Friday, May 15, 2009

New Blog Alert!

Extra! Extra! 

We've started a new blog: TwIN Season

It's all about our first-time experience being part of a CSA, and being parents. Check it out!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year Fortune Cookies

Happy New Year! It's 2008 and it's going to be a great one. Part of our annual tradition is to make homemade fortune cookies filled with hand written fortunes that are more funny than prophetic. This recipe is really easy and yields a cookie that is far more tasty than the kind you get wrapped in plastic at the end of your Chinese take out meal. Plus, since you get to write the fortunes they'll be much more relevant and heartfelt than your average fortunes.
The batter is simple to whip up but there's some skill, time and tools required in the proper forming and shaping of the cookies. You really need to have a Silpat silicone cookie sheet liner or these will just stick right to the sheet. But even if you don't get them into the traditional "fortune cookie" shape, I guarantee you'll love the taste of this cookie. Peter declared that they taste like pancakes and I agree. There's something almost maple syrupy you get from the crunchy cookie. 

4 egg whites from large eggs
1 cup superfine sugar (either place regular white sugar in your Cuisinart and grind or just use it as is)
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
3 Tb heavy whipping cream
6 Tb butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place Silpat liner on sheet pan or cookie sheet. Prepare fortunes on small strips of paper. Get out a drinking glass with a fairly wide mouth.
2. Place egg whites in mixing bowl and add sugar. Using the whisk attachment mix until frothy, about 1 minute.
3. Add salt and vanilla and continue to mix for 30 seconds.
4. Add flour, cream and melted butter and mix until batter is smooth, about 1 minute. 
5. Using your measuring spoons, place 1 Tb of batter on one side of the cookie sheet. Use the back of the spoon to spread batter into an even circle, about 5" across. Place one other circle of batter on the other side of the sheet. 
6. Bake for 8 minutes, until the edges are golden brown.
7. Remove from oven and working very quickly remove one cookie from the sheet using an offset spatula. Place a fortune strip in the center of the circle and fold the cookie in half into a half moon. Pick up the cookie and fold it over the mouth of the glass, holding for a few seconds to press it into shape. Repeat with other cookie.

Tip: only try to do 2 cookies at a time or they'll harden too quickly to shape. I space mine apart by about 4 minutes and work with 2 sheets to be most efficient.

Yield: about 20 cookies

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Caramel Pecan Buche de Noel

Can you believe Christmas is already over? I had so much to do this year the week before that I really waited until the last minute to do all my shopping. Still, the way the holiday fell this year I somehow felt like I had more time prior to Christmas day than other years. We drove back to Cincinnati Saturday morning and I started baking pretty much from the moment I arrived. I made double and triple batches of all my favorite cookies and was contemplating whether or not to just leave it at that. 
Since I finished all my shopping Sunday, I decided I had enough time to attempt something a bit more ambitious: a buche de noel (that's yule log, for those of you who have long forgotten your high school French). I think I made one of these many years ago, but it had definitely been awhile. I was inspired by this recipe to make it a flavored log, and boy was it worth it. This recipe was pretty time-consuming start to finish, and I definitely had a freak out moment while making the frosting because it took way longer than the recipe instructed to set, but the end result was so worth it. I think the meringue mushrooms made the entire thing--so realistic, don't you think? Then I got really fancy and smushed up some gummy drops and cut out leaves and petals to make an edible pointsettia garnish.

Our dinner Christmas night was so rich, but everyone managed to eat a lovely hunk of log, drizzled with some caramel sauce and accompanied by none other than Graeter's butter pecan ice cream. 

And now, we diet.