Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

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I served this cake on Christmas Eve as one of our desserts because one of our guests was vegan. If you make this recipe using dairy-free or vegan chocolate chips, it’s a vegan delight because it contains no dairy, butter or eggs! The cake is incredibly moist and chocolaty and it was a big hit on Christmas Eve. I plan to make this often when we have company. You can make the cake a day or two in advance, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap when it’s cool, and it will stay nice and moist until you glaze it. I love cakes that don’t dry out immediately.

This recipe is very easy because no electric or stand mixer is needed. You mix everything in a bowl with a whisk and good, old-fashioned elbow grease. The batter will be thin when it’s poured into the pan. Don’t worry, that’s normal.

Next time (and there will definitely be a next time), I plan to make two and turn them into a layer cake with either a vanilla or chocolate buttercream frosting.

N.B. My husband wanted me to let you know that you shouldn’t be dissuaded by the name of this cake. Although it’s an olive oil cake, it’s not at all oily, nor does it taste like olives.

Chocolate Olive Oil Cake
Recipe from Smitten Kitchen

1 1/2 cups (195 grams) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (60 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted if lumpy
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
3/4 cup (145 grams) dark brown sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cups water or coffee
1 tablespoon cider vinegar or white vinegar

Glaze:

3/4 cup (135 grams) semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons (10 grams) cocoa powder
3 tablespoons (45 ml) olive oil
1 tablespoon light corn syrup (for shine)
A pinch or two of flaky sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of 9-inch round cake pan with a fitted round of parchment paper. Spray the bottom and sides of the pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and granulated sugar. Add brown sugar and olive oil. Whisk to combine. Add water and vinegar and whisk until smooth.

Pour the batter into the pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the top is springy and a tester inserted in the center comes out with just a few sticky crumbs on it. Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then run a knife between the cake and the edge of the pan to make sure the cake is loosened. Flip it onto a cooling rack to cool the rest of the way.

Make glaze: Combine chocolate, cocoa powder, olive oil, corn syrup, and salt in a medium bowl and microwave to melt, in 15 to 30 second increments. Stir after every 20 seconds or so until the chocolate is melted. Whisk the glaze until it’s smooth and pour it onto the cake and use a spatula to spread the glaze so it completely covers the top of the cake. Don’t worry if some of it drips down the sides.

This cake will keep nicely for several days at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

Yield: 8 – 12 servings, depending upon the size your sweet tooth

One year ago: Pumpkin Lentil Soup
Two years ago:
Eleven Madison Park Granola
Three years ago:
Parker’s Split Pea Soup
Four years ago: Lemon Scones
Five years ago: Nutella Chocolate Cookies
Six years ago:
Holiday Biscotti
Seven years ago:
Individual Beef Wellingtons with Mushroom, Spinach and Blue Cheese Filling
Eight years ago:
Quinoa Pilaf with Pine Nuts
Nine years ago:
The Ultimate Quiche

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Caramelized Shallots

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I make these caramelized shallots for Christmas Eve every year. They’re one of my favorite side dishes. 2 lbs of shallots will serve six. For Christmas Eve dinner, I traditionally make five pounds, much to the consternation of the boys. Peeling the shallots has been their job for the last couple of years. I like to buy shallots that are on the smaller side. Let me tell you, five pounds is a LOT of shallots. It can take several hours to peel them, but as I tell the kids, many hands make light work. My niece was the biggest help of all this year; the boys kept bailing out.

Once the shallots are peeled, this recipe is not difficult to make. When peeling the shallots, cut off the roots themselves, but leave some of the root end intact so the outer layers of the shallots don’t fall off when they’re cooking. Also, make sure your pan is big enough to hold them all in a single layer so they can brown nicely. If they’re too crowded, they won’t all brown.

This recipe can be made a day ahead and reheated just prior to serving. Add these to your next dinner party menu. You won’t regret it.

Caramelized Shallots
Recipe from Ina Garten at Food Network

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
2 pounds fresh shallots, peeled, but don’t remove too much of the root end
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons good red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Melt the butter in a 12-inch cast iron or ovenproof saute pan., add the shallots and sugar, and stir so the shallots are covered in the butter and sugar. Cook over medium heat for about 10 – 15 minutes, tossing occasionally, until the shallots start to brown. Add the vinegar, salt, and pepper and toss well.

Place the saute pan in the oven and roast for 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the size of the shallots, until they are fork-tender. Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with parsley, and serve hot.

