Saturday, December 22, 2007

Butter cookie (jam sandwich) delight

This is another Christopher Kimball's recipe from the Dessert Bible and it is just awesome! The cookies are so light! in taste! When you put them in your mouth they just melt and this warm, creamy delight spreads trough out your body! Trust me, this is one cloud of a cookie!!!

The ingredients

2 cups plus 2 tbsp cake flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 pound ( 2 sticks)unsalted butter, softened but still firm
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract

The preparation:

Sift the dry ingredients together and set them aside( the recipe calls for 1/2 tsp salt, but for my taste that is too much, so I used 1/4 instead). Beat the butter with an electric mixer on high speed for 5 minutes (until fluffy) then add the sugar. When the batter is creamy in texture, add the egg yolks and the vanilla extract ( I also added lemon extract and it turned out really nice, next time I will try with almond too). Beat until the eggs are well incorporated. Add the dry ingredients at stir with a spoon or mix on low with a mixer. Wrap the dough in a plastic wrap and leave it in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours ( or up to 3 days). I left them overnight and the next day the dough was perfect for work.

Because the dough is going to be cold when you take it out of the refrigerator, it would be hard to roll it out right away. Put it in the microwave for 10 seconds until softens a little bit, so you can work with it. If 10 seconds are not enough, repeat, but be careful not to overheat it, because it is going to melt.
Roll the dough out with flour ( or on a silicone mat) until it is 1/8 inch thick.

Cut the dough with a cookie cutter in desired shape. You have to make exactly the same amount of tops ( with a hole cut out ) and bottoms( without a hole in the middle) in order to have jam sandwich cookies.

Preheat the oven at 350 F. Place the cookies on a cookie sheet and bake for 5 to 15 min.

The cookies have to be light brown on the bottom, the top has to have hardly any color at all. Let them cool down for at least 1 hour.
Turn the bottoms upside down and place small amount of jam ( better is to be dark, with little sour taste, like raspberry, plum, sour cherries etc).

Next place the tops on top of them so the jam can show trough the hole on the top.
Place on a plate and sprinkle with confectioner's sugar on top.

My personal opinion is that they have to stay in a box at least 24 hours, so they can incorporate the humidity from the jam and be creamy, not crunchy when you eat them.

These are great for holiday cookie platters, here are some pictures of mine cookies platters this year:

Some honey cookies with royal icing, I might post the recipe at some point:

The old pumkin cookies with pecan and raisins:

And last but not least, this is my son's cookie palatter with the cookies he made and decorated :-)

For the recipe in Bulgarian, click here:

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Pork Tenderloin with mushrooms and smoked Gouda

This is one of my family's favorite recipes and the truth is it just "came out" to me in the spur of the moment one day I was in a hurry to make something delicious for diner :-). I hope you enjoy this excellent dish in good company and with a glass of red wine.

1 Whole pork tenderloin (2 lb size)
3 tbsp olive oil
1 and 1/2 cups onions, sliced
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
3 tbsp sugar
4 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp mustard
smoked Gouda cheese
Salt and pepper

Cut the tenderloin in approximately 1/2 inch pieces. Heat a heavy skillet, put in the oil and brown tenderloin on all sides.Sprinkle all of the tenderloin with salt and pepper.
Place in a 9x13 inch pan.
Add to the skillet the onions and saute until golden brown, then add the sugar. Next add the mushrooms and stir gently with the soy sauce and the mustard.

Add the mushrooms and onions in the cooking pan. Add 1 cup water in the pan and bake in a 400 degree F. oven.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake for approximately 45 min or until tender.
When done, take the pieces of meat and the mushrooms outside the pan and place them in a serving plate. Place a thin slice of smoked Gouda on top of each piece of meat. Leave it to melt.
Take the sauce from the cooking pan and make gravy with hand mixer.

Serve warm with puree, brown rice, green beans and/or asparagus as you pour sauce over.

For the recipe in Bulgarian, click here.

