Looking back on this past year, and all of the tragedies our country has endured with natural disasters and shootings and other acts of destruction – it makes me wish for people to remember what Christmas and the holidays are REALLY all about: joy, sharing, laughter, warmth, peace, giving and most of all LOVE for others. I sincerely wish all of you a holiday filled with these things – and a New Year filled with promise, prosperity and wonderfulness. Merry Christmas. xo
This is a recipe for my Mom’s Holiday Cutout cookies – a recipe that she got from my Grandmother that we still use today every year for the holidays. The cookies are crisp and thin with a delicious vanilla almond flavor in the cookie and the icing. They are the most popular and addicting cookies on our holiday table every year. Enjoy!
Author: Kristen Hess
Recipe type: Holiday, Baking, Sweets, Desserts
Serves: 50-60 cookies
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon water
3 cups flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
⅓ c. soft butter or margarine
⅛ teaspoon salt
3 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar
⅛ to ¼ cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract
In a large mixing bowl, thoroughly cream the butter, sugar, and vanilla extract.
Add 1 egg and water, and beat until light and fluffy.
Combine flour, baking powder and salt; blend into creamed mixture.
Divide dough in half; chill 1 hour.
On lightly floured surface, roll dough to ⅛” thickness.
Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters.
Bake on greased cookie sheet at 375 degrees about 6-8 minutes.
Cool slightly; remove from pan and glaze with buttercream frosting and top with sprinkles and decorative toppings.
Let cookies chill and cool overnight, store in a container in layers of wax paper to prevent cookies from sticking.
Mix together all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
Divide frosting into separate medium bowls, add food coloring of your choice.
It’s that time of year again – holiday parties filled with plenty of cocktails, socializing and finger food much to our heart’s desire to celebrate this sparkly season. I teamed up with a photographer friend of mine, Maike Paul, to do a Holiday Cocktail Party photo shoot and we had waayyyyy too much fun!
We chose five of our favorite cocktails to concoct, style, shoot (and drink, of course), along with a few nibbles to compliment. So here’s the lineup: Whiskey Sour with Stuffed Mushrooms, Classic Martini with Spiced Mixed Nuts, Mulled Wine with Cheese and Crackers, Pisco Sour, and a luscious White Russian for dessert. I know you’ll love all of these recipes for your next holiday cocktail party as much as we did. And Happy Holidays to all of you - CHEERS!
1 small lemon wedge
Turbinado sugar, for rimming glass
1/4 cup bourbon, preferably Maker’s Mark
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon granulated sugar, preferably organic
1 cup ice cubes
Rub the lemon wedge around the rim of a 12-ounce rocks glass. Place turbinado sugar in a shallow dish. Dip the rim of the glass in the sugar to coat; set aside.
In a large cocktail shaker, combine bourbon, orange juice, lemon juice, granulated sugar, and ice. Cover, and shake vigorously until all ingredients are well combined and cold. Pour into prepared glass, and garnish with orange slice.
1/4 cup Italian-seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated or shredded Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped fine
1 teaspoon red chile pepper flakes
Fresh ground black pepper
3-4 tablespoons EVOO
16 large white mushrooms, stemmed
White Truffle Oil (a few sprays or 1-2 tablespoons for brushing)
2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped fine
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Stem the mushrooms and chop the stems into fine pieces, set aside. In a mixing bowl, blend together bread crumbs, cheese, chopped mushroom stems, garlic, parsley, chile flakes, garlic salt and pepper with EVOO. Adjust olive oil amount to your liking until filling is soft and blended well.
Stuff mushroom caps (cavity side up) with the filling (generously) on a greased baking sheet. Spray or brush truffle oil on outer mushroom caps.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until mushrooms are golden brown. Garnish with fresh mint.
Makes 16 servings.
Classic Dry Martini
1 2/3 oz Gin
1/3 oz Dry Vermouth
Stir with ice and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with twist of lemon peel or olives.
