Tag Archives: recipes

The Hungry Artists’ Recipes

recipe header

Ok, I’ve had this blog for what, going on 3 years here, and I have never compiled a recipes page.  Major head slap.  People often ask me for recipes on the blog, and my feeble response is to “do a search”.   Really lame.

I guess when I began the blog, I didn’t know it would grow this big.  I should have had a recipes page on day one.  I realized this fact a couple of months ago, and the prospect of going back and linking everything and getting it all in ship shape paralyzed me.  I realized it is never going to happen unless I start NOW.  So, I am currently building it, but it will take time.  I have over a 100 recipes on the site to categorize and link.  And now is not the best time in terms of my book and illustration projects (though when is it ever, right?) I am currently involved in.

I just want to say that the recipe page is a work in progress.  It has been really enjoyable to go back and look at older recipes though.  Some I haven’t made in awhile, and I will definitely have to.  Especially the soup recipes!  As some of you might know, the impetus for starting this little blog was the publication of Soup Day, which I wrote and illustrated and came out with Henry Holt in 2010.

Here are the categories I came up with, and here is the recipe page for the whole collection (so far).  Also, there is now a RECIPES link on the header of every page and post! Thanks for your patience and hope you try out some old favorites!






salmon roll up close





lighter peanut butter chocolate popcorn







Filed under Appetizers, Beef, Beverages, Breakfast, chicken, Children

Everybody Eats Lunch

Everybody Eats Lunch Cover72

Before the crazy holiday season began, I was given the opportunity to review Everybody Eats Lunch  by Cricket Azima with pictures by Titus V. Thomas.    I wanted to test out some of the recipes  before reviewing so I could give you a better idea of what the book has to offer.  🙂

This wonderful children’s cookbook, which is charmingly shaped like a lunchbox,  cleverly touches upon concepts of cooking, geography, time, language, AND has great, easy recipes.

Five kids from around the world (Mexico, Japan, Brazil, South Africa, and Jamaica) share with the reader what a  typical lunch from their country is like– what it is called in their language, what time they eat lunch, and what kinds of dishes might be in their lunch.

The book is constructed out of sturdy cardboard and at the beginning, there is a map of the world and lift-the-flaps which also show each character in their respective countries.  It’s a nice way to connect the place with each child that we meet later in the book.


The contents of the lunch are laid out on one side of each spread, and each part can be removed to reveal a recipe behind it. So cute!


Jamie and I loved exploring Everybody Eats Lunch and learning about the  different lunches in each of the cultures.

I decided to try making three recipes in no particular order.  First up was the “Beef Patty” (it really looks like a sort of filled bread pocket, like an empanada, rather than a beef patty) from Jamaica.

beef patty blue 1

The recipe is simple — you just saute beef with onions and spices, then fill crescent roll dough pieces with the filling and bake.  The only thing I changed was to reduce the amount of oil because I used a non-stick pan to saute it in.  I also drained some of the fat after browning because I used 80/20% beef — not the leanest choice for ground beef!

beef patty blue front

The verdict:  They were heavenly!

The second dish I made was the Brazilian style rice and beans.  I had some extra chicken stock in the fridge that I had to use up, so I used that in place of the water.  I have to say that this dish will become a regular in our house.  It was so delicious and comforting!  We had it the next evening with quesadillas.

rice and beans 1
Since the first two dishes that I tried out were savory, I decided to make a sweet one for the third slot.  Jamie wanted me to make the Caramel Sandwiches from Mexico (graham crackers filled with dulce de leche).  I’m sure they are amazing!  But with all the holiday indulgences we’ve been partaking in, I decided to go with something less decadent, and I made the South African rusks.  I’d never heard of these, but apparently they are quite popular.


They are kind of cross between a biscuit, crunchy scone, and fat biscotti.  They would also be great at breakfast and perfect for dipping into hot chocolate or coffee.  They are not too sweet — but delicious with a hint of cinnamon and almond extract.  This one was another winner!

I’m excited to make more of the recipes in the book with Jamie since they all seem interesting, easy to make, and most importantly, flavorful!

