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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Cherries, Cherries Everywhere!

Happy Hump Day everyone! I've noticed that cherries have been on super sale in the supermarket for the past few weeks - $3.99/lb at A&P and $6.99/lb at Whole Foods - so I think it's time to make use for those cherries before the prices skyrocket! Cherries are really fabulous and freeze very easily, so buy a whole bag and save some for the wintertime. In the meantime, let's do some baking!

Classic Sour Cherry Pie with Lattice Crust
Lori Longbotham

Ingredients
Crust
  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 5 tablespoons (or more) ice water
Filling
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 5 cups whole pitted sour cherries or dark sweet cherries (about 2 pounds whole unpitted cherries)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (if using sour cherries) or 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (if using dark sweet cherries)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon (about) milk
  • Vanilla ice cream
Directions
For crust:
  1. Whisk flour, sugar, and salt in large bowl to blend. Add butter and rub in with fingertips until small pea-size clumps form. Add 5 tablespoons ice water; mix lightly with fork until dough holds together when small pieces are pressed between fingertips, adding more water by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry. Gather dough together; divide into 2 pieces. Form each piece into ball, then flatten into disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes. Do ahead Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled. Let dough soften slightly before rolling out.
For filling:
  1. Position rack in lower third of oven and preheat to 425°F. Whisk 1 cup sugar, cornstarch, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Stir in cherries, lemon juice, and vanilla; set aside.
  2. Roll out 1 dough disk on floured surface to 12-inch round. Transfer to 9-inch glass pie dish. Trim dough overhang to 1/2 inch. Roll out second dough disk on floured surface to 12-inch round. Using large knife or pastry wheel with fluted edge, cut ten 3/4-inch-wide strips from dough round. Transfer filling to dough-lined dish, mounding slightly in center. Dot with butter. Arrange dough strips atop filling, forming lattice; trim dough strip overhang to 1/2 inch. Fold bottom crust up over ends of strips and crimp edges to seal. Brush lattice crust (not edges) with milk. Sprinkle lattice with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar.
  3. Place pie on rimmed baking sheet and bake 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F. Bake pie until filling is bubbling and crust is golden brown, covering edges with foil collar if browning too quickly, about 1 hour longer. Transfer pie to rack and cool completely. Cut into wedges and serve with vanilla ice cream.

Cherry Hand Pies
Kay Chun

Ingredients

  • One 14-ounce package all-butter puff pastry, thawed and chilled
  • 2 cups cherries, pitted and coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 large egg, beaten
Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out the puff pastry on parchment paper to a 14-by-12-inch rectangle and cut into eight 3-by-3 1/2-inch pieces. Transfer the parchment paper to a baking sheet.
  2. In a medium bowl, toss the cherries with the sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice and cinnamon. Brush the pastry edges of the rectangles with the beaten egg wash. Mound the filling in the center of each pastry and fold the dough over; press to seal and crimp decoratively. Brush the pies with beaten egg and make a small slit in the top of each one. Bake for 40 minutes, until golden.

Warm Skillet Sour Cherries with Vanilla Ice Cream
Gourmet July 2005

Ingredients
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 lb fresh or thawed frozen sour cherries, pitted (2 1/2 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons kirsch
  • Premium vanilla ice cream
  • Accompaniment: bakery butter cookies
Directions
  1. Rub together sugar and lemon juice in a 12-inch heavy skillet with your fingertips until mixture resembles wet sand. Heat over moderately high heat, swirling skillet slowly, until sugar is melted and pale golden, 5 to 6 minutes. Add butter and swirl skillet until incorporated, about 30 seconds (mixture will bubble up). Add cherries, swirling skillet to coat, and bring to a boil (cherries will exude liquid; caramel will harden). Cook cherries, swirling skillet, until caramel is dissolved, 5 to 8 minutes. Pour through a medium-mesh sieve set over a bowl, then return liquid to skillet and boil until reduced to about 3/4 cup, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat, then add cherries and kirsch. Return to stove and boil 30 seconds.
  2. Spoon warm cherries into shallow bowls and top with scoops of ice cream.
Cooks' Note: Cherries can be cooked 3 hours ahead and kept, covered, at room temperature. Bring to a boil just before serving.


Happy baking!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Carrot Cake For Me; Foodie's Delight For You!

Happy Tuesday! Yesterday was my 2nd wedding anniversary with my husband, and I spent the day making our favorite tropical carrot cake (I melt for carrot cake - since I was in the single digits), Chelsea Market-style crab cakes, and some roasted sides. Yum, yum. Check it out:


Crab cakes on our wedding china!

