Cardamom and ginger shortbread

_MG_39358 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup soft light brown sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1-inch piece peeled ginger, finely grated
Seeds of 1 vanilla bean
1 tablespoon egg white (about half of the white from 1 large egg – freeze the rest of the white and yolk separately for later use)
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons milk

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the base of an 8-in square glass pan with baking parchment.
Using an electric mixer fitted with the beater attachment or by hand with a wooden spoon and in a large bowl, cream the butter and the sugar together until combined. Add the flour, ground cardamom, ginger, vanilla seeds, egg white, salt, milk and 1 tablespoon of cold water and mix everything together.
Put the mixture into the pan and spread it out, then flatten evenly with your hands. Use a sharp knife to mark the shortbread into 16 even-size rectangular pieces (4 x 4). Bake in the oven for 40–45 minutes or until the shortbread is a light golden brown and firm, but with a slight softness to the touch – do not over bake or the cookies will dry out.
Once cooked, remove it from the oven and use the sharp knife to cut through the squares. Leave to cool completely before carefully removing from the pan.

Adapted from seriouseats.com

Mocha meringue chocolate chip cookies

These cookies are so good…and they were worth persisting. I tried and failed 5 or 6 times…and then they worked. And now I want to try mint chocolate chip meringues…

_MG_59041 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
3 egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp. sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat. Stir together vanilla and instant coffee in a small bowl. Set aside.
Beat egg whites and cream of tartar in large bowl on medium speed until frothy. Increase speed to medium-high; add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, and beat until stiff, glossy peaks form and whites have tripled in volume, about 5 minutes. Sift cocoa powder over beaten egg- white mixture. Carefully fold in cocoa powder until evenly distributed. Fold in vanilla-coffee mixture and mini chocolate chips.
Heat oven to 200 degrees F. Transfer egg-white mixture to a large resealable plastic bag. Snip off a corner and pipe meringue by heaping tablespoonfuls onto prepared baking sheets. Bake at 200 degrees F for 2 hours, switching the two cookie sheets at half time.
Turn off oven, let meringues stand in oven for 1-2 hours.
Remove meringues from oven. With thin metal spatula, carefully lift cookies off baking sheets.

Recipe adapted from recipe.com

Black raspberry chocolate chip ice cream

This is one of the best ice cream recipes I have ever tried. If you have ever had Graeter’s ice cream by the same name, and you liked it, you will love this. It would probably be very good with raspberries as well, but the black raspberry has a truly unique, very intense flavor – worth seeking out. We picked ours at a nearby farm last summer, and we will definitely be going back this summer again for more.

IMG_64762 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
pinch kosher salt
3 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups black raspberries
5 (1.3 oz) squares dark chocolate (I used Trader Joe’s)

Heat the cream, sugar and a pinch of salt in a heavy pot until it’s just beginning to bubble around the edges (do not let it boil). In the meantime, whisk together the egg yolks in a heatproof bowl. Temper the yolks by slowly whisking in about a third of the hot cream, and then whisk this mixture back into the pot with the rest of the cream. Cook the custard over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until it coats the back of a wooden spoon, about 5 minutes. Make sure not to let it boil. Strain the custard through a fine mesh sieve and stir in the vanilla.
Puree the raspberries in a blender and strain through a sieve to remove the seeds. Stir the puree into the custard, cover and refrigerate until completely chilled, preferably overnight. Freeze the mixture in an ice cream maker. When churning is almost finished, melt chocolate in microwave or in a bowl above simmering water. Spread a third of the finished ice cream in a container, drizzle melted chocolate with a spoon. Repeat the layer and drizzle two more times, and put in the freezer to harden completely. Soften for a few minutes at room temperature before serving.

Recipe adapted from Food52.com

Brioche loaf

Dorie Greenspan’s new book, Baking Chez Moi, is wonderful – full of cookies and cakes and other desserts I can’t wait to try. This brioche recipe worked perfectly, and was really quite simple to make. You do have to allow some time – ideally start the evening before, or the morning of the day you want to bake it. But it is so worth the time – it is a lovely loaf of light and airy, buttery goodness.

_MG_58551/4 cup warm water (110°F to 115°F)
1/4 cup warm whole milk (110°F to 115°F)
3 teaspoons active dry yeast (measured from two 1/4-ounce envelopes)
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs, lightly beaten, room temperature
3 tablespoons sugar
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

Combine 1/4 cup warm water and warm milk in the bowl of heavy-duty mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. Sprinkle yeast over and stir to moisten evenly. Let stand until yeast dissolves, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes.

