Monday, September 28, 2020

Lemon Poppyseed Crinkle Cookies from Tasty Pride

If you're like me, you follow those Tasty videos that make cooking/baking anything within reach. They've started compiling recipes in different themes and publishing them, and one I had a review copy of is Tasty Pride, gathered by Jesse Szewczyk (who I follow in Instagram) and featuring 75 LGBTQ+ identifying cooks, chefs, recipe developers, food writers, and other people in the food industry. Full color pictures make all the recipes appealing but of course I gravitated toward the dessert chapter. (I also marked the "Chocolate Chip Cookie Skillet à la Mode, by the creators of Coolhaus, to try.) Growing up, my Mom made a lemon poppyseed cake so often it was like her signature cake, and we always made chocolate crinkle cookies for the holidays (although we call them wagon wheels), so this recipe was appealing to me in its flavor profile and nostalgia feels. I gave most of them to my new neighbors next door because otherwise I would have eaten them all myself~ I did change a few of the steps, so check below the recipe for my modifications.


Lemon Poppyseed Crinkle Cookies
Recipe by Justin Burke-Samson

Makes about 25 cookies

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup plus 2 tbsp granulated sugar
Zest of 2 lemons
Juice of 3 lemons
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp poppy seeds
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter, sugar, and lemon zest. Cream on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add the lemon juice, egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and mix on medium speed for 4 minutes, until fully incorporated. The mixture will look broken at first, but it will come together.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and poppy seeds.
  3. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just incorporated. Do not overmix. Finish mixing with a rubber spatula to incorporate any floury bits at the bottom of the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.
  4. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Use a 2-tbsp cookie scoop to portion out the dough and place the balls on the pans at least 2 inches apart. Wrap the baking sheets in plastic wrap and freeze the dough for at least 2 hours or up to 1 month.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  6.  Roll the balls of cookie dough in confectioners' sugar, then return to the baking sheets. Bake the cookies for 16 minutes, rotating the pans halfway, or until cracks form and the edges are slightly golden. Remove the cookies from the oven and let cool slightly on the baking sheets. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely before serving.

Notes from JennyBakes:

When I'm making anything sweet that is citrus, I zest the fruit into the granulated sugar and rub it through with my fingertips. It just makes the cookies super lemony!

I skipped the freezer time. Once the dough was chilled, I didn't see a point in freezing it. The balls were fine quickly rolled in the confectioners' sugar and baked immediately. It still took a solid 16 minutes.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Orange blossom, honey, and baklava semifreddo

I have been participating in the Rainy Day Bites Cookbook Club in Instagram, and the cookbook of the month for September is Falastin by Sami Tamini and Tara Wigley. There are a certain number of recipes that everyone is making, and you can find them by looking for the #rainydaybitescookbookclub tag - so far I've posted hummus with kofta (made with Impossible burger) and green shakshuka. But you know me, I always linger in the baked goods and dessert sections of cookbooks. I have several recipes marked but this semifreddo really caught me, probably because it called for orange blossom water and I was so proud because I thought I had it. I did not realize I didn't actually have any anymore until I was too deep into the recipe, but I found some reasonable substitutes. I think my orange blossom water was tossed in the Big Pantry Reorganization of Pandemic Times 2020, because I know I hadn't used it all. I had been adding some to my iced coffee sometimes, a brilliant idea I got from author Monica Byrne.

This was delicious, lightly sweet and not cloying in sweetness or richness. It is the perfect end to a lighter or heavy meal. And although not traditional, it incorporates so many flavors from Palestine that I'm going to include it in my 2020 reading/baking project.


Orange blossom, honey, and baklava semifreddo

Semifreddo
1 cup heavy cream
6 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp water
1 egg, plus 2 egg yolks
1 1/2 tbsp orange blossom water

Baklava filling
2/3 cup pistachios, toasted
2/3 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
1 tsp ground cinnamon
10 cardamom pods, shells crushed and then discarded, seeds finely ground in a mortar and pestle (or 3/4 tsp ground cardamom)
1/4 tsp flaky sea salt
2 1/2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp orange blossom water

Orange sauce
2 oranges
Mounded 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1/4 cup mint leaves, roughly torn

Lightly grease and line the base and sides of an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaf pan. Set aside until ready to use. 

