Sunday, December 31, 2006

Chocolate Pecan Fudge

This is one of the fudges I made for the Christmas buckets: chocolate pecan fudge. Unfortunately, this time around I cooked it a little too long so it turned out slightly crumbley and not as smooth as it should be. Oh well, it tastes fantastic, and now the boyo knows what to get me for Valentines Day ;)

1 cup heavy cream
2 cups sugar
4 oz. chocolate chips
1/2 stick salted butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 lb. chopped walnuts

1. Combine heavy cream, sugar and chocolate chips in a heavy saucepan over low heat. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until sugar dissolves. Wash down sides of pot with a pastry brush to dissolve sugar crystals.
2. Bring to a boil and cook (stir only once or twice during) until mixture reaches soft-ball stage, or 238 degrees on a candy thermometer. Remove pan from the heat and stop the cooking by plunging pot in a water bath for 1 minute. Add the butter and vanilla, but do not stir.
3. When the thermometer reads 110 degrees, mix fudge with a wooden spoon until creamy. Add the nuts and mix well.
4. Spoon into a greased 8 x 8 baking pan. Let cool and then cut into squares.

Yield: 1 lb.

Strawberry Almond-Cream Tart

It's a variation on my pear-almond tart. All I did was substitute strawberries for pears, but oh wow the difference. Before the fruit flavor was too subtle; the pears were overwhelmed by the sugar. This time the strawberries and almonds made a gorgeous slightly tart but very sweet overall flavor. When baking it this time, I made an aluminum foil tent to put on top after 40 minutes, then let it bake for 30 more to avoid it being overbrowned on top. All in all, I'm very happy with this version. I might try it with other fruit (apricots!) later; seems like most fruit would work.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Raspberry Strippers

I didn't pick the name! These are ok, more of a breakfast pastry than a dessert. They look pretty though!

* 1/3 cup granulated sugar
* 5 tablespoons butter or stick margarine, softened
* 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
* 1 large egg white
* 1 cup all-purpose flour
* 2 tablespoons cornstarch
* 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* Cooking spray
* 1/3 cup raspberry or apricot preserves
* 1/2 cup powdered sugar
* 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
* 1/4 teaspoon almond or vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 375°.
2. Beat granulated sugar and butter with a mixer at medium speed until well-blended (about 5 minutes). Add 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla and egg white; beat well. Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt, stirring well with a whisk. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture, stirring until well-blended. (Dough will be stiff.)
3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough in half. Roll each portion into a 12-inch log. Place logs 3 inches apart on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Form a 1/2-inch-deep indentation down the length of each log using an index finger or end of a wooden spoon. Spoon preserves into the center. Bake at 375° for 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove logs to a cutting board.
4. Combine powdered sugar, lemon juice, and almond extract; stir well with a whisk. Drizzle sugar mixture over warm logs. Immediately cut each log diagonally into 12 slices. (Do not separate slices.) Cool 10 minutes; separate slices. Transfer slices to wire racks. Cool completely.
5. Yield: 2 dozen

Eggnog Cookies with Rum Butter Icing

Best. Cookies. Ever. Oh WOW it surprised me. I was just looking for a recipe to use up the rest of my eggnog. Now I have to go buy some more to fill my new craving. Wow. Wowwowwow.

* 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
* 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
* 1 large egg
* 2/3 cup prepared eggnog
* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
* 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
* 1/4 cup unsalted butter
* 3 tablespoons rum
* 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
* 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. In a large mixing bowl, cream brown sugar and first addition of butter until smooth and light. Beat in egg until well blended. Stir in eggnog.
3. Mix together flour, baking soda, salt, first addition of nutmeg and ginger in a medium bowl. Blend into creamed mixture until smooth. Using either a ¼-cup measure or a 2-ounce ice cream scoop, scoop level measures of dough onto ungreased cookie sheets, spaced 2½ inches apart.
4. Bake until cookies are golden and firm to the touch, about 15 minutes. Using a spatula, transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool. When cookies are completely cool, decorate with icing.
5. To make the icing, melt remaining butter and combine with rum in a small mixing bowl. Stir in powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, blending until smooth. Let sit for 15 minutes to thicken slightly. Spread icing on top of cooled cookies and garnish with remaining nutmeg.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Christmas comes but once a year...

... thank god! Proof that I am certifiably insane:

The truffles (strawberry, gingerbread, mint, butter pecan, and coffee) are the top layer; below is a layer of fudge (eggnog, divinity, and chocolate walnut), then a layer of almond-pecan brittle. All in all it took me about 4 days of 12 hours, including freezing and waiting time. Crazy I tellya, crazy!! Although a candy basket is a nice idea, the truffles (the best part) actually took a significant majority of time. After this, baking will be a breeze!

Nut Brittle

Recipe found here. I hadn't had brittle before, but this was really good: sweet, slightly salty, and crumbled in your mouth. It wasn't too hard, but flakey in a weird-yet-wonderful way. I'm afraid I ate quite a bit of it before I managed to give it away.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Christmas Truffles!

Clockwise from the top: gingerbread truffle, coffee truffle, chocolate mint truffle, butter pecan truffle, and strawberry truffle rolled in coconut. Aren't you in love? These are going in buckets along with almond-pecan brittle and chocolate walnut fudge (which I will post later.) I haven't measured out the weights yet, I might have to slap something else together to fill the gaps (if there are any.)

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Gingerbread Men

This and hot cocoa: a Christmas staple. I'm not normally a fan of ginger cookies, but something about gingerbread men makes all the difference. I'm afraid I was (am!) the morbid little girl who would eat first one leg, then another, working my way up until only the head was left. Stars and trees (not shown) I'd just eat haphazardly.

