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double chocolate chip parfait – how to use a failed recipe

double chocolate chip parfaitIt happens.  Cooks of all levels have experienced a failed recipe at least once, maybe more.  The thing is, a failed recipe has room for improvement and making it into something better the next time around.  That’s how we discover things, through trial and error.  Continue Reading →

savory palmiers

savory palmiersThese delicate, but easy-to-make French pastries can be sweet or savory.  Palmiers, named so because they look like palm trees or the shape of an elephant’s ear, uses puff pastry for its base.  Traditionally, simple ingredients such as sugar and cinnamon are sprinkled over the pastry then folded, rolled, sliced and baked in the oven.  The festive season is just around the corner and these delicious morsels will take center stage when you present them at your next party. Continue Reading →

cosmic cookies

cosmic cookiesOur favorite north end cafe, Lion and Bright, has a small selection of delicious sweets.  One of their desserts we love to munch on when enjoying a cappuccino, is their cosmic cookie.  It’s full of goodies and if you’re feeling a bit peckish, this is the perfect snack to tide you over.  Continue Reading →

Melrose Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanut Butter CookiesThis peanut butter cookie recipe is from my maternal grandmother. I’m not sure what the name Melrose has to do with the cookie but I can definitely say it had absolutely nothing to do with Melrose Place! As much as my grandmother enjoyed cooking her first love was being an artist. Continue Reading →

Oatmeal Apple Cookies

oatmeal apple cookiesThe word cookie has been around since the early 1700’s where in Scotland it referred to a bread bun that was split, filled with cream and topped with icing.  According to The Oxford Companion to Food, cookies in the early part of the 19th century in the USA were usually associated with New Year’s Day.  Cookies and cherry bounce (cherry cordial) were the correct fare with which to greet visitors on that occasion.  Continue Reading →

Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

cranberry oatmeal cookies The other day Mr. S. spotted lemon and cranberry cookies. There are few cookies I will buy from a grocery store but these did ‘look’ good and there were only 8 in the container. Once we decided to add it to the grocery cart, our curiosity got the better of us and opened the container. Yep, these were chewy good and Mr. S. said I should recreate these. So, here goes…

Makes about 35 to 40 cookies
1 1/3 cups dried cranberries
1 1/2 cups flour
2 1/2 cups  rolled oats (old-fashioned oats)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
zest of one lemon
1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350f (180c).

Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper (silpat also works well). In a bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon; stir in the oats. In another bowl use an electric mixer to beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs then add honey, lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla and beat until blended.  Add flour mixture in two additions, beating until well combined. Stir in the cranberries.

cranberry oatmeal cookie doughDrop dough by the heaping tablespoonful about 2-inches apart onto the cookie sheets. Bake until the centers of the cookies are soft – about 9 to 11 minutes.  If you want a soft cookie, do not over-bake them.  Let cool on the sheets for 5 minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool.

cranberry oatmeal cookies 2The Culinary Chase’s Note: Chewy goodness! Use dried cherries instead of cranberries and for added crunch throw in a handful of chopped pistachios.  Bake one cookie sheet at a time, unless you have a convection oven.  You can use old-fashioned or quick oats but not instant (full of sugar, salt and other flavorings).  Enjoy!

Cardamom Sugar Cookies

cardamom sugar cookies by The Culinary ChaseWho isn’t drawn to a pretty, delicate-looking cookie? I’m a sucker for this sort of thing and with Spring here and Easter just around the corner, I was inspired to make these sugar cookies. The cardamom sugar cookie recipe hails from Williams-Sonoma, border icing from The Kitchn and flood icing from Every Day Occasions. Cardamom is one of my favorite spices. Its flavor is subjective according to individual palates and for me it exudes a spicy, herbal, citrusy character.  It can be the predominant spice or as a background note.  Cardamom goes well with cinnamon, ginger, clove combinations and is the third-most expensive spice in the world after saffron and vanilla.  It is known as The Queen of Spices (The King of Spices is black pepper) and belongs to the ginger family.

For the cookies:
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
3/4 cup butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg

For the border icing:
1 cup icing sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla or other flavoring extract
2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons milk or water
Food coloring, optional

For the flood icing:
4 tablespoons of butter
4 tablespoons of milk
1 tablespoon of light corn syrup
3-4 cups of icing sugar

To make the cookies, in a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and cardamom; set aside. In a bowl beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla and egg. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture in three additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Mix until just combined. Form the dough into a ball, wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.

cardamom sugar cookie collage by The Culinary ChasePreheat an oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with Silpat nonstick liners or parchment paper.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/4-inch thick. Use cookie cutters, cut out desired shapes. Transfer to the prepared baking sheets, and bake until just golden around the edges, 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the size of the cookies. Transfer the pans to wire racks and let cool for 5 minutes, then remove the cookies from the pans and let cool completely.

cardamom cookie by The Culinary ChaseTo make the border icing, mix together icing sugar, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons of milk or water using a spoon or a fork. The border icing should be just thick enough to pour easily.

To make the flood icing, in a microwave-proof mixing bowl, heat butter and milk together in the microwave for 30 seconds, or until butter is melted. Mix in corn syrup and icing sugar and whisk until smooth. Add more icing sugar or milk to achieve the correct consistency. This icing is a slightly thinner version of the border icing. It should flow until it fills the entire cookie.

cookie collageArrange cookies on wax paper.  Using the border icing first, trace the outline of the cookie using a disposable pastry bag or squeeze bottle (I prefer this).  Next, use the flood icing to fill in the area.  Allow icing to dry – about 10 minutes.

Easter cookies by The Culinary ChaseThe Culinary Chase’s Note: I won’t kid you, these do take a bit longer to decorate but it’s not a difficult task.  Bake the cookies one day and decorate the next.  Enjoy!

