HERMITS
There are three chefs in the kitchen, along with several prep cooks, a couple of dishwashers and myself. We are a small staff compared to most kitchens, and we have been working together for a long time. Chef C and I started the same month, and have been working together for almost 12 years. He is my work BFF and my toughest critic.  So when Chef C asked me if I would make these hermits for his wake, I knew I had made something special. I’m a bit superstitious, so I won’t make them if Chef C is flying on a plane, or going on a long hike over the weekend - I don’t want these cookies to bring on his untimely death! 
Hermits are soft, chewy molasses cookie sweetened with molasses and spiked with raisins. they keep very well - in fact they seem to get better with age!
Hermits
4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp salt

8 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups light brown sugar
3 eggs
1/3 cups molasses
1 cup raisins

pre-heat your oven to 350 F
cream together the butter and sugars in a stand mixer using the paddle attachment until the mixture is pale and light.
add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the mixture in between eggs to ensure that the eggs and butter are fully incorporated, followed by the molasses.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour with the soda and powder, salt and spices. Add this to the wet mixture, and stir slowly until the flour is just mixed in. toss in the raisins.
divide the dough into 4 equal parts. It will be very sticky. using your fingers, form 4 logs on two lined cookie sheets. I keep of bowl of cold water near me when I am doing this-wet fingers make the shaping much easier.
bake until the logs are just set in the middle-when you press the top it will feel “done” and bounce back a little.
Let the logs cool. Slice with a serrated knife. Yum!

HERMITS

There are three chefs in the kitchen, along with several prep cooks, a couple of dishwashers and myself. We are a small staff compared to most kitchens, and we have been working together for a long time. Chef C and I started the same month, and have been working together for almost 12 years. He is my work BFF and my toughest critic.  So when Chef C asked me if I would make these hermits for his wake, I knew I had made something special. I’m a bit superstitious, so I won’t make them if Chef C is flying on a plane, or going on a long hike over the weekend - I don’t want these cookies to bring on his untimely death! 

Hermits are soft, chewy molasses cookie sweetened with molasses and spiked with raisins. they keep very well - in fact they seem to get better with age!

Hermits

4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp salt
8 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups light brown sugar
3 eggs
1/3 cups molasses
1 cup raisins

pre-heat your oven to 350 F

cream together the butter and sugars in a stand mixer using the paddle attachment until the mixture is pale and light.

add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the mixture in between eggs to ensure that the eggs and butter are fully incorporated, followed by the molasses.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour with the soda and powder, salt and spices. Add this to the wet mixture, and stir slowly until the flour is just mixed in. toss in the raisins.

divide the dough into 4 equal parts. It will be very sticky. using your fingers, form 4 logs on two lined cookie sheets. I keep of bowl of cold water near me when I am doing this-wet fingers make the shaping much easier.

bake until the logs are just set in the middle-when you press the top it will feel “done” and bounce back a little.

Let the logs cool. Slice with a serrated knife. Yum!

Thank you Tumblr Friends!
I have 102 followers as of today! thank you all so much for the likes and follows. xo

Thank you Tumblr Friends!

I have 102 followers as of today! thank you all so much for the likes and follows. xo

Kitchen chat

  • Chef C - did you see ____movie?
  • Me - no
  • Chef C - here's a brief synopsis...
  • Me - (puts down heavy pot)
  • Twenty minutes go by.
  • Whole movie plot scene by scene revealed.
  • The end.
ORANGE POPPY MADELEINES 

The word cookie comes from the Dutch word koekje, which means little cake. I can’t think of a cookie that lives up to this definition better then the french Madeleine. Madeleines are basically a baby shell-shaped genoise. Here is a link to my vanilla madeleines. 
Ingredients
1 cup plus 1 TB cake flour*
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs and 1 yolk, at room temperature

1/2 tsp orange oil***
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

5 ounces melted butter

Preheat the oven to 350F
grease and flour your Madeleine pan

In the bowl of a mixer, using a whisk, whip the eggs, yolk and sugar until it is very light, pale and fluffy looking.

while that is happening, sift together the cake flour, salt and baking powder.

when the eggs are ready, toss in the orange oil and vanilla.

turn the mixer speed to the lowest setting, and toss in the try ingredients. whisk JUST until they are combined. 

pour in the melted butter. then add the poppy seeds.

let the batter rest for an hour or so or the refrigerator.

spoon in the dough so that each mold is 3/4 the way full.

bake, spinning every five minutes, until golden, the edges have pulled away from the pan, and the cookie bounces back when you press a finger onto the top, about 15 minutes or so, depending on your mold size.

