Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Little Lovelies

This recipes comes from the "Gourmet Cookie Book", and it was originally published in the July 1962 edition of the magazine.  The intriguing thing about this recipe is that it includes cottage cheese, which is ultimately why I decided to make it.  Let me tell you, these cookies are awesome!! They are light and airy, and not too sweet.  They would be so perfect with a cup of tea or coffee. 

I did notice that, even though the cookies are really small, they didn't make 8 dozen, like the recipe says they will.  Maybe mine were too big.  Meh, I'm not going to cry over it.

Cottage Cheese Cookies

1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick) room temperature
1/4 cup cottage cheese
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 

Cream together butter and cottage cheese in a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.  Blend in thoroughly sugar, vanilla and egg.  Stir in flour and baking soda and salt.

Drop the cookies from a teaspoon onto a buttered baking sheet, and bake the cookies until golden brown, about 10 minutes.

Note:  I used low fat cottage cheese.  Do not drain it before using.

These would also be excellent with a little lemon or orange zest, or almond extract.  I mean, they are essentially a sugar cookie, so whatever you can do to a sugar cookie, you can probably do with these.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Fresh Pear-Ginger Quick Bread

I saw a picture of this bread in one of the food blogs that I follow.  It looked really good, and I had a bunch of pears sitting on my counter, waiting to be used.  Seemed like a no-brainer to me.  So off I went!

I am very happy with this bread.  It is super moist, and the fresh ginger gives it a spicy kick.  It also comes together really quickly (minus the hour or so that it bakes).  If you have some pears lying around, make this stuff! 

You can find the original recipe here

Fresh Ginger-Pear Quick Bread
Yield: 1 loaf

2 large ripe pears
3 tablespoons 1/8-inch cubes peeled fresh ginger
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
zest of 1 lemon
zest of 1 orange
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9 x 5 loaf pan with butter, then sprinkle it with all purpose flour. Turn the loaf pan upside down and tap out the excess flour.
  2. Peel, core and cut the pears into 1/4-inch cubes.  Stir the pears and ginger together in a medium bowl.
  3. Pour the buttermilk into a measuring cup; stir in the vanilla and all the zest.  In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Using a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl on medium high speed.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for 20 seconds between each addition. Add the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk mixture, beating on low speed just until combined after each addition. Fold in the ginger-pear mixture.
  4. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake about 55 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean. Cool the bread in the pan for 5 minutes. Invert the bread onto a baking rack. Cool the bread completely before covering it tightly with plastic wrap for storage.  The bread will keep up to 3 days at room temperature, or up to 3 weeks if frozen.  Thaw the bread completely at room temperature and reheat it slowly in a 300 degree oven for about 15 minutes.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Fruity Goodness

So, since baking is basically my hobby, sometimes I want to bake, with no particular recipe in mind.  When I made these bars, I had actually written on my to-do list "bake something".  The night before, I dug through cookbooks and magazines, and I came to this recipe in Better Homes and Gardens "100 Best Cookies" magazine.  Since I bake so much with chocolate, I thought the fruitiness would be a nice change.  The only problem was that the recipe was actually for Cherry Almond Bars, but when I went to the store, I couldn't find cherry preserves, and I really didn't feel like going to another store to find it.  So, I went with peach, and a smidgen of apricot for tang.  I have to say, it was an excellent choice.  So fruity and oaty. 

These bars are super easy to prepare, and are really popular.  The recipe makes 36 small-ish bars, which is great for a crowd.  One thing I would suggest -- if you are planning to use something other than cherry, I would use more preserves than the recipe calls for.  I would have like more fruitiness, and I think that the amount that is called for would have worked just fine for the stronger flavor of cherry.  Oh well, something to fix for next time.

Chewy Peach-Almond Bars
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 egg
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups regular rolled oats
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1 10 ounce jar peach preserves
4 ounces apricot preserves

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking pan with foil, extending foil over the edges.  Grease foil; set pan aside.
  2. In a large bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds.  Add brown sugar and baking powder. Beat until combined, scraping side of bowl occasionally.  Beat in egg and almond extract until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour, the oats, and almonds.
  3. Remove 1/2 cup of the dough and set aside. Press the remaining dough evenly into bottom of the prepared baking pan. Spread with preserves. Crumble the reserved dough evenly over preserves layer.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 35 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Using edges of foil, lift cookies out of pan. Cut into bars. Makes 36 bars.