Monday, December 10, 2007

No bake Chocolate Sugarplums

Recently in a local bakery called Queen of Tarts I tried the most amazing cookies I've ever had- sugarplums!
Later I looked up the recipe in Internet and found this recipe that I am using as a basic recipe (I made some changes to it as you can see).
My sugarplums turned out so good ( maybe not as amazing as the ones I tried in Queen of Tarts but I am happy with the result) that I am planing to give them away for the "cookie swap" at my son's school. Although they are easy to make, they are time consuming, so if you can't make some yourself, you can always go and buy them!:-)
There are many wonderful things I can say about these cookies, but the most important ones are:
- they are easy to make
- you can add whatever you have at home, and they still will be good
- they are no-dairy, no-egg recipe
- you can also ask the kids to help since they are mess free
- and last but no least they are no-bake

1 and 1/2 cups bitter-sweet chocolate chips, melted
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup( you can use honey or as I did- maple syrup)
2/3 cup water
1 tbsp. rum( or brandy)
1 tbsp almond extract
2 1/2 cups finely crushed vanilla wafer crumbs
1 cup pecans, crushed
1 cup almonds crushed
1/2 cup plums chopped
1 cup raisins whole
1/2 cup dry apricots chopped
cocoa powder, granulated sugar, grated coconut, colored sprinkles etc to roll the sugarplums.

1. Put a big cooking pan on the stove on low heat.
2. Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave, starting with 25 seconds, stirring and going again for 10 seconds each time, then stirring again until melted.
3. Mix the melted chips, confectioners sugar, maple syrup and water with almond extract in the pan and start stirring with a wooden spoon.
4. Stir in cookie crumbs, pecans, almonds, plums and apricots until well blended. Add the brandy( if making for kids, you can skip that and use only the almond extract, that is what I did for my son's school) stir and remove from the heat.
5. Shape by rounded teaspoonfuls into balls, make a hole in the middle and place a whole raisin in it ( you can do the same with a whole hazelnut or a whole almond), then round again in a ball and roll in granulated sugar( or cocoa powder,grated coconut, colored sprinkles etc.).

Place in an airtight container on a sheet of parchment paper.

The recipe in Bulgarian here.

P.S: O, my gosh! I can't believe it!!! I just got my Chirsmas present today!!! It's THE AMAZING Kitchenaid Professional 600 Mixer!!!
I can't wait to try it, so I guess you are going to get more and more new recipes from me in the next month or so :-), good for you! :-)

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Unconventional Sheppherd's pie

I know that this is not the original English shepherd's pie recipe, which is made with lamb, but this time I couldn't find lamb and I made it with pork.
You can make the pie with meat that you like , just have in mind that if the pie is made with beef - it is going to be called cottage pie).

For the mashed potatoes:
3 lbs potatoes ( preferably Yukon gold)
8 tbsp butter( 1 stick)
3 tbsp sour cream
1 cup milk

For the filling:
1 large red onion, diced
1 small white onion, diced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 lb. ground pork
1 cup carrots, tiny sliced
8 oz roasted red pepper strips ( 1 jar)
1 cup fresh green pepper, diced
2 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 can sweet pea
4 tbsp crushed tomatoes
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp savory
pinch of salt and pepper

12 servings

Firstly, peel and chop potatoes and boil until soft, then mash them with the butter, sour cream, milk and salt to taste.

Then heat the olive oil in a pan, add ground pork.

Then add the onion and stir thoroughly.

Add the carrots and green peppers and cook until soft.

Stir in the tomatoes. Leave to simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 5-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, put a 1/2 inch layer of mashed potatoes in a greased pan and smooth with a spoon.

Put the filling on top of the mashed potatoes.

Add the green peas.

Add the mushrooms on top of the peas.

Place the roasted red pepper strips on top of the mushrooms.

With a pastry bag and a decorating tip top the shepherd's pie with the mashed potatoes.

Bake for 30 minutes on 400F or until top is brown and crisp.

Let it to cool down at least 30 min before cutting!


P.S: Recipe in Bulgarian here

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