Yield: Six servings

One year ago: Pumpkin Lentil Soup
Two years ago:
Cheesy Hasselback Potato Gratin
Three years ago:

Four years ago:
Eggnog Doughnut Muffins
Five years ago: Chocolate Chocolate-Chunk Muffins
Six years ago:
Baked Ziti with Tomato, Mozzarella and Sausage
Seven years ago:
Rosemary Parmesan Coins
Eight years ago:
Mashed Yellow Turnips with Crispy Shallots
Nine years ago:
Big Dutch Baby

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Gingerbread Biscotti

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Gingerbread biscotti

If you’re a biscotti fan, these are perfect to make for the holidays. Your home is guaranteed to smell wonderful while they’re baking. It’s a perfect winter cookie to make on a freezing cold day like today in NYC. Biscotti are an Italian cookie that is typically dipped into a hot beverage before eating. I think these would be fantastic dipped in hot chocolate!

Biscotti are easy to make, but they’re not the quickest cookie in the world because they need two rounds of baking, the first to cook the big logs of dough, then a second bake to dry out the individual cookies. When you make these, you’ll cool the biscotti logs after the first baking and then you’ll slice them and dip them in cinnamon sugar. Don’t let the biscotti cool completely after the first baking or the cinnamon sugar mixture won’t stick.

These cookies are great to give as gifts because in an airtight container, they say fresh for a couple of weeks.  These cookies got a double thumbs up from all of my boys.

 

Gingerbread Biscotti
Recipe from Smitten Kitchen

Cookie
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus extra for flouring hands
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
A few grinds of black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt (coarse sea salt will work if your granules are similar to those of kosher salt – you definitely don’t want to use fine sea salt here)
1/2 cup dark brown sugar (light brown sugar can be used in a pinch(
1/2 cup granulated sugar
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups white or dark chocolate chunks (optional, but I used white chocolate chips and the results were delicious!)
1 large egg white

Cinnamon-sugar (optional, but delicious!)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Heat oven to 350°F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients — 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour, baking powder, spices, pepper and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk the granulated and brown sugars, melted butter, 2 large eggs and vanilla. Add wet ingredients along with any optional additions (white or dark chocolate) to dry mixture and stir to combine. The dough will be sticky.

Divide the dough in half. Using floured hands, transfer first half to the center of the prepared baking sheet and form it into a slightly flatted log about 11 inches by 2 1/2 inches. Do the same for the second half of the dough, forming the log in the center of the baking sheet. Whisk the egg white in a small bowl until a little foamy and loose. Using a pastry brush, brush it over the top and sides of the logs. This will give the tops of the cookies a nice sheen when baked.

Bake logs until golden brown all over, about 25 minutes. Switch the trays from top to bottom about halfway through the baking. While the biscotti are baking, mix the sugar and cinnamon together so the mixture is ready for the biscotti when it has cooled slightly. Pour the cinnamon sugar onto a dinner plate.

When baked, transfer trays to cooling rack and let them cool until they’re lukewarm, about 15-20 minutes. Gently transfer each log to a cutting board. Using a sharp serrated knife and a gently sawing motion, cut logs on the diagonal into 1/2-inch wide slices. If using cinnamon-sugar, the biscotti must still be warm. Dip each side of the biscotti into the cinnamon sugar before putting them back on the baking sheet. If the biscotti has gotten cold, the cinnamon-sugar won’t stick very well.

Arrange slices, a cut side down, on baking sheet(s). Bake for another 10 to 12 minutes, until golden underneath. Turn each biscotti over and bake for a final 6 to 8 minutes, until lightly bronzed all over. Let cool on rack.

These cookies can be kept for a couple of weeks in an air-tight container.

Yield: ~30 or so cookies

One year ago: Pumpkin Lentil Soup
Two years ago:
Cigarettes Russes
Three years ago:
Chocolate Ricotta Muffins
Four years ago:
Chocolate Mint Crackle Cookies
Five years ago: Peppermint Cream Squares
Six years ago:
Pork Tenderloin with Balsamic-Cranberry Sauce
Seven years ago:
Clementine Vanilla-Bean Quick Bread
Eight years ago:
Peanut Butter and Jam Jewels
Nine years ago:
Lemon Bars

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Loiusa's Cake

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I made this cake the other day on a lark. It was described as a cake that could be served for breakfast so I made it for the boys. As is typical with many new things I make, the boys were skeptical that it was loaded with vegetables. I assured them that it wasn’t, but they weren’t buying it. Eventually a couple of them tried it and liked it. When one of the boys heard that it had ricotta cheese in it, he patently rejected it. That left more for the rest of us.