Sweet and Spicy Mixed Nuts
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup cashews
3/4 cup pecan halves
1/2 cup almonds
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon water
1-1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
Dash Louisiana-style hot sauce
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a small bowl, combine the salt and spices; set aside. In a large heavy skillet, melt butter. Add cashews, pecans and cashews; cook over medium heat until nuts are lightly toasted, about 4 minutes. Sprinkle with spice mixture. Add the brown sugar, water, Worcestershire and hot sauce. Cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until sugar is melted.
Place nuts on a large baking sheet lined with foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes until nuts are golden brown. Remove from oven and let nuts cool before serving. Store in an airtight container.
Makes 2 cups.
Recipe adapted from Taste of Home.
Mulled Red Wine with Brown Sugar
Mulled Red Wine with Brown Sugar
Two bottles of fruity red wine (Zinfandel or Merlot)
Zest strips from one orange
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons black peppercorns, lightly crushed
1 3-inch cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, lightly crushed
Put the peppercorns, fennel seeds and cinnamon in a large tea ball or wrap them in cheesecloth and secure them with kitchen string. In a large saucepan, combine aromatics with the wine, bay leaves and orange zest.
Cover and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered for 30 minutes. Remove the aromatics and orange zest strips. Stir in the sugar until dissolved.
Serve warm in glasses or mugs with a variety of cheeses and crackers and spiced nuts.
Recipe from Food and Wine Cocktails.
2 oz Pisco
1 oz Lemon or Lime Juice
1-2 dashes Angostura Bitters
1/4 oz Sugar
1/2 Egg White
Shake all ingredients except bitters with ice. Strain into champagne flutes.
Dash with bitters and drag with a toothpick to make design.
2 oz Vodka
1 oz Kahlua
Half and Half Cream
Pour coffee liqueur and vodka into ice-filled old fashioned glass and fill with milk or cream.
Alternatively you can shake it all up in a cocktail mixer and strain over ice.
Garnish with coffee beans or cocoa powder.
The holidays are here, and what better way to celebrate by throwing a holiday cocktail party with friends and family? I’ve teamed up with Colavita this season to celebrate with all of you, by creating some delicious Holiday Appetizer recipes using their World Selection andPrivate SelectionExtra Virgin Olive Oils and Flavored Cooking Oil blends.
Colavita Olive Oil Giveaway!
*THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED - Congratulations to Manda Kay, the winner of our Colavita holiday giveaway! Hope you cook up lots of goodies with your EVOO & Balsamic Glace! Happy Holidays
I’ve teamed up with Colavita this holiday season and giving away some of their delicious olive oils and balsamic vinegars so you can celebrate the season by cooking up some holiday goodies of your own! The winner will receive: one (1) 3/4 liter of Colavita Private Selection Fruttato EVOO, one (1) 32 oz Roasted Garlic EVOO plus one (1) 29.5 oz bottle of their Balsamic Glace.
All you have to do to enter the giveaway is leave me a comment at the end of this post telling me what your favorite Holiday Appetizer to make with olive oil is.
*For extra entries, just follow me on twitter, facebook, pinterest, google+, tumblr or sign up for my newsletter (at the top right hand side of this page) and tell me you did so in the comments section. **As an added bonus, Colavita is also offering a 25% discount to all of my readers on any purchase in their online store. Simply enter the code ‘AG25′ to receive the discount upon checkout!
**This giveaway begins on Sunday, Dec 9th and ends Sunday Dec 23rd at midnight EST, where one person will be selected by random from the comments section below.**
Colavita World Selection Olive Oils are a new collection of extra virgin olive oils exploring the tradition in countries outside of italy from estates and farms in Australia, Argentina, California, Greece, Spain and Portugal as well as other prime olive oil growing nations. Read more about a few of my favorites that I used in my recipes below!
Colavita 100% Californian EVOO
The warm climate in the “Golden State” of California fosters both grape and olive cultivation perfect for wines and olive oils. The Colavita 100% Californian EVOO is pressed from olives grown in the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys of California. The mild flavor makes this oil perfect for all culinary applications. Enrich your favorite meal with a drizzle of EVOO and a glass of wine.
