White Chocolate Cheesecake with Mixed Berries

White Chocolate Cheesecake with Mixed Berries from Bakers RoyaleWhite Chocolate Cheesecake with Mixed Berries via Bakers Royale

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup  crushed shortbread cookies (about 4 oz.)
  • 3 tablespoons  finely chopped slivered almonds, toasted
  • 1/4 cup  butter, melted
  • 2 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 16 ounce  white chocolate baking squares with cocoa butter, melted and cooled
  • 2/3 cup  sugar
  • 2/3 cup  dairy sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon  vanilla
  • 3 eggs

Triple Raspberry Sauce

  • 10 -12 ounce jar seedless raspberry preserves
  • 1 cup  fresh red raspberries or frozen red raspberries
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons  raspberry liqueur

METHOD:

For crust:

  1. In a small bowl, combine crushed cookies and almonds. Stir in melted butter. Press crushed cookie mixture onto the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan. Set aside.

For filling:

  1. In a large bowl, combine cream cheese and cooled white chocolate; beat with an electric mixer on medium to high speed until combined. Beat in sugar, sour cream, and vanilla until mixture is fluffy.
  2. Add the eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Pour into the crust-lined pan. Place in a shallow baking pan.
  3. Bake in a 180 degree C oven 45 to 50 minutes or until center is nearly set when you shake the cheesecake gently. Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Loosen from side of pan. Cool for 30 minutes more; remove side of pan. Cool completely.* Cover and chill for at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours.
  4. To serve, cut into wedges and drizzle some of the Triple-Raspberry Sauce over each serving. Makes 12 servings.
  • This cheesecake puffs during baking, then settles as it cools.
Triple Raspberry Sauce
Yield: 1-3/4 cups
METHOD:
  1. In a small saucepan, melt raspberry preserves over low heat. Add fresh red raspberries or frozen red raspberries. Heat gently just until sauce simmers. Cool. If desired, stir in raspberry liqueur. Cover and chill until serving time. Makes 1-3/4 cups.
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Dark Chocolate Chip and Currant Biscotti

INGREDIENTS:

makes ~60 cookies according to Lebovitz (I got ~40)

  • 350 gr AP flour
  • 1 tspn baking powder
  • 100 gr white granulated sugar
  • 100 gr dark brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tspn vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup dried currants

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Prepare a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat.
  2. Whisk to combine the flour and baking powder in a bowl. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the eggs, white sugar, dark brown sugar, and vanilla extract. Using the whisk attachment, whisk on medium high for about five minutes, until the batter has considerably thickened.
  4. Gently fold the flour into the egg mixture.
  5. Add and gently mix in the chocolate chips and dried currants.
  6. On a lightly-floured surface, divide the dough into two portions. Shape each portion into a log about three inches in diameter, and transfer the logs to the prepared baking sheet, allowing a few inches in between the logs because they will spread in the oven. Wet your hands lightly with water and smooth the outsides of the dough logs.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes, rotating the baking sheet once halfway through baking, until the logs are lightly golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool on the baking sheet for about 10-15 minutes.
  8. Decrease the oven temperature to 150 degrees C.
  9. Transfer the logs to a cutting board and using a sharp, serrated knife, slice the logs into ~3/4″ pieces. Transfer the pieces, cut-side up back onto the lined baking sheet.
  10. Bake the cookies again for 15-20 more minutes, rotating once half-way through baking. Remove cookies and let cool on a wire rack. Cookies will continue to harden when cooling.  Store in an airtight container.

Cinnamon Apple Macaroons with Apple Butter Buttercream & Tart Green Apples

INGREDIENTS:

Apple Butter
makes ~20 oz. apple butter, far more than you’ll need for apple butter buttercream, but delicious to have around for other uses!

  • 2 lbs. apples, peeled, cored, and in chunks
  • 4 cups unfiltered apple juice
  • 1/2-2/3 cup light brown sugar*
  • 1 tspn cloves
  • 1 tspn ground cinnamon
  • juice of half a lemon

METHOD:

  1. In a large pot over medium high heat, combine the apples and apple juice and cook until the apples are completely tender, about 15-25 minutes, depending on the size you chop the apples. If a foam forms, you may skim it off if desired.
  2. Remove the pot from the stove and let cool briefly. Puree the apples and apple juice in a food processor or blender until completely smooth.
  3. Return the puree to the pot and add the brown sugar, cloves, cinnamon, and lemon juice.
  4. Return the pot to heat and simmer on medium/medium-low heat, trying to maintain 105 degrees C. Cook for 1-2 hours, stirring regularly, until mixture really thickens and darkens and bubbles/splatters. Remove from heat when desired consistency is reached.

*Add only 1/2 cup sugar for a less-sweet apple butter. I used 2/3 cups sugar and while still really good, it was a little on the sweet side for me.