A very tricky tropical carrot cake...
this frosting sure didn't want to play nice!

A delicious 4 layer, extra creamy, extra moist slice!

Hungry yet? I'm always hungry when I look at food. So today I bring you awesome links to where you can find the biggest and smallest food towns. Looks like outrageously fabulous food (and the demand from salivating foodies) is spreading across the country! Grab your car keys and find your closest town.

1. According to my favorite travel guide
2. According to the creators of many, many, MANY, magazines.
3. According to one of my favorite food sources

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Tips For a Beautiful Crumb (Cup) Cake

Cooling in the tins
Happy Thursday! I was craving mini cupcakes yesterday, and after consulting my cabinets and refrigerator, I found just the right ingredients for crumb cake! Unfortunately, one of my yummy recipes uses blueberries and I lacked the right fruit. HOWEVER, upon opening my freezer, I found strawberries (too large) and raspberries (perfect!). So I set out to make raspberry crumb cupcake mini muffins. My favorite kind of crumb anything has an excessive amount of crumb topping; the kind that falls off and gets all over the table when you take your first bite.If you're like me and live for the crumbs - you can add them to any yellow cake and transform it into a delicious crumb cake - here's an easy recipe to keep handy for just those purposes. Ready? 1:1:1:1. Easy. In a pinch, mix 1 cup of flour, 1 cup of brown sugar, 1 tsp of cinnamon. Add 1 stick of melted butter, and mix with a fork until all clumpy and glorious. Add to the cake before baking and voila! Super simple. Happy baking!


So small, it's practically criminal to eat just one!

Check out those berries!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Desserts for the Beach Cooler

Happy Tuesday everyone! I'll be taking a relaxing trip to the beach this weekend (weather permitting!), and it got me thinking about what to pack in the cooler. Think individually packed, easy to eat, and all-around delicious. Dream with me, as we make our way to the weekend.

Oatmeal Sandwich Cookies
Melissa Clark

Ingredients
Cookies

  • 80 grams shredded sweetened coconut flakes (3/4 cup)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 330 grams packed dark brown sugar (1 3/4 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 190 grams all-purpose flour (1 1/2 cups)
  • 7 grams fine sea salt (1 teaspoon)
  • 3 grams baking powder (1 teaspoon)
  • 8 grams ground cinnamon (4 teaspoons)
  • 260 grams rolled oats (3 cups)
  • 100 grams dates, pitted and chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 65 grams granulated sugar (5 tablespoons)
Filling

  • 6 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 6 tablespoons mascarpone
  • 25 grams confectioner's sugar (3 tablespoons)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Directions
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spread coconut flakes on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast, stirring occasionally, until lightly colored and fragrant, 7 to 10 minutes. Cool. Raise oven temperature to 375 degrees.
  2. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter until light. Beat in brown sugar and honey, then beat until very fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Beat in vanilla.
  3. In another large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder and 1 teaspoon (2 grams) cinnamon. With the mixer set on low, beat flour mixture into butter mixture until combined. Beat in oats, dates and toasted coconut.
  4. Line three baking sheets with parchment paper. In a small bowl, stir together granulated sugar and remaining 3 teaspoons (6 grams) cinnamon. Roll heaping tablespoonsful of dough into balls, then roll balls in cinnamon sugar; transfer to baking sheet, leaving about 1 1/2 inches of space between dough balls. Bake until cookies are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 2 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. Make the filling: Using the electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese until smooth. Beat in mascarpone, confectioner’s sugar and vanilla. Scrape down sides of bowl. Sandwich about 1 tablespoon of filling between two cookies; repeat with the remaining filling and cookies.
Yield: About 36 cookies, for 18 sandwiches



Chewy Fig and Almond Cookie Bars
Giada De Laurentiis

Ingredients

  • Butter, for greasing the baking dish
Crust
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Filling
  • 3 cups dried Mission figs, stemmed (14 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • Zest of 1 medium orange
  • 1 cup unsalted chunky almond butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted, see Cook's Note
  • All-purpose flour, for dusting