I liked this recipe (from much more than normal because the cookies came out soft, not hard as cardboard like standard ginger cookies. The eyes are chopped crystalized ginger; otherwise I just used frosting for decoration. My frenzed (12 hour) baking day is over, yet not: I finished the goodies (these + hot cross buns) for tomorrow, but I still have truffles and Christmas candy to finish for the gift packages. Good thing I like cooking!

* 3 cups (420 grams) all purpose flour
* 1/4 teaspoons salt
* 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
* 2 teaspoons ground ginger
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
* 1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
* 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated white sugar
* 1 large egg
* 2/3 cup (160 ml) unsulphured molasses

Confectioners Frosting:
* 2 cups (230 grams) confectioners sugar (icing or powdered sugar), sifted
* 1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
* 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* 1 1/2 tablespoons milk or light cream
* Assorted food colors (if desired)

Gingerbread Men: In a large bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, and spices. Set aside.

In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and molasses and beat until well combined. Gradually add the flour mixture beating until incorporated.

Divide the dough in half, and wrap each half in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside while you roll out the dough.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of about 1/4 inch. Use a gingerbread cutter to cut out the cookies. With an offset spatula lift the cut out cookies onto the baking sheet, placing the cookies about 1 inch (2.54 cm) apart. If you are hanging the cookies or using as gift tags, make a hole at the top of the cookies with a straw or end of a wooden skewer.

Bake for about 8 - 12 minutes depending on the size of the cookies. Small ones will take about 8 minutes, larger cookies will take about 12 minutes. They are done when they are firm and the edges are just beginning to brown.

Remove the cookies from the oven and cool on the baking sheet for about 1 minutes. When they are firm enough to move, transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

If desired, you can press raisins, currants, or candies into the dough for eyes and buttons while the cookies are still warm. Otherwise, confectioners frosting can be used to decorate the cookies. You can also use the icing as a glue to attach candies, raisins, and sprinkles.

Confectioners Frosting: In an electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), cream the butter until smooth and well blended. Add the vanilla extract. With the mixer on low speed, gradually beat in the sugar. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beater. Add the milk and beat on high speed until frosting is light and fluffy (about 3-4 minutes). Add a little more milk if too dry. Place the frosting in a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip and decorate the gingerbread men as desired.

Tint portions of frosting with desired food color (I use the paste food coloring that is available at cake decorating stores and party stores).

Makes about 3 dozen cookies depending on the size of cookie cutter used.

Store in an airtight container.

Eggnog Hot Cross Buns

I had some eggnog left over and I wanted to bake bread. What could be more efficient? I took the original recipe (one I had buried in my recipe folder,) and substituted eggnog for the milk. They turned out crusty on the outside, light and fluffy inside. The eggnog glaze and frosting on top helped sweeten it, and inside I spread some maple-walnut butter I had leftover. The result: a perfect snack for the chilly, rainy day it was.

1 pkg. yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 tablespoon plus 1 tsp. white sugar
4 cups flour (2 c. white & 2 c. whole wheat)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups warm eggnog
1/4 cup butter -- softened
2 eggs -- lightly beaten
1 cup raisins

Put the yeast, warm water and 1 tsp. white sugar in a small bowl,stir and set aside until frothy about 10 minutes. Put the flour, brown sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves and salt in a bowl and whisk together. Put the butter into 1 cup of the warm eggnog and let it melt. Make a well in the center of the flour and pour in the yeast mixture, the warm eggnog mixture and the eggs. Mix until blended, then add the currants or raisins and knead until you have a smooth dough, soft but not sticky about 5 minutes in an electric mixture, 10 minutes by hand. (Add a little extra milk if you need it to get the right consistency.)

Cover with a plastic bag or plastic wrap and leave in a draft-free spot until the dough has doubled in bulk 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Punch the dough down; shape into 16 to 18 balls and place on a greased cookie sheet. Cover with a sheet of plastic, place in a warm spot and allow to rise again until the buns are almost double in volume about 20-30 minutes. Now with a very sharp knife or razor, make a quick cross on top.

Preheat the oven to 400F. Allow the buns to recover from the cross-making for 10-15 minutes, then bake for 12-15 minutes or until they sound hollow when you rap the bottoms.

Make a glaze by boiling 2 Tbs. of the remaining eggnog with the 1Tbs. of sugar until it is very bubbly. Brush the glaze on the buns as you take them from the oven it makes them shiny. Makes 16-18 buns. Drizzle frosting on buns to make a cross.

Vanilla frosting: Stir together 1 1/2 cups icing sugar, 1 to 2 tablespoons eggnog and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Pecan Truffles

I know I promised pictures of my almond cake, but disaster struck during assembly. Instead of looking like a three-tier wonder, the cakes cracked under the weight of the frosting, leaving me with a bakery earthquake. The taste was ok, not something I would make again. Overall it was a disappointment.

These, however, were not! I haven't made truffles in years, and I couldn't remember how to dip them to get that smooth outer coating. With a little practice with a spoon, a corn skewer, and a lot of melted chocolate, I think I've got the knack. Good thing too, since truffles are a major portion of my Christmas goodie bags. These are but the beginning to my seasonal baking frenzy -- I already have a mint version in the frig that will have to wait until tomorrow for coating since it is near midnight. Tomorrow's post should be a long one though! On the agenda: gingerbread men (haven't made those in years either, I even bought sprinkles!), eggnog hot cross buns (since I have leftover eggnog and have a yearning to work dough), almond brittle, chocolate walnut fudge, and of course, truffles. Whew, who needs a job, I'm hard at work already!

