Archive for the 'cookies & squares' Category

Salted Butter Break-Ups

Salted butter break up Salted Butter Break Ups

Why yes, I did choose to post salted butter break-ups for Valentine’s Day. If butter is your true love – as it is mine – this is a great vehicle for it, and one made for sharing.

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I’m all for sharing desserts – and food in general – bringing out a big bar of bashed-up chocolate or pints of gelato with a stack of bowls and spoons for everyone at the table to dig into at their own speed is a great way to finish a meal. You’ve heard of communal tables? This here is a communal cookie. In the Poitou region of France, it’s traditionally served in one big piece, set out in the middle of the table for guests to break off in chunks.

Salted butter break up 5 Salted Butter Break Ups

The dough is blitzed together in the food processor, then rolled out between sheets of parchment, painted with beaten egg yolk (you could colour the yolk with a drop of food colouring for a more dramatic effect) and crosshatched with the tines of a fork.

Salted butter break up 4 Salted Butter Break Ups

If you’re like me, you’ll find this part oddly satisfying.

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Salted butter break up 3 Salted Butter Break Ups

The yolk paint makes the surface smooth and glossy and buttery yellow, and you can hear the butter itself sizzling as the cookie comes out of the oven. It’s a perfect dinner party dessert, perhaps served with a bashed-up bar of dark chocolate, ice cream or fruit in season. Thanks once again to Dorie Greenspan – her book Around my French Table is one that will never be purged from my collection.

Salted butter break up 2 Salted Butter Break Ups

Salted Butter Break-Ups

Adapted only slightly from Around my French Table by Dorie Greenspan.

1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
1/2-1 tsp. sea salt (use less if you’re using salted butter)
1/2 cup salted or unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pieces
4-5 Tbsp. cold water
1 egg yolk

Put the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine. Drop in the pieces of butter and pulse the mixture until it looks like coarse meal, with bigger clumps of butter the size of a pea. With the machine running, pour in the cold water gradually, adding just enough to allow the dough to start pulling away from the side of the bowl; if you squeeze it together, it will form a dough. Dump out onto a piece of plastic wrap, pat it down to flatten into a disc, then wrap it in plastic and chill it for about 1 hour, or up to 3 days. (It also freezes for up to 2 months.)

When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment and put the dough between two sheets of parchment. If it’s very firm, you may need to bash it a bit with your rolling pin to soften it up. Roll it into a rectangle that’s about 5×11-inches. Transfer the dough to the lined baking sheet and peel off the top piece of parchment. Beat the egg yolk with a few drops of cold water and brush the surface all over. With the tines of a fork, decorate the top with a crosshatch pattern.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until golden. It will be firm to the touch but will have a little spring when pressed in the center — the perfect break-up is crisp on the outside and still tender within. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Serve it whole on a platter or cutting board, set in the middle of the table. Serves 10-15.

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February 14 2014 | cookies & squares | 10 Comments »

Grain-free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Grain free peanut butter chocolate chip cookies 1 Grain free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

I’ve been holding out on you guys! Sorry about that. It never occurred to me that I’d miss posting my very favourite peanut butter cookie recipe altogether – one I’ve been making for decades, pre-blogging and writing cookbooks. Like, forever ago.

Grain free peanut butter chocolate chip cookies 5 Grain free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

You may know this magic peanut butter cookie dough formula, but in case you don’t, here it is: 1 1/2 cups peanut butter, 1 cup sugar and 1 egg. That’s it. It doesn’t sound as if it will remotely work, but it does. The mixture is soft and goopy at first, but as you stir it firms up into a stiff enough dough to roll into balls. With no flour – of any kind – the peanut butter taste is forefront, and the texture is smooth and sandy. I’d say they melt in your mouth if it wasn’t such a cliché.

Grain free peanut butter chocolate chip cookies 2 Grain free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Because peanut butter and chocolate are best pals, I added a handful of chocolate chips to this batch. You could add chopped salted peanuts, or chocolate covered peanuts, or really anything you think would be delicious wrapped in a peanut butter cookie. Beyond that, the drill is the same: roll balls, press down with a fork, bake until pale golden around the edges. These are fragile when they first come out of the oven, so leave them on the sheet for a few minutes before using a thin spatula to move them off. (Or let them cool on the sheet – whatevs.)

Grain free peanut butter chocolate chip cookies 4 Grain free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Whatever you do, just make sure you have plenty of cold milk on hand when they come out.

Grain free peanut butter chocolate chip cookies 3 Grain free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Grain-free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

You could use all white or all brown sugar in these – I like a bit of both.

1 1/2 cups peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350F. In a medium bowl, stir together the peanut butter, sugars and egg. If you like, add chocolate chips too – and stir until well blended and thick enough to roll into balls.

Roll the dough into 1-inch balls and place on a parchment-lined or ungreased baking sheet. Press down on each cookie with the tines of a fork. Bake for 12-14 minutes, until pale golden around the edges.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

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February 03 2014 | cookies & squares | 14 Comments »

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