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.