Thursday, October 17, 2013

Dorie Greenspan's World Peace Cookies

World Peace Cookies-1Does anyone else feel like we need a little dose of world peace? Or maybe just some peace between the two parties of our own government? I surely do. And while milk and cookies may seem like a childish answer to this whole debacle, I happen to think cookies - and sitting around a table all together - could be a big step in the right direction.

Fortunately, the super talented and even more lovely Dorie Greenspan has just the cure: her delectable and famous World Peace Cookies. Through my job in New York City, I was lucky enough to cross paths with Dorie at numerous events and I was always a better person for being in her company. If we could all learn from Dorie's sweet and caring nature and combine it with handfuls of these cookies, I'm certain the world would be a much more peaceful and delicious place.

Note: If you are short on time (or are in need of a great gift idea), you can order these cookies (and many more flavors) by the sleeve from Dorie's gourmet cookie shop: Beurre & Sel.  

Yield: 36 cookies
Barely adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

Besides being a delicious cookie, I also love that you can freeze the dough for up to two months. When Mike and I moved to Durham this summer, I kept several logs of this dough in the freezer for last minute parties and guests. If you've frozen the dough, you don't have to defrost it before baking - just slice the logs into cookies and bake the cookies one minute longer.

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
11 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup cane sugar
1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel (such as Maldon)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chunks

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add both sugars, salt, and vanilla extract; beat for two minutes more.

Turn off the mixer. Add dry ingredients, drape a kitchen towel over the stand mixer to protect yourself from flying flour and pulse the mixer at low speed about 5 times, a second or two each time. If there is still a lot of flour on the surface of the dough, pulse a few more times; if not, remove the towel. Continuing at low speed, mix for about 30 seconds more, just until the flour disappears into the dough. For the best texture, work the dough as little as possible once the flour is added, and don't be concerned if the dough looks a little crumbly. Toss in the chocolate chunks and mix just until incorporated.

Turn dough out onto a work surface, gather it together, and divide it in half. Working with one half at a time, shape the dough into logs that are 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate them for at least 3 hours. (The dough can be refrigerated for up to three days or frozen for up to two months.

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.

Using a sharp, thin knife, slice the logs into rounds that are 1/2-inch thick. The rounds are likely to crack as you're cutting them - don't be concerned, just squeeze the bits back onto each cookie. Arrange the rounds on the prepared baking sheets, leaving about one inch between them.
Bake the cookies one sheet at a time (keep the other baking sheet in the refrigerator until ready to bake) for 12 minutes - they won't look done and will not be firm, but that's just the way they should be. Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack and let the cookies rest until they are just warm.

Friday, July 12, 2013


As Mike and I were recently packing up our tiny Manhattan apartment for the new life awaiting us in Durham, North Carolina we stumbled across a small, rouge bottle of white rum in our bar. Usually people to opt for gin or bourbon based cocktails, I was a bit unsure what we could create with this new found option. But Mike was soon rummaging around in our refrigerator, successfully locating some mint and simple syrup kept on hand for Mint Juleps. He grabbed two limes leftover from a recent taco night and asked me to bring him the muddler.

He soon handed me a concoction that tasted so refreshing on that hot city day, I forgot momentarily we still had days of packing in front of us. In five years of living together, Mike had never whipped up such a drink and when I asked where he acquired such a skill, he shrugged and said, "I read it on a blog somewhere." With just a bit of tweaking - a little lighter on the syrup, a little heavier on the rum - Mike had created a new favorite drink.

This drink has been the staple of Summer 2013 so far. Not just for me, but when we stayed with my parents for a few days between leaving New York and moving to North Carolina, he whipped up a batch for my family. Then this Instagram photo was seen by the neighborhood and Mike soon found himself giving lessons on creating the perfect Mojito.

Today I am happy to not only give you Mike's recipe for Mojitos, but I am also thrilled to share a new feature - recipe cards! Just download the PDF below, follow the simple instructions, and you will have a beautiful 4x6 recipe card to add to your collection. I hope you enjoy them as much as I am enjoying designing them! Cheers!

Makes 1 Drink

Small handful fresh mint
1 ounce simple syrup (recipe here)
1 lime, cut in half
2 ounces white rum
Crushed ice
Seltzer water

In a highball glass, combine mint, simple syrup, and the juice from half a lime (about 1 ounce). Muddle vigorously. Add rum and squeezed lime half to the glass.

Cut remaining lime half into thirds. To taste, add 1-3 thirds of lime. Add a bit of crushed ice. Top with a splash of seltzer water. Circulate drink without disturbing the bubbles. Serve with a straw.

Get the recipe card here or download recipe below.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Mint Juleps

You didn’t think I would leave you hanging before Derby Day, did you?! While I do have to say I am shocked I have never shared my recipe for Mint Juleps, I do promise you it was worth the wait. This is my favorite warm-weather drink, perfect for cheering on horses or just enjoying the summer sunshine.