This cake is very moist and the flavor and texture reminded me of a pound cake. You don’t need much of it to be satisfied. It’s also not overly sweet. Perhaps it’s considered a breakfast cake because it has an apple grated into it? This is one of those cakes that improves with time so you can definitely make it a day ahead of when you want to serve it. This is ideal for brunch, dessert or with a cup of tea.

If you notice that it’s starting to get really browned on top, cover it with a piece of aluminum foil for the remainder of the baking time.

 

Louisa’s Cake
Recipe from Food52

9 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 pinch salt
1 cup fresh ricotta
Zest of 1 lemon
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 apple, peeled and grated (should yield roughly 1 cup)
Confectioners’ sugar for serving

Heat the oven to 400° F. Butter and flour a 9- or 10-inch springform pan.

Cream the butter and sugar in a stand mixer until light and fluffy (this should take at least 5 minutes – you really want this mixture to be light and fluffy.) On the lowest speed, add the eggs one at a time. Slowly add the flour, salt, ricotta, lemon zest, baking powder, and apple. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top and rap the pan on the counter a couple of times. Bake for 30 to 35+ minutes, until the cake is golden brown and the sides start to pull away from the pan.

Cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Remove the sides of the pan and cool the cake completely on the rack. Sift confectioners’ sugar over the top or serve with seasonal fruit.

Yield: 6 servings

One year ago: Pumpkin Lentil Soup
Two years ago:
Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
Three years ago:
Mallobars
Four years ago:
English Muffin Bread
Five years ago: Rich Chocolate Brownies
Six years ago:
Chocolate-Peppermint Thumbprints
Seven years ago:
Cauliflower and Parmesan Cake
Eight years ago:
Krumkake
Nine years ago:
Peppermint Brownies

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Cocoa Buttermilk Breakfast Biscuits with Brown Sugar Cinnamon Butter

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These are very quick and easy biscuits and if you’re a baker, you probably have all of the ingredients in your kitchen cabinets. If you don’t happen to have buttermilk, you can make your own. These are incredible right out of the oven. They’re a perfect weekend breakfast treat.

You don’t need an electric mixer for this recipe. It’s all mixed by hand or with a pastry blender. If you want neatly shaped biscuits, you will need a biscuit cutter. We opted for free-form biscuits, so we just dropped the dough onto the cookie sheet.

One of my sons made these on a recent weekend morning. He is an excellent baker. It was cold outside when he made them and they were a warm, welcome treat with a cup of hot tea. They’re not terribly sweet, which is nice too. If you have extra butter, it’s great on toast!

 

Cocoa Buttermilk Breakfast Biscuits with Brown Sugar Cinnamon Butter
Recipe from How Sweet Eats

Biscuit ingredients:
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (sifted if yours is very lumpy)
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) cold butter, cut into pieces
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Butter ingredients:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt

 

Biscuit directions:

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, sugar, salt, baking powder and soda. Using a fork, pastry blender or your clean hands, add butter pieces to the flour and mix until coarse crumbles are formed. Add buttermilk and vanilla, stirring with a spoon or a spatula until just combined Don’t overmix the dough. If you need to, you can use your hands to bring the dough together.

Use a 1/4 cup measure or a similarly sized ice-cream scoop to drop batter onto a nonstick baking sheet, or if you’d like the biscuits to be a little neater looking, press the dough on a sheet of parchment paper or a cutting board and use a biscuit cutter to shape the dough into rounds. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until biscuits are set and slightly golden on the edges. While the biscuits are cooking, make the butter.

Butter directions:

Add all of the ingredients to a bowl and stir until combined.


Yield: 12 – 15 biscuits

 

One year ago: Pumpkin Lentil Soup
Two years ago:
Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
Three years ago:
Mallobars
Four years ago:
Sweet Potato-Sausage Soup
Five years ago: Marcus Samuelsson’s Spiced Coconut Lentil Soup
Six years ago:
Rosemary-Lemon Sandwich Cookies
Seven years ago:
Weeknight Bolognese
Eight years ago:
Chocolate Malted Whopper Drops
Nine years ago:
Mahogany Beef Stew with Red Wine and Hoisin Sauce

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Veggie Nuggets

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This is another attempt to get my four picky eaters to eat more vegetables. Did I succeed? Nope!