* 2 1/2 cups toasted pecan halves
* 3 tablespoons superfine granulated sugar
* 1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs (from about three 5- by 2 1/2-inch graham crackers)
* 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
* 1 teaspoon vanilla
* 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
* 24 oz white chocolate (chopped)

Finely chop 1/2 cup pecans.

In a food processor grind remaining 2 cups pecans with a pinch salt, occasionally scraping down side of bowl, until pecans release their oil and mixture becomes a smooth paste, about 3 minutes. Transfer pecan butter to a bowl and stir in remaining ingredients until combined well.

Form level teaspoons of pecan butter into balls and with a dipping fork dip into melted white chocolate. Adorn with halved pecans, if desired. Chill truffles, in layers separated by wax paper, in an airtight container at least 1 hour, or until firm, and up to 4 days.

Makes about 40 truffles.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Lemon Cheesecake with Almond-Gingersnap Crust

The boyo and I are visiting my parents this week, and I commandeered the humongous kitchen for myself. Since 9:30 this morning, I have made 2 batches of peppermint bark cookies, an apple crisp that turned out beautifully, an almond cake that I will post tomorrow, and this: a lemon cheesecake with almond-gingersnap crust. It looks rather plain, especially compared to its predecessor, but delicious nonetheless. I changed the recipe (as is my wont) and added some chopped almonds for crunch and extra lemon juice for zing. My modifications were minor though, and recipe below (thanks epicurious!) is unaltered.

* 2 cups ground gingersnap cookies
* 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
* 5 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
* 2 cups sugar
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 7 large eggs
* 3 cups (24 ounces) sour cream
* 2 tablespoons (packed) finely grated lemon peel
* 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Lemon leaves or twists (optional)

For crust:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Stir cookie crumbs and butter in medium bowl until evenly moistened. Press mixture onto bottom of 9-inch-diameter removable-bottom cheesecake pan with 3-inch-high sides. Bake crust until deep golden, about 12 minutes. Cool completely. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.

Stack 3 large sheets of foil on work surface. Place same cake pan in center. Gather foil snugly around pan bottom and up sides to waterproof.

For filling:
Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese in large bowl until smooth and fluffy. Gradually beat in sugar, then salt. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time. Beat in sour cream, grated lemon peel, and lemon juice. Pour filling into pan.

Place wrapped cake pan in large roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into roasting pan to come halfway up sides of cake pan. Bake cake until filling is slightly puffed and moves only slightly when pan is shaken gently, about 1 hour 25 minutes. Remove cake pan from water bath; remove foil. Cool cake in pan on rack 2 hours. Chill uncovered until cold; cover and keep chilled at least 1 day and up to 2 days.

Cut around pan sides; carefully loosen pan bottom from sides and push up pan bottom to release cake. Place cake (still on pan bottom) on platter. Garnish with lemon leaves or twists.

Monday, November 27, 2006

White Chocolate Blackberry Cheesecake with Blackberry Sauce

I got to taste this one! Can we say "yum?" The original recipe (modified below) called for a very little bit of blackberry sauce in the cheesecake, and none to go on the individual slices. Sacrilege! I doubled a sauce recipe and now have enough for the cheesecake, pancakes for breakfast, and ice cream in between. I might have over done it. A little.
1 cup pecans
* 1 1/2 cups graham crackers
* 3 tbsp sugar (for crust)
* 6-8 tbsp butter, melted
* 1 1/2 cups fresh blackberries, or unsweetened frozen blackberries, defrosted and drained
* 1 1/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
* 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
* 8 oz. white chocolate, chopped (Callebaut or Baker's Premium preferred)
* 2 lb. (32 oz/907g) cream cheese, softened
* 2 tbsp. unbleached all-purpose flour
* 4 large eggs, room temperature
* 2 tsp. vanilla extract
* 1/2 tsp. almond extract
* 2 tablespoons whipping cream
* 1 cup fresh blackberries for serving with the cheesecake (optional)

* blackberry sauce (see following recipe)

Wrap the outside of the 9-inch springform pan with a large piece of heavy aluminum foil and place in a large baking pan with at least 2-inch high sides. The springform pan will be watertight. Preheat the oven temperature to 350 degrees F (180 C).

For crust: Blend nuts, graham crackers, and sugar together in a food processor until fine. Add melted butter until you can pinch the crust together slightly. Pat into bottom and sides of your springform pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes. Remove and let cool.

Puree the blackberries in a food processor. Use the back of a spoon to press the blackberries through a strainer to remove the seeds. Measure 1/2 cup strained puree into a small bowl and mix with 1 tablespoon sugar and the lemon juice. Set the sauce aside and save any additional puree for another use.

Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Place the white chocolate in a non-reactive ovenproof container and melt it in the oven, 8 to 10 minutes. As soon as the white chocolate is melted, remove it from the oven and stir it smooth. Set the white chocolate aside to cool slightly while you mix the cheesecake. Put the cream cheese in the large bowl of an electric mixer. Mix on low speed until the mixture is smooth, about 1 minute. Add the remaining 1 1/4 cups sugar and mix until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Mix in the flour. Add the eggs, 2 at a time, mixing the batter smooth before the next addition of eggs and again after all of the eggs are added. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl twice during this mixing. Mix in the vanilla and almond extract. Mix in the whipping cream. Stir in the melted white chocolate.

Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan. Use a small spoon to drizzle the blackberry sauce over the batter, leaving a 1-inch plain edge. Dip the spoon gently into the batter and swirl some of the sauce into the batter, leaving some swirls of sauce on top of the batter in a marbleized pattern. Do not disturb the crumb crust. Put the cheesecake in the oven and pour hot water in the large baking pan to reach 1-inch up the sides of the springform pan. Bake about 1 hour or until you give the cheesecake a gentle shake and the top looks firm (mine actually needed 1:30.) Cool the cheesecake in the water bath for 1 hour on a wire rack covered loosely with paper towel. Carefully remove the cheesecake from the water bath. Remove the paper towel and cool 1 hour more. The cheesecake should feel cool to the touch. Cover with plastic wrap and chill thoroughly in the refrigerator, at least 6 hours or overnight.

Blackberry Sauce
* 2 pints blackberries (frozen or fresh)
* 1/2 cup water
* 3/4 cup sugar
* 2 tablespoons cornstarch

Crush the raspberries with water in a saucepan. Add sugar and cornstarch. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer 2 minutes. Push through a foodmill or strainer.

To make this quicker/easier, you can just make more of the blackberry puree for the cheesecake, and apply the sauce recipe to the excess. It's worth it!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Peppermint Bark Cookies

I made these for a friend who's taking care of our kitties while we're away next week. Peppermint bark is a gorgeous concoction generally saved for the holidays (a tradition I aim to change immediately!). It's a layer of milk chocolate, covered in a layer of white chocolate, and sprinkled with crushed candy canes. Genius, the person who invented it!

I had a moment of culinary stupidity while making the bark. After making the bark and fridgerating it, the recipe called for you to "break" it. I promptly fetched a hammer.


Bark isn't like brittle -- it smooshes instead of shattering. A butcher's knife proved much better at cutting it down to size, and didn't separate the layers like the hammer did (-ahem-.) But that just left me with "unuseable" bits to nibble on!
* 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
* 1 cup light brown sugar (not packed!)
* 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
* 1 large egg
* 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
* 1-3/4 cups all purpose flour
* 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1 1/4 cups peppermint bark, chopped (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Cream the butter with the sugars using an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy (approximately 30 seconds.) Beat in the egg and the vanilla extract for another 30 seconds. In a mixing bowl, sift together the dry ingredients and beat into the butter mixture at low speed for about 15 seconds. Stir in the peppermint bark.

Using a 1 ounce scoop or a 2 tablespoon measure, drop cookie dough onto a greased cookie sheet about 3 inches apart. Gently press down on the dough with the back of a spoon to spread out into a 2 inch circle. Bake for about 20 (hs note: 25) minutes or until nicely browned around the edges. Bake a little longer for a crispier cookie (hs note: or if your cookies are a bit bigger).

Makes 2 dozen cookies.

Peppermint Bark
* 9 Candy Canes
* 1 lb. of milk or dark chocolate
* 1 lb. of white chocolate

Line a cookie sheet with wax paper. Unwrap candy canes and place in a large resealable bag. With a rolling pin, smash the canes.

Melt milk/dark chocolate in microwave-safe bowl in microwave, on high for 10-15 second cycles. Stir between heatings. Pour chocolate into cookie sheet and carefully spread to ~1/8" thickness. Refrigerate until firm (~15 minutes).

Repeat with white chocolate (careful! White chocolate burns easily, monitor heat closely.) Spread on top of dark chocolate. Before refrigerating, sprinkle the crushed candy canes on the still-warm white chocolate. Refrigerate for ~15 minutes.

Invert bark in cookie sheet and peel off wax paper. Break into a few large chunks with your hands then chop into 1/2" chunks for cookies. Enjoy!

UPDATE: Having now made bark with both milk and dark, I can safely say that dark is much better. It keeps the bark from being overly sweet, and has a more distinguishable flavor from white chocolate than milk.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Chocolate Genoise with White Chocolate Tangerine-Pomegranate Mousse

Whew, that title is a mouthful. But yay! My first attempt at mousse and it turns out perfectly -- look at those clean corners! The recipe (compliments of called for straight tangerine juice, but all I could find at the store was pomegranate-tangerine, and I was too lazy to squeeze my own. Next time I won't trim the cake as the recipe calls for, but will just put cake+mousse in a larger pan. Trimming the cake is kind of a waste in my opinion... although I'll admit it made a good midnight snack!
* 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
* 9 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
* 3/4 cup sugar
* 5 large eggs
* 1/2 cup ground toasted hazelnuts
* 3 cups strained fresh tangerine or orange juice (or pomegranate- tangerine)
* 1/3 cup sugar
* 2 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
* 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
* 14 ounces imported white chocolate (such as Callebaut or Lindt), chopped
* 6 tablespoons sour cream
* 2 cups chilled whipping cream

* 9 ounces imported white chocolate (such as Callebaut or Lindt)
* Unsweetened cocoa powder
* Fresh raspberries
* Fresh mint sprigs

For Cake:
Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter 9-inch-diameter springform pan with 2 1/2-inch-high sides. Line bottom with parchment. Butter parchment. Dust pan with flour. Melt butter and chocolate in heavy large saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly until smooth and melted. Remove from heat and whisk in sugar, eggs and ground nuts. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake cake until toothpick inserted into center comes out with very moist crumbs attached, about 45 minutes. Cool completely on rack (cake will fall and crack).

Release cake pan sides. Turn out cake onto work surface. Peel off parchment. Cut off outer 1/2-inch edge of cake. Clean cake pan. Reattach cake pan sides; brush sides of pan with vegetable oil. Set cake in center of pan (there will be space around cake that will be filled in with mousse). Refrigerate cake.

