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Thursday, December 24, 2015

Last Minute Baking!

Happy Thursday, or Christmas Eve-Day (is that right?)! There's still time to bake some cookies! Just grab your butter, eggs, flour, and sugar and get going! In the meantime, food pictures:

Monday, December 14, 2015

Christmas Desserts: Not the Usual Line Up

Raspberry and blueberry crumb muffins
Happy Monday to all! This weekend I was very busy overdoing muffin orders; between an order for blueberry and raspberry crumb muffins and an order for muffins for a work event, I might have been overzealous. Nevertheless, they were all a delight! Check out the photos:

Cranberry cinnamon muffins
Lemon rosemary scones
Banana crumb coffee cake

But before we start thinking about what to make for Christmas morning, we should start with Christmas Eve. Check out a few recipes for an interesting holiday table.

Peanut-Butter-and-Jelly Cups
Liz Gutman and Jen King

Peanut Butter Filling: 
  • 7 1/2 ounces white chocolate, chopped
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
Chocolate Cups:
  • 1 1/2 pounds bittersweet chocolate, chopped and tempered (see Note)
  • Fifty 1 1/4-inch-wide, sturdy foil cups
  • 2/3 cup seedless raspberry jam
  • Maldon salt, for garnish
  1. In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave the white chocolate in 20-second bursts until softened. In a small saucepan, bring the cream and corn syrup to a simmer; stir the cream mixture into the white chocolate. Stir in the peanut butter and salt. Transfer the filling to a piping bag fitted with a medium tip.
  2. Spoon the tempered chocolate into a piping bag fitted with a small tip. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set half of the foil cups on the sheet and fill them with chocolate. Tilt the cups to coat them completely, then pour the excess chocolate into a bowl. Turn the coated cups upside down on the baking sheet and let stand for 30 seconds; turn the cups right side up and let stand until the chocolate is firm, about 10 minutes. Repeat to make the remaining chocolate cups.

Pear Kuchen
Sam Sifton

  • ½ cup/118 milliliters whole milk
  • 1 ⅛ teaspoons/3 1/2 grams active dry yeast (about half a packet)
  • 2 tablespoons/28 grams unsalted butter, softened
  • ¼ cup/50 grams sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 ⅔ cups/209 grams all-purpose flour
Pastry Cream:
  • 4 tablespoons/53 grams cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup/50 grams sugar
  • 2 tablespoons/16 grams all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg
  • ¾ cup/177 milliliters whole milk
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 cardamom pods, crushed in a mortar and pestle
  • ½ teaspoon anise seed, crushed in a mortar and pestle
  • 1 tablespoon/14 grams unsalted butter
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Streusel Topping: 
  • 2 tablespoons/16 grams all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ tablespoons/21 grams sugar
  • 1 tablespoon/13 grams packedlight brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Small pinch of salt
  • 1 ½ tablespoons/21 grams unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and softened
  • 3 ripe Bosc pears (about 1 pound)
  • ½ tablespoon/7 grams sugar
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons/11 milliliters apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
  1. Make the dough: Warm milk to 110 degrees (or until warm to the touch), sprinkle with yeast, stir and let stand for 5 minutes until dissolved. Add butter and stir until mostly melted.
  2. Butter or oil a large bowl. In a second large bowl, whisk together sugar, salt and egg yolk. Add flour and stir with a wooden spoon until incorporated. Add warm milk mixture and stir until combined and dough comes together in a smooth, sticky ball, about 2 minutes. Transfer to prepared bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, 2 to 3 hours. (Alternatively, dough can rise in refrigerator overnight.)
  3. Meanwhile, make the pastry cream: Place a fine-mesh sieve on the rim of a medium bowl. In a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan, blend cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Whisk in flour, egg, milk, salt, cardamom pods and anise seed. Cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until mixture starts to thicken, then whisk constantly until it starts to boil. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, for 2 more minutes, then immediately pour mixture into fine-mesh sieve. Use a spatula to push it through sieve and into bowl. Let cool, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, then stir in butter and vanilla. Press plastic wrap directly on surface of pastry cream and refrigerate until ready to use.
  4. Make the streusel: In a small bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Add butter pieces and toss to coat. Use fingertips to rub butter into dry ingredients until pea-size lumps form. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
  5. Roll out dough: Butter two 9-inch pie plates. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and with floured hands gently knead it into a log. Divide log in half and flatten into discs. With a lightly floured rolling pin, roll each disc into an 8-inch round. Transfer rounds to pie plates, pressing dough to edges of pan and just slightly up sides. Let rise for about 20 minutes while you prep fruit.
  6. Set a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 350 degrees. Peel and core pears, then slice them lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices and place in a medium bowl. Sprinkle with sugar and apple cider vinegar or lemon juice and toss to coat.
  7. Assemble the kuchens: Spread about 1/4 cup pastry cream on bottom of each kuchen, stopping 1/2 inch from edge of dough, then arrange pear slices in an overlapping circular pattern on top. Divide remaining pastry cream between kuchens and carefully spread it evenly over pears. Sprinkle streusel over both and bake in center of oven until dough is light golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. (If your oven can’t accommodate both kuchens, refrigerate one while the other bakes.) Serve warm or at room temperature. Baked kuchens can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, then foil, and frozen up to 1 month. Rewarm before serving.

