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Archive for December, 2013

Gingersnaps

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A cookie recipe with only two tablespoons of butter…it didn’t sound promising. I thought of those rock hard gingersnaps that you can buy. This is a surprisingly small batch recipe. It makes about two dozen small thin cookies which happily are not hard at all. The recipe is a contribution from David Blom in Baking With Julia. I actually wound up making it twice, because the first batch was gone before I took photos. I tried some minor variations with both versions.

For the first batch, I doubled the amount of the spices, ginger and cinnamon, and I used whole wheat flour. The cookies were very sweet and chewy, and for my taste, the spices had just the right kick. The second time around, I added chopped pecans to add texture and cut the sweetness. I also used grated fresh ginger in place of powdered, again doubled the amount of cinnamon, and used a third whole wheat and two thirds white flour. I omitted the molasses glaze on the second batch…it seemed fussy without adding significantly to the flavor or appearance.

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I don’t make rolled and cut out cookies very often any more. When my daughter was young, I made them pretty frequently…we had a growing collection of cookie cutters…and we usually made gingerbread families at Christmas. These gingersnaps were so easy to put together, and the dough so easy to handle, that I may be motivated to start baking rolled cookies again.

The brightness of the fresh ginger and the crunch of the nuts made the second batch my favorite – a truly snappy gingersnap. The recipe is on pages 324-325 of Baking With Julia. To read what other bakers have to say about these gingersnaps, visit Tuesdays With Dorie.

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Pumpkin Apple Galette

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When I saw this recipe for Pumpkin Apple Galette on the Food52 website, I knew I would have to make it during the Thanksgiving weekend. I always bake a pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving, partly as tradition, and partly because, like turkey, stuffing and gravy, I never make pumpkin pie at any other time.

This galette has a layer of pumpkin filling topped with sliced apples and dried cranberries. Brown sugar and spices are combined and then divided between the pureed pumpkin and the sliced apples. I like this kind of shortcut…it makes sense and saves time. One thing I would do differently next time is to layer the dried cranberries under the apples, so they do not dry out in baking.

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The warming spices, creamy pumpkin, and tart apples merge and offset the crunchy crust. I used a different crust recipe from here. The recipe was contributed to Food52 by Nicole who writes a beautiful food blog, A Local Choice, where she travels to a destination within 100 miles of Columbus, Ohio, focuses on an ingredient they are growing or producing, and writes a recipe based off that ingredient, in this case apples.

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Challah

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This was my first time making challah, although I’ve made some similarly egg-and-butter rich breads. Feeling overly satiated after Thanksgiving, I made half the recipe for one loaf, rather than baking two and freezing one. I already have a loaf of pumpernickel in the freezer waiting for an occasion or opportunity. The challah, baked from a recipe contributed by Lauren Groveman in Baking With Julia, is both delicious and beautiful. Challah 060

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Like brioche, challah is a bread rich in dairy products – milk, eggs, and butter – lending it a soft, luscious and slightly chewy texture. To see and read about challah as baked by other bakers, follow their links on the Tuesdays With Dorie blog.

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Challah, as painted by my friend Judith McCabe Jarvis.

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