Salted Caramel Almond Cookies

April 27th, 2017

Salted Caramel Almond Cookies 4

I try very hard not to eat sweets.  But there are a few sweets that I can’t resist.  They all seem to have a hint of salt.  Salted dark chocolate is a favorite.  But while we were in Paris a few years ago, I fell in love with salted caramel macarons. The caramel was sweet and smooth. The salt added just the right counterpoint. I have been in love with that combination ever since.

Salted Caramel Almond Cookies

Because I have not mastered macarons yet, this recipe for Salted Caramel Almond Cookies fit into my “can do” repertoire. The cookies are buttery and nutty on the outside and richly caramel with a bit of salt at the center.  It hits all of the right taste buds in your mouth.

Salted Caramel Almond Cookies 2

As an aside, the worn cutting board that the cookies are on was my Mother’s and my Grandmothers before her.  They both used it to roll out their pie crusts.  It is one of my treasured possessions.

Lake Lure Spring 2

I love Spring at the lake.  We have had lots of rain but a few mornings ago the sun came out and reflected the vibrant spring green of the trees onto the lake.  It was magical.

SALTED CARAMEL ALMOND COOKIES (Bliss Victoria Magazine)

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 large eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups chopped sliced almonds
Caramel (recipe follows)
Kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F; line baking sheets with parchment paper.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and brown sugar at medium speed until creamy.  Add egg yolks, on at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in vanilla extract.

In a medium bowl, stir together flour, nutmeg, and salt; gradually add to butter mixture, beating until combined.  Roll mixture into 1 1/2 inch balls.

In a small bowl, whisk egg whites until foamy.

In a separate small bowl, place almonds.

Dip cooke balls in egg whites, letting excess drip off; dredge in almonds to coat. Place 2 inches apart on prepared pans.  Using a spoon, make an indentation in center of cookies.

Bake for 10 minutes. carefully press indentations down again; bake until cookies are lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes more.  Let cool on pans for 2 minutes. Remove from pans and let cool completely on wire racks.

Spoon warm Caramel into indentations in cookies.  Let stand at room temperature until caramel is cool.  Sprinkle with kosher salt.  Serve immediately, or store in airtight containers for up to 5 days.

CARAMEL

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream at room temperature

In a large skillet,whisk together sugar, 1/2 cup water, and corn syrup; bring to a boil over medium heat.  Reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture is honey-colored, about 10 minutes. (Mine took longer).  Add butter, whisking until melted.  Remove from heat, and gradually whisk in cream until mixture is smooth.  Pour into a heatproof container.  Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

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Florida Events

March 2nd, 2017

NSB Dinner

We have been very busy in our rental house in New Smyrna Beach.  As it turns out, we have had lots of get togethers with friends and family.  High School friends were here at the same time that we were.  We hosted a dinner for ten before we all headed to town (within walking distance) for music and dancing.  It felt like being in high school again accept for my aching back the next morning.  I planned a very simple dinner for the crowd.  Everything can be done ahead of time, except the rice.  We had my friend Barbara’s Chicken Poppy Seed Casserole, two do ahead salads; Corn, celery and roasted red pepper salad and 3 bean salad, Zatarain’s Caribbean Rice mix, and Ina Garten’s Chocolate Chunk Blondies.

NSB Peanuts

Flagler Avenue is a happening place with numerous restaurants and music venues.

Pizza, vegie and sausage

On another occasion we drove to Sanford to have dinner with David’s Finnish relatives.  It is a long story, but in brief, David’s Mother grew up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  Her parents had immigrated there from Finland.  David had very little contact with the extended family until a few years ago when our friend Ruth brought him together with his cousin Don.  The family now spend time in Florida.  It means a lot to David to have this connection.

We were treated to delicious pizzas cooked on the grill by grill master Jon.  The above pizza has sausage, bacon and roasted vegies.

Pizza, Barbecued ChickenThis is Jon’s speciality pizza.  It is a Barbecued Chicken Pizza with red onions, goat cheese and cilantro. It was fun watching him maneuver the pizzas around with his giant pizza peel.

