Tasty Tufts: Guide to Scandinavian Bakeries

marzipancake

Click over to Tasty Tufts to read my post that tells you all about Scandinavian bakeries! If you love anything involving  cinnamon rolls, cakes, danishes, or good bread this is the post for you.

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Blue Cheese, Walnut, and Fig Thumbprint Cookies

It’s been nearly two weeks since I’ve been back home for winter break. Much as I expected, Palo Alto has stayed more or less the same—there were some rumors about our favorite local restaurant closing, which prompted a frenzy of lunch visits and curry takeout orders all around the neighborhood, but it appears as though the claims were for the most part unfounded. Despite the continuity of our life here in California, it seems ever so slightly different after being away for four months. Things I used to take for granted, like eating my mom’s Almond Roca or taking my dog for a walk, are a treat after getting used to living in a dorm. It’s so nice to be able to see my high school friends and cook in our kitchen.

It seemed so luxurious to bake these thumbprint cookies for our Christmas Day party; I had forgotten how nice it is to use a standing mixer and dishwasher and to have all of the ingredients at my fingertips. I didn’t have to take the blue cheese from the salad bar or remove nearly a cup of chopped walnuts from the condiment station—what a treat!

We had a container of fig jam in the freezer left over from the summer (long story, but it involves homemade fig newtons), and after making a batch of fig and blue cheese focaccia, I thought the flavors would do pretty well together in a cookie. These cookies are barely sweetened, a resemble more of a savory shortbread, and have toasted walnuts and Roquefort folded into the dough before the centers are filled with fig jam. They’re a great accompaniment to a cheese plate and serve as great puzzle-solving fuel if, like us, you still have an unfinished 1000 piece puzzle that is the one lingering guest from your Christmas party.

Walnut, Blue Cheese, and Fig Thumbprints

Makes about 4 dozen cookies

16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

½ cup granulated sugar

1 egg

3 cups all-purpose flour

¾ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

4 oz. blue cheese, crumbled

¾ toasted walnuts, finely chopped

½ cup fig jam or spread

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. For the dough: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and pistachios and set aside. Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream them together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and mix until thoroughly combined, about 30 seconds. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Add the blue cheese and walnuts and mix on low speed until distributed throughout the dough.
  3. Taking 1 tablespoon of dough at a time, roll the dough into balls and place 1 ½ inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Using a wine cork or the back of a wooden spoon, press an indentation in the cookie. Fill the indentations with the fig jam. Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes until just barely golden. Let cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Click here for a printable version of this recipe!

Bake Sale Update

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I would like to thank everyone that came out and supported my bake sale on Tuesday. Because of your generosity, I raised $42 for the Second Harvest Food Bank, which will help provide food for families especially during the summer when school lunch programs are no longer in session.

I hope that everyone enjoyed all of the cookies, desserts, breads, and beverages that they bought and it was very exciting to see how successful the bake sale was. As always, thank you for reading and supporting my blog!

Double Chocolate Flourless Cookies

Welcome back to Cookie Monday! Enjoy this week’s installment:

I’ve done a lot of research on cookie recipes and variations, and amidst all of the butter and flour laden recipes that dominate cookbooks there are always a few unique recipes that pop up. Take this one, for example: it’s a chewy double chocolate cookie that derives its structure solely from sugar, egg whites, and cocoa powder. There is no creaming perfectly room temperature butter into sugar or baking soda vs. baking powder decision making to be had. Once the batter is whipped together (in less than two minutes) it resembles melted chocolate ice cream, but once the cookies emerge from the oven the unassuming batter has turned into round, shiny, and perfectly crackled cookies.

They’re chewy and absolutely packed with chocolate from the cocoa powder in the batter to the generous amount of chocolate chips folded into the loose batter. A small amount of espresso powder bumps up the chocolate flavor and gives these cookies a sophisticated taste that is perfect for the end of any meal. Without dairy or gluten, these cookies make excellent treats for anyone with allergies or special diets without making everyone else feel like they’re missing something. Next time you have some spare chocolate and a need for a fast dessert, give these cookies a try.

Double Chocolate Flourless Cookies

Makes 3 dozen cookies

Adapted from Food52 and Shutterbean

2 ½ cups confectioner’s sugar

1/8 teaspoon table salt

½ cup cocoa powder

¼ teaspoon instant espresso powder

3 egg whites

1 teaspoon vanilla

12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk together the confectioner’s sugar, salt, cocoa power, and espresso powder on medium speed. Add the egg whites and beat until fully combined.
  3. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the vanilla and chocolate chips until the chocolate is evenly distributed.
  4. To form the cookies, spoon 1 tablespoon of the batter onto the baking sheets per cookie, leaving 2 inches between each cookie. Bake for 12-14 minutes, until the edges are set and the tops have puffed. Let cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then remove carefully with a thin spatula and let cool completely on wire cooling racks.

Click here for a printable version of this recipe!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles

Welcome back to Cookie Monday! Enjoy this week’s installment:


I hope I’m not alone when I say that the best part about making a batch of chocolate chip cookies is not the freshly baked cookies but rather the bowl of cookie dough. It’s rich, buttery, full of chocolate chips, and will never, ever burn your tongue. This is why I’m so glad we have a tradition of making chocolate chip cookie dough whenever we see our good family friends, Bob, Barb, Adam, and Alina. We may live on opposite sides of the country, but we are so fortunate to be able to see them almost every year through various trips and visits. Adam, Alina, Aidan, and I (apparently mom and dad missed out on the “A” name for me) have managed to whip up cookie dough in Vermont, California, and Hawaii and we have so many fun memories of eating cookie dough, whether it was at night on a boat in Hawaii or at our dinner tables.


