Monday, December 22, 2008

Thanksgiving Recap

Yeah, so this post is LONG overdue, naturally. I actually wrote it a few days ago and was about to publish it when I hit a wrong key, and away it went. So here it goes a second time.
My thanksgiving vacation was filled with baking, baking, and more baking. While my family loves their sweets, I think even they reached their max and cried uncle on the baking.
First I wanted to test out some cookie recipes that I wanted to use for my baked good gifts for christmas. I seem to have only taken pictures of one kind at this time - but I took pictures when making them for the holidays - so they are coming.

Cornmeal Apricot Thumbprint Cookies - I love love love apricot homentashen cookies, and cornmeal anything, so I thought why not make a cornmeal apricot cookie that was dairy free. I didn't love the results, probably because in the back of my mind lingered my memories of delicous apricot homentashen cookies (which I am going to try and perfect a dairy free version of). But they were good and all gone at the end of the weekend!

Recipe adapted from Epicurious

1 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) Nucoa margarine
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg yolk (egg white reserved)
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
Apricot Preserves

Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine all purpose flour, cornmeal, ground cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat unsalted butter and brown sugar in large bowl until fluffy. Mix in egg yolk and vanilla extract. Mix in dry ingredients. Mixture will be dry and crumbly – use some of the egg white to add moisture to desired consistency.
Form dough into 1-inch balls. Arrange on ungreased baking sheet, spacing 1 1/2 inches apart. Make depression in center of each using thumb or handle of wooden spoon. Fill depressions with jelly. Bake until bottoms of cookies are brown, about 10 minutes.

The other 3 things I made that I will include in this post are two recipes from my AMAZING cookbook by Dorie Greenspan - Baking From My Home to Yours. I would highly recommend this book - it is a MUST for all home bakers, as all the people in the Tuesdays with Dorie baking club would probably attest to (which I hope to join as a result of the one-year anniversary enrollement). I am not going to include the recipes because I know a lot of people already have her book, and if you don't I want to encourage you to get it. So pictures only.

All-American Apple Pie

My family LOVED this pie, and some said it was the best apple pie they ever had. My little sister loved it so much that she put a post it note on the pie when it got dangerously low claiming the remaining two pieces. I will make this again for our family dessert party.

Lemon Creme Tarte

My Dad loves lemon and shortbread, big fan of lemon bars, so I decided I had to try Dorie's recipe for lemon creme tarte. It did not disappoint, and was happily devoured by the family. It took a lot of work, especially getting the creme to the right temperature and straining the creme after cooking it. So, I will save this one for special occasions.

Delicious Strawberry Cupcakes (Dairy Free) adapted from Cooking with Amy

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) Nucoa margarine
1 large egg
6 ounces strawberry yogurt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup fresh strawberries, diced

2 Tbsp. Nucoa Margarine, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
2 fresh strawberries, about 2 Tbsp. mashed
1 Tbsp. strawberry jam or preserves

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with paper liners. With an electric hand mixer, beat the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add the egg, yogurt and vanilla, blending until smooth.

2. Measure the dry ingredients into the bowl and blend, then fold in the strawberries.

3. Divide the mixture equally between the 12 paper-lined cupcake cups. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.

4. Beat together butter, powdered sugar, and mashed strawberry in medium-size bowl until creamy and smooth. Chill frosting for 15 minutes or until thick. Frost cupcakes with a spatula.

Yield: 12 servings

This is my go-to strawberry cupcake recipe, in part because I can eat it, but also because everyone loves these cupcakes and are amazed that they are dairy free. The cupcake part is mildly sweet and more muffin like, but the frosting is so sweet, it makes a great balance. The frosting is a little wet and drips over the cupcake, but worth it.

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