I made that!

Nutter Butter Cookies

Posted in All Sugar All The Time, Don't BUY it, MAKE it! by brandi on September 29, 2010

Give me a recipe that starts with cooking oats in butter and vanilla bean and you’ve stolen my heart. Throw in some peanut butter and you’ve convinced me to make cookies, something I rarely feel inclined to do.

It had been a while since I made a Nancy Silverton recipe, and now I feel the need to pull all her books off of my shelves and hit the kitchen with a vengeance. Seriously, she might be my pastry hero. Top 5 at LEAST. This cookie recipe came from her Sandwich book, a book I might never have paid attention to had it not been for her take on Nutter Butters.

As mentioned above, I started by toasting oats with butter and a vanilla bean.

I mixed those into a pretty straight-forward peanut butter cookie dough.

I rolled and stamped out little discs that I popped into the fridge to chill before baking.

While those were baking I made the filling, a salty, buttery, peanut fluff.

And then it was the best assembly line one can imagine. The funny thing is, these cookies actually get BETTER as they age. The first night I had them after a Monday night family dinner, with some ice cream. They seemed rich and intense, almost to the point of turning me off. I couldn’t eat a whole one and considered sending them away with my friends just to get them out of my house. The next day though, either I was hungrier or they mellowed out because I devoured one in 15 seconds flat. And they were so much more tender. So from now on, I’m making these little ones the day before I actually need them. And I’ll definitely keep them oreo sized next time.

NUTTER BUTTER COOKIES RECIPE (by Nancy Silverton)

Yield: 36 cookies

Cookies:

12oz unsalted butter, cool

1 vanilla bean

2 cups quick cooking rolled oats

¾ cup sugar

¾ cup brown sugar

¾ cup chunky peanut butter, I prefer JIF

2 ¼ cups AP flour

2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp salt

- In a medium sized skillet, melt 4oz of butter over medium heat. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Toss the seeds and the pod into the butter along with the oats. Cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring constantly, until the oats are lightly toasted and golden brown. Transfer the oat mixture to a bowl, discarding the vanilla bean pod, and chill in the fridge.

- Place the flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl and whisk together. Set aside.

- In a stand mixer, cream the butter on medium speed for a minute with the paddle attachment. Slowly pour in the sugars and continue creaming until the mixture is light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the peanut butter and mix just until combined. Lower the speed and add the chilled oats, mixing until just combined.Turn off the mixer and add the flour mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough comes together in a ball.

- Roll the dough into 2″ balls, or use a scooper to scoop out individual portions and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Slightly flatten each cookie and use a knife to score each cookie with criss-cross patterns. Chill the dough for about 15 minutes.

- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the cookies for 18-20 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through. They should be lightly browned. Cool completely.

Filling:

3oz butter, cool

1½ tsp salt

6 TBSP powdered sugar

1 cup + 2 TBSP natural chunky peanut butter

- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and salt on medium speed for about a minute, until the butter is softened.

- Add the sugar and peanut butter and mix another minute to combine.

- Assemble and Enjoy!

Grape Jelly

Posted in All Sugar All The Time, Yes We Can! by brandi on September 18, 2010

Every now and then a fruit just makes you stop and take notice. Such was the case with these grapes. Blueberry grapes they’re called, and they literally taste like bubblicious grape bubble gum. Popping one into my mouth for a taste in the grocry store actually had me giggling, they’re THAT good. I bought a few pounds immediatly and ran home to make jelly.

It was my first time making jelly, and I was super excited. Not because I am particularly fond of jelly, but just because I had never made it. And grape jelly, well that’s just as classic as it comes. I started by cooking the grapes down with a bit of water, while smooshing them with a potato masher. Then I poured that hot mess into a strainer lined with one of John’s old t-shirts. It drained for about 10 hours.

I then boiled the liquid with lemon juice and pectin until I had a nice set.

