Kugelhopf (also Gugelhupf, Guglhupf, Gugelhopf, kougelhopf, kouglof, etc.) is a baked, sweet bread similar to brioche that has taken on a life of its own in my mind -- just like French Canelés did last year. And as with the Canelés, I had never eaten one, but was obsessed with the thought of baking a picture-perfect Kugelhopf.
Kugelhopf originated in the Alsace, but Germany, Austria, and Switzerland also lay claim to this yeasty coffee cake. There are also many variations to the dough. The recipe I used is from André Lerch: Pâtisserie-Boulangerie Alsacienne, in Paris' 5e. This Kugelhopf is made with milk and brandy, but many use just water. It is advised that the cake is left wrapped and uneaten for a day or two after baking. There is a general agreement Kugelhopf is at its best when slightly dry -- making the coffee cake all the better when dipped into your morning Café au Lait!
In my plans to make a Kugelhopf, I became obsessed with finding a true, earthenware Kugelhopf mold (which, as you can see, I did not). They are traditionally baked in a tall, ceramic tube mold with angled ribs that resemble a Turk's turban. Whole, blanched almonds are placed at the base of each "rib" before the yeast dough is added, resulting in an almond-studded crown when the cake is unmolded. I ended up using a decorative copper tube pan from the late 1800s that my sister loaned to me and has since given me upon seeing the photos of the coffee cake (with the stipulation that I bake and send one to her). So, yes... substitute a Bundt pan if you are unable to find the traditional Kugelhopf mold.
When in Paris, you will see Kugelhopfs in many pâtisseries; often the smaller, individual-sized cakes. I was always fascinated by them, and although I photographed Kugelhopfs, I never purchased one to eat. Crazy... I know. On one visit to Pierre Hermés I purchased a salted caramel macaron, but it was my sister that left the pâtisserie with a Kugelhopf to snack on!
Small Kugelhopfs at Gérard Mulot, 76 rue de Seine, Paris 6e
The recipe below will give you enough dough to make two Kugelhopfs. I halved the recipe and made one cake (thinking... I only have one mold). Had I known this cake would be so good, I would have made enough dough for two Kugelhopfs and kept half of the dough refrigerated until needed. That is certainly what I will do the next time.
Also, while kneading the dough, additional flour will probably be necessary. I was working with a very wet dough for some reason and needed much more flour. Add the flour, a generous tablespoon at a time, until the dough begins to clean the sides of the mixer bowl and you hear a slapping sound. You want a smooth, shiny dough that is still a bit sticky upon completion.
+ recipe from Paris Boulangerie Pâtisserie by Linda Dannenberg
+ This recipe will make enough dough for two 2-quart Kugelhopf molds or Bundt pans. Halve the ingredients if you only want to make one Kugelhopf.
• 1 cup golden raisins
• 1/4 cup kirsch or brandy
• 2 1/2 cups lukewarm milk
• 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
• 5 teaspoons (2 packages) dry yeast
• 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, or more as needed
• Softened butter for molds
• 1/2 cup whole blanched almonds
• 3/4 cup plus two tablespoons granulated sugar
• 4 teaspoons salt
• 2 large eggs
• Confectioners' sugar for dusting
1. Place the raisins in a small bowl and cover with the brandy. Let soak while preparing the starter.
2. STARTER: In a small saucepan combine 3/4 cup of the milk with 4 tablespoons of the butter. Heat, using a low temperature, until lukewarm. Transfer to a mixing bowl and sprinkle the yeast over the milk mixture; stir in 1 cup of the flour until almost fully incorporated. Place a piece of plastic wrap loosely over the bowl and set bowl aside to rise until almost double, about 1 hour.
3. Generously butter two 2-quart Kugelhopf molds or Bundt pans. Press almonds into the buttered grooves at the bottom of each mold.
4. In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of an electric stand mixer with a dough hook, combine the remaining lukewarm milk and butter; add the flour, granulated sugar, salt, and eggs. Mix well. Pour in the yeast starter and mix well until thoroughly combined. Knead by hand on a lightly floured work surface, or using a stand mixer at medium-high speed, for about 10 minutes. The dough should be smooth and shiny and feel soft and slightly sticky. As you knead, add more flour or milk if necessary to adjust the consistency. (I ended up adding quite a bit more flour to my dough. Add it slowly, if needed. The dough should be slightly sticky when you are finished kneading.)