Add flour and salt to yeast mixture. Blend at medium-low speed until shaggy lumps form, scraping down sides of bowl occasionally, 1 to 2 minutes. Add eggs, 1/3 at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Beat in sugar. Increase mixer speed to medium; beat until dough is smooth, about 3 minutes.

Reduce speed to low. Add butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until blended after each addition, about 4 minutes (dough will be soft and silky). Increase speed to medium-high and beat until dough pulls away from sides of bowl and climbs hook, 8 to 9 minutes.

Lightly butter large bowl. Scrape the dough into the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm draft-free area until almost doubled in volume, about 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes.

Gently deflate dough by lifting around the edges, then letting the dough fall back into the bowl. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and chill overnight. At this point, use the dough to make 12 brioches, or 2 small loaves. You can also wrap half the dough and place in the freezer in a ziploc bag or an airtight container and store for up to a month.

If you are baking two loaves – butter two 7×4 in bread loaf pans. Divide dough into 2 equal pieces; cut each piece into thirds. Roll each small piece on a lightly floured surface into about 10-12 inch long ropes. Attach 3 ropes at on end, and braid loaf. Place the braid in the prepared pan, and repeat with the remaining piece for the second loaf. Place pans in a warm draft-free area; lay sheet of plastic wrap over loaves. Let the dough rise until light and almost doubled (dough will rise about 1/2 inch to 1 inch below the top rim of the pan), about 2 hours.

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Bake brioche until golden brown, covering with foil if browning too quickly, about 40 minutes – the fully baked loaf should register 200°F. Transfer pan to rack. Cool 10 minutes. Remove brioches from pan. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Recipe adapted from epicurious.com

Double dark chocolate cabernet cookies

_MG_5825This cookie gets a wonderfully subtle wine flavor – make sure you use good quality wine, something you would enjoy drinking. If you do not have wine at home, or do not want to use wine, you can just replace it with a second egg.

YIELD: makes 2 1/2 dozen cookies

INGREDIENTS:
1-1/2 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 cups good quality cocoa
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 stick Earth Balance vegan buttery sticks, at room temperature
3/4 cup organic coconut palm sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup cabernet sauvignon
10 ounces {one bag} Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips

DIRECTIONS:
In a medium bowl combine, the flour, cocoa, salt and baking soda. Stir and set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the sugars and buttery stick until light and fluffy. Add the egg, and beat until mixed, then add vanilla and wine, and mix. Once combined, add the dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Fold in chocolate chips and spoon out by a rounded tablespoon onto a prepared baking pan, leaving two inches or so in between.

Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 10-11 minutes. Let cool slightly before transferring to a wire cooling rack.

Recipe adapted from simplyscratch.com, who I think used the recipe on the Ghirardelli chocolate chip bag for inspiration.

Coconut panna cotta

_MG_57641-15 ounce can coconut milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, scraped
1 1/4 teaspoons powdered gelatin
2 Tablespoons cold water

In a small bowl sprinkle gelatin over the water and stir. Set aside to bloom.

In a small sauce pan heat the coconut milk, sugar and vanilla bean to a boil. Whisk in a quarter cup of the coconut milk into the gelatin to melt. Pour gelatin mixture back into the coconut milk and whisk until smooth.

Pour panna cotta in jars and place in refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight.

Recipe adapted from inspiringeveryday.com

Fish paprikash with spaetzle

_MG_3914smIngredients:
2-3 tbsp olive oil
1 lb. white fish cut into 1 inch squares (cod, tilapia, etc.)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup water
1 tablespoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sour cream
1 package spaetzle, prepared according to package directions

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil and add onion to skillet. Cook until onions are translucent. Pull skillet off of heat, add paprika and stir to combine. Cook for an additional 2-4 minutes on low heat. Add fish; cook for a minute or two. Pour in 1 1/2 cups of water, and season with salt and pepper; cook until fish is cooked through. Remove fish from skillet and keep warm.
Stir 2 tablespoons of flour into sour cream; then slowly stir into the onion mixture remaining in the skillet. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly, and cook until thickened. Mix in fish.
Serve spaetzle with fish paprikash on top.