Friday, February 25, 2011

Blueberry Clafoutis

We're far from blueberry season, but when I saw a lovely jar of organic, wild blueberries, I immediately added it to the shopping cart.  I drained the berries and used them in one of my family's favorite desserts: the French Clafoutis.

Clafoutis is a cross between a custard and a cake.  It's not overly sweet and makes the perfect ending to a rich lunch or dinner.  Some also eat it as a snack or for breakfast.  An 8" pan feeds 4-6.

Blueberry Clafoutis
Inspired by Chocolate and Zucchini

1/4c /55g butter
2-3c fresh or canned blueberries (350 - 500g)
1/2c /60g flour
1/3c /50g almond flour (or whole blanched almonds)
1/2c /100g sugar
1T cornstarch
3 large eggs
pinch salt
3/4c /185ml milk

Preheat oven to 350F /180C


1.  Grease a square 8" glass or ceramic baking dish with 1T of the butter.

2.  Melt the rest of the butter and set aside to cool.

3.  In a food processor mix the almond and regular flour until well combined.

4.  Add sugar, cornstarch, salt, and mix again.

5.  Crack the eggs in one by one, mixing well after each.

6.  Pour in butter and milk.

7.  Pour half of the fruit in the bottom of the baking dish.  Gently fold the rest of the fruit into the batter.  Carefully pour batter into the baking dish.

8.  Bake for 30-40 minutes until golden brown.  Be careful not to overbake.

To add a touch of fancy, sift powdered sugar over the top.  Or enjoy as is.  May also be served with a dollop of whipped cream or sweetened sour cream.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Monday, February 21, 2011

Coconut Pyramids

The pile of papers to grade is sitting to my left.  There's plenty of piles of laundry waiting, too.  And after just returning from a week of skiing in Norway, there is gear to put away and pictures to upload.  But for now, I am happy to forget it all and tell you about these sweet little coconut gems.

Not only can you pull the dough together in five minutes flat, you can have a batch (approximately 24) of delicious treats in the time it takes to clean the bathroom or watch an episode of Diary of a Foodie.  I think I know which activity I'd rather do.

Coconut Pyramids
1.5c/200g unsweetened coconut
1c/125g almond flour
1/2c/50g sifted all purpose flour
1c/397g (small can) sweetened condensed milk
1 whole vanilla bean


Preheat oven to 325F/175C

1.  Place milk in a small bowl.  Add the scraped seeds of the vanilla bean and mix well.

2.  Place all dry ingredients in a large bowl and stir until combined.

3.  Add milk mixture to the dry ingredients and stir well.  The mixture will be thick and quite stiff.

4.  Using your hands and small spoonfuls of dough, shape the mix into pyramids.  You will note that some of my pyramids are smooth and some are nubby.  That's because I manhandled the smooth shapes and used more water during the shaping process.  The nubby version received minimal manhandling.  I like that word.  I like the word nubby, too.

5.  Bake pyramids on a parchment lined baking sheet for 10-14 minutes, depending on your oven.  You want a pyramid with a golden brown top and edges.

6.  Optional:  dip pyramid bottoms in melted dark chocolate.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Honey Wheat Thumbprint Cookies

Just in time for Valentine's Day, a pretty cookie for you and yours.

To whom do I owe the inspiration for the recipe?  Meryl Streep of all people, by way of Good Housekeeping Magazine.  This, my friends, is the favorite cookie of arguably the greatest American actress of all time. I mean, The Deer Hunter.  Out of Africa.  Doubt.  So many amazing film roles.  Nearly 50 in all.  And who can forget her spot on performance as the boss from hell in The Devil Wears Prada?

Well, little known fact:  Meryl makes cookies on set breaks.  Or at the very least, in the comfort of her sprawling home.

Don't you just love the raspberry thumbprint?  It steals the show. The cookies would look so plain jane otherwise.

Anatole and I spent the better part of a morning making these cookies and Valentine cards for the special people in our lives.  He was particularly happy with his three personalized cookies; see if you can find them.

