Cake Batter Truffles


My sons LOVE these truffles, and one of them now loves to make them. They are quite good, and they taste very much like a truffle I recently had for dessert at a restaurant called Momofuku Má Pêche.

I know that some people are concerned about eating raw flour because of its potential to contain E coli bacteria. If you are one of those, I recommend cooking your flour before making these to ensure that all bacteria is killed. It’s a simple thing to do – just spread your flour on a parchment-covered baking sheet and bake it at 350 degrees for 5 minutes. The goal is to get the temperature of the flour up to 160 degrees. I have read of people having success microwaving their flour too. This is a much quicker process and can be done in about a minute in a powerful microwave.

These truffles are very sweet, and one is sufficient to satisfy any sweet-craving. They’re a nice dessert to make in the warmer months because no baking is necessary (unless you’re going to pre-bake your flour.)

Cake Batter Truffles

Cake Batter Truffles
Recipe from The Novice Chef

1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups yellow cake mix
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup rainbow sprinkles

16 oz (8 squares) white almond bark or candy melts
2 teaspoons veg oil or shortening
rainbow nonpariels (small round sprinkles), optional

Using a food processor, combine butter, yellow cake mix, sugar, flour and vanilla extract. Blend until a firm dough forms and there are no lumps left.

Remove from food processor and mix in rainbow sprinkles by hand. Roll dough into 1 inch balls and place on a large baking sheet covered with wax paper. Place dough balls in freezer for 10 minutes.

While dough is chilling, melt almond bark or candy melts in 30 second increments, stirring each time. Once completely melted, stir in vegetable oil until smooth. Dip truffle balls in melted candy using toothpicks or a fork. Return to wax paper and sprinkle the tops with rainbow nonpareils, if using.

Let truffle coating harden on the counter for 1 hour or in the fridge for 20 minutes. Store in an airtight container for up to a week. Truffles do not need to be stored in the refrigerator, but they are delicious cold.

Yield: ~24 truffles

One year ago: Pasta e Ceci (Pasta with Chickpeas)
Two years ago: Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
Three years agoSugared Pretzel Cookies
Four years ago: Carrot Soup with Ginger and Lemon
Five years ago: Zvi’s Cinnamon Swirl Bread
Six years ago: Roasted Butternut Squash
Seven years ago: Parmesan Cheese Crackers
Eight years ago: Cardamom Spritz Cookies
Nine years ago: Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

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Pumpkin Lentil Soup


Pumpkin Lentil Soup

This is a nice, comforting soup that’s great for chilly weather. It’s vegetarian and full of healthy ingredients. It’s thickened with a can of pumpkin puree, but doesn’t taste like pumpkin at all. Consider the pumpkin a thickener rather than a flavor-enhancer. As written, the soup is subtly seasoned and has a mild flavor. I spiced mine up with some extra salt and black pepper. Next time, I’ll add some cayenne to add some heat. I’ll definitely make this again. It’s a great way to get your vegetables. It’s also a great soup for a weeknight meal as it cooks mostly unattended.

Pumpkin Lentil Soup
Recipe from Taste of Home

3 cups water
3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
2/3 cup dried lentils, rinsed
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 can (15 ounces) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
1/2 cup mild salsa
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 cups fresh spinach, lightly packed

In a 6-qt. stockpot, bring first six ingredients to a boil. Cook, covered, over medium heat until lentils are tender, 20-25 minutes.

Stir in beans, pumpkin, salsa and salt until blended; return to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in spinach. Cook until wilted, 3-5 minutes.

Yield: 6 servings

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Tomato, Melted Leek and Feta Galette



This is one of my favorite galette recipes. What is a galette, you ask? According to cookbook author David Leibovitz, “Galette is a term used in French cuisine to designate various types of flat round or freeform crusty cakes.” My favorite part of that definition is the word freeform, which screams rustic, meaning it doesn’t have to be perfect. Galettes can be either sweet or savory. This one is savory and it’s especially delicious at the end of the summer through the very early fall in the Northeast, when tomatoes are at their peak. It helps to have fresh herbs, either marjoram or oregano, as well.

This is not a difficult dish to make, but it takes some time because the dough needs to chill and the tomatoes need to drain for about 45 minutes before you can start to assemble the galette. If you can plan in advance, this recipe is well worth the effort. The vegetables have a lot of flavor, and this dish is surprisingly good heated up the next day as a leftover. I even put a slice in the microwave and it was delicious. I usually reheat recipes with bread or pastry in the oven, but this was just fine reheated in the microwave.