*In a pinch, I have made these with all-purpose flour. they are not quite the same, but they are still good.

***orange oil is the oil pressed from the orange peel. next time you have an orange peel handy, put it very close to your face, and bend the peel-you will see a burst of oil spray into the air, and it will smell heavenly. Orange oil is extremely concentrated, so use a light touch. It is also a powerful solvent! One time I was doing a baking demonstration, I packed up all of my ingredients, pre-measured. I used a little plastic condiment container for the orange oil. by the time I arrived at my destination, the oil had eaten a hole in the plastic and it was gone. That being said, if you ever need to remove a sticker or tape from a nonporous surface, orange oil is your new best friend. 

ORANGE POPPY MADELEINES 

The word cookie comes from the Dutch word koekje, which means little cake. I can’t think of a cookie that lives up to this definition better then the french Madeleine. Madeleines are basically a baby shell-shaped genoise. Here is a link to my vanilla madeleines

Ingredients

1 cup plus 1 TB cake flour*
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs and 1 yolk, at room temperature
1/2 tsp orange oil***
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
5 ounces melted butter
Preheat the oven to 350F
grease and flour your Madeleine pan
In the bowl of a mixer, using a whisk, whip the eggs, yolk and sugar until it is very light, pale and fluffy looking.
while that is happening, sift together the cake flour, salt and baking powder.
when the eggs are ready, toss in the orange oil and vanilla.
turn the mixer speed to the lowest setting, and toss in the try ingredients. whisk JUST until they are combined. 
pour in the melted butter. then add the poppy seeds.
let the batter rest for an hour or so or the refrigerator.
spoon in the dough so that each mold is 3/4 the way full.
bake, spinning every five minutes, until golden, the edges have pulled away from the pan, and the cookie bounces back when you press a finger onto the top, about 15 minutes or so, depending on your mold size.
*In a pinch, I have made these with all-purpose flour. they are not quite the same, but they are still good.
***orange oil is the oil pressed from the orange peel. next time you have an orange peel handy, put it very close to your face, and bend the peel-you will see a burst of oil spray into the air, and it will smell heavenly. Orange oil is extremely concentrated, so use a light touch. It is also a powerful solvent! One time I was doing a baking demonstration, I packed up all of my ingredients, pre-measured. I used a little plastic condiment container for the orange oil. by the time I arrived at my destination, the oil had eaten a hole in the plastic and it was gone. That being said, if you ever need to remove a sticker or tape from a nonporous surface, orange oil is your new best friend. 
Brown Sugar Wafers
It’s okay. You can say it. I know these cookies are not much to look at. This might be a good time to make the following confession. I LOVE plain cookies. The plain-Janer the better. While many cookie lovers gravitate towards the chunky-chocolatiest, others will hold out for the most obscure macaron, like bacon and maple syrup macaron or what have you. And then there are those who love the glitz - give them a cookie glazed in ombre fondant. And that’s okay. NO JUDGEMENT. There is room at the cookie counter for all of us. But let me take this moment to sing the praises of the plain cookie. The wheat digestive biscuit. The shortbread whose flavor is BUTTER. And these marvelous brown sugar wafers. Yes, they will bake in odd shapes. Yes, their edges will brown. You will not feel excited to bring them to book group. No matter - You Won’t Want To Share Them. Crisp, buttery, perfumed with fresh vanilla bean - one taste of these cookies and they will look like the most beautiful treat you have ever seen.
Brown sugar wafers
1/2 pound butter at room temperature3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 vanilla bean (or 1 TB pure vanilla extract)
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

there are no surprises here, technique wise.

preheat the oven to 350

cream the butter and brown sugar until the butter is so light and fluffy you can’t tell it was brown sugar anymore.

Beat in the yolk and the vanilla bean seed* (or vanilla extract)

in a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, soda and salt.

scoop into 1 inch sized balls, leaving about 2 inches in between cookies (they do spread a bit)

bake until golden brown, the edges slightly darker, about 14-18 minutes.

As they cool, prepare yourself to fall in love.

*when using fresh vanilla bean to flavor cookies, you want to use the seeds only. with a small paring knife, slice the bean lengthwise in two. using the back of the blade, scrape out the tiny seeds. they will stick to your fingers. just press the seeds into the butter or scrape them into the egg yolk. 