To make the semifreddo, put the cream into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high speed for about 3 minutes, or until medium peaks form. Transfer to a separate bowl and keep in the fridge until needed. Wash the bowl and whisk and return them to the mixer; they need to be clean and ready to whisk the eggs halfway through the next stage.

Put the sugar, honey, and water into a small saucepan and place over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then decrease to a simmer, stirring often. After 3 minutes, add the egg and egg yolks to the bowl of the stand mixer. Beat on medium-high speed for about 3 minutes, until pale and creamy. Decrease the speed to medium-low and slowly pour in the bubbling hot syrup, which should be foamy and glossy. Once the syrup is completely incorporated, increase the speed to medium-high and continue to beat for about 6 minutes, untiul the mixture is pale and glossy and the bowl is cool to the touch. Using a spatula, fold in the orange blossom water and whipped cream until just combined. Put half the mixture - about 7 oz/200 g - into the prepared loaf pan and smooth out the top. Wrap with parchment paper and freeze for 2 hours. Refrigerate the other half of the mixture in a separate bowl until needed.

To make the baklava filling, put the pistachios and walnuts into the bowl of a food processor and blitz roughly until crumbled. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the spices, salt, honey, and orange blossom water. Once the semifreddo has been in the freezer for 2 hours, gently top with the baklava filling. Spread it out so that the top is covered, without pushing it in. Remove the reserved semifreddo from the fridge, give it a good whisk by hand, then pour it over the baklava filling. Spread it out until smooth, then rewrap the pan with parchment paper and freeze overnight.

To make the sauce, use a small, sharp knife to trim the tops and tails off the oranges. Cut down along their round urves, removing the skin and white pith. Release the segments by slicing between the membranes and transfer them to a bowl, discarding any seeds and squeezing what's left of the membranes to release any liquid into the bowl. Just before serving, add the pomegranate seeds and mint leaves to teh sauce.

Either spoon the sauce in a line along the top of the semifreddo before slicing or serve alongside.

Notes from JennyBakes:

-Since I knew fairly early I didn't have orange blossom water, I zested the orange and rubbed that into the sugar for the semifreddo, and substituted orange juice other places that called for the water.

-I didn't want to wash the food processor again so I just did some rough chopping of the nuts and it was just fine.

Falastin: A Cookbook
by Sami Tamini and Tara Wigley

Other recipes I've made:
Hassan's easy eggs with za'atar and lemon
Green shakshuka
Hummus with kofta
Roasted [squash and] zucchini with whipped feta and pistachios
[Cauliflower] musakhan (instead of chicken!)
Lemon chicken with za'atar

Other recipes I want to make:
Fruit and yogurt with sesame oat crumble and tahini-date syrup
Scrambled red shakshuka
Cauliflower and cumin fritters with mint yogurt
Mashed turnip with greens, caramelized onions, and feta
Chilled cucumber and tahini soup with spicy pumpkin seeds
Beet and feta galette with za'atar and honey
Pasta with yogurt and parsley breadcrumbs
Baked fish kubbeh
Baked fish in tahini sauce (I made a similar recipe from Ralph Nader's Lebanese cookbook)
Open cauliflower pies (sfiha)
Kofta with tahini, potato, and onion
Sweet tahini rolls
Ma'amoul bars

Hmm, this is probably not all going to happen in September!

Monday, September 14, 2020

Marionberry Cocoa Nib Scones

Last week I posted about the chocolate chip (cookies) of the future and I will have some of the baking products from Dandelion to play with for a while, so don't be surprised if half my posts relate to that in the near future. This recipe started with their scone recipe but I went rogue on a few ingredients and used a different process so your mileage may vary. I've been staying up late watching fire reports about where I grew up in Oregon, especially since the entire mountain I grew up on was evacuated. My Mom moved into town from there in April but that didn't meant I wasn't still worried about it. With my head in Oregon I decided to make an Oregon dessert and used some of the marionberries I had in the freezer for special occasions. I decided to try pairing them in the scone with a little chocolate but more subtly in the form of cocoa nibs (which also add texture) and just a few chocolate chips. I would make these again, but would probably bake them at least at 375 for a slightly shorter amount of time (I've never baked scones at 350, but since I did when I made this batch, I'll leave it in this post.)


