup sugar (112g(. Beat until glossy and stiff peaks form.
4. Stir 1/4 of beaten whites into cocoa-flour batter to lighten it. Gently fold batter into rest of whites until no white streaks remain. Scrape into ungreased pan. Run a skewer zig zag through the batter to eliminate air bubbles.
5. Bake 60-65 minutes or until wooden skewer inserted into cake comes out clean. Invert pan onto neck of a bottle or funnel if your pan doesn’t have feet. Cool completely, 1-2 hours. Insert a long thin blade in an up and down motion all around the outside of cake; remove pan side. Repeat with bottom of cake. To loosen centerpiece, use a skewer. Invert onto wire rack. Remove pan bottom. Brush crumbs from cake. If desired, trim the top to level it. Put cake in serving plate bottom up.
6. Glaze. Melt chocolate in a microwave on high about 1 minute, stirring every 15 seconds. Whisk in half-and-half. Let sit a few minutes to thicken. Pour glaze over cake, spreading top with spatula and letting it drip down the sides. Sprinkle top with hazelnuts, if using.
As bread recipes go, this one is rather forgiving. I tried adding just 5 cups flour but found that after 15 minutes of kneading time as stated in the recipe, the dough was still tacky. So I added 1/2 cup more flour and kneaded the dough for an additional 5 minutes. This time the dough cooperated and came out of the bowl without any problem. The texture of this bread is dense, chewy, and satisfyingly spongy. It’s definitely a Do-Again. Note that this bread can be vegan by leaving out the egg wash and brushing the top with olive oil.
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 Tablespoon salt
5 1/2 cups bread flour plus more, if needed
1 pkg yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/4 c water (110˚F)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 3/4 cup warm water (110˚F)
1. Mix sugar, salt and 2 cups flour together in a large mixer bowl and set aside. In a medium bowl, sprinkle yeast on 1/4 cup water. Let stand until foamy, about 10-15 minutes. Pour 1 tablespoon oil on 1 3/4 cup warm water. Pour oil and water mixture into yeast and water. Pour liquid into dry ingredients. Mix well in a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, on medium low speed, until there are no lumps, about 10-15 minutes.
2. Add 2 more cups flour. Mix well. Add another 1 1/2 cups flour. Knead well, about 15 minutes, using the dough hook on medium-low speed (2). It should clean the sides of the bowl, and the dough will gather itself into a ball, and release from the bowl without any stickiness.
3. Grease a large bowl. Place dough in bowl, turning to coat thoroughly. Cover with a warm damp towel and leave in a warm dry place for 2 hours until doubled in bulk.
4. Punch down the dough and roll into a fat log. Separate into 3 portions. On a lightly floured board, roll into 3 ropes about 2 to 2 1/2 feet long. Braid and form a circle. Pinch ends together. Line a baking tray with parchment and place braid on top. Cover with warm damp cloth. Let rise one hour.
5. Meanwhile, preheat oven 350˚F/175˚C.
6. Break 1 large egg into a small bowl. Beat with 1 tablespoon water. Brush onto top of dough. Bake 30 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before cutting and serving. Serve warm. Best eaten the day it is made. Wrap leftover bread airtight and refrigerate.
This is the breakfast we ate on Sundays in Jamaica, especially at the beach house, when the morning was fresh and cool. We’d eat bully beef–corned beef cooked with tomatoes, onions, and to wake up the mouth, scotch bonnet pepper. Bully beef is actually colloquial Jamaican patois for tinned corned beef. A popular accompaniment to bully beef was johnny cakes, a kind of fried biscuit–in the American sense of the word biscuit; a savory but light round of wheat dough fried and best eaten when it is warm. Every cook in Jamaica has his/her own recipe for johnny cakes; my mother used to make hers with lard. Johnny cakes are also an accompaniment for another Jamaican favorite, ackee and saltfish. They can also be enjoyed with butter and jam.
1 tin corned beef
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 medium onion, halved and sliced
1/4 to 1/2 scotch bonnet pepper, chopped, with or without seeds (optional)
Heat a teaspoon vegetable oil in a large skillet. Fry the tomatoes and onions until the onions are translucent. Add the corned beef to the tomato mixture, breaking up the large pieces, until softened. Mix in the scotch bonnet pepper, if using. Serve at once.