5. Drain the raisins and reserve the liquid. Knead the raisins into the dough by hand, while in the bowl, until well distributed. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow dough to rise to 1 1/2 times its size, approximately 1 1/2 hours.
6. PREHEAT OVEN to 375˚F. Place oven rack about one-third distance from the oven floor. Gently divide the dough in half and form into two balls. Using your thumbs, stretch a small opening in the center of each ball. Place the ring of dough over the center tube of the mold. Ideally, the dough should fill 3/4 of the mold. Cover mold with a sheet of plastic wrap and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
7. Place the molds on the rack of the preheated over and bake for 45-50 minutes. The Kugelhopfs should be golden brown and sound hollow when tapped. Cover Kugelhopfs with foil toward the end of baking if browning too quickly. Remove from oven and cool Kugelhopfs on a rack for several minutes before unmolding. They should release nicely if the molds were well buttered. Cool thoroughly on racks, then dust generously with Confectioners' sugar. Wrap tightly in plastic for 1 to 2 days before eating. Dust with Confectioners' sugar again before slicing.
TAKE a LOOK:
As I write this, I am eating a slice of the Cake aux Olives et Jambon. I am trying to get the feel of what it's like to be French. According to the recipe, this cake is purchased on Friday nights at the local pâtisserie, then brought to the country house to be enjoyed, certainly with French wine, over the weekend. Since I do not have a country house, I am eating this Olive and Ham Loaf Cake in my kitchen, at the counter, in front of my laptop. Certainly not a bad place to be; I love my kitchen. But I also love filling my head with snapshots of how I imagine it would be to live the good life in France...
... I need to run over to Stohrer in the 2nd arrondissement, because that is the source of this recipe. I decide to hop on the Metro, since the patisserie is on the Right Bank and I live in a centuries old, stylishly renovated apartment on the Left... in the 6th. I usually prefer to walk, but I know how distracted I can be by beautiful things, and it's already getting late. I pick up the Cake aux Olives et Jambon, along with the tiniest of tarts for one, studded with even tinier fraises alpine -- just because. I arrive back at the apartment and find my husband has returned from walking our three French Bulldogs, Marcel, Claude, and Winkie. We quickly finish loading the vintage Citroen and escape Paris, through heavy traffic, driving most of the night until we reach our chateau in the hills near Barjac. I pass out in my bed of white goose down and French linens, and dream of the brocantes I will visit the next morning, hoping to find that perfect French pastry table for my kitchen in Paris. Pretty nice, huh? Do you want to come visit me? Well... it won't be there. That's not my life. But it's so much fun to dream.
In the meantime, I bake French things in my Saint Paul kitchen and that keeps me happy. This is the second "weekend cake" I have made. The two cakes have their similarities, but are still very different. They both have ham, green olives, and Gruyère cheese. But the Gateau au Jambon et aux Olives (recipe HERE) that I made several years ago for the first time is a bit more basic and not as dense. The Cake aux Olives et Jambon I made today is a bit more complex in ingredients and flavor. It's full of white wine and vermouth. And more of just about everything else that make up the Gateau. It's a dense cake and I ended up baking it for much longer than what was specified in the recipe. And in addition... I cut slices that I broiled in the oven briefly. All of the Gruyère and olive oil in the loaf cake lend themselves nicely to a little toasting. Serve alongside a salad of greens with fruit, nuts, and cheese, then drizzled with a French vinaigrette, and that's all you need. Oh... include a bottle of good French wine and a few friends!
• adapted recipe from PARIS BOULANGERIE PATISSERIE by Linda Dannenberg
• 2 cups, less 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/2 cup dry white wine
• 1/2 cup dry vermouth
• 4 large eggs, beaten
• 7/8 cup mild-flavored olive oil
• 1 1/2 cups finely diced cooked ham
• 1 1/2 cups grated Gruyère cheese
• 1 1/4 cups green olives, pitted and chopped coarse
PREHEAT OVEN to 350˚F
1. Sift the flour with the baking powder into a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center; add the wine, vermouth, and eggs. Mix gently just until combined. Add the olive oil, a little at a time, mixing until the batter is smooth. Add the ham, cheese and olives, and using a rubber spatula, mix just until incorporated.
