Follow Me on Pinterest

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Warm Indian Pudding With Cold Ice Cream For the Crazy, Warm and Cold Weather

Happy Thursday! Lots to share today - from sweet to savory. First, the savory. Last night I made an easy brothy dish for dinner, using salmon instead of shrimp as my protein, and frozen artichokes from Trader Joe's. Upon finding the recipe online (because, though I love all of my readers, it's sometimes easier to find the versions of recipes from my cookbooks online), I noticed  the recipe was changed: halibut is now the protein. Still sounds delicious! Just note that I also sprinkled my salmon with some fresh chopped rosemary, which I highly recommend.

Halibut in Artichoke and Tomato Broth
Giada De Laurentiis


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus 3 tablespoons
  • 4 (6-ounce) halibut fillets
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning fish
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning fish
  • 2 shallots, sliced into thin rounds
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound frozen artichokes, thawed
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves

  1. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the halibut and season with salt and pepper. Heat a grill pan over high heat. Cook the fish on the grill pan until just cooked through, about 4 minutes per side, depending on thickness.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat the 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and cook for 1 minute. 
  3. Add the garlic and artichokes and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the white wine and stir, scraping the brown bits off the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. 
  4. Add the chicken broth, tomatoes and juice, thyme, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer.

  5. Ladle the artichoke and tomato broth into shallow bowls. Top with the grilled halibut. Serve immediately.

Now onto the sweet...

These recipes are for different versions of Indian pudding - something that's quite delicious, but not well-known. Top it with a scoop of homemade vanilla bean ice cream for added awesomeness. Time to embrace this hot and cold, up and down weather by making a hot and cold dessert!

Indian Pudding
Ed Brown, Ed's Chowder House

  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, plus more for ramekins
  • 5½ cups milk
  • 1 (2") piece ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved
  • ¾ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • ⅔ cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 tbsp. light molasses
  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 stick cinnamon, halved
  • Vanilla ice cream, for serving
  1. Heat oven to 325°. Grease eight 4-oz. ramekins; set aside. Bring milk, ginger, and vanilla bean with seeds to a boil in a 4-qt. saucepan over high heat; remove from heat and let steep for 10 minutes. Pour through a fine strainer into a bowl; discard ginger and vanilla bean. Return milk to saucepan and add sugar, cornmeal, molasses, syrup, and cinnamon; bring to a boil over medium heat, and cook, stirring often, until mixture thickens slightly, about 15 minutes. Whisk in butter, and remove from heat; discard cinnamon.
  2. Pour mixture evenly among ramekins, and place ramekins on a baking sheet. Bake until golden brown and the center jiggles slightly when the ramekins are tapped, about one hour. Let cool for 10 minutes, and then top with a scoop of ice cream to serve.

Indian Pudding
c.1997, M.S. Milliken & S. Feniger

  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 3 cups half and half
  • One 3inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 9 x 5 x 3 inch Pyrex loaf pan.
  2. Combine the milk and cornmeal in a medium stainless or enamel saucepan. Cook over moderate heat, whisking constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat to low and continue stirring until it is as thick as oatmeal.
  3. Add the sugar, brown sugar, molasses, salt, butter, cloves and 2 cups of the half and half. Stir to combine. Bring the mixture back to a boil and transfer to the prepared loaf pan.
  4. Place inside a larger pan and pour in boiling water until it rises halfway up the sides of the loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour, stirring once after the first half hour.
  5. Press the grated ginger against a fine sieve or squeeze it in a square of cheesecloth to extract 1 or 2 tablespoons of juice. After the pudding has baked for 1 hour, add the ginger juice and the remaining cup of half and half and stir to mix. Bake for an additional hour, stirring again after half an hour. Serve immediately in small bowls or cups, or store in the refrigerator and reheat, stirring, over low heat.

Indian Pudding
Bon Appetit October 1998


  • 5 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 2 tablespoons mild-flavored (light) molasses
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish. Combine first 6 ingredients in heavy large saucepan. Whisk over medium-high heat until mixture thickens but can still be poured, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Whisk in butter and vanilla extract.
  2. Transfer pudding mixture to prepared baking dish. Bake pudding until golden brown and center no longer moves when pan is shaken, about 1 hour 30 minutes. Cool 10 minutes. Scoop pudding into bowls. Top with ice cream or frozen yogurt and serve.

