Tag Archives: baking

A Cookie By Any Other Name

palmiers

Photo: Real Simple

Known as palmiers in France, palmeritas in Spanish, ventaglio in Italian, and elephant ears in English, these little cookies have a devoted, global following.

It is believed that they are French in origin, where their name translates to “palm leaves.”

They are widely available in bakeries and from companies such as Goya, but they are also easy to make – so long as you don’t try to make your own puff pastry!

Here’s a recipe from Ina Garten that was posted on www.foodnetwork.com. Try it and let me know what you think.

4 Comments

Filed under Eat, Europe

Purim Cookie: Haman’s Ears

They go by many names – and many spellings – but the Jewish festival of Purim has one standout sweet treat in this cookie.

Hamantaschen are triange-shaped cookies that can be filled with a variety of ingredients such as poppy seeds, prunes, dates, apricots, or even chocolate.

They get their name from the villain of the Purim story, Haman, who convinced the king of Persian to allow the murder of all the Jewish people in his kingdom. The Jewish people were saved by Esther, the king’s wife, who was also Jewish, although the king did not know this until she bravely came forward.

Here’s a recipe from JewishRecipes.org that you might like to try.

There are so many ways to make these cookies that the possibilities for filling, folding, and displaying them are nearly endless. Here are some ideas to get you started.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I also found a great article in the New York Times about one woman’s history with Hamantaschen, and her quest to make the “perfect” Purim cookie. You might enjoy reading it here.

9 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Baking with Kids? Here are Some Tips

I love introducing my son to what takes place in the kitchen around the holidays.

He serves as my sous-chef while making Thanksgiving side dishes and he’s my right-hand man when baking Christmas cookies.

At seven, he’s been working with me in the kitchen for a long time. But cooking with his cousins – three year-old twins – is a different matter.

Here are some tips I’ve picked up on baking with many small children. I hope they’re helpful to you!

KidCulture Baking Tips

Fun vs. Perfect

You can have fun while baking with small children or you can have perfect cookies. You cannot do both. My advice: embrace the fun and save the perfect for when you’re baking on your own.

Keep it Simple, Sweetie!

Throw those ambitious baking ideas out the window. When you’re surrounded by children, you’ve got to keep it simple. Pick one or two cookies to make and keep an eye on their energy levels. Cut corners whenever possible. I saved time by using cookie mixes to which we just added an egg, a stick of butter, etc.

Even if the kids lose interest during the mixing and baking process, they’ll be back at the end. Trust me, they’ll be brilliant at decorating the finished product!

Secondary Activities

Have some other activities the kids can work on while you’re focused on getting the cookies out of the oven or after they’ve lost interest in the baking project. Construction paper Christmas cards, holiday-themed coloring books, holiday gratitude chains, these are all great activities the kids can take on while you’re otherwise engaged.

Set the Mood

While you’re working together in the kitchen, put some music on. We listened to the “Polar Express” soundtrack and “Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer.” When the kids got bored – or were inspired by the music – they danced around the kitchen like joyful elves. And sometimes their oven-mitted aunt joined in, too.

Hygiene Hints

We are sticklers about washing our hands with soap and water before, during, and after our baking projects. I also kept an eagle eye out for runny noses, children licking their fingers, and dough that got dropped on the floor and addressed it immediately. As cute as kids are, they can also be filthy little buggers. And that’s not part of my holiday cookie recipe!

As a veteran holiday baker, those are my suggestions for keeping it clean, keeping it fun, and making it memorable. Happy Holidays!

Leave a comment

Filed under Holiday, Learn

Cookies 6: Goro

The goro, Norway’s “affluent” cookie, is very similar to the fattigman, or the “poor man’s cookie.” The one big difference is that the goro is baked and not fried in fat.

The goro is also prepared using a special iron to give it a distinct shape.

This goro recipe was posted by Jennifer on AllRecipes.com.

Goro

Ingredients

3 eggs

1 cup white sugar

1 cup heavy cream

1 cup butter, melted

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground cardamom

Directions

In a large bowl, beat eggs and sugar until thoroughly blended. Mix in the cream and melted butter. Sift together the flour, cinnamon and cardamom; stir into the egg mixture. Refrigerate dough for at least an hour.

Heat goro iron and lightly coat with grease. On a floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut into circles to fit your goro iron using a paper pattern. Place onto heated iron, close and cook, turning once, until golden. Carefully remove from the iron, and cut into thirds while still warm.

Leave a comment

Filed under Eat, Holiday

Cookies 5: Fattigman

I know what you’re thinking. These cookies sound delicious – and they are.

But this Norwegian cookie actually mean’s “poor man’s cookie” because it is fried in cheap oil, not baked on a fancy cookie press like Norway’s “affluent” cookies, the goro (don’t worry; we’ll get there).

Of course, when I first heard about these cookies, I thought the name was Norwegian for “fat man.” Live and learn.

This recipe is from Tarteausucre, who posted it on Food.com.