Honey Wheat Thumbprint Cookies
Adapted from Meryl Streep's Heart Cookies, Good Housekeeping

1c butter, soft
3/4c honey
1t vanilla
2/3c almond flour or finely ground almonds
1 3/4c whole wheat flour
1 1/4c all purpose flour
Raspberry jam for thumbprint


1.  Cream honey, butter, and vanilla.  Add flours and mix well until blended.

2.  Divide dough into four pieces, form each into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for a minimum of two hours or overnight.

3.  Work the dough a little in your hands to soften.  Apply a little flour to your work surface and roll each disk flat with a rolling pin, approximately 1/8" thick.

4.  Use heart shaped cookie cutter to make hearts.  Make an indentation with your thumb and apply a dab of jam to each cookie.

5.  Transfer to a parchment -lined cookie sheet and bake 10-12 minutes, rotating the baking sheet half way through.

6.  Remove from oven and transfer to a cooling rack.

Makes 4-5 dozen, depending on the size of cookie cutter(s) used.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Friday, February 4, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough on a Stick

I wonder if the Queen of Denmark likes cookie dough.  Maybe she has the royal chef make it for her on the sly and then sneaks some when no one's looking.  And then there's Mary, Crown Princess of Denmark, who just gave birth to twins and welcomed her fourth and fifth children. I wish for Mary's sake that she's lying in bed resting and enjoying a nice big spoonful of chocolate chip cookie dough.  Danish royals and cookie dough?  I say why not.

For as long as I can remember I have had a weakness for dough in various forms.  Cake batter, pastry dough, play-doh (well, that was many many years ago), and, naturally, cookie dough.  Love it with all my heart.  To my traditional mind, the best is chocolate chip, but I would never turn up my nose at peanut butter, oatmeal, sugar or virtually any other kind of cookie dough, either.  As George Bush senior used to say, It wouldn't be prudent.  Did I just quote George Bush?

What you really want to hear about is cookie dough.  It all went down some time last week when I discovered Joy the Baker, my new favorite blog.  If you like to create delicious things to eat, please do yourself a favor and check it out.  And even if you are not so into sharing time in the kitchen with measuring cups and bowls, check it out anyway for the gorgeous photography and food styling.  Joy Wilson is my newfound food idol.  I'm delighted by the fact that she, one, has an English degree just like yours truly, two, whips up spectacular stuff without having had any formal training (i.e. no culinary degree), and three, seems like an ultra cool lady.

I have Joy to um, credit, for the cookie dough on a stick.  I hesitate in giving her too much credit because this stuff is addicting.  And let's face it, we're not talking health food here.  On the other hand, everything in moderation is okay.  Unfortunately, I highly doubt that moderation is defined as inhaling half a bowl of cookie dough.  Maybe in some universe far far away...

Ahem, another fantastic part of this recipe is that you can consume as little or as much dough as you wish without worrying about salmonella.  Ta da, it's egg free.  Joy's recipe uses Greek yogurt, but she also suggests apple sauce and peanut butter as other suitable egg-substitutes.  I went with the Greek yogurt and achieved splendid results.

If you are a fellow cookie dough lover, you must try this!  I'm talking to you, Queen Margrethe.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough on a Stick
Source:  Joy the Baker

1/2c unsalted butter at room temperature
1c. plus 2T flour
1/2t baking soda
3/4t salt
1/2c brown sugar
1/3c granulated sugar
1t vanilla
1/3c Greek yogurt, applesauce or peanut butter
1c. semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2c chopped walnuts
1c. semi sweet chocolate chips for melting


1.  Combine flour, soda and salt and set aside.

2.  With a hand mixer or standing mixer, beat the butter and sugars together.  Add vanilla and Greek yogurt and mix again.

3.  Add flour mix to sugar-butter mix and combine thoroughly.

4.  Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts.

5.  Using an ice cream scoop or large spoon, place mounds of dough on a baking sheet lined with wax or parchment paper.  Insert a plastic fork, light-weight metal fork (it won't stand up if it's too heavy), or popsicle stick in the middle of each mound.  Place in freezer 3-4 hours, until hard, or overnight.

6.  Remove from freezer, dip mounds into melted, slightly cooled chocolate.  Return to the baking sheet and freeze until chocolate is hard.

7.  Serve cold straight from the freezer (store extras, if you have any left, in the freezer).