Johnny Cakes (adapted from a Grace recipe)
Makes 18-24 cakes
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour plus more for flouring the board and rolling pin
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon vegetable shortening
9-10 tablespoons ice water
oil for frying
In a mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the butter and vegetable shortening. With the paddle attachment, mix on low speed (1) until the butter and shortening are incorporated the size of small peas. With the machine on, add the ice water 1 tablespoon at a time until the flour mixture comes together in a ball and the sides are clean. Switch to the dough hook and mix on low to medium speed (2) until the dough is smooth and elastic. Switch off the machine and remove the dough ball.
On a lightly floured surface and using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out the dough to 1/4 to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut dough into rounds.
Fill a 10 inch skillet with enough oil to cover the bottom and come 1/2 inch up the sides. Heat the oil.
Cook’s Note: My sister-in-law Lorraine showed me this trick how to tell the oil is hot enough. The oil will be hot enough to fry when a wooden chopstick or the handle of a wooden spoon, when inserted in the middle of the oil, gathers bubbles around the stick.
Fry the dough rounds in batches until they are puffed and lightly golden. Remove with tongs to a paper-towel lined plate to drain and cool. Serve warm.
The last time I made this dish we were living in New York City. For old times’ sake and all that, I made it again, this time without sirloin steak. I used pork tenderloin for tender juicy bites to go with the sesame-soy-ginger-scallion sauce.
Soba noodles with sweet ginger scallion sauce (Modified from Simply Reem)
8-9 oz. dry soba noodles
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, lightly toasted
1 1/2 cups scallions, chopped fine
2 tablespoons ginger, minced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons chili oil (substitute 2 teaspoons chili paste with garlic and 1 teaspoon oil)
Coarse salt, optional
Fresh ground black pepper, optional
Mix the scallions, ginger, cilantro, sesame oil, chili oil, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and honey in a bowl. Set it aside for 10 -15 minutes to let the flavors meld. Cook the noodles.
Cook’s Note: To cook soba, rinse the dried noodles first. According to Food 52, this reduces the gumminess of the noodles and they won’t stick together in cooking. Like rice grains, I rinsed the noodles until the water was clear. Bring pot of water to a boil. Reduce to simmer. Cook in simmering water 5-8 minutes or until cooked through. If al dente, cook a few minutes longer. Rinse and drain in cool water.
Toss the noodles with the sauce and sesame seeds. Taste. Add salt and pepper if needed. If too sour, add up to a teaspoon sugar. Serve at once.
OPTIONAL: To make the pork, I thinly sliced about 1 cup of pork tenderloin and marinated it for 10-15 minutes in soy sauce and pepper. Then I stir-fried the pork in a 2 teaspoons of hot oil until cooked through. Toss with the noodles.
This recipe is unusual in that it is the rare recipe of Ina’s that I wasn’t satisfied with the results. The sugar syrup became hard candy as the cake cooled, and was not at all the effect I was expecting.
6 tablespoons (57g) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for greasing the pie plate
1 1/4 Granny Smith apples peeled and cut into 12 wedges each about 1 1/2 inches at the width (I used Fuji apples)
1 3/4 cups sugar, divided
2 extra-large eggs (I used large eggs)
1/3 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest (I used lime)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used vanilla bean paste)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (I used 1/8 teaspoon table salt)
Confectioner’s sugar (I say this is optional; the cake is sweet enough)
Preheat the oven to 350˚F/175˚C.
Generously butter one 9-inch pie plate and arrange the apples in the plate, cut side down. Set aside.
Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Set aside.
Combine 1 cup sugar with 1/3 cup water in a saucepan and heat on high heat until the sugar becomes a warm amber color. About 360˚F on a candy thermometer. Swirl the pan but don’t stir. Use a silicone brush dipped in water to clean off the sugar from the sides of the pot. Watch the sugar because you don’t want it to burn. When it becomes brown, pour the sugar mixture over the apples in the pie plate.
Use the paddle attachment to cream the butter and sugar on medium high speed until light and fluffy. You may need to stop the machine to scrape down the sides. Lower the speed and add the eggs one at a time. Add the sour cream, zest, and vanilla, beating until just combined. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour all at once, beating until just combined. Scrape down the sides.
Scrape the batter on top of the apples in the pie plate. Smooth with an off set spatula being careful not to disturb the sugar syrup underneath. Bake 30-40 minutes or until the top is browned and the center springs back when pressed with a finger.