Check out Everybody Eats Lunch for yourself at Glitterati Incorporated.  You won’t be disappointed. 🙂

Here are the recipes reproduced with permission of the publisher:

Jamaican Beef Patty

beef patty blue side

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/2 white onion, diced

1/2 pound ground beef

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon curry powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/3 cup bread crumbs

2/3 cup beef stock

1 8-ounce package crescent rolls

1 egg, beaten

1/4 teaspoon tumeric

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2.  In large frying pan, heat oil over medium heat and cook onion for 5 minutes.

3.  Mix in ground beef, thyme, curry powder, salt and pepper, stirring to break up beef.  Cook until beef is browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes.

4.  Add breadcrumbs and stock, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until most of liquid is evaporated, about 5 minutes.

5.  Place crescent roll triangles on ungreased baking sheet.  Place generous tablespoon of beef mixture in center of each and fold over.  Seal edges with fork.

6.  In small bowl, combine egg and turmeric.  Brush tops of each patty with egg mixture.

7.  Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes.

Serves 4

beef patty cut

Note:  I did have extra filling leftover.  This wasn’t a problem, however — it was good plain!

rice and beans 2
Brazilian Rice and Beans 

1/4 pound bacon, diced

1 onion, diced

1 15.5-ounce can pinto or red beans, drained and rinsed

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 bay leaves

2 cups rice

4 cups water

salt and pepper to taste

1.  In large saucepan, cook bacon and onion over medium-high heat until browned, about 8 minutes.

2.  Stir in beans, garlic, bay leaves, rice and water nad bring to boil.  reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, or until rice is cooked.

3.  Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Serves 4

Note:  I halved this recipe and still had leftovers.  Also, I used brown rice, so I had to add in more liquid and cook it longer.

rusk square

South African Rusks

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1/4 cup sugar

3 tablespoons wheat germ

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 egg, beaten,

1/4 cup melted butter (note: this is about 3/4 stick of butter)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2.  In large bowl, combine both flours, sugar, wheat germ, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.

3.  In separate bowl, mix buttermilk, egg, butter, vanilla and almond extract.  Pour over dry ingredients and stir until combined.  Shape into log about 4 inches by 8 inches, and place on baking sheet.  Bake for 25 minutes.  Allow to cool for about 15 minutes, and cut into 1/2-inch slices.

5.  Reduce oven to 350 degrees.  Arrange slices cut-side down on baking sheet.  Bake 15 minutes per side, or until lightly golden.

Makes 12 rusks.


Filed under Beef, Books, Children, Lunch, Vegetables

Summer Salads: Asian Slaw with Fuji Apple and French Potato Salad

I usually include jicama in this slaw, but I couldn't find one at the store!

We’ve been grilling a lot this summer — correction — my husband has been grilling a lot this summer.  I’m the sous chef in the nice air conditioned kitchen marinating the meats, prepping the vegetables, and making all the side dishes while he swelters in 100 degree plus weather over the hot coals.  Seriously, he actually grilled outside for a couple of hours during the heat wave here last week where we had record highs of 104 degrees (with humidity, it felt closer to 109).

Two side dishes I’ve been making which go quite well with the grilled vegetables and meats we’ve been having are an Asian slaw that I concocted that is both sweet and savory, and a Dijon and olive oil based potato salad with lots of fresh herbs.

The potato salad is based on a recipe from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, but I altered it by greatly reducing the olive oil by more than half.  She tends to have a heavy hand when it comes to olive oil and butter, that Ina Garten!!

With the “leftover” bunch of parsley, I’ve been making Tabouleh also — another great summer side salad!

Hope you enjoy them. 🙂

French Potato Salad

2 lbs. Yukon and Red Bliss potatoes (I just used Yukon)

kosher salt and pepper

2 tablespoons chicken broth

2 tablespoons dry white wine

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

3 tablespoons champagne vinegar or white vinegar

1/4 cup chopped scallions

1/4 cup chopped fresh dill (I increased the dill!)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

3-4 tablespoons virgin olive oil

1.  Bring a large pot to a rolling boil.  Season water generously with kosher salt.  Boil potatoes for about 20 minutes or until a knife can be inserted easily into the flesh.  Drain potatoes into a colander and cover with a clean dish towel and let steam for about 10 minutes.

2.  Cut potatoes into sixths or fourths depending on their size.  Place in a large bowl.  Sprinkle the chicken broth and wine over and let sit and absorb for awhile (I usually use this time to make the vinaigrette and chop up all the herbs ).

