Why did the cookie cry?

Because his mother was a wafer so long.

I went on an oat kick and decided that I needed oatmeal cookies.

So I made them. I figured, they’re quick and easy and get the craving for something sweet taken care of. I had plans this past weekend to jump onto a tall ship that I used to work on for a few days, and figured that cookies would be a great portable treat. And, being a former crew member, I know just how much tall ship crew sometimes need a bit of sweet. It’s those little homemade touches that we sometimes miss, living and crewing a boat.

Speaking of the boat, if anyone in the CT area is looking for an awesome way to spend an afternoon, or to take an unusual vacation, check out the Mystic Whaler. She does brunch, lunch, and dinner cruises, as well as 3 to 5 day sails. It’s awesome. No, I’m not paid to say that, it’s just that awesome. Good food, great experiences, new friends. You can’t go wrong. And look at her!

mysticwhaler-0213-c3

Anyway, back to the boat cookies. Today’s recipe comes from the Flour cookbook. They aren’t my regular go-to, but I wanted to try something different, and I’ve made some delicious sweets from the book before.

Of course, I changed the recipe slightly…because why not. I upped the cinnamon for one,  and added vanilla, and some other little things here and there.

Mix. Bake. Om nom nom.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Ingredients

1 c unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 c  granulated sugar
1 c packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 3/4 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 3/4 c old –fashioned rolled oats (not instant or quick-cooking)
1 1/2 cups raisins

Method

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugars until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.r5
  2. Meanwhile in a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon, making sure there are no lumps of baking soda. Stir in the oats and raisins.r4
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until thoroughly combined. On low speed, or by hand, gradually add the flour and oat mixture to the creamed butter, mixing until completely incorporated.r3
  4. Chill the batter a few hours or overnight, covered. (This step is optional, although recommended by the author. And it does change the overall shape of the cookie. Do it. I have a comparison at the end.)
  5. To bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.r2
  6. Drop the dough in balls evenly spaced on the baking sheet and flatten the tops slightly with your hand.
  7. Midway during baking, rotate the baking sheet and tap the tops of the cookies down somewhat firmly with a spatula to flatten the domes.
  8. Bake the cookies for 15 to 20 minutes if you’re making normal sized cookies. If you are making the recommended large, 1/4 c scoop cookies, bake them for 20 to 22 minutes. In either case, bake until the cookies just start to turn brown across the top, but do not over bake.
  9. Allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes on the baking sheet.
  10. Remove and allow to cool completely (or if you can’t wait, eat a few then)r1 The cookies on the left hadn’t been chilled before baking. How about THAT?

Two bakers had a contest and the heat was on!

Today I would like to bring you to the alter and have you worship homemade cream puffs. This recipe was passed down to me from my Italian grandmother. She made the best cream puffs that I can remember eating. They were huge, and glorious, and stuffed to bursting with homemade almond flavored cream that got everywhere. And it was worth every bite.

The base dough recipe that she used is basically a simplified pate a choux…or a light, airy dough that is used for cream-puffs, eclairs, etc. Delicious. Her trick though….not an ounce of flavor goes into the dough. It is literally just a vehicle for filling. And, you are definitely going to want this filling.

I make cream-puffs for parties and special occasions. They are simple and beautiful; but they are tedious. Since they are meant to be small and bite size, there is a lot of baking, filling, arranging.

They are worth every effort, however, so don’t let that put you off.

I had a birthday party this past weekend, and made these puffs two ways: sweet and savory. I love recipes that can pull double duty like that; they are wonderful (and such fun.) Today’s recipe is for the sweet cream puffs because, let’s be serious, dessert first is always the best option.

