Tuesdays with Dorie – Dorie’s Cookies – Moroccan Semolina and Almond Cookies

There is nothing like the aroma of lemons to make it feel like spring is around the corner. These delightful little cookies have a hint of lemon and make wonderful companions for tea, coffee or a glass of milk. They are made with semolina and almonds flours, baking powder, salt, a small amount of oil, lemon peel infused sugar, eggs, vanilla, and option orange flower water. (I skipped the orange flower water as it is quite pricey.) The dough rolls into tablespoon-sized balls which are rolled into powdered sugar. You press your thumb in the middle of the ball, flattening it and causing it to crack. I found that the minimal cooking time was sufficient to brown the bottoms golden. My preference for texture was when the cookies were still warm from the oven. They get crispier after they cool, but then soften up the next day. Alas, you can only eat so many cookies at one sitting, so most were consumed in the following days, still delicious but without that fresh from the oven perfection.

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Cook the Book Fridays – Everyday Dorie – Sweet Chili Chicken Thighs

It doesn’t snow very often in Seattle and when it does we all run to the store, buy everything on the shelves, then stay home and cook. One of my snowstorm meals this weekend was the Sweet Chili Thighs from Everyday Dorie.

I discovered, after the storm hit, that I didn’t have Thai sweet chili sauce. That may not seem like something one would assume is in their fridge, but it’s a staple I usually have on hand. (We have a wonderful local supermarket that has an incredible Asian food department.) So what to do? I mixed a sweet version of fish sauce and Sambal to create my own version of Thai sweet chili sauce. I reduced the soy sauce called for in the recipe to account for the saltiness of the fish sauce and added the Sriracha. Here’s what I used to approximate Thai sweet chili sauce:

Wow! I can’t tell you how this combo compares with Dorie’s original recipe, but I can say it is delicious. This recipe will be a new staple in our house.

Tuesdays with Dorie – Dorie’s Cookies – Date-Nut Pinwheels

These are my first pinwheel cookies. Although I’ve been baking cookies for over fifty years (ouch!) I have never been drawn to a pinwheel cookie. What I’ve been missing! Although it seems like a challenging cookie on paper, all you really need is plenty of time to allow for chilling.

I decided to make these for Super Bowl Sunday. I took the butter out the night before to soften and took out my egg first thing in the morning to come to room temperature. When the egg was the right temperature, I made the filling. I chopped the dates, but not too fine. At first, I thought perhaps the pieces were too large because the filling was not thickening in a few minutes as the recipe said it would. But I kept cooking it until it looked like this:

The dough was easy to mix and roll out. I didn’t get a perfect rectangle, but I figured the ends would be trimmed anyway so I didn’t worry. After the dough spent an hour in the freezer, it was time to spread the filling over the dough. There wasn’t enough filling to spread to the dimensions the recipe called for (perhaps it was too chunky) but it was enough.

Now for the rolling. The dough had softened, but it still cracked in spots as I rolled. I used some of the ragged edges that fell off during rolling to patch the cracks. Into the fridge for an hour , then it was time to slice and bake. I used a serrated knife, which was a good choice:

Pre-baking the cookies looked like this:

As you can see, there are some cracks on the edges, but after the cookies baked, they held together just fine.

These were delicious and well-received by our game day guests. I just wish we had some leftovers!

Tuesdays with Dorie – Baking Chez Moi – Bettelman

Five Tuesdays this month means an opportunity to “rewind” and bake a recipe I missed from previous Baking Chez Moi bakes. I took an extended break from baking with Tuesdays with Dorie so I had plenty of recipes from which to choose for my rewind. Last weekend I wanted something fairly simple and a recipe that wouldn’t require a trip to the store. This bread pudding fit the bill.

I had some brioche hamburger buns in the freezer so I took them out to thaw while the eggs came to room temperature. A couple of hours later, I tore the buns into small pieces and soaked the bread in scalded milk. After thirty minutes, I whisked the egg yolks and sugar, then added the vanilla and optional rum. The egg mixture went into the bread, then the apple chunks and raisins. Finally, egg whites beaten to a medium peak were gently folded in.

After baking for sixty minutes then n a 400 degree oven (with a piece of foil draped over after thirty minutes) this is what I had:

I love bread pudding and this one was right on the mark: moist and not too sweet. The apple chunks were a welcome addition. It was good right out of the oven, and delicious cold from the fridge. I will make this one again!

Tuesdays with Dorie – Baking Chez Moi – Saint-Pierre Poppy Seed Cake

This cake is easy to make and delicious. You don’t need to haul out your stand mixer; the batter comes together easily by hand. You’ll want your eggs and whipping cream at room temperature, so factor that in when allotting your time.

The gentle orange flavor comes from two sources: fresh orange juice and sugar infused with grated orange peel. The aroma from the orange peel as you rub it into the sugar with your fingertips is one of the pleasures of making this recipe.

Eggs, orange juice, vanilla, melted butter and whipping cream get mixed into the sugar. Then the flour mixture and finally the poppy seeds. The batter goes into a buttered and floured loaf pan and baked for about 60 to 70 minutes.

The cake is lovely, light and delicious. I tried it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Divine!

Tuesdays with Dorie – Dorie’s Cookies – Fruit and Four-Grain Biscotti

I love a good biscotti, the perfect companion to your favorite hot beverage. I like this one because it’s a departure from the ubiquitous almond biscotti offered in coffee shops. While is does contain all purpose flour, it’s also chockful of whole grains: whole-wheat flour, oatmeal, wheat bran and kasha, plus some flax seeds. A couple of handfuls of chopped dried figs adds a touch of sweetness and a chewy texture. I tested my cookies with a homemade latte. Yum!