3.  Mix together the Dijon and vinegar in a small bowl.  Season with salt and pepper.  Then slowly add the oil while whisking to form an emulsion.  Set aside.

4.  Season the potatoes with the vinaigrette to taste.  You may have some leftover, which is wonderful as a salad dressing.  Then add the scallions and chopped herbs and stir gently to combine.

Serve at room temperature.

Make about 6-8 side servings.

Asian Slaw

Asian Slaw with Fuji Apple and Jicama

½ head of Napa cabbage, shredded (about 7 cups)

½ cup finely sliced red onion

2 teaspoons kosher salt

2 teaspoons granulated sugar

½ Fuji apple, julienned

¼ cup julienned jicama

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

2 teaspoons fresh lime juice

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

  1. Toss shredded cabbage and sliced onions with salt and sugar.  Set aside for about 10 minutes.
  2. Add apple and jicama to cabbage and onions.
  3. Whisk rice vinegar, lime juice and sesame oil together.  Pour over cabbage mixture and toss to coat.  Just before serving sprinkle sesame seeds on top.

Makes about 6 servings.


Filed under Sides, Uncategorized, Vegetables

Chocolate Chip Cookies and the Big Bad Wolf

Today was my last class visit at P.S. 142.  As a tradition, I always bring a treat for the kids on the last day.  This time, I made chocolate chip cookies because I figured:  Who doesn’t like chocolate chip cookies!?  Alas, there were a few non-chocolate eaters, but the cookies were devoured by the the rest of the students.  I guess you can’t please everyone!

These chocolate chip cookies are really delicious and more importantly, EASY, to make.  I was happy to give them away because it makes a huge batch (I made about 4 1/2 dozen) but we three could have easily eaten them all — they are that tasty.

For my class visit, I read an old favorite — Big Bad Wolf by Clare Masurel which I illustrated many years ago.

It is a dye-cut book with holes cut out on the pages to reveal something coming next:

The hole on this page shows the wolf's pointy ears and shiny eyes, and when you turn the page, you see him in his entirety, serenely having a picnic by a lake.

Since the book’s cover is similar to a mask (the wolf’s eyes are holes which reveal the eyes of two frightened children when you open the book), I  did a wolf mask project using paper plates with the children during my visit.

Here is a pattern I made up of the mask:

Using the pattern as a guide, you can draw the red lines on the paper plates.  Cut out holes for eyes.  Then cut out the ears and the side face fur.  Punch a hole using a hole puncher on each side and tie a piece of string or yarn in each hole. Decorate the mask any way you like!

Of course, you could have fun doing various different animal faces using a similar template.

Here I am with a pack of little wolves!

Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
from Martha Stewart’s Cookies, Clarkson Potter/Publishers

Original recipe

2 1/4 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup packed brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups (about 12 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with Silpat or parchment paper.  Set aside.

2.  Measure flour and baking soda in a bowl, stir with a whisk and set aside.

3.  Cream butter and sugars in the bowl of a mixer with paddle attachment for two minutes until light and fluffy.  On low speed, add one egg at a time, mixing to incorporate.  Add salt and vanilla.  Stir in chocolate chips by hand.

4.  Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of dough onto parchment, spacing about two inches between cookies.  Bake for about 10 minutes, rotating sheets and alternating them on racks in oven halfway through.  Cool for a couple of minutes on baking sheets on cooling racks.  Then remove cookies onto racks to cool.

Makes about 4 1/2 dozen cookies.


Update:  Snuggle Mountain now available for iphone for $1.99!


Filed under Art Related, Children, Cookies, Desserts

Good Night! Wake Up!

Bake Sale Update:

Thanks for all your comments of support about the Bake Sale for Japan event last week!  The organizers said our table generated close to $5,000.  The most recent tally of the sale as a whole (nationwide) is $124,120.38!


A book I illustrated was just released April 1.  It’s the flip board book version of Good Night Engines and Wake Up Engines written by Denise Dowling-Mortensen.  These books are a favorite among young children who are obsessed with cars, trucks, airplanes and other vehicles on the go.  In this newly released version, you get both stories in one cute small package.  It’s available in bookstores and online.