For Mousse:
Boil tangerine juice and sugar in heavy large saucepan until reduced to 1 1/2 cups, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, sprinkle gelatin over lemon juice in small bowl. Let stand 10 minutes to soften.

Add gelatin mixture to tangerine juice mixture and stir to dissolve. Add 14 ounces white chocolate and whisk over low heat just until melted. Whisk in sour cream. If using pomegranate-tangerine juice, add a few drops of red coloring to the mousse now. Pour into large bowl. Chill mixture until cool and thickened but not set, whisking occasionally, about 1 hour 45 minutes.

Beat chilled whipping cream to stiff peaks. Fold into white chocolate mixture. Pour mousse over cake in pan, covering top and sides completely. Refrigerate cake overnight.

Using vegetable peeler, shave 9 ounces white chocolate into thin curls (if white chocolate is too hard to shave, place briefly in warm place to soften slightly). Run small sharp knife around pan sides to loosen cake. Release pan sides. Place cake on platter. Sprinkle chocolate curls over top of cake. Press more chocolate curls around sides of cake, covering completely. Place cocoa powder in fine sieve. Dust cocoa very lightly over chocolate curls. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.) Garnish cake with raspberries and mint sprigs. Serve cold.

Serves 12.

Sour Cream Apple Pie

Again, compliments of Our Patisserie (is it any wonder this is my favorite blog?) I doubled the crust because I had to use a larger pan, and if I'd thought about it I would have halved-again the apples and cream. Unfortunately I don't have a cross-section picture but I'll have a taste-test result here soon!
* 1 1/2 c graham crackers, finely ground
* 8 tbs melted butter (or enough to make it stick)
* 3/4 c ground pecans
* 3/4 c sugar
* 2 tbs flour
* 1 c sour cream
* 1 egg
* 1 tsp vanilla
* 1/4 tsp cinnamon
* 5 large apples, peeled, cored and sliced thinly
* 3 oz chopped walnuts
* 1/2 c packed brown sugar
* 1/2 tsp vanilla
* 1/2 tsp cinnamon
* 4 oz butter, cut into tiny pieces
* 1 1/2 c all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350F. Combine the crust ingredients well and press into a 9-inch springform pan.

Mix all the filling ingredients except the apples in a large bowl until well combined. Add the sliced apples and mix well. Pour into the crust and bake 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the topping. Place all the topping ingredients in the food processor bowl and process just until crumbly. (Of course, if your food processor is small like mine, you can do this the old-fashioned way. Mix sugar, flour, cinnamon and vanilla in a bowl, cut in the butter using a pastry blender until crumbly and add the chopped walnuts.) Sprinkle the topping on the partially baked filling and bake for another 15-20 minutes.

UPDATE: The taste-test results are in, and it's a success! There were comments about how it was a bit runny, so next time I'll probably add a bit more sour cream and a little cornstarch, and bake it for ~5 more minutes.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Pear-Almond Tart

I've never made a pear tart before, mostly because pears are not my favorite fruit. They can be very good, but mostly they're failed attempts at the brilliant: too mealy, too starchy, not sweet enough, overripe. At the request of a friend though, I attempted one for a dinner party. It was good, about what I would expect from a pear dessert. Not my preference but edible. However, the almond cream that went in the bottom was gorgeous. That I would love to make into a tart by itself -- it was sweet and nutty, and the texture was properly crunchy with ground almonds.
Recipe was taken from one of my favorite blogs, Our Patisserie.
Pastry Shell:
* 1 1/2 c unbleached flour
* 8 tbs unsalted chilled butter, cut into 8 pieces
* 1 large egg
* 2 tbs sugar
* pinch of salt
* 1 tsp ice water (if required)
Almond Paste:
* 1/2 c (1 1/2 oz) whole almonds
* 3/4 c sugar
* 4 tbs butter at room temperature, cut into 4 pieces
* 1 large egg
* 1/2 tsp almond extract (check health food stores for oil-based almond flavor)
* 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
Cream Filling:
* 1/2 c heavy cream
* 1 large egg yolk
* 1 tsp sugar
* 1 tsp vanilla extract
* 4 large ripe Bartlett or Bosc pears, halved, peeled and cored

For the crust, process flour, butter, egg, sugar and salt until mixture resembles coarsemeal, 10-15 seconds. Pinch; if it does not hold together, sprinkle a few drops of cold water and pulse 2-3 times to mix. Do not overprocess. Gather dough in a ball, flatten, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes. On lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 12 inch-circle about 1/8-inch thick. Line a 10-inch quiche pan. Refrigerate 30 minutes before filling.

Meanwhile, you can prepare the almond paste, pears and the cream filling: For almond cream, process almonds and sugar until finely ground. Add butter and pulse 4-5 times. Add remaining ingredients and process 15 seconds to blend. For cream filling, process cream, egg yolk sugar and vanilla extract for 10 seconds.

Before assembly of tart, preheat the oven to 350F. Spread almond paste over bottom of pastry shell and arrange pears attractively, flat side down on almond paste. Pour cream filling carefully over pears. Bake for 1 hour or until filling is set and browned. Cool in pan over wire rack. You can glaze the tart with a little diluted apricot jam if you want. Equally delicious served warm or at room temperature.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Banana-Rum Cheesecake with Caramel Sauce

I guess I'm just in a cheesecake mood. Compliments of the Food network, this has an almond crust, a caramelized banana layer, a rum-cheesecake layer, then is smothered in caramel. Next time I think I'll embed almond slivers on the top for decoration; otherwise, yum!
* 9 graham cracker sheets
* 1/2 cup almonds
* 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
Banana Layer
* 2 tbsp unsalted butter
* 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
* 1 tsp vanilla
* 1 tbsp rum
* 3 firm bananas, sliced
* 2 lb. cream cheese at room temperature
* 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
* 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
* 5 large eggs
* 2 tsp vanilla extract
* 1 tsp rum extract
Caramel Topping
* 1 1/2 cups sugar
* 1/4 cup water
* 1 tbsp corn syrup or lemon juice
* 1 cup whipping cream
For crust, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and grease the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan and wrap the pan in foil. In a food processor, pulse almonds until fine. Add graham crackers and pulse until crumbled. Add melted butter and pulse to combine. Press into the bottom of prepared springform pan (not up the sides) and bake for 12 minutes. Allow to cool while preparing bananas.