Brown Sugar Wafers

It’s okay. You can say it. I know these cookies are not much to look at. This might be a good time to make the following confession. I LOVE plain cookies. The plain-Janer the better. While many cookie lovers gravitate towards the chunky-chocolatiest, others will hold out for the most obscure macaron, like bacon and maple syrup macaron or what have you. And then there are those who love the glitz - give them a cookie glazed in ombre fondant. And that’s okay. NO JUDGEMENT. There is room at the cookie counter for all of us. But let me take this moment to sing the praises of the plain cookie. The wheat digestive biscuit. The shortbread whose flavor is BUTTER. And these marvelous brown sugar wafers. Yes, they will bake in odd shapes. Yes, their edges will brown. You will not feel excited to bring them to book group. No matter - You Won’t Want To Share Them. Crisp, buttery, perfumed with fresh vanilla bean - one taste of these cookies and they will look like the most beautiful treat you have ever seen.

Brown sugar wafers

1/2 pound butter at room temperature
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 vanilla bean (or 1 TB pure vanilla extract)
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
there are no surprises here, technique wise.
preheat the oven to 350
cream the butter and brown sugar until the butter is so light and fluffy you can’t tell it was brown sugar anymore.
Beat in the yolk and the vanilla bean seed* (or vanilla extract)
in a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, soda and salt.
scoop into 1 inch sized balls, leaving about 2 inches in between cookies (they do spread a bit)
bake until golden brown, the edges slightly darker, about 14-18 minutes.
As they cool, prepare yourself to fall in love.
*when using fresh vanilla bean to flavor cookies, you want to use the seeds only. with a small paring knife, slice the bean lengthwise in two. using the back of the blade, scrape out the tiny seeds. they will stick to your fingers. just press the seeds into the butter or scrape them into the egg yolk. 
Espresso slice and bake cookies
I have the fondest memories of that magical tube of cookie dough that my dad would occasionally bring home from the grocery store. How at least a quarter of the tube would end up in my belly. I’m pretty sure my immune system is strong because of all of the raw eggs, flour and preservatives I consumed in my youth. I haven’t eaten any of that particular dough since I was in middle school - not out of some sense of food snobbery, but because every snack I ever eat from my youth is always a disappointment, and I don’t want to ruin this memory! 
Now-the first thing you should know is that basically any cookie dough that follows the classic cookie process of creaming butter and sugar, will work as a slice and bake. the texture might be a little different, and the shape will certainly change-but it’s a nice way to keep dough if you are single and just want to have a cookie or two at a time. Or if you want to double the batch and save some for another occasion. Just today I found a small lump of the triple chocolate chunk dough in my refrigerator, and rather then letting it warm up so I could scoop it, I just sliced off chunks and baked it off for the staff. A cookie baked fresh from frozen raw dough will always taste better then a cookie that has been baked and frozen-so rolling or molding cookie dough into a sliceable log is always a good idea when you re planning your cookie baking ahead of time-especially if you want to give cookies as gifts.
These espresso cookies, with little bits of finely chopped chocolate, fall under my “adult cookie” category-they are not as sweet as a chocolate chip, with a bitter edge of espresso powder. Yum.
Espresso slice and bake

1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup plus 1 TB sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 egg
1 TB vanilla extract
1 TB instant espresso powder
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped*

In the bowl of a mixer, cream together the butter and sugars until they are light and fluffy.
in a small bowl, whisk together the egg, espresso powder (Instant coffee will work here too) and the vanilla. Pour it into the butter-sugar mixture, scraping down the edges of the bowl, and mixing until everything is incorporated.
stir in the flour and salt, followed by the chopped chocolate.
roll the dough into a log, and chill for at least 2 hours, until firm.
while the dough is chilling, pre heat the oven to 350F
slice into 1/4 inch slices, and lay the cookies 2 inches apart on a lined cookie sheet.
bake until golden, and slightly firm to the touch-about 20 minutes.
*secret to chopping chocolate
at my first baking job, one of my tasks was to take 11 pound bars of chocolate and chop them into bits using a meat cleaver. It was exhausting and messy, and a lot of chocolate ended up on the floor, not to mention the fact that I looked like a deranged baker/murderess. Now days, most kitchens use the most wonderful of inventions - the chocolate callet - small pieces of tempered, high-end chocolate. But even these small chunks need to be broken down to make cookies. My favorite way to do this is in a food processor, using the blade. Pulse the chocolate until the pieces are the size you want. You have to pulse - other wise the heat from the engine will melt the chocolate. After you are done pulsing, place the chocolate in a fine sieve, and shake it over a bowl. Save what shakes off-because these tiny flakes of chocolate, when stirred into hot milk, makes the WORLD’S BEST HOT CHOCOLATE. And now, in your sieve, you have perfect little chocolate chunks to use in your cookie recipe. 

