Archive for September, 2011

September 25, 2011

Pie Top Cookies

I made cookies. They looked like pie tops. What to call them? Well, the most obvious answer, of course. I like learning new techniques. I adore cute things. I can’t help it usually. I just get really excited when something is adorable, feel exuberant around the sorts of creatures or crafty or cookery things that make people talk in a slightly higher pitched voice or at a faster pace than typical.

It just so happened that I had two pie’s worth of dough in my freezer. Not in as much luck?? You can whip up a fresh batch. Here‘s a perfectly useful link in a time like this.

So that’s the actual recipe. This is a tutorial, a run-down if you will, of how to make the cookies themselves so as not to needlessly repeat myself on how to make awesome pie crust. The important step for this bit (if you’re making from frozen and not from fresh) is to defrost overnight in the refrigerator. I apologize, as this recipe does call for forethought. Unless you make from scratch! There are always loopholes to stumble through and around!

First step is to make sure your surfaces are well-floured. You can wear an apron if you don’t like flour handprints. I always seem to leave traces wherever I work.

Flatten your pie crusts out, rolling evenly from the middle out in all directions.

Cut strips of the equal width. Leave intact. Begin lattice work work by folding every other strip of one pie crust down to the middle. See picture.

See? Easy. Now take the middle strip from the other pie crust and lay it across your opening. Fold up the ones folded down. Fold down the ones that were previously up and you’re ready to lay down your next longest strop of pie crust from that other one.

Once you have gone all the way to the top. Start from folding up from the bottom again starting from the middle then working down this time until you finish your latticing work.

Now you may get a biscuit or cookie cutter or whatever you might have on hand. I used a tiny mug.

I liked the shape, and with the help of a butter knife, it was perfect. Make sure you pull the dough away from the cookies and don’t try to move the cookies just yet.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

I found that I easily got four cookies at a time. I took the whole sheet of wax paper, carried it like a tray to the fridge and let the cookies hang out in there while I balled up the left over dough, stuck it in the freezer for a couple of minutes (in a plastic bag or plastic wrap) to rechill, so that I could make a new lattice and make four more cookies, pull the dough away, take the four new cookies on their wax paper tray to the fridge to chill, take the left over dough to the freezer for a couple of minutes, then lattice up my third and last batch of pie crust to get my final four cookies, put those in the fridge on their wax paper tray while I mixed up my sugary topping and egg wash.

I simply mixed a tablespoon of raw sugar with a teaspoon of cinnamon in one bowl (or cute, tiny mug) and one egg with one tablespoon of water in another bowl.

First brush the tops of each cookie with the egg wash then top with a pinch or two of cinnamony sugary goodness. Bake six at a time for 15 minutes then turn on the broiler to high for a nice, golden brown top. While the first six bake, keep the others in the fridge.

Top the cooled cookies with local honey for added sweetness. Although alone gives them a nice savory/sweet flavor that might be up or alley. I highly recommend playing with toppings or fillings. But alone is absolutely devine. My favorite topping was the honey though.

This recipe was inspired largely by not martha. Check her out. I’m just learning about her.

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September 4, 2011

Chocolate + Pear Cake

I wasn’t sure how this combination would work or if it would or if it could. I love the individual ingredients. So much. Juicy pear. Dark chocolate chips. They’ve never even crossed my mind as a combination. Never. And that is saying a lot.

So, of course, when I read about this cake over here at a LOVELY blog written by an incredibly witty and inspiring lady named Deb, I had to have it.

Chocolate and Pear Cake
inspired by smitten kitchen

1 c white whole wheat flour
1 T baking powder
1/4 t salt
3 eggs, room temperature
8 T (1 stick) butter
3/4 c brown sugar
1 lb (about 3 medium or 2 large) pears, peeled and diced
3/4 c bittersweet chocolate chunks or chips

Preheat the oven to 35o degrees F.

Prepare pan (I used a 9 in round cake pan. The original recipe called for a springform pan.) by swiping butter all over the bottom and sides. Then, sprinkle a little flour and powdered sugar into the pan, tipping, turning, and tapping to cover the entirety of the pan.

In a small bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together.

Beat the three eggs with the whisk attachment on high for a really long time. But have no fear, during this time, I’ll give you something exciting to do! Ten minutes should get the eggs to go from eggs…

… to lightly colored and pretty thick froth.

Then, beat a little longer until it’s custard consistency.

(Next time, I’ll actually use the whisk attachment instead of my regular beaters. It turned out fine. So you should be relieved to know that this is a forgiving recipe.)

As promised, something exciting:: Browning butter!!

What’s better than butter? Browned butter. And even though I was pretty frightened of this process when I first heard of it, I love it. It adds a richness, nuttiness, and depth of deliciousness. Oh, man. Okay. So. Put your stick of butter in a medium sauce pan and leave it on medium-ish heat for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally especially a lot in the last couple of minutes so the browning happens all over not just for the first bits to be browned. And yes, those bits are okay. They’re good and welcome, even. Once the butter’s browned, take it off the heat, but keep it in a pretty warm place.

Now, that your eggs are fluffed and your butter browned, add the brown sugar to your egg mixture. Mix until incorporated.

Add flour mixture to egg fluff mixture. Now, get a spatula and fold the flour into the eggs to try to maintain the fluffiness. Add browned butter; fold.

Pour into prepared pan.

Add peeled and diced pears and chocolate chips.

Bake for about 40 minutes. Don’t take the cake out of the oven until your doneness tester comes out completely batter-free. I used my Doneness Tester (butter knife) to go around the edge of the cake just inside the pan to make sure it was separated before turning it out on a cooling rack.

Let it cool for at least 15 minutes.

If I can wait that long, you can, too. It’s possible.

And enjoy.

Every single bite.

September 2, 2011

This Summer

I’ve eaten food.

I’ve made food.

I’ve enjoyed it.

Really.

I just haven’t written about it. At all. Oh, how I’ve missed writing about it. It’s been two months! A lot has happened. I watched and celebrated my best friend getting married; I started a new job; I’ve been in the hospital waiting room for an entire day while someone very close had surgery. Boy, that’s an exhausting process to go through. I’m here!!

Here’s an overview.

Perfected hummus.

I also really enjoyed remaking a favorite.

Then there was the season’s tomato to enjoy. And what better pairing than mozzarella??

And now I’m looking forward to getting back in to the swing of things. Let’s do it!

I’ll try┬ádesperately┬áhard to never miss half of a season ever again.