This is one of those drinks that can easily be ruined when the proportions are off, even just slightly. It has taken a little bit of tweaking, but I knew I had a winner when our friends in Kentucky - who previously claimed to not like Mint Juleps for being too sweet - happily indulged in this recipe. So get your winning bets and big hats ready and be sure to whip up a few of these drinks to celebrate the day!


Fresh mint, stems removed
1 ounce simple syrup (recipe here)
2 ounces bourbon
Crushed ice
Seltzer water

In the bottom of a mint julep cup, muddle a small handful of mint with the simple syrup. Add the bourbon and stir to combine. Add crushed ice over the mixture, then top with a splash of seltzer. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.

*Mint Julep cups are from Danforth Pewter (previously Shirley Pewter) in Williamsburg, Virginia

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Welsh Rarebit

I'm starting to notice a theme emerging in the food I have been shooting and sharing with you recently: breakfast, better yet weekend breakfast recipes. Perhaps that should come as no surprise – I know very few people in the world who do not enjoy a leisurely breakfast on a weekend morning. But even more than usual, I have found myself yearning for these dishes on the weekend. All week I crave the simplicity, the slower pace, even if just for one meal.

Welsh Rarebit is a fairly new recipe in my repertoire, but with crusty bread, cheese, eggs, and beer, I am sure it is one that is here to stay. This is a hearty meal that will keep your hunger at bay for most of the remainder of your day and I bet, like me, you will find yourself daydreaming of the dish – and the weekend – soon after the next workday begins.

Serves 2 to 4
Adapted from Talking With My Mouth Full by Gail Simmons

This is a hearty breakfast, perfect for a lazy weekend morning. Use a hearty bread that will stand up to, but not overpower the dish: rye, pumpernickel, or country are all good options. I also make this dish when I have leftover Homemade Everything Bagels, which adds a delicious crunch.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 cup Guinness (I like to use the Foreign Stout)
1 tablespoon Worcetershire sauce
4 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely grated
4 pieces toasted bread, sliced about 1/2-inch thick
4 large eggs
Coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Pickles, for serving

Place rack in the middle of the oven and preheat broiler.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, then stir in flour with a rubber spatula. Cook, stirring often to ensure no lumps form, until mixture is golden brown and very fragrant, about 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in mustard powder and cayenne, followed by beer and Worcestershire sauce.

When mixture is well combined, turn heat to low and whisk in cheese until very smooth. Spread a thick layer of the mixture on toasted bread slices. Place on a sheet tray under the broiler, until cheese is bubbly and edges of toast are crisp and golden, about 4 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. When butter begins to foam, reduce heat to medium-low, crack eggs into butter, and fry until whites are set and yolks are still runny.

Place one egg on top of each slice of bread and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately with pickles. Leftover cheese mixture may be refrigerated up to 1 day.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Graham Cracker Ice Cream Cake with Chocolate Frosting

A few days ago I celebrated my birthday, ringing in the beginning of year 27. It promises to be a year full of exciting, big changes.

Each year when the 10th of March rolls around, I always debate what to do about my birthday dessert. Should I enjoy it in a fancy restaurant or bakery? Should I make myself a whole cake? Do I even want something sweet? But each year I wind up craving the exact same flavors of a cake my mom always made on my special day: graham crackers, vanilla pudding, chocolate frosting. I have her recipe for the cake, but it makes far too much for just two people and the cake pan would take up a fourth of our refrigerator space. So instead, each year I daydream of a new way to make the flavors into a new dessert.

This year I settled on creating ice cream cakes, each the perfect size to share with a special someone. These are quick to create, especially, if you like me are short on time, and substitute a really great quality vanilla ice cream for homemade.

Makes 2 cakes

Because my freezer space is so limited, I decided to make these ice cream cakes in individual springform pans. The size is perfect for sharing with your special someone, just be sure to have your fork ready, as this dessert has a way of disappearing right before your eyes!

10 graham crackers, ground into crumbs in a food processor, divided
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 pint vanilla ice cream, slightly softened
1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
3 tablespoons whole milk
2 tablespoons shortening
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Reserve 1/4 cup of the graham cracker crumbs. In a small bowl, combine the remaining graham cracker crumbs and melted butter until all the evenly coated. Divide the mixture evenly between two 4 1/2-inch individual springform pans. Using your fingers, press the mixture into a crust over the bottom and about halfway up the sides of each pan. Freeze the crusts for about 10 minutes.

When crusts are set, place two scoops of vanilla ice cream in each pan and smooth with a small offset spatula. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the reserved graham cracker crumbs over the top of each. Freeze for about 15 minutes. Place two additional scoops of vanilla ice cream in each pan, smoothing again with a small offset spatula. Divide the remaining graham cracker crumbs evenly over the top of each. Wrap each pan in plastic wrap and freeze until ready to serve.

To make the chocolate frosting, sift together the confectioner's sugar and cocoa powder into a large mixing bowl. Add the remaining ingredients. Using a hand mixer, combine the ingredients until the frosting is light and fluffy.

To serve, remove the ice cream cakes from the freezer and unmold. Frost as desired and serve immediately.

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