Cooking for two is boring -- I want to cook for the entire blogosphere!
Thursday, February 15
This is what I made for my sweetheart for Valentine's Day: obscenely good chocolate raspberry sandwich cookies. Seriously, the picture doesn't demonstrate how brilliant the raspberry flavor is with the chocolate. I guess you'll just have to imagine.
The recipe for the cookies is adapted from the King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion. The only changes I made were to add some wheat flour (as is my wont) and to add half brown sugar (mostly because I ran out of white, but the flavor compliments the chocolate, I think). The recipe for the filling is from Moosewood Restaurant New Classics. It's actually a vegan frosting for chocolate cake, but it worked wonderfully as a filling here.
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1/4 tsp(heaping) salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking powder
2 cups semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- In a large bowl, beat together the cream and sugar until well combined. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the salt and the vanilla.
- In a seperate bowl, wisk together the flour, cocoa, and baking powder. Gradually blend this mixture into the butter mixture until smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips.
- Drop the dough by teaspoonful onto parchment-lined baking sheets, leaving about 1.5 inches between each. Bake for 11 to 12 minutes; they'll feel soft on top and will have spread out. Transfer to a rack to cool.
- When the cookies are completely cool, you can fill them. Instructions below.
1/3 cup raspberry jam
1 cup semisweet chocolate
- Combine jam and chocolate and melt in microwave: try 20 seconds, then stir. If chocolate is not yet completely melted, microwave again in 5 seconds increments. Don't overheat!
- Scoop about a teaspoonful of filling onto one cookie and spread with a knife or offset spatula. Top with another cookie and leave an hour or two to set. Repeat with remaining cookies.
Sunday, February 11
Muffins are probably the most American of breakfast baked goods, and blueberry is the quintessential flavor. I can't imagine a homemade brunch without homemade blueberry muffins, and nothing is nicer to serve a guest with tea on a winter afternoon. You'd think, given the ubiquity and popularity of this treat, that there'd be one way to make them, one definitive recipe, one set taste. Not so. Those greasy giants sold by the dozen at Costco can't compare to the crispy, fruit-filled gems you might find at your local weekend breakfast joint. The point is, muffin recipes are extremely flexible, and as such, muffins are lots of fun to make.
I have been playing around with ingredients with some very good results. The old standby, The Joy of Cooking, has three basic recipes that are a great place to start -- one for muffins, one for low-fat muffins, and one for yogurt muffins. After some experimentation, I found that modifying the low-fat recipe yielded the best result. The resulting muffins are rich and sweet, with crispy tops and a nice crumb. I'm not sure if the recipe still qualifies as "low fat" (heavy cream, not so much low in fat) but I'm sure you're way better off eating one of these muffins than whatever you'd find on the bagel and danish platter at your next morning meeting.
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
3 generous tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup nonfat milk
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 cups blueberries
- Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a standard 12 cup muffin tin with paper cups.
- Whisk together in a large bowl the flours, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
- Put the butter in a glass liquid measuring cup and microwave until melted, approx. 30 seconds. Whisk in the egg, vanilla, and milk. If the butter solidifies into little pieces, put the mixture back into the microwave for another 10 - 15 seconds and stir.
- Pour the butter mixture into the flour mixture and add the blueberries. Fold together with a few light strokes, until the dry ingredients are moistened, taking care not to over mix.
- Divide the batter among the muffin cups. There will be just enough to fill 12 cups completely. Sprinkle the tops with cinnamon and sugar. Bake 19 - 22 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
These muffins freeze well for several weeks. To reheat, pop in a 350 oven for 15-20 minutes.