Finnish FamilyWe enjoyed our evening spending time with wonderful family and friends.

Bread Board 2

 

On another matter, I am happy to say that my friend Penny, of the blog Enjoying the Simple Things, has started an Etsy Shop selling her Artisan made European French Style Bread Boards.  She and her husband are making these beautiful boards and the workmanship and quality are outstanding.  They also sell for a lot less than others I have seen online.  Here is the link to her Etsy Shop.

Also there are links above for the rice and Chocolate Chunk Blondies.  Here is the recipe for the Chicken Poppy Seed Casserole.

BARBARA’S CHICKEN POPPY SEED CASSEROLE

6 Chicken Breasts – Cooked and Cubed
8 oz. Crushed Ritz Crackers
1 1/2 sticks Butter
1 1/2 Tablespoon Poppy Seeds
2 cans Cream of Chicken Soup
8 oz. Sour Cream

Melt butter and mix with crackers and poppy seeds.  In another bowl, mix soup and sour cream.  Add chicken to this.

Line greased 9×13 inch dish with 1/2 of the cracker mixture.  Pour chicken mixture over and top with remaining crackers.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes.

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A French Cake and Cookies for Christmas

December 12th, 2016

French Christmas Cake and Cookies

My cottage was supposed to be on a local Christmas Tour this year.  Since it has a country French look to it, we decided to carry the theme throughout the house.  David downloaded some lovely Christmas carols sung in French and I made Eiffel Tower sugar cookies and a French Cake from Mimi Thorisson.  Because of the fire on the mountain, the tour was cancelled . . . so, I ended up with a freezer full of cookies and this delicious cake.

French Christmas Cake and Cookies

The sugar cookies are simple.  Use your favorite sugar cookie recipe.  I used this one from Alton Brown. You can use royal icing or any white icing that you prefer.  Sprinkle with gold sparkles and the Eiffel Towers will glow as if they were lit.  I bought my eiffel tower cookie cutter on line.

French Christmas Cake

I received French Country Cooking by Mimi Thorisson in October.  I had pre-ordered it from Amazon.  This is her second book and it is just as delightful as her first book, A Kitchen in France.  She says about this salted butter chocolate cake “This is the dessert I make when I don’t know what dessert to make.  It sounds like a second choice, but it’s not at all.  It’s the popular choice, the one that I know everybody will always like and that never goes out of fashion.  The salted butter is a subtle touch; you can taste it, but I’m careful never to let it overpower the chocolate, which would be hard anyway, because this cake is just so chocolate-y.  I like to bake this cake so it’s set but still moist, but my kids often ask me to take it out a minute or two earlier so it’s runny and delicious.  The choice is yours.”

French Christmas Cake and Cookies

All of these treats will remain in the freezer until Christmas.  It feels good to have a stash of goodies ready to go for family and friends.

SALTED BUTTER CHOCOLATE CAKE (Mimi Thorisson)

6 1/2 Tablespoons Salted Butter, plus more for the pan
8 ounces Bittersweet Chocolate, Chopped
6 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon Fleur de Sel
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
A Handful of Red Berries or Currants
Confectioners’ Sugar for Serving

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.  Grease a 9-inch cake pan with butter and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper.

Pour an inch or two of water into a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer.  Combine the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set on top of the pan of simmering water.  Stir until the butter and chocolate are melted.  Remove from the heat and let cool for 10 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy.  In another bowl, sift the flour and add the fleur de sel.

Stir the melted chocolate mixture into the egg mixture.  Add the vanilla.  Fold in the flour until just combined.  Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for about 30 minutes.

Let cool in the pan for at least 1 hour before unmolding.  Serve topped with berries, if desired, and a sprinkling of confectioners’ sugar.