Marionberry Cocoa Nib Scones

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup whole milk
1/3 cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup cocoa nibs
3/4 cup frozen marionberries (can use other berries, maybe not strawberries, dried fruit probably okay)
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup large crystal sugar (or use what you have)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Combine dry ingredients into large mixing bowl.
  3. Blend butter into dry ingredients until texture is like rough sand. Using a food processor is okay but fingertips are even better. You don't want to overmix.
  4. Add berries or dried fruit, chocolate chips, and cocoa nibs and toss to coat with flour mixture.
  5. Mix egg with whole milk and vanilla, then trickle over dry ingredients. Use a fork or your hand to lightly mix until mixture starts coming together.
  6. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Gather dough together into 1-2 circles. Cut smaller circles into 4, one large circle into 8, and separate wedges on parchment. 
  7. Brush heavy cream on the top of the scone, and sprinkle with crystal sugar.
  8. Bake 25 minutes until starting to brown, your finger pressing on one doesn't make a squish inside, but not so long the bottoms burn!

Monday, September 07, 2020

Chocolate Chip (Cookies) of the Future

 In the middle of August, I received an email from my husband with the subject line "Choco Chippies of the Future" and it contained this link. I learned about a Tesla senior design engineer who also played with chocolate and had come up with a new faceted design. 

I thought, "Cool!" My husband thought, "We need to try this" and just a few days later I opened a box from Dandelion Chocolates (and the chocolate hadn't melted, which might be the most amazing part of this story) - it contained a cookbook that also had their story in it, large chocolate chips, cacao nibs, melting chocolate, and cacao passion fruit jam. It looks like you can order the bundle minus the cookbook from their site, but it is currently sold out. Probably because of all the people who had to order it after reading the article!

Not surprisingly, the cookies are delicious.


Maybe the Very Best Chocolate Chip Cookies
(from Making Chocolate, by the people who also brought us the chocolate chips of the future)

Ingredients:

 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 1/8 tsp baking soda
1/2 plus 1/8 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 cups chopped 70% tempered chocolate

Directions:

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and both sugars on medium speed, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla, and mix on low speed until combined.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients in two additions, mixing on low speed to just combine after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as necessary. Mix on low speed until just combined, about 2 minutes. Add the chopped chocolate and mix on the lowest speed, just until the chips are distributed evenly throughout the dough.

Although you can bake the cookies at this point, we recommend refrigerating the dough overnight (chilling the dough for at least a few hours produces a chewier, more flavorful cookie with better color and even spreading.) When you're ready to bake, scoop out 1/4-cup portions of the dough, roll each into a ball, and press the dough balls down slightly.

Preheat the oven to 350 F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Place the dough on the prepared baking sheets, but do not crowd the cookies; we recommend no more than 6 cookies per baking sheet. They will look enormous.

Bake for 12 minutes, until golden brown on the edges, rotating the baking sheets 180 degrees halfway through to ensure even coloring. These are delicious served warm, or cool them completely on the baking sheets and store in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

Monday, August 31, 2020

Sweet Potato Bebinca from Season by Nik Sharma

I thought I was done with this cookbook (Season by Nik Sharma) but every time I see someone in the Rainy Day Bites Cookbook Club (in Instagram) try another recipe from it, I am drawn back in to the other recipes I've marked. I baked the sweet potatoes for this before realizing I didn't have coconut milk, so this recipe was made over the period of a week. See beneath the recipe for a link to the cookbook as well as how I simplified the recipe process.

This is a take on a traditional Goan custard, but I found it to be more firm than I was expecting. To me the firmness was an asset. It makes it easier to cut, serve, store, and more. The flavor is divine. If any people actually gather for Thanksgiving, I volunteer to bring this! It's the flavors of a sweet potato dessert but easier than pie, and I think I like it better than pie texture. It could be dressed up with whipped cream and nuts or something but I don't think it needs it.

