Sunday, September 5, 2021

English Gingersnaps #1


English Gingersnaps #1  (Source: Maida Heatter's Cookies (Andrews & McMeel Publishing, 1997 ed.), pg. 257.

Gingersnaps are one of those cookies that I would not think of as a favorite yet when I start eating them, I can't stop. They are normally a cookie I would make around the holidays but recently, some friends visited our garden and I wanted to make gingersnaps because they are the husband's favorite cookie. 

I've had both soft and crisp gingersnaps and I like both. I usually prefer a soft cookie though and these are soft but get a bit firm after cooling. 

After I had compiled my ingredients together, I found that I didn't have a full 1/4 molasses but was close. I added some maple syrup to complete it. 

There is also a recipe for English Gingersnaps #2 which is a variation with smaller cookies that are more crisp and gingery. I have not made that one.

This recipe makes about 2 dozen cookies.

2 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. powdered ginger
1/2 tsp. powdered cloves
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. black pepper
6 oz. (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses
Granulated sugar (to roll the cookies in)

Preheat the oven to 375. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or foil.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, allspice and black pepper. Set aside.

Cream the butter and add the brown sugar. Mix well.


Add the egg and the molasses, mixing until light in color.


Gradually add the sifted ingredients on low speed.


Refrigerate the dough for about 10-15 minutes (you can leave it in the mixer bowl).

Place sugar in a bowl or plate. Form the dough into rounded tablespoons and roll it in the sugar. Place the cookie balls about 2 inches apart on the cookie sheets.


Bake for 12-13 minutes. Cookies are done when they feel semi-firm to the touch. Transfer to a wire rack for cooling.

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Lemon Buttermilk Cake #2

Lemon Butterfmilk Cake #2
(Source: Maida Heatter's Cakes (Andrews & McMeel Publishing, 2011 ed., pg. 24). Also in Maida Heatter's New Book of Great Desserts (Alfred A. Knopf, 1982. pg. 115.

Maida Heatter has several lemon cake recipes. The most popular is the East 62nd Street Lemon Cake which was printed over and over again by everyone when she died. I kept thinking - is this the only recipe people are aware of? 

Maida Heatter's Cakes lists no less than three lemon cakes - the aforementioned as well as "The Best Damn Lemon Cake" and the one here - "Lemon Buttermilk Cake #2".  Years ago, I made "The Best Damn Lemon Cake" and apparently I thought otherwise as I put a big X next to it and the comment "Too Much Extract"! Actually the inclusion of lemon extract would ruin any cake in my opinion.  Anyway, I didn't even blog about that one.

Now comes this one and a mystery. I had a check mark next to which indicates that I have made it. It is nowhere to be found on my blog though and I don't remember making it.

Another mystery - and this one from Maida herself. She says that the recipe appeared in her first book but she received numerous letters and comments saying that something was wrong with it. I have the 1997 reprint of her book and the recipe is not in it. She does address it again in her 1982 book Maida Heatter's New Book of Great Desserts where she corrected the recipe but doesn't say what was wrong about it in the first edition.

This is a good lemon cake that is very light. Serve with fruit, ice cream or whipped cream.

Finely grated rind of 2 or 3 large lemons
3 TBS. lemon juice
3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 lb. (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup granulated sugar

Preheat the oven to 350. Butter and dust a tube pan (10-cup capacity) with bread crumbs.

Combine the lemon juice and rind and set aside.

Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

Beat the butter until slightly soft. Add the sugar and mix well. Add the eggs one at at a time and mix well. On low speed, add the flour mixture, alternating with the buttermilk in two additions. Scrap the bowl as needed and mix well.


Remove the bowl from the mixer stand and add the lemon juice.

Transfer to the cake pan and smooth the top. Baker for 1 hour or until a cake tester comes out clean. 


As the cake is baking, mix the lemon juice and sugar for the glaze. Set aside and periodically whisk it.

When the cake is done, let it sit in the pan for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and brush the lemon juice all over it. Let it completely cool.



Sunday, August 22, 2021

Bittersweet Chocolate Brownies


Bittersweet Chocolate Brownies
Source: Maida Heatter's Brand-New Book of Great Cookies (Random House, 1995 ed.), pg. 73.

Another brownie recipe and this is one of the best. They have a whopping 8 ounces of chocolate and two cups of nuts. That is a lot of nuts and it is indeed very nutty. I used pecans instead of walnuts just because I'm not a big fan of walnuts. I used bourbon at the end but you can opt for rum, cognac or scotch. They are delicious and just a bite will satisfy your sweet and chocolate cravings.

2 oz. unsweetened chocolate
6 oz. semisweet chocolate
2 TBS. unsalted butter
7 oz. (2 cups) walnuts
1/2 cup sifted unbleached flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. dry powdered instant espresso
3 TBS. dark rum, cognac, scotch or bourbon

Adjust bottom oven rack one third up from the bottom. Preheat to 350. Prepare an 8x8x2 inch pan by lining it with foil. Butter the foil and place the pan in the freezer or refrigerator until ready to use.

In a double boiler, melt the chocolates and the butter over low heat. Set aside.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

Beat the eggs, sugar, vanilla and espresso on high speed for one minute. Add the melted chocolate mixture just to mix. Add the flour mixture just to mix.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir in the nuts.

Turn the mixture into the pan and smooth out.

Bake for 35-40 minutes. As soon as you bring it out of the oven, brush or drizzle the rum, cognac, scotch or bourbon over the top. Let it stand until cool.

Chill the cake before cutting for best results. They can be served cold or at room temperature.