Happy baking!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Rhubarb: Dessert's Favorite Vegetable

Perks of being a chef.
Happy Monday everyone! If yours felt like mine, having a sliver of brownie is necessary. Luckily I'd just made some of my famous brownies for my husband. PHEW. After the brownie, a few yoga breaths and I'm ready to go. Today we will talk about rhubarb. Regrettably, it's not a vegetable that I use often - so today let's change that! Here are a few recipes to get your mojo for rhubarb flowing.

Lemon, Poppy, and Chevre Cheesecakes with Rhubarb
Laura Sawicki

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, plus more for coating the ramekins
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 6 ounces soft fresh goat cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1 pound rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon St.-Germain liqueur or elderflower cordial
  • 1 pint raspberries
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs (from 1 sleeve)
  • 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  1. MAKE THE CHEESECAKES Preheat the oven to 325°. Spray eight 4- to 6-ounce ramekins with vegetable oil spray and dust with sugar; tap out the excess. Set the ramekins in a large roasting pan. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, goat cheese and the 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of sugar until smooth. Beat in the zest, lemon juice, vanilla and salt. Beat in the sour cream. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between additions. Beat in the poppy seeds.
  2. Divide the mixture between the ramekins and set the pan in the oven. Carefully add enough hot water to the pan to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the cheesecakes are just set. Remove from the oven and let cool in the water bath for 1 hour. Refrigerate the cheesecakes until cooled completely, 3 hours.
  3. MEANWHILE, MAKE THE COMPOTE In a medium saucepan, let the rhubarb, sugar, vanilla bean and salt stand until slightly juicy, 20 minutes. Add the zest and ginger and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the rhubarb is tender, about 15 minutes. Add the St.-Germain and raspberries and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Transfer the compote to a bowl and let cool. Discard the vanilla bean.
  4. MAKE THE STREUSEL Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter, sugar and lemon juice until fluffy. Beat in the graham cracker crumbs, flour, salt and cinnamon. Scatter the streusel onto the baking sheet and freeze for 10 minutes.
  5. Bake the streusel for about 20 minutes, until fragrant, golden and firm. Let cool completely, then crumble the streusel.
  6. Run a thin knife around the cheesecakes and invert them onto plates. Spoon the compote on top and garnish with the streusel crumbs. Serve right away.

Alsatian Rhubarb Tart
Jean-Georges Vongerichten

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon ice water
  1. Filling
  • 2 pounds rhubarb stalks, cut into 1/3-inch dice
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 3 large egg whites
  • Pinch of salt
  1. In a food processor, combine the flour with the sugar and salt. Add the butter and pulse just until it is the size of peas. In a small bowl, whisk the egg with the ice water. Drizzle the egg mixture over the dough and pulse just until evenly moistened; do not let it form a ball. Turn the dough out onto a work surface, gather it together and shape into a disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes.
  2. In a medium bowl, toss the rhubarb with 1/2 cup of the sugar; transfer to a strainer. Set it over the bowl and refrigerate overnight to drain.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375°. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry to a 14-inch round. Fit the pastry into a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom and trim the overhanging pastry.
  4. Line the pastry with foil and fill with pie weights, dried beans or rice. Bake the tart shell in the lower third of the oven for about 20 minutes, or until the pastry is set. Carefully remove the foil and weights and bake the shell for about 10 minutes, or until cooked and the bottom is lightly golden.
  5. Press on the rhubarb to extract as much liquid as possible. In a bowl, toss the rhubarb with 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon of the sugar. Spread the rhubarb in the shell and bake in the center of the oven for 15 minutes, or until the rhubarb is just tender.
  6. In a medium bowl, whisk the cream with the egg yolks and 3 tablespoons of the sugar. Pour the custard over the rhubarb and bake in the lower third of the oven for about 20 minutes, or until set.
  7. Increase the oven temperature to 425° and position a rack in the upper third of the oven. In a large bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the egg whites with the salt until firm peaks form. Gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar, beating until the whites are stiff and glossy. Spread the meringue over the tart all the way to the side. Bake in the upper third of the oven for 5 minutes, or just until the meringue is lightly browned. Let the tart cool, then remove the ring, slide the tart onto a cake plate and serve.