Good Night Engines side of book

I painted the original Good Night Engines in 2002.  At the time I wanted a child so badly and was worried that maybe it would never become a reality for us.  I thought, prayed, dreamt about it all the time while painting the illustrations for this book.  I like to think that all that creative energy was channeled into making my dreams come true, because by the time the book came out—a year after I finished the paintings, I was pregnant with our son, Jamie.  And when I see the boy in these paintings, I see my son’s face. 🙂

Wake Up Engines side of book

Onto recipes…. speaking of waking up….

If you haven’t noticed yet, the Easter candy made its way onto shelves some time in mid-March.  We are Cadbury mini egg fiends, and this is the magical time of year when they are available.  Luckily (or unluckily) for us, they have been on sale, and we’ve been enjoying them by the bagfuls.

On weekends as a treat, my husband makes breakfast for us – usually pancakes, popovers, or waffles.  His most recent creation, which we enjoyed last weekend involved our booty of Cadbury eggs.

You’ve got to try these out — they are light and delicious, and contrary to what you might think– not overly sweet!

Decadent Cadbury Egg Waffles

Nonstick spray

2 cups flour

½ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons sugar

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 ½ cups milk

2 eggs separated

½ stick butter, melted and cooled

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

12 mini Cadbury eggs

  1. Crush Cadbury eggs in a Ziploc bag, or roughly chop on a cutting board.  Set aside.
  2. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl.  Set aside.
  3. Mix together the milk and the egg yolks.  Stir in the butter and vanilla extract.  Stir the wet into the dry ingredients.
  4. Spray waffle iron with spray and preheat.
  5. Beat the egg whites with a whisk until they hold soft peaks.  Stir gently into the batter.
  6. Spread about ½ cup of batter onto waffle iron.  Scatter a few bits of Cadbury egg onto each quadrant of the batter.   Bake until waffle is done.  Serve immediately.

Makes about 6 waffles.


Filed under Art Related, Breakfast, chicken

Crunchy Tabouleh and Savory and Sweet Breakfast Millet

I recently read Mark Bittman’s Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating with more than 75 Recipes.  Along the lines of Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma, it chronicles the many ways in which the way we eat is damaging to both our bodies and the environment.  But it also offers concrete advice in the form of easy, nutritious recipes that you can incorporate into your diet.  His mantra is basically:  Eat less meat.  Eat less animal products.  Eat very little processed food.  Eat a lot of plants.

I always enjoy his recipes because they are written to be experimented with — nothing is set in stone, and he always gives tips on how you can change things up to suit your tastes.

The biggest thing I took away from the book is that I was inspired to start cooking more whole grains other than wheat and oatmeal.

Looking in my pantry and refrigerator, I found that I already had bulgur wheat and millet from who knows when!  I actually use bulgur wheat semi-regularly to make tabouleh whenever I have extra parsley on hand.  Don’t you hate it when a recipe just calls for a “few sprigs of parsley”?  Then you are left with a bunch of parsley that you forget about that gets wilted and worse, slimy, in the vegetable bin.  To avoid this unfortunate situation, I try to wash all the parsley at once when I come home from the green grocer, use what I need, and then use the rest to make Tabouleh.  This time I decided to make it crunchy and add some nutty flavor and protein and threw in some almonds.  It was a really great combination.  You could also add cucumber, scallions, grilled chicken, grilled shrimp, chopped olives, other herbs, such as mint.

I made it my lunch and stuffed it in a pita pocket with a few fried slices of tofu and chopped olives.  The flavors actually worked well together!

As for the millet, I decided to cook up a batch and come up with a way to use it later.  Millet is high in protein and gluten free, so it’s a good grain choice for people who are gluten sensitive.  I like the texture — it is kind of like small rice grains.

I incorporated it into a couple of breakfasts — both savory and sweet, and also ate for lunch with some leftover vegetables and marinara sauce.  It is quite versatile!

For the savory breakfast, I scrambled an egg, heated the millet in the skillet with a bit of water to soften it, and then threw them together in a bowl.  I seasoned it with a bit of Japanese seasoning I had on hand, called Furikake.

It comes in different flavors. This one is just salt, sesame seeds and seaweed.  You could probably make your own if you have nori (dried seaweed) and sesame seeds on hand.

