Everything but the kitchen sink cookies

INGREDIENTS:

makes nine 6-inch cookies 

  • 2 1/4 cups (320 gr) AP flour
  • 1 tspn baking powder
  • 1 tspn baking soda
  • 1 tspn salt
  • 2 tspn finely ground Turkish coffee
  • 1 cup (8 oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (120 gr) dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup (200 gr) white sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tbspn dark molasses
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tbspn cream or milk
  • 1 Tbspn vanilla extract
  • 4 cups of mix-ins: 1 cup each of pretzels (chopped), Butterfingers (chopped), marshmallows, dark chocolate chips

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Prepare baking sheets lined with silpats or parchment paper.
  2. Whisk to combine the AP flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and finely ground Turkish coffee. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, cream the butter until light, about 2 minutes. Gradually add the sugars and mix until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the molasses to the butter and beat until combined. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the milk and vanilla extract. In two stages, beat in the flour mixture on low until thoroughly combined. Fold in the mix-ins.
  4. Scoop the dough into large rounds onto the prepared cookie sheets, about two cookies per half-sheet baking pan. Leave ample room between each cookie. Dip your fingers in water and lightly spread out and press the dough into a circle.
  5. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack.

Note: If you don’t have Turkish coffee, substitute with finely ground regular coffee and a pinch or two of ground cardamom.
Note: This recipe can support up to four cups of mix-ins. Feel free to mix in anything you can think of or have in your cabinets: potato chips, nuts, dried fruits, chopped candy bars, cereal, last year’s Halloween candy, next year’s Halloween candy…. The sky’s the limit!

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Chai Tea Sandwich Cookies

Vanilla cardamom cookies
INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 1/2 cups AP flour
  • 3/4 tspn salt
  • 1/2 tspn baking powder
  • 1 heaping Tbspn ground cardamom (or more, if you want extra spicy cookies)
  • pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tspn vanilla
  • vanilla sugar, optional (recipe found below)

METHOD:

  1. In a bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder, cardamom, and black pepper. Set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes on medium.
  3. Mix in the egg and vanilla to the fluffed butter and sugar.
  4. Gradually add the dry ingredients in two batches and mix until combined.
  5. Wrap the dough in 2-3 separate portions in parchment paper and freeze until firm, about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, make the filling:
Darjeeling tea filling
INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 4-5 Tbspn loose leaf Darjeeling tea
  • 1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup veggie shortening
  • 2 cups sifted powdered sugar

METHOD:

  1. In a small saucepan, combine milk and Darjeeling tea.  Bring to almost a boil.
  2. Remove the milk from heat, cover and let steep for 10 minutes.
  3. Return the milk to heat and simmer until the liquid reduces by about a half or more.  Let cool.
  4. In a mixer, beat butter and shortening for about 2-3 minutes on medium.
  5. Add milk tea and gradually mix in powdered sugar.
  6. With mixer on high, beat for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy.

Baking and assembling:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
  2. Take one portion of dough out of the freezer at a time. Roll out dough between two pieces of parchment paper or on a floured surface until about 1/4″ thickness. Use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes.
  3. Place prepared dough on a pan with a silpat or sheet of parchment paper. If using, sprinkle each piece with vanilla sugar.
  4. Bake cookies for ~15-18 minutes, rotating once half-way through.
  5. Remove cookies and let cool.
  6. Fill a pastry bag with the filling and pipe a small amount on a cookie.  Sandwich the filling with another cookie and gently press down.

for vanilla sugar:

  1. Fill a clean jar with sugar.
  2. Split open a vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the sugar in the jar.  Mix.
  3. Bury the vanilla bean in the sugar as well.
  4. Seal the jar tightly and keep in a cool, dark place for at least 1 week until the sugar absorbs the vanilla fragrance.