Colavita Roasted Garlic EVOO is a product originally created exclusively for BJ’s Wholesale Stores. To many it has become the “gateway product” that exposes customers to the entire Colavita family of products. It is raved about on their online store so we wanted to share it with all of you! It’s the perfect finishing oil and wonderful for enhancing garlic already present in your dish. Try it on Garlic Bread or my Homemade Pita Chips (recipe below).
The Argentina EVOO was a hands-down favorite at this year’s New York Wine and Food Festival. Arbequino, Coratina and Manzanilla olive cultivars grown in the Catamarca and Mendoza regions of Argentina give this EVOO and intense, fruity aroma and taste. Pair this EVOO with soups, roasted fish, grilled vegetables and red meat for an unbeatable duo.
Colavita’s Fruttato Oil has recently been inducted into the Colavita “Private Selection” line. This line was created to highlight the products which have received the honor of being marked a Colavita family favorite. It is made by cold pressing new harvest olives just before their peak ripeness. The result is a full bodied EVOO which is slightly pungent with peppery flavor notes.
This Colavita Premium Blend is an all-purpose cooking, frying, and salad dressing oil which combines the delicate hint of roasted garlic in a light Canola Oil and Virgin Olive Oil Blend. It is a versatile oil that is naturally low in saturated fats and has no trans fats.
This is a lovely tart recipe that combines sweet and savory flavors. The caramelized onions give it a sweet flavor with a hint of fig balsamic vinegar, balanced out by creamy ricotta, nutty Gruyere cheese, fresh herbs and crispy pancetta.
1 package pancetta (8 thin slices)
3 tablespoons Colavita Fruttato EVOO
2 sweet Vidalia onions, halved lengthwise and sliced thin
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Fresh ground black pepper
1-1 1/2 tablespoons Fig balsamic vinegar (Tavern Direct brand)
1 cup fresh ricotta
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoons dried Fines Herbes (or 2 tablespoons fresh herbs)
1/2 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
1 frozen pie shell, defrosted, or homemade tart dough
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Heat a saute pan over medium heat and cook pancetta until browned but not fully cooked, about 5 minutes. Drain fat from pan and place pancetta on paper towels to drain to the side. Once cooled, chop pancetta into small pieces.
Peel onions, remove top and bottom stems and cut in half lengthwise.
Slice onions thin (about 1/8" thick or desired thickness).
In the same saute pan, add 3 tablespoons olive oil and heat over medium high heat.
Add onions and cook over medium high for about 10 minutes.
Sprinkle brown sugar, salt and pepper over onions and stir well, cook another 10-20 minutes, reducing heat to medium low if onions start to brown too quickly.
Continue cooking and stirring onions over medium low for another 15 minutes, add a few teaspoons of water if desired.
Add the fig balsamic vinegar to the onions, turn heat down to low and let cook until they are caramelized, soft and sweet, up to an hour total.
Combine the ricotta, egg yolk and Fines Herbes together in small mixing bowl.
Spread the ricotta mixture over the pie shell in a 9" tart pan with removeable bottom.
Sprinkle Gruyere cheese over ricotta.
Top with caramelized onions and pancetta.
Bake the tart in the oven for approximately 30-45 minutes until pastry and filling are golden brown, and pancetta is crispy.
Let tart cool on a cooling rack for 10-15 minutes before serving.
Serve tart cut into wedges.
If you prefer to make your own tart dough rather than using a frozen pie crust, Martha Stewart has a great recipe for Flaky Tart Dough on her website at http://www.marthastewart.com/319448/flaky-tart-dough
Hot Artichoke dip is one of my all time favorite holiday dip recipes, and this one is extra special, using Colavita's California EVOO, lemon zest and minced garlic with lots of gooey cheese. Instead of using mayonnaise, I substitute a light sour cream to cut some of the fat and calories. Serve with my homemade baked pita chips or crackers.
2 tablespoons Colavita California EVOO
1 package frozen artichokes, defrosted
1 tablespoon minced garlic
zest and juice from 1/2 lemon
Garlic salt with parsley (to taste)
Fresh cracked black pepper (to taste)
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded light monterey jack cheese, plus 1/2 cup for topping
1/2 cup light sour cream
dash of cayenne (optional)
dash of paprika (for garnish)
1 green onion, sliced thin (for garnish)
Heat oil in a saute pan over medium high heat. Add artichokes and minced garlic, saute about 5-7 minutes until heated through.
