recipes

joy of toffee cookies

dough

3 tablespoons firmly packed sweetened flaked coconut
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt, preferably fine sea salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 generous cup coarsely chopped milk chocolate-covered toffee candy

procedure

For the dough, place the coconut in the work bowl of a small (mini) food processor fitted with the steel knife. Cover and process, using 10 to 15 quick on-off pulses (the “chop” button and the “grind” work equally well), and reserve.

Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt in a small mixing bowl. Mix in the coconut.

Place the butter in a medium-size mixing bowl. Using a hand-held electric mixer, cream the butter on medium speed for 1 minutes, or until just smooth and creamy. Add the light brown sugar and beat for 45 seconds. Mix in the egg and vanilla extract. Add the whisked flour-coconut mixture and chopped toffee, and mix with a wooden spoon or sturdy spatula just until the particles of flour are absorbed. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl several times with a rubber spatula to keep the dough even-textured. The dough will be moderately dense and sticky.

Cover the bowl of dough with a sheet of food-safe plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line several cookie sheets with lengths of heavy duty non-stick aluminum foil (nonstick side up).

Scoop up rounded 3-tablespoon-size mounds of dough onto the prepared baking sheets, arranging them 4 inches apart, and placing no more than 6 mounds to a sheet. The easiest way to portion out the dough is with a #30 scoop. The mounds of dough will spread as the cookies bake.

Bake the cookies in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, or until set, golden around the edges, with slightly lighter centers.

Let the cookies stand on the baking pans for 1 minute, then transfer them to cooling racks, using a wide offset metal spatula. Serve the cookies freshly baked, or within 12 hours of baking.

creates

about fourteen cookies

store

best thoroughly cooled and freshly baked

notes

◊ the butter should be softened enough so that it creams smoothly
non-stick aluminum foil is a perfect liner for baking sheets destined to hold mounds of toffee cookie dough
◊ Cook’s Cookie Vanilla would add a rounded vanilla essence to the cookie dough; if you use it, reduce the amount of vanilla extract to 1 teaspoon
◊ never consume raw dough

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rose-scented shortbread

dough

1 1/3 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole grain kamut flour
2/3 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt, preferably fine sea salt
1/2 pound plus 2 tablespoons (2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons rose extract gel (or substitute 8 drops rose flower essence)

finish

3 tablespoons granulated sugar, for dusting over the surface of the just-baked block of shortbread

procedure

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Film the inside of a 7 by 7 by 2-inch baking pan with nonstick oil spray. Lengthwise and widthwise, line inside of the pan with sheets of overnproof parchment paper, leaving about 3/4-inch of paper to extend on all four sides. Film the inside of the pan with nonstick oil spray. Set aside.

For the dough, sift the all-purpose flour, kamut flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt onto a sheet of waxed paper.

Place the butter in a medium-size mixing bowl. Using a hand-held electric mixer, cream the butter on high speed until very smooth and lightened, about 4 minutes. It is important to have the butter very soft and creamy at this point in order to create a tender baked cookie. Add 1/2 cup granulated sugar in 3 additions, beating for 45 seconds after each addition. Blend in the vanilla extract and rose flower gel or rose flower essence. On low speed, blend in the sifted mixture in 2 additions, mixing quickly but thoroughly after each portion is added. The resulting dough will be soft. Overworking the dough at this point would create a heavy cookie.

Scrape the dough into the prepared baking pan, pressing it in an even layer with your fingertips and smoothing it into the corners, using a narrow offset palette knife. Avoid compressing the dough.

Bake the sweet in the preheated oven for 50 minutes, or until set and evenly light golden on top. Avoid unbaking the shortbread.

Cool the sweet in the pan on a cooling rack for 3 minutes.

