Friday 27 January 2012

One Sweet Cookie – Review and Recipe

This book has an author who is new to me, One Sweet Cookie Celebrated Chefs Share Their Favourite Recipes by Tracey Zabar published by Rizzoli in 2011. With thanks to Lucy and Rizzoli for my copy.

I should start off by staying that I had this one on my wishlist for ages before it was published, I buy a good number of books but my wishlist is always full to bursting! Anyhow, when I was offered the chance to review it - I grabbed it! J

It’s a clean and fresh book, lots of white and many tempting pictures to help you on your way to the kitchen and get baking. Chapters are *Brownies, Bars and Cakey Cookies *Nuts, Chips and Oatmeal Cookies *Pastry, Petit Fours and Chocolate Cookies * Meringues, Macarons and Macaroons * Biscotti, Spice Cookies and Seed Cookies * Sugar Cookies, Shortbread and Doughnuts. There is also a couple of pages at the back called ‘Tracey’s Bookshelf’ which I found interesting to read through.

The chefs who have given their favourite recipes are many and varied, for example: Florian Bellanger and Ludovic Augendre give a recipe for Raspberry French Macarons, Eli Zabar of E.A.T. gives Eli’s Mother’s Best Cookies, Lidia Bastianich of Lidia’s Italy gives Orange Cookies, Maida Heatter gives Palm Beach Brownies with Chocolate Covered Mints, plus a Bali Hai variation which I have made before and loved . These are just a handful of the many contributing chef’s and their recipes, Tracey herself also gives some recipes including Wicked Chocolate Biscotti and Sugar Valentines.

I have really enjoyed reading through this book and compiling my own list of to-make recipes. I find it fascinating to see the differences in what one person and another thinks of as their favourite cookie. Like a lot of Mums I had a number of school things to bake for in December, and I did something that I’ve not done before, I made three recipes from this book to go to events without testing them for just us first. It’s a perilous strategy, but for one reason and another December was a difficult month. Still I am really pleased to report that all three worked out perfectly first time! The three I made are below, and I have kindly been given permission to share one of the recipes with you, it was a hard choice I tell you!

The Baker Man’s Classic Thumbprint Cookies from Seth Greenberg of Seth Greenberg’s Just Desserts

These are delicious little mouthfuls, rich shortbread-y cookies filled with jam. I used the end of a spurtle to make my thumbprint holes. This is the first thumbprint cookie I’ve made but it won’t be the last, that is for sure.

Back-to-School Raspberry Granola Bars from Karen DeMasco of Locanda Verde

A really easy bar that is full of oats, pecans and raspberry jam. These were very good and have the bonus of being filling too.

Todd’s Favourite Triple Chocolate and Walnut Cookies from Todd English of Olives

Chef English devised this recipe to incorporate what his children like and also himself by adding the walnuts. These were outstanding chocolate cookies, and they had the bonus of still tasting good when cold the next day. Note: I have given you Todd’s recipe here, the only change I made was to substitute the peanut butter chips for more chocolate chips, as I didn’t have any, I also used less salt. I baked mine in a fan oven @ 170oC for 14 to 16 mins. I have also found the recipe halves perfectly.

Todd’s Favourite Triple Chocolate and Walnut Cookies

From Todd English of Olives, with many thanks to Rizzoli for permission to post the recipe here from One Sweet Cookie by Tracey Zabar 2011.

8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup packed light brown sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

3 cups all-purpose flour (plain flour)

1 teaspoon baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)

¼ teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 ½ cups semisweet chocolate chips

½ cup milk chocolate chips

½ cup white chocolate chips

¼ cup peanut butter chips (optional)

½ cup walnuts, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 350oF. Set out three ungreased half sheet pans.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, granulated and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add the flour mixture to the batter and mix until incorporated. With a silicone spatula, fold in the semisweet, milk, white, peanut butter chips (if using) and walnuts. Drop by large spoonfuls onto the pans. Bake for about 10 minutes or until the edges are nicely browned. Cool completely on wire racks. Makes about 36 cookies.

