Sweet Spoonfuls: Recipes

Recipe courtesy Cheryl Day

Back in the Day Bakery’s Old-Fashioned Cupcakes:
(makes 2 dozen cupcakes)
For the cupcakes:
1 cup whole milk, at room temperature

1 t. vanilla extract

1-3/4 cup cake flour

1-1/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour

2 cups sugar

1 T. baking powder

3/4 t. sea salt

2 sticks (or 1 cup) butter, at room temperature, cut in cubes

4 large eggs, at room temperature
1.  Preheat oven to 350F and line two cupcake tins with liners.
2.  Combine milk and vanilla in the measuring cup.
3.  Put both types of flour, sugar, baking powder and sea salt in a mixing bowl and mix on low to combine the dry ingredients.
4.  Continuing on low speed, add butter cubes a few at a time.  The mixture will look coarse and sandy.
5.  At medium speed, add the eggs one at a time, mixing until combined after each egg.
6.  Turn the mixer speed down to low and slowly mix in milk and vanilla, and mix until until combined; but do not overmix.
7.  Turn off the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix into the batter gently.
8.  Divide batter into the cupcake tin; fill each well 2/3 full.
9.  Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, when a cake tester comes out clean (it takes me exactly 20 minutes).
10.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Frost cupcakes with the following buttercream.
For the buttercream:
2 sticks (or 1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature

6 – 7 cups powdered sugar

1/2 cup milk

1 t. vanilla extract 
1.  Cream the butter, using the paddle attachment of a stand mixer on medium speed, for about 2 or 3 minutes.
2.  Mix in the first 3 cups of powdered sugar one cup at a time.
3.  Mix in the milk and vanilla, then add the rest of the powdered sugar until you reach your desired consistency.
4.  Spread or pipe buttercream on cooled cupcakes.

Sparkling Rosemary Shortbread

I love a cookie that never lets me down. That’s my rosemary shortbread.


Last Saturday I planned to spend the day in the kitchen—and with snow falling outside, I donned my “I’d Rather Be in Paris” apron, put on my CD of French Christmas carols, and prepared to bake some of the French butter cookies known as Sables for the annual cookie exchange the following day. The recipe looked good, and my hopes were high that it would taste like one I’d had at Stohrer Patisserie (51, rue Montorgueil) in Paris last Christmas.

Alas, it turned out to be a boring little biscuit that tasted nothing like what I remembered I had tasted at Stohrer. So I abandoned the recipe--and beings it was now quite late in the afternoon, decided if I was going to get 10 ½ dozen cookies done before midnight-- I was going back to an old favorite—and one everyone seemed to like—my rosemary shortbread. I had the ingredients and went to work. This time I used a tiny tree cookie cutter and sprinkled them atop with green and white sugars mixed together. I taste tested to see that they were still delicious. (They were.) Dependability is a good thing in a cookie.

Rosemary Shortbread
(adapted from Recipes from a French Herb Garden—a lovely book I might add)
*Note: As my friend Rosemary (yes, really, her name is Rosemary and she loves these cookies) will attest, it is necessary to own a Kitchenaid mixer if you want to make this recipe and have it work.

9 Tablespoons butter
¼ cup sugar
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1- 2 Tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
a little extra sugar

Cream the butter with the sugar until smooth. Work in the flour and the rosemary to make a soft dough then shape into a ball.

Roll out the dough on a floured board until ¼ inch thick and cut out stars (or hearts) using a 2 inch star cutter. Mix edible clear glitter with a little sugar and sprinkle on cookies.

Bake on parchment or silpat on a baking sheet at 325 degrees for 15 – 20 minutes or until the shortbread is changing color. Cool the cookies on a wire rack. Sprinkle with a little more sugar if desired. Makes about 3 dozen “biscuits au romarin”.

Baking these cookies will also make your house smell very holiday-y. And don't forget: rosemary is the herb of remembrance-- so appropriate for the season.




Mother's Famous Father's Favorite Graham Cracker Pie


Mother's Famous Father's Favorite Graham Cracker Pie

Graham Cracker Crust:
about 1 1/2 cups crushed graham crackers
1/4 cup melted butter
2 tbsp. sugar

Mix together and press in pie pan (I used a 9 inch pie pan). Bake 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees.