Directions

  1. Place an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.
  2. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch glass or ceramic baking dish. Line the bottom with an 8-by-20-inch piece of parchment paper, allowing the excess paper to hang over the sides.
  3. For the crust: Whisk the all-purpose flour, almond flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl.
  4. Beat the sugar and butter using an electric hand mixer until combined in a large bowl. Beat in the egg, cream and vanilla until smooth. Add the dry ingredients and beat until the mixture forms into clumps. Press the clumps together to form a dough. Knead the dough for 30 seconds and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  5. For the filling: Place 1/4 cup water, the figs, orange juice, vanilla extract and orange zest in a food processor. Blend until the figs are finely ground, about 2 minutes. Add the almond butter and blend until incorporated. Add the almonds and pulse until combined.
  6. Remove the plastic from the dough and cut in half. Roll out 1 piece of dough into an 8-by-12-inch rectangle on a well-floured work surface. Cut the dough in half lengthwise and then in half crosswise to make 4 equal-size pieces of dough. Transfer the dough pieces to the prepared baking dish using a spatula, and arrange in a single layer. Pinch the edges of the dough together to seal. Spoon the filling onto the dough. Spread the filling evenly over the dough using damp hands. Smooth the top of the filling using a rubber spatula. Roll out the remaining dough into an 8-by-12-inch rectangle. Cut into 4 equal pieces and place on top of the filling, pinching the edges of the dough together to seal. Bake until golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Place the baking dish on a wire rack to cool completely, about 1 hour.
  7. Using the excess parchment paper as handles, remove and place on a cutting board. Cut the cookie into twenty-four 1 1/2-inch-square pieces and serve.
  8. Cook's Note: To toast the almonds, arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake until lightly toasted, 6 to 8 minutes. Cool completely before using.


M&M Bars
Deb Lindsey

Ingredients

  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening, at room temperature
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • Rounded 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 slightly rounded tablespoons sour cream (do not use low-fat or nonfat)
  • 12 ounces plain M&M candies (about 2 cups)
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Use nonstick cooking oil spray to grease a 9-by-13-inch metal baking pan, then line the bottom of it with enough parchment paper so that some of it sticks up/out beyond the two short sides of the pan.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. Combine the butter and shortening in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer; beat on low speed until smooth. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add both sugars; beat on low, then on medium speed for about 2 minutes, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the eggs one a time, beating to incorporate after each addition. Stop to scrape down the bowl. Add the vanilla extract and sour cream; beat on low speed to incorporate.
  4. Gradually add the sifted ingredients, beating (on low) to form a soft dough. Stir in the M&Ms. Transfer the dough to the pan, patting it in evenly and smoothing the surface. Bake for 25 minutes; the cookie slab should be puffed and slightly golden.
  5. Cover loosely with aluminum foil and bake for 5 to 10 minutes or until just set at the center. Cool completely in the pan. Use a round-edged knife to loosen the edges of the cookie slab, then use the parchment paper to lift and transfer the cookie slab to a cutting board before cutting it into 24 bars.

Happy baking!



Friday, July 4, 2014

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Icebox Cakes for the Hot, Hot, Holiday!

Happy Wednesday everyone - hump daaaaay! I walked my dog this afternoon and was instantly sweating, reminding me that mid-summer has arrived along with the 4th of July. So in honor of keeping cool, here are some icebox cakes to wow your holiday crowd. Just remember: keep it in the fridge until you're ready to serve!

Chocolate Mint Icebox Cake
Gourmet July 1992

Ingredients
  • 1/3 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves, rinsed, spun dry, and chopped fine, plus, if desired, mint sprigs for garnish
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup heavy cream, chilled
  • a 9-ounce package chocolate wafers
Directions

  1. In a bowl of an electric mixer combine the mint leaves, the sugar, the cocoa powder, and the cream, beat the mixture until it holds soft peaks, and spread about 1 mounded teaspoon of it on one side of each wafer. 
  2. On a platter sandwich the wafers together on their sides to form a log and ice the log with the remaining cream mixture, covering it completely. 
  3. Chill the cake, covered loosely with plastic wrap, for at least 6 hours or overnight. 
  4. Cut the cake diagonally into 3/4-inch-thick slices and serve it garnished with the mint sprigs.

Strawberries and Cream Icebox Cake
Lauren Chattman

Ingredients

Vanilla Pastry Cream
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • 62 sponge cake-type ladyfingers (two and a half 3-ounce packages)
  • 2 cups heavy cream, chilled
  • 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 pints strawberries, stemmed, and thinly sliced