Rhubarb Sorbet
Chef Bryan Webb, Hilaire; London

  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 pound fresh rhubarb or frozen, thawed, drained, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  1. Combine sugar, water and lemon juice in heavy large saucepan. Stir over low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and bring to boil. Add rhubarb. Simmer until rhubarb is tender , about 10 minutes. Transfer mixture to processor and puree until smooth. Stir in corn syrup. Refrigerate mixture until cold, about 1 hour.
  2. Transfer rhubarb mixture to ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer's instructions. Freeze. (Can be prepared 3 days ahead. Keep frozen.)

Happy baking!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Italian Flatbread OR Pizza on the Grill

Hello Thursday and happy spring! Last night I made one of my favorite spring-like dishes, but I used the indoor grill (perk up Mother Nature!). My husband and I just loooove pizza, as I'm sure many of you do as well, and I will take any opportunity to create a pizza-like meal. This time I chose an Italian flatbread, grilled on the grill pan, and topped with fresh cheeses and prosciutto. Yum.

Piadina with Fontina and Prosciutto
Giada De Laurentiis


  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus extra for seasoning
  • 1 stick butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest (from about 2 small lemons)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 ounces fontina cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
  • 4 ounces prosciutto, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup chopped fresh basil


  1. Combine the flour, baking soda and 1 teaspoon salt in the bowl of an upright mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. Add the butter and mix on low speed until incorporated, about 2 minutes. With the machine running, slowly add 10 to 12 tablespoons water until the mixture forms a dough around the hook. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead for 5 minutes until smooth. Cut the dough into 4 equal pieces. Form into disk shapes and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. Place a grill pan over medium-high heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out each piece of dough into an 8-to-10-inch circle, about 1/8-inch thick. Brush each circle with the extra-virgin olive oil and grill for 4 minutes each side. Remove the piadina from the grill to cool slightly.
  3. Combine the ricotta cheese and lemon zest in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Spread each piadina with 1/2 cup of the ricotta mixture. Sprinkle the fontina cheese evenly over the ricotta cheese. Arrange 2 prosciutto slices on top of the cheeses. Cut each piadina into 8 wedges and transfer to a serving platter. Garnish with the chopped basil.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Pucker Up For a Sweet Spring!

Happy Wednesday everyone! I didn't think I'd make it through the day, but here we are, post-work, post-workout, and happy as a clam. So what better time than the present to discuss the upcoming celebration of spring! Spring brings flowers, happiness, rain (read: not snow!), asparagus, and lemony desserts. Do you associate lemons with spring? Well I let's celebrate the equinox with a few transformations of the classic lemon poppy seed flavor. Yes I do realize we've been there, done that as far as the lemony pops are concerned, but I just looooove the flavors and you will too with these unique recipes. Enjoy!

Lemon Poppy Seed Sandwich Cookies
Bon Appetit March 1997


  • 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. Mix flour, salt and baking powder in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until light. Gradually beat in sugar. Beat in egg, then poppy seeds, lemon peel and extracts. Mix in dry ingredients in 3 additions. Gather dough into ball. Divide dough in half; flatten each half into disk. Wrap in plastic; chill 2 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter 2 large baking sheets. Roll out 1 dough disk on floured surface to 1/8-inch thickness. Using 21/2-inch-diameter fluted cookie cutter, cut out cookies. Arrange cookies 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheets. Gather scraps; reroll and cut out more cookies. Chill cookies on baking sheets 15 minutes.
  3. Bake cookies until edges just begin to color, about 18 minutes. Cool cookies on sheets 3 minutes. Transfer cookies to racks; cool completely. Repeat rolling, cutting and baking with remaining dough. (Can be made ahead. Store in airtight container at room temperature up to 2 weeks or freeze up to 1 month.)
  1. Beat all ingredients in large bowl until light and fluffy. Spread 2 teaspoons filling over bottom of 1 cookie. Press second cookie, bottom side down, onto filling. Repeat with remaining cookies and filling. (Can be made 2 hours ahead. Cover and chill.)

