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Archive for February, 2010

I’m a little late posting these, but I made Linzer cookies for Christmas. You could make these anytime of the year and just use a different cut out. I had some difficulty with the cookies sticking to the sheet, but parchment paper is a must.

Raspberry Linzer Windowpane Cookies (Cooking Light)

Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour (about 9 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup egg substitute
1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam
2 teaspoons powdered sugar

Directions
Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon, stirring well with a whisk.

Place granulated sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until light and fluffy. Add egg substitute; beat until well blended. Beating at low speed, gradually add flour mixture; beat just until a soft dough forms. Divide dough into 2 equal portions, and wrap each dough portion in plastic wrap. Chill at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375°.

Roll each dough portion into a 1/8-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface; cut with a 2-inch square cookie cutter with fluted edges to form 32 cookies. Repeat procedure with remaining dough portion. Place cookies 1 inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Cut out centers of 32 cookies with a 1-inch square cookie cutter with fluted edges. Bake cookies at 375° for 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool on pans 5 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely on wire racks.

Spread center of each whole cookie with about 1/2 teaspoon jam. Sprinkle cut-out cookies with powdered sugar. (A) Place 1 cut-out cookie on top of each whole cookie.

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A very tasty and elegant appetizer. I loved the subtle hint of white cheddar in the crust. They are also surprisingly simple to make and can be made ahead and either baked right before or baked earlier and reheated.

Leek and Red Pepper Mini-Quiches (Williams Sonoma)

Ingredients:

For the cheddar pastry:
1/4 lb. white cheddar cheese, cut into chunks
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as
needed
1/4 tsp. salt
8 Tbs. (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into
pieces
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 to 3 Tbs. cold water

For the filling:
1 1/2 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 leek, white portion only, or 2 large shallots, finely
chopped
1/2 small red bell pepper, seeded and cut into
1/4-inch dice
1/4 lb. dry-aged white cheddar cheese, grated
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3/4 tsp. Dijon mustard
3/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

Directions:
To make the cheddar pastry, in a food processor, pulse the cheese until crumbly. Add the flour and salt and pulse until the cheese is finely crumbled. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles fluffy bread crumbs. Drizzle the egg over the mixture and pulse twice. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Sprinkle 2 Tbs. water over the mixture and pulse until a rough mass forms. If the mixture doesn’t come together, add another 1 Tbs. water.

Place the pastry on a lightly floured work surface and shape into a smooth ball. Divide in half. Roll out half the pastry into a large round 1/8 inch thick, pushing the dough outward from the center and rotating it about a quarter turn each time you roll, sprinkling more flour underneath as needed.

Using a 2-inch cookie cutter, cut out as many pastry rounds as possible and ease them very gently into the cups of a mini-muffin pan. The bottoms should remain rounded and the dough edges flush with the rims. Gather up the scraps, reroll, cut out additional rounds and line additional cups. Repeat with the remaining dough half, working in batches if necessary. You should have a total of 48 lined cups.

Preheat an oven to 400°F.

To make the filling, in a small sauté pan over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Add the leek and sauté gently, stirring occasionally, until tender but not browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and add the bell pepper and cheese. In another bowl or large measuring cup, whisk the eggs until blended, then whisk in the cream, mustard, salt and cayenne. Add the egg mixture to the leek mixture and whisk to combine. Pour 1 Tbs. of the filling into each of the pastry shells, evenly distributing the solids and liquid.

Bake the quiches until they are puffy and golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer the muffin pan to a wire rack and cool for 5 to 10 minutes (the quiches will sink a little as they cool). To loosen them from the muffin cups, run a thin-bladed knife around the sides, then carefully lift the quiches out of the cups. Arrange on a platter and serve.
Makes 48 warm bites.

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Pumpkin Spice Cake

This cake is light, fluffy, and full of pumpkin flavor. It really was delicious!

Pumpkin Spice Cake (The Novice Chef)

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1 cup canned pumpkin
3/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a bundt pan. In a medium bowl, sift or whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices; set aside. In a large bowl combine eggs, sour cream, pumpkin, and oil. Beat well with a hand mixer (or use a stand mixer), scraping down sides with a spatula, until everything is well blended. Add flour mixture a little at a time, beating well after each addition, until everything is well combined. Scrape down sides, then blend in the vanilla extract.

Pour batter into prepared Bundt pan and bake in the center of a 350 degree oven for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean. Let cool on wire rack for ten minutes, then invert cake onto wire rack and let cool completely. Sprinkle with powdered sugar immediately before serving if desired.

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Pumpkin Blondies

I’ve never made blondies before, so when I saw this recipe, I really wanted to try it. Anything pumpkin usually is a big hit, however while I enjoyed these, I still prefer pumpkin bread.

Pumpkin Blondies (From Annie’s Eats)

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. salt
16 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1¼ cups granulated sugar (or brown sugar, I used brown)
1 large egg
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup white chocolate chips (I skipped this)
1 cup butterscotch chips
½ cup chopped, toasted nuts (optional, I skipped)

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a 9×13-inch baking dish with foil. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt. Stir together and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla until well combined. Mix in the pumpkin puree. With the mixer on low speed add the dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated. Fold in the white chocolate and butterscotch chips (and nuts, if using) with a rubber spatula.
Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan. Bake until the edges begin to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs, about 35-40 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely before cutting.
To serve, lift the cake from the pan using the foil and transfer to a cutting board. Peel off the foil and using a sharp knife, cut into 24 squares.

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Spanakopita

Need a quick appetizer? Well, this probably isn’t it! However, using the puff pasty is a great time saving trick and the result tastes very good.

Puff Pastry (Cheater’s) Spanakopita (From Elly Says Opa)

Makes 18 spanakopita triangles

a little olive oil
1/2 cup sliced leeks or about 1/4 cup diced onion
fresh dill, to taste
fresh parsley, to taste (you can tell this recipe is very technical)
1/2 lb. fresh spinach (right around 1 bunch)
4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
2 eggs, divided
salt and pepper
1 box (2 sheets) puff pastry dough, thawed

Preheat oven to 375.

In a large skillet, heat a little bit of olive oil until shimmering. Add the leeks or onions and saute until tender. Stir in the spinach and then turn off the heat. The spinach will start to wilt down, but not much.

Meanwhile, roll the puff pastry dough into a square, making it slightly thinner and then cut each sheet into 9 equal squares by making 2 horizontal cuts and 2 vertical cuts.

To the spinach mixture (you can move it to a bowl if you like), add the feta, parsley, dill and salt and pepper to taste. Beat one egg and add that into the mixture.

Spoon about 1-2 Tbsp. of the spinach mixture in each puff pastry square. Brush the sides of the square with a little water and then being 2 opposite sides together to form a triangle. Press with your fingers to seal. Place on a baking sheet. Beat the second egg and then brush the tops of the triangles with the egg. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until golden.

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