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Christmas Brownie Mix in a Jar

November 27th, 2016

Brownie Mix Instructions

It may be too soon for holiday baking, but it is not to soon to think about special gifts for friends and neighbors.  The idea of homemade mixes has always appealed to me.  During the busy holiday season I know I would love to get a simple mix like this.  With just a few additions you can sit down to a pan of brownies warm from the oven.

Brownie Mix Label

The labels for the small mouth quart size mason jars came from Evermine.  I ordered  custom large oval labels with instructions on how to use the mix,  small custom round labels for the lid and tags with our names on them to let people know who they were from. Tied with red and white twine you will have a festive jar for giving.

Brownie Mix

You will find all of the information you will need at this Evermine page.  It is just a matter of dumping layers of the ingredients into the jars; flour mix, cocoa powder, brown sugar, white sugar, chocolate chips, white chocolate chips and pecans.  I am having fun with this.

Cousins 2

These are a few of the recipients for the brownie mixes; our Grandkids and their cousins.  I am looking forward to the upcoming holiday season.

Fall Dessert Recipes

October 17th, 2016

Pumpkin Profiteroles

“Anyone who thinks fallen leaves are dead has never watched them dancing on a windy day.” (Shira Tamir). The leaves are falling and the colors are changing to russet and saffron.  Our roof is being bombarded with falling acorns.  I even dodge them when walking the dog.  I am literally being hit in the head with autumn.  So naturally my thoughts turn to the foods of the season.  When contemplating dessert I think of pumpkins and apples.  Last year my Daughter-in-law made Pumpkin Custard Profiteroles with Maple Bourbon Caramel for Thanksgiving instead of pumpkin pie.  It was such a pleasant surprise.  Last weekend David and I had the other Penny (of Enjoying the Simple Things) and her husband over for lunch.  I made these delicious cream puffs filled with pumpkin custard, drizzled with a maple bourbon custard and topped with whipped cream and chopped pecans.  I loved the fact that I could do everything ahead of time.  It was just a matter of assembly before they were served.  You can go to Penny’s blog for a snapshot of the whole meal that I served.  You can find this dessert recipe here on Epicurious.

Apple Crumble Pie 1

I know there are thousands of apple pie recipes out there.  But I came up with a winner with this one. I combined several recipes for this Apple Crumble Pie.  I was first inspired by Monique of La Table de Nana.  She takes such beautiful pictures and just looking at her apple pie made me hunger for it.  I used her tried and true pie crust recipe.  For the apples and crumb topping I adapted Ina Garten’s apple crisp recipe.  It was truly delicious.  The pie crust was flaky, the apples a little on the tart side and the crumble topping crunchy and sweet.

Apple Crumble Pie 2v

Don’t wait to be hit in the head by falling acorns to get inspired.

APPLE CRUMBLE PIE

For the Crust: From Monique:

2 cups of flour,
2 tbsps granulated sugar(I put 3)
1/2 tsp salt..not me..my butter is salted
3/4 cup cold unsalted butter
3 tbsps ice cold water.  ( I used 4 tbsps)
In a food processor pulse the first 3 ings..cut up your butter and sprinkle on top of the flour mixture..pulse until coarse crumbs..through the feed tube w/ motor running add the water slowly until it starts to come together.
Mine came out of the recipient so nicely..I just formed a flat disk on parchment..wrapped and refrigerated 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
For the Apples:
5 Granny Smith Apples, peeled and sliced thin
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
For the Topping:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup oatmeal
1/4 pound cold unsalted butter, diced
After resting the pastry dough in the refrigerator for 1/2 hour, roll out into a circle to fit into a 9 inch deep dish pie dish.  (There will be extra left.  Save for future use.)  Flute edges.
Combine the sliced apples with sugar and spices in a large bowl.  Let rest until juices start rendering.  Toss well.  Place apples into prepared pie dish.
To make the topping, combine the flour, sugars, salt, oatmeal and cold butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Mix on low speed until the mixture is crumbly and the butter is the size of peas.  Scatter evenly over the apples.
Place pie on a baking sheet and bake for one hour or until the top is brown and the apples are bubbly.  Serve warm.

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© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.