Friday, December 21, 2018

Kourabiedes (Greek Butter Cookies)



So I married into a Greek family (sounds like a title of a movie, no?) and little by little I've been teaching myself how to make Greek dishes. These include Greek Salad, Souvlaki, Greek Potatoes, Galaktoboureko and more.

This Christmas I wanted to make several types of Greek cookies that my mother-in-law always seems to have around the house in December. I love Kourabiedes despite how messy they can be! WARNING: these cookies are often served in paper baking cups because they are known to "explode" all over you, powdered sugar and all.

INGREDIENTS

1 lb butter (4 sticks), softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp rum, ouzo or brandy
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup almonds, lightly roasted
5 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
6 cups powdered sugar

PREPARATION

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare one or two baking sheets with Silpat or parchment paper.

1. Grind almonds in food processor - they should be finely ground.

2. Cream butter and 1/2 cup powered sugar for five minutes, until light and fluffy.

3. Add egg yolk, vanilla, and alcohol. Combine with mixer and then add almonds.

4. In another bowl, mix flour and baking powder. Using mixer or hands, gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture.

5.  Roll dough into small balls, using a tablespoon as measurement. Place on cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes (rotate pans after 10 minutes.

6.  Let cool slightly and then cover in powdered sugar (be very generous)/ Place each cookie in a paper baking cup (cup cake liner) and serve on a platter.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Roasted Garlic Dime Bags




Okay so this pantry staple is not what you think it might be.  Thomas isn't making "garlic crank" to sell out in front of The Wooden Spoon here in Chicago, catering to hard-up chefs sans condiments. I came up with this idea a few years ago since we purchase a 4 lb bag of peeled garlic at Costco once a month and there are times when we don't finish it.


INGREDIENTS

3 lbs peeled, whole garlic
1/2 olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper

PREPARATION

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Place a 13x9x2 or deep dish pizza pan on the counter.

1. Place all ingredients - garlic, oil, salt and pepper, in the baking pan.

2. Cover with aluminum foil and place in oven on middle rack. Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees.



3. Remove from oven and let cool slightly - about 15 minutes.

4. Place roasted garlic plus any oil in the pan in a food processor and pulse for 30 seconds until smooth.

5. Use a small spatula or a serving spoon and place about 3 tablespoons on a large square of plastic wrap (about 8" x 8". Twist bag and place in a plastic container (do not stack the dime bags).



6. Freeze and them remove from plastic container. Place in plastic zipper bag for storage up to 6 months.

Variation: use an old plastic or metal ice cube tray for freezing the roasted garlic paste, then place in plastic zipper bag.

Use in soups and sauces or thaw and blend with cream cheese and spread on crackers for hors d'oeuvres.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

New Jersey Crumb Cake



I grew up in the Catskill Mountains of New York and my mother was born in Jersey City, New Jersey. We still had her sisters living down there so we frequently made the 90 minute trip by car. One treat was to stop in at the famous B&W Bakery in Hackensack to get several crumb cakes to bring as gifts.

Now New Jersey crumb cake is NOT your typical crumb coffee cake like Entenmann's or Drake. The New Jersey variety had to have a crumb layer that was twice the depth of the bottom cake layer.

This is the closest recipe I have to duplicating the crumb cake I grew up with.

INGREDIENTS

Cake

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
2 tbsp oil (vegetable)
2 tsp vanilla extract

Topping

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted and cooled
Powdered sugar, for dusting

PREPARATION

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 8x8 inch square baking pan.

Cake

1. Mix all dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt) in a medium bowl with a fork.

2. Mix remaining ingredients (egg. milk, oil and vanilla) in a separate bowl. Pour into dry ingredients and mix by hand with a fork or spatula. When combined, pour into cake pan and spread evenly. Set aside.

Topping

3.  In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, and cinnamon with a fork.

4.  Pour in melted butter and combined. Mixture should form large crumbs, but not be too wet. Add a little flour if needed.

Assemble and Bake

5. Spread topping over cake evenly.

6. Place pan in oven on middle rack and bake for 25-30 minutes. A knife or toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean.  Remove from oven and cool.



Dust with powdered sugar. Serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 8.