For bananas, heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat and add butter and brown sugar, stirring until melted and bubbling. Stir in vanilla and rum and add bananas. Stir just to coat and warm and pour into cooled crust.

For cheesecake, beat cream cheese until fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl often. Add brown sugar in 2 additions, beating well after each addition. Beat in butter. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat well after each addition. Stir in vanilla and rum extract and pour cheesecake batter over caramelized banana layer in springform pan. Bake cheesecake in a water bath: place springform pan into a baking dish and pour hot tap water around it, to come halfway up the pan. Bake for 30 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F. and bake for another 30 to 40 minutes, until filling puffs just slightly around edges but still moves a little in center when shaken. Remove pan from water and allow to cool for 2 hours before refrigerating overnight.

For caramel topping, combine sugar, water and corn syrup or lemon juice in a pan. Bring to a boil without stirring and cook, uncovered, until it turns a rich amber colour. While cooking, occasionally brush down the sides of the pot with a brush dipped in cool water. Once sugar has reached desired colour, remove from heat and carefully stir in whipping cream (watch out for the steam and bubbling). Return to medium heat and simmer until reduced by a third, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Chill until thickened but still fluid, about 15 minutes. Pour caramel over cheesecake and chill completely. (This can be done up to 8 hours before serving). To serve, run a knife carefully along the inside of the pan to loosen, remove pan and slice with a hot, dry knife.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Sheesh, how very orange. It's a pumpkin cheesecake with a gingersnap crust, and (not yet included) cinnamon whipped cream. Tis the season! I might add more sugar next time -- the batter wasn't very sweet when I tasted it. We'll see how the reviewers handle it!

My other bakery today was your basic banana bread, but I spiced it up with some walnut-maple butter. Unfortunately I won't get any of that either, but I'm keeping it in mind to have with a hot cup of cocoa next time it rains out here.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Orange-Blueberry Cake

There's a cake under there, I swear! Problem is, I had to disguise the fact that the frosting was melting off the cake. The recipe below is adjusted, but it originally called for way too little powdered sugar in the frosting -- it was more of a glaze. Unfortunately for me, I didn't realize this until late at night when I didn't want to go running to the store for more sugar. Still, it looks neat (I hope it hopes up til tomorrow!) Thank goodness oranges are in season, and blueberries were on sale!
* 2 1/2 cups cake flour
* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
* 1 1/2 cups sugar
* 3 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
* 1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange peel
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 4 large eggs
* 1 cup whole milk
* 2 1/2-pint baskets blueberries
* 2 tablespoons sugar
* 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
* 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
* 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
* 4+ cups powdered sugar
* 2 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
* 1 teaspoon grated orange peel
* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

* 2 1/2-pint baskets blueberries

For cake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides; line bottoms with rounds of parchment paper. Sift first 3 ingredients into medium bowl. Beat butter in large bowl until fluffy. Gradually add sugar, beating until blended. Beat in concentrate, peel, and vanilla. Beat in eggs 1 at a time. Beat in flour mixture in 4 additions alternately with milk in 3 additions. Divide batter between prepared pans. Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool in pans on rack.

For filling: Combine berries, sugar, and lemon juice in heavy small saucepan. Bring to boil over high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Boil until mixture is reduced to 3/4 cup, stirring occasionally and mashing berries coarsely with fork, about 8 minutes. Chill filling uncovered until cold, about 30 minutes.

For frosting: Beat cream cheese and butter in bowl to blend. Beat in powdered sugar in 4 additions, then orange concentrate, peel, and vanilla. Chill until firm but spreadable, about 30 minutes.

Cut around cakes to loosen. Turn cakes out. Peel off parchment. Place 1 layer, flat side up, on platter. Spread filling to within 1/2 inch of edges. Chill 5 minutes. Top with second layer, flat side down. Spread 1/2 cup frosting thinly all over cake to seal. Spread remaining frosting over cake. Mound remaining blueberries on top. (Can be made 1 day ahead; chill. Serve at room temperature.)

Chocolate Mint Scroll Cake

This is an adaptation of my Chocolate Raspberry Ganache Cake. When it came time to decorate I'd originally intended to put 6 or 8 large rosettes of chocolate around the rim then lean the Pirouette cookies on them... but I turned out not to have enough chocolate. So I settled for mass-o-cookies with a little white chocolate shaved on top. I think it looks nice, although I would have preferred powdered sugar instead of white chocolate. Meh. I'll find out how it tastes tomorrow :)

The cake itself consists of one chocolate genoise (a moist egg cake) that has been sliced in half. Each half is brushed with a syrup to make it moist (in my case, I made a syrup from water, sugar, and creme de menthe), then ganache is spread between the layers and over top. Finally, over all of it a chocolate-cream glaze is poured that hardens slightly and helps keep the cake's shape. It's really rich, almost like eating fudge. Yum.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Pimp That Snack

I used to have this one recurring dream in which, through masterful arcade skills, I would win several gigantic candies -- a huge caramel and a Reese's peanut butter cup the size of twice my head. That was a goooood dream. Anyway, I recently came across this website, Pimp That and thought "I could do that." Voila, behold, my Hegemon Snickers. This baby is equivilent to over 200 fun sized bars, or 32 king sized bars as you can see by the poor dwarfed king in the picture.

