Linzertorte was one of those things that made me immensely happy in culinary school. I was tickled to finally be making all those old-school European pastries I’d pined for as a kid pouring over my mother’s cookbooks: Dobos Torte, Marjolaine, Opera Torte, Sacher Torte and yes, the linzer. Making my own, following the exacting instructions of a classically inclined chef, made me feel good about my seemingly off-the-cuff career change, from marketing to pastry. It also cemented a particular mindset I’d started to develop regarding classic pastries. Riffs and adaptations are welcome but one must know the classic, the original, first. You have to know history before you can rewrite it. With many things of this nature, I am a traditionalist and when it comes to linzer, I have a very defined set of parameters.
Archive for the ‘cookies’ Category
Posted in chocolate, cookies, holidays, tagged chocolate linzer cookies, linzer cookies, raspberry ganache, raspberry ganache cookie filling, raspberry ganache linzer cookies, Valentine's Day chocolate desserts, valentine's day cookies, Valentine's Day desserts on February 14, 2014 | Leave a Comment »
Posted in chocolate, cookies, tagged abuelita chocolate, cinnamon chocolate cookies, ibarra chocolate, mexican chocolate cookies, spiced chocolate cookies, spicy chocolate cookies, valentine cookies on February 4, 2014 | Leave a Comment »
For the last few years, February has been my month of chocolate. All chocolate, all the time with an occasional exception for Chinese New Year, the Olympics and Super Bowl snacks. It seems appropriate that February = chocolate. They just go together. To open the Month of Chocolate this year I wanted to start with Mexican chocolate, those discs of chocolate, cinnamon, sugar and ground almonds that seem to accumulate in my cupboards. I’ve been shifting one of the stupid octogon shaped boxes around far too much lately; it was time to do something with it. The last time it fell on my head, was the last. I just left it on the counter as a reminder to use it ASAP.
Posted in cookies, tagged dairy free cookie, flourless peanut butter cookies, gluten free cookie, gluten free dairy free cookies, gluten free dairy free peanut butter cookies, peanut butter cookies on April 12, 2013 | 1 Comment »
My friend Laurel has issues. Food issues. No dairy, no gluten. She seems to get by just fine with these restrictions but damn, it’s difficult for me. I can’t send her my annual Christmas Cookie ridiculousness because all 19 varieties have flour AND butter. I can’t give her my usual baked thank-you’s for her kindness or one of my special cakes for her birthday. I specialize in butter and flour, the very things that make her miserable. Of course, of course I can figure out something that works for her and I mean to, I really do, but somehow I never do. I’m a bad friend filled with good intentions. But that’s about to change.
One day last week was “National Peanut Butter Lovers Day.” Really. I read it on the internet. I’ve often wondered, who makes up these things? And for what purpose? As silly as I think it is, it got me thinking about peanut butter brownies… I really like peanut butter brownies. Which is odd, because I can be kind of wishy-washy about the peanut butter-chocolate combination. I always think I don’t like it but then strangely gravitate toward it. I’m nothing if not inconsistent.
Maida Heatter sounds like a delightful woman. The more I read about this tiny little South Florida spitfire, the more I like her. And I really like her recipes – they are always good and always work perfectly, a rarity. I was particularly charmed by a little paragraph in a Saveur article on how she keeps a stash of cellophane wrapped brownies in her purse to give to people she meets. She gave one to a man she met in the late 1940’s who later became her husband. I like to think the brownie had something to do with it. I can’t remember if I bought one of her cookbooks, read about her in a magazine or heard of her elsewhere first. But I do know when that issue of Saveur landed in my mailbox in 1997 – Issue #22 – the cover photo of a chocolate beauty called Queen Mother’s Cake was mesmerizing. I had to make it. So I did – and the chocolate cigarettes too. Then I made her Polka Dot Cheesecake, the East 62nd Street Lemon Cake and finally the Palm Beach Brownies studded with peppermint patties. They were all outstanding and it was probably the first, and only, time I made every single recipe attached to an article.
Not long ago while wandering the picturesque streets of Sarlat-la-Caneda in the French Dordogne Valley, my eyes were drawn with tractor beam force to a small pastry shop. Down the center aisle, surrounded by hand made chocolates and piles of irresistible jewel-like candied fruits, were cake stands heaped with cookies of all kinds, shapes and sizes. Well, this certainly begged further investigation.
Sometimes I pop back into my former life for short term projects, that glamorous churn and burn business world where I spent so much time. A place where a typical work day means sitting at a desk for long periods, a closet full of shiny new office supplies and real honest-to-god lunch breaks that don’t involve questionable meals eaten standing over the stove. It’s a bit of an adjustment. I actually do enjoy my forays back into that world and let’s be honest, the pay is good and this girl has a penchant for pricey plane tickets and exotic sojourns. One of the biggest challenges, however, is to stay focused as I don’t live in that world full time anymore and have a tendency to let my mind wander off on new food-related ideas. Today’s post is the result oF one of those afternoon musings and it’s a good one.
I have a real thing for the South American cookie know as alfajor. Who wouldn’t? Two buttery, crumbly cookies sandwiching dulce de leche or a jammy filling? I’ll take two (or maybe ten) please. While traveling in Peru I had many, all covered with a messy dusting of powdered sugar. I couldn’t pass a bakery without walking in and furiously searching the cases for these little beauties. I was convinced they helped overcome my wicked altitude sickness. Since then, I’ve searched and searched yet found alfajores rather illusive in the northern hemisphere. It’s just not a cookie we make in these parts, though we should. So I started looking for recipes, testing batches and doing a little experimentation. I came across several recipes that were dipped in chocolate and this got me to thinking …
Posted in cookbooks, cookies, tagged corn cookies, Corn Sandwich Cookies, Milk Bar Cookbook, Momofuko Milk Bar, Salt & Pepper Buttercream, sweet corn cookies with salt & pepper buttercream on January 13, 2012 | 2 Comments »
It’s not often that I get a cookbook that knocks my socks off. Don’t get me wrong, I adore cookbooks of all kinds and thoroughly enjoy reading them along with food websites, magazines and pretty much all food related literature. I read quite a bit regarding this topic. Perhaps too much and it’s been a while since something has left me thinking “damn, why didn’t I think of this?” And Miss Christina Tosi, by god, you’ve done it. The book of which I speak? Momofuko Milk Bar.
Peanut Butter. For the most part, I’m rather indifferent and don’t eat much except perhaps for an unreasonable fondness for those damn Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs (and really, who doesn’t love those things?) I think I outgrew it after elementary school and numerous smooshed sandwiches in my lunch sack but there are some folks who just go nuts over it (pun absolutely intended.) Maybe once a year I’ll have a strange one-off craving for a PB&J sandwich and maybe a cookie or two but overall, I’m a take it or leave it kind of gal. Which is why I was surprised to find myself with 4 jars, most half empty, in my pantry. Seriously … what? This is what happens when you do recipe consulting; you’re left with a lot of stuff. Despite my indifference, there’s something about fall, the leaves changing from green to vibrant yellows and reds, football weekends and kids trotting off to school that induces my longing for peanut butter. This is peanut butter weather, plain and simple.