Cinnamon Apple Macarons
makes ~50 small macarons or 20-30 large macarons
INGREDIENTS:
for macaroon shells*:

  • 200 gr powdered sugar
  • 120 gr blanched and slivered almonds
  • 10 gr freeze-dried apple
  • 1 heaping Tbspn ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tspn green powered food coloring, if desired
  • 30 gr granulated (superfine, opt) vanilla sugar
  • 100 gr egg whites, aged 1-2 days at room temperature or a week in the refrigerator, at room temp
  • 1/4 tspn cream of tartar

METHOD:

  1. Prepare two baking sheets lined with silpats or parchment paper and a pastry bag with a large round piping tip.
  2. Combine the powdered sugar, almonds, dried apple, cinnamon, and green food coloring, if using, in a food processor and grind until a fine powder. Sift thoroughly through a fine mesh strainer and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, have ready the granulated vanilla sugar.
  4. In a separate mixing bowl, combine the egg whites and the cream of tartar. Using a balloon whisk, quickly stir the mixture until the entire surface is covered with foam. Then, start whisking the egg whites, gradually adding in the granulated vanilla sugar. Whisk until you reach glossy, almost-stiff peaks.
  5. Gently fold the sifted almond and powdered sugar mixture into the egg whites in three to four stages, just until the ingredients are incorporated and the batter slowly re-absorbs peaks.
  6. Transfer the macaroon mixture to the prepared piping bag and pipe rounds on to the lined baking sheets. Tap the baking sheets on the table a few times to release air pockets.
  7. Rest the macaroons for at least 30 minutes (and up to 60), until the outside shells are no longer tacky and sticky to a light touch.
  8. Preheat oven to 150 degrees C, with the oven rack in the bottom third of the oven.
  9. Bake the macaroons in the oven, one sheet at a time, for 24-28 minutes total, rotating the sheet half-way through the baking time to insure even baking.
  10. Remove from oven and let cool.

*Note: the resting and oven temperature and times are adjusted to what works in my kitchen and oven (which, to my knowledge and according to two oven thermometers, is quite accurate). Please note that you may have to adjust according to what works in your kitchen and oven.

for apple butter buttercream:

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup apple butter

METHOD:

  1. Whip the egg yolks until light and shows definitive streaks when you move your whisk through them.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water and stir until the sugar is completely wet. Cook over medium high heat, without stirring, until the sugar reaches 114 degrees C. Immediately remove from heat and (carefully!) gradually pour into the egg yolks while whisking, being careful not to hit the whisk wires.
  3. Continue whipping the egg yolks on medium high until the the outside of the bowl is no longer hot or warm to the touch.
  4. Add the butter in while beating, one tablespoon at a time.
  5. Once the butter is incorporated, beat in the apple butter. Use immediately to fill the macaroons (or, if you refrigerate the buttercream, bring to room temperature and beat to restore texture before using).

for assembly:

  • 1 small tart green apple, in small, thin chunks (thick enough to still have crunch, though!)
  • lemon juice
  • ground cinnamon

METHOD:

  1. Toss the apple chunks with a light coating of lemon juice. Then, sprinkle with cinnamon.
  2. Fill the macaroons with the apple butter buttercream and apple chunks. Let the macaroons “cure” in an airtight container in the refrigerator overnight before serving.

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.

Fortune Cookies

INGREDIENTS:

makes about 12 – 18 fortune cookies

for basic recipe:

  • 4 Tbspn unsalted butter
  • 150 g (¾ cup) sugar
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 60 g (½ cup) all-purpose flour

for matcha-orange blossom cookies:

  • 1 Tbspn matcha powder
  • ½ tspn orange flower water

for brown butter cookies:

  • ½ tspn almond extract

METHOD:

  1. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. If making brown butter cookies, cook the butter until the solids have dropped to the bottom and begin to brown. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature, but don’t let the butter resolidify.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the melted butter, sugar, egg whites, and flour. For matcha cookies, add the matcha powder and orange flower water. For brown butter cookies, add almond extract instead. Whisk until the mixture thickens and is well-combined, with no more lumps. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 150° C. Prepare baking sheets lined with silicone mats. Have ready a coffee mug and a muffin tin, for shaping and cooling the cookies, and paper fortunes. Working two cookies at a time, spoon a small, scant Tbspn of batter for each cookie onto the silicone mat, leaving a few inches in between. Use the back of a spoon to spread the batter into a thin circle.
  4. Bake for 9-12 minutes, until the edges are golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few seconds. Place a fortune on the cookie, fold the cookie over in half, press the edge together lightly to seal. Then, using the edge of the mug, indent the cookie in half on the folded side of the half-circle, bringing the ends together. Place in a muffin tin to cool.

Note: for the fortunes, I used 8-pt Times New Roman font, which turned out to be a good size.

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.