Filling:
Mix 2/3 cup sugar and 1/2 cup cornstarch in a bowl. Stir in 1/2 cup milk.

Put 2 1/2 cups milk in a kettle and bring to a boil. Whisk in the sugar and cornstarch mixture, stirring constantly, as it sticks easily.

Separate 3 eggs. Whisk egg yokes together and add a little hot mixture to them, then pour all back into the kettle. Then add 2 tablespoons butter and 1 tsp. vanilla. Cook, until thick, stirring constantly (I use a whisk). Pour on graham cracker crust.

Meringue: Whip 3 egg whites with 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar until foamy, then add 1/4 cup sugar and whip whites until stiff peaks form. Spread on pie up to edges and bake 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees or until meringue is brown.


Coffee Granita



Coffee Granita
If you like, you can also check out the story I wrote about this in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Granita Gives Ice Cold Comfort

1 cup water
½ cup granulated sugar
3 cups brewed espresso coffee (or 3 cups regular coffee that has been brewed double strength)

In a 1 ½ to 2 quart saucepan, bring water and sugar to a boil over moderate heat, stirring only until the sugar dissolves. Continue boiling for four minutes without stirring. Remove pan from heat and let syrup cool to room temperature.

Stir in the coffee and pour mixture into a 12 x 9 inch pan.

Freeze the granita, stirring and scraping the icy crystals in to the center of the mixture with a fork approximately every 30 minutes or so until completely frozen, about three to four hours. The finished granita will have a fine and snowy texture.

Serve with a dollop of Kahlua-flavored whipped cream.

Kahlua Flavored Whipped Cream

½ cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons Kahlua

Whip cream until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in liqueur (try Bailey’s as well)


Strawberry Granita

1 cup water
½ cup sugar
2 lbs. fresh strawberries, pureed (you can use less, but I find this amount gives a rich strawberry essence)
1 tablespoon lemon juice

In a 1 ½ to 2 quart saucepan, bring water and sugar to a boil over moderate heat, stirring only until the sugar dissolves. Continue boiling for four minutes without stirring. Remove pan from heat and let syrup cool to room temperature.

Clean and de-hull the strawberries. Put half of them in the blender and pour in half of the cooled syrup plus the lemon juice. Blend. Do the same with other half.

Pour mixture into 13 x 9 inch pan.

Freeze the granita, stirring and scraping the ice crystals into the center of the mixture with a fork approximately every 30 minutes until completely frozen, about three or four hours. The finished granita will have a fine and snowy texture that is a bit more slushy than the coffee granita.

To serve: In a chilled stemmed glass (try a martini glass), layer some of the granita, then whipped cream, granita, ending with whipped cream. Top with a fresh whole strawberry. You can use plain whipped cream, sweetened with 1 tsp. granulated sugar or try the following liqueur-flavored option.

Kirsch-Flavored Whipped Cream
The following yields enough for approximately four servings, depending on the size of stemmed glasses used.

½ cup whipping cream
2 teaspoons kirsch
1 teaspoon granulated sugar

Whip cream until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in liqueur and sugar, whip until stiff.



Carole's Lemon Ice Cream


2 cups water
1 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup sugar

2/3 cup lemon juice

Bring above ingredients (except lemon juice) to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes. Cool for 30 minutes.
Stir in lemon juice. Pour in 9" square pan. Cover with plastic wrap. Freeze 3 to 4 hours.
Put in blender, then put back in 9" pan again and freeze another 3 hours.

This is amazing.


**A recipe I made for my book club that I absolutely love is from Lynne Rosetto Kasper's The Splendid Table on MPR: Green Beans with lemon, garlic, and Parmigiano Gremolata.
It's one of those vegetable dishes that can be served at room temperature. I always have trouble with getting a meal on the table with everything steaming hot that is supposed to be steaming hot. This one was perfect! I served it with Green Chile Cheeseburgers from the grill.  And Carole's Lemon Ice Cream for dessert.

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