Remove from oven and let cool 15 minutes on a wire cooling rack. Invert onto a serving plate. If any of the apples loosen, just stick them back into the cake. Serve warm with powdered sugar, if desired.
Refrigerate leftovers. Warm the cake before serving to soften the sugar syrup.
South Beach Shepherd’s Pie (adapted from: South Beach Diet Supercharged)
4 cups (1 head) cauliflower separated into florets
4 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons reduced fat sour cream
1 large egg yolk
seasoning salt to taste (salt in original recipe)
1/2 cup reduced fat cheddar cheese or mozzarella cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lb extra lean ground meat
3 cloves garlic, minced, plus extra whole cloves for cauliflower, if desired
1 onion, chopped
2 cups broccoli, chopped
2 cups spinach, chopped
1/2 cup low salt (chicken or beef) broth, thickened, if desired, with a little tapioca flour or cornstarch
2 teaspoons soy sauce (Worcestershire sauce in original)
pepper to taste
Preheat oven 350˚F.
Make topping. In a large saucepan, boil cauliflower florets and garlic cloves for 10 minutes. Drain. In a food processor, purée cauliflower and garlic. You may need to do this in batches. In a large bowl, whip puréed cauliflower with sour cream and egg yolk. Set aside.
Make filling. Heat olive oil until it shimmers. Sauté onion and garlic. Brown ground meat in onion garlic mixture. Add spinach. Cook, stirring, until bright green. Add the broccoli. Stir. Pour in broth, thickened, if desired. Season with soy sauce. Add pepper to taste. It might look as if there is not enough sauce but during baking, the cauliflower will “spring” more water.
Bake. Pour meat mixture into a 9-inch square baking dish. Spread the mashed cauliflower on top. Sprinkle salt on top. Sprinkle cheese on top. Bake 20-25 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the cheese has melted. Let cool 5-10 minutes before serving.
When I made the bûche de noël for Christmas, I realized what I had really done was make a roulade, otherwise called a cake roll or a Swiss roll. I decided to make it again for New Year’s Eve, but this time I went all out for the coffee flavor. This roulade has a sponge cake base coated with coffee syrup then filled and frosted with coffee buttercream. My guests commented that the cake was a tad sweet because of the powdered sugar. If you would prefer a less sweet product, I would recommend using unsweetened cocoa to roll up the cake.
First, make the Sponge Cake (adapted from Cooking LSL)
1/2 cup cake flour plus 2 tablespoons for dusting the pan
5 eggs separated when cold then brought to room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup superfine sugar
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons (57g) unsalted butter plus 2 tablespoons (28g), melted and cooled to room temperature
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350˚F/175˚C
Brush 2 tablespoons melted butter mixed with 2 tablespoons flour on a parchment lined 12x17x1 inch baking tray. Flip. Brush more melted butter-flour on the other side of the parchment and on the sides of the baking tray. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla on medium high speed until pale and thick, about 7-8 minutes. Stop mixer and remove the bowl.
Sift the flour over the egg yolk mixture and gently fold in the cake flour. Don’t over mix.
In another large bowl of the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar, beating on medium speed until stiff peaks form. Don’t over mix—the whites should look glossy and smooth, and the peaks should just curl over.
Using a spatula, gently fold 1/3 egg whites into egg yolks and flour mixture. Fold in the remaining egg whites gently.
In a small bowl, mix melted butter with 2-3 tablespoons batter. Gently fold this mixture into the remaining batter, being careful not to deflate the eggs.
Spread batter evenly into the prepared pan with an offset spatula, being sure to get into the corners. Tap pan lightly on counter top to dislodge any large air bubbles. Bake 8-10 minutes. Cake top should spring back when lightly pressed in the center. Remove cake from oven and let cool in the pan 2 minutes. Gently ease a thin blade around the edges of the cake.
Spread a large kitchen towel on the work surface and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Flip cake over on top of the sugar. Remove pan and carefully remove parchment paper. Sprinkle more powdered sugar on top. Roll up cake with the towel inside starting from the nearest longer side, and roll away from you. Let cake cool in towel 30-35 minutes.
Then, make the Coffee Syrup (adapted from Cooking LSL)
1/2 cup espresso coffee (1 teaspoon coffee powder to 1/2 cup hot water)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon Tia Maria liqueur
In a small saucepan combine the espresso and 2 tablespoons sugar. Bring to a simmer. Let coffee reduce to 1/3 cup, about 10-15 minutes on medium-low heat. Remove from heat and add liqueur. Set aside.
