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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Brownie Cookies

INGREDIENTS
  • 12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
DIRECTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over (not in) a saucepan of simmering water. Stir until melted, then let cool.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugars until lightened in color. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat until combined. With mixer on low, alternately beat in chocolate and flour mixture; mix just until combined (do not overmix).
  3. Drop dough by heaping tablespoons, about 2 inches apart, onto two parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a cookie comes out clean, 14 to 16 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool.
Notes and Comments: I love cookies. I also love brownies. Why not combine them into a delectable brownie cookie? These cookies taste like brownies, except they hold together and don’t crumble apart. Brownie cookies are one of the best baking hybrids ever invented, in my opinion.

Did you recreate this recipe? Send me a picture here. I would love to see your creations!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Basic Pie Dough

INGREDIENTS
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water
DIRECTIONS
  1. In a food processor, combine flour, salt, and sugar; pulse to combine. Add butter; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, with just a few pea-size pieces of butter remaining.
  2. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup ice water. Pulse until dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed with fingers (if necessary, add up to 1/4 cup more water, 1 tablespoon at a time). To help ensure a flaky crust, do not overprocess.
  3. Transfer half of dough (still crumbly) onto a piece of plastic wrap. Form dough into a disk 3/4 inch thick; wrap tightly in plastic. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour (and up to 3 days). Repeat with remaining dough. Makes 2 disks.
Notes and Comments: This recipe makes enough dough for one double-crust pie or two single-crust pies.

Did you recreate this recipe? Send me a picture here. I would love to see your creations!

Apple Pie

INGREDIENTS
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for rolling dough
  • 1 recipe (2 disks) Basic Pie Dough for Apple Pie
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
  • 4 pounds (8 to 10) apples, such as Empire, Granny Smith, Gala, Cortland, Winesap, or a mix
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
DIRECTIONS
  1. Lightly flour a large piece of waxed paper; place a disk of dough in center. Rolling from center outward, form into a 12-inch circle. (Use paper to rotate dough, and flour rolling pin and paper as necessary to prevent sticking.) Transfer dough (still on paper) to a baking sheet; cover and refrigerate. Repeat with second disk of dough.
  2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees with a rack set in lowest position. Remove first circle of dough from refrigerator; wrap around rolling pin (discarding paper), and carefully unroll over a 9-inch pie plate. Gently lift edges and lower dough into the pie plate so it hugs bottom and sides. Avoid stretching the dough, which will make it shrink during baking. Refrigerate.
  3. Place lemon juice in a large bowl. Peel, core, and cut apples into 1/4-inch-thick slices; halve crosswise, and add to lemon juice (to keep them from turning brown) as you work. Add sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt; toss to combine.
  4. Remove dough-lined pie plate from refrigerator. Fill with apple mixture, gently packing apples and mounding slightly in center; dot with butter. Lightly brush rim of pie shell with water. Remove remaining circle of dough from refrigerator. Lay over apples; press along moistened rim to seal. Using kitchen shears, trim overhang to 1 inch.
  5. With floured fingers, fold overhang under itself to form a thick rim; pinch between thumb and forefinger to form a uniform edge around the rim of the pie plate.
  6. To crimp edges: With thumb and index finger of one hand, gently press dough against knuckle of other hand; continue around pie. (Deep indentations anchor dough on rim and prevent it from sliding down sides of pie plate during baking.)
  7. With a floured paring knife, cut 5 to 6 slits in top of pie, radiating from center; place pie plate on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake 20 minutes; reduce heat to 375 degrees and bake until crust is golden and juices are bubbling, 50 to 60 minutes more. If edges brown too quickly, cover with aluminum foil. Cool completely, at least 6 hours, before serving.
Notes and Comments: Pie-making takes a little patience, but it gets easier with practice, and watching your friends and family enjoy the results makes it all worthwhile. Personally, I’m not a big fan of pie, but I tried making it anyway. Everybody who tried it loved it! This is a classic for any occasion.

