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
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Prepare baking sheets lined with silpats or parchment paper.
- Whisk to combine the AP flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and finely ground Turkish coffee. Set aside.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
Vanilla cardamom cookies
- 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)
- In a bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder, cardamom, and black pepper. Set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes on medium.
- Mix in the egg and vanilla to the fluffed butter and sugar.
- Gradually add the dry ingredients in two batches and mix until combined.
- 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
- 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
- In a small saucepan, combine milk and Darjeeling tea. Bring to almost a boil.
- Remove the milk from heat, cover and let steep for 10 minutes.
- Return the milk to heat and simmer until the liquid reduces by about a half or more. Let cool.
- In a mixer, beat butter and shortening for about 2-3 minutes on medium.
- Add milk tea and gradually mix in powdered sugar.
- With mixer on high, beat for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy.
Baking and assembling:
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
- 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.
- Place prepared dough on a pan with a silpat or sheet of parchment paper. If using, sprinkle each piece with vanilla sugar.
- Bake cookies for ~15-18 minutes, rotating once half-way through.
- Remove cookies and let cool.
- 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:
- Fill a clean jar with sugar.
- Split open a vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the sugar in the jar. Mix.
- Bury the vanilla bean in the sugar as well.
- Seal the jar tightly and keep in a cool, dark place for at least 1 week until the sugar absorbs the vanilla fragrance.
Please note that the amounts in the recipe for poached pears are approximate.
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 1/3 cup red wine
- 1 cup water
- 1 whole vanilla bean
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1/2 Tbspn cloves
- 2 extra ripe Anjou pears
- 10 firm ripe Seckel pears (4 Bosc pears also work, if Seckels aren’t available)
- In a deep medium saucepan, combine the wine, water, and sugar. Split the vanilla bean; scrape the seeds into the saucepan and add the entire bean. Add the cinnamon sticks and cloves.
- In a food processor, puree the extra ripe Anjou pears. Strain the puree through a fine sieve into the wine mixture in the saucepan.
- Bring the contents of the saucepan to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.
- Meanwhile, use a melon baller to remove the center of the seckel pears, starting from the bottom. Peel each pear.
- Once the wine mixture has come to a simmer, add the seckel pears. Cook at a simmer until done, about 10 minutes, depending on the original firmness of the pears.
- Strain the pears from the liquid once they are done and set them on a cooling rack to cool and drain. Keep the remaining poaching liquid in the refrigerator for future use.
Frangipane tart filling
- 3/4 cup blanched and slivered almonds
- 2 tspn AP flour
- 1 tspn cornstarch
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 6 Tbspn butter, at room temperature
- 1 large egg + 1 egg white
- 1 tspn vanilla
- 1 tspn almond extract
- 1 tspn brandy
- n a food processor, combine the almonds and flour. Grind finely.
- Add in sugar, butter, and flavorings. Blend.
- Finally, blend in the eggs until the mixture is smooth.
- Allow the filling to rest in the refrigerator for two to three hours.
Sweet tart pastry crust
makes enough for a 9″ round tart
- 1 3/4 cups AP flour
- 7 Tbspn cold butter
- 4 Tbspn sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 1/2 Tbspn water
- 1/2 Tbspn almond extract
- Preheat oven to 220 degrees C.
- Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Blend just until a dough begins to form.
- Remove from food processor and place the dough on a floured work surface. Knead gently just until the dough comes together. Chill if the dough is too warm.
- Roll out the pastry or pat down evenly into the bottom of the pan. (The patting works perfectly for this crust.)
- Chill the dough for about 20 minutes in the freezer.
- Using a fork, prick the bottom of the pastry several times. Top with a layer of foil or parchment paper and then fill the crust with pie weights. (I use dried beans–multi-purpose! Don’t waste your money on pie weights.)
- Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes until almost done. Remove and let cool.
Tart assembly and final baking
- additional ingredient: apricot jam/preserves
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
- Spoon the frangipane filling into the baked tart shell and smooth.
- Slice the poached pears thinly and arrange on top of the frangipane filling. The filling will puff up during baking, so keep that in mind when you make your pear arrangements.
- Bake the tart for 40-50 minutes, until the frangipane is puffed and firm to the touch.
- Remove from oven and let cool.
- Heat the apricot jam in the microwave until it is liquid. Using a pastry brush, brush a thin layer of glaze onto the tart.