2. Grease an 8-inch-by-4-inch loaf pan; pour in the batter. Bake until the loaf is golden brown and a skewer inserted to the bottom of the cake comes out clean. I found I needed to bake my cake much longer than the recipe specified. The original recipe calls for 55 minutes. I baked my cake for 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours. It's a dense cake. If browning too much towards the end of baking, cover with foil.
3. Cool on a wire rack; then invert onto the rack and cool completely. If desired, slice the loaf and broil the slices briefly to toast.
TAKE a LOOK:
On any given day, if I have a choice between a macaron or a macaroon, I will always pick the macaron. Other than the near identical spelling of their names, however, there are virtually no comparisons to be made between a macaron or a macaroon... except to say that they are both gluten free. And that's it. I am partial to French macarons that offer endless possibilities for colors, flavors, and fillings. A macaron is considered by some to be a "fussy" cookie that involves piping the almond-meringue batter, often vividly colored, into identical-sized rounds. Then, after baking, a buttercream, chocolate, or fruit preserve (for starters) is sandwiched between two of the crisp meringue disks. Fussy perhaps, but the end result rewards you with an amazing little cookie.
above... Patisserie Ladurée cart at Charles de Gaulle airport, Paris
in Paris above... Grégory Renard – Cacao et Macarons
But let's get back to the Macaroon... It is made with coconut and sweetened condensed milk; a very few ingredients that are shaped into small balls, then baked. There is absolutely no confusing macaroons with the French meringue sandwich cookies -- in looks or taste. The other day I saw Dan Cohen's recipe and accompanying photo for Chocolate Dipped Macaroons and suddenly, for the first time ever, I had a craving for sweet, toasted coconut dipped in melted bittersweet chocolate. These cookies go together quickly and you can have them baked and dipped in chocolate in no time. I can't believe I haven't made these before. Certainly a nice little (gluten-free) cookie to serve after an Easter brunch.
+ recipe from Dan Cohen
• 1 cup sweetened condensed milk
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 14 ounce package of sweetened shredded coconut
• 1 large egg whites
• 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
• 6 ounces finely chopped bittersweet chocolate
1. Preheat oven to 350˚F and position oven racks in the top and bottom third of the oven. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, combine the sweetened condensed milk and vanilla. Stir in the shredded coconut and mix thoroughly.
3. Using a whisk or a handheld electric mixer, beat the egg whites and salt until firm peaks form. Using a spatula, fold the whites into the coconut mixture and finish by pushing mixture together in a mound.
4. Fill a small bowl with cold water and wet your hands. Gently form spoonfuls of the coconut mixture into small balls, around 1 1/4-inches in diameter and place on prepared baking sheets, spacing 2-inches apart.
5. Transfer baking sheets to the oven and bake, rotating and changing out position of pans halfway through, about 25 minutes. Macaroons should be golden brown in spots on top and underside.
6. Cool briefly on the baking sheets, then transfer macaroons to racks to cool completely.
7. In the meantime, melt the bittersweet chocolate either in a double boiler on the stove, or in a small bowl in the microwave. Dip half of the macaroon into the chocolate and place on a piece of waxed paper until set.
8. The macaroons will keep, uncovered at room temperature, for up to 3 days, or refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks. They can also be frozen for up to 6 months.
TAKE a LOOK:
I spent one entire day playing in my kitchen... just the way I like it. It all started with the pastry cream. Lavender pastry cream. That's what made these pastel-hued éclairs so delightful, and delicious! Oh, the possibilities. Think lavender cream tarts... with chocolate, lemon, or berries... I am!
After heating the milk, add the dried lavender and vanilla bean to steep.
... oh no! I've used more of my pastel, sugar pearl sprinkles. Soon, I'll need more. (Easy Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Butter Frosting... and sprinkles)
Crème Pâtissière (pastry cream)
an adapted recipe from French Tarts by Linda Dannenberg
• 1 1/2 cups whole milk
• 1/2 vanilla bean, split
• 1 tablespoon dried lavender
• 3 large egg yolks
• 1/4 cup sugar
• 1 generous tablespoon cornstarch
• 1 generous tablespoon flour
1. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the milk just to a boil. Remove from heat and add the vanilla bean and dried lavender. Cover pan and set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the egg yolks and sugar. Whisk mixture until thick and pale yellow, approximately 2 minutes. Add the cornstarch and flour; whisk to blend. Remove the vanilla bean from the milk. Strain the milk mixture to remove the dried lavender, then slowly pour the milk into the egg mixture, whisking until blended and smooth.