For the finish, after the 3-minute cooling, sprinkle the granulated sugar evenly over the top of the block of shortbread. Cool for 5 minutes. Using a small, sharp knife, cut the block of shortbread into quarters, then cut each quarter into 3 long bars/logs or 4 squares. Cool completely at room temperature (do not refrigerate), then gently recut the squares and remove them to an airtight cookie tin, using an offset metal spatula.

creates

one dozen logs or 16 squares

store

on baking day, or up to one week in advance, stored in an airtight container

notes

◊ the butter should be very soft (but not oily) to create the flakiest batch of cookies
◊ the butter must be well-creamed until smooth and pearly
◊ a small amount of baking powder improves the texture of the finished shortbread

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pumpkin waffles

batter

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to tepid
1/4 cup plain vegetable oil (such as canola or soybean)
6 tablespoons firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup pure, solid-pack pumpkin puree
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon unsulphured light molasses
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups buttermilk

procedure

Preheat a round 4-section Belgian-style waffle iron (the diameter of the iron measures 6 1/2 inches). (The waffler recommended for use in this recipe is the VillaWare Uno™ Belgian Round Waffler, Model 2002.)

For the batter, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, and cloves into a large mixing bowl.

Whisk the butter, oil, and sugar in a medium-size mixing bowl. Blend in the pumpkin puree. Add the eggs and whisk to combine well. Add the molasses, vanilla extract, and buttermilk; whisk to combine well.

Pour the buttermilk mixture over the flour mixture and stir to combine both mixtures, using a flexible rubber spatula or wooden spoon. The batter will be moderately thick.

Carefully spoon a generous 3/4-cup of the waffle batter in the middle of the preheated waffle iron. Close the lid and griddle the waffles until golden and baked through, about 1 1/2 minutes. If your waffle iron has setting, set the gauge to #5. (The waffle batter must be thoroughly cooked.) Carefully lift each waffle onto a plate and serve.

creates

five round, four-section Belgian-style waffles

notes

◊ use fresh spices for the best flavor
◊ up to 1/2 cup of light brown sugar may be used for a slightly sweeter waffle
◊ use the thickest fresh buttermilk you can find

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brownie blondies

batter/dough

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons malted milk powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups lightly packed sweetened flaked coconut
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to tepid
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups loosely packed cold diced brownies (10 oz)

procedure

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Film the inside of an 8 by 8 by 2-inch baking pan with nonstick oil spray. Line the pan in one direction with a sling of ovenproof kitchen parchment paper, leaving three inches extending past the two opposite sides and pressing it against the bottom and sides of the pan.

For the batter/dough, whisk the flour, malted milk powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium-size mixing bowl. Stir in the coconut.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk the whole egg, egg yolk, light brown sugar, and granulated sugar. Blend in the melted butter and vanilla extract. Pour the liquid mixture over the flour mixture and stir to form a dense batter/dough, using a wooden spoon or flexible rubber spatula. Scatter over the cold brownies and finish the finish the batter/dough with a few quick stirs. The trick is to combine the ingredients quickly so as not to mash the brownie chunks.

Scrape the batter/dough into the prepared baking pan and smooth it into an even layer, using a narrow offset palette knife or flexible rubber spatula. The batter/dough will be firm.

Bake the confection in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until just set and light golden brown on top. The top will have puffed slightly.

Cool the sweet in the pan on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Slip a small flexible palette knife against the two sides of the pan touched by the confection. Cool for 20 minutes longer. The blondie cake will have settled slightly. Carefully lift the confection out of the pan, using the overhanging edges of parchment paper. Cool completely. Peel away the parchment paper from the two sides and bottom of the pan. Slice the confection into squares, using a serrated knife. Store in an airtight cookie tin, with waxed paper separating the layers.

creates

sixteen squares

store

on baking day, or up to two days in advance, stored in an enclosed container

notes

◊ for the malted milk powder, I used Ovaltine
◊ for the baked brownies, I used my my brilliantly-chocolate brownies
◊ never consume raw dough

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brown sugar chippers

dough

2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt, preferably fine sea salt
1/2 pound plus 2 tablespoons (18 tablespoons or 2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons) cool unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons-size chunks
1 3/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
2 cool large eggs
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 teaspoons Lyle’s Golden Syrup
2 3/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips

procedure

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Have several cookie sheets at hand.