Christmas Pudding
Peter Ward

  • 2 cups quality assorted raisins
  • 2 cups brandy
  • 1 1⁄2 oz. quality assorted candied fruits, such as pitted apricots, cherries, melon, and citrus peel, cut into thin strips
  • 5 tbsp. cold beef suet or butter, diced
  • 1 3⁄4 cups fine day-old bread crumbs
  • 1 cup blanched almond meal
  • 1⁄4 cup dark muscovado sugar
  • 3 tbsp. flour
  • 2 tbsp. shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 2 tbsp. finely grated peeled carrot
  • 1⁄2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
  • 1⁄4 tsp. finely grated orange zest
  • 1 pinch ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 egg
  • 1⁄2 tsp. dark treacle or molasses
  • 1⁄3 cup Guinness stout
  • 2 tbsp. fresh orange juice
  • 3⁄4 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • Brandy Butter (optional)
  • Whiskey cream (optional)
  1. Macerate raisins in brandy for 1 hour. Drain, reserving 1⁄3 cup of the brandy. Preheat oven to 450°.
  2. Put raisins, candied fruits, suet or butter, bread crumbs, almond meal, sugar, flour, coconut, carrots, zests, cinnamon, and nutmeg into a large bowl and stir well. Combine egg and treacle or molasses in another bowl. Stir in beer, juices, and reserved brandy, add to fruit mixture, and mix until evenly moist. Pack half the batter into each of 2 greased 2 ½-cup glazed-ceramic or glass bowls (about 3" deep × 5" wide). Cover each bowl with 2 layers each waxed paper, then foil; secure with twine. Put bowls on a rack set in a wide deep pot. Add boiling water to pot to reach 2" up sides of bowls. Cover pot and steam puddings in oven, replenishing water as necessary, for 4 1⁄2 hours.
  3. Remove bowls from pot and let cool. Store puddings in a cool, dark, dry spot (or refrigerate) for at least 1 day and up to 2 years. If storing for longer than 1 day, replace covers. Reheat puddings by steaming them, still covered, for 1 hour. Unmold onto plates.

Happy baking!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Seasons COOKIE Greetings!

A few of the classics: sugar, gingersnaps,
and chocolate gingerbread.
Happy Wednesday all! It's time to start thinking of the fifty million cookie recipes you want to try this season! If you're feeling up to something new, here are a few to kick off your search.