A food processor will allow you to make the dough in a matter of minutes. The original recipe calls for fresh marjoram. I couldn’t find any, so I used fresh oregano instead. I loved the flavor of the oregano with the tomatoes and leeks.

The boys wouldn’t touch it, as usual. I’m just waiting for the day when one of them tells me they like something like this. I can’t tell you how happy I’ll be.

Tomato, Melted Leek and Feta Galette
Recipe from Fine Cooking Magazine, Issue 142

Galette dough:

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
9 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 to 5 Tablespoons ice water


1-1/4 lb. cherry or grape tomatoes, preferably a mix of colors, halved or quartered, depending on size
Kosher salt
3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 medium leeks, white and light-green parts only, sliced lengthwise, then thinly sliced crosswise, and well rinsed
All-purpose flour, for rolling the dough
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg
1 teaspoon heavy cream or whole milk
4 oz. good-quality crumbled Feta cheese (approximately 1 cup)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh marjoram or oregano
Flaky sea salt

Make the galette dough using a food processor. Add the flour, sugar and salt to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to combine. Add the butter pieces, and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse meal with some pea-size pieces. Sprinkle with 4 Tbs. of the water, and pulse until the dough comes together. If too dry, add the remaining water by the teaspoon, and pulse until the dough just comes together. Flatten the dough into an 8″ disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Put the tomatoes in a colander in the sink or over a bowl, and toss with 1-1/2 teaspoons salt. Let drain for at least 45 minutes to release excess juice. Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the leeks, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; spread in an even layer, reduce the heat to low, and cook, covered, without stirring until the leeks begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Uncover and cook, stirring occasionally, until very tender, 10 to 15 minutes more. Transfer to a plate and let cool completely.

Meanwhile, position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F. Let the dough sit at room temperature until pliable, 10 to 15 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk the egg and cream.

Roll the dough between 2 sheets of lightly floured parchment paper into a 14-inch round, loosening the parchment from the dough occasionally and adding a bit more flour if it sticks. Transfer on the parchment to a baking sheet; remove and discard the top sheet of parchment.

Leaving a 2-inch border, sprinkle half of the cheese, half of the leeks, half of the tomatoes, 1 teaspoon of the marjoram or oregano, 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper, and a generous pinch flaky sea salt over the dough. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Fold the edge of the dough up and over the filling. If the dough is sticking to the parchment, refrigerate it for 5 to 10 minutes, and then continue folding. Brush the folded dough with the egg wash. Bake, rotating the baking sheet once half-way through, until the crust is golden brown, 40 to 50 minutes. Let cool on a rack for 10 to 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Yield: ~8 slices

One year ago: Toasted Israeli Couscous Salad with Mint, Cucumber, and Feta
Two years ago: Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches
Three years agoChickpea Vegetable Stew
Four years ago: Apple Chips
Five years ago: Oatmeal Cookies with Tart Cherries and White Chocolate
Six years ago: Smoked Chili Scalloped Sweet Potatoes
Seven years ago: Billy’s Vanilla, Vanilla Cupcakes
Eight years ago: Frosted Pumpkin Muffins

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Salted Caramel and Chocolate Rice Krispies Squares




This is now my favorite way to eat Rice Krispies treats. They’re really incredibly good and the boys (except for one who claims not to like caramel) went wild for them. So did some of their friends. The addition of caramel, chocolate and salt pushed these treats over the top.

The recipe calls for pre-made caramel sauce. I bought right into this and purchased a jar at Trader Joe’s – inexpensive and tasty and just the perfect amount for this recipe. If you prefer to make things yourself, go ahead and make your own caramel sauce.

When you pour the caramel sauce over the bars, depending upon its viscosity, it may look like it’s seeping into the bars, and that’s ok. Once I poured the caramel on mine, I stuck them in the freezer for a few minutes to expedite the setting of the caramel. I did the same thing after I spread the chocolate on top.

I cut these using a meat cleaver and they cut beautifully. If you don’t have a cleaver, use the largest knife you have.

I found that because of the chocolate and caramel on top, these are best kept in and served from the refrigerator. These bars are rich, so you can cut them into small pieces. I’m not sure I’m ever going back to plain Rice Krispies treats again.


Salted Caramel and Chocolate Rice Krispies Squares
Recipe from

6 tablespoons butter
One 10-ounce bag marshmallows
6 cups Rice Krispies
1 1/4 cups store-bought salted caramel sauce, plus 2 tablespoons for drizzling
12-ounce bag semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy cream
Coarse sea salt, for finishing

Line a 13-by-9-inch pan with parchment paper and lightly grease the parchment with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large heat-safe bowl, combine the butter and marshmallows. Microwave in 20-second increments, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is melted and combined. The mixture should be very smooth.