3. Return the mixture to the saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and cook, whisking constantly, until thick, smooth, and yellow... approximately 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer thickened cream to a clean bowl. Cover with a sheet of plastic wrap placed directly onto the surface of the cream. This will prevent a skin from forming. Allow to cool, then refrigerate for at least an hour; overnight would be ideal.
adapted recipe | Pierre Hermés
• 1/2 cup whole milk
• 1/2 cup water
• 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter cut into 8 pieces
• 1/4 teaspoon sugar
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• 5 large eggs, at room temperature
1. In a heavy bottomed medium saucepan, bring the milk, water, butter, sugar and salt to the boil.
2. Once the mixture is at a rolling boil, add all of the flour at once, reduce the heat to medium and start to stir the mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon. The dough will come together very quickly. You need to carry on stirring for an additional 2-3 minutes to dry the dough. After this time the dough will be very soft and smooth.
3. Transfer the dough to the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, before adding another egg to the dough. You will notice that after you have added the first egg, the dough will separate. Do not worry. As you keep working the dough, it will come back together by the time you have added the third egg. In the end the dough should be thick and shiny and when lifted it should fall back into the bowl in a ribbon.
4. Preheat oven to 375˚ F. Divide the oven into thirds by positioning racks in the upper and lower half of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
5. Fill a large pastry bag, fitted with a 1/2-inch plain tip nozzle, with the warm cream puff dough. Pipe the dough onto the baking sheets in 4-inch lengths. Leave about 2 inches between each dough strip to allow room to puff. The dough should give you enough to pipe 18 éclairs.
6. Slide both the baking sheets into the oven and bake for 12 minutes; rotate the sheets top to bottom and front to back. Continue baking for another 8 minutes or until the éclairs are puffed, golden, and firm. The total baking time should be approximately 20 minutes (After 20 minutes I turned my oven off, but left the éclairs in the oven for another 5 minutes). Remove from oven and pierce each pastry with the toothpick to let steam escape. The éclairs can be kept in a cool, dry place for several hours before filling.
1. Fill a medium, shallow dish with CONFECTIONERS' SUGAR. Whisk in MILK or LIGHT CREAM, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the glaze is the consistency of honey. Add food color at this time and whisk until incorporated.
1. Remove the pastry cream from the refrigerator and resist all desire to stir! This will break down the cream.
2. Slice the éclairs horizontally, using a serrated knife and a gently sawing motion.
Dip the tops of the éclairs into the glaze and transfer to a wire rack. Decorate with sprinkles, dried lavender buds, or Boules Argentées (silver dragées) at this time.
Pipe or spoon the pastry cream into the bottoms of the éclairs. Place the glazed tops onto the pastry cream.
• Refrigerate éclairs until ready to serve.
TAKE a LOOK:
I am by no means a hoarder! I do, however, want to save things, having difficulty at times parting with ingredients. And by ingredients I mean... olive oils, vinegars, decorative sugars, and exceptional sprinkles. You understand, don't you? If I use them, they'll be gone. I know. It's a rather warped way of thinking, but that's just me... (Savory Rosemary-Olive Shortbreads that were never eaten).
This has recently been the case with a little jar of small, pastel sugar beads that my daughter purchased in Paris last summer. The jar has been setting on a shelf in my kitchen where I can look at it, and admire it daily. But the questions eventually began... "Why haven't you used the sprinkles?... "Don't you like the sprinkles?"... "When do we get a dessert with the sprinkles?" I caved. Yesterday I made an easy Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Butter Frosting that followed a big platter of beef and vegetable stir-fry. As you can see in the jar above, there are enough sprinkles (whew!) for another future dessert. No worries.
After dinner, my other daughter sent me this photo she took yesterday afternoon in downtown St. Paul. It reminds me of my sprinkles! I love it!
This easy chocolate cake goes together quickly. The ingredients are mixed right in the baking pan. If you want to serve the cake out of the pan, do as I did, and line the bottom of the pan and up two sides with parchment paper which makes for easy removal. There is more than enough frosting for the top and all four sides.