And it worked! It’s translucent and jiggly and perfect! I’ve been eating grape jelly and peanut butter sandwiches like they are going out of style and I suspect I’ll be buying more of these magical blueberry grapes….

GRAPE JELLY RECIPE:

1x (2 quarts)

2 1/4 lb grapes

2/3 cup water

1 lb 4oz caster sugar

3 TBSP lemon juice

3 oz liquid pectin

- Put the grapes and water in a saucepan and smash them with a potato masher. Bring to boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. The grapes should be very soft. Smash the grapes some more.

- Pour the mixture into a strainer lined with thin fabric (I used a worn t shirt) and allow to drip for 8-12 hours. Do not press the mixture or the jelly will be cloudy.

- Pour the drained liquid into a saucepan and add the caster sugar and lemon juice. Heat over low heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil, add the pectin and cook over medium high heat for a 3-5 minutes, until the jelly has set.

- Ladle into hot sterilize jars and seal.

Lemon Fluff for Miles

Posted in All Sugar All The Time, Celebrating with Cake! by brandi on September 8, 2010

Disclaimer: These photos blow. The recipe however, quite spectacular. After weeks of thinking the photos too ugly for the blog, I relented, after requests were made for the recipe. Because seriously, this cake is worth sharing, ugly photos and all.

The cake I speak of is the Lemon Icebox Cake. In some circles (like my grandmother’s) it’s a classic that makes people get all misty-eyed. In my circle, it’s more of a novelty, as in “What’s an icebox?”, “Is the cake made of ice?”, that sort of thing.

Meredith, my friend of many months in Seattle, was leaving us. After a year of lawyering it up in the soggy Pacific Northwest, she had a job back in San Francisco waiting for her. I was sad, as she got me through many a rainy day while we were still learning our way around. It’s the rare person that is up for anything (hike? bike ride? lake swimming? bike ride to a hike that ends in lake swimming?). But mostly I just fed her. So for her last meal I wanted something special.

She’s mildly obsessed with lemons, so I considered recreating one of my first desserts at Delancey: Meyer lemon budino with anise caramel syrup, candied pistachios and shortbread. It made sense to end an era with the dessert that started it. But then I remembered this article in Fine Cooking magazine. It was one of those articles where two chefs classically recreate or reinvent a recipe. This had Rose Levy Beranbaum recreating a classic lemon icebox cake. It literally had me drooling. And it looked long and complex, two words that occasionally make my ears perk up in a recipe. So it was decided. Meredith’s last meal (with me) in Seattle would end with a lemon icebox cake.

There were a lot of eggs involved.

First I made an angel food cake, another food item I’ve been hoping to scratch off my list. I’ve heard stories that they were difficult, that the cakes sunk into nothing. I do love a good cake challenge. I started with a fluffy white meringue.

Into that I folded the tiniest amount of flour possible. I spread the batter into an angel food pan (courtesy of Molly, because I have limits to my cake pan collection).

It baked until it was golden and splitting. I pulled it from the oven and hung it upside down to cool. I know. Upside down. I suspect this is what keeps it from sinking, since it’s pretty well adhered to the pan.

Then I made some lemon “fluff”. That involved making a lemon curd that I then folded with whipped cream, that I then folded with gelatin laced meringue.

By the time that was ready my cake had cooled and was ready to be de-panned. I trimmed off the top and sliced it into four discs.

Then back into the angel food cake pan they went, layered with the lemon fluff. From there it was 12 hours of chilling in the fridge while I nervously fretted about how the hell I was going to get it out.

Somehow, it came out. That somehow involved propping it on a wine bottle and flipping everything onto a serving tray. It was a bit theatrical. But it was worth it for sure. Walking out to the table in the backyard carrying this gigantic jiggling mound of yellow fluff I felt like some kind of cake goddess. And it only took me about 16 hours.

LEMON ICEBOX CAKE RECIPE:

here.

The only change I made was to not grease the pan before baking the angel food cake. Multiple sources confirmed that greasing the pan was a no-no.

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