Poppy Seed-Lemon Twists
Food Network Kitchen

  • All-purpose flour, for dusting
  • 1 batch Basic Sweet-Roll Dough
  • 1 cup canned poppy seed filling (found in the baking aisle)
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  1. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Make the twists: On a floured surface, roll out the dough into a 10-by-18-inch rectangle. Spread the poppy seed filling evenly over the dough, leaving a 1-inch border on one of the long sides. Brush the clean border with water. Tightly roll the dough into an 18-inch log, rolling toward the clean border.
  3. Using a chef's knife, cut the log crosswise into 12 rounds, 1 1/2 inches wide each. Dampen your hands, then stretch and pat each round into an oval shape. Twist each oval in the middle to form a figure-eight shape. Place on the prepared baking sheets. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place until plump, 20 minutes.
  4. Uncover the dough and retwist, if necessary. Bake until golden, about 20 minutes, switching the position of the baking sheets halfway through. Transfer to racks and let cool slightly on the baking sheets.
  5. Make the glaze: Combine the confectioners' sugar, butter, lemon juice and zest, milk, vanilla and salt in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave 45 seconds; stir until smooth. Brush on the twists.

Meyer Lemon-Poppy Seed Cake
Julie Elkind


  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick) at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 whole eggs
  • Zest of 1 Meyer lemon
  • Juice of 2 1/2 Meyer lemons
  • 1/2 cup crème fraîche
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons poppy seeds

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Butter and flour a 9-inch loaf pan and set aside.
  2. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until soft and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until well combined between additions. Add the lemon zest and juice. Mix until well combined. Mix in the crème fraîche.
  3. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and poppy seeds. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in 3 additions, mixing until just combined between additions.
  4. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes. The cake is done when an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

Happy baking!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Oatmeal and Lace

Happy Tuesday! Yesterday was a crazy day so today I bring you sweet treats that'll wet your appetite! Did you know today is National Lacy Oatmeal Cookie day? Who comes up with this stuff??? Regardless, I think we should celebrate because the lacy oatmeal cookie doesn't really get a lot of spotlight. After all it's usually thin, small, and not as fancy as its cookie brothers and sisters...but in reality it's quite fancy and elegant - and easy! So here we go: bring on the elegant cookie extravaganza!

From one of the best...

Oatmeal Lace Cookies
Gale Gand


  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 1/4 cup corn syrup
  • 1 cup melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract

  1. In a mixer with a paddle combine dry ingredients. 
  2. In a separate bowl stir together wet ingredients then blend them into dry ingredients. Drop spoonfuls of batter, spaced far apart, onto nonstick sheet pans and bake at 350 degrees for 5 to 8 minutes or until golden brown.

From one of the classics...

Lacy Oatmeal Cookies
Mrs. Fields


  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup salted butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. (If you don’t have either of those, cover your baking sheet with foil and a coat of nonstick cooking spray.) In a medium bowl, combine oats, flour, salt, and baking powder. Mix well with a wire whisk and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine sugar and butter with an electric mixer at medium speed to form a grainy paste. Add egg and vanilla, and beat until smooth. Add flour mixture and blend just until combined. Drop dough by teaspoons onto your prepared baking sheets, with at least two inches between. Bake for 9-12 minutes or until edges begin to turn golden brown. Let cool, then peel off cookies carefully with your fingers.

Even fancier than fancy...