• 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 1/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 6 tablespoons canola oil
• 1 tablespoon white vinegar
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 1 cup cool water
• 1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
• 2 cups confectioners' sugar
• 2 to 3 tablespoons milk
• 1 1/2 tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* The cake ingredients are mixed in an ungreased baking pan. If you want to unmold the cake from the pan for serving, lightly butter the pan and line the bottom and up two sides with parchment paper.
1. PREHEAT OVEN to 350˚F
2. Sift the flour into an ungreased 8-inch x 8-inch baking pan. (All I had available was a 9-inch x 9-inch which works just fine.) In a bowl, whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Add this to the flour mixture and using a fork, gently stir all of the dry ingredients until evenly combined.
3. With the back of a spoon, make 3 indentations in the flour mixture -- small, medium, and large. Add the canola oil to the large, the vinegar to the medium, and the vanilla to the small. Pour the water over everything. Using a fork, gently stir together the ingredients. You want to be sure to get into the corners of the pan and distribute the liquid equally throughout. Do not beat the batter (and if the pan is lined with parchment take care not to rip it), but you do want most of the lumps smoothed out and no patches of too thick or too runny batter.
4. When all of the ingredients are evenly combined, transfer the pan to the middle rack of the oven and bake for approximately 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool completely -- especially if unmolding.
5. In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and 1 cup of the confectioners' sugar until smooth. Mix in 1 tablespoon of the milk. Stir in the cocoa powder and vanilla extract, followed by the remaining 1 cup confectioners' sugar; mix well. Add an additional 1 to 2 tablespoons of milk to achieve desired spreading consistency.
6. Frost the top of the cake if left in the pan. If you choose to unmold the cake, frost the four sides as well.
TAKE a LOOK:
Long before I went to France this past June, I knew I would be making a visit to E. Dehillerin. I always do. And even though my time in Paris was brief -- barely a day after my lengthier stay in Provence -- I needed to stop by the cookware store Dehillerin, a baker's dream, to pick up canelés molds.
I have been obsessed with the making of canelés recently. Why, I'm not exactly sure. Before this past trip to Provence, I had never even eaten a canelé. My fascination, most likely, has something to due with the individual copper molds that are traditionally used (the interiors coated with beeswax) to bake canelés. The beauty, for me, is in the crafting of the pastry baked in copper, striated molds that create little pleated cylinders. And their dark, caramelized exterior that surrounds a cakey, custard-like center. After I ate my first canelé at Pâtisserie Jouvaud in Carpentras, it sealed the deal. I was going to pick up canelés molds when back in Paris. They would, however, not be the beautiful copper molds that make my heart race.
The number of little copper molds needed to make one recipe of canelés, would have surpassed $300; a number I just couldn't justify. Instead, I settled on silicone canelés molds, convincing myself that the best pâtisseries in France must be using them for their cost-savings and ease of cleaning.
The silicone molds were still an investment. And a little research was needed to get the desired results during the baking process. For the batter, I used a recipe from Mimi Thorisson for Canelés de Bordeaux and combined that with baking techniques from Paula Wolfort. What made all of the difference between my first failed attempt and successful second try, was brushing the molds with canola oil (expeller pressed), then freezing them until filling with the canelé batter. The baking temperature is higher than you think it should be, and the baking time longer than what you would imagine... the results were magnifique! These canelés, more than any other French pastry I've ever made, transported me back to France with the first bite. In the scheme of things, I suppose, a very reasonably-priced, "Another Paris Moment".
Check out the little flecks of vanilla bean seeds. The vanilla, along with the rum, give canelés their incredible flavor. If you're interested in making canelés, the DeBuyer silicone molds are available on Amazon. And if you feel like splurging, you can also purchase Mauviel's French copper molds there.
+ recipe (adapted) for Canelés de Bordeaux by Mimi Thorrison
Recipe makes 12 canelés
• 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
• 2 cups whole milk
• 1 1/2 tablespoon heavy cream
• 1 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour, sifted
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 3 egg yolks
• 1/4 cup rum
• 2 tablespoons butter, melted
• Canola oil, preferably expeller pressed, for brushing molds
1. Remove the seeds from the vanilla bean and combine them with the milk and heavy cream in a medium-size saucepan. Stir well, then bring just to a boil. Remove from heat and set aside for 5 minutes.