Fattigman

Ingredients:

6 egg yolks

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup light cream

1 tablespoon butter, melted

1/3 cup granulated sugar

2 1/4 cups flour

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 tablespoon lemon rind, grated

confectioners’ sugar

  1. Beat together egg yolks and salt until thick and light.
  2. Beat in light cream, sugar and butter.
  3. Sift together flour and nutmeg. Add to egg yolk mixture with lemon rind.
  4. Mix well, then chill 1 hour.
  5. Roll out 1/4 of the dough at a time, keeping the remaining dough chilled.
  6. Roll 1/16 inch thick. Cut in 1 1/2-inch wide strips. Cut diagonally at 4-inch intervals. Make 1 inch slit lengthwise in center of each piece.
  7. Slip one end through the slit. Fry a few at a time in deep fat (350 degrees F) for 1 to 2 minutes or until golden.
  8. Remove from fat with a slotted spoon. Drain on paper towels.
  9. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar. Store in an airtight container.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Cookies 4: Springerle

Springerle are a German rolled Christmas cookie. My great-grandmother made these cookies and my grandmother remembered them fondly.

Springerle means “little jumper” or “little knight” and it borrows its technique from that used to emboss designs on Christian bread. The different designs on springerle have evolved a little over the years.

Although they’re not labor-intensive, you do need a special rolling pin in order to make these cookies authentic.

My family no longer has my great-grandmother’s recipe, so I’m relying on this springerle recipe which was submitted to AllRecipes.com by Rosemarie Magee.

Springerle

Ingredients

 

4 eggs

2 tablespoons butter

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups white sugar

4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup anise seed

Directions

 

Beat eggs in large mixing bowl until very light.

Add sugar and butter. Cream together until light and fluffy.

Sift flour, baking powder, and salt. Add dry ingredients and combine.

Knead dough until smooth … add more flour to get a smooth dough if necessary.

Cover dough and allow to chill in refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

Roll onto slightly floured board to 1/2 inch thickness. Then roll again with springerle roller to make designs. Cut at border. Sprinkle anise seed on clean tea towel and place cookies on this. Allow to stand overnight (don’t cover) to dry.

Bake 12 to 15 minutes at 325 degrees F (170 degrees C).

Cool completely. Store in tight tin container … the longer they are stored, the more anise flavor they take up.

 

Springerle Roller

 

2 Comments

Filed under Eat, Holiday

Cookies 3: Pizzelles

Pizzelles are one of my favorite cookies and a staple at my family cookie swap. But we don’t just eat them around the holidays. Every year at my family reunion one relative would never fail to bring them along, thus ensuring her status as the “favorite aunt”!

Pizzelles are a traditional Italian cookie. The name means “round” or “flat” and is believed to have originated in the Abruzzo region of Italy. The distinct shape of the cookie is made by using a press which resembles a waffle iron.

Once the cookie is finished off with a dusting of powdered sugar it tastes like an almond-flavored snowflake.

This pizzelle recipe was posted by BETORKAR on AllRecipes.com. I could share my family recipe, but there are just some things I won’t give up without a fight.

Pizzelles

Ingredients

6 eggs

1 1/2 cups white sugar

1 cup margarine, melted and cooled

2 tablespoons anise extract

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

Directions

Beat eggs and sugar with an electric mixer until fluffy. Stir in the melted margarine and anise extract. Combine the flour and baking powder; stir in gradually. Dough will be sticky.

Preheat your pizzelle iron according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Drop batter by rounded spoonfuls onto the iron. Close and cook for about 90 seconds, or until steam stops coming out of the iron. Carefully remove and cool. Store in an airtight tin at room temperature.

3 Comments

Filed under Eat, Holiday

Cookies 2: Pepparkakor

If you like a cookie with some bite, then you’ll love to try Sweden’s pepparkakor cookies. The name means “pepper cookies” and they are similar to the ginger cookies we know and love but are thinner and more crisp.

Pepparkakor also serve as decorations. They can be cut out into any form you can imagine. After the cookies have cooled, a string is tied through a hole in the cookie and they can be hung on the Christmas tree.

Try this recipe from Kathy Seaberg and posted on AllRecipes.com.

Pepparkakor

Ingredients

2/3 cup packed brown sugar

2/3 cup molasses

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

3/4 tablespoon baking soda

2/3 cup butter

1 egg

3 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour

Directions

Place butter in a large, heatproof bowl. In a medium saucepan, heat brown sugar, molasses and spices just to boiling point. Add baking soda and stir in. Pour this mixture over the butter and stir until it melts.

Beat egg and mix in; add flour, a cup at a time, and blend thoroughly. Turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead 1-2 minutes. Wrap in waxed paper and chill until firm (about an hour).

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (170 degrees C).

Roll out to approximately 1/8 inch thickness on a lightly floured board and cut into desired shapes. Place on greased baking sheets and bake for 8 – 10 minutes.

Remove from sheets and cool on racks; may be decorated with piped icing or whatever else you like!

1 Comment

Filed under Eat, Holiday