Add lemon juice, zest, garlic salt and pepper, mix well and cook another few minutes, set aside.
Meanwhile, add shredded cheeses and sour cream together in a mixing bowl.
Add sauteed artichokes, garlic and lemon to cheese and sour cream.
Sprinkle with a dash of cayenne (if desired), mix well and transfer to a casserole dish.
Sprinkle additional monterey jack cheese over the top and bake in the oven for about 20-30 minutes until bubbly and cheese is melted on top.
Let cool a few minutes, sprinkle with paprika and green onions. Serve with homemade baked pita chips (recipe follows), crackers or crudites.
Making homemade pita chips is super easy and way better than buying the storebought kind for your holiday party. Mine are made with whole wheat pita bread, drizzled with EVOO, and sprinkled with garlic salt and cumin for some extra flavor. So delicious and crispy straight out of the oven and so addicting you'll never buy them again! Serve with Hot Parmesan Garlic Artichoke Dip or any of your other favorite party dips.
6 whole wheat pita rounds
2 tablespoons Colavita California EVOO
1 tablespoon garlic salt
1/2 tablespoon cumin
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cut pita rounds into triangles (6 wedges per pita).
Lay out pita wedges on a baking sheet and brush each wedge with olive oil.
Sprinkle garlic salt and cumin on top.
Flip over pita wedges, repeat coating with oil, salt and cumin.
Place baking sheet(s) in oven and cook pita wedges for about 15 minutes (checking to make sure they don't burn!)
Let cool, and serve with Hot Parmesan Garlic Artichoke Dip.
Everyone loves cocktail meatballs at holiday parties! These lovelies have a hint of lemon and sage and are light and fluffy, made with ground pork or chicken. They are first browned on the stovetop and then finished in the oven until golden brown. They're delicious alone, or dipped in a hot pepper jelly (Williams-Sonoma brand is great), balsamic pear jam (there's one by Academia Barilla that is to die for) or simply dipped in balsamic vinegar.
Red Pepper jelly, for dipping (Williams Sonoma brand)
Balsamic Pear jam, for dipping (Academia Barilla brand)
Colavita Balsamic Glace, for dipping
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Remove crusts from bread and tear into small pieces in a large mixing bowl, add milk and let soak for 10-15 minutes.
Mix in ground pork or chicken, sage, garlic, onion, lemon juice and zest, cheese, pepper flakes, egg, salt and pepper with soaked bread crumbs with your hands in a claw-like motion to keep meatballs light and fluffy.
Roll meat mixture into small to medium size meatballs (small makes approximately 36, medium makes approximately 18).
Heat olive oils in a large saute pan over medium heat (if not using cooking oil blend, mix EVOO with a tablespoon of butter to avoid temperature from getting too high and splattering).
Cook meatballs in batches in the oil for about 5 minutes each batch until meatballs are browned on all sides, drain on paper towels.
Once all meatballs are browned, place them on a large rimmed baking sheet coated with cooking spray to avoid sticking.
Bake in the oven for approximately another 15 minutes until cooked through and to keep warm.
Top with additional garlic salt (if desired), fresh chopped sage, and serve with red pepper jelly and balsamic pear jam, and Colavita Balsamic Glace for dipping.
These zucchini sticks are a great appetizer for any holiday party. They have a light crunchy coating of Japanese Panko seasoned bread crumbs and are finished with a splash of lemon and sprinkling of sea salt. They go perfect with the cool and creamy yogurt dill sauce or even a ranch dressing for dipping.
CRUNCHY ZUCCHINI STICKS
Colavita Roasted Garlic Cooking Oil Blend
4 medium zucchini, cut into half, into long strips
2 cups Panko Japanese-style seasoned bread crumbs
2 large eggs
Sea salt, for sprinkling, to taste
Lemon wedges, for garnish
Dill, for garnish
YOGURT DILL SAUCE
1 cup of Greek yogurt
2-3 tablespoon minced dill
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
CRUNCHY ZUCCHINI STICKS
Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a large deep saute pan, about 2 inches high.
