Monday, September 16, 2019

Molasses Sweet Bread from The Foxfire Book of Appalachian Cookery

I came across the up and coming revised edition of The Foxfire Book of Appalachian Cookery in NetGalley and knew I'd want to look through it. It is a pretty standard primary source in this region, and I've seen chefs mention it on shows like Mind of a Chef and in their own cookbooks.

More from the publisher:
From springhouse to smokehouse, from hearth to garden, Southern Appalachian foodways are celebrated afresh in this newly revised edition of The Foxfire Book of Appalachian Cookery. First published in 1984—one of the wildly popular Foxfire books drawn from a wealth of material gathered by Foxfire students in Rabun Gap, Georgia—the volume combines hundreds of unpretentious, delectable recipes with the practical knowledge, wisdom, and riveting stories of those who have cooked this way for generations. A tremendous resource for all interested in the region’s culinary culture, it is now reimagined with today’s heightened interest in cultural-specific cooking and food-lovers culture in mind. This edition features new documentation, photographs, and recipes drawn from Foxfire’s extensive archives while maintaining all the reminiscences and sharp humor of the amazing people originally interviewed.
Appalachian-born chef Sean Brock contributes a passionate foreword to this edition, witnessing to the book’s spellbinding influence on him and its continued relevance. T. J. Smith, editor of the revised edition, provides a fascinating perspective on the book’s original creation and this revision. They invite you to join Foxfire for the first time or once again for a journey into the delicious world of wild foods, traditional favorites, and tastes found only in Southern Appalachia.
The pictures they have added to the revised edition are amazing and capture the faces of an aging white population. The information is useful to some and otherwise informative from a folklore and/or historical standpoint. I may never need to store items with ice blocks or skin a rabbit, but I am always interested in traditional baked goods that are usually made with seasonal ingredients or ingredients you would otherwise have on hand.



Molasses Sweet Bread

2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1-2 tsp ginger
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup melted butter
1 cup molasses or 2/3 cup molasses and 1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 egg

Sift together dry ingredients and add melted butter and the molasses. Mix well, adding buttermilk and egg. Pour into a loaf pan and bake in a 350 F oven for 45-50 minutes.

This cookbook should be a staple in Southern and Appalachian kitchens, and then probably should be on hand for all preppers and anyone who wants to be prepared to live through an  apocalypse (let's be honest, survival is survival.)

Other baked goods I've marked to try:
  • Corn Cakes
  • Old-Fashioned Gingerbread
  • Arizona's Gingerbread (Arizona is a person)
  • Cinnamon Rolls
  • Honey Tea Cakes
  • Molasses Cookies
  • Vanilla Wafers
The revised edition comes out September 16, 2019, and I thank the publisher for providing me an early copy for review.

Monday, September 09, 2019

Flourless Chocolate Walnut Cookies (gluten-free, grain-free)

We recently visited a local bakery, The Bakery off Augusta, and bought a few items to try. As we were leaving we snagged samples of a chocolate cookie that ended up being super delicious. The woman at the cash register said they were gluten free and only had four ingredients! So I stood there and said, hmm, chocolate, nuts, sugar, and eggs?

And that's when I knew I had to figure out how to make these chewy gooey cookies.


It didn't take long to find the likely recipe online, although it has five ingredients (also vanilla.) I think these are made for Passover because they contain no flour or leavening. I was most intrigued by the mixing method, which takes advantage of the egg whites to thicken the cookie batter and add structure to the cookies.

Fran├žois Payard’s Flourless Chocolate Walnut Cookies Recipe 
As seen on Food Republic
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Level of Difficulty: Easy
Serving Size: 12 4-inch cookies

Ingredients

1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa powder
3 cups confectioners' sugar
pinch of salt
2 3/4 cups walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Directions
  1. Place a rack each in the upper and bottom thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. 
  2. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. 
  3. Combine the cocoa powder, confectioners’ sugar, salt and walnuts in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed for 1 minute. 
  4. With the mixer running, slowly add the egg whites and vanilla. Mix on medium speed for 3 minutes, until the mixture has slightly thickened. Do not overmix it, or the egg whites will thicken too much. 
  5. With a 2-ounce cookie or ice cream scoop or a generous tablespoon, scoop the batter onto the prepared baking sheet, to make cookies that are 4 inches in diameter. Scoop 5 cookies on each pan, about 3 inches apart so that they don’t stick when they spread. If you have extra batter, wait until the first batch of cookies is baked before scooping the next batch. 
  6. Put the cookies in the oven, and immediately lower the temperature to 320°F. 
  7. Bake for 14 to 16 minutes, or until small thin cracks appear on the surface of the cookies. Switch the pans halfway through baking. 
  8. Pull the parchment paper with the cookies onto a wire cooling rack, and let cool completely before removing the cookies from the paper. 
  9. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 days. 
Notes from JennyBakes:

I feel my version was lumpier and less refined than the bakery's but I will tweak a few things next time - more finely chopped nuts, maybe mixed slightly less, maybe more manual spreading of the batter, which kept its shape from how it was placed on the cookie sheet. I think I may have underbaked them a bit, since mine were thicker. The bottoms were nicely baked but inside was more gooey than chewy, not so much that it was gross, but definitely borderline.

I'm also curious about trying this with different nuts. I think this recipe is dying to be made from Oregon hazelnuts! Also instead of Dutch-processed cocoa I used cocoa powder from my co-worker Libby who brought it to me from Ecuador!