Stir in the Rice Krispies, mixing until fully coated. Press the mixture into the prepared pan in an even layer. If you spray your hands or a spatula with non-stick spray, it will be easier to press the mixture without having it stick to you or the spatula.

Warm the caramel sauce in the microwave in 10-second increments until it’s easily spreadable. Pour the caramel over the Rice Krispies mixture and spread into an even layer. Let the treats set at room temperature for 15 minutes.

In a medium-size heat-safe bowl, combine the chocolate and cream. Microwave the mixture in 15-second increments, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.

Pour the chocolate over the caramel layer and spread evenly to cover. Refrigerate until the chocolate is almost set, sprinkle salt on the bars, chill for an additional 10 to 15 minutes until the chocolate is completely set. Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons of caramel sauce over the chocolate. Sprinkle with extra salt if desired. Slice and serve.

Store the bars in the refrigerator in an air-tight container.

Yield: many bars – it will depend upon the size you cut them

One year ago: Toasted Israeli Couscous Salad with Mint, Cucumber, and Feta
Two years ago: Rosemary Butter Cookies
Three years agoDark Chocolate and Nutella Puppy Chow
Four years ago: Pumpkin Pie Refrigerator Oatmeal
Five years ago: Mustard-Roasted Potatoes
Six years ago: McDonald’s-Style Chicken Nuggets
Seven years ago: Very Green Broccoli Soup
Eight years ago: Ham and Swiss Puff Pastry Quiche

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Empanadas have been part of our regular dinner rotation for a while now. The boys LOVE them – well, three out of four boys love them. One still primarily eats yogurt and peanut butter sandwiches. Now, wouldn’t you think it was easy to make a meal that three out of four boys eat? Well, it is, kind of. The dough is the same for all three, but the empanada fillings are vastly different. One gets filled with tofu and spices, one with cheese of various varieties and the last with sautéed ground turkey and broccoli. Broccoli was a new addition as of yesterday, so I guess we’re progressing a tiny bit in the eating department. My next goal will to get broccoli into the tofu and cheese empanadas. Wish me luck.

This dough is very easy to make, and you mix it by hand. If you have a pastry blender, making the dough will be a cinch. Keep in mind that it has to chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before you roll it out. These days I make the dough in the morning after the boys leave for school, toss it into the fridge and roll/fill the dough later in the afternoon.

The original recipe calls for deep-fat-frying the empanadas. I bake mine. I don’t have a fryer and even if I did, I don’t think I’d use it in our apartment. I’d be afraid the whole apartment would smell like fried food. I barely cook fish anymore because I have a really hard time getting the fish smell out of the apartment. We don’t have a kitchen vent that vents to the outside making it difficult to cook anything really fragrant or anything that smokes as it cooks.

Anyway, you can fill these with anything you want. There are lots of recipes out there for spiced/seasoned meat fillings, vegetarian fillings, etc.

These do very well in a lunchbox. The boys (all but that one peanut-butter eater) love bringing these to school for lunch. Oh, if you’re wondering whether their high schools have cafeterias that serve lunch, the answer is yes. Will our boys eat it? Nope. My husband makes four lunches every morning for the boys.

Empanada Dough
Recipe adapted slightly from Food Network

3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the work surface
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons sugar
Pinch salt
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 egg
3/4 cup vegetable stock
1 egg white

For the empanada dough: Combine the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Cut in the vegetable shortening with a pastry blender or 2 knives until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg and then whisk in the stock. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and knead until a dough forms. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Prepare whatever type of filling you want. All meat should be fully cooked when using it as an empanada filling’

Lightly flour a work surface and roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thick. Cut out 4-, 5- or 6-inch rounds, depending on how large you prefer. Add some filling to half of each empanada, leaving a border along the edge, and fold the dough over in half to enclose the filling. Fold the edges back onto themselves and use a fork to press and seal the edges closed. You can refrigerate the uncooked empanadas for up to 3 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Whisk together the egg white and 1 teaspoon of water to create an egg wash. When the oven is preheated, put the empanadas on a parchment-lined baking sheet and brush them with the egg wash. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