 


Sweet Potato Bebinca

(recipe is from Season by Nik Sharma but I'm taking this from the New York Times, which you should visit for more contextual info and a picture of a greater smooth texture than I achieved)

Ingredients

  • 2 to 3 medium to large sweet potatoes (1 1/4 pounds total)
  • 6 tablespoons/85 grams unsalted butter, melted, plus more for the pan
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup/200 grams grated jaggery, muscovado, panela or dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup/60 milliliters maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 (13.5-ounce/400-milliliter) can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 cup/130 grams all-purpose flour

Preparation

  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Rinse the sweet potatoes to remove any dirt, pat them dry with paper towels and poke several holes in them with a fork. Put the potatoes in a baking dish or on baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Roast until completely tender, 35 to 45 minutes. Cool completely before handling. Peel the sweet potatoes, discard the skins, and purée the flesh in a food processor. Measure out 1 2/3 cups/400 grams and set aside, saving the rest for another purpose. (The sweet potatoes may be roasted 1 day ahead and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.)
  2. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.
  3. Line the bottom of a 9-inch round baking pan with 2-inch sides with parchment paper and grease lightly with butter. Put the pan on a baking sheet. In a large bowl, whisk together the cooled sweet potato purée, melted butter, eggs, sugar, maple syrup, nutmeg, turmeric and salt until smooth. Add the coconut milk and flour and whisk until the mixture is smooth, with no visible streaks of flour.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and put the pan, still on the baking sheet, in the oven. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through. The pudding should be firm to the touch in the center and light golden brown around the edges. Remove from the oven and cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Wrap the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate to set for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight.
  5. Once the bebinca has set, run a sharp knife around the sides of the pan, flip the pan onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and tap gently to release. Peel the parchment off the top. Invert onto a serving dish, and peel off the second sheet of parchment paper.
  6. To serve, use a sharp serrated knife to cut the chilled bebinca into wedges. Store the leftover bebinca, wrapped in plastic wrap, in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Notes from JennyBakes

 I have no idea why the directions don't use a springform pan - half the steps described are unnecessary if you just use a springform pan. I guess there's a little bit of a ledge that forms on the bottom outside, but it's so much simpler! That's the only change I made. (This is also true about his chai masala apple cake which I made the day I'm writing this post - made the same change for that one, and it didn't sag on the edge at all.

I used brown sugar, just light, because that's what I have. I did some looking for jaggery and decided I didn't need to buy it when it wasn't required.

The recipe says to just use a whisk but my sweet potato was still pretty chunky and didn't completely incorporate, which you can really see in the second picture. This had little effect on end result or flavor but the full blend of the cookbook picture and the NYT photo does look slightly more impressive. Next time I'd either run the mixture through the food processor (not the blender or mixer as I don't think it would be wise to introduce more air into it necessarily) or better puree the sweet potato. I bet if you take it directly from the oven and it hadn't been in the fridge a few days, this may not be a problem.

THIS IS SO GOOD; MAKE IT TODAY.

Monday, August 24, 2020

Bombay Frittata from Season by Nik Sharma

I decided this baked egg dish belonged on JennyBakes because it is so delicious! It's actually the first thing I made from Season by Nik Sharma, the cookbook I mentioned last week for the Margherita Naan Pizza. It was the perfect light dinner with massive flavor.

Bombay Frittata

12 large eggs
1/2 cup (100 g) Crème Fráiche*
1/2 cup (70 g) finely chopped red onion*
2 scallions, thinly sliced (white and green parts)
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 Tbsp fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp dried red chili flakes
2 Tbsp Ghee or vegetable oil
1/4 cup (30 g) crumbled Paneer or feta*

Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C).

In a large bowl, combine the eggs, crème fráiche, onion, scallions, garlic, cilantro, garam masala, salt, pepper, turmeric, and chili flakes and beat with a whisk or fork; do not overbeat. 

Heat the ghee in a 12 in (30.5 cm) ovenproof skillet, such as cast iron, over medium-high heat, tilting the skillet to coat evenly with the fat. When the ghee bubbles, pour the eggs into the center of the skillet, shaking to distribute evenly. Cook, undisturbed, until the frittata starts to firm up on the bottom and along the sides but is still slightly jiggly on top, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the paneer and transfer the skillet to the oven. Cook until golden brown, 20-25 minutes. Serve warm.

