Elizabeth's Scrapbook

August 22, 2009

Espresso Chocolate Shortbread

Filed under: Cooking,Recipes — countrylizb @ 3:34 AM

2 C. sifted unbleached flour
1 C. confectioner’s sugar
8 oz. unsalted butter
½ C. strained unsweetened cocoa powder
Fresh ground Espresso beans, medium not course or fine ground

1. Adjust two racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat oven to 300˚. Line cookie sheets with baking parchment or aluminum foil. , shiny side up.

2. Place the butter in the large bowl of an electric mixer and beat until soft. Add the sugar and beat to mix. Then add the flour and cocoa and beat until the dough holds together and is smooth.

3. Remove the dough from the bowl, form it into a ball, and flatten it slightly. Place the dough on a floured surface and turn over to flour both sides. With a rolling pin, roll the dough until it is ½” thick.

4. Use a plain round cookie cutter preferably 1 ½” in diameter. Place the cookies 1” apart on a cookie sheet.

5. Place a small cup of water next to you. Dip your fingertip in the water, and with your fingertip wet the tops of a few cookies.

6. Carefully sprinkle some of the ground espresso on the wet cookies (about ¼ tsp. per cookie), covering only about half of the top of each cookie. Then with a dry fingertip, press gently on the espresso to press it into the dough a bit.

7. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Watch carefully. They burn and become bitter before you know it.
Yield: About 40 cookies

August 21, 2009

Which Apples Make the Perfect Pie?

Filed under: Cooking — countrylizb @ 6:35 AM

Q. What kind of apples are best for pies?

A. Well, where are you and what time of year is it? The qualities you are looking for in apples for a pie are taste and texture. You want apples that have great flavor and don’t turn to mush when you cook them. You don’t necessarily just want sweet apples, though. Many people like a mix of sweet and tart apples in their pies.

Ideally, what you want are fresh, locally grown apples (or at least the right kind of apples grown in the right area) that hold their shape when cooked. Golden Delicious apples, which are native to the eastern half of the United States, are indeed delicious if they come from that part of the country. But those grown in the West or in Europe “have all the lure of a Styrofoam Christmas ornament,” according to Frank Browning, author of An Apple Harvest (Canada, UK). Indeed, (eastern) Golden Delicious apples are the mainstream apples of choice for apple pies. When mixed with the tart Granny Smith apples, they make an excellent pie.

But if you have access to more than just the four or five varieties of apples found in most supermarkets year-round, you can raise your pie to new heights. You may have to be daring and seek out a farmers’ market, but if you do, you’ll be rewarded with apples that were picked when ripe and have not traveled from the far ends of the Earth.

Among the really good pie apples are Jonathan, Stayman-Winesap, Cox’s Orange Pippin, and Jonagold, all of which provide a good mix of sweetness and tartness. Other sweet choices are Braeburn, Fuji, Mutsu, Pink Lady, Suncrisp, Rome Beauty, and Empire. Good tart baking apples include Idared, Macoun, Newton Pippin, and Northern Spy.

What you want to stay away from are the apples that become mushy when cooked. McIntosh and Cortland are the mainstream apples that lead that list.

August 15, 2009

My Apple Pie Recipe

Filed under: Cooking,Recipes — countrylizb @ 5:36 PM

Pie Crust:
1 C. flour
½ t. salt
1/3 C. butter,lard, or shortening
2 T. water

• Put flour, salt, and butter in a tupperware container.

• Put lid on tightly and shake until crumbly.

• Add water and shake again until lump is formed.

• Roll out. Fold into quarters and transfer to the pie pan.

Filling:
5 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced(I use Granny Smith apples and I slice them thin)
¾ C. sugar
2 Tbls. flour
¼ tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon

• Mix flour, sugar, and spices together.

Crumb Topping:
1 ½ C. flour
1 C. brown sugar
½ C. butter
1 tsp. cinnamon

• Mix together with pastry cutter until crumbly.

• Layer apples in prepared piecrust(if you do it right you can get more apples in the pie than if you just dump them in), sprinkling with sugar mixture as you go.

• Top with the crump topping(crumb topping is a lot easier to do than a regular topping. Yummier, too.)

• Bake at 425 F for 50 minutes.

• Cover with foil and bake for another 10 minutes.

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