Next, make the Coffee Buttercream (adapted from Food Network)
4 (120g) egg whites, room temperature
1 cup superfine sugar
340g unsalted butter cubed, room temperature
2 tablespoons instant espresso coffee powder
2 tablespoons dark rum
Dissolve coffee powder in the rum and set aside.
Put 2 inches of water in a large saucepan on the stove and bring it to a simmer. Put the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk in the sugar. Place the bowl on top of the saucepan of simmering water—the water shouldn’t touch the bowl. Continue whisking the egg whites until foamy and opaque, and the sugar dissolves. The egg white mixture should be warm to the touch and not at all gritty.
Remove the bowl and attach it to the mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whisk the egg white mixture on high speed 5 minutes until the egg whites have cooled—the bottom of the bowl will be cool to the touch—and the meringue holds stiff peaks.
Turn off the mixer and switch to the paddle attachment. Add the butter a tablespoon at a time, beating on medium speed until the buttercream is smooth. Slowly pour the coffee mixture into the buttercream while the machine is still beating. The buttercream will curdle but keep beating because it will come together, about 1-2 minutes to completely blend in the coffee mixture. Set aside until ready to use, or refrigerate. Before using, let frosting come to room temperature then beat until smooth.
Finally, assemble the roulade
Unroll the cooled cake. Brush off any excess sugar. Dab the coffee syrup all over the cake with a pastry brush. Fill with half the coffee buttercream to about 1/2 inch thickness. Leave a 1 inch border at the longer side opposite you. Roll up again, but not too tightly, and keep the towel on the outside. Chill, seam side down until filling is set, about 30 minutes.
Cake Baker’s Note: If you’re not going to frost right away, wrap the roulade in plastic and refrigerate.
Sprinkle powdered sugar on top or frost with remaining buttercream. Leave the ends unfrosted. Chill until ready to serve. Before serving, trim 1/2 inch from each end to make clean edges. Discard or eat the trimmings!
Refrigerate leftovers. Bring to room temperature before cutting and serving.
I was crazy ambitious to try Bon Appetit’s recipe for Bûche de Noël two days before Christmas. And I should have been warned; anything that can go wrong will go wrong. I accidentally added too much cream to the mascarpone filling and ended up with cream soup instead of cream cheese. I needed a save. So I did a quick search and found Nick Malgieri’s recipe on Food Network for Bûche de Noël that called for a simple coffee buttercream filling. So I married parts of the two recipes together, using the BA recipe for cocoa syrup and sponge cake, and Malgieri’s coffee buttercream frosting. Figuring I was pushing my luck, I simply cut the log in two rather than try to decorate it.
Bûche de Noël (adapted from Bon Appetit and Food Network)
Make the Cocoa Syrup (makes 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon rum
Cook sugar and ¼ cup water in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat; add cocoa powder and rum and whisk until smooth. Cool, cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before using.
Make the Coffee Buttercream (makes 3-4 cups)
4 (120g) egg whites, room temperature
1 cup superfine sugar
340g unsalted butter, cubed, room temperature
2 tablespoons instant espresso coffee powder
2 tablespoons dark rum
Dissolve the coffee powder in the rum and set aside.
Put 2 inches of water in a large saucepan on the stove and bring it to a simmer. Put the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk in the sugar. Place the bowl on top of the saucepan of simmering water—the water shouldn’t touch the bowl. Continue whisking the eggs whites until foamy and opaque, and the sugar dissolves. The egg white mixture should be warm to the touch and not at all gritty.
Remove the bowl and attach it to the mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whisk the egg white mixture on medium speed until the egg whites have cooled—the bottom of the bowl will be cool to the touch.
Turn off the mixer and switch to the paddle attachment. Add the butter a tablespoon at a time, beating on medium speed until the buttercream is smooth. Slowly pour the coffee mixture into the buttercream while the machine is still beating. The buttercream will curdle but keep beating because it will come together, about 1-2 minutes to completely blend in the coffee mixture.
Can be made a day ahead and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature then beat with paddle attachment on medium high speed until smooth and it comes together again.