2. Whisk the sugar into the milk, then slowly add the flour, whisking constantly to avoid any lumps. If necessary, strain the batter through a wire sieve to remove lumps.
3. Add the eggs yolks, one at a time, mixing after each addition. Gently whisk in the melted butter, followed by the rum. Whisk the batter until smooth; pour into a medium bowl, and when cool, cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for at least 24 hours and up to 48 hours.
4. One hour before baking, brush the interior of 12 silicone canelés molds with canola oil. Place the molds in the freezer.
5. When molds have been in freezer for an hour, preheat oven. If using convection, which is preferred, set your temperature at 375˚F. If you will not be using a convection setting, preheat oven to 400˚F.
6. Place the chilled molds on a baking sheet. Whisk the batter and fill the molds almost to the top. Place on the lowest oven rack and bake until canelés are a deep, caramelized brown. If using convection, bake for one hour and 15 minutes at 375˚. If not using convection, bake at 400˚ for two hours. Remove from oven and transfer molds to a cooling rack.
7. Allow the canelés to cool in the molds. This helps them keep their shape. Canelés are best eaten within the first 1-5 hours. After that, it is recommended to reheat at 450˚ for 5 minutes.
TAKE a LOOK:
It has been slow settling back into my normal routine. We arrived home from Provence and Paris Thursday evening. An early Friday morning chouquette baking spurt was followed by preparation of a huge dinner on the patio that night. Susan and Renate, my traveling companions, weren't flying out until Saturday. My husband also planned to leave Saturday for his father's home in Iowa. The meal was a combination welcome home and Father's Day celebration. We had perfectly glorious weather and dined on radish sandwiches and a rib-eye steak salad with roasted peppers, Parmesan chards, and tiny potatoes drizzled with a balsamic-olive oil vinaigrette. Dessert was a strawberry-rhubarb custard tart.
The upcoming days (possibly weeks) will be filled with photos and stories about our travels through Provence and our short, one-night return stay in Paris. The drink above is an aperitif cocktail Renate and I enjoyed outdoors at a small café on the corner of Rue du Dragon and Rue de Sèvres on the left bank of Paris. I'll be serving this next weekend at a dinner I'm planning on the patio.
le Parisien Aperitif...
• I am leaving the ingredient amounts of this cocktail up to you. Combine Vodka with Fresh-Squeezed Grapefruit Juice. Top off with French Champagne... ENJOY!
TAKE a LOOK...
I returned from France last night. Baking of Chouquettes started this morning at 2:20. Next... Canalés?
I spent a day playing in my kitchen this week. Last month I received a gift from a dear friend. I got to know Kate through LivingTastefully (one of the upsides of having a blog!) and last September I met Kate and her husband, John, when Bill and I were in New York attending a wedding. We were welcomed into their beautiful home and still talk about the wonderful time we had with them in the historic town of Canajoharie.
Kate surprised me with Sablés Maison, a French cookie stamp with three interchangeable silicone disks -- one of the Eiffel Tower, Sacré-Coeur, and the Arc de Triomphe -- with a book of French cookie recipes included. Kate knows (oh, how she knows) of my love for France and French pastry, and she was correct in assuming that I would love this gift.
I made both a sweet and a savory cookie. Sablés Tout Chocolat, one of the recipes that accompanied the stamps and sandwiched with Espresso Crème, was the sweet cookie; the savory is a spice-filled, buttery shortbread flavored with curry, tumeric, cumin, and cayenne. It's a great little treat along with an apéritif and is extremely easy to craft as a sliced log cookie. Don't feel like you need to own a set of these stamps to enoy this savory shortbread.
• 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
• 2 tablespoons sugar
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon curry powder
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
• 1/4 teaspoon ground tumeric
• 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
• 1 1/4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour, plus extra for shaping into a log
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer beat together the butter and sugar until smooth. Add the salt, curry powder, cumin, pepper, tumeric, and cayenne. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and beat until combined. Add the flour and continue to mix until incorporated.
2. Turn the shortbread dough out onto a large sheet of waxed paper. With floured hands, press the dough into a strip about 2-inches wide with a length of 12-inches. Wrap the dough in the waxed paper and refrigerate for about 15 minutes. This will make it easier to shape. Transfer dough to a piece of plastic wrap and using the plastic as an aid, roll the dough back and forth into a log. Wrap and return to the refrigerator for at least an hour.
