Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My Best Ginger Cookies

I hesitate to share this recipe because I love it so much (and am therefore very protective), but I simply have to, because you'll love it so much.  It doesn't really need any further introduction, but I must give credit to The Joy of Cooking, which is the starting point for the quantities.

Ginger Cookies
yield: 5-6 dozen, depending on size

12 T unsalted butter, softened
1 2/3 c granulated sugar

2 large eggs
1/4 c dark molasses
1/4 c dark brown sugar
2 t lemon juice
1 t orange zest
1/2 t vanilla

3 3/4 c all purpose flour
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
4 t ground ginger
1 t cinnamon

1/2 c chopped crystallized ginger
1 T grated fresh ginger
granulated sugar, in a shallow bowl for rolling

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Line cookie sheets with parchment, or grease well.

In a stand mixer, or by hand, beat the granulated sugar with the butter until light and fluffy.  Add in the eggs, one at a time, then add the molasses, brown sugar, zest, lemon juice, and vanilla.  Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl and mix thoroughly.  Add into the butter mixture and mix until just combined.  Fold in the two gingers.

With a #40 scoop, or your favorite tablespoon measure, portion out the dough and drop it into the sugar.  Roll each piece until completely coated and rounded.  Flatten just a bit, then place on the cookie sheets about 1 1/2" apart.  At this point, the cookies can be frozen for up to one month.  Otherwise, slide into the oven and bake for 11 minutes (or longer if you like them crisp).

Monday, December 20, 2010

Quail Egg Canapes

If only I had some caviar!

I made these darling little amuse bouche for a cooking class that I taught at Bella Kitchen Essentials tonight.  The theme was a simple, elegant cocktail party- this was a little more complicated but I wanted to surprise the students with a little bite to start off the evening!  The method is straight from the CIA, but the addition of horseradish in the yolk mixture is my own twist.

Deviled Quail Eggs

yield: 18 finished canapes

10 quail eggs
1 T mayonnaise (approximate)
2 t prepared (not creamed) horseradish
Salt and white pepper to taste
2 lush sprigs dill
9 pumpernickel or rye cocktail toasts
1 T butter

Bring a small pot of water to a boil.  Lower the quail eggs in and simmer for six and a half minutes.  Immediately plunge into an ice bath.  Once they have cooled a bit, peel carefully (note: quail egg shells and inner membranes are much tougher than those of chicken eggs, so be firm but delicate).  

Halve the eggs, then gently scoop out the yolks.  Mix the yolks with the horseradish, salt and pepper and enough mayonnaise to create a very smooth paste.  Wipe the whites clean of any stray bits of yolk.

Take a circle cutter and stamp circles just slightly larger than the base of an egg half- you should be able to get two out of each toast.  Heat a small saute pan and melt the butter in it.  Fry the toast rounds until lightly crisped on both sides.  Remove from the pan, season with salt, and allow to cool completely.

With a piping bag fitted with a small star tip, pipe the filling into eighteen of the twenty egg halves.  With the remaining filling, create a base on the toasts to adhere the egg halves with.  You'll want a small mound to nestle the egg in to. 

Before placing the egg halves, select small fronds of dill and garnish each egg with one piece.  Set each egg half on one piece of toast.  The extra filling on the base should hold the egg in place.  Serve immediately!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Easy Dinner Rolls

I know, it would have been nice had I made this post prior to you all preparing your Thanksgiving dinners.  I am very sorry and will continue to beg your forgiveness...

My go-to recipe for basic dinner rolls can be found here.  It's the base recipe for yeasted rolls on the King Arthur Flour website.  You could follow the recipe exactly, but here are the alterations that I routinely make:

1.  I use olive or canola oil instead of butter in the rolls
2.  Since I always have potatoes around but never potato flakes, I mash enough boiled potato to equal the volume and adjust the water a bit to compensate for the additional moisture
3.  I make eight giant rolls, and cram them all into one 9" pan