Trim ends off zucchini, cut in half and then in half again lengthwise.
Cut zucchini into large strips about 1/2 an inch thick.
Pour bread crumbs into one large bowl.
Beat eggs in a separate bowl.
Dip zucchini sticks in egg, shaking off excess, then dip in bowl to coat with breadcrumbs.
Place coated zucchini on a baking sheet.
Fry in batches until golden brown, draining excess oil on another baking sheet lined with paper towels.
Squeeze some fresh lemon juice on top of zucchini and sprinkle with fresh dill and additional sea salt to taste.
YOGURT DILL SAUCE
In a medium bowl, mix together greek yogurt, dill, salt and pepper to taste.
*This is a sponsored post by Colavita, but as usual, all opinions expressed are my own. I received 5 bottles of Colavita olive oil samples to create the recipes for this article and holiday promotion. Winners of the giveaway will receive the prizes directly from Colavita by mail and should expect 2-3 weeks delivery time due to the holidays.
**All photographs, recipes and copy are copyrighted by Kristen Hess/The Artful Gourmet 2012 and cannot be republished without my permission or credit on the reposted original material from this article or website.
‘Baking for Friends’ Cookbook by Kathleen King, Tate’s Bake Shop
If you haven’t heard of Tate’s Bake Shop before or experienced their amazing line of desserts and cookies and baked goods, well you absolutely need to. I remember the first time I tried some of their chocolate chip cookies (the ones on the cover of their cookbook), I almost died and went to heaven. They’re light, crispy and thin, and filled with loads of gooey chocolate chips that melt in your mouth for days. They are still my favorite chocolate chip cookies (other than mine, of course), and I can’t resist them any time I spot them at the store.
Kathleen King, Chef and Author
Author Kathleen King is the creator and owner of the nationally acclaimed Tate’s Bake Shopin the Hamptons, known for her delicious baked goods made with wholesome yet elegant ingredients.
BAKING FOR FRIENDS isa gorgeous cookbook with over 120 scrumptious recipes and mouthwatering photos.With the holidays just around the corner, this is the perfect cookbook to read for all your holiday baking. The book features recipes that are perfect for both special occasions and everyday baking. Chapters include Scones & Shortcakes; Pies, Tarts & Crisps; Tea Loaves & Quick Bread; Party Cakes & Cupcakes; and Cookies. The book also offers delectable, taste-tested recipes for readers with dietary restrictions, including gluten-free, low-fat, vegan, and nut-free. Each chapter also features Kathleen’s innovative baking tips and tricks, designed to help save precious time and energy in the kitchen.
Holiday Cookie and Bar Tower Giveaway! (a $48 value)
Holiday Cookie and Bars Tower
**THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED. CONGRATULATIONS TO TERI TROCKWOOD, THE WINNER OF THE TATE’S BAKE SHOP HOLIDAY COOKIE AND BARS TOWER! (Teri, please send me your shipping address so I can get this prize out to you this week!) ENJOY!**
Just to celebrate the holidays, I’ve teamed up with Tate’s Bake Shop who is giving away one of their Holiday Cookie and Bar Towers (a $48 value)! It includes three 7-oz boxes of cookies - one each of chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin and white chocolate chip macadamia nut. It also includes two rich and buttery raspberry bars, two chocolate chip and walnut-loaded blondies, and two rich, dense and fudgy plain brownies. Each 7-oz box contains approximately 12 cookies, and the bars are a generous size..and all wrapped in pretty holiday packaging! HOW TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY
All you have to do to enter for a chance to win is tell me your favorite holiday dessert in the comments section below for one (1) entry. For extra chances to win, follow/like me on all or one of my social hangouts : twitter, facebook, pinterest, google +, and/or sign up for my monthly newsletter (see box at the top of this page), and tell me that you did at the end of this post. You have to be connected to Facebook to enter comments on this post. If you don’t have a Facebook profile, just send me an email for your entries at kristen (at) theartfulgourmet (dot) com. The giveaway begins on Saturday Dec 1st and ends on Sunday December 12 at midnight EST, where one person will be picked by random from the comments below. Don’t forget to tell your friends about the giveaway by sharing this page at the end of the post and letting me know in the comments below for extra entries!