Yield: ~6-8 servings


One year ago: Curried Peas and Tofu
Two years ago: Rosemary Butter Cookies
Three years agoCinnamon Roll Bites
Four years ago: Pumpkin Pie Refrigerator Oatmeal
Five years ago: Toasted Corn, Cherry Tomato, and Edamame Salad
Six years ago: French Gougères 
Seven years ago: Roasted Potatoes
Eight years ago: Tuna Salad with Cannellini Beans

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Fresh Corn Salad



We have the most wonderful neighbors on Shelter Island and this recipe came from one of them. Our neighbor Jessie is famous for her corn salad, which highlights the best of summer’s produce in a very simple but incredibly delicious recipe. This is a perfect recipe for fresh corn season, which is August if you live in the Northeast. In New York City, we’re at the tail end of corn season. I still see some at the farmer’s markets, but it’s dwindling with my favorite heirloom tomatoes. I”m now seeing lots of different varieties of squash like butternut, acorn, etc.. The weather in NYC is still fairly mild, so I’m not yet ready for warm-weather food which I consider squash to be.

The next time I make this salad, I will add a little fresh cilantro. I think it will make a nice addition to the simple flavors. Fresh basil might be something nice to try as well. With all of the fresh vegetables, this salad is like summer on a plate.

I loved the version that I made, but I have to say that it tastes better when Jessie makes it. For me, almost anything that someone else makes tastes better than my own cooking.

You can easily cut this recipe in half if you’re not feeding an army.


Fresh Corn Salad
Recipe from Jessie Lacombe

10 ears of fresh corn-on-the-cob
1 red bell pepper, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
3-4 scallions, white and green parts chopped
1 can black beans (~15 oz.)
5 Tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
5 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro or basil (optional)
salt and pepper

In a large pot of boiling water, cook the corn for 3 minutes. Drain. When the corn is cool enough to touch, cut the kernels from the cobs and place in a large bowl. Rinse and drain the black beans and add to the corn. Add the red pepper, scallions and cilantro or basil if using. Toss the vegetables.

Whisk the olive oil and vinegar and pour on the salad. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

Yield: 8 servings


One year ago: Summer Squash Casserole
Two years ago: Rosemary Butter Cookies
Three years agoSouthwestern Chopped Chicken Salad
Four years ago: German Potato Salad
Five years ago: Cottage Cheese Pancakes
Six years ago: Fresh Pear Pie with Dried Cherries and Brown Sugar Streusel 
Seven years ago: Lemon Chamomile Shortbread
Eight years ago: Creamless Creamy Tomato Soup


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I know I haven’t posted in a while. Summer was busy and the start of school for the boys has been crazy. They are attending three different schools now and we’re drowning in new routines, early mornings and keeping organized. We’re hoping to settle into a nice, healthy routine soon. We’re not quite there yet, but I’m hoping for any day now.

The triplets are in high school now which is a huge change for them. The boys have never experienced lockers before, and they’re traveling to and from new parts of the city by themselves. They also have a LOT of homework, which makes for chaotic nights in our apartment. I’m secretly hoping that with the dawn of high school and all of the new things that the boys are experiencing, that they’ll start to try/eat more new food. Think there’s a chance? If not, please don’t tell me.

I’m going to try to get back to posting on the blog more regularly now. This summer, we ate most of the new recipes I made before we had a chance to photograph them. That said, my husband did take a couple of photos which I hope to post over the next couple of days.

So let me tell you about this hummus. It’s not a quick recipe to make because you have to soak the dried chickpeas overnight, but it’s a very easy recipe to make once the soaking is done. I served this at a dinner party last weekend and everyone enjoyed it. It makes a fair amount, so several of our friends took some home. The hummus is silky smooth. I’d venture to say that it’s the most smooth hummus I’ve ever eaten – much smoother than anything I’ve purchased in the supermarket The flavor was delicious too. The only change I might make the next time I make this is to cook or roast the garlic first so it doesn’t go into the hummus raw. If you’re not serving a big group, try cutting the recipe in half the first time you make it. I made 1.5 times the recipe (I hate the thought of possible not having enough food at a dinner party) and it was enough to serve a couple of armies. Even for our dinner party, a half a batch would have been fine.

The recipe calls for “light” tahini paste. I couldn’t find light tahini, so I used regular run-of-the-mill tahini and the resulting hummus was perfect.


Recipe from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi via the NY Times

1 1/4 cups dried chickpeas (250 grams)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons light tahini paste
4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 cloves garlic, crushed
6 1/2 tablespoons ice-cold water


Put chickpeas in a large bowl and cover with cold water at least twice their volume. Leave to soak overnight.