Almond-Oat Lace Cookies
Gina Marie Miraglia Eriquez


  • 1/2 cup whole natural unsalted almonds with skins
  • 2 tablespoons old-fashioned oats
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
  • 6 tablespoons superfine sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (packed) light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted

  1. Arrange racks in lower and upper thirds of oven; preheat to 350°F. Line 2 rimless baking sheets with parchment paper. Pulse almonds and oats in a food processor until coarse meal forms. Set aside.
  2. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add both sugars and honey; whisk until blended and sugar dissolves, 1–2 minutes. Remove from heat. Add nut mixture, flour, and salt; stir until well blended.
  3. Spoon batter by 2-teaspoon portions onto baking sheets, spacing 2 1/2" apart. Using your fingertips, pat cookies down to 1/4"-high rounds; push in any jagged edges to form smooth circles. Bake, rotating sheets after 6 minutes, until dark golden brown and cookies spread out into a thin layer, 10–12 minutes. Slide cookies on parchment onto a wire rack and let cool.
  4. Using a pastry brush, brush half of each cookie with melted chocolate. Let stand until the chocolate is set, about 2 hours. 
DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Store airtight between sheets of parchment or waxed paper.

Happy baking!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Luck of the Irish

Happy Wednesday and HUMP DAY everyone! St. Patrick's Day is almost upon us (NYC is revving up for the parade) and it's time to start planning the dessert menu. I've got a few interesting options to get your guests skipping through the shamrock fields.

Chocolate-Mint Shamrock Shake
Kendra Vizcaino-Lico


  • 1 1/2 cups mint chocolate chip ice cream
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
  • Whipped cream (plain or chocolate; optional)
  • Chocolate syrup, for garnish
In a blender, combine the mint chocolate chip ice cream with the milk and process until smooth, about 30 seconds. Add the chocolate chips and stir to combine. Pour the shake into a glass, top with the whipped cream, and drizzle with chocolate syrup.

Mini Walnut Soda Breads
Bon Appetit October 1999


  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup walnuts, toasted, chopped
  • 1 cup chilled buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons mild-flavored (light) molasses
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly flour large baking sheet. Whisk first 5 ingredients in large bowl to blend well. Add butter and rub in with fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. Mix in toasted, chopped walnuts. 
  2. Whisk buttermilk, egg and molasses in small bowl to blend. Gradually add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture, stirring until medium-firm dough forms. 
  3. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. Knead until dough comes together, about 6 turns. Flatten dough into disk. Cut into 6 wedges. Shape each wedge into ball. Place on prepared sheet, spacing evenly apart. 
  4. Flatten each to 3-inch round. Using sharp knife, cut shallow X in top of each round.
  5. Bake breads until golden and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Transfer to rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Vanilla Custard with Strawberries

  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 7 large egg yolks
  • 3⁄4 cup sugar
  • 4 cups fresh strawberries

  1. Half vanilla bean lengthwise and add to milk in a heavy saucepan. Bring just to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  2. Place egg yolks in a medium bowl and slowly whisk in 12 cup of the sugar until sugar has almost dissolved and mixture thickens.
  3. Remove vanilla bean from milk and save for another use. Pour milk into egg–sugar mixture in a thin stream, stirring constantly. Return custard mixture to saucepan and place over medium-low heat. Stir constantly, 15–20 minutes, or until custard is the consistency of pancake batter, a little thicker than heavy cream. Do not boil.
  4. Strain custard through a sieve and pour into six individual dishes or a large serving bowl. Allow the custard to cool at room temperature, then chill.
  5. Wash and trim strawberries. Sprinkle with remaining 1⁄4 cup sugar, mix gently, and let macerate for 1 hour at room temperature. Spoon berries over custard. Serve with shortbread cookies.

Happy baking to ya lads!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Cookies in All of Their Tri-Cornered Glory

Happy Monday everyone! The weekend of Purim is upon us, and to celebrate the happy occasion, I made delicious hamantaschen! These scrumptious sugary cookies are recognizable by their 3 corners, and traditional poppy seed filling (though I also love cherry, almond, and hazelnut spread). Today I bring you 3 recipes (one for every cookie corner) to satisfy everyone at your party. But beware...those that eat hamantaschen tend not to eat just one (it's hard to stop before your 5th....).

