Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Chocolate Fondant Cookies

Chocolate Fondant Cookies
Source: Maida Heatter's Brand-New Book of Great Cookies (Random House, 1995 ed.), pg. 138.

Maida describes these cookies as "plain" and that they are but in my opinion, the addition of chocolate brings anything up to another level! Especially milk chocolate (I used Hershey bars). The batter was sinfully delicious and I could have stood there and ate the entire bowl. The cookies are good, nothing extraordinary, but you find yourself going back for more...

7 TBS. unsalted butter
3/4 cup sifted unbleached flour
1 tsp. baking powder
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup sugar
7 oz. milk chocolate
2 large eggs
Optional: Confectioners sugar (to sprinkle on top of cookies)

Preheat oven to 350. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or foil.

Cut the butter into small pieces and set aside.

In a food processor, add the flour, baking powder, salt, cocoa and sugar and pulse a few times to mix. Break the chocolate into small pieces and mix for about 20 seconds. Add the butter and process for 15-20 seconds until the mixture holds together. With the processor running, add the eggs through the feed tube and mix well. Transfer mixture to a small bowl.

Form the dough into tablespoon sized balls. Place them on a piece of foil a few inches apart. You will have to wet your hands throughout the process so it is good to do this next to the sink. 
Place the formed balls on the prepared cookie sheet about 3 inches apart. Bake for 12-15 minutes. The dough will barely spring back when pressed when they are ready. Do not overbake.
The cookies will expand a bit during baking. Transfer them to a wire rack with a wide spatula. Let them cool completely before storing in an airtight container. 

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Fresh Apple Bread

Fresh Apple Bread (Source: Maida Heatter's Cakes (Andrews & McMeel Publishing, 2011 ed., pg. 262).

Our poor bedraggled apple tree has a bumper crop of apples this year. Actually, it did last year too but the squirrels and birds got most of them before you could blink an eye. This poor tree, which has never looked that great, stands along the back border of our property, growing tall with long, draping branches that are now weighted down with apples. I pruned the heck of it last year and if it weren't for the fact that it provides a little shade, it would probably have been removed entirely. 

It is earning its keep though and the apples seem to be nicer this year and it has been possible to get some good ones that haven't been touched yet by wildlife. That is saying a lot since our back garden is a virtual Grand Central Station for birds.

There are even unblemished apples lying on the ground although you have to get them quickly.

I have made several apple desserts over the past weeks. I first made an apple cake from my mother's old recipe book. After consulting my Maida Heatter books, I found a recipe that I had not tried yet. This turned okay - I have to confess that the apple cake was tastier! This recipe is filled with some spice but is surprisingly mild on the apple flavor.

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. allspice
1 large apple or 2 small ones
4 oz. butter (softened)
3/4 cup plus 2 TBS. light brown sugar, firmly packed
2 eggs
2 TBS. buttermilk or sour cream
Finely grated rind of 1 large lemon
1 cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 9x5x1 inch loaf pan and dust it with fine bread crumbs.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and allspice.

Beat the butter until soft and gradually add the sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time. Add the buttermilk (or sour cream - I used buttermilk) and then the diced apple.

On low speed, add the flour mixture and mix well. Stir in the lemon rind and the walnuts.

The mixture will be thick. Transfer it to the prepared loaf pan and let it sit for 10 minutes.

Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Let the cake cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes before removing it.