Cookie Archive

Friday, March 18, 2011

tiny poppy seed 'taschen

tiny poppy seed hamantaschen

My track record with hamantaschen — those three-cornered filled cookies traditionally limited to Purim, but shouldn’t be, because did I mention that they’re cookies? And you can fill them with whatever you want? — is abysmal. I can’t seem to find a recipe that allows them to be as fragrant, buttery, delicate and delicious as I believe they were meant to be that does not completely fall apart once baked. I suspect my insistence on finding my hamantaschen nirvana in a cream cheese-based dough — cream cheese, although tangy and delicious, seems to just flop down and laze about like a kitten in the sun once it hits the oven — plays a part although, given, my sealing technique also “leaves a lot to be desired”. The first year I attempted a recipe on this site, they puffed and pancaked open in the oven. The second year was no better. The third and fourth year, I didn’t even bother.

poppy seeds
zest an orange

But this year, I spied a recipe in Wednesday’s New York Times that although cream cheese-free, gave me hope. Plus, I’ve head so much about traditional poppy seed fillings, but confess that I have no experience with them. The fact that this called for one from scratch (as in, not “open a can of poppy seed filling”) delighted me and the cookie, with its egg yolks and butter, seemed to carry all the marks of a great sweet tart crust-ish/sable-like cookie dough.

poppy seed filling

Continued after the jump »

Friday, February 11, 2011

white and dark hearted brownies

white and dark hearted brownies

White chocolate brownies have it tough. They share a name with a baked good that needs no improving on; their chocolate is rejected by self-titled “real” chocolate eaters for being a pale imitation of the rich, nutty and bittersweet awesomeness of darker chocolates; this same chocolate is so sweet that you must dial back the sugar in your brownies to adjust for it, removing moisture, risking leaving them cake-like and if it couldn’t get much worse, they’re barely white. More like, pale-yellowish-beige. Yum, right?

white chocolate brownies
brown brownies

I was one of those white chocolate rejectors for a long time but I finally made peace with it when I stopped judging it through the lens of chocolate — which is bitter and complex in ways that white chocolate cannot be — and accepted it for what it is, a buttery sweet confection that, when used carefully, plays exceptionally well with others, like mint, berries, nuts and, well, dark chocolate. And since I’d come full circle with my reasoning, I made a batch of white chocolate brownies and a batch of dark chocolate brownies and hadn’t figured out what I was going to do next, only that nothing bad could happen from there.

ready to trade parts

Continued after the jump »

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

crescent jam and cheese cookies

crescent cheese cookies

Because if I don’t mention this today I believe my husband will pop out of lurkdom and tsk-tsk me publicly for it, let me own up to one thing: I snore. Just kidding! I emphatically do not snore, not even when I have had wine with dinner and a lingering head cold and it would have been completely understandable. Not even then.

farmer cheese
sieved

Wow, that was totally not what this post was supposed to be about. Let me try again, from the place where I own up to something: I often get really cranky with recipes when I cook. Why wasn’t this tested better? Would it have killed them to add this highly relevant detail? How many editorial hands did this recipe pass through and not a single one of them could have corrected this bogus weight? It’s not pretty and, tellingly, the tendency has only become exacerbated since I began writing my own cookbook. It leads to a lot of grumpiness in the kitchen. A recipe I feel would benefit from an overhaul is a needling reminder that even with a team of very able people involved, perfection is unattainable and one day someone will be standing in a kitchen wondering how nobody saw that inevitable typo in my book and lordy, is it too early for a drink?

rolled, cut and dolloped with jam

Continued after the jump »

Thursday, December 23, 2010

spicy gingerbread cookies

snowflake gingerbread

Exactly a year ago, I decided on a whim to make gingerbread cookies. I could do that back then; I had a little “baa”-ing baby trying to roll over in the living room and then he’d go no further! He’d be exactly where I left him! I mean, I still have a “baa”-ing baby but only if you prompt him with “And the sheep says?” and he is never, ever where last I left him. I digress.

mucho molasses
so much spicy

You see, I have a flawlessly executed candlelit dinner every Christmas Eve with one of my closest friends from high school and her family. This tradition is 15 years on now and I enjoy it as much as my own people’s Christmas Day tradition of Chinese and a movie. Last year, she told me that her brother and his wife had wanted to decorate gingerbread men but realized they’d have no time to bake them. I saw my window, searched MarthaStewart.com for a recipe and got moving.

making little men

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

iced oatmeal cookies

iced

What normal people often do is take a recipe for something floury, buttery and indulgent and try to make it healthier. Maybe they use less butter. They might dial back the sugar. But more often than not they swap in a little whole wheat or alternative grain flour and at least make something with more nutrients.

dough, a deer...
scooped big

But we’ve established by now that I’m not normal, and so, I did the opposite. I took a recipe for an oatmeal cookie with oat, whole wheat, rye, millet and barley flour within and I swapped in some unbleached all-purpose flour. And I did it for you! Yes, you.

baked

Continued after the jump »


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