Butter Balls

  • 1 cup finely ground walnuts
  • 2 1⁄4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 1⁄2 tsp. salt
  • 1⁄2 lb. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1⁄2 cup confectioners' sugar, plus 2 cups for dredging
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 400°. Combine walnuts, flour, and salt in a medium bowl. Mix well and set aside. Beat butter with an electric mixer on medium speed. Gradually add 1⁄2 cup sugar and beat until mixture is fluffy. Beat in vanilla, then reduce speed and add flour mixture, mixing until just combined.
  2. Using your hands, shape dough, 1 tbsp. at a time, into small balls, then place about 1" apart on buttered nonstick baking sheets. Bake until cookies are slightly golden, about 10 minutes. Remove cookies from oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, place remaining 1-2 cups sugar on a large plate. Roll cookies, while still warm, in sugar, then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Once cookies are completely cool, roll them again in sugar.

Jam-Filled Mezzaluna Cookies
Dahlia Narvaez

  • 1 1/2 cups pastry flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1/2 cup seedless raspberry or blackberry jam
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced blanched almonds
  • Sifted confectioners' sugar, for dusting
  1. In a bowl, whisk the 1 1/2 cups of pastry flour with the 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar. Add the butter and, using a pastry blender, your fingers or 2 dinner knives, blend the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle on the vanilla and knead gently until a dough forms. Pat the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 1 hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper and refrigerate. Cut the dough into 4 pieces. Working with 1 piece at a time and leaving the rest in the refrigerator, roll out the dough 1/8 inch thick on a lightly floured work surface. Using a 4-inch round biscuit cutter, stamp out as many rounds as possible; gather and reserve the scraps.
  3. Brush the edges of each round with some of the egg white. Spoon 1 rounded teaspoon of jam onto one half of each round, leaving a 1/4-inch border; fold the other half over to enclose the jam. Using the tines of a fork, press the edges together to seal. Transfer the mezzalune to one of the chilled baking sheets, spacing them 2 inches apart. Repeat with the remaining 3 pieces of dough and filling, then repeat with the gathered scraps. Refrigerate themezzalune for at least 10 minutes.
  4. Brush the mezzalune with egg white, sprinkle with granulated sugar and top with a generous sprinkling of sliced almonds. Bake in the upper and lower thirds of the oven for about 40 minutes, until golden brown, switching the pans halfway through for even baking. Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool. Dust with confectioners' sugar and serve.
Make ahead: The baked mezzaluna cookies can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 2 days or wrapped tightly in plastic and frozen for up to 2 weeks. Thaw at room temperature before serving.

Candy Cane-Chocolate Cookies
Linda Lomelino

  • 12 oz dark chocolate (70%), chopped, divided
  • 4 tbsp salted butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 pinches baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 8 oz milk chocolate, melted
  • crushed candy cane
  1. Melt 7 oz dark chocolate and butter in a double boiler or in a metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Let cool. Mix flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
  2. Beat eggs, sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy, about 8-10 minutes.
  3. Stir in reserved dark chocolate mixture and remaining 5 oz dark chocolate. Add flour mixture and stir until smooth.
  4. Let mixture rest 15 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°. Place rounded tablespoonfuls of dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, leaving space between cookies. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Let cool.
  5. Dip cookies in milk chocolate and then in crushed candy cane (or sprinkle candy cane on top). Place cookies on a wire rack to harden.

Happy baking!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Chanukah/Hannukah/Hanukkah Desserts for Sunday

Lemon rosemary scones for
post-Thanskgiving relaxation
Happy Thursday everyone! Lizzy Bee's Bakery has been bustling with business this holiday season, making cupcakes, cookies, pies, and more! If you live in the New York City tri-state area, be sure to get your holiday orders in now!

Gingersnaps and sugar cookies
for a 1st birthday party
 In the meantime, Chanukah will soon be upon us and it's time to start getting ready to fry our desserts. Tis the season for sufganiyot, or donuts, and other delicious Chanukah treats. Follow the recipe closely and always be careful around splattering oil!