Next up: Home Cooking Made Easy by Lorraine Pascale

Wednesday 25 January 2012

Tiramisu Cake - Cake Slice Bakers January 2012

Well, I didn’t mean to skip two Cake slice bakers cakes, but that was the way life went in November and December last year. I’m back this month, even though I just missed the main post date of the 20th of the month. Short and sweet this month, but better late than never!

This month’s cake is from The Cake Book by Tish Boyle published by John Wiley and Sons 2006. A Tiramisu Cake, a nice ‘pick me up’ (what tiramisu means) cake for the New Year. I’ve changed it and simplified the recipe a little.

Sweet coffee syrup soaked sponge, layered with a mascarpone and rum cream.The cream was very light in texture despite containing 500g mascarpone! The rum was a background note and the cream was set with a little gelatine, which probably helped the nice lightness, and meant there was no danger of the layers sliding apart. I tried to make it look like a cappuccino lol!

I liked this one, and am pleased I tried it even if I am late, it’s pretty for a dinner party and can all be done before hand. Do have a look at the Cake Slice Bakers blogroll to see how other members have made it

Next Review Up: One Sweet Cookie

Wednesday 11 January 2012

Stilton, Bacon and Dried Cranberry Salad

Happy New Year to you all! It seems like a long time since I last posted, although in actual fact not soooo very long ago. Time always seems to go by too quickly in December, and last year was no exception. Christmas came and went, and I hope it was a good one for one and all.

The New Year has also been and gone and here we are in January, fairly chilly and in need of comfort food. Thoughts of a healthy eating regime is in my mind, I’m only willing to downscale a bit. Perhaps in the long run that will work better, no severe cutting back, so no big binge on sweet stuff when I fall off my chosen dietary wagon. I’m definitely upping my exercise though. We will see how it goes.

I have a lot of bits and pieces to use up after the festive period - stilton, dried cranberries, nuts and I do seem to have amassed a number of boxes of pancetta cubes in my fridge. I was wondering what to make with them all, and remembered a salad of Ina Garten’s that I saw in her second last cookbook Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics published in 2008 by Clarkson Potter. I’ve made a couple of recipes from the book:

Tuscan Lemon Chicken and Oven Roasted Vegetables.

Both of which were also good (click on recipe titles for recipes at The Food Network). The salad here is a variation on Ina’s Cape Cod Chopped Salad and was delicious and we all enjoyed it a lot. Dried cranberries, crispy warm bacon cubes, blue stilton for us (cheddar for little peeps), toasted walnuts and fresh apple plus an orange-maple dressing. I thought it was a fabulous mix of tastes and textures, one that I’ve been asked to make again, and not just to use the Christmas leftovers!

Stilton, Bacon and Dried Cranberry Salad

I’ve upped the add ins, down scaled the dressing and changed the lettuce from rocket to romaine, for Ina’s recipe look here. We still had some dressing left over, but I’m good with having some of it in the fridge for later in the week. This makes three to four main course salad plates.

½ cup walnuts,

130g Pancetta cubes

1/2 cup dried Cranberries

2 Romaine Lettuces

½ cup Blue Stilton cheese (or cheese of your choice), crumbled

1 Pink Lady Apple


1 ½ tablespoons Cider Vinegar

½ teaspoon Orange Zest

1 tablespoon Orange Juice

1 slightly rounded teaspoon Dijon Mustard

1 tablespoon Maple Syrup

Salt and pepper

80ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Dressing: Whisk everything together in a bowl and set aside.

Salad: Heat a sauté pan and toast the walnuts in it for one to two minutes, stirring to prevent them catching. Dry fry the pancetta until cooked and crispy, drain the cubes on kitchen paper on a plate. Peel, core and chop the apple. To assemble tear or chop the leaves and arrange on plates, scatter over the apple, walnuts, cranberries, bacon and blue cheese. Finally whisk the dressing again and drizzle a little over the salads, I used about a tablespoon per person.

Next review up: One Sweet Cookie