Sunday, June 03, 2012

More shortbread testing: Lemon Rosemary and Chai Spice

I love the simplicity of shortbread. It's butter, sugar, flour and whatever add-ins you want. No chemical leaveners and for such a small cookie, it packs a real flavor punch.

I compared two shortbread base recipes.  Here's the breakdown:

Chai Spice

Chai Spice Shortbread

Base recipe: 1 cup butter,  1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp confectioners sugar and 2 cups flour.  I made my own Chai spice blend - cardamon, ginger, cinnamon, fennel seed, star anise, a little bit of cloves,  black peppercorns and black tea and used a food processor to make the dough.

I didn't care for the texture at all. It was too dry and sandy.

 Lemon Rosemary

Lemon Rosemary Shortbread

Base recipe: 1 cup butter, 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 1 3/4 cups flour.  Using a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar till light.  Add the flour, lemon zest and fresh rosemary.  Mix just until a dough forms.

I much prefer the texture of this shortbread. I think the combo of using granulated sugar vs confectioners sugar and a little less flour is a winner.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Recipe Test: Red Velvet Shortbread.

Recipe Test:  Red Velvet Shortbread.

Better Homes & Gardens has a recipe for Red Velvet Shortbread,  but it has eggs and I wanted something more along the lines of a regular shortbread without the eggs.  So I took a chocolate shortbread recipe (confectioners sugar, flour, cocoa powder, salt and butter) and reduced the cocoa powder. Then I mixed together some vanilla bean paste, Super Red gel paste color and a bit of white vinegar to make the whole 'red velvet' thing official. 

These are okay in a sweet buttery cookie kind of way, but I still need to do some tinkering.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Rhubarb Bars.

Rhubarb Bars

I'm a big fan of rhubarb, but unfortunately it costs an arm and a leg in the city so I get to make something rhubarb maybe twice during the season.  These little cookie bars were pretty good.  I made half with nuts, half without.  Next time, I'll lose the nuts.  I think the bars are better without them.  And I'll probably up the rhubarb to 2 1/2 cups.

Rhubarb Bars
Yield:  18-20 bars

Oven to 350.
Line a 9" square pan with parchment.

For Crust:

1 C flour
1/3 C confectioners sugar
1/2 C butter, softened
1 tsp cinnamon

In small bowl of stand mixer with paddle attachment, stir together crust ingredients until it forms a dough.  Press dough into parchment-lined pan. Bake for 15 minutes.

For Filling:

2 eggs
1 C sugar
1/4 C flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
 2 C thinly sliced rhubarb (about 2 stalks)
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Whisk together eggs, sugar, flour, salt and vanilla bean paste.  Fold in rhubarb.  Spread filling over hot crust.  Top with nuts, if desired.

Bake 35 minutes.  Cool in pan on rack.  Cut into bars. 

Note:  To make cutting easier, dip your knife in hot water.

Rhubarb Cookie Bars

Monday, April 16, 2012

Rice Pudding in the Crock Pot

Crock Pot Rice Pudding

I don't recall eating rice pudding when I was growing up so the fact that I've been craving rice pudding lately is kind of strange.

I made a very small batch of it in the crockpot this weekend and it was great.


1/2 cup medium-grain rice, rinsed
2 cups nonfat milk
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 cinnamon stick
pinch salt

1 egg
vanilla bean paste

Butter the crockpot liner and add all ingredients except for the egg and vanilla bean paste.

My 1.5 quart crockpot has 1 temperature setting:  ON.  I cooked it for 2 hours, 15 minutes and it was perfect.  When the rice is tender and the pudding is the right consistency, beat the egg and temper it with some of the hot pudding. Add that back into the crockpot and whisk well.  Stir in some vanilla bean paste and serve hot, cold or at room temperature.

Vintage Mister Donut.

vintage Mister Donut coffee cup

I was so excited to find this vintage coffee cup. My very first job was frying donuts at a Mister Donut. I wore an orange apron with an embroidered Mister Donut on the chest.   

Everybody said I'd probably never want to eat another donut in my life after that job, but that didn't happen.

Apricot Pecan Sourdough Bread

Apricot Pecan Sourdough Bread

It looks pretty good but in all actuality it was a fail. I think I waited too long after the overnight rise to shape the boules. The final rise was a dud and the loaves baked up kind of dense.