Hazelnut Plum Tarts

INGREDIENTS:

makes six 4-inch tarts

  • 255 g (2 cups + 2 Tbspn) AP flour
  • 80 g (1/2 cup) hazelnuts
  • 1/2 tspn Turkish coffee
  • 1/4 tspn ground cardamom
  • 1 tspn baking powder
  • 1/4 tspn sea salt
  • 2 sticks (1 lb) butter, at room temperature
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 150 g (3/4 cup) sugar
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1/2 tspn hazelnut extract
  • 1/2 tspn vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbspn orange juice
  • 4 – 6 small plums
  • turbinado sugar

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 180° C. Lightly grease the inside of six 4-inch tart molds. Set aside.
  2. In a food processor, combine the flour, hazelnuts, Turkish coffee grounds, ground cardamom, baking powder, and salt. Process until the hazelnut is finely ground.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter for 2 to 3 minutes, until light and fluffy.
  4. Meanwhile, rub the orange zest into the sugar with your fingertips. Slowly add the sugar into the butter, creaming thoroughly until well-incorporated and aerated. 5. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Then add the hazelnut and vanilla extracts and the orange juice. Beat well.
  5. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in two stages, beating until combined and until a smooth dough forms.
  6. Divide and press the dough into the prepared tart pans. Slice the plums and arrange the slices on top of the dough, pressing down lightly. Sprinkle with a healthy amount of turbinado sugar.
  7. Bake the tarts for 25 to 30 minutes, until the edges are golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for at least 20 minutes before unmolding from the tart tins.

Green Apple Jasmine Sorbet Sandwiches with Chocolate Snaps

INGREDIENTS:
Green Apple Jasmine Sorbet

  • 1 1/4 lbs granny smith apples, cored and chopped (leave peel on!)
  • 1 cup + 3/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tspn salt
  • freshly squeezed juice of half a lemon
  • 1/4 cup pearl jasmine tea leaves
  • a pinch of powdered green food coloring (optional)

METHOD:

  1. Combine the apples, 1 cup of water, sugar, salt, and freshly squeezed lemon juice in a pot and bring to a boil. Cover loosely, lower heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the apple chunks are very tender.
  2. Meanwhile, bring the remaining 3/4 cup of water to a simmer and brew the tea leaves. Let steep covered.
  3. Once the apples are tender, remove the pot from heat and add the tea and tea leaves into the pot. Cover tightly and let cool at room temperature.
  4. Once cool, press the contents of the pot through a fine mesh strainer. Discard the apple peels and tea leaves that are left behind.
  5. If a smoother sorbet is desired, puree the strained apple sauce in a food processor with the powdered green food coloring, if using, until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and chill thoroughly in the refrigerator.
  6. Once chilled, freeze the sorbet base in your ice cream maker of choice. Once churned, you may want to let the sorbet harden further overnight in the freezer.

Note: now’s the time to break out the good quality green tea–the better the green tea you start with, the better this sorbet will taste.

INGREDIENTS:
Chocolate Snaps

  • 1 1/2 cups (210 gr) AP flour
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbspn (75 gr) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 tspn baking powder
  • 1/8 tspn salt
  • 1 stick (4 oz./112 gr) butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbspn (125 gr) sugar
  • 1/4 tspn vanilla extract
  • 2 egg yolks

METHOD:

  1. In a bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar in a mixer with the paddle attachment for 3-5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl.
  3. Add the vanilla extract and egg yolks to the butter and sugar, one at a time and beating well after each addition.
  4. Mix in the prepared flour in two to three additions. Press together into a dough, wrap with parchment paper or plastic wrap and chill for one hour.
  5. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Prepare baking sheets lined with silpats or parchment paper.
  6. Roll out the chilled dough on a lightly floured surface. Using a cookie cutter, cut out your desired shapes. Keep the dough cool as you work with it.
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes, rotating once halfway through the baking.
  8. Once done, remove from oven and let cool briefly before removing the cookies from the baking sheet and placing them on a wire rack to continue cooling. Cookies will continue to harden as they cool.