The dough is quick and easy: mix brown and granulated sugars with softened butter, then add eggs one at a time. Toss in the oatmeal, bran and Wolff’s medium graduation kasha (available on Amazon) and flax seeds. The flours, baking powder, soda, salt, cloves and nutmeg are next, then the chopped figs.

I formed two logs of dough, each of which ended up being about 11 inches long. The logs bake for 25 minutes, rest for 20 and then are sliced into 12 inch pieces and baked cut side down.

Like Dorie, I usually struggle to slice the logs without some crumbling. Miraculously, I sliced both logs with no crumbling. I used my mom’s bread knife, which is sharper than mine. I sawed into the top about a quarter inch, then pushed the rest of the way through. Was it the knife? Technique? Luck? I guess I’ll find out on the next batch of biscotti.

The biscotti come out of the oven golden brown and crunchy, perfect for dunking. Transfer to racks to cool, preferably using a Darth Vadar spatula. Mine was a Christmas gift from my niece, Casey.

They firm up with time, so serve with something to dunk them in. I had two with my morning mocha and called it breakfast.

Cook the Book Fridays – Everyday Dorie – Potato Chowder Lots of Ways

This month’s selection from Everyday Dorie for Cook the Book Fridays was perfectly timed for me. I had a surplus of new potatoes from my weekly produce box that needed a purpose, so they became the potatoes for this chowder. Dorie provides a basic potato chowder recipe and offers seasonal options. I had some dill from my produce box and some frozen peas, so I decided to add them to the basic recipe and make the “Spring Chowder”.

After browning some bacon pieces and setting them aside, I gently sautéed thinly sliced leeks, onions, shallots and garlic in the bacon grease and a little olive oil. When the sliced vegetables were soft, I added broth, substituting unsalted beef broth for some of the chicken broth called for in the recipe. (To my surprise, I only had three cups of homemade chicken broth in the freezer; time to make some more!) The potatoes and peas went in next. When the potatoes were soft, I mashed some of them with a potato masher to thicken the soup. Then came heavy cream, sea salt and fresh ground pepper. After ladling the chowder into serving bowls, I garnished with the crunchy bacon bits and a little bit of chopped dill.

The results? A delicious and hearty chowder that is full of flavor.

Tuesdays with Dorie – Baking Chez Moi – Chocolate-Coconut Tart

This tart wows: its’ luscious appearance and heavenly taste will impress the grateful recipients of your efforts. It is not a difficult tart to make, but there are a number of components. So allow yourself enough time, and factor in the four hour chill time for the completed tart.

Begin with Dorie’s tart dough recipe, which is basically shortbread. You can roll the dough, chill, place it in the pan, chill again and blind bake. Or pat the dough in the pan, chill and bake. I chose the latter method, which saved some time. The egg in the dough creates a wonderfully yellow dough.

The coconut filling is essentially pastry cream made with coconut milk. Toasted and untoasted sweetened coconut flakes go in as well. I like Dorie’s technique of toasting the coconut flakes in the microwave.

The filling goes into the cooked pastry and is topped with a chocolate ganache. Pop the tart in the fridge for four hours and you have yourself an impressive dessert. Dorie says she created this tart when she was craving a Mounds bar. Unable to find one in Paris, she created this wonder. My family agreed it tasted like a Mounds bar. Except much, much tastier. I’m partial to Almond Joys myself so I may add a layer of candied almonds next time around. We didn’t finish the tart the first day (so rich!) but it held well in the fridge for two days.

Tuesdays with Dorie – Baking Chez Moi – Speculoos

My designated weekend to bake Speculoos coincided with an early Christmas gift of a new espresso machine. (Thanks big bro!) A match made in heaven! These small cookies pack a lot of flavor in every bite and are the perfect companion for coffee drinks.

I have a lot of family staying with me for the holidays, so I had to squeeze making these cookies in between Christmas dinner pre-prep and feeding the hungry hordes at the dinner table every night. I decided to prep and freeze the dough on Sunday and slice and bake on Monday. The dough came together quickly and the pliant dough rolled easily into three rolls. I put the rolls on a baking sheet and froze them overnight. I feared they would be harder to slice because of the extra time in the freezer, but they cut easily. The cookies don’t spread in the oven, so they can be placed close together the n the baking sheet. I baked two sheets pfor 6 minutes then rotated top to bottom and front to back. Five more minutes in the oven and the Speculoos were perfectly done.

My son wandered into the kitchen just as they came out of the oven. He grabbed one and took a bite. “How are they?” I asked. As if to answer, he took three more. “They taste like really good gingerbread,” he said. Indeed.

Tuesdays with Dorie – Dorie’s Cookies – Double-Crumb Ginger Cookies

First, and most importantly, these are delicious and after the first cookie, it was hard to stop eating. All four of us in our household loved these. I doubled the recipe, yet the day after baking there are two left!

The recipe starts with Do Almost-Anything Vanilla Cookie Dough. Minced fresh ginger macerated in sugar gets added to the dough. I rolled out the dough, slipped it on a baking sheet and popped it in the freezer. While the dough was firming up in the freezer, I made the topping: flour, sugar, ground ginger, salt and butter blended together with the fingertips. Because I doubled the cookie recipe, I doubled the crumb recipe, too. This was a mistake. Well, I have gingery crumbs in the freezer for future baking projects!

The timing for baking was off, at least for my oven. The first baking sheet of cookies was very brown after baking for 21 minutes (a minute less than the minimum bake time in the recipe.) See below:

The next sheet was slightly less brown after 18 minutes. The final sheet was spot on after 16 minutes in the oven. Here is a side-by-side of Cookies from the second and third sheets:

Dark brown, golden, we loved them all. My mom preferred the darker cookies, while my son and I preferred the lighter batch. But all we enjoyed every bite of these delicately flavored ginger cookies.