Sylvia Lav’s Perfect Hamantaschen

The New York Times

For the prune butter:
  • 3 pounds pitted prunes, ideally tart ones
  • Juice of 1 large lemon (or more if your prunes aren’t tart)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons sugar
  • Water
  • For the dough:
  • 4 cups flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 cup of oil
  • 3 tablespoons of warm water
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 1 cup sugar
For assembly:
  • Melted butter, about one stick
  • Extra flour
  • For the prune butter:
  1. Put prunes in large pot. Add lemon juice and sugar.
  2. In a separate pot, boil water. Pour boiling water over the prunes.
  3. Cook the prunes on medium heat for 20 minutes. Turn heat off, cover, and let them sit overnight in the pot on the stove.
  4. The next morning, beat the prunes in a mixer on low until they form a smooth mixture, with no pieces of skin visible. The consistency should be a smooth enough purée that it can drop off a spoon.
  • For the dough:
  1. Make a pile of flour, baking powder and salt. Dig a well into the middle.
  2. Put two eggs in the middle with half the oil and water, half the sugar, and half the lemon rind. Do not break the flour walls.
  3. With a fork, use gentle circular motions to mix flour into the middle from the walls while keeping the walls solid.
  4. Gradually, very slowly, add the rest of the eggs, oil, water, sugar and lemon rind until everything is mixed in. Finally, mix in the rest of the walls. Your dough will be very sticky. Use a dough scraper to scrape it up. Knead it with small dustings of flour (not too much extra!) until you get a nice, silky dough. Wrap it up in waxed paper and put it in the fridge overnight.
  • Assembly:
  1. Cut the dough into three segments. On a floured surface, roll out one segment evenly to about 1/8" thick.
  2. Melt some butter in a dish and set aside with a pastry brush.
  3. Dip an inverted glass or 2- or 3-inch-diameter glass or cookie cutter into flour and use it to cut as many circular pieces of dough as possible, re-dipping into flour as needed. Paint an X of melted butter onto the center of each circle with the brush.
  4. Using two teaspoons, place a small amount of prune butter in the center of each circle, on top of the butter. If you use too much they will fall apart.
  5. Lift up the edges of the circle so they form a triangle. Gently pinch each corner closed.
  6. Bake at 375 degrees for about 12 minutes. The corners should be just slightly golden-brown. Watch them near the end because they go from golden to burnt very easily.

Hamantashen with Poppy Seed Filling
Adapted from “Schmaltz” (Modan Publishing) by Shmil Holland

For the dough:
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 8 ounces unsalted butter at room temperature, in small pieces
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
  • Dash of salt
  • 1 large egg, beaten, for the glaze

For the filling: 
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Grated zest of 1/2 orange
  • 1 cup poppy seeds
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 tablespoon brandy
  • 1/2 tablespoon orange liqueur
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract.
  1. Put the confectioners’ sugar and the egg yolks in a food processor and blend. Add butter and lemon zest and process to blend. Gradually add the flour and the salt, pulsing until it forms a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour or overnight.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the filling: Put milk, sugar and orange zest in a saucepan over medium heat. Grind poppy seeds in coffee grinder. When mixture is warm, turn heat to low and add poppy seeds and raisins. Cook until the seeds absorb the milk and the mixture is thick, about 15 minutes. Add the lemon juice, brandy, orange liqueur and butter. Stir and cook for 2 minutes more. Stir in the vanilla extract, remove from the heat and cool.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 pastry sheets with parchment paper.
  4. Roll out the dough to 1/4-inch thickness and use a cookie cutter or glass to cut 3-inch circles. Put a heaping teaspoon of the filling in the center of each, and press up the sides to form triangles. Brush the tops with beaten egg.
  5. Bake until golden and dough is delicately firm all the way through, about 15 minutes. If trays are on different racks, switch them after about 10 minutes.

Traditional Hamantaschen
Gourmet March 1997


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons packed finely grated fresh orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
  • 2/3 cup filling such as Date Orange Filling, Apple Raisin Filling, prune lekvar, poppy-seed filling, or apricot or cherry jam