Berry, Apple, and Rosemary Shortbread Bars

INGREDIENTS:
makes one 9 x 13″ pan, about 24 squares
for shortbread:

  • 4 cups (560 gr) AP flour
  • 2 tspn baking powder
  • 1/4 tspn salt
  • 1 1/2 tspn freshly grated meyer lemon zest
  • 2 – 4 Tbspn fresh rosemary, finely chopped*
  • 4 sticks (1 lb.) butter
  • 2 cups (400 gr) sugar
  • 4 egg yolks

for filling:

  • ~330 gr crisp tart apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 1 tspn lemon juice
  • 2 tspn sugar
  • 1 tspn AP flour
  • 1 cup blackberry + wild blueberry jam (Recipe Below)
  • powdered sugar, optional

METHOD:

  1. Make the shortbread. Whisk to combine the flour, baking powder, salt, lemon zest, and chopped rosemary. Set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, cream the butter until light. Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the egg yolks to the butter and sugar one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Gradually beat in the dry ingredients until just combined. Do not overmix.
  5. Divide the shortbread dough in half. Wrap each half in parchment paper or plastic wrap and freeze until hard, at least 2 hours or preferably overnight.
  6. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Line a 9×13″ baking pan with foil, leaving overhang at the sides.
  7. Prepare the filling. Toss the chopped apples, lemon juice, sugar, and flour together and let sit for a few minutes.
  8. Heat the jam briefly until it reaches a somewhat liquid, spreadable consistency.
  9. Remove half of the shortbread dough from the freezer. Grate using a coarse grater or the grater plate of a food processor. Spread the grated dough evenly over the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
  10. Spoon the jam over the first layer of shortbread dough and distribute the apple chunks in one layer on the jam.
  11. Remove the second half of the dough from the freezer and grate. Pour the grated dough evenly over the jam and apple layer.
  12. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until the edges and top are golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool completely on a wire rack.
  13. Using the foil, lift the shortbread out of the pan. If using, sprinkle with powdered sugar. Cut into squares.

Note: for a strong rosemary taste, use up to 4 Tbspn of chopped rosemary. For a more subtle rosemary flavor, use just 2 Tbspn.

Blackberry and Wild Blueberry Jam
makes about one cup of jam
INGREDIENTS:

  • 125 gr wild blueberries
  • 195 gr blackberries
  • 17 gr freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 160 gr sugar

METHOD:

  1. Place a few spoons on a plate in the freezer.
  2. Mix the berries together in a bowl and add the lemon juice. Let sit for a few minutes to macerate. Divide the berries in half, and set half aside.
  3. In a non-reactive saucepan over medium low heat, combine half of the berries with the sugar and cook, stirring frequently, until the juices run. Increase heat to medium high until the berries boil. Boil for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Add the remaining berries. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil and stir every thirty seconds or so. Cook for 10-15 minutes more, testing for doneness after 10 minutes.
  5. To test for doneness, remove the pan from the stove. Retrieve a spoon from the freezer and scoop a small amount of liquid and berries. Return the spoon to the freezer for a few minutes. Once cooled, hold the spoon vertically. If the jam does not run off the spoon and is a thick, spreadable consistency, the jam is done. If not, return the pan to the stove and continue to cook for a few more minutes before testing again.
  6. Cool the jam completely, preferably overnight in an airtight container in the refrigerator, before using in the bars recipe.

Apricot and Blackberry-Marzipan Hamantaschen

INGREDIENTS:
makes ~30 hamantaschen total (~15 of each flavor)for cookie:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 385 gr (2 1/4 cups) AP flour
  • dash of salt
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 8 oz butter, at room temperature and cut into pieces
  • zest of 1 lemon, freshly grated
  • 1 large egg, beaten

METHOD:

  1. Combine the powdered sugar, flour, salt, egg yolks, butter, and lemon zest in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until a dough begins to form.
  2. Remove the dough from the food processor and wrap in parchment paper. Refrigerate for at least one hour.
  3. In the meantime, prepare the fillings–recipes included below.
  4. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Prepare cookie sheets lined with silpats or parchment paper.
  5. Lightly sprinkle your workspace with powdered sugar or flour. Remove dough from refrigerator and roll out to 1/4-inch thickness. Using a cookie cutter (~2.5 – 3 inches in diameter), cut out rounds.
  6. For apricot hamantaschen, spoon about a teaspoon of filling into the center of each cookie. For blackberry-marzipan hamantaschen, place about a teaspoon of almond paste in the center of each cookie round and top with a small amount of blackberry preserves.
  7. Fold the edged of the cookie rounds up and pinch the corners together. Place the cookies on the prepared lined cookie sheets. Brush the outsides of the cookies with the beaten egg.
  8. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, until the edges are lightly golden.
  9. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Note: Despite tasting really good, this is perhaps one of the most temperamental doughs I’ve worked with. It likes to be rolled out cold (otherwise sticks to everything, even parchment paper) but folded into cookie form when it’s a little closer to room temperature.
Note: Don’t roll the dough out thinner than 1/4 of an inch, either, which will make it difficult to work with.

