Sweets

Orange White Chocolate Currant Oatmeal Cookies

Orange White Chocolate Currant Oatmeal Cookies

Here is yet another cookie recipe adaptation that I have gleaned from Elizabeth Prueit’s TARTINE cookbook. This time around it is a batch of wonderfully soft oatmeal cookies with chunks of white chocolate, plump currants, orange zest, and a hint of vanilla and nutmeg. I have to say there is an insightful playfulness to Elizabeth’s recipes that have me returning to her cookbook time and time again. Leafing through TARTIN’s pages is as much about being inspired as it is about having confidence in knowing you will come away with some amazing cookies that you know everyone will love!

 

Big Orange -White Chocolate – Oatmeal– Currant -Cookies         makes 24 to 36 cookies 

  • 12 oz / 340 g white chocolate, chopped into 1/8 inch pieces
  • 1 ½ cups currants, soaked in warm water until plumped, and drained
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup/ 8 oz unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 ¼ cups sugar
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp dark molasses
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 4 tsp freshly grated orange zest
  • 2 tbsp fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1 ½ cups old- fashioned rolled oats

Preheat oven to 350 f/ 180 c

Have ready 3 cookie sheets lined with parchment paper or non-stick liner.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and nutmeg in a bowl and set aside.

Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium high speed until light and creamy. Slowly add the sugar and continuing beating until light and fluffy.

Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a silicone spatula. Add the whole egg, egg yolk, vanilla, molasses, salt, orange zest, and orange juice and beat on medium low speed until well mixed. Add the flour mixture and mix until combined. Stop the mixer and add the currants and the rolled oats and fold them in using the silicone spatula until well combined.

Have ready a small bowl of water.

For big cookies scoop out the dough into 3 ½ oz / 100 g portions. Roll portioned dough into balls and set aside on a platter.

If you want to make smaller cookies scoop out 2 ¾ oz/ 75 g portions of dough. Baking time will be 7 to 10 minutes.

For best results you want to bake 6 large cookies on each baking sheet. This allows for even baking and ample space for the cookies to spread out as they bake.

Position six pieces of dough on the lined baking sheet. Dip your fingers into the bowl of water and then gently press the dough out into about 3 inch rounds. Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes. The cookies should be slightly browned around the edges while the centers will still feel a little soft.

Promptly transfer baking sheet with the cookies to a wire cooling rack. After about 5 minutes you can slide the parchment or liner with the cookies from the baking sheet to the cooling rack. The cookies will firm up as they cool. Be sure the cookies are cooled to room temperature before serving or transferring them to an airtight container for storage.

Continue baking batches of cookies until all the cookies are baked and cooled to room temperature.
Store in airtight containers fora couple of weeks. I you decide to refrigerate the cookies for longer storage be sure to bring them to room temperature for serving.

Summer Mixed Beery Galette

Summer Mixed Berry Galette

 

August always reminds me of the beginning of berry season back in the American North East where I come from. Irresistible just picked fresh berries are on display in all the local farmers markets and at roadside farm stands that dot the countryside. A cooks delight to be sure!

What vividly comes to mind is making all sorts of summery mixed berry galettes. This French free form tart is so easy to make you will be find yourself whipping them up not only throughout the berry season, but into the winter months as well using frozen berries that you have put up in your freezer. I have to say, a warm galette coming out of the oven in the dead of winter brings back a taste of summer that is a pure delight that lifts the spirit.

Preparing a batch or two of your favorite flaky tart dough and freezing rounds gets most of the work for making a galette out of the way in advance. The berries require just a bit of sugar, a dash of lemon juice, and a little flour, that is then tossed together. The berries are then placed in the center of the rolled out dough and the edges of the dough are folded over the berries to create a rim. The galette is then baked for about forty minutes and…voila!

Keep in mind this idea works beautifully with any combination of mixed berries as well as berries combined with seasonal fruit as well.

I have included a recipe for a flaky tart dough from Elizabeth M. Prueitt’s TARTINE cookbook which has come to be my very favorite tart dough recipe. It is easy to handle and consistently delivers a perfectly light and flaky crust when baked.

Flaky Tart Dough    makes two 10 to 12 inch tart or pie shells (or double the recipe and freeze dough for later use)

  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup very cold water
  • 3 cups + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 10 ½ oz/300 g unsalted butter, very cold

In a small bowl combine the salt and water and stir to dissolve. Refrigerate so it is very cold when ready to use.

To make the dough in a food processor, put the flour in the work bowl. Cut the butter into 1-inch pieces and scatter the pieces over the flour. Pulse briefly until the mixture forms large crumbs and some of the butter is still the size of peas. Add the salted water mixture and pulse for several seconds until the dough begins to come together into a ball but not smooth. You should still be able to see some butter chunks.

On a lightly floured work surface divide the dough into two equal balls and shape each ball into a disk 1 inch thick. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours or preferably overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 f /180 c with rack positioned in the center of the oven.