Molasses Cookies

molasses cookies by The Culinary ChaseNorth Americans call it molasses and the Brits call it treacle. Molasses has been in North America since the 1600’s when it was first used to make rum. Back then, it was a preferred sweetener and cheaper than refined sugar.  Refined sugar prices after World War 1 dropped and therefore became cheaper than molasses. I have a Purity Cookbook published 1967 (first edition 1917) and The Fannie Farmer Cookbook published 1979 (first edition 1906) both list a molasses cookie recipe. The 1915 edition of Five Roses Cookbook also lists a molasses cookie recipe.  These older cookbooks clearly show it’s been a favorite for generations.  While this recipe isn’t your usual run-of-the-mill and one might think the ingredients are a bit suspect, I strongly encourage you to give this molasses cookie a go.

Makes about 15 cookies
adapted from The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 tablespoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger (optional)
1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup molasses

1. Sift flour, cocoa powder, ground ginger, baking soda, cardamom, and pepper into a bowl.

cookie ingredients2. In a bowl beat butter and grated ginger until smooth. Add brown sugar, white sugar, salt and mix until light and fluffy. Add molasses and mix until combined. Add flour mixture and mix.

cookie collage by The Culinary Chase3. Place dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and shape into a log (about 10-inchs long). Tightly wrap and roll the log a few times, patting it as you go to make it smooth. Refrigerate until firm – at least 1 hour or up to 5 days.
4. Preheat oven to 350f. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Fill a small plate or bowl with granulated sugar.
5. Remove dough from fridge and slice into 1/2-inch thickness. Roll these slices into balls and then lightly roll in the sugar. Place on the baking sheet, spaced 1-inch apart. Bake 11 to 13 minutes or until crackly on top but still soft to touch. Let cool 10 minutes on baking sheet. The surface will get firmer as they cool.

The Culinary Chase’s Note: A slight crunch on the outside with a soft interior makes these cookies irresistible.  Mr. S. has now given these cookies his royal seal of approval. 🙂 Enjoy!

Dandelion Cookies

dandelion cookiesDandelion…that ubiquitous yellow flowering weed that makes a lawn look unkempt and has gardeners pulling their hair trying to keep it at bay.   But if we put their annoyance aside, you’ll find that dandelions are a nutritious food.  It is a herb that is believed to have originated in Asia.    Nutritionally, dandelions have more calcium and vitamins than broccoli and the leafy base has more iron and riboflavin than spinach.  Click here for more health benefits.

I was chatting to my mom yesterday and asked her if she ever used dandelions and she told me that she would throw the petals in our salads – not that I ever knew that!  With their slightly bitter taste dandelion greens are also good in salads (similar to chicory and endive).  We both had a good laugh as I told her my hunt for dandelions.  The lawns in our neighborhood are immaculate and one is hard pressed to find dandelions.  Even our own lawn which is mostly comprised of well cut weeds seems to have escaped the dandelion.  John and I went for a walk yesterday in hopes I would find some.  We walked for about an hour and found some scattered here and there along the roadside…who knew it could be this difficult!  Never mind, it was a lovely day for a walk and were rewarded by these scrumptious cookies.

Makes 12 large cookies
adapted from Cooking with Flowers

1 1/4 cups flour
1 1/3 cups oats
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 cup dandelion petals (yellow bits only, compost the green bits)
1/4 cup dried cranberries or apricots, chopped (optional)

dandelion CollagePreheat oven to 350f. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl combine flour, oats, baking soda, and allspice. In another bowl beat butter, sugar, molasses and vanilla until smooth and light in color. Add egg and beat until mixed in. Blend dry ingredients, dandelion petals, and cranberries into butter mixture. Mix until there are no signs of flour. Scoop out 2-inch balls and place 2 inches apart. Bake 12 to 15 minutes. The cookies will be slightly soft with first out of the oven so wait a few minutes to cool and then transfer to a wire rack.

dandelion cookie CollageThe Culinary Chase’s Note: These cookies had a soft, chewy consistency with a slight taste of caramel. I would definitely make these again! To remove the petals, hold the petals with one hand and pinch the green flower base very hard with the other, and give a little twist.  Enjoy!

Citrus Sugar Cookies

citrus sugar

Sugar cookies aren’t high on my list…they just never have been until now.  I find them to be, quite frankly, boring!  However, add some citrus juice and zest and you have a sugar cookie that won me over.  According to The Oxford Companion to Food, the American habit of making up rolls of cookie dough and keeping them in the refrigerator or freezer may have come from Germany; the doughs for some German biscuits were chilled before slicing.  Pieces are sliced off ad baked as required – often known as ‘icebox’ cookies.  In Scotland, the term ‘cookie’ has been in use since 1700.

Makes 25 cookies
adapted from Chef Megan Garrelts

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon finely grated lime zest
1 large egg

Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together and set aside.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla, lemon juice, and lime juice and zest. Scrape down the sides, then beat in the egg.  With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients in thirds, scraping the bowl down after each addition. Continue mixing until a loose dough forms, about 1 minute.  Shape the dough into a log and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Chill the dough until firm, at least 2 hours or overnight.

cookie dough

Preheat oven to 375f.  Remove cookie dough from fridge and cut into 1/4-inch slices.  Place 1-inch apart on a baking sheet and bake 7 to 9 minutes or until cookies are just beginning to turn brown around the edges, rotating cookie sheet halfway through baking time.  Remove and place cookies on a cooling rack.

The Culinary Chase’s Note: Hints of citrus carry this humble cookie to new heights.  If the cookie dough gets too warm, place it back into the the fridge for 20 minutes.  Chilling the dough will make slicing easier. Enjoy!