Melt-In-Your-Mouth Butter Pecan Thumbprint Cookies with White Chocolate Feuilletine, and a Way to Help the Sandy Hook School FamiliesDecember 19, 2012 at 8:27 am | Posted in Candy, Cookies, Dessert, Holiday | 31 Comments
Tags: Butter Pecan, Christmas Cookies, Cookies, feuilletine, thumbprint cookies, white chocolate
I know…weird, huh? Three posts in less than two weeks. Someone needs to take my temperature. I have a feeling it would probably register anywhere from 350F to 375F. OK, so the holiday baking bug bit and it keeps biting..leaving ‘welts’ of butter, flour, sugar and eggs all over me. How cheesy can I get? Oh, believe me, there’s more cheese where that came from.
Before I get to these cookies..I need and want to touch on the Sandy Hook shootings. I’ve had a lump of pain in my heart since learning of it, and I can’ watch anything about it without choking up. Little children are our lights..precious gems, untainted by the harsh realities of what can be a cruel world at times. They show us the goodness of human beings. Killing them is killing human goodness.
Tags: baking, cinnamon, Cookies, dried cranberries, drop cookies, holiday baking, Orange Zest, Pistachio Nuts, Recipe, white chocolate
Hello, yeah it’s been a while, not much, how ’bout you?
I love that song and it has been a while – almost three weeks to be exact. Yeah, I know..I don’t post very often anyway (and that will eventually change), but for some inexplicable reason, this time it feels like I haven’t posted for months.
There’s really no major reason behind it other than LIFE stuff and that mysterious ‘lack of motivation’ plague that has been festering inside of me for months. You know, the one I always complain about in almost every.single.post.
Sorry about that.
Tags: allspice, bars, chocolate bark, cinnamon, coconut, cookie bark, Ginger, no-bake nutella cookies, Nutella, pepitas, pumpkin seeds, recipes, white chocolate
I have never made any kind of chocolate bark. No idea why..it’s one of simplest treats you can cobble together in no time, and the add-in possibilities are endless. I’ve also never met or known a guy named Nigel who isn’t British, but that’s beside the point. There have been a lot of nevers in my life. We all have a lot of nevers in our lives and some of them should stay nevers, but chocolate bark isn’t one of that should stay a never, for most.
Well..I just crossed the chocolate bark never off my list. BUT, this did not come about until I made a no-bake cookie by my Secret Recipe Club blog assignment..Kim of Cravings of a Lunatic. I love her blog..I loved all the goodies I could choose from..I loved her no-bake Nutella cookies, which I chose after mulling over many goodies. There are these Caramel Coconut Bars and these luscious looking meatballs..not to mention her array of other no-bake treats, (I was feeling the no-bake this month) but the two former choices were guest posts, so even if she made their recipes, I figured I would stick with something that was 100% hers or something she adapted or decided on herself.
I also decided on this chocolate bark since it’s Fall..and Halloween is beckoning us with it’s witchy finger. In other words..it’s candy time and time for me to get some pumpkin recipes up. Her bark is a simple white and dark chocolate marble with pistachios, which sounds great..although the photos were gone, so I couldn’t see what it looked like. However, I read something about her losing some photos via Google +, so I assume that’s why they were missing.
I took Kim’s bark recipe..doubled the white chocolate and added two more ounces of dark chocolate. The best part was adding the pumpkin and spices to the white chocolate, along with salted pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds). BUT, the bestest part was adding chunks of her no-bake Nutella cookies to it as well. This came to me at the spur of the moment as I looked at the still melted bark with a sprinkling of pepitas. It just begged for something else. It needed some bling.
I looked over at the sheet pan of thick and hunky nutella cookies and it almost seemed as if one winked at me – a shiny, glint of chocolate cooing, ‘Come on, baby..give me a chance”.
It was a match made in heaven..and this bark, as well as the cookies, are heavenly! It looks and sounds like it would be overly sweet, doesn’t it? Well..it isn’t. The pumpkin, spices and salted pepitas tone down the sweetness of the white chocolate, and the semisweet chocolate is well, semi sweet, so no major surge in blood sugar outside of the bits of cookie.
The addition of the no-bake nutella cookie chunks made the chocolate bark more like a cross between a cookie bar and chocolate bark, rather than a chocolate bark by itself. Not a bad thing.