For the dough, whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium-size mixing bowl. Cream the butter in the large bowl of a freestanding electric mixer on moderate speed for 1 minute. Continuing on moderate speed, add the sugar in 2 additions, beating for 1 minute after each portion is added. Blend in both eggs and vanilla extract. Blend in the golden syrup. On low speed, mix in the sifted mixture in 2 additions. Scrape down the mixing bowl frequently with a rubber spatula to keep the batter even-textured. By hand, work the chocolate chips into the dough, using a flexible spatula.

Spoon rounded 1/3-cup amounts of dough onto the unlined baking sheets, arranging them 4 inches apart, and placing no more than 5 mounds to a sheet. The easiest way to portion out the dough is with a #16 disher made by stöckel (or use a #20 sdisher made by Fratelli Piazza). The rounds of dough spread significantly as the cookies bake. Keep the dough mounds plump. Avoid smoothing the edges of the dough.

Bake the cookies in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until just set. The middle of each cookie will be slightly puffy but collapse slightly when cool.

Let the cookies stand on the baking pans for 1 minute, then transfer them to cooling racks, using a wide offset metal spatula. Serve the cookies freshly baked, or within 8 hours of baking.

creates

about twenty cookies

store

best freshly baked (big, happy sigh)

notes

◊ the butter should be cool, not softened
◊ the temperature of the eggs should be cool
◊ using cool butter and eggs returns baked cookies that are slightly thick and chewy
◊ read about Lyle’s Golden Syrup here

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fruit, nut, and seed jumble

mixture

1 1/4 cups dried unsweetened mango pieces
1/2 cup natural, unsweetened wide-flake coconut
1/2 cup raw almonds
1/2 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup dried goji berries
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds

procedure

Combine the pieces of mango, coconut flakes, almonds, cashews, goji berries, and sunflower seeds bowl. Turn the mixture into a clean, dry jar, cover, and seal tightly.

creates

about two and three-fourths cups

store

up to ten days in advance, stored a tightly-covered jar

notes

◊ unsweetened wide-flake coconut, rather than the sweetened flaked variety, is preferred in this mix for its texture and flavor
◊ walnut pieces may replace the almonds
◊ raw pumpkin seeds may replace the sunflower seeds
◊ dried persimmon slices would be an excellent addition to the mix in addition to (or in place of) the mango pieces

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olive oil-corn meal cake

batter

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons fine yellow corn meal
2 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup olive oil

procedure

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Film the inside of a  9-inch baking pan (2 1/4 inches deep) with nonstick flour-and-oil spray.

For the batter, whisk the flour, corn meal, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar in a large mixing bowl. In a medium-size mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, buttermilk, and oil until thoroughly blended. Pour the whisked ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir to form a batter, using a wooden spoon or paddle. The batter will be moderately thick and gritty.

Spoon the batter into the prepared baking pan, smoothing it into an even layer with a rubber spatula or narrow offset palette knife.

Bake the cake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until risen and set. A wooden pick inserted in the center of the cake will withdraw clean. The edges of the cake will be light golden.

Cool the cake in the pan on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Invert the cake onto another cooling rack, lift off the baking pan, then invert again to stand right-side up. Cool completely. Cut the cake into pie-shaped wedges for serving, using a serrated knife. Store in an airtight cake keeper.

creates

one nine-inch cake, one dozen slices

store

on baking day, or up to two days in advance, stored in an airtight cake keeper

notes

◊ using fine corn meal creates a lightly gritty, tender cake
◊ use fresh leavening agents for the best overall lift to the batter as it bakes

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butter coffee cake

batter

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups cake flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt, preferably fine sea salt
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups superfine sugar
5 large eggs
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons milk

finish

confectioners’ sugar, for sifting over the baked cake

procedure

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Film the inside of a 10-inch Bundt pan with nonstick flour-and-oil spray.

For the batter, sift the all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking soda, and salt onto a sheet of waxed paper.

Cream the butter in the large bowl of a freestanding electric mixer on moderate speed for 3 minutes, or until quite creamy. Add the granulated sugar in 3 additions, beating for 1 minute after each portion is added. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing for 30 seconds after each addition to blend. Blend in the vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl with a rubber spatula frequently to keep the batter even-textured.

On low speed, alternately add the sifted mixture in 3 additions with the sour cream in 2 additions, beginning and ending with the sifted mixture. Add the milk and beat on low speed until just combined. Scrape down the mixing bowl thoroughly with a rubber spatula after each addition.