Did you recreate this recipe? Send me a picture here. I would love to see your creations!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Flourless Chocolate Cake

INGREDIENTS
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for pan
  • 8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
  • Sweetened whipped cream, for serving
DIRECTIONS
  1. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees with the rack in the center. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Set aside.
  2. Place butter and chocolate in a large heatproof bowl and microwave in 30-second increments, stirring each time, until completely melted. Let cool slightly. Whisk in egg yolks.
  3. In a large bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add granulated sugar, and continue beating until glossy stiff peaks form. Whisk 1/4 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture; then gently fold in remaining egg whites.
  4. Pour batter into the prepared pan, and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Bake until the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan and is set in the center, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack; remove sides of pan. Serve at room temperature, dusted with confectioners' sugar. Serve with whipped cream, if desired.
Notes and Comments: Chocolate lovers will adore this dessert. The edges and top develop a delicately crisp crust while the center remains moist and fudgy. I usually like a helpful serving of whipped cream on the top, followed with a (heavy) dusting of powdered sugar. Also, it looks really nice when you make a dollop of whipped cream in the middle of the slice and sprinkle it with a bit of powdered cocoa!

Did you recreate this recipe? Send me a picture here. I would love to see your creations!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Coconut Chip Cookies

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of fine sea salt
  • 4 cups coconut chips
DIRECTIONS
  1. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats; set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and granulated sugar; add brown sugar and mix until well combined. Add eggs and mix until fully incorporated.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix to combine. Add remaining flour mixture and mix to combine. Add half of the coconut chips; mix to combine. Add remaining coconut chips and mix to combine.
  4. Using a 1 3/4 inch (1 1/2 tablespoons) ice cream scoop, scoop out balls of dough onto prepared baking sheets at least 3 inches apart. Transfer baking sheet to refrigerator; chill for 30 minutes. Using the flat bottom of a floured drinking glass, flatten dough slightly.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  6. Transfer baking sheet to oven and bake until golden brown, 14 to 16 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool. Let cool at least 20 minutes before serving.
Notes and Comments: Rich coconut takes center stage in this sweet treat. These expand a lot, so make sure to separate them at least 3 inches apart! I made the rookie mistake of ignoring the directions and put them one inch, and so I got a whole pan of coconut chip cookies!
Did you recreate this recipe? Send me a picture here. I would love to see your creations!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Cream Cheese Frosting

INGREDIENTS
  • 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 pound (4 cups) confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons strained raspberry jam
  • 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
DIRECTIONS
  1. Beat butter and cream cheese with a mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low. Add sugar, 1 cup at a time, and then jam and vanilla; mix until smooth.
Notes and Comments: This is the cream cheese frosting for the red velvet cupcake recipe below. You don’t need the raspberry jam, but it adds a fruity kick.

Did you recreate this recipe? Send me a picture here. I would love to see your creations!

Red Velvet Cupcakes

INGREDIENTS
  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising), sifted
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1/2 teaspoon red gel-paste food color
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
  • Cream cheese frosting
DIRECTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with 20 paper liners. Whisk together cake flour, cocoa, and salt.
  2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, whisk together sugar and butter until combined. Mix in food color and vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
  3. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk, and whisking well after each. Stir together the baking soda and vinegar in a small bowl (it will foam); add mixture to the batter, and mix on medium speed for 10 seconds.
  4. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.
  5. To finish, use a small offset spatula to spread cupcakes with frosting. Chill before serving.
Notes and Comments: This is an easy way to make homemade red velvet cupcakes without having to buy the pre-made powder. You can use regular buttercream frosting if you want, but cream cheese frosting is much better. For all you cream-cheese haters out there (including me), the frosting tastes NOTHING like cream cheese. When you eat it with the cupcake, it compliments the rich, chocolatey taste with a fresh burst of flavor.

Did you recreate this recipe? Send me a picture here. I would love to see your creations!