Speaking of cookie..I made some small changes to her No-Bake Nutella Cookies. I used butter instead of shortening..increased the amount of nutella and added a bit of orange zest to cut the richness. I also eliminated the coconut extract..toasted the coconut, and added vanilla extract. You see, she has some vanilla components in there that she makes herself..like vanilla salt and I think vanilla oats. I do have vanilla sugar on hand, since I use loads of vanilla beans in all kinds of sweet and savory preparations, but I just used granulated sugar because I felt the vanilla extract was enough.
OK, I need to fit in a few more photos so I need to find something to talk about. Did I ever tell you I love cleaning squid? Pulling out the quill, which looks like a piece of plastic, never ceases to amaze me. Have I mentioned that every few years I get on a Friends kick and DVR every late-night showing of it? I’m glad I just finished the entire series run the past two months, since I was running out of space.
Did I ever tell you about the reader who sent me a scathing email implying I worshiped the devil because of THESE donuts?
With that being said, yes..my life is kind of boring. It doesn’t take much to excite me. Last night the Yankees won Game 1 of the ALDS….and that excites me. We ate this bark while watching it, so technically, this is good luck bark.
OH, one more thing I forgot to mention – the pumpkin white chocolate remains slightly softer than the plain chocolate, so in retrospect – you can call it slightly gooey chocolate marble pumpkin bark..with no-bake nutella cookies and salted pepitas.
Man, I’m all ovah da place!
OK, I’m really grasping at straws here, so I’ll just ask you to pop on over to Cravings of a Lunatic. She’s funny, she’s a great cook, and I have a feeling you just might become addicted to her blog! A good addiction, even if your jeans go up one size.
No Bake Nutella Cookies
Adapted from Cravings of a Lunatic
Makes about 10 1/4 cup size cookies.
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick – 4 oz) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup whole milk
5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2/3 cup Nutella
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1 to 2 teaspoons orange zest (optional)
1 cup flaked/shredded coconut, preferably unsweetened, toasted
3 cups quick cooking oats
1. In a medium saucepan, combine milk, sugar and cocoa. Bring to a boil over medium high heat and let he mixture boil for 2 minutes..then reduce heat to medium low and stir until sugar is dissolved, about another minute or 2.
2. Stir in the softened butter, Nutella, salt, orange zest (if using) and vanilla extract. Stir until butter is completely melted, then stir in the oats and toasted coconut, coating both completely.
3. Line a 12 x 17 baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat, then scoop your desired size of cookie onto the sheet..spacing them about 1 inch apart. I made huge ones…about 1/4 cup a cookie which gave me 10 cookies, but of course you can make them much smaller for a larger yield.
4. Let set, then enjoy! Set aside one or two large cookies or several smaller cookies for bark.
Chocolate Marble Pumpkin Bark with Nutella Cookies and Salted Pepitas
12 ounces good quality white chocolate, chopped (I used Callebaut for both chocolates)
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/4 teaspoon allspice
8 ounces good quality dark chocolate (semisweet or buttersweet), chopped
A handful of salted pepitas..more or less, the amount depending on your preference.
Several of the No-Bake Nutella Cookies, recipe above
1. For both chocolates, place a medium size glass bowl over a small pot filled with about an inch of water. Make sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. You can make two double boilers and do both chocolates at once..checking and stirring each with separate wooden spoons or silicone spatulas. I melted one chocolate at a time…easier and you need to wtach it diligently. You can temper the dark chocolate, which I did, if you like. The pumpkin added to tempered white chocolate might be a waste of temper.
2. I started with the white chocolate so it would have time to cool a little before adding the pumpkin and spices. Once the white chocolate has cooled down for about 10 minutes – whisk in the pumpkin and spices until smooth and uniform (pumpkin and spice white chocolate is SO GOOD)
3. Now, depending on how thick you like your chocolate bark..either use an 13 x9, 11 x7 or 8 to 9-inch square pan to marble the chocolate. For the 11 x7 or 13 x0 sheet pan..line with parchment paper. For the 8 or 9-inch square baking pans..you also need to line them with parchment, but there is some cutting involved to make a smooth sheet on the bottom with handles on the side. It should look something like THIS.
4. Pour the pumpkin white chocolate onto or into the pan.. depending on whether it’s a sheet pan or square baking pan. Pour dollops of the dark chocolate on top..then marble both together. Alternatively, you can alternate the pouring of each chocolate, then marble them together.