Thumbprint cookies are traditionally flavored with vanilla and filled with fruit jam, but these are chocolate cookies stuffed with more chocolate! They will be a welcome treat on your holiday cookie platter, and they are a perfect hostess gift.
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
½ pound (2 sticks) salted butter, at room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 cups finely chopped pecans
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
To make the cookies: Heat the chocolate in a microwave-safe medium bowl on Medium (50% power), stirring at 30-second intervals, until fully melted and smooth. Let stand, stirring occasionally, until tepid, but still fluid.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. In a large bowl, beat the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar with an electric mixer set on high speed until combined, about 1 minute. One at a time, beat in the egg yolks, followed by the tepid chocolate and the vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, mix in the flour mixture, just until combined. Divide the dough in half and shape each half into a thick disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours.
Position the oven racks in the top third and center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
Using a heaping teaspoon for each, roll the dough into 78 marble-sized balls, putting them in a baking pan or platter. (If you wish, you can cover the balls with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 days.) Beat the egg whites in a small bowl until foamy. One at a time, dip each ball in the whites, roll in the pecans, and arrange 1 ½ inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Refrigerate the remaining balls until ready to bake. Using your thumb (or, if you have long fingernails, the end of a wooden spoon), press an indentation into the center of each cookie.
Bake, rotating the positions of the sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking, until the edges of the cookies look set, about 10 minutes. Remove the baking sheets from the oven, and, using your thumb (or the end of the wooden spoon), reform the center indentation in each cookie. Return to the oven and continue baking until the cookies are crisp, about 10 minutes more. Let cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes. Transfer to wire cooling racks and let cool completely. Repeat with the remaining balls, egg whites, and pecans, on cooled baking sheets.
To make the filling: Heat the chocolate and oil together in a microwave-safe bowl on Medium (50% power), stirring at 30-second intervals, until fully melted and smooth. Let stand, stirring occasionally, until tepid but still fluid.
Using a teaspoon, fill the indentations with the chocolate mixture. Let stand until the chocolate sets (you can refrigerate them to speed things up).
Recipe from Tate’s Bakeshop ‘Baking with Friends’ Cookbook, pp 116-118.
Monday through Friday, my friend Hakan Ciling designs for the textile and fashion industries. On the weekend, he is an equally talented baker, as this moist, fruit studded cake shows. If you are serving it for an evening dessert, top it with shipped cream flavored with ground cinnamon or nutmeg.
Softened butter and all-purpose flour for the pan
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 ¾ cups sugar
1 ¼ cups vegetable or grapeseed oil
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup very coarsely chopped walnuts
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup pitted dates or dried plums (prunes), cut in half
1 cup golden or dark raisins
12 ripe figs, tips trimmed and cut lengthwise into quarters (about 1 ½ cups)
Position an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter and flour a 9-inch tube pan with a removeable bottom (such as angel food cake pan) and tap out the excess flour.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, beat the sugar and oil with an electric mixer set on high speed until the mixture is very pale, about 5 minutes. One at a time, beat in the eggs, followed by vanilla, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Fold in the walnuts, cranberries, dates and raisins. The batter will be very thick.
Spread half of the batter in the prepared pan. Arrange half of the figs in a ring in the pan, pressing them lightly into the batter. Repeat with the remaining batter and figs.
Bake until a long bamboo skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 1 ¼ hours. Let cool in the pan on a wire cooling rack for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the inside of the pan and the tube and lift out the insert. Invert the cake onto the rack, unmold and let cool completely.
Recipe from Tate’s Bakeshop ‘Baking with Friends’ Cookbook, pp 56-57.
When all the local farm stands are stocked with big baskets of berries, I can't resist buying them. I love the way blackberries cook up and hold their shape, with their sweet/tart taste. And the blackberries against the yellow hue of the cornmeal in the crust make a beautiful presentation. Serve this the day it's made, with fresh whipped cream or ice cream - it's lovely on its own too!