The next day, drain chickpeas. In a medium saucepan, combine drained chickpeas and baking soda over high heat. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add 6 1/2 cups water and bring to a boil. Cook at a simmer, skimming off any foam and any skins that float to the surface, from 20 and 40 minutes, depending on the type and freshness. Once done, they should be very tender, breaking easily when pressed between your thumb and finger, almost but not quite mushy.

Drain chickpeas. You should have roughly 3 cups (600 grams) now. Place chickpeas in a food processor and process until you get a stiff paste. Then, with the machine still running, add tahini paste, lemon juice, garlic and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Slowly drizzle in ice water and allow it to mix for about 5 minutes, until you get a very smooth and creamy paste.

Transfer hummus to a bowl, cover surface with plastic wrap, and let it rest for at least 30 minutes. If not using immediately, refrigerate until needed, up to two days. Remove from fridge at least 30 minutes before serving.

One year ago: New York Salt Potatoes
Two years ago: Yotam Ottolenghi’s Sweet Corn Polenta with Eggplant Sauce
Three years ago: Soft Pretzel Nuggets
Four years ago: Frittata with Red Peppers and Peas
Five years ago: Chipotle Turkey Chili with Apples and Cheddar
Six years ago: Mexican Wedding Cookies
Seven years ago: Lemon Mascarpone Mousse
Eight years ago: Chicken Salad with Apple and Basil

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Shrimp Scampi with Spiralized Zucchini


Zucchini Shrimp Scampi

We have friends visiting from Atlanta and one of them prefers to avoid gluten, so I have been making some gluten-free dishes. As I mentioned in another post, I have found that Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 Baking Flour is a very good substitute for regular flour. In lieu of flour in some of my favorite recipes, it has yielded great results. Now I wish I could find a good gluten-free pasta.

Our friend Chris bought me this hand-held spiralizer. I’ve read a lot about them but had never tried one. Having a lot of zucchini on the counter, I decided to spiralize some of it. Using the device that I have, spiralizing is much like sharpening a pencil. You put the zucchini in and spin it. The results are long strands, just like spaghetti. It can be served raw, or cooked. I decided to sauté it in a little butter and olive oil and turn it into a shrimp scampi dish. I thought it was delicious. The friends visiting all thought it was delicious too, except the ones that don’t love zucchini. They ate the shrimp and left the squash. Did any of my boys try it? Nope. Despite that, I will definitely make this again.

The spiralizer is a lot of fun. I’m going to see what else I can spiralize.

Shrimp Scampi with Spiralized Zucchini
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa Family Style by Ina Garten
Vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1-2 small/medium zucchini
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 1/2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic (4 cloves)
1 pound large shrimp (about 16 shrimp), peeled and deveined
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/2 lemon, zest grated
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
1/8 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes

Use your spiralizer to spiralized one or two small/medium zucchini.

In a large (12-inch), heavy-bottomed pan, melt one tablespoon of butter and one tablespoon of olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the zucchini and toss it in the pan for 2-3 minutes, until it becomes ever so slightly translucent or achieves the consistency you desire. Remove from the pan and place in a serving dish.

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan. Add the garlic. Saute for 1 minute. Be careful, the garlic burns easily! Add the shrimp, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, and the pepper and saute until the shrimp have just turned pink, about 5 minutes, stirring often. Remove from the heat, add the parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, and red pepper flakes. Toss to combine.

Pour the shrimp and its sauce over the cooked zucchini. Toss and serve immediately.

Serves 3

One year ago: Smooth and Creamy Polenta
Two years ago: Spring Root Vegetable Casserole
Three years ago: White Bean Burgers with Tomato-Olive Relish
Four years ago: Sprinkle Sugar Cookies
Five years ago: Summer Squash with Lemon and Mint
Six years ago: Ultimate Banana Bread
Seven years ago: Strawberry Lemonade
Eight years ago:
Fusilli and Chicken with Finger-Licking Peanut Sauce

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This is some of the best shortbread I have ever eaten. One of my sons has started to enjoy baking and makes a batch every now and then. He doesn’t enjoy cooking. Just baking. I am hoping that I can convince him to do some cooking with me, in the hopes that he’ll widen his palate. He’s still a vegetarian who won’t eat vegetables.

These cookies are incredibly buttery with great flavor and texture. I have found that with shortbread, the quality of the butter makes all the difference. We use Kerrygold Irish butter in this recipe with great results.

