1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used the madagascar bourbon variety)
3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup cold heavy cream
2 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 teaspoon nigella seeds
1. Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350F.
2. In a large mixing bowl, sift the flours, baking powder, and salt twice. If any husks or bits of grain remain in the sieve, add them back to the flour mixture.
3. Using a fork, mix the cream into the flour and incorporate until the dough is completely mixed. Do not over mix the dough.
4. Divide the dough into six equal parts. Place each dough into a 2 inch biscuit cutter and gently press to shape the biscuits.
5. Place the biscuits about 2 inches apart on a lightly buttered cookie sheet.
6. Mix the butter and nigella seeds in small mixing bowl. Brush each biscuit with this mixture and bake the biscuits for about 35 minutes till they get golden brown. Cool on a wire rack till warm.
It's finally feeling a lot like winter, the winds are chilly and almost every leaf that was once green and had turned a fiery shade of autumn is now lying on the sidewalks. Even my precious fig tree in the garden has lost most of its leaves and looks like a naked elongated branched creature protruding out from the ground. Cold weather also makes it way harder for me to get up early in the morning when all I want to do is curl up and stay warm under the covers. Thankfully, the holidays make winter fun and it gets me excited for all the things I can do. For me, cooking and baking all sorts of special holiday recipes that I grew up eating or for that matter even venturing out into unfamiliar culinary territories makes it fun. An even more special moment for me is when I surprise my family and friends with some of my favorite holiday desserts. This year will be no different, I've already shipped some stuff out to a few people that I know will be surprised and hopefully happy when they receive their packages this week.
2 1/4 cups sugar
a pinch of salt
2. Cream the butter, eggs, and sugar till fluffy using an electric mixer.
3. Fold in the semolina, salt, baking powder, coconut, rose water, and coconut milk. Then mix for another 2 minutes with the mixer until all the ingredients are combined.
4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Seal the pan with cling film and refrigerate for at least 4 hours to overnight.
5. The cake batter will have set by this point. Bake the cake for 40 minutes in the center of the middle rack of an oven that is preheated to 350F.
6. The cake is done when it gets golden brown on the surface or when a knife comes out clean from the center. Allow to cool in the baking pan, serve warm or chilled with tea or coffee.
Since it's pretty obvious that I kind of let canning take over my kitchen this year (judging by the overstocked pantry), I've been infusing some of the concoctions into different recipes. One of the fun recipes that popped up are these delicious jam drop cookies or to be more politically/culinary correct in this particular case, jelly drop cookies. Where shall I begin with my fondness for jam drop cookies? I first tried them as a kid and have since loved the appeal of jams and jellies on cookies. You can nibble from the edges of the cookie till you reach that delicious middle well of jammy goodness and then everything becomes perfect at that moment!
This crabapple jelly was a neighborly collaborative effort, my neighbor Farouk has a crabapple tree that was fruiting and he was kind enough to share some. Krysta who also lives next door helped me make the jelly and polish off a few glasses of gin that evening (surprisingly this is one jelly I did not add any alcohol to). She also has a dehydrator which she uses to do a lot of deliciously marvelous things, like a crabapple fruit leather with the leftover pulp. For the crabapple jelly, I stuck to the
(I love this book it is the bible for all things canning and teaches you the basics and principles of canning). The jelly is delicious and nothing like its progenitor, crabapples have a slight bitter and strong tart taste and though I have tried them raw, I would not do that again. On a fun nerd note, how interesting is it that roses, apples, and crabapples all belong to the same plant family,
This jam drop thumbprint cookie recipe is based on Martha Stewart's
that I have tested and changed quite a bit. I've changed the butter, flour, and sugar ratios and also added a little bit of vanilla to complement the delicate flavor of the crabapple jelly. I bake the cookies till the edges just to start to get a little golden brown and immediately remove them from the oven and transfer them to a cooling rack to cool. The cookies will harden and will stay good in an airtight container for about 2 to 3 weeks. The result of these modifications is a buttery vanilla scented cookie with a gentle dollop of a deliciously sweet and citrusy crabapple jelly. Of course you can practically substitute any of your favorite jam or jellies on these cookies, so your options are limitless! This is the recipe that keeps on reinventing itself.
makes about eight 250mL jars
80 ounces ripe crabapples
5 cups cold water
7 1/2 cups sugar
1 pouch (85mL) liquid pectin
1. Wash the crabapples and trim the stem and blossom ends off. Place the trimmed crabapples with the cold water in a stockpot. Bring it to a boil.
2. Reduce the heat and cover loosely. Cook for another 30 minutes with occasional stirring.
3. Transfer and drain the liquid through a jelly bag or strainer lined with several layers of dampened muslin/cheesecloth. Let the liquid drip for at least 2 hours or overnight. Do not be tempted to squeeze the fruit pulp or the resulting jelly will appear cloudy.
4. In a large stockpot, pour the extracted crabapple juice and sugar. Cook on a high heat, stirring constantly until the sugar is completely dissolved.
5.Bring the syrup to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. This is the critical stage at which the liquid pectin must be added. Stir in the pectin. Boil hard for 1 minute with constant stirring. Remove the stockpot from the stove and skim off any foam.