Pictures and recipe will (hopefully) be posted at the site, in which case I'll supply a direct link. Otherwise the fun will be here. Since I didn't get to eat the Hegemon (it went to the boyo's coworkers) I'm not feeling the effects of the sugar coma that was undoubtably part of the joy of eating the world's only Hegemon Snickers. Actually, I want to make another one. Not a Snickers this time, been done now. Perhaps a Caramel Crunch or even a Rocher (yum!) ... although those I'd have to eat myself. Oh well. Maybe next weekend.

UPDATE: WHOOO! It was finally posted, and I've been ranked #2 of all Pimps. I feel so flattered!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Blueberry-Lemon Cake with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Yummy! Granted, I didn't actually get to taste - this slice was cut for your benefit then dutifully placed back in the cake. I did get to taste the frosting though: wow. I didn't use fresh blueberries - not in season - but frozen blueberries worked fine.
* 3 1/3 cups cake flour
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
* 2 cups sugar
* 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
* 1 teaspoon (packed) grated lemon peel
* 4 large eggs
* 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
* 2 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
* 11 ounces good-quality white chocolate (such as Lindt or Baker’s), finely chopped
* 12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
* 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
* 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
* 3+ cups powdered sugar
Additional blueberries (optional)
Lemon slices (optional)

For cake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 2-inch-high sides; line bottoms with rounds of parchment paper.

Sift first 4 ingredients into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until fluffy. Gradually add sugar, beating until blended, scraping down sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in lemon juice and peel, then eggs 1 at a time. Continue to beat until well blended. Beat in dry ingredients in 4 additions alternately with buttermilk in 3 additions. Fold in berries. Transfer batter to pans. Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on racks.

For frosting: Stir white chocolate in top of double boiler set over barely simmering water until almost melted. Remove from over water and stir until smooth. Cool to lukewarm. Beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl until blended. Beat in lemon juice, then cooled white chocolate. Add powdered sugar until frosting is smooth and moderately stiff.

Turn cakes out onto work surface. Peel off parchment. Place 1 cake layer, flat side up, on platter. Spread with 1 cup frosting. Top with second cake layer, flat side down. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Garnish with additional blueberries and lemon slices, if desired. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome; refrigerate. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before serving.)

Makes 10 to 12 servings.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Bakewell and Linzer Tarts

Now I understand the term "food porn." Lately I've been flipping through the Flickr photo sets for desserts and pastry while watching tv: BAD idea. Thousands upon thousands of gorgeous food pics, but very very few recipes to accompany them. The agony! Many don't even have titles, so I don't know what sinful concoction is before me. The few who do post recipes however, normally link the picture to their blogs, which are chock full of brand-spankin' new recipes for me to try. I've added a few of the best to my favorites.

Anyway, from my porn surfing, I found these two tarts: the Bakewell Tart (pictured above) and the Linzer Tart. The Linzer I didn't get a picture of before it was whisked off to the hungry boyos; just assume mine looked as good as the one in the recipe. The Bakewell is a shortbread crust, with strawberry jam smeared on it, then covered with an almond cake. It overflowed while baking so I got to taste the leavings: the almond cake absolutely melts in your mouth. The Linzer Tart is an almond shortbread crust, with a raspberry jam layer, then chocolate ganache poured on top. I didn't get to taste but the bowl for this one, but I did make one adjustment to the recipe: I added ~1 tablespoon of cinnamon to the ganache, to spice it up a little bit.

The last recipe I'll post today is my birthday cake. Mine didn't photograph well at all; in fact it collapsed mid-picture under the weight of the mint sauce. It was a definite chocolate bomb though. I made one addition to the recipe: mid-bake time, I stuck a chocolate ganache truffle in the center of each. The idea was, melted chocolate truffle center! However, I stuck it too far down then over-cooked the cakes: the truffle was melted at the bottom, causing it to collapse faster once I took it out of the pan, and there was no molten center. They were still excellent though; just mini souffles.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Lemonade Cake

I know, I know, I've been making a lot of fruit desserts lately. But, how could I resist Lemonade Cake! It looks rather plain so next time I'll probably candy some lemon rinds and sprinkle them across the top. I didn't have a chance this time around, unfortunately.

* 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
* 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick/3 oz/85g) butter, softened
* 1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
* 3 tablespoons thawed lemonade concentrate
* 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
* 2 large eggs
* 2 large egg whites
* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
* Cooking spray
* 2 tablespoons butter, softened
* 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
* 2 teaspoons thawed lemonade concentrate
* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 8 ounces cream cheese
* 3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
Preheat oven to 350°F (180 C). Place first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 5 minutes). Add eggs and egg whites, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda; stir well with a whisk. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture; beat well after each addition.
Pour batter into 2 (9-inch) round cake pans coated with cooking spray; sharply tap pans once on counter to remove air bubbles. Bake in preheated 350°F (180 C) oven for 20 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pans. Cool completely on wire rack.
Place 2 tablespoons butter and the next 4 ingredients (2 tablespoons butter through cream cheese) in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until fluffy. Add confectioners' sugar, and beat at low speed just until blended (do not overbeat). Chill 1 hour.
Place 1 cake layer on a plate; spread with 1/2 cup frosting. Top with remaining cake layer. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Store cake loosely covered in the refrigerator.