5. Sprinkle the pepitas all over the top..pressing some in, then stick cut up pieces of the cookies all around it..being careful to let some of the marbling show through. Cover and chill in the fridge for about an hour. When set..Break up bark on sheet pan, or lift out bark from square pan and then break it or cut it up. It will keep well for about 2 week in the fridge…1 week at room temperature..but I doubt it will last that long!
If you have a moment, pease click on the blue frog below to see what my fellow Group A blogger’s chose to make from their blog assignments. Warning – it will make you verrrrry hungry!
Tags: Black Sesame seeds, Chives, cream cheese, Hors d'oeuvres, Lemon, Lox, New Years Brunch, New Years Eve, Shallots, Smoked Salmon, Thomas Keller, Tuiles, Wasabi
This post was scheduled to go up at midnight. But I scheduled it a few hours earlier, so in retrospect, this is Lisa of New Years past speaking. Let me explain…
The reason I initially scheduled this for midnight was because I was invited by Lora of Cake Duchess and Sanjeeta of Lite Bite to take part in a Virtual Party Bloghop to welcome in 2012 , and that’s when they asked us to put it up, at or after midnight.
I kind of cheated and scheduled this post for 9:30 pm because these smoked salmon crisps are so amazing and so amazingly easy to whip up that there’s still a ton of time to make it for a New Years brunch, plus, on the East and West Coasts, you would have plenty of time to whip it up tonight if you’ve got some smoked salmon on hand! My other reasoning is, it’s already 2012 in other parts of the world, like Europe, for instance. My family hails from Russia…so let’s pretend I’ve already celebrated with champagne, blini and vodka. I’m three sheets to the wind..ready for sleep. Boy it’s cold here! S Novym Godom!
That said, there’s a bunch of great food bloggers taking part, so once all posts are up, (this party is on until January 7th), just clicking the linky at the bottom of this post will take you to a gallery of gorgeous dishes to celebrate the New Year. The Twitter hashtag is #Welcome2012. Join us all week long!
Logo created by Heather of Farmgirl Gourmet
Like my Christmas Morning Coffee Cake, these can be anytime hors d’oeuvres, or appetizers. One would make a great amuse bouche, so I’m thinking this suits all three categories. I think I need to create an hors d’oeuvres category.
The recipe is by Thomas Keller, from his French Laundry cookbook. You do not have to smoke your own salmon to make this. I don’t own a smoker (gave it away years ago because I hardly ever used it – but now wish I didn’t) so I did the next best thing – I bought my smoked salmon from a Jewish deli that smokes their own salmon. There you go! There are also great packaged Novia Scotia salmon brands in the supermarkets, so you also don’t need a great Jewish deli nearby to make these.
Thomas Keller is brilliant – a culinary virtuoso, so I really didn’t think I was going to change a bit of this recipe. Then the thought came to me – smoked salmon, LOX, LOX and cream cheese on a bagel. Bagels with cream cheese and lox has been a food staple since childhood.
I now dub these bagels with cream cheese, lox and onions, REFINED. Oh, with a lot less calories too, if you don’t eat 3 dozen of them. Speaking of bagels, do any of you order your bagels ‘scooped’? This is where they tear out the doughy innards before filling it with whatever you choose, to cut carbs and calories. I’m sorry, I will try to eat as healthy as I can, but no way in hell am I ever giving up those doughy innards when I treat myself to a bagel with cream cheese, lox, onions, capers, or whatever I’m craving that day. It’s sort of sacrilege to me…it’s the best part!
I totally digress. Creme fraiche is a lovely, tangy topping, and easy to make, but to welcome in 2012, the New Yorker in me felt these called for cream cheese – so I used cream cheese. When I tasted my cream cheese topping, it needed a little kick. Wasabi goes extremely well with salmon. I loved it, but you don’t have to use it – it’s fine without it.
One small caveat (another favorite and oft used word of mine) – the baking time for the tuiles in Chef Keller’s recipe was too much. My first batch burned. Maybe this is because I baked only one sheet at a time, so if you’re going to do the same, 15 minutes is way too long. 8-10 minutes is perfect, but start checking at 6 minutes.