When Bob and Barb came to visit this past weekend, I knew I had to make cookie dough when they came over for dinner. Most of the dough was enjoyed as is in bite-sized balls, but some of the cookie dough was made into small truffle-like confections with plenty of melted chocolate, while others were partially dipped in some dark chocolate. To me, cookie dough is not just a delicious treat but also a special tradition and eating it means we are surrounded by some of our very best friends who know a good dessert when they see one.


Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles

Makes about 4 dozen

16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

¾ cup granulated sugar

¾ cup dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/3 cup milk

½ teaspoon table salt

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

12 oz. dark chocolate, finely chopped

  1. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add the vanilla and milk and mix on medium speed until well combined. Add in the salt and flour and mix on low speed until just combined, then mix in the chocolate chips on low speed. Transfer the dough to the refrigerator and let chill for at least 1 hour to make it easier to form the truffles.
  2. Once the dough has chilled, melt 8 oz. of the dark chocolate in a metal or glass bowl set over a pan of simmering water until smooth and melted, stirring frequently. Take the bowl off the heat and stir in the remaining 4 oz chopped chocolate and stir gently until fully melted.
  3. To form the truffles, you have two options:
    1. Either: Spoon a teaspoon of chocolate into a small cupcake wrapper and place a small ball of cookie dough on top of the chocolate and cover with more chocolate,
    2. Or: roll the cookie dough into bite sized balls, place a toothpick in the top of each, then dip the bottoms of the truffles into the melted chocolate.
  4. Let the truffles set on parchment paper or greased aluminum foil for 45-60 minutes, then serve. If it will be longer than 2 hours before you serve the truffles, store them in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Click here for a printable version of this recipe!

Candy Corn Cookies

Welcome back to Cookie Monday! Enjoy this week’s installment:


Who here is ready for Halloween? I may not have my costume figured out yet, but I do have plenty of Candy Corn Cookies. If you thought the actual candy was good, wait until you try these miniature sugar cookies that look just like the addictive treat—I think they taste even better.

Dough Colors

These candy corn cookies take a basic sugar cookie dough that’s divided into three pieces, and colored with a little food coloring. It’s sticky and messy, and your hands might look slightly jaundiced for a few hours, but sacrifices must be made for cookies.

Once it’s fully colored, the dough is pressed into a straight-edge loaf pan, and chilled until firm. I stuck my dough in the freezer because I wanted the sun to still be out while I was photographing the dough, but you can always refrigerate the dough for a few hours or even overnight before cutting out the cookies.


Using the edges of parchment that line the loaf pan, the block of dough is removed from the pan and sliced, then cut into small triangles. It helps if you channel your inner Martha Stewart here and imagine that you’re decorating your Hamptons house with seasonally appropriate decorations and baking cookies after an afternoon of apple picking. I happened to be writing college essays in between chilling the dough and baking the cookies, but I figure a little Martha never hurts when baking anything especially creative.


Once you have several hundred of these adorable cookies all sliced up, they’re baked until just set on the edges. Let them cool, and then bring them to your next Halloween party for a trick and a treat in one tiny bite. Happy Halloween!


Candy Corn Cookies

Recipe from the PBS food blog, Fresh Tastes

Makes a bunch of tiny cookies (8 cups of cookies)

16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1 ½ cups powdered sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon table salt

3 cups all-purpose flour

Yellow and red food coloring

  1. To prepare, cut 3 rectangles of parchment paper and about the size of a piece of paper and cut one sheet of parchment paper with a width of 8 ½ inches and a length of at least 12 inches. Use the 4th sheet of parchment paper to line the bottom and long sides of a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan.
  2. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until well combined. Add the baking soda, salt, and flour and mix on low speed until all the flour is incorporated. Turn the dough out onto parchment and divide into three equal portions—if you have a food scale, each piece will be 260g-270g.
  3. Leave one of the pieces plain, add 5 drops of yellow food coloring to one of the pieces, ad 4 drops of red and 6 drops of yellow to the third piece. Kneading gently, mix the yellow food coloring into the second dough piece first, then gently knead the third piece until the colors are evenly distributed and the dough is orange in color.
  4. Take the parchment lined loaf pan and place the un-colored dough piece into it. Using your hands, gently pat it down into an even layer, making sure the dough reaches to the edges of the pan. Then place the orange dough on top of the first piece and gently pat it into an even layer, then press firmly to compress the dough. Now add the yellow dough, smooth it into an even layer, and pat firmly to compress the dough. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least four hours. If you’re in a rush, you can freeze the dough instead for 45 minutes before cutting the cookies.
  5. One the dough has chilled, set it on the counter, preheat the oven to 350F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Remove the dough from the pan by pulling gently on the parchment sides, then cut the dough width-wise into ¼ inch thick slices using a sharp knife. Cut the dough into small triangles (about the size of a candy corn) as shown in the above pictures, then place them ½ inch apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 6-8 minutes until the edges are set, then let cool for a few minutes on the baking sheets before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Click here for a printable version of this recipe!