6. Quickly pour the jelly into hot sterile jars. Seal jars and place them in a canner until they are completely covered with water. Bring to a full boil and then process for another 10 minutes. Cool for another 5 minutes. Remove jars, cool, and store. The fully set jelly will be a peach pink in color.
crabapple jelly(jam) drop thumbprint cookies
about 20-25 cookies
1 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
a pinch of salt
1 stick of unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg gently beaten
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
about 1/4 cup crabapple jelly or jam
1. Place the butter and sugar into the mixing bowl of an electric stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment with the mixer set to medium speed, cream the butter and sugar for about 5 minutes till completely smooth.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour and salt together. Keep aside.
3. Beat the egg and vanilla into the creamed butter and sugar mixture. This will take about 2 to 3 minutes on medium speed.
4. Add half of the whisked flour and salt mixture to the batter with constant mixing. Repeat this till all the flour is combined.
5. Transfer the cookie batter to a smaller bowl and cover with cling wrap. Refrigerate the batter for at least 4 hours to overnight.
6. The batter will be stiffer now and scoop out about two tablespoons of dough to make a ball about an inch in diameter with your hands.
7. At this point you can melt/warm the crabapple jelly in a microwave for a minute or keep it in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes. This will liquefy the jelly a little, making it easy to pour into the cookie well.
8. Press the ball in the center with a wet thumb or finger just deep enough to make a well. (The well should not pass through the cookie or be too close to the bottom)
9. Spoon in a little melted crabapple jelly into the center of the well.
10. Place a wire rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350F. Place the cookies on a baking sheet prelined with baking paper. Space the cookies about 1.5 inches apart from each other. Bake the cookies in the oven for about 20 minutes till the edges just begin to turn golden. Immediately, remove the cookies from the oven and transfer them onto a wire rack to cool. Store in an airtight container with a sheet of wax paper between each layer of cookies.
Here is the label that I designed for this set of jams, feel free to use them as needed. Click on the image to the right to download the label pdf.
These labels are for personal use only. If you do use them or credit them, please post a link back to the related original recipe and not the file.
A Brown Table
yields: 6 servings
2/3 cup sugar
whiskey-kissed brown turkey fig cake
6 fresh ripe figs (brown turkey figs or any other kind you can find)
50ml honey bourbon whiskey or any other whiskey
2 sticks unsalted butter
2 cups of a good quality fig butter/preserves (I used the Trader Joe's brand of fig butter-it is rich and dark and not overly spiced)
4 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup golden raisins
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2. Cut the stems of the figs and slice them lengthwise. Add the figs to the whiskey and let them sit for 30 minutes at room temperature.
3. Sift the flour and salt twice and keep aside.
4. In a thick-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter and the preserves on a medium flame. Stir constantly till the butter and preserves are combined and smooth. Remove from heat and keep aside.
5. Break the eggs into a large mixing bowl, add the sugar and with an electric mixer cream the eggs and sugar till they expand to four times its original volume. The goal here is to beat as much air as you can into the cake batter and this should take about 15 minutes if you use the high speed setting of an electric mixer. Pour half of the melted butter-fig mixture into the whisked eggs and sugar. Drain the whiskey from the sliced figs and pour it into the batter. For now, keep the sliced figs aside. Fold the batter gently with a spatula and then add the rest of the butter-fig liquid and combine gently. Do not over-fold the batter because you will lose the air that you have carefully whisked in. Fold in the raisins.
6. Take an ungreased rectangular baking dish (12 X 10 inches) and pour the batter into the dish. Bake the cake in the preheated oven. The cake will begin to rise and brown as it bakes. After 20 minutes during the baking stage, open the door of the oven and carefully add the sliced figs across the surface of the cake (I like to space them out equally so I can later cut slices each having a fig on top). Sprinkle the brown sugar on the surface. Be quick and don't let the cake stay out for more than 2 to 3 minutes. Put the cake back into the oven and bake the cake till the crust is golden brown and the center of the cake is cooked. This will take another 20 minutes (A knife should come out clean from the center of the cake). Remove the baked cake and allow to cool to room temperature in the pan, before you serve.
Disclaimer: I did not receive any financial compensation for the fig preserves from Trader Joes. All my opinions listed here are my own.
peach and black raspberry cobbler
4-5 large ripe peaches (or 4 cups of chopped peaches)
1 vanilla bean pod
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar + 1/4 cup brown sugar for sprinkling on top of the cobblers
1 stick cubed chilled butter
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
6 individual sized baking dishes (about 4 to 6 inches in diameter)
1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Peel the peaches and slice each of them in half to remove the stone at the center. Cut the peaches into large 1 inch thick pieces.
2. In a mixing bowl, mix together the raspberries, peaches, sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Using a sieve dust the cornstarch over the berries and mix well (the sieve helps to prevent clump formation and allows even mixing). Carefully scrape the vanilla seeds out of the pod and fold the seeds into the fruit mixture. Cover the bowl with a lid or cling film and let it rest in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes.
3. In another mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, 1/4 cup brown sugar, butter, kosher salt, and baking powder and keep aside.
4. Place the individual baking dishes on a baking sheet. Scoop around 3/4 cup of the fruit mixture into each baking dish. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the dry flour mix on top of the fruit in each dish. Randomly spread about 1 tablespoon of the chopped butter over the flour mixture. Bake the cobblers in the baking tray for about 45 minutes or till the crust is golden and crisp. Let them cool for 5 minutes outside the oven. Serve hot or warm with/without vanilla ice cream.