The sweet breakfast was heated millet mixed with a dash of agave syrup, thawed frozen blueberries, and toasted chopped pecans.  SO delicious.  Millet is a nice alternative to oatmeal in the morning — it is chewier and not “gloppy” if you are not in the mood for that texture for breakfast.
I’ll keep experimenting with it and try it out in different dishes.  There are also a wide variety of different grains to try:  amaranth and quinoa, pearl barley — there are so many I have never worked with before!

What are your favorite grains and grain dishes?

Mark Bittman’s basic recipe for cooking any grain is this:

Whole Grains Without Measuring

Adapted from: Food Matters:  Conscious Eating with over 75 Recipes

Makes 8-6 servings

2 cups brown rice (any size), quinoa, barley (any type), oat grats, buckweat groats, steel-cut oats, millet, cracked wheat, hominy, whole rye, farro, kamut, or wild rice; or 1 1/2 cups wheat berries


Olive oil or other vegetable oil (optional)

1.  Rinse the grain in a strainer, and put it in a large pot with a tight-fitting lid along with a big pinch of salt.  Add enough water to cover by about an inch; if you want the grains on the dry side, cover with closer to 1/2 inch of water.  Use 3 cupt water for pearled barley.  Bring to a boil, then adjust the heat so the mixture bubbles gently.

2.  Cook stirring once in a while, until the grain is tender.  This will take as little as 7 or 8 minutes for steel-cut oats, about 40 minutes for brown rice, and as long as 1 hour for more for wheat berries, hulled or unpearled barley, and other unhulled grains.  Add boiling water as necessary to keep the grains just submerged — don’t let them get dry.

3.  Every now and then test a grain.  They are done when they are barely tender and have some chew.  If the water is all absorbed at this point, cover and remove from heat.  If some water still remains, drain and the grains and immediately return to pot, cover and remove from the heat.

4.  Toss with oil if you like and refrigerate or freeze until ready to use.

Bulgur:  Pour 5 cups boiling water over 2 cups bulgur.  Stir once and let sit.  Fine bulgur will be tender in 10 to 15 minutes, medium in15 to 20 minutes, and coarse in 20 to 25.  Strain using a fine mesh straining, pressing down with a spoon to remove excess water.  Return to bowl and fluff with fork.

Couscous:  Put 2 cups of couscous in a pot with a tight-fitting lid and add 3 cups of water and pinch of salt  Bring the water to a boil, then cover and remove from heat.  Let steep for 5 to 10 minutes (10 minutes for whole wheat), or up to 20.  Fluff with a fork and serve.

Crunchy Tabouleh

About 2/3 cup bulgur wheat

One bunch of flat leaf parsley, chopped

About 2 tablespoons minced onion

1 plum tomato, diced

Salt and pepper to taste

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 tablespoons olive oil

1 oz. roasted salted almonds, chopped

1. Place bulgur wheat in a medium sized bowl.  Boil 2 cups of water.  When it comes to a boil, pour over bulgur wheat and let sit about 10 minutes.  Drain in a fine mesh sieve, pressing down with a wooden spoon to remove excess water. Transfer to a large bowl and fluff with a fork.
2.  Add parsley, onion, and tomato to bulgur.  Season with a pinch of salt and toss to combine.

3.  In a small bowl, whisk lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.  Pour over bulgur mixture.  Fold in almonds. Serve immediately.

Note, if you want almonds to stay crunchy, only add as needed at one serving.


Filed under Breakfast, Lunch, Sides, Uncategorized, Vegetables

Holiday Cookies

Every holiday season I tell my husband, “I’m not baking cookies this year.  I don’t have time.  It’s too much work.”  He indulgently says nothing and basically accepts the plan.  Then December rolls along and there is a get- together or some such event, and I find myself making a batch, and then another.  And then another… you get the picture.

You see, I have this enormous collection of cookie recipes that I’ve been compiling over more than ten years.  There are some favorites I keep making year after year.  They are so easy to make, the ingredient lists are basic, and people enjoy them – and let’s face it:  I love to bake.  For some people de-stressing is a mani and pedi and a Cosmo. For me, it’s baking.

During the holidays I usually go a bit overboard and make about ten to twelve different varieties to give away and send to my family.  It’s hard to cut down because I have my annual favorites and I usually try a few new recipes as well.  Plus it’s an excuse to bake!

An illustrated snowball cookie recipe. Printable one below!

This year, I cut it down to six different kinds, which is a record for me.  Most of the recipes are originally from the December Gourmet issues over the years.  I’ve altered some of them and noted where I did so.

