Monday, December 12, 2005

Browned butter

I read in Gourmet Magazine about using browned butter in cookies so I tried substituting browned butter in a recipe and sandwiched the cookies with some dark chocolate. The cookies are really crumbly and delicate at first, but surprisingly, firm up in a couple of days. Yummy with a cup of tea.

Chocolate sandwich cookies
2 sticks (1 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2/3 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt, slightly rounded
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda

8 oz. dark chocolate

Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until butter turns golden with a nutlike fragrance and flecks on bottom of pan turn a rich caramel brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Place pan in ice water bath to stop cooking, and cool, stirring frequently, until butter starts to look opaque, 4-5 minutes. Remove pan from sink and transfer cooled browned butter to mixing bowl. Add sugar and cream until light and fluffy. Beat in egg yolk and vanilla.

Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl and stir into butter mixture until a dough forms. Turn cookie dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap and shape into a log 1 ½ inch diameter. Refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours (to firm up dough and allow flavor to develop).

Form and bake cookies:

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.

Unwrap log and slice into scant ¼ inch cookies. Place each cookie flat side down on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake cookies until just pale golden, 10-12 minutes. Cool cookies on sheet on a rack 5 minutes, then carefully transfer cookies to rack and cool completely, about 30 minutes. Cookies are very delicate and require gentle handling.

After cookies are cool, heat chocolate in a small bowl in microwave 30 seconds at a time, checking until edges start to melt. Remove and stir until melted.

Spread the flat side of a cookie with a thin layer of chocolate. Sandwich with flat side of another cookie. Continue with remaining cookies and chocolate, then let stand until set, about 45 minutes. Transfer cookies to an airtight container and wait 2 days before eating.

Jam Bag Biscuits

I was looking through a past issue of Gourmet magazine at the library and they featured an old recipe English Jam Bag Pudding, it was balls of brioche dough filled with jam, dipped in butter, cinnamon sugar and then layered in a bundt pan, like monkey bread. Well, it sounded yummy but I was too lazy to make brioche dough so I tried it with Pillsbury buttermilk biscuits. I had leftover cinnamon sugar and added icing from cinnamon rolls, so it was relatively easy. Surprisingly good!

2 cans Pillsbury Buttermilk Biscuits
4 T. butter, melted
Thick strawberry jam or preserves

2 ½ T. ground cinnamon
½ cup light brown sugar

1 c. powdered sugar
1 T. milk
2-3 drops vanilla extract

Combine cinnamon and sugar in a bowl. Open cans of biscuits. Place one biscuit in the palm of your hand. Make a slight indentation in the center of the biscuit with your thumb. Fill this indentation with a teaspoon of jam. Place another biscuit over this and carefully pinch the edges together, being careful so that no jam oozes out. Dip this pouch in the melted butter, then place in bundt pan. Space pouches evenly apart and barely touching. Sprinkle layer of pouches lightly with cinnamon sugar. Continue to fill and layer biscuits until all done.

Bake in a pre-heated 425 degree oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Meanwhile, whisk powdered sugar, milk and vanilla until smooth. Invert biscuits onto plate and drizzle with icing.

Friday, December 09, 2005

celebrity shawl

I started to crochet a "celebrity shawl" using the green silk yarn. It looks pretty good. I was a little worried the yarn was too fuzzy but it works up fine. The variation in the yarn thickness works well with this stitch.

Monday, November 28, 2005

a sea of silk

I hand dyed a couple of skeins of tussah silk with greens and blues. I used every shade of green and blue Kool-Aid that I could find plus a few shades of food color. The silk absorbed a lot of dye. At first it was very green so I overdyed it with some blue. I've started crocheting a celebrity shawl with this.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

I yam what I yam.

I was at the chinese supermarket recently and saw some "chinese yams". I love to see so many different varieties of fruits and veggies. I wasn't sure what was different about a "chinese yam". I know the japanese sweet potato is wonderful, tastes like a cross between a potato and a chestnut.

I got a few and boiled them up. They were good but I was a little disappointed, I didn't notice any difference between them and the regular supermarket variety, maybe a little softer, more tender.

I had a couple leftover so I used them to make a yam tart. Kind of like a sweet potato pie in a tart form.

Yam Tart

1/2 lb. yam (boiled, cooled and skin removed)
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup cane sugar
1/4 cup evaporated milk
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust

1. Line the tart pan with the unbaked pie crust. Trim the edges.

2. In the bowl of food processor, combine yam, butter, sugar, milk, egg, and spices. Pulse until mixed well. Add additional milk as necessary. Pour filling into unbaked tart shell.

3. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 40-50 minutes, or until filling is set. Tart will puff up slightly and settle as it cools. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

gold silk

I dyed this tussah silk last weekend and am really pleased with the way it turned out. It seemed kind of dark and raw to start with but it dyed beautifully. The silk absorbed a lot of dye and although you can't see it here, there is actually a lot of variation in the yellows. And it turned out so shiny. I'm thinking maybe one of those celebrity shawls....

Monday, November 21, 2005

fingerless gloves

I've been thinking about blogging for a while now, but somehow I got it into my head that it should be very specific, i.e. food, crochet, etc. and it felt very limiting. So I decided to just go ahead and include whatever I'm working on. Lately I've been into dyeing and felting wool. I dyed a ball of Knit Picks Wool of the Andes using Kool-Aid and food coloring. Wasn't sure how it would turn out but was pleasantly surprised with the results.

It got cold this week so I decided to make a pair of fingerless gloves. I used the pattern in the current issue of Interweave Knits Crochet and felted the gloves. This is one of the gloves, before and after felting. They keep my hands nice and warm.

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