Espresso slice and bake cookies

I have the fondest memories of that magical tube of cookie dough that my dad would occasionally bring home from the grocery store. How at least a quarter of the tube would end up in my belly. I’m pretty sure my immune system is strong because of all of the raw eggs, flour and preservatives I consumed in my youth. I haven’t eaten any of that particular dough since I was in middle school - not out of some sense of food snobbery, but because every snack I ever eat from my youth is always a disappointment, and I don’t want to ruin this memory! 

Now-the first thing you should know is that basically any cookie dough that follows the classic cookie process of creaming butter and sugar, will work as a slice and bake. the texture might be a little different, and the shape will certainly change-but it’s a nice way to keep dough if you are single and just want to have a cookie or two at a time. Or if you want to double the batch and save some for another occasion. Just today I found a small lump of the triple chocolate chunk dough in my refrigerator, and rather then letting it warm up so I could scoop it, I just sliced off chunks and baked it off for the staff. A cookie baked fresh from frozen raw dough will always taste better then a cookie that has been baked and frozen-so rolling or molding cookie dough into a sliceable log is always a good idea when you re planning your cookie baking ahead of time-especially if you want to give cookies as gifts.

These espresso cookies, with little bits of finely chopped chocolate, fall under my “adult cookie” category-they are not as sweet as a chocolate chip, with a bitter edge of espresso powder. Yum.

Espresso slice and bake
1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup plus 1 TB sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 egg
1 TB vanilla extract
1 TB instant espresso powder
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped*

In the bowl of a mixer, cream together the butter and sugars until they are light and fluffy.

in a small bowl, whisk together the egg, espresso powder (Instant coffee will work here too) and the vanilla. Pour it into the butter-sugar mixture, scraping down the edges of the bowl, and mixing until everything is incorporated.

stir in the flour and salt, followed by the chopped chocolate.

roll the dough into a log, and chill for at least 2 hours, until firm.

while the dough is chilling, pre heat the oven to 350F

slice into 1/4 inch slices, and lay the cookies 2 inches apart on a lined cookie sheet.

bake until golden, and slightly firm to the touch-about 20 minutes.

*secret to chopping chocolate

at my first baking job, one of my tasks was to take 11 pound bars of chocolate and chop them into bits using a meat cleaver. It was exhausting and messy, and a lot of chocolate ended up on the floor, not to mention the fact that I looked like a deranged baker/murderess. Now days, most kitchens use the most wonderful of inventions - the chocolate callet - small pieces of tempered, high-end chocolate. But even these small chunks need to be broken down to make cookies. My favorite way to do this is in a food processor, using the blade. Pulse the chocolate until the pieces are the size you want. You have to pulse - other wise the heat from the engine will melt the chocolate. After you are done pulsing, place the chocolate in a fine sieve, and shake it over a bowl. Save what shakes off-because these tiny flakes of chocolate, when stirred into hot milk, makes the WORLD’S BEST HOT CHOCOLATE. And now, in your sieve, you have perfect little chocolate chunks to use in your cookie recipe. 

Vanilla Bean Seeds!

Vanilla Bean Seeds!

along with cookies and pies, there are owlets in my novel

Chocolate Almond Macaroons
In the morning, I wake up early, get on the bus blurry-eyed, button up my chef’s coat and step into the kitchen before most people have had their first cup of coffee. A typical baker’s routine, and one that I love. One of the benefits of working early is that my workday ends in the early afternoon. That’s when I trade whisk for laptop, chef’s coat for street clothes, and make my way down to the local cafe to follow my other passion, which is writing fiction. I’m in the midst of my last revision of my first novel FAIR SEASON. My protagonist is a pastry chef, and baking plays an important role in the plot. These chocolate almond macaroons are featured in the book-I hope you like them more than the contest judges in FAIR SEASON did!
 Chocolate almond macaroons
1 cup almond paste (American nut company brand if you can find it) 1/2 cup sugar 1/4 cup cocoa powder 1 egg white Sliced almonds for garnish 8 ounces of bittersweet chocolate, melted for dipping
Pre heat your oven to 325 F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment
Break the almond paste apart with your fingers, into little bits. Toss the sugar and cocoa powder in with the almond paste into the bowl of a mixer, and using the paddle attachment, cut the ingredients together until the mixture looks sandy.
Toss in the egg white as is-no whipping necessary!
Mix until the dough is uniform.
Scoop w/a small scoop or a tablespoon. Top each cookie with a sliced almond.
The hardest part about making macaroons is judging done ness. Bake until the outside feels dry-because of the cocoa you can’t go by color-but the almond on top should look toasty and golden. In my oven this takes 30 minutes-but you may need to make a few batches before you find the perfect time.
Now - the most important thing - do not try to lift the cookie off the tray until they are fully cooled. Otherwise the insides of the cookie will be stuck to your pan, and in your hand will be a macaroon shell. This is very sad-don’t do it! Be patient.
I like these cookies as is, but if you really love chocolate, dip the bottoms in your favorite - white or dark - and let them set before serving.