Do you have a favorite cookie you make year after year?

Hope everyone has a Happy Holiday Season!

Hidden Surprise Snowball Cookies

From Gourmet December 2002

4 oz. sweetened coconut

3 oz. unsweetened coconut

1/2  cup sugar (the original recipe calls for 2/3 cups sugar)

pinch of salt

5 tablespoons egg whites (the original recipe calls for two egg whites)

2 teaspoons water

large chocolate chips or chunk (the original recipe calls for 30 1/2” pieces of fine quality bittersweet chocolate)

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.

2.  Process  coconuts  with sugar and salt until sandy. Add egg whites

and water and pulse until mixture is moist.

3.  Take a teaspoon of mixture in your hand.  Put chocolate on top.

Cover with another teaspoon of mixture and form into a ball.

Repeat until coconut mixture is used up.

4.  Bake for 15-18 minutes on parchment lined baking sheet.

Remove parchment and cookies from sheet and let cool.

Peel off cookies when completely cooled.

(The original recipe has a last step of dusting snowballs with confectioner’s sugar — I think mainly to hide any browning from baking, but I think it is too sweet, so I don’t do this.)

Turtle Brownies

From Gourmet December 2001

Brownie Layer:

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped (I use chocolate chips)

1 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped

1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1 cup packed brown sugar (I don’t pack it in and maybe use a little less — this   is a rich cookie!)

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 large eggs

For the caramel-pecan layer:

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup light corn syrup

3 tablespoons water

1/3 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups pecans (6 oz) (I always toast first to bring out the flavor)

Garnish:  Melted semisweet chocolate

1.  Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare a 9-inch square metal baking pan by lining it with two sheets of foil laid vertically and horizontally with excess foil hanging over edges.

2.  Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.  Set aside.

3.  Melt  chocolates and butter in a double boiler (or 2-quart heavy sauce pan over low heat), stirring until smooth, then remove from heat.  Cool to luke warm, then stir in brown sugar and vanilla.  Add eggs one at a time, beating with a wooden spoon after each addition until mixture is glossy and smooth.

4.  Add flour mixture and stir until just combined.  Spread batter evenly in baking pan and bake in middle of oven until a tester comes out clean, about 30 minutes.  Cool completely in pan on rack.

5.  Bring sugar, corn syrup, water, and a pinch of salt to a boil in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved, then boil, without stirring, until mixture turns a golden caramel, about 7 minutes (the original recipe says 10 minutes, but I have burned the caramel at this length!  Watch it very closely!)

6.  Remove from heat and carefully add cream and vanilla (mixture will bubble and steam).  Stir in pecans and immediately pour over brownie layer, spreading evenly.  Cool completely in pan on rack.

7.  Melt semisweet chocolate and spoon into a ziploc bag.  Squeeze chocolate into 1 corner, then cut a tiny slice off corner to form a small hole.  Squeeze chocolate decoratively over brownies.

8. Chill brownies, loosely covered, until caramel and chocolate are firm, at least 4 hours.

9.  Remove whole thing from pan by lifting foil edges.  Cut into 64 squares.

(The original calls for buttering and dusting pan with flour, but I find it really difficult to remove and cut brownies this way!  Removing the whole thing with the foil and cutting it on a cutting board is so much easier.   I have also made these with roasted almonds instead of pecans, and it is delicious.  I used about 2 cups or so, which is more than what is called for with pecans.)

Chocolate Crackles

From Martha Stewart’s Cookies

(I halved the original recipe– it makes a ton of cookies!)

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

3/4 cups all purpose flour

1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch processed cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick), softened to room temperature

3/4 cups packed light brown sugar

1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons milk

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar

1.  Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring.  Set aside and let cool.   Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.

2.  With an electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.  Mix in eggs and vanilla, and then the melted chocolate.  Reduce speed to low; mix in flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the milk.  Divide dough into two equal pieces.  Wrap each in plastic; refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.

3.  Preheat oven to 350  F.  Divide each piece into sixteen 1-inch balls.  Roll in granulated sugar to coat, then in confectioners’ sugar to coat.  Space 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper (I used a Silpat mat).
4.  Bake until surfaces crack, about 14 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through.  Let cool on sheets on wire racks.  Cookies can be stored between layers of parchment in airtight containers at room temperature up to 3 days.

