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Showing posts from December, 2009

Piparkakut in the New York Times

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The New York Times published my version of Piparkakut and photo in their reader's holiday cookie interactive section. I'm flattered, but sad that I ate/shared all of the cookies. Maybe I'll have time to baking more when I get back home for the holidays.

Snow Day Biscuits

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Snow day fuel.

We had our first snow in New York City. I tumbled around happy all day in the snow and craved biscuits and soup for dinner.

Yam Biscuits

3/4 lb yams, peeled and cut into 1/2" cubes
1 3/4 cups flour
1 tblsp sugar (brown or white)
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 stick of chilled butter cut into 1/2 inch cubes, plus 2 tblsps
1/3 cup buttermilk

Boil yam cubes in salted water for about 10 minutes until very tender. It should be easy to crush the yams with a pinch. Drain and mash.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Generously butter the bottom and sides of of a 9 inch cake pan. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. Add cubed butter to bowl and, rub in with fingers or fork until a medium meal forms. Separately mix mashed yams with buttermilk. Add to the flour and butter. Mix lightly with a fork until just incorporated.

The butter forms medium sized crumbs
when rubbed or cut into the flour

Scrape dough onto a floured working space. With floured hands pat dough 1 inch th…

Apple Butter

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20 or so apples jammed into a little jar.

I wanted to pick and make apple butter this fall when the season was right. Weather rained out that plan. December apple butter it is, and closer to gift giving season anyways. The process of simmering the spiced apples down fills the house with a beautiful cinnamon smell. It a powerful feeling to transform a bucket full of round green apples into a sticky spread. This takes about 4-5 hours

Apple Butter

10 lbs of apples
(I use a mix of sweet and tart, Granny smith and Macintosh)
1/4 tsp salt
4 cinnamon sticks
juice of 1 big orange, or 1/2 cup
2 tblsp rum (optional)
1/2 tsp cloves
1 tblsp ginger powder
1/2 cup sugar


Peel, quarter, core, and chop apples into 1/2 inch pieces. Add apples* to a large heavy stock pot with salt, 2 cinnamon sticks, orange juice, and rum. Heat on high until bubbling. Stir often until apples release juices. Simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Remove cinnamon sticks and puree in food processor until smooth.

10lbs of fresh apples cook …

Piparkakut Finnish Ginger Cookies

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Crispy, thin, spicy, addicting, hard to pronounce.

Piparkakut are more than ginger cookies. Really a full on spice explosion in a thin, modestlysweet, crispy cookies. I came across them when Ava, a co-worker, baked a batch of her Finnish grandmother's recipe. I was delighted when Ava passed me her recipe, now misplaced. This version is based on Axis of AEvil, which was very considerately typed out from a Finnish cookbook Kotiruoka and my memory of Ava's. Did I mention Piparkakut are my number #2 favorite Christmas cookie? #1 being jam thumbprints.

Piparkakut

2 sticks plus 2 tblsp of unsalted butter
1 1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup molasses
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
1 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
(I use fresh cardamom from about 25 pods that I grind up with the black pepper in my coffee grinder)
1/2 tsp fresh finely ground black pepper
3 tsp ginger powder
2 tsp orange zest
2 eggs
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
5 1/4 cup flour, or more

1 egg white
water
raw sugar for decorating

Heat butter, sugar, molass…

Italian Sparkling Wine

I ate sparkling wine for dinner and drank buttery panettone at Alta Cucina epicurean food society. Dearest eating companion Ava invited me along and wrote up the event for Socially Superlative. I enjoyed the first wine the most.

Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookies

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A snack within a snack.

I burned 2 batches of bacon peanut brittle on Saturday, encasing the treat in bitterness that masked its bacon flavor. Sunday I made a murky soup with beef and brocolic rabe that sort of tastes like urine. I didn't have time to make apple/pear butter as planned, and any time now my pears are going to rot. I did not have a a good weekend working on recipes. Success came when I cleared out my camera and found photos I forgot to post of these pretzel cookies from the summer.

Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookies

1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups sugar (brown or white or both)
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups flour
12 ounce bag bittersweet chocolate chips
10 oz mini pretzels, coarsely chopped
1 cup peanuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 baking pan with butter.

In a bowl cream sugar and butter until fluffy 2-3 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla, beat for another minute. Add baking soda and salt, mixing briefly before adding 2 …

Holiday Pep

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Too much holiday working before holiday partying without any holiday napping? Invigorate yourself with home-brewed Sparks. The illegal combination of malt liquor, caffeine, and energy drink can be recreated in your kitchen, or if need be on the go at the corner deli before a night of caroling and tree trimming.

http://blogs.sfweekly.com/foodie/2009/11/the_sparks-speriment_how_to_ma.php