Chocolate Almond Macaroons

In the morning, I wake up early, get on the bus blurry-eyed, button up my chef’s coat and step into the kitchen before most people have had their first cup of coffee. A typical baker’s routine, and one that I love. One of the benefits of working early is that my workday ends in the early afternoon. That’s when I trade whisk for laptop, chef’s coat for street clothes, and make my way down to the local cafe to follow my other passion, which is writing fiction. I’m in the midst of my last revision of my first novel FAIR SEASON. My protagonist is a pastry chef, and baking plays an important role in the plot. These chocolate almond macaroons are featured in the book-I hope you like them more than the contest judges in FAIR SEASON did!


Chocolate almond macaroons

1 cup almond paste (American nut company brand if you can find it)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 egg white
Sliced almonds for garnish
8 ounces of bittersweet chocolate, melted for dipping

Pre heat your oven to 325 F.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment

Break the almond paste apart with your fingers, into little bits.
Toss the sugar and cocoa powder in with the almond paste into the bowl of a mixer, and using the paddle attachment, cut the ingredients together until the mixture looks sandy.

Toss in the egg white as is-no whipping necessary!

Mix until the dough is uniform.

Scoop w/a small scoop or a tablespoon. Top each cookie with a sliced almond.

The hardest part about making macaroons is judging done ness.
Bake until the outside feels dry-because of the cocoa you can’t go by color-but the almond on top should look toasty and golden. In my oven this takes 30 minutes-but you may need to make a few batches before you find the perfect time.

Now - the most important thing - do not try to lift the cookie off the tray until they are fully cooled. Otherwise the insides of the cookie will be stuck to your pan, and in your hand will be a macaroon shell. This is very sad-don’t do it! Be patient.

I like these cookies as is, but if you really love chocolate, dip the bottoms in your favorite - white or dark - and let them set before serving.

Macadamia Lace Cookies

Macadamia Lace Cookies

Macadamia Lace Cookies

 

Recent studies have proven what cookie lovers have known for ages-that sugar is addictive. In fact-the high fat and sugar found in many cookies will stimulate the same parts of the brain that cocaine and morphine do! 

 Beloved cookie addicts, have I got a drug for you.

 Macadamia lace cookies, commonly referred to in the kitchen as Mac crack, are 100% fat and sugar, with a healthy dose of salt to make things interesting. They are crisp, buttery, caramely sweet and super salty, and once you have one bite, you will want more. And more. Plus, they are fast to put together! So you can feed your addiction anytime you like.

Macadamia lace cookies

Or Mac crack

 Ingredients

 2 cups unsalted macadamia nuts (or the dry roasted ones-just reduce the salt if you use them)

2 cups of sugar

2 teaspoons sea salt

8 ounces unsalted butter, melted

2 eggs

1 TB vanilla extract

process

 preheat your oven to 350F

 In a food processor (I cant imagine trying to do this by hand) grind together the nuts, sugar and salt until the nuts are VERY FINE-almost like you have made macadamia sugar.

 In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, butter and vanilla.

 Stir the two together-there is no flour, so you don’t have to worry about developing gluten here!

 Scoop with a teaspoon-these cookies SPREAD like crazy, so be sure to leave plenty of room-at least 3inches-around each cookie-onto, ideally, a silpat lined cookie sheet. Parchment paper will still work here-but you may have some sticking issues with it. If you are serious about cookie baking, candy making, and the environment, I can’t recommend silpat pan liners more. They are amazing!

 Bake until the centers are bubbling, and the cookies are a amber color-about 15 minutes.

 Cool completely before attempting to remove from pan.

 Happy weekend people! May it be filled with sweetness.