Brown Sugar Ginger Crisps

From Gourmet December 2001

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 large egg yolk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger (3 oz)

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2.  Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.  Beat together butter and brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at moderate speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

3. Beat in yolk, vanilla, and gingers.  Add flour mixture nad mix at low speed until just combined.

4.  Drop heaping teaspoons of dough about 3 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets (I use Silpat mats) and bake in batches in middle of oven until golden, 13 to 14 minutes.  Cool cookies on sheets on racks 5 minutes, then transfer with a metal spatula to racks to cool completely.

Pistachio Orange Lace Cookies

From Gourmet December 2002

(I halved the original recipe.)

2 3/4 oz salted shelled pistachios (about 3/4 cups)

1/3 cup sugar

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 1/2 tablespoons melted butter, cooled slightly

1 tablespoon Grand Marnier or other orange-flavored liqueur

1/2 teaspoon finely grated fresh orange zest

1 tablespoon fresh orange juice

1.  Pulse pistachios and sugar together in a food processor until nuts are finely chopped but not ground (I think you have more control if you chop the nuts by hand.  This year, my cookies had a more greenish tinge because I accidentally got to the ground stage with my pistachios!)

2.  Stir together with remaining ingredients in a bowl.  Spread dough in a 6-inch long strip on large sheet of plastic wrap and, starting with a long side, roll up dough in plastic wrap (dough will be very soft).  Chill dough on a baking sheet until firm but still malleable, about 1 hour.

3.  Roll dough into a 8-inch by 1-inch log, using plastic wrap as an aid.  Chill wrapped in plastic wrap, until firm, about 3 hours. (I’ve also just thrown the dough into the freezer and cut and baked later, without thawing.)

4.  Preheat oven to 325 F.

5.  Cut log crosswise into 1/8-inch thick slices with a serrated knife and arrange about 2 inches apart on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Flatten each cookie into a 1 1/2 – inch round with the back of a spoon, dipping in water and shaking off excess for each cookie.

6.  Bake in upper and lower thirds of oven, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until golden, 8 to 10 minutes total.  Cool cookies on sheets 5 minutes. then transfer with a metal spatula to racks to cook completely.  Make more cookies with remaining dough on cooled baking sheets lined with parchment.

These are usually more tan, rather than green!

Stained Glass Trees (Originally called Stained-Glass Teardrops)

From Gourmet December 2002

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

6 – 8 oz individually wrapped assorted  fruit-flavored hard candies (I always use Jolly Ranchers.)

1.  Whisk together flour and salt in a small bowl.

2.  Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes in a standing mixer (preferably fitted with a paddle attachment) or 6 minutes with a handheld, then beat in egg and vanilla.  Add flour mixture and mix at low speed until just combined.

3.  Form dough into 3 (5-inch) disks and chill, each disk wrapped in plastic wrap, until firm, at least 2 hours.

4.  While dough chills, unwrap candies and separate by color in small heavy-duty sealable plastic bags.  Seal bags, forcing out air, then coarsely crush candies by wrapping each bag in a kitchen towel and pounding bags with a rolling pin (I also use a meat pounder.)

5.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

6.  Roll out 1 piece of dough into a 9-inch round (1/8 inch thick) on a well floured surface with floured rolling pin (keep remaining dough chilled).  Cut out as many cookies as possible from dough with a large cutter and transfer to a Silpat-lined baking sheet, arranging about 1 inch apart (you could also use parchment).

7.  Cut out centers from cookies with a small cutter and add to scraps (I just save these as small cookies and sprinkle with leftover hard candy dust in the bags.) Spoon 1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed candy (depending on size of cutout) in center of each cookie.  (If you want to use these cookies as tree ornaments, make a hole with a drinking straw in each for hanging.)

8.  Bake in middle of oven until edges are golden, 10 to 12 minutes, then cool cookies completely on baking sheet on a rack, about 10 minutes.  Transfer with a metal spatula to a plate or an airtight container.  Gather scraps and chill until firm enough to reroll, 10 to 15 minutes.  Make more cookies with remaining dough scraps (reroll once) in same manner on cooled baking sheet.

We used this technique for the windows in our Haunted Gingerbread House.


Filed under Cookies, Desserts