*Notes from JennyBakes: I used sour cream instead of crème fráiche and it worked just fine. I had shallots so used those in place of red onion, and feta for the paneer. I actually sauteed the onions and garlic a bit before adding the eggs because I didn't want them to have the "sharp bite" the cookbook author enjoys.


Season by Nik Sharma

Other recipes I have marked to try:

-Toasted Cumin and Lime Cucumber Salad (after seeing it on Deborah Balint's Instagram! Yum!)
-Cocoa-Spiced Bean and Lentil Soup
-Eggplant Pilaf
-Sweet Potato Bebinca
-Apple Masala Chai Cake
-Rhubarb, Cardamom, and Rose Water Sharbat
-Salted Tarragon Lassi
-Spiced Mango Milkshake

Recipes I've already made:

-Margherita Naan Pizza
-Egg Salad with Toasted Coriander
-Cardamom Iced Coffee with Coconut Milk

Monday, August 17, 2020

Margherita Naan Pizza from Season by Nik Sharma

 I invited myself along to the Rainy Day Bites Cookbook Club in Instagram and the August cookbook is Season by Nik Sharma. The recipes are Indian with some traditional elements and some spins on traditional recipes. The default is always from scratch and as fresh as possible, from roasting and grinding your own spices to making your own naan. That's what I did for this recipe, a week late or so, but I finally did it! I'll include the naan recipe but not the full pizza recipe; please see the cookbook for that! 

Naan pizza

I never feel quite comfortable with pizza. My stove isn't gas, I don't have a pizza stone, and I can't get quite to the crispness I would like. However I thought the end result was tasty flavor-wise. I ended up just making the two pizzas from the dough rather than making half into garlic naan, which was my original inclination.

Naan
(from Season, with far more directions and narrative and photos)

1/2 cup (120 ml) whole milk, heated to 105 to 115 F (41 to 46 C)
1 large egg
2 Tbsp plain full-fat Greek yogurt
1 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp fine sea salt
1 Tbsp active dry yeast
2 cups (280 g) all-purpose flour or whole-wheat pastry flour, plus more for rolling out the naans

Using a fork, whisk the milk, egg, yogurt, butter, and salt in a small bowl. Sprinkle with the yeast and let it sit for 5 minutes. The mixture should be bubbly on the surface.

Put the flour in a large bowl or mound on a clean work surface and make a well in the center. Pour the yeast mixture into the middle of the well.* Using clean hands or a large wooden spoon, gradually mix the flour from the inside wall of the well into the liquid to form a sticky dough. Knead well for 4-5 minutes.

Fold the dough by grabbing it from the underside and stretching it and folding it back over itself. Rotate a quarter of a turn and repeat three or four times. Brush a large bowl with a little oil and put the dough in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a dark, warm place until doubled in size, about 4 hours.

Divide the dough into four equal parts and shape into balls. On a clean, lightly floured work surface, use a rolling pin to roll out the balls of dough, one at a time, into circles about 1/8 in (4 mm) thick and about 6 in (15 cm) in diameter.

To cook the naan, heat a large skillet with a lid over medium-high heat. Slap a circle of dough into the hot skillet and cover the pan to trap the steam. Cook for 3-4 minutes, flip the dough, and turn the ehat to low. Cook, covered, until the naan blisters, with a few big bubbles, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the pan and wrap in a clean kitchen towel. Repeat with the remaining three circles of dough.

*If you are an amateur bread or pasta maker, this well concept might not be as easy as it sounds. I had a break in my wall and ended up with less of the flour and less of the yeast mixture than I started with. What a mess! I wish I'd used a bowl. 

Season by Nik Sharma

Other recipes I have marked to try:

-Toasted Cumin and Lime Cucumber Salad (after seeing it on Deborah Balint's Instagram! Yum!)
-Cocoa-Spiced Bean and Lentil Soup
-Eggplant Pilaf
-Bombay Frittata
-Sweet Potato Bebinca
-Apple Masala Chai Cake
-Rhubarb, Cardamom, and Rose Water Sharbat
-Salted Tarragon Lassi
-Spiced Mango Milkshake

Recipes I've already made:

-Egg Salad with Toasted Coriander
-Cardamom Iced Coffee with Coconut Milk