  1. Into a bowl sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl with an electric mixer beat shortening, sugar, and egg at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add zest and juice and beat until incorporated. Add flour mixture, stirring, until a smooth dough is formed. Gather dough into a ball and flatten into a disk. Chill dough, wrapped in plastic wrap, at least 3 hours and up to 2 days.
  2. Preheat oven to 375° F.
  3. Halve dough. On a lightly floured surface roll out half of dough (keeping other half wrapped and chilled) 1/4 inch thick. With a 3-inch cutter cut out as many rounds as possible. Transfer rounds with a metal spatula to a large baking sheet, arranging about 1/2 inch apart. Reroll scraps and cut out more rounds. Put 1 teaspoon filling in center of each round and fold up edges to form triangular cookies resembling a tricornered hat, pinching corners together and leaving filling exposed. (Pinch dough tightly enough so seams are no longer visible and sides are taut enough to prevent cookies from leaking filling as they bake.)
  4. Bake hamantaschen in middle of oven 20 minutes, or until pale golden. Cool hamantaschen on baking sheet 5 minutes and transfer to racks to cool completely. Make more hamantaschen with remaining dough and filling in same manner. Hamantaschen keep in an airtight container at room temperature 5 days.

Happy baking!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Peanut Butter: Not Just Eaten From a Jar

Happy Tuesday everyone! The northeast dodged a snow bullet yesterday, and we've got high hopes for spring. In the meantime, with all of the hooplah of Mardi Gras and upcoming Purim, we've forgotten to celebrate an important holiday: March 1st was National Peanut Butter Lover's Day. Thus, as a lover myself, I've got a few recipes to celebrate (better late than never). But before we do, a photo of my addictively delicious brown butter cupcakes, exploding with rainbow sprinkles, and topped with a dreamy cream cheese-mascarpone frosting.

Now pass me the peanut butter and a spoon!

Double Chocolate-Peanut Butter Chip Brownies
Jennifer Wells

  • 3 sticks ( 3/4 pound) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, plus more for greasing
  • 3/4 pound semisweet or dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons white rice flour
  • 3/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 large eggs
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup peanut butter chips
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Lightly grease a 9-by-13-inch metal baking pan.
  2. Place the 3 sticks of butter in a heatproof bowl and set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water). Melt the butter, stirring occasionally. Add the chopped chocolate and stir until melted. Remove the bowl from the heat.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the rice flour with the tapioca flour and salt. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the sugar and vanilla until blended. Fold in the dry ingredients until incorporated, then fold in the peanut butter chips and chocolate chips. Fold in the melted chocolate mixture. Scrape the batter into the prepared dish.
  4. Bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the brownies are slightly puffed and a tester inserted in the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Transfer the pan to a rack and let cool completely before turning out the brownies and cutting them into bars.
MAKE AHEAD The brownies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 days, or wrapped in foil and frozen for up to 1 month.

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Balls
Carrie Beilke

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups cornflakes cereal
  • 2 cups creamy peanut butter (do not use old-fashioned style or freshly ground)
  • 2 cups dry milk
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 15 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  1. Line cookie sheet with foil. Melt butter in heavy small saucepan over low heat. Combine cereal, peanut butter, dry milk and powdered sugar in large bowl. Mix in butter. Moisten hands and roll 1 tablespoon mixture into ball. Place on prepared cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining mixture. Chill overnight.
  2. Line cookie sheets with foil. Melt chocolate in double boiler over low heat, stirring occasionally. Remove chocolate from over water. Using fork, dip peanut butter balls 1 at a time into chocolate and transfer to prepared cookie sheets. Refrigerate until chocolate is firm. (Can be prepared 1 week ahead. Refrigerate in airtight container.)

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars
Ina Garten

  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 cups (18 ounces) creamy peanut butter (recommended: Skippy)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (18 ounces) raspberry jam or other jam
  • 2/3 cups salted peanuts, coarsely chopped
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Grease a 9 by 13 by 2-inch cake pan. Line it with parchment paper, then grease and flour the pan.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light yellow, about 2 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the vanilla, eggs, and peanut butter and mix until all ingredients are combined.
  4. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the peanut butter mixture. Mix just until combined.
  5. Spread 2/3 of the dough into the prepared cake pan and spread over the bottom with a knife or offset spatula. Spread the jam evenly over the dough. Drop small globs of the remaining dough evenly over the jam. Don't worry if all the jam isn't covered; it will spread in the oven. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts and bake for 45 minutes, until golden brown. Cool and cut into squares.

Happy baking!