Coffee & Walnut cake

Coffee & walnut cake

INGREDIENTS:

  • 250g pack softened butter, plus extra for the tins
  • 100ml strong black coffee (made with 2 tbsp coffee granules), cooled
  • 280g self-raising flour
  • 250g golden caster sugar
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 85g walnuts, 2 tbsp roughly chopped, the rest finely chopped

For the filling

  • 100g icing sugar, sifted, plus a little extra for dusting
  • 150ml double cream
  • 100g mascarpone, at room temperature

METHOD:

  1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Butter 2 x 20cm round cake tins and line with baking parchment. Set aside 1 tbsp of the coffee for the filling.
  2. Beat the butter, flour, sugar, baking powder, eggs, vanilla and half the remaining coffee in a large bowl with an electric whisk until lump-free. Fold in the finely chopped walnuts, then divide between the tins and roughly spread. Scatter the roughly chopped walnuts over one of the cakes. Bake the cakes for 25-30 mins until golden and risen, and a skewer poked in comes out clean. Drizzle the plain cake with the remaining coffee. Cool the cakes in the tins.
  3. Meanwhile, make the filling: beat together the icing sugar, cream and mascarpone, then fold in the reserved 2 tbsp coffee. Spread over the plain cake, then cover with the walnut-topped cake and dust with a little icing sugar.

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!

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.

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.

Chocolate-covered Jam Sandwich Cookies

INGREDIENTS:
makes 20 – 24 cookies

  • 1 tspn baking powder
  • ¼ tspn salt
  • 2 cups (280 g) all purpose flour
  • 12 + 1 Tbspn butter, softened
  • ¼ cup (50 g) sugar
  • ¼ cup (28 gr) powdered sugar
  • 1 egg
  • jam or marmalade
  • 89 g (3 oz) dark chocolate
  • 89 g (3 oz) heavy cream

METHOD:

  1. Combine the baking powder, salt, and flour in a bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a mixer bowl, cream 12 Tbspn of butter for 2 – 3 minutes until light and fluffy.
  3. Gradually add the sugar and powdered sugar and continue to beat for a few minutes more.
  4. Add the egg and beat well.
  5. Add the flour mixture in three stages, mixing just until combined.
  6. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and form into a ball. Wrap in parchment paper or plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  7. Preheat oven to 180˚ C. Prepare baking sheets lined with parchment paper or silpats.
  8. Roll out the cold dough on a lightly floured surface to a ½-inch thickness. Using a 1¾-inch cookie cutter, cut out small rounds. Reroll the leftover dough and continue to cut out cookies. Place cookies on a prepared baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 10 minutes if the dough is no longer cold.
  9. Bake each sheet for 15 minutes, rotating once half-way through the baking time. Cookies are done when the edges begin to turn golden. Remove from oven and let cool completely on a wire rack.
  10. To assemble, spread a small amount of jam on a cookie and sandwich with another one.
  11. Finely chop the dark chocolate and place in a bowl.
  12. Combine the heavy cream and remaining 1 Tbspn of butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, remove from heat, and pour on top of the chocolate. Let sit for a minute, and then whisk until smooth.
  13. Dip the cookies in the chocolate ganache, shaking gently to remove the excess, and let dry on a sheet of parchment paper or silpat for at least 2 hours until the ganache has firmed up and is no longer liquid.

Boysenberry and Plum Cobbler

INGREDIENTS:
makes one 9 x 13-inch cobbler
  • 2½ lb small plums
  • 13 oz boysenberries
  • ¾ cup coconut sugar
  • 1¾ cup (230 g) + 2 Tbspn all-purpose flour
  • 2 tspn baking powder
  • ¼ tspn salt
  • ½ cup (115 g) heavy cream, plus extra for brushing
  • 1 Tbspn (15 g) crème fraîche
  • ½ cup (115 g) whole milk

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 230° C.
  2. Quarter and pit the plums, resulting in about 2 lb of plum flesh. Combine the plums in a bowl with the boysenberries. Toss with the coconut sugar and 2 Tbspn of all-purpose flour. Spread the fruit in the bottom of one 9 x 13-inch baking dish.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the remaining 1¾ cup (230 g) of flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the cream and crème fraîche. Gently fold the cream into the flour mixture, being careful not to overmix. When incorporated, gently fold in the milk in three additions, resulting in a sticky mess rather than a uniform dough. Gently form the dough into a loose ball. Break off large hunks of dough and place on top of the prepared fruit in the baking dish. Brush the tops of the scone dough with heavy cream.
  4. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling and the cobbler is golden on top. Remove from the oven and let cool briefly before serving. Serve warm, with a dash of cream or a scoop of ice cream, if desired.

Apricot Plum Crisp with Maple Nut Froyo

INGREDIENTS:
Apricot Plum Crisp
makes one 8 x 8″ baking dish

for filling:

  • 1 1/2 – 2 lb. apricots and plums, combined, pitted and sliced
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 4 Tbspn corn starch

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 205 degrees C.
  2. In a bowl, toss and combine all of the filling ingredients. Spoon into an 8×8″ baking dish. Set aside and make the crisp topping.

for crisp topping:

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbspn buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tspn baking powder
  • 3/4 tspn salt
  • 1 tspn cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup butter, cold and cut into small pieces
  • 1/3 cup 2% Greek yogurt

METHOD:

  1. Combine all of the ingredients except the butter and yogurt in a bowl.
  2. Using a pastry cutter or fork, cut the butter and yogurt into the flour mixture until the butter is the size of small peas and evenly distributed throughout the mixture. Do not overmix.
  3. Spoon the topping over the fruit in the baking dish, patting it down if you need to pile more on.
  4. Bake for ~20-30 minutes, until the top is brown and the insides are bubbly. Remove and let cool briefly before serving.
Maple Nut Froyo
for stir-in walnuts:

  • 1/2 cup + 1 Tbspn dark amber maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 cup walnuts (~150 gr), toasted for 10 minutes in a 350 degree oven and then chopped coarsely
  • large pinch of salt

METHOD:

  1. In a small saucepan, heat the maple syrup just until it comes to a boil.
  2. Add the chopped walnuts and salt and return to a boil. Stir and cook for 10 seconds, then remove from heat and let cool completely.

for froyo base:

  • 3 cups 2% Greek yogurt
  • 3/4 cup dark amber maple syrup

METHOD:

  1. Whisk together the yogurt and maple syrup. Chill thoroughly in the refrigerator.
  2. Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s directions. Fold in the prepared maple walnuts in the last few minutes of freezing.
  3. If needed, put frozen yogurt in freezer to continue freezing until about the consistency of soft serve, about 1-2 hours. Serve with apricot-plum crisp.