Vanilla-Orange Drop Cookies

Orange Cookies! Very orange cookies in fact. I experimented with vanilla beans for the first time in this recipe; besides the vanilla extract, I scraped out the seeds of one vanilla bean. Did you know that vanilla beans are not actually bean pods? I was expecting a lima bean-like pod, but in actuality the beans were tiny little bits encased in the pod. Nifty! The other thing to know about vanilla beans is you can pay 8 bucks for a glass container and two vanilla beans. Next time I'm buying them wholesale.
* 1/2 cup cream cheese, softened
* 1/4 cup (1/2 stick/2 oz/56 gm) unsalted butter, softened
* 1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
* 1/2 cup honey
* 1 large egg
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
* 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
Orange Icing:
* 1/2 can (3 oz.) frozen concentrated orange juice
* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
* 3 cups confectioners' sugar
Preheat oven to 375˚F (190˚C). Grease and flour a cookie sheet or line with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, butter, sugar, honey, egg and vanilla. Mix at medium speed until smooth. Add dry ingredients and mix until incorporated. Drop medium sized spoonfuls of dough onto cookie sheet and bake for 7-8 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool. When cookies are cool, ice with orange icing.
In bowl of an electric mixer or in other medium size bowl, combine all icing ingredients and mix on medium speed with electric stand mixer or electric hand mixer, until smooth.
Makes 3 dozen cookies.

Monday, October 02, 2006

White Chicken Curry

I tried my hand at a different type of curry, a mild white one. It was ok, but very very mild. The chicken was tender but not very flavorful; the onions absorbed most of the spices. All in all, I probably won't make it again. Still, I like the look of that star anise tucked in there!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Spices Galore!

I've had a curry craving for ages, but I have a hard time finding recipes online that match the taste of Indian restaurants, so I broke down finally and bought a cookbook: Indian Essence by Atul Kochhar. So far, it's really good. Unfortunately it also requires loads of spices not sold in your average grocery store. Luckily, I live in the Bay Area, and Berkeley is wonderful for finding the oddest everythings. Mango powder, nigella, star anise, all in a little store called Bombay Spice House. Eee! Expect loads of odd-ingrediented but wonderful-looking recipes in the future.

Shrimp Curry

Compliments of the Essence of Emeril. It's brightly colored and has a bit of a kick to it. I omitted the okra and eggplant... but I'm a wimp. Was very good regardless though.
Curry Oil:

* 1/2 cup olive oil
* 2 tablespoons curry powder
* 2 teaspoons minced garlic
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 3 turns freshly ground black pepper
Place all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend for 15 seconds. Store in an airtight jar or bottle for up to 1 week.

Shrimp Curry:
* 1 teaspoon black mustard seed
* 1 cup finely-chopped onion
* 1/2 cup chopped poblano pepper
* 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
* 1 tablespoon ground coriander
* 5 tablespoons canola or neutral vegetable oil
* 1 cup each julienned carrots and green bell pepper
* 1 cup each sliced okra and diced eggplant
* 1 cup peeled, seeded, diced tomatoes (tomato concassè)
* 1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
* 1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 2/3 cup plain yogurt
* 2 tablespoons butter, melted
* 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, for garnish
* Curry oil (previous recipe), for garnish
Gently saute mustard seeds, onion, poblano pepper and spices in oil. Add carrots, okra and eggplant and sauté 2 minutes. Add shrimp, tomatoes and bell peppers and cook just until shrimp turn pink. Stir in coconut and season with salt. Simmer just until heated through and remove from heat. Stir in yogurt and melted butter. Serve garnished with chopped parsley and lightly drizzled with curry oil.

Lemon-Honey Drops

I was making a selection of cookies, and needed to include a non-chocolate item (infidels!) These are Lemon Honey Drops. They've got this gorgeous lemon-sugar frosting that you brush on while the cookies are still warm.
* 1/2 cup granulated sugar
* 7 tablespoons butter or stick margarine, softened
* 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
* 1/3 cup honey
* 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
* 1 large egg
* 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 cup plain fat-free yogurt
* Cooking spray
* 1 cup powdered sugar
* 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
* 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Beat first 3 ingredients with a mixer at medium speed until light
and fluffy. Add honey, extract, and egg; beat until well-blended.
Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife.
Combine flour, baking powder, and salt, stirring well with a whisk.
Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with yogurt, beginning
and ending with flour mixture. Drop by level tablespoons 2 inches
apart onto baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350
degrees for 12 minutes or until lightly browned.
3. Combine powdered sugar and juice in a small bowl; stir with a
whisk. Brush powdered sugar mixture evenly over hot cookies. Sprinkle
evenly with 2 teaspoons rind. Remove cookies from pan; cool on wire
racks. Yield: 32 cookies.

Buttermilk Sugar Cookies

First recipe! These are Buttermilk Sugar Cookies, yum. Mine turned out looking more like scones than cookies, but I was making large cookies.
* 1/2 cup butter (no substitutes), softened
* 1 cup sugar
* 1 egg
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 cup buttermilk
* 3 tablespoons butter (no substitutes), softened
* 3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
* 1/4 cup milk
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans for topping
1. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda and salt; add to the creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk and mix well. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto greased baking sheets.
2. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 - 12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.
3. For frosting, combine butter, sugar, milk and vanilla in a mixing bowl; beat until smooth. Frost cookies; sprinkle with nuts if desired.
New blog! I was posting so many recipes I figured I'd dedicate one strictly for food. Prepare for the yummies!