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.
Category Archives: Recipe
You know what I’d like to bring back?
Tea time, and not the golf kind. Those British are on to something. I mean, I’m not the biggest fan of tea unless I’m sick–I’m much more of a debilitating coffee addiction kind of girl. But the tea time ritual itself, that’s what I want. Because you get to take a break in the middle of the day and socialize. And more importantly, you get to eat cake. (Or at least you do in my version of tea time).
The best coffee/tea-time cake is deliciously simple. Butter, sugar, eggs, and flour, maybe a little flavor, (I am all about almond!), or jam filling. Everyday cakes are truly spectacular without the fuss. Unfortunately these kinds of cake don’t always satisfy as an after dinner dessert. They shine much more brightly mid-day, shared with a friend or two over coffee and tea.
Which is why we need to bring back tea time. And while we’re at it, afternoon siestas. I would advocate for brunch too, another excellent reason to make one of these cakes, but it is already a recognized and well-practiced tradition.
In conclusion, everyday cakes are a largely ignored yet glorious treat. I’m a big fan and you should be too. So I’m going to share with you three fabulous cake recipes that I made on a whim and was ever so glad I did!
Slabs of butter are what make pastry so good.
Once I encased that into the dough, I folded it, rested it for an hour, then rolled it out like this:
Then I folded it, and now it’s resting again for another hour. It is one of those recipes that really tests my patience. So in between I’m making brownies. With more butter. Browned butter to be more exact and delicious.
As I prepared them my dad told me stories of the “snow of ’67” when the drifts were taller than his room window, which naturally led to a indoor snowball fight with his siblings. At this point all I’ll be able to tell about the “snow of 11” will be that I baked some (hopefully) excellent brownies.
If you’d like to tell the same tale, here’s the recipe. (I doubled it for sharing purposes, especially in these blustery times).
Cocoa Brownies with Browned Butter and Walnuts
from Bon Appetit February 2011
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder (spooned into cup to measure, then leveled)
2 tsp water
1/4 tsp salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, chilled
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon unbleached all purpose flour
1 cup walnut pieces
Position rack in bottom third of oven; preheat to 325°F. Line 8 x 8 x 2-inch metal baking pan with foil, pressing foil firmly against pan sides and leaving 2-inch overhang. Coat foil with nonstick spray. Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Continue cooking until butter stops foaming and browned bits form at bottom of pan, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; immediately add sugar, cocoa, 2 teaspoons water, vanilla, and 1⁄4 teaspoon (generous) salt. Stir to blend. Let cool 5 minutes (mixture will still be hot). Add eggs to hot mixture 1 at a time, beating vigorously to blend after each addition. When mixture looks thick and shiny, add flour and stir until blended. Beat vigorously 60 strokes. Stir in nuts. Transfer batter to prepared pan.
Bake brownies until toothpick inserted into center comes out almost clean (with a few moist crumbs attached), about 25 minutes. Cool in pan on rack. Using foil overhang, lift brownies from pan. Cut into 4 strips. Cut each strip crosswise into 4 brownies.
DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.
These days, I’ve fallen in love with pâte à choux.
This special dough, which I only just learned to pronounce, is used to make cream puffs, eclairs, profiteroles, gougères (savory cheese puffs), and zeppole, (the Italian version of beignets typically made on St. Joseph’s day).
The best part about this dough is not only its delicious puffiness, but how wonderfully easy it is to make. It’s also unlike other pastry because you mix your flour, butter, milk and water over heat, essentially cooking the dough before you even bake (or fry) it.
This was a particularly long week, no? I found myself on Friday evening completely exhausted and in need of a break. So I grabbed a beer and made a cake.
Ok, probably not what most people would consider relaxing. But we all take care of ourselves in different ways. Some people might get a massage or manicure to pamper themselves. I give myself a cake.
Honestly, I don’t know what I would do without these three things. Chocolate, coffee, and butter. They complete me. And by adding in a little sugar, eggs, flour and walnuts to that mix, well, then we’ve got ourselves a pretty fantastic dessert.
Disclaimer: this post is not for the squeamish. Or the vegetarians. And if you’ve come across this title expecting something sinister, you’ve come to the right place. Nothing is more dark and creepy than leftover Thanksgiving turkey carcass. Dun Dun DUUUUN!
I hope everyone had a splendid holiday weekend full of friends, family, and ridiculously gluttonous feasting. I spent the evening of Thanksgiving with my dad’s side of the family, and took home with me the whole turkey carcass in a garbage bag.
My family was going to toss this beauty, but I couldn’t see such a perfect soup-starter go to waste. They joked that I would end up just throwing it out, so of course I had to take on the challenge and prove to them and the world that I would, indeed, make soup with it.