I have made these several times now because I love them. The boys? Not so much. I think they’re crazy. I’m hoping that when they’re off to college, somehow their palates will miraculously improve.

Instead of using three cups of broccoli florets, I bought a bag of Trader Joe’s Riced Broccoli and used 1 cup of it. I boiled it quickly before putting it into the food processor with the other ingredients. If you don’t have riced broccoli, the florets work fine.

These freeze and reheat in the microwave incredibly well. I just had a plate of them for lunch.

Veggie Nuggets
Recipe from Real Mom Nutrition

1 cup shredded carrots
3 cups broccoli florets
1 garlic clove
2 eggs
1 1/4 seasoned breadcrumbs, divided
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 Tablespoon canola oil

Shred carrots (I used my food processor’s shredding attachment).

Steam broccoli in the microwave for two minutes or until tender.

Place shredded carrots, steamed broccoli, garlic, eggs, 1 cup of the breadcrumbs, cheese, onion powder, and black pepper in food processor and pulse for 15 seconds or until well combined. Mixture should form easily into a ball. If it’s too crumbly, add water one teaspoon at a time until you achieve the desired consistency.

Form mixture into balls, about a tablespoon each (I use a cookie scoop). You should get about 25 nuggets. Flatten slightly into round discs about 1/2 inch thick.

Place remaining 1/4 cup breadcrumbs in a shallow dish. Coat each veggie nuggets with breadcrumbs.

Heat oil in a skillet on medium high heat until it sizzles when sprinkled with water droplets. Arrange nuggets in skillet and cook about 4 minutes each side, or until golden brown and crispy.

Serve with honey-mustard sauce, ketchup, or other favorite dip.

Yield: About 25 nuggets, but this depends upon how big your make them

One year ago: Pumpkin Lentil Soup/a>
Two years ago:
Giant Bubbles
Three years ago:
Chocolate Sugar Cookies
Four years ago:
Ranch Oyster Crackers
Five years ago: Shrimp Stew with Coconut Milk, Tomatoes and Cilantro
Six years ago:
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffinsl
Seven years ago:
Five-Treasure Fried Rice
Eight years ago:
Cream Biscuits
Nine years ago:
Cinnamon Muffins

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Less Sweet) Sweet Potato Casserole with Butter Pecan Crumble Topping

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I love sweet potato casserole at Thanksgiving, but I find that it’s often more like dessert than a side dish. Don’t get me wrong, when a sweet potato casserole is sweet, it’s certainly delicious, but I wanted to try to make a casserole that was a little healthier. Sweet potatoes have a natural sweetness that doesn’t always need to be enhanced with a lot of brown sugar, unless you’re turing the sweet potatoes into pie for dessert.

For this casserole, I decided to leave out all of the sugar that was supposed to be added to the sweet potato mixture. I wanted to see how a slightly healthier version would fare. I didn’t modify the topping. That part of the casserole is still sweet.

Serve yourself a scoop of this casserole, put a pat of butter on it with a little salt and you have a delicious, slightly sweet, slightly salty side dish. A nice combination and certainly a bit healthier than your traditional sweet potato casserole.

You can easily double this recipe and bake it in a 9×13 baking dish.

(Less Sweet) Sweet Potato Casserole with Butter Pecan Crumble Topping
Recipe adapted from Averie Cooks

Filling:
2 pounds raw sweet potatoes, diced into large chunks and boiled
1 large egg
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

Topping:
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 cup roughly chopped pecans

In a large stockpot, boil the sweet potatoes until they are fork-tender, about 15 minutes. Drain well and transfer to a large bowl.

Preheat oven to 350F and spray a 1.5 quart baking dish with cooking spray; set aside.

To the sweet potatoes, add the egg, butter, milk, vanilla, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon, and beat with a handheld electric mixer on medium-high speed until combined and fluffy. Spoon the sweet potato mixture into the baking dish, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula; set aside.

Topping – To a large microwave-safe bowl, add the butter and heat on high power to melt, about 30 seconds.

Add the brown sugar, flour, salt, and toss with a fork or your fingers until moist crumbs form.
Add the pecans and toss to incorporate.

Crumble the topping over the sweet potato filling and bake for approximately 45 minutes (or cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours if you’re prepping it in advance), or until top is lightly golden browned, set on the edges, and mostly set in the center. Mine took 50 minutes because I started with it cold from the fridge because I prepped it the night before. Serve immediately. Left-overs will keep airtight for up to 1 week in the fridge.