Line a large shallow baking tray with parchment paper.

Remove a round of well chilled dough from the refrigerator. Unwrap the dough and place on a lightly floured work surface. Let the dough soften for a couple of minutes before beginning to roll it out.

Then roll the dough out working from the center to the edges into a 12 or 13 inch round. Transfer the dough to the parchment lined baking tray and put it in the refrigerator to chill the dough while you prepare the berries.

Berry Filling     for 1 galette

As most berries are not grown here in the tropics I used imported blueberries and raspberries, and frozen lingonberries, but by all means use locally grown fresh berries when available.

  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 2 cups fresh red raspberries
  • 2 cups other fresh berries of choice
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons granulated sugar or more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp flour
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream or Greek yogurt
  • granulated sugar for sprinkling
  • 1 or 2 tsp corn starch mixed with cold water

Combine the all the berries in a large bowl and add the sugar and toss. Set aside for ten minutes and then drain off any excess juices and reserve to use later. If you are using frozen berries you will have considerably more juices to drain off and reserve. Taste the berries and add additional sugar if needed. 

Once the juices have been drained off add the lemon juice and flour and toss to combine and set aside for a couple of minutes.

Give the berries a final toss and again pour off any excess juices into the bowl of reserved juices.

Gently mound the berries over the center of the dough leaving a generous 2 inches of border. Then fold the dough over the fruit around the edges creating a rim that will retain the juices while baking.

Ideally there will be no leakage of juices, but to be honest that is usually not the case, but not to worry. The parchment will capture any leaked juices that will solidify on the parchment while baking. The parchment can be trimmed off later with a sharp knife before serving.

Mix the egg yolk with the cream (or Greek yogurt) and brush the dough overlapping fruit around the edges of the galette with the egg wash and generously sprinkle with sugar.

Transfer the galette to the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Then turn the baking tray 180 degrees and continue baking another 20 minutes or until the edges of the galette are nicely browned.

While the galette is baking place the reserved berry juices in a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Stir 1 or 2 teaspoons corn starch mixed with an equal amount of cold water and slowly stir into the simmering juices. Continue to stir until the juices thicken into a sauce. Taste the sauce and add sugar if needed. Transfer the berry sauce to a small pitcher and set aside to cool.

When the galette has finished baking remove it from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Once cool, trim the parchment paper around the galette and discard. You can then easily transfer the galette to a serving plate.

Serving

Slice the galette into wedges and place on individual dessert plates. As it is summer, vanilla ice cream is the perfect accompaniment, along with some of the berry sauce. Whipped cream is the alternative for fall and winter serving.

                                  Bon appetite!

 

 

Fig, Tahini, and, Dark Chocolate Cookies with Orange Peel

Fig, Tahini, and, Dark Chocolate Cookies with Orange Peel

I came across a recipe for these amazingly scrumptious cookies on David Lebovit’s food blog ( see recipe here)  that was inspired by Margarita Manzke’s recipe in her Baking at Republique cookbook. 

These cookies are decidedly Eastern Mediterranean in spirit along with a flourish of hearty home baked irresistible goodness. Gladly this recipe is open to personal interpretations that make for all that much more fun for the home baker.

My adaptations include using Lindt Intense Orange Dark Chocolate with Orange Peel that pairs perfectly with the dried Mission figs. I also used roasted sesame seeds instead of raw as the raw seeds which would not have enough time in the oven to to roast them and release their subtle flavor.

So without further ado…let’s get baking!

 

Fig, Tahini, and Dark Chocolate with Orange Peel Cookies  makes 20 cookies

Plan to make the dough the day before you intend to bake the cookies.

  • 1 1/3 cups + 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 0z (115 g ) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup (120 g) packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup (120 g) well stirred tahini
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup chopped soft dried Mission figs, hard stems removed
  • 100 g Lindt Intense Orange Dark Chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • ½ to ¾ cup roasted sesame seeds (see recipe here)

In a small bowl whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt until well combined.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and the vanilla extract on medium peed until well combined. Mix in the tahini and then the egg, Then stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure everything is incorporated,

Stir in the flour mixture on low speed, and then add the chopped figs, and finally the chopped chocolate, and mix until just combined.

Line a baking tray with parchment baking paper and portion the dough into balls using and ice cream scoop. Roll the balls gently between the palms of your hands and place them in the lined baking tray. Cover with cling film and refrigerate overnight.

The following morning preheat the oven to 350 f/180 c with the baking rack set in the middle of the oven. To insure even accurate temperature use an oven thermometer to verify the correct temperature.

Have 2 baking sheets on hand lined with parchment or silicone baking mats.

Put some of the roasted sesame seeds in a shallow bowl.

Remove the chilled cookie dough from the refrigerator and roll each ball gently, slightly flattening the dough. Then gently roll and press the top side of each cookie into the bowl of sesame seeds to coat evenly. Turn the cookie over and place on the lined baking tray. Be sure to allow about 2 inches between each cookie.

