Cornmeal-Cardamom Thumbprints Cookies with Orange Marmalade

orange-marmalade-thumbprint-cookies

The origins of this cookie started with a recipe I fell in love with from Carol Walter’s Great Cookies book. It’s her Cornmeal/Cardamon Biscotti recipe which in turn was given to her by Sam DeMarco. So it goes with recipes. It is one of the best biscotti recipes I’ve tasted although I did significantly cut the cardamon so it is a whisper not a roar. Around the time that I made the biscotti I tasted a thumbprint cookie that someone had filled with orange marmalade. I thought the cornmeal/cardamom biscotti dough might make a nice little vehicle to house the orange marmalade.

I scaled all the ingredients to grams, which is much more accurate. I eliminated the raisins, thinking that the marmalade would be sweet enough. I altered the baking time since it’s a thumbprint cookie, not a biscotti. I believe it maintains the delicate crisp texture that drew me to the original biscotti recipe that inspired this variation on a theme of cardamon, cornmeal and almonds. I’m tempted to add a little sweet and or bitter almond oil to boost that flavor. If someone tries that please let me know how you like it.

INGREDIENTS

  • 185 grams AP flour (1 1/2 cups spooned in and leveled)
  • 75 grams cornmeal ( 1/2 cup spooned in and leveled)
  • 2 tsp double acting baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 143 grams slivered almonds (1 cup)
  • 150 grams superfine sugar (3/4 cup)
  • 114 grams whole eggs (about two large eggs)
  • 113 grams unsalted butter (1/2 cup)
  • 227 grams good quality Seville orange marmalade (1/2 cup)

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Pistachio and Cranberry Biscotti (with variations)

Being Italian, I remember biscotti always being in my grandmothers pantry or my mother’s cookie jar.

Every Christmas, my Grandma Natalia and my Aunt Nina made dozens of biscotti. Some they kept and some they gave away in great big tins, each cookie hand wrapped in waxed paper. They took one dough and made several different types of cookies: biscotti flavored with lemon and anise and studded with almonds, little pillows with cinnamon sugar, and little logs covered in sesame seeds.

Over the years my mother collected a variety of biscotti recipes and would bake them, put them in tins and freeze them. They freeze really well and we always had a variety of biscotti for dessert.

There are several formulas for biscotti, using different fats. My grandma Natalia and Aunt Nina used vegetable shortening. My mother has a few recipes that use butter and some that use only whole eggs or whole eggs plus yolks.

One of my favorites is a biscotti recipe with cranberries and pistachios. I have altered it a bit, to make it my own. They are very crunchy biscotti, meant to be dunked in coffee, tea or a glass of Vin Santo. If you like this formula, which uses no fat other than the egg yolks, you can keep the base and just substitute the additions. These biscotti have a very crisp bite. Hazelnuts or dried cherries and chopped bittersweet chocolate, chopped chocolate and candied orange rind, almonds and apricots and walnuts and dates are all nice combinations. You can add spices, Vanilla or citrus zest as well.

You’ll notice the Beth’s Little Bakeshop logo in the cup. It’s where I’m currently a pastry chef. If you come to Evanston Illinois, stop by for a biscotti and a cup of Intelligentsia coffee.

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Pear Galette/Crostata with Star Anise and Vanilla (with variations)

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Galettes are delicious flaky free form french tarts. This galette dough, published by Alice Waters but which she attributes to Jacque Pepin is easy, delicious and versatile. You can fill the dough with nearly anything you want, sweet or savory, from apples to zucchini. For this particular recipe I’m sharing, I took a journey back into my childhood for inspiration.

This recipe really brings me back to when I was a child. My mom makes a lot of amazing desserts, but there is one in particular that always fills the house with a tantalizing sweet aroma: poached pears. I’m also a little sentimental about the pears because they were the only dessert with fruit I would eat until I was 10. I know poached pears doesn’t seem that exciting, but my mom made them in a unique way. She would poach the pears in a simple syrup with vanilla, lemon, and a hint of star anise and serve it with a homemade chestnut gelato. The 3 bold flavors perfectly blended with the sweet earthy flavor of the pears.  This flavor is what I recreated for my galette filling.

If you don’t have time to make the crust, We highly recommend a product called “Ready-To-Roll-Dough”. It’s an all butter sough which comes in two forms: sweet and savory. It’s a remarkable dough, flakey, buttery and easy to work with. I find it at Whole Foods but you can contact them through their website and find out where else they distribute.

Daniel

This galette is really versatile and I’ve done it with a variety of fruits. You’ll find pictures and suggestions at the end of this recipe.

Julie

INGREDIENTS:

  • For Galette Dough
  • 130 grams, (4.5 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • Pinch teaspoon salt
  • 85 grams (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, chilled, cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 3.5 tablespoons ice water
  • For Filling and Topping Galette
  • 1 tablespoon roasted ground almonds
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of pulverized amaretti
  • 5 ounces galette dough, rolled into a 14-inch circle and chilled
  • 1.5 pounds ripe pears
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • Zest from ½ lemon
  • ½ Vanilla bean scraped
  • 1/8 tsp ground star anise
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons of sanding sugar (the larger crystals resist melting and add a nice crunch.
  • A little apple jelly (optional)

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