Spoon the batter into the prepared baking pan. Smooth the top with a rubber spatula.

Bake the cake in the preheated oven for 55 minutes to 1 hour, or until risen, set, and a wooden pick inserted in the cake withdraws clean. The baked cake will pull away slightly from the sides of the baking pan.

Cool the cake in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Invert the cake onto another cooling rack. Lift off the pan. Cool completely. Store in an airtight cake keeper.

For the finish, sift confectioners’ sugar over the top of the cake before slicing and serving.

creates

one 10-inch cake, creating sixteen slices

store

on baking day, or up to two days in advance, stored in an airtight cake keeper

notes

◊ the combination of all-purpose flour and cake flour develops a tender “crumb” and maintains the structure of the batter on baking
◊ buy the thickest sour cream available, stirred well before using

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pumpkin bread, with seeds

batter

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup white whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup roasted pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup roasted sunflower seeds
1 cup solid-pack pumpkin puree
1/2 cup plain vegetable oil  (such as canola or soybean)
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons light unsulphured molasses
6 tablespoons buttermilk
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

procedure

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Film the inside of a  9 to 9 1/2-inch round baking pan (2 1/4 inches deep) with nonstick flour-and-oil spray.

For the batter, whisk the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and sugar in a large mixing bowl. In a small mixing bowl, toss the sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds with 2 teaspoons of the whisked flour mixture.

In a medium-size mixing bowl, whisk the pumpkin puree, oil, eggs, molasses, buttermilk, and vanilla extract until well-blended, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour the whisked ingredients over the dry ingredients, sprinkle over the floured seeds, and stir to form a batter, using a wooden spoon or paddle. The batter will be thick.

Pour and scrape the batter into the prepared baking pan, smoothing it into an even layer with a rubber spatula.

Bake the cake in the preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes, or until risen and set. A wooden pick inserted in the center of the cake will withdraw clean. The baked cake likely will form thin cracks here and there on top, and pull away slightly from the sides of the baking pan.

Cool the cake in the pan on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Invert the cake onto another cooling rack, lift off the baking pan, then invert again to stand right-side up. Cool completely. Cut the cake into pie-shaped wedges for serving, using a serrated knife. Store in an airtight cake keeper.

creates

one bread, twelve slices

store

on baking day, or up to three days in advance, stored in an enclosed container

notes

◊ for the best flavor, be sure to use fresh, aromatic spices
◊ for the best texture and flavor, use fresh, thick buttermilk

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molasses cake

batter

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup granulated sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3/4 cup light unsulphured molasses
1 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

finish

2 tablespoons evaporated cane juice raw turbinado sugar

procedure

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Film the inside of a  9-inch round baking pan (2 inches deep) with nonstick flour-and-oil spray.

For the batter, sift the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and granulated sugar into a large mixing bowl. Whisk any small flakes of whole wheat flour left in the bottom of the sifter into the flour mixture. In a medium-size mixing bowl, whisk the melted butter, molasses, buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla extract until well-blended, about 1 minute. Pour the whisked ingredients over the dry ingredients, and stir to form a batter, using a wooden spoon or paddle. The batter will be thick.

Pour and scrape the batter into the prepared baking pan, smoothing it into an even layer with a rubber spatula.

For the finish, sprinkle the turbinado sugar on top of the batter.

Bake the cake in the preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until risen and set. A wooden pick inserted in the center of the cake will withdraw clean. The baked cake pull away slightly from the sides of the baking pan.

Cool the cake in the pan on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Invert the cake onto another cooling rack, lift off the baking pan, then invert again to stand right-side up. Cool completely. Cut the cake into pie-shaped wedges for serving, using a serrated knife. Store in an airtight cake keeper.

creates

one 9-inch cake, creating one dozen slices

store

on baking day, or up to three days in advance, stored in an airtight cake keeper

notes

◊ use the thickest buttermilk available to maintain the stability of the batter as it bakes
◊ using evaporated cane juice raw turbinado sugar for sprinkling on top of the batter creates a crunchy textural finish

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