for dried apricot quick jam filling:

  • 1/4 lbs dried (California) apricots (~7 gr)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • sprinkle of lemon juice, freshly squeezed

METHOD:

  1. Combine the dried apricots, water, and sugar in a small saucepan with a tight-fitting lid.
  2. Over medium-low heat, cook covered for about 15 minutes.
  3. Remove the lid and continue cooking for about 5-10 minutes more, until the liquid has reduced.
  4. Pour the contents of the saucepan into a food processor. Add a small sprinkling of lemon juice. Pulse until the apricots are roughly chopped but do not process until smooth.
  5. Let cool before filling cookies.

for blackberry-marzipan filling:
blackberry preserves
almond paste (marzipan)

or
Another filling could be:
Poppyseed
Mascarpone
figs

Peach and Lemon Verbena Pie

INGREDIENTS:
makes one 8-inch deep dish pie

for pastry:

  • 3 cups (375 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 sticks (226 g) butter, cold
  • ½ tspn salt
  • 1 Tbspn almond extract
  • 6 – 7 Tbspn water, cold

for filling:

  • 3 lb (1.36 kg) ripe but firm large yellow peaches
  • 10 – 12 lemon verbena leaves
  • ½ cup (100 g) sugar
  • ¼ cup (30 g) tapioca flour
  • 1 tspn almond extract
  • 1 large egg, separated
  • 2 Tbspn heavy cream
  • turbinado sugar, for sprinkling

METHOD:

  1. Combine the flour and salt in a bowl. Using a pastry cutter, cut the cold butter into the flour until the size of small peas. Add the almond extract and mix briefly. Gradually add the water one tablespoon at a time until the dough holds together when pressed between two fingers. There should still be chunks of butter. Do not overmix! Form the dough into a disc, wrap in parchment paper or plastic wrap, and chill for at least 1 hour.
  2. Meanwhile, peel and pit the peaches, and cut each peach into 8 slices. Toss the peach slices with the lemon verbena and sugar. Transfer the peaches to a strainer suspended over a saucepan. Let macerate for 1 hour.
  3. Remove the pastry from the refrigerator. Reserve about  ⅓ of the dough. Roll out the other ⅔ of dough on a lightly-floured surface to ⅛-inch thick. Place the dough in a 8-inch springform pan, trimming the excess. Combine the excess dough with the reserved dough and roll out to ⅛-inch thick. Return both the pan and the prepared dough to the refrigerator to chill.
  4. Preheat the oven to 220° C, with the baking rack in the bottom-most position.
  5. Transfer the peach slices to a bowl. With the juices in the saucepan, cook over medium high heat for 12 – 15 minutes, until bubbling and thickened. Pour the reduction over the peaches. Add the tapioca flour and almond extract and toss to combine.
  6. Separate the egg. Whisk together the egg yolk and heavy cream. Remove the prepared pie shell and pre-rolled dough from the refrigerator. Brush a layer of egg white on the bottom of the pie shell. Fill the pie shell with the peaches. Cut strips of the rolled dough and create a lattice pattern on top of the pie. Brush the top with the egg yolk wash, and sprinkle very generously with turbinado sugar.
  7. Bake the pie on the bottom-most oven rack for 20 minutes. When the top of the pie turns brown, place a piece of foil lightly on top. Reduce the oven to 190° C and bake for 40 more minutes, until the fruit is bubbling. Remove from oven and let cool briefly on a wire rack. Serve warm or cooled, but preferably on the same day the pie is made.