Transfer the tray of cookies to the oven and bake for 7 ½ minutes. Then open the oven and reverse the tray and bake another 7 ½ minutes. The cookies should be lightly browned around the edges and the centers slightly raised. This timing is accurate and insures that the cookies are baked to perfection without over baking.


Promptly remove the cookies from the oven and place the baking tray on a rack to cool for a couple of minutes.

Gently tap the top of each cookie with a flat spatula to pat down the domed tops of the cookies.

You can then transfer the cookies to a wire rack and cool to room temperature.

Follow the same procedure for baking the remaining tray of cookies.

Store the cookies in an airtight container for Up to a week or refrigerate for longer storage, though I am pretty sure they will be devoured in no time at all!

Best served at room temperature.

With Cinco de Mayo fiestas well underway north and south of the Mexican border, it is Mexican food that is at the center of all the celebrations and, of course, Mexican beer and margaritas as well. So why not make a zesty margarita pie as a final flourish for the celebrations.

The recipe that follows mirrors a classic margarita made with freshly squeezed lime juice, a good silver/blanco tequila, triple sec, sugar or agave syrup, and crystallized flaked salt. These very same ingredients provide the essential flavors for a sensational chilled sweet sour margarita confection with just a hint of green earthiness from the tequila and a crisp salty after note.

Margarita Pie

Margarita Pie

As popular as a pretzel crust seems to be for a margarita pie these days, I have to say I favor a classic sweet pastry crust for this pie which allows the flavors of the margarita lime curd to take center stage. Served chilled, this pie is as bedazzling and refreshing as an icy margarita on the rocks would be on a hot summer evening in the tropics.

Margarita Pie

Margarita Pie

Margarita Pie

Needed: 1 10 inch pie dish

Crust:

  • sweet pastry dough
  • butter for brushing
  • crystallized salt

Use your favorite sweet pastry dough recipe and chill the dough for several hours before you intend to roll it out.

Roll out the dough and place it in the pie dish. Even out the edges. Transfer to the the refrigerator and chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 f/ 180 c

Melt a small amount of butter. Remove the chilled pie shell from the refrigerator and lightly brush the entire surface of the dough with melted butter.

Then evenly press salt flakes onto the outer rim of the dough.

Line the inner surface of the dough with baking parchment and trim off excess paper so the salt studded surface of the rim of the pie is exposed. Place pie wights (or dried beans) into the parchment lined pie dough and transfer to the oven and bake for about 25 minutes or until the salted edges are lightly browned.

Remove from the oven and, using a spoon, remove the weights and set them aside to cool. Remove the parchment and return the pie shell to the oven and bake another 12 minutes, or until the interior crust is lightly colored and dry.

Remove from the oven, place on a cooling rack, and cool to room temperature. You can then refrigerate the crust.

Margarita Pie Curd Filling

  • 4 eggs
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons silver tequila
  • 1 tablespoon triple sec (or other orange liquer)
  • 3 oz chilled butter, cut into small pieces

Combine the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, lime juice, tequila, and tipple sec in a non-reactive stainless bowl.
Gently whisk until the ingredients are well combined.

Place the bowl over a pot of hot, but not boiling, water and gently whisk continuously until the mixture thickens and mounds onto itself.

Promptly remove the bowl from the heat and scatter the butter over the surface. Stir with the whisk until the butter has completely melted and is mixed evenly into the curd.

Remove the chilled crust from the refrigerator and, using a silicone spatula, spoon the curd into the pie shell. Spread the curd evenly and return the pie to the refrigerator to chill.

Sour Cream Topping:

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice

Preheat the oven to 400 f/ 200c

Combine the sour cream, sugar and lime juice in a bowl and stir until well combined.

Remove the chilled pie from the refrigerator and spoon the sour cream mixture over the surface of the lime curd. Giggle the pie to even out the surface and place in the oven and bake for or 5 minutes.

Promptly remove from the oven, cool for 5 minutes, and return the pie to the refrigerator to chill.

Lime garnish:

  • 2 seedless thin skinned limes, sliced into paper thin rounds
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup water

Bring the sugar and water to a boil in a wide saute pan. Cook until the liquid is bubbling, thick, and clear. Add the lime slices and cook for 3 minutes. Then remove the pan from the heat and let the lime slices rest in the syrup until completely cool. Remove the slices to a rack to drain off excess syrup.

Remove the pie from the refrigerator and carefully arrange the lime rounds over the surface of the pie.

Cover the pie with cling film and refrigerate for several hours before serving.

Serving:

About 20 minutes before serving transfer the refrigerated pie to the freezer and chill for 15 to 20 minutes. This final chill gives this pie a crisp icy sensation when served. 

Slice using  a very sharp knife dipped into water for each slice made.

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