Strawberry Sufganiyot
Uri Scheft and Rinat Tzadok

  • 1 1/4-ounce envelope active dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoon)
  • 3—4 cups all-purpose flour, divided, plus more for surface
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup warm whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon brandy (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Mini lemon cupcakes with
    delicious cream cheese frosting
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into pieces, plus more
Frying and assembly:
  • Vegetable oil (for frying; about 8 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups strawberry jam
  • Powdered sugar (for dusting)
Special equipment: A deep-fry thermometer; piping bag, and 1/4" round tip; 2 1/2"-diameter biscuit or cookie cutter

Make the dough:
  1. Combine yeast, 1 tablespoon flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 2 tablespoons warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer*; let stand until yeast starts to foam, about 5 minutes.
  2. Whisk in egg yolks, whole egg, milk, orange zest, orange juice, brandy, if using, salt, vanilla, 2 cups flour, and remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Mix on low speed with dough hook until combined, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add 6 tablespoons butter 1 piece at a time, mixing well between additions. (Any small lumps of butter will get worked into dough when more flour is added.)
  4. Gradually add remaining 2 cups flour (you may not need all of it), mixing until mostly combined between additions, until dough is soft, smooth, and shiny—the dough will begin to pull away from the sides of bowl and climb up dough hook.
  5. *If you don't have a stand mixer, you can get the same results by mixing the dough with a sturdy wooden spoon and kneading on a lightly floured surface.
Knead and proof the dough:
  1. Turn dough out onto a floured work surface and knead, adding more flour as needed, until no longer sticky, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a buttered bowl, turn to coat, and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Cut the dough:
  1. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface until 3/4" thick. Using a floured cutter, cut out rounds of dough, twisting cutter to release the dough (this strengthens the edges so the dough puffs when frying). Reroll scraps once.
  2. Transfer rounds of dough to a parchment-lined baking sheet and cover loosely with another kitchen towel. Let rise until not quite doubled in size, 40–50 minutes.
  3. If you are not ready to fry dough, refrigerate rounds up to 3 hours.
Fry the dough:
  1. Fit a large heavy saucepan with thermometer; pour in vegetable oil to measure 4" and heat over medium-high heat until thermometer registers 350°F. Working in batches, fry dough until golden, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to a paper towel–lined baking sheet and let cool slightly before filling.
Fill and finish the sufganiyot:
  1. Pulse jam in a food processor until smooth (this will make it easier to pipe). Scrape jam into piping bag fitted with 1/4" tip*. Insert tip into top of sufganiyot and gently fill until jam just pokes out of hole. Dust with powdered sugar just before serving.
  2. *If you don't have a piping bag, make a shallow hole with a toothpick, then use a plastic bag with a 1/4" opening cut diagonally from 1 corner.
Switch it up:Once you master the sufganiyot technique, you can swap in whatever preserve, pastry cream, or sugar coating you'd like.

Chocolate-Cinnamon Babkallah
Claire Saffitz

  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 1/4 ounces. envelope active dry yeast
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, cooled, plus more
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more
Filling and assembly:
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • All-purpose flour (for surface)
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • Granulated sugar (for sprinkling)
  1. Heat milk in a small saucepan until warm. Transfer to a large bowl and whisk in yeast; let sit until foamy, 5-10 minutes.
  2. Whisk in egg yolks, vanilla, and . cup butter. Add sugar, salt, and 3 cups flour; mix until a shaggy dough forms. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until supple, smooth, and no longer shiny, 5-10 minutes. Transfer to a large buttered bowl. Cover and let sit in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 1/2-2 1/2 hours.
Filling and assembly:
  1. Mix chocolate, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface; divide into three portions. Shape each into a 12"-long rope. Roll out each rope to a 12x6" rectangle about 1/8" thick. Brush with butter and top with chocolate mixture, pressing gently. Roll up to form a log; pinch seam to seal.
  2. Place logs, seam side down, side by side on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Pinch logs together at one end; braid, then pinch ends together and tuck under. Cover loosely and let sit in a warm place until 1 1/2 times larger, 1-2 hours.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°. Beat egg yolk with 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl. Brush dough with egg wash; sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake until top is golden brown and "Babkallah" sounds hollow when bottom is tapped, 35-45 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.

Happy baking!