Yield: 4-6 servings

One year ago: Tomato, Melted Leek and Feta Galette
Two years ago: Soft Snickerdoodles
Three years ago: Mallobars
Four years ago: Shredded Brussels Sprouts
Five years ago:
Halloween Treats
Six years ago:
Baked Flounder with Tomatoes and Basil
Seven years ago:
Red Lentil Soup with Lemon
Eight years ago:
Spinach and Chicken Tortilla Bake
Nine years ago:
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

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No Bake Healthy Breakfast Cookies

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I am still on a quest to find healthy things for the boys to eat. They are all in high school now, three sophomores and a freshman, and although their eating habits have gotten infinitesimally better, and I mean infinitesimally, they are still not great. Until they are off to college, I will continue to search for healthy things for them to eat that I can actually get them to eat. These breakfast cookies are one of them, at least for three of the boys.

These are very easy to make, and if you’re a baker you probably have most of the ingredients in the house. The flaxseed might be the only thing that you have to buy. If you live near a Trader Joe’s, they sell a bag of flaxseed meal that works perfectly in this recipe. That’s what I used.

This recipe is fairly flexible in that you can add additional mix-ins. If you have any kind of dried fruit or nuts in the house, they can be chopped and a Tablespoon can be added to the mixture.

These are a great grab-and-go breakfast or snack that I like to have on hand for busy mornings.

No Bake Healthy Breakfast Cookies
Recipe adapted ever so slightly from Chelsea’s Messy Apron

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
2 Tablespoons honey or agave nectar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup Rice Krispies cereal
1/4 cup flaxseed or flaxseed meal
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats (not cooked)
1 Tablespoon mini chocolate chips (optional)

Topping (optional):
3 Tablespoons chocolate chips (milk or semi-sweet)
1/8 teaspoon of coconut oil (optional, but it does help the chocolate harden)

 

In a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl, combine the peanut butter, honey, vanilla, and salt. Microwave for 20-30 seconds and stir until combined.

In that same bowl, add in the rice krispie cereal, flaxseed, oats and mini chocolate chips (if using.) Stir together until completely combined.

Place in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes for easier forming.

Use a spoon or a small ice cream scoop and your hands to help form balls with the mixture and then flatten the balls to create a cookie shape.

If desired, melt 3 tbsp. of milk or semi-sweet chocolate chips in the microwave with 1/8 teaspoon of coconut oil. Put the melted chocolate mixture in a small Ziploc bag and cut a small hole in the tip of the bag. Drizzle the chocolate across the cookies and let the chocolate harden.

Store cookies in an airtight container for 4-5 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Yield: ~12 cookies, depending on the size

One year ago: Salted Caramel and Chocolate Rice Krispies Squares
Two years ago: Broiled Flounder with Parmesan “Caesar” Glaze
Three years ago: Chocolate Sugar Cookies
Four years ago: Asian Quinoa Salad
Five years ago: Malted Chocolate Madeleines
Six years ago: Ground Turkey Shepherd’s Pie
Seven years ago: Shortbread Candy Bars
Eight years ago: Joanna Pruess’s Molasses Spice Cookies
Nine years ago: Cheddar Apple Frittata

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Sprinkle Cookies

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We are in the throes of finals week in our apartment and it has been stressful. Our 9th graders have never had finals before and the thought of needing to know everything that has been taught since September is frightening for them, especially in subjects like biology and history where the minutia can be overwhelming. They will be happy when the finals are behind them. So will I.  I share their anxiety as they walk out the door for each test.

These cookies are reminiscent of the cookies you get from Italian bakeries, but they are much, much better. Many of the bakery cookies that I have eaten are dry with not much flavor. Not these! They’re delicious, and they’re so pretty that they make me smile when I look at them.

Three out of my four boys loved them. One wouldn’t touch them. When he saw the first batch come out of the oven, the great inquisition began.

“Did you hide any vegetables in these?”

“No, there are no vegetables hidden in these cookies. They’re sprinkle cookies. Don’t they look delicious?”

“Is there yogurt in the batter?”

“Nope.”

“Is there any cheese in them?”

“How’s your studying going? Do you have a lot more to go over?”

“Is there any cheese in the batter?”

I paused. He knew. “Ok, there’s a tiny bit of cream cheese in the batter to give them their bakery-like consistency. I promise you won’t taste it.”

