Category Archives: Cookies

Linzertorte and cookies

Does this ever happen to you? You take a bite of some food, and the flavor and texture suddenly jolt your memory and you know you’ve eaten something similar before. But you can’t for the life of you remember why it is so familiar. This happened to me when I took a bite of this marvelous linzertorte.

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Pine nuts, cannoli, and figs, oh my!

A couple weeks ago, I held a taste testing party for my cousin and some of his friends. I made Italian cookies to practice and test out recipes for the bakery, and they ate said cookies and provided feedback. Wine was also part of the deal, naturally.

But first, let’s rewind to 48 hours earlier when I began this adventure in the kitchen. It started at my favorite grocery store which has almost any ingredient I could ever need, Italian or otherwise, and so inexpensive! It is a horrible enabler to my grocery shopping addiction.

In any case, I made my mother’s almond biscotti recipe, which I cannot seem to make without getting extremely frustrated. I cannot begin to fathom why this recipe just doesn’t cooperate with me. It’s not that anything goes wrong either, they just aren’t perfect. Grr. The pine nut cookies on the other hand, those were fun, if not very, very sticky. The cookies themselves are a chewy macaroon made with almond paste. Delicious. I skimped a little on the pine nuts, but those little buggers are expensive!

And oh the fig cookies.

These were big winners.

Then of course, there were cannoli. You can buy pre-made shells if you’re short on time, and then you just mix ricotta and powdered sugar until creamy, then add in your flavor, in my case, orange and cinnamon. Easy peasy.

Of course, even with all this baking I had three pounds of leftover ricotta cheese. So later that week I made ricotta and polenta cake full of honey and ricotta muffins, which were barely sweet but fascinatingly good. I think I was photographed out by this point because I documented neither item. However, ricotta is such a wonderously versatile cheese that I have a long list of ricotta desserts to try out, so this will not be the last you hear of it.

Of all the treats I made for the evening, I was most proud of my rosemary bread. It turned out better than ever before.

It was just divine. Most especially with butter. (Obviously). Unfortunately, I have since let my rosemary plant die. Oops! I don’t know how I will ever start and keep a garden.

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Filed under Bakery, Beer and Vino, Bread, Cookies, Fruit, Italian, Pastries

Holiday Crazies

Happy Holidays my friends! Yes, this is a little late considering we are now in 2011, but I am only just starting to breathe after a particularly exhausting holiday season. Perhaps it was the fact that it was my first Christmas as a full fledged adult (ha!), or because I was overly ambitious in my holiday baking plans, or just that everyone else in the real world returned home for the holidays and I had to shed my recently acquired hermit tendencies. In any case, I am glad it’s all over. Because now I have time to do things like update this blog.

And psych myself up for baking and pastry school which starts in 10 days! Not that I’m counting or anything…

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Filed under Cake, Chocolate, Cookies

My dad’s new favorite cookie

I promise I’m going to venture out of Dorie Greenspan’s book soon. But seriously, everything I make from it turns out amazing.  Like tonight, I made these Chocolate Chunkers and whoa. Whoa, are they good. Upon tasting them, my dad exclaimed them the best thing I ever made and the only cookie he ever wants to eat from now on.

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Filed under Chocolate, Cookies, Recipe

Adjustment Therapy

I would say I didn’t waste any time getting back into the kitchen, but that would be a lie.  Lacking a routine upon my return home, I lost all motivation to be even remotely productive.   The most interesting part of one day was watching a bunny in my backyard build her nest.  In order to remember what it means to be a normal human being, I had to force myself to make something.

I turned to my new best friend, Dorie Greenspan.  I borrowed her book from the library earlier this summer and fell in love. It wasn’t until I had to return it that I realized I never wanted to be without these recipes, so I promptly bought my own copy.  Flipping through the pages, I came across a cardamom crumb cake that seemed the perfect compliment to a morning mug of coffee (which, I have to admit, I sorely missed in Italy).

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Filed under Breakfast, Cake, Cookies, Italian, Savory

In which I get to play with sprinkles

Today at the bakery, once all the bread was done and it was a reasonable hour to be awake, we made crostate.

The crostate are for a party tomorrow at the local retirement home.  Good stuff.

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Filed under Bakery, Bread, Cookies, Fruit, Italian, Pastries, Travel

Vino, pizza, baba e cantucci

Thus begins my final week here in Castellina.  I am so dreadfully sad when I think about leaving.  So instead, I’m going to think about all the things I have done this past weekend.

Let’s see…  I saw an incredible view of Florence.

I started shopping for wine to bring home. Found myself in the cantina below the wineshop.

This is a cave I would not mind getting trapped in.  Creepy? Yes. But it’s filled with wine. So it would still count as a win.

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Filed under Bakery, Beer and Vino, Bread, Cake, Cookies, Italian, Travel