Make the Sponge Cake
Melted butter for brushing the pan
1/4 cup all purpose flour
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder plus more for dusting
1/4 cup whole milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into pieces
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, room temperature
3 large egg yolks, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
Increase oven to 400°. Line a 12x17x1″ rimmed baking sheet parchment and brush melted butter on it. Flip it over and brush butter on the other side of the parchment and the pan sides and corners. Set aside
Whisk flour, cornstarch, and ⅓ cup cocoa powder in a small bowl. Set aside.
Bring milk, butter, oil, vanilla, and salt to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Keep warm over low heat. It should be body temperature.
Cake Baker’s Note: If the milk mixture is too hot it will cook the eggs. I tested a drop on the inside of my wrist.
Meanwhile, using the paddle attachment, beat eggs and egg yolks with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Increase speed to high; beat until doubled in volume. With motor running, gradually add sugar; beat until very light and fluffy and mixture falls back on itself in a slowly dissolving ribbon (it should be at least quadrupled in volume), about 5 minutes.
Reduce speed to medium and gradually stream in milk mixture. Stop the machine and remove the bowl. Sift one-third of dry ingredients over the top of the batter; gently fold in until only a few streaks remain. Working in 2 additions, repeat with remaining dry ingredients, scraping bottom of bowl and using as few strokes as possible to keep eggs from deflating (a few streaks are fine). Scrape batter into prepared baking sheet and gently spread to edges of pan with an offset spatula. Tap sheet lightly on counter to pop any large air bubbles.
Bake cake until surface is puffed and springy to the touch, 10–12 minutes. Let cake cool in pan 2 minutes, then run a knife along edges to loosen. Spread a towel on a large work surface and sift cocoa powder on top. Invert cake on top of cocoa powder and carefully peel away parchment. Dust top of cake with more cocoa powder. Starting at one of the long sides, gently roll up warm cake inside towel. Let cake cool, seam side down, 30-35 minutes. Can be made 1 day ahead and stored tightly wrapped in plastic at room temperature.
Assemble the Bûche de Noël
Unwrap the thoroughly cooled cake and brush off any excess cocoa powder. Dab the cocoa syrup all over with a pastry brush. Spread about half of the coffee buttercream in a 1/2 inch layer, keeping away 1 inch from the longer edge opposite. Roll up the cake using the towel, but keep the towel on the outside. Chill, keep the seam side down, until filling is set, about 30 minutes. Don’t worry if there are any cracks in the cake; the frosting will hide it.
Transfer the cake to a serving plate. Evenly spread the remaining buttercream all over the cake. Using a serrated knife, trim 1/2 inch pieces from each end to create clean edges. Eat the trimmings!
If desired, create branches on the log by cutting off a 4 inch piece from one end. Cut it in half at a 45 degree angle leaving 1 inch at the opposite end. Attach the angled ends to the cake by using the remaining buttercream to attach the pieces and to fill in the spaces. Put one piece on top and the other on the side. Use an off set spatula to create the appearance of tree bark. Leave the cut ends unfrosted.
Because I didn’t have time to bake yesterday, I decided to experiment with refrigerating the cookies for 24 hours before baking. I don’t know if it helped, but I got very plump cookies from all of these recipes.
The first one, Cherry Garcia is named after the Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. They are filled with cherries, chocolate white and dark, but no nuts. I left that out–just a preference. The second recipe, Ginger Cookies, I used fresh ginger because I had it on hand. I didn’t notice any difference in sweetness, but then I don’t like a very sweet cookie. The third recipe, Mexican Wedding Cakes, is variously called Snowballs or Russian Tea Cakes. I used almonds to make this batch but the original recipe from The Smitten Kitchen said to use pecans or hazelnuts.
Cherry Garcia Cookies
(From Marcy Goldman, Pastry Chef, Montreal, Canada, for About.com)
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 10-14 minutes
1 cup dried cherries
1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup (113g) butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated white sugar [substitute superfine or caster sugar]
1/2 cup light brown sugar, (packed then sifted)
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup coarsely-chopped unsalted macadamia nuts or almonds (optional)
1. Place dried cherries on a cutting board and coarsely chop. For a moister cookie, soak the cherries in hot water or cherry liqueur for a few minutes to plump them up. Drain well or squeeze out the liquid.