That was the end of it for him. He won’t go near them. You know what? All the more for the rest of us. It’s the story of my life. One day he’ll learn.

 

Sprinkle Cookies
Recipe from King Arthur Flour

3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup cream cheese, softened
2 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 large egg
1 cup multi-colored sprinkles

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla and almond extracts, and the egg; scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.

Add the flour mixture, and mix at low to medium speed until the mixture is evenly moistened.

Place the sprinkles in a small bowl. Scoop the dough into balls using a small ice cream scoop. Roll each ball of dough in the sprinkles until completely covered. Place on the prepared baking sheets, leaving 2″ between them. Using a flat-bottomed glass, flatten the cookies to about 1/4″ – 1/2″ thick. The cookies will not spread much during baking.

Bake for approximately 10 minutes or until the bottom of the cookies just begin to brown. If your cookies are very thick, you might have to cook them for a minute or two longer.

Remove from the oven and cool on the pan for 5 minutes, before transferring to a rack to finish cooling completely.

Yield: ~3 dozen cookies

One year ago: Chickpea of the Sea Sandwich
Two years ago: Smooth and Creamy Polenta
Three years ago: Spring Root Vegetable Casserole
Four years ago: Gail’s Rolled Sugar Cookies with Piped Icing
Five years ago: Avocado-Mango Salad
Six years ago: Chocolate Chip Biscotti
Seven years ago: Curried Carrot Soup
Eight years ago: Butterscotch Blondies
Nine years ago: Crispy Salted Oatmeal White Chocolate Cookies

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Cacio e Pepe Potatoes Anna

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This is one of those situations where I knew the recipe was going to be delicious (it was!), and I knew I wanted it posted on the blog so I could have the recipe on hand so I could make it again, but I also knew we didn’t have time to get set up to take a good photo. The one we ended up with is not so great, but the photo brings back excellent memories of a delicious side dish which I will most certainly make often. I love potatoes in almost any form: boiled, sauteed, baked, covered in cheese, etc. This recipe pairs very thinly sliced potatoes with a fair amount of pepper, some butter and Romano cheese. This is another one of those recipes where the final product is definitely greater than the sum of its parts. The recipe is great right out of the oven, and it’s fantastic as a leftover too. You can reheat it for 15 minutes in a preheated oven, or you can choose to heat it in the microwave. That’s what I did and it was still delicious.

You definitely need a mandoline for this recipe. It will create potato slices that all have the same thickness, which is key to having them all finish cooking at the same time. If you like your potatoes crispy, almost like chips, cook yours a little longer than I did. You can cook it until it’s nice and brown and crispy on top. Yum!

 

Cacio e Pepe Potatoes Anna
Recipe from Smitten Kitchen

1/2 cup (65 grams) finely grated aged Pecorino Romano
1 tablespoon (10 grams) potato starch or cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon fine sea or table salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon finely ground black pepper, or a larger amount coarsely ground
3 tablespoons (45 grams) unsalted butter, melted, or olive oil
2 pounds (roughly 1 kg) Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/8-inch-thick, ideally on a mandolin

Heat your oven to 375°F. Combine the cheese, potato starch or cornstarch, salt, and pepper in a small dish. Taste a bit; you want it to have a strong salty-peppery kick, because it’s going to be distributed all over the galette.

Pour 1 tablespoon butter or oil into the bottom of a 9-inch-diameter cast-iron or ovenproof skillet (or pie plate if you don’t have the right pan), and swirl it up the sides. Arrange the potatoes in overlapping concentric circles in a single layer at the bottom of the pan. (This will use approximately a quarter of your sliced potatoes.) Drizzle with 1 teaspoon butter or oil, and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the cheese-pepper mixture. You’ll need to repeat this three or four times to use up your potatoes (depending on their size). At the end, you should have about 1 tablespoon cheese-pepper mixture left over; reserve this. Drizzle any remaining melted butter over the top.

To bake: Lightly coat a piece of foil with nonstick spray and cover the skillet tightly with it. Put in heated oven for 35 minutes, at which point the potatoes will be almost tender. Use potholdered hands to press firmly on the foil to compact the potatoes a bit. Remove and reserve the foil and bake for 25 to 30 minutes more, until lightly brown all over. Press again with the foil, remove, then briefly run under the broiler for an even golden-brown finish.

Yield: 6 servings as a side dish

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