My son tried to make a batch of these last week for his aunt, and we’re not sure why, but the cookies did not turn out as expected. They were almost like toffee, so his Aunt Lulu suggested that we crumble them and use them as an ice cream topping, which was perfect!

You can eat/serve these cookies as is, or dip them in chocolate as my son likes to do. I have read that lemon extract is a nice addition to the cookies. I plan to try it next time in place of the almond extract.


Recipe from King Arthur Flour

1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, at cool room temperature*
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 300°F. Lightly grease two round 9″ cake pans. If you worry about the shortbread possibly sticking in your particular pans, line them with parchment, and grease the parchment.

In a medium-sized bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, vanilla, and almond extract, then beat in the flour. The mixture may seem a little dry at first; keep beating till it comes together. If it absolutely won’t come together, dribble in up to 1 tablespoon of water, until it does. This is a stiff dough.

Divide the dough in half (if you have a scale, each half will weigh about 10 1/2 ounces), and press each half into one of the prepared pans, smoothing the surface with your fingers, or with a mini rolling pin.

Use a fork to prick the dough all over; this allows any steam to escape, and prevents the shortbread from bubbling as it bakes. Prick the dough in a random pattern, but it looks nicer pricked with some kind of symmetry.

Bake the shortbread until it’s a light golden brown across the top surface, and a deeper golden brown around the edges, about 35 minutes.

Remove it from the oven, and immediately turn each shortbread round out onto a clean work surface.

Using a pizza wheel or sharp knife, cut each round into 12 wedges. (Do this while the shortbread is still warm; if you wait until it’s cool, it won’t cut easily.) Transfer the shortbread wedges to a rack to cool.

Yield: ~24 cookie wedges

One year ago: Nutella Cheesecake Chocolate Cookie Cups
Two years ago: Spring Root Vegetable Casserole
Three years ago: Tomato Feta Pasta Salad
Four years ago: Thai Curry Turkey Burgers
Five years ago: Chinese Chicken Salad
Six years ago: Cheese Quiche
Seven years ago: Mojitos

Eight years ago: Crispy Southwestern Baked Chicken

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Black Bean Burgers


Black Bean Burger

These are the best black bean burgers I have ever made. You have to plan ahead because they need to rest for at least an hour before cooking them, but they’re well worth the planning. Many bean burgers have a mushy consistency. Not these. In a bun, they hold up like a hamburger. I like to serve them with a sauce that I make by mixing mayonnaise with sriracha sauce. I like 75% mayo to 25% sriracha.

I made these last night with gluten-free flour, and didn’t notice the difference between regular flour and gluten-free. I used the Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 Baking Flour. I also used it to make blueberry muffins this morning, and again, didn’t notice a difference between it and regular flour. I was quite surprised as I have used other gluten-free flours with terrible results.

These keep very well in the refrigerator overnight and reheat well in the microwave. This is now my go-to bean burger recipe. It’s part of our regular rotation now and our guests that have tried them have really liked them.

The photo above is of my friend Jon’s lunch plate. He styled the food for the photo. Thanks Jon!


Black Bean Burgers
Recipe from Cooks Illustrated magazine, September 2015

2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 scallions, minced
3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 ounce tortilla chips, crushed coarse (~1/2 cup)
8 teaspoons vegetable oil
6 hamburger buns

The black bean mixture needs to be refrigerated for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours prior to cooking. When forming the patties, it is important to pack them firmly together.

Line rimmed baking sheet with triple layer of paper towels and spread beans over towels. Let stand for 15 minutes.

Whisk eggs and flour together in large bowl until uniform paste forms. Stir in scallions; cilantro; garlic; cumin; hot sauce, if using; coriander; salt; and pepper until well combined.

Process tortilla chips in food processor until finely ground, about 30 seconds. Add black beans and pulse until beans are roughly broken down, about 5 pulses. Transfer black bean mixture to bowl with egg mixture and mix until well combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200 degrees. Divide bean mixture into 6 equal portions. Firmly pack each portion into tight ball, then flatten to 3 1/2-inch-diameter patty. (Patties can be wrapped individually in plastic wrap, placed in a zipper-lock bag, and frozen for up to 2 weeks. Thaw patties before cooking.)

Heat 2 teaspoons oil in 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Carefully place 3 patties in skillet and cook until bottoms are well browned and crisp, about 5 minutes. Flip patties, add 2 teaspoons oil, and cook second side until well browned and crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer burgers to wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet and place in warm oven to keep warm. Repeat with remaining 3 patties and 4 teaspoons oil. Transfer burgers to buns and serve.

Yield: 6 servings

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