3. PREHEAT OVEN to 325˚F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove the shortbread log from the refrigerator. Using a very sharp paring knife (or a piece of fine thread) slice the log into 1/4-inch-thick disks. Transfer pieces to baking sheet, spacing 1/2-inch apart.
4. Place baking sheet on the center rack of oven and bake until set, about 12 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool. Shortbread can be kept in an air-tight container for up to 2 months.
• 200 grams unbleached, all-purpose flour, plus additional for rolling cookies
• 80 grams granulated sugar
• 40 grams Dutch-processed cocoa powder, plus additional for rolling cookies
• Pinch of ground cinnamon
• 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 1 extra-large egg, room temperature
• Espresso Crème, for filling (recipe below)
1. In a medium-size bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, and cinnamon.
2. Place the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until smooth. Add the egg and beat until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl when necessary.
3. Add the dry ingredients to the butter-egg mixture and beat until just combined and no streaks of flour can be seen. Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour.
4. PREHEAT OVEN to 325˚ F. Remove dough from refrigerator and let warm a bit. This is a rather dry dough and will roll easier if it is not very cold. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. On a lightly-floured work surface (I like to combine some flour with some cocoa powder), and using about 1/4 of the dough at a time, roll to a 1/8-inch thickness. Use a 1 1/2-inch round cookie cutter (or any other shape, or size) to cut the cookies. Dust off any traces of flour with a pastry brush if necessary. Transfer to the baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough.
5. Bake the cookies on the middle rack of the preheated oven for approximately 13 minutes; transfer to a cooling rack.
6. While the cookies are cooling, mix together the Espresso Crème.
• 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
• 1 1/2 cups Confectioners' sugar
• 1/8 teaspoon salt
• 1 1/2 tablespoons espresso powder (such as Medaglia D'Oro) dissolved in 1/8 cup hot water
• 1 teaspoon Cognac
1. Combine the butter and Confectioners' sugar in a medium bowl and mix until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until fully combined and smooth.
2. Either spread or pipe espresso cream in between cooled wafer cookies to create a sandwich.
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Jennifer from Shawnee, Kansas, was the winner of Mastering the Art of French Eating! Thanks to everyone who left a comment for this drawing.
If you are anything like me and constantly dream of being in France, constantly dream of living in France, or just have the desire for a short visit to immerse yourself in France's culinary history, this is the book for you. (Read the Wall Street Journal's review of Mastering the Art of French Eating, HERE). Author Ann Mah writes of her life in Paris after moving there with her diplomat husband in 2008, only to find herself on her own when he is transferred to Iraq for a year. The book chronicles Mah's process of acclimating into French life and discovering the unique foods of different French regions. When I am left only to my dreams, experiencing France through Ann Mah's writing is the next best thing to actually being there!
Ann Mah's publisher, Penquin Group, will be giving away one copy of Mastering the Art of French Eating to a LivingTastefully reader. All you need to do to be entered into the drawing is leave a comment in the comment section of this post by the end of the day December 13th. At publisher's request, entries will be limited to the U.S. and Canada.
Since the book giveaway is about all things French, the recipe today is for Sablés de Trouville; a rolled, fan-shaped French cookie filled with almonds and lemon -- possibly one of my favorite flavor combinations. And to amp up the citrusy lemon taste just a bit, I drizzled the tips of the cookies with a mix of confectioners' sugar and fresh lemon juice; then sprinkled the glaze of icing with coarse, sparkly sugar (think holiday cookie platters!).
an adapted recipe from Debra F. Weber, About, inc.
• 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
• 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 1/2 cups ground, blanched almonds
• 2 large egg yolks
• 1 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
• Confectioners' sugar
• Fresh lemon juice
1. Beat butter together with lemon zest, almond extract and vanilla extract until fluffy.
2. Gradually beat in the sugar and ground almonds until combined.
3. Beat in the eggs yolks.
4. Working slowly, beat in flour a little at a time.
5. Gather the dough into a ball and refrigerate, wrapped in plastic, for at least 2 hours.
6. PREHEAT OVEN to 400˚F
7. Divide dough into 3 portions. Keep portions you are not working with in the refrigerator until needed.
8. Roll the dough between 1/8