Mimi’s Cream Puffs

Ingredients

Doughc12
1 stick butter
1 c water
1 c flour
4 eggs

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 375.
  2. Place the butter and the water into a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. c11c10
  3. Remove the pan and the dough from the stove. At this point, I like to  throw the ball into an electric mixer and turn it on. Then add the eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated. c9
  4. Using the two spoon method, or 1 inch cookie scoop, scoop out portions of dough onto a lined baking sheet.c7
  5. Bake the puffs at 375 for 30 minutes.
  6. Cool completely before filling.c6

Almond cream filling

Ingredients
Now you can do this two ways. You can make your own pastry cream, and flavor it with almond, which is what I usually do. The recipe from The Kitchn is a good one. But, if you’re pressed for time, or don’t feel like picking up the daunting task of making your own, you can do what my grandmother did….use a pudding mix. It comes out great, and that’s really all that matters.
I’m giving you the recipe for the lazy version.

2 boxes instant pudding mix, (I use vanilla usually, but you can change that depending on what flavor you want your filling to be)
2 1/2 c milk
2 tsp almond extract
1 container of cool whip (8 oz)

Method

  1. Add the first three ingredients and blend until thick. c5
  2. Fold in the cool whip until evenly combined. c4

Assembling the puffs

After filling a frosting bag with the cream filling, you can fill the puffs as follows:

  1. Cut the tops off of the pasty, fill with cream, and replace the tops. Place on the serving dish.
  2. Puncture the bottom of the puff with the metal tip of the frosting bag, fill with cream, place on the serving dish.c3
  3. Puncture the bottom/side/top of the puff with your thumb and fill with the cream. Place on the serving dish. c2

Once all your puffs are filled and placed, sprinkle with a dusting of powdered sugar. Try not to eat them all before your event. Or, if they are just for you, go to town! c1

The grapefruit looked around his grape family and wondered…

Was he adopted?

The weather is warm and sunny. The days are long. The weekends are busy. And, while I’ve been cooking and baking up a storm, I haven’t actually been able to take time out to take silly pictures!

Boo, Molly, booo! So, come Wednesday, I start wondering what I can cook that is fast, delicious, and blog worthy? I start with a scramble around the kitchen. What do I have an abundance of? Spinach, tomatoes, grapefruit….hmmmm, grapefruit.

What kind of something can I make with that? Parfait? Meh. Creme brulee? Don’t have the cream. But, hmmm, brulee…I haven’t made bruleed grapefruit in a while. That could be good.

Now, while I have and use (probably more than any sane person needs to) my kitchen torch, I know not everyone has access to such a wonderful tool. Which is why I’ve adapted this recipe for the oven. I think it works slightly better in the oven. The entire fruit gets warmed through, and extra juicy. There is something about having a warm dessert that just pushes satisfaction over the edge for me. (Which I know isn’t the case for every dessert, or every person. I mean, hello…ice cream, cheese cake…) But for this one…it just works. And it works so gloriously well.

Bruleed Grapefruit

g2Ingredients

Grapefruit
Sugar (about 1 tbsp per half)
Salt (optional)g7Method

  1. Turn your oven onto its broil setting, or the highest it will go.
  2. Wash and dry the outside of the fruit(s).
  3. Slice each grapefruit in half.
  4. Trim 1/4–1/2″ of peel from bottom of each grapefruit half to stabilize the fruit and prevent it from rocking back and forth. g6
  5. Place grapefruit, with the fruit side up, on a baking sheet lined with foil.
  6. Cut around the outside of the fruit, between the flesh and the rind, being careful not to get too much of the white part. g4
  7. Carefully slice each of the segments. This will make eating easier, I promise. g5
  8. Sprinkle 1 Tbsp. sugar evenly over exposed flesh of each grapefruit half. g3
  9. Broil grapefruit, watching closely to prevent burning, until the sugar is melted and beginning to turn dark amber. i would suggest checking after 3-5 minutes. But, the sweet spot (depending on your oven) is around 8 minutes.
  10. Take the fruit out of the oven, sprinkle with a pinch of salt and let the grapefruit cool before serving.
  11. Om. Nom. Nom. g1