2. Sift together flour, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl. Set aside.
3. In a separate large bowl, cream together butter and the sugars on low speed. On low speed, beat in egg, vanilla, and almond extract. Add flour mixture to butter mixture half at a time and mix on low speed until combined. By hand, fold in drained cherries, white chocolate chips, semi-sweet chocolate chips, and nuts, if using.
4. Refrigerate cookie dough 30 to 45 minutes to firm up.
5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.
6. Using a cookie scoop, drop dough onto prepared baking sheets, placing cookies about 1-1/2 to 2 inches apart. Bake one batch at a time.
Baker’s Note: I roll each dough ball lightly in my hands to round the cookies evenly.
Bake each batch 12 to 14 minutes (10-12 minutes in a convection oven) until lightly browned around the edges. Cool 10 minutes on cookie sheets before removing to racks to cool completely. Store air tight in a covered container.
Ginger Cookies (adapted from: foodnetwork.com)
2 1/4 cups (281g) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
5 turns freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup (170g) unsalted butter or vegetable shortening, at room temperature
1/2 cup (112g) white granulated sugar (use 1/2 cup brown sugar if you’re using maple syrup)
1/4 cup (50g) dark brown sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsulphured molasses, honey, or maple syrup
2 tablespoons ginger preserves or grated fresh ginger
1/2 cup demerara sugar for rolling cookies
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, ground ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, mustard, salt and black pepper together.
In a large bowl, beat the butter/shortening and the sugars with an electric mixer on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and beat on medium speed until just incorporated, about 20 seconds. Add the molasses and ginger preserves and continue beating until the batter is an even light brown color, 30 seconds more.
Add the dry ingredients all at once, beating slowly to make a soft, smooth dough. Use a rubber spatula to make sure all ingredients are combined. Then beat again for 20 seconds. Cover the bowl with plastic and refrigerate the dough until firm, about 25 minutes.
Put about 1/2 cup demerara sugar in a small bowl. With a cookie scoop or a small ice cream scoop, portion the dough into a slightly heaping tablespoon for each cookie. Roll the dough, by hand, into balls. Roll the tops of the balls in the sugar, and space them 2 inches apart on a nonstick or lightly oiled cookie sheet. Alternatively, line the pan with parchment and do not grease. Refrigerate until firm, about 25 minutes. (The chilling is what gives this cookie a beautiful, crackly crunch on top, and a soft, chewy center.)
Preheat oven to 375˚F. (Preheat convection oven 180˚C). If using a pan with a dark non-stick finish, reduce heat to 350˚F.
Bake until the top is crackly, and the insides peeking through the cracks are dark and moist but not raw, about 15 to 20 minutes (10-15 minutes in convection oven). Cool the cookies 5 minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
Serve or store in a tightly sealed container for up to 3 weeks.
ϖ Ginger preserves give lots of flavor without the hard chunks of crystallized ginger. It is found in Asian grocery stores.
ϖ To substitute for preserved ginger, use grated fresh ginger. Add sugar to taste for every tablespoon of fresh grated ginger. I didn’t add any extra sugar and the taste was just fine!
ϖ Makes about 30 cookies using a 1 1/2 inch scoop.
Mexican Wedding Cakes (adapted from The Smitten Kitchen)
1 cup (227g or 2 sticks) butter, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar, divided
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup almonds, toasted and finely ground (it will be the texture of demerara sugar)
Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until light and fluffy. Add 1/2 cup powdered sugar and vanilla; beat until well blended. Beat in flour, then almonds. Divide dough in half; form each half into ball. Wrap separately in plastic; chill until cold, about 30 minutes.
Baker’s Note: If you refrigerate the cookie dough overnight, let it sit 5 minutes on the counter top before scooping them into balls. This will allow the butter to soften.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Whisk remaining 1 1/2 cups powdered in pie dish. Set sugar aside.
Working with half of chilled dough, roll dough by 2 teaspoonfuls between palms into balls.
Arrange balls on heavy large baking sheet, spacing 1/2 inch apart. Bake cookies until golden brown on bottom and just pale golden on top, about 17-18 minutes. Cool cookies 5 minutes on baking sheet. Remove to wire rack to finish cooling. Gently toss cooled cookies in sugar to coat completely. Repeat procedure with remaining half of dough.
Baker’s Note: I used 1 1/2 inch scoop.
Sift remaining sugar over cookies and serve. Makes about 4 dozen. With scoop I got about 3 dozen cookies.
Cookies can be prepared 2 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature; reserve remaining sugar.