Directions

  1.  To make the pastry cream, combine the half-and-half, 6 tablespoons of the granulated sugar, and the salt in a large heavy saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat, whisking frequently.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolk, cornstarch, and the remaining 2 tablespoons granulated sugar until pale yellow and smooth, about 1 minute.
  3. When the half-and-half mixture is simmering, remove from the heat and gradually whisk it into the egg mixture, going slowly and whisking constantly so as not to curdle the eggs. Return the mixture to the pan and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, just until a few bubbles break through the surface and the mixture has thickened and is shiny, 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter, one piece at a time, and the vanilla extract. Pour through a fine-mesh strainer into a heatproof bowl and press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the hot pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until well chilled, at least 3 hours and up to 2 days.
  5. To assemble the cake, line the sides of a 9-inch springform pan with about 20 ladyfingers, standing them up side by side, rounded side out. Arrange 14 ladyfingers on the bottom of the pan to cover it.
  6. Whip the cream, confectioners' sugar, and vanilla extract together in a large bowl with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Reserve about 2 cups of the whipped cream, transferring it to a smaller bowl. Gently fold the pastry cream into the remaining whipped cream.
  7. Spread half of the pastry cream mixture over the ladyfingers and smooth with a spatula. Arrange half of the strawberries in a single layer on top of the pastry cream. Arrange 14 ladyfingers over the strawberries. Smooth the remaining pastry cream over the ladyfingers. Arrange the remaining strawberries over the cream. Top with the remaining 14 ladyfingers.
  8. Smooth the reserved whipped cream over the last layer of ladyfingers. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 3 hours and up to 1 day.
  9. Just before serving, release the sides of the springform pan from the cake.

Lemon Icebox Cake
Adam Randall, Stone's Restaurant and Lounge

Ingredients

  • 4 lemons
  • 1 cup water plus additional for blanching
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 3/4 cup chilled heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 (8- by 4-inch) store-bought all-butter pound cake (3/4 to 1 pound), chilled
Directions

Make candied peel:
  1. Remove zest (peel) from 2 lemons in wide strips with a vegetable peeler (see Tips, page 118), then cut lengthwise with a sharp knife into 1/8-inch-wide julienne strips. Reserve lemons for juicing.
  2. Fill a 2-quart heavy saucepan halfway with water, then add julienned peel. Bring to a boil and simmer 15 minutes. Drain peel in a sieve and rinse.
  3. Bring water (1 cup) and 1 cup granulated sugar to a boil in saucepan, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Add peel and gently simmer until translucent, about 15 minutes.
  4. Remove peel from syrup with a slotted spoon, letting syrup drain off into saucepan. Spread out on a sheet of wax paper and cool to room temperature.
  5. Toss peel with remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar, stirring with a fork to coat and separate. Transfer sugared peel to clean dry sieve and shake off excess sugar, then spread out on a fresh sheet of wax paper to dry slightly. Make lemon filling while peel simmers and cools: Grate enough zest from remaining 2 lemons with a rasp to measure 2 teaspoon, then squeeze enough juice from all lemons to measure 2/3 cup. Whisk together zest, juice, and condensed milk. Chill until cold, at least 30 minutes.
Whip cream: 
  1. Beat heavy cream with confectioners sugar and vanilla in a chilled bowl with a whisk or electric mixer until it just holds stiff peaks. assemble cake: Halve cake crosswise, then trim crust from all sides. Cut each block horizontally into 4 (1/2-inch-thick) squares. Halve each square diagonally into 2 triangles.
  2. For each serving, layer 2 triangles with lemon filling, offsetting corners. Top cake with whipped cream and candied lemon peel.
Notes:
  • Candied lemon peel can be made 2 days ahead and kept in an airtight container at room temperature.
  • Lemon filling can be made 1 day ahead and chilled.

Lizzy Bee's Note: You can bake a pound cake for extra homemade!


Happy (oven-free!) baking!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Sweet Treats for the 4th of July!

Happy Monday! After a 20 hour weekend of training towards a fitness certification, I am ready to focus on the deliciousness that is the 4th of July! Whether refreshingly cold or just refreshing, these desserts are worth the time.

Turning big cookies into little bites of heaven...
Ice Cream Sandwiches
Chris Morocco

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream
  • 1 pint ice cream (any flavor)
Directions
  1. Whisk flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar, and corn syrup in another medium bowl until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg yolk and vanilla; beat until combined.
  2. Reduce mixer speed to low, add dry ingredients, and mix until just combined. Mix in sour cream. Form dough into a 3/4"-thick square, wrap tightly in plastic, and chill until firm, 2-3 hours.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F. Roll out dough between 2 sheets of parchment to about 1/8" thickness. Transfer dough (still between parchment) to a large baking sheet and chill until firm, at least 30 minutes. Remove top sheet of parchment (it will come away easily if dough is well chilled) and trim to a 14x10" rectangle. Bake cookie until dry and just set at edges, 8-10 minutes. Transfer baking sheet to a wire rack; let cookie cool.
  4. Trim cookie to a 12x9" rectangle, then cut into twelve 3" squares. Scoop ice cream into a medium bowl and mix just until softened, 2-3 minutes. Turn 6 cookies bottom side up. Dividing evenly, scoop ice cream on top and flatten slightly; top with remaining cookies, pressing down gently. Place sandwiches on a parchmentlined baking sheet and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours. Cut sandwiches in half on a diagonal to make triangles. Wrap in parchment, if desired, and freeze until ready to serve.
DO AHEAD: Ice cream sandwiches can be made 1 week ahead. Keep frozen.