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling the dough
1/2 cup fine yellow cornmeal (not coarse or polenta)
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) cold salted butter, cut into pieces
1 large egg yolk
2 tablespoons cold water
1 teaspoon unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups fresh blackberries
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon cold salted butter, cut into small pieces
1 tablespoon sugar for sprinkling (optional)
To make the dough:
In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, cornmeal, sugar and salt. Work in the butter with a pastry blender, 2 knives, or your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse meal with small pea-sized pieces of butter. In a small bowl, mix together the egg yolk and water. Add to the flour mixture and stir gently with a fork until the mixture is moist enough to hold together.
Gather the dough into a thick disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled but not hard, at least 30 minutes, or up to 2 hours. (The dough can be refrigerated for up to 2 days, but let it stand for 15 minutes before rolling out. It can also be frozen for up to 1 month.)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
On a ligthly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 10-inch round about 1/8 inch thick. Fold the dough in half, and then reopen on the prepared baking sheet. The dough cracks easily, but just press it back together if it does and don't worry, as the look of the dessert is very rustic.
For the filling:
Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of flour over the dough leaving a 2-inch border all around. Spread the berries over the floured section of the dough. Sprinkle them with the sugar and dot with butter. Fold the uncovered dough up over fruit, pleating it as necessary. If the dough cracks, not to worry - just seal the tears. If you wish, brush the edges of the dough with a pastry brush dipped in water and sprinkle with the tablespoon of sugar.
Bake until the crust starts to brown a bit and the fruit bubbles, about 40 minutes. Let the galette cool on the baking sheet. Transfer the galette to a serving platter with a wide spatula or pick up the baking mat and slide it off onto the platter.
Recipe from Tate’s Bakeshop ‘Baking with Friends’ Cookbook, pp 92-94.
This is a delicious, luscious custard pie that I made over Thanksgiving holiday, and it was so easy to make. Made with buttermilk, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and butter; it has a creamy consistency similar to pumpkin pie but without the pumpkin. It includes a simple recipe for homemade pie crust, but you can also use a pre-made or refrigerated crust to save some time and effort (Pillsbury is great). Another option is to make the pie crust with whole wheat or rye flour. Throw in a tablespoon of maple syrup and a dash of sea salt to the filling and sprinkle the pie with some large grain sugar to bring out the flavors even more. Enjoy
For the crust:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp fine grain sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3-5 tbsp ice cold water
For the filling:
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
3 large eggs, plus 2 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
zest of half a lemon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp maple syrup (optional)
6 tbsp (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
large grain sugar for sprinkling (optional)
Make the crust:
In a food processor, pulse flour, sugar, and salt until combined. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, with a few pea-size pieces of butter remaining. Sprinkle with 3 tbsp ice water. Pulse until dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed (you can add additional ice water if necessary, up to 2 tbsp, 1 at a time); do not overmix. Form dough into a disk, wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate until firm, 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
On a floured surface, roll out the dough to a 12 inch round.
Place in a 9 inch pie plate, fold overhang under, and crimp edges. Prick dough all over with a fork. Place a sheet of parchment paper over dough and fill with pie weights or dried beans.
Bake until edge is light golden brown about 15 minutes; remove parchment and weights.
Make the filling:
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, eggs and brown sugar until smooth. Whisk in buttermilk, lemon zest, vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon until combined. In a small saucepan, heat butter over medium, swirling pan occasionally, until golden brown and most of the foam has subsided, 8 to 10 minutes. Immediately whisk into buttermilk mixture.
Pour filling into pie shell and bake until set but still wobbly in center, 25-35 minutes. Sprinkle pie with sugar (if desired) and let cool completely on a wire rack, 2 hours before serving. Can be refrigerated and wrapped in plastic for up to 3 days.
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Everyday Food, November 2011
Kristen Hess is a NYC-based food stylist and photographer, writer.
Her professional background is in advertising, design and creative direction, marketing and social media for many well-known food and beverage brands.
She is passionate about food and travel, art and design, photography, theatre and film and all things creative.
Food Styling & Photography Portfolio: http://www.kristenhess.com