Monday, May 30, 2011

almond and apricot thumbprint cookies

the goods:

1 and 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup smooth almond butter
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup granulated sugar, for rolling
1/2 cup apricot jam

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat almond butter and butter on medium until smooth. Add brown sugar and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg and vanilla and beat until combined. With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture and beat just until combined (dough will be slightly crumbly).

Place granulated sugar in a small bowl. Roll level teaspoonfuls of dough into balls and gently roll in sugar to coat. Place on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet, 1 and 1/2 inches apart. Bake until cookies are puffed, 8 minutes. Remove sheet from oven and with the bottom of a round 1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon, make an indentation in center of each cookie. Bake until set, 5 to 7 minutes. Let cookies cool on wire racks, 20 minutes. Stir jam and spoon 1/2 teaspoon into each indentation.

Monday, May 23, 2011

strawberries and cream muffins

the goods:

1 cup strawberries, slightly under-ripe, diced into quarter-inch pieces
1 squeeze of lemon juice
1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin tin (or 24-cup mini-muffin tin) with paper cups. Put diced strawberries into a bowl, spritz lemon juice on them and stir gently to combine.

In a medium bowl, stir together flour, sugar, and baking powder. In a small bowl beat together oil, sour cream, vanilla, and egg. Pour mixture over dry ingredients, stirring to combine with a wooden spoon. Fold in strawberries.

Divide batter evently among the paper cups in the muffin tin. Bake for 12-14 minutes of until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Place tin on a wire rack and leave for 5 minutes. Take out muffins and continue cooling them in the paper cups on the wire rack.

When muffins are completely cool, place confectioners' sugar in a small sieve. Shake sieve lightly to dust muffins with sugar.

Monday, May 16, 2011

fudgy rocky road bars

the goods:

8 graham crackers
1 cup natural almonds, coarsely chopped
1 cup marshmallow topping
1 bag (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with graham crackers, breaking them to fit if necessary. Bake until crackers are lightly toasted and fragrant, 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a heatproof bowl set over (not in) a pan of simmering water, combine chocolate chips and condensed milk. Cook, stirring occasionally, until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth.

Sprinkle graham crackers with almonds and dollop with marshmallow topping. Pour chocolate mixture over marshmallow topping; working quickly, swirl together with a thin-bladed knife.

Refrigerate until set, about 1 hour. Cut into 18 squares.

Monday, May 9, 2011

coconut-lime semifreddo

the goods:

1 can (13.5 ounces) unsweetened coconut milk
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/2 cups cold heavy cream
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut, toasted
1 rip mango, peeled, and thinly sliced

Line a 4.5-by-8.5-inch loaf pan with parchment, leaving a 4-inch overhang on all sides. Prepare a large bowl of ice water. In a medium saucepan, combine coconut milk and condensed milk and bring to a boil over high. Reduce heat and cook at a rapid simmer, stirring frequently, until thickened, 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in lime zest and salt. Place saucepan in bowl of ice water and stir until mixture is cool, 4 minutes.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat cream on high until stiff peaks form, 2 minutes. Gently fold whipped cream into coconut milk mixture. Pour into loaf pan; evenly sprinkle coconut over top.

Freeze until firm, 6 hours.

Let sit 20 minutes at room temperature. Invert onto a serving platter; peel away parchment. Layer mango on top and serve.

Monday, May 2, 2011

simple lemon cake

the goods:

3/4 cup (1 and 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
2 cups flour, plus more for pan
4 lemons, ends removed, cut into thin slices
2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs plus 2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon baking powder
2/3 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
confectioners' sugar, for dusting
raspberries and whipped cream, for serving

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan (2 inches deep). In a medium saucepan, cover lemon slices with 3 cups water. Add pinch of salt, cover, and bring to a boil over high. Boil lemons, partially covered, until very tender, 15 minutes. Drain and transfer to a food processor. Add butter and process until smooth, scraping down bowl as needed. Add granulated sugar, eggs, and yolks and process to combine; transfer to a large bowl.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Measure milk in a liquid measuring cup and add vanilla. In two additions, add flour mixture to lemon mixture, alternating with milk. Transfer batter to pan and smooth top.

Bake until cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 40 minutes. Let cool in pan on wire rack, 20 minutes. Remove cake from pan and let cool completely on rack, 1 hour.

Dust with confectioners' sugar and serve with raspberries and cream.