One last thing before I get to my top posts of 2011. As part of this virtual New Years party, we were given a list of things to do. One was optional, asking us to name and link to bloggers who inspired us in 2011. People who know me in real life would say one thing. “Nope, she never picks out people and leaves others out, so she won’t do that”. Yes, that’s the truth..I’m the type of person who will drive my kids crazy by making them invite everyone in the class to their birthday parties when they’re in elementary school, and I still have enough reign/authority to do so.
BUT, to be honest, this is not even a case of leaving people out. The truth is, every single food blogger I know or don’t know..but read, inspires me in some way, shape or form. There’s no way I can just choose 5 or 100, it just isn’t possible (Plese don’t misunderstand, there is NOTHING wrong with choosing favorites, whether it be people, places or things – it’s just how I operate), so I’ll leave it at ‘YOU ALL inspire and affect me in so many different ways’.
I’m quite the softie, a blob of silly putty. I can’t ignore, exclude or hurt people. Someone has to do something pretty mean or awful to me for none of the above to apply. Being too nice is not always a good thing in life, and some take advantage, but hey, maybe it’ll serve me well somewhere down the road. Now back to our scheduled programming – minus the cheese and corn.
Herein lies my top posts of 2011. I decided to forgo the usual top 10, 11 for 2011, or 12 for 2012. Instead, 2+0+1+1 = 4, and I prefer odd numbers, so here are my TOP 5 posts of 2011.
1. My Much Discussed Levain Copycat Cookie - This was my first post ever, and it still gets the most hits every year.
2. Possibly the Best Burger Buns Ever - And they are still possibly the best burger buns ever.
3. Biscuit Joconde Imprime/Entremet – Peanut Butter and Chocolate all Decked Out - I loved this so much, I’ve made it twice since. Best Lowel Ego Light photo ever (for me). Could never replicate the lighting and sharpness of this photo again – weird Lowel Ego juju moment.
4. Three Pies in One – Cheesecake Pumpkin Pecan Pie - Need I say more?
5. Candy, Candy, Candy I Can’t Let You Go – Almost everything candy, from tempering chocolate to pate de fruits.
Well..that’s all folks! Wishing you all a Happy and Healthy New Year!! See you in 2012! Don’t forget to click the linky below!
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Smoked Salmon Crisps with Lemon Wasabi Cream Cheese
Recipe for Tuiles and Salmon from Thomas Keller’s French Laundry Cookbook. Lemon Wasabi Cream Cheese Topping by Yours Truly.
Makes about 2 to 3 dozen
4 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 chilled large egg white
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
Black sesame seeds
Smoked Salmon Topping
4 ounces sliced smoked salmon, finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons very finely chopped shallot
1 1/2 teaspoons very finely chopped chives, plus a few snipped, for garnish
1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Freshly ground white pepper
Lemon Wasabi Cream Cheese Topping
4 ounces (half a package) cream cheese
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
pinch of white pepper
pinch of salt
1/2 to 1 teaspoon wasabi powder or paste (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the sugar and salt. Add the egg white and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the butter until smooth and creamy.
2. Spoon about a teaspoon of the batter, each 3 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets and spread to 2-inch rounds. I make my own tuile batter stencils so I get uniform shapes. To do that, take a plastic cover from an empty tub of margarine, rice pudding, or whatever you have on hand, cut off the thick rim, then draw your shape onto the side you won’t be spreading batter on. Poke a hole in the middle with a knife, then cut out your shape following the outline. You can see mine in the collage above.
3. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and bake in the upper and middle third of the oven for about 8-10 minutes, shifting the pans from top to bottom and front to back, until the tuiles are golden and fragrant. Let cool.
4. While tuiles are cooling, make the lemon wasabi cream cheese topping. In a medium bowl combine the softened cream cheese, salt, wasabi powder (if using), white pepper and heavy cream. Beat until smooth and fluffy Stir in the lemon zest and place into a piping bag with the tip of your choice, or a ziplock bag with one end snipped off. You can just spoon it on each salmon crisp if you prefer. Set aside.
5. Make the smoked salmon topping. In a medium bowl, combine the salmon with the shallot, chopped chives, lemon zest and a pinch of white pepper. Spoon the salmon onto the tuiles and top with a dollop or piping of the lemon wasabi cream cheese. Garnish each crisp with a few snipped chives. Make Ahead – The tuiles can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.
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