Sophisticated celebrations...
Strawberry-Ricotta Tartlets
Heather Tirrell

Ingredients
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/4 cup graham flour (see Note)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons molasses
  • 3/4 pound strawberries, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/4 cups fresh ricotta (10 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Directions
  1. In a bowl, whisk both flours with the cinnamon, salt and cloves. In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter, light brown sugar and 2 tablespoons of the granulated sugar at medium speed until fluffy, about 1 minute. Beat in the honey and molasses, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the side of the bowl and beat in the flour mixture at low speed, just until incorporated. Pat the dough into a disk, cover with plastic and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough 1/8 inch thick. Using a 3 1/2-inch oval cookie cutter, stamp out 16 ovals; reroll the dough scraps if necessary. Transfer the ovals to the baking sheets and bake for about 12 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through, until lightly golden around the edges. Let cool on the pans for 5 minutes, then transfer the ovals to racks to cool completely.
  3. In a bowl, toss the strawberries with the remaining 1/3 cup of sugar and the lemon juice. Let stand until syrupy, 20 minutes.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix the ricotta, confectioners' sugar and lemon zest. Spread about 1 tablespoon of the ricotta mixture on each oval. Arrange the strawberries over the ricotta, drizzle with the syrup and serve.
NOTES Graham flour is a type of whole wheat flour. Look for it at health-food stores.


Bringing back memories of childhood...
Peanut Butter and Jelly Ice Cream Sandwiches
Carol Kicinski

Ingredients
PB Ice Cream:
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Pinch of kosher or fine sea salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
PB Cookies:
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar plus more for rolling the cookies in
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten with a fork
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 3/4 cup jam or jelly, room temperature
Directions
PB Ice Cream:
  1. Using a handheld mixer, cream the peanut butter, sugar, salt, and vanilla in a large bowl until smooth. Add 1 cup of half-and-half and beat on low speed until well mixed. Add the rest of the half-and-half and the cream and whisk by hand—if you try to use your mixer you will end up with it splattering all over the kitchen.
  2. Pour the mixture into ice cream maker and process for 25 to 30 minutes, or according to the manufacturer's directions. The ice cream will be on the soft side but can be eaten right away or put into the freezer to "cure" or harden up for a couple hours. Stored in an airtight container, the ice cream will keep at least a week in the freezer.
PB Cookies:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with either parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  2. In a large bowl mix the peanut butter with the 1 cup of sugar, using a wooden spoon. Stir until well blended. Add the egg, baking powder, and vanilla and stir well. Pour some additional sugar in a small bowl. Scoop out 1 tablespoon of the dough and roll it into a ball. Roll the dough ball in some of the remaining sugar and place on the prepared baking sheets. Repeat with the remaining dough, spacing the cookies 2 inches apart.
  3. Using a dinner fork, first stick the tines of the fork in sugar and then gently press the tines down on each dough ball to flatten. Turn the fork 90 degrees and gently press again to make the traditional crosshatch markings of a peanut butter cookie.
  4. Bake the cookies for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes. Then, with a spatula, gently transfer the cookies to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Assembly:
  1. Prepare the peanut butter ice cream and let harden in the freezer for about 6 hours.
  2. Prepare the dough for peanut butter cookies and divide the dough into 16 walnut-size balls. Proceed with the recipe from there, baking the cookies 10 to 12 minutes at 350 degrees. Let cool completely.
  3. To assemble the ice cream sandwiches remove the ice cream from the freezer and let it stand at room temperature for about 5 minutes to soften slightly.
  4. Spread a layer of jam on the flat side of each peanut butter cookie. Place a scoop of peanut butter ice cream in the center of half the cookies, on top of the jam. Top with the remaining cookies, jam side down. Gently squeeze the cookies together until the ice cream and jam come to the edges of the cookies. Put the ice cream sandwiches back in the freezer for at least 15 minutes to harden the jam. These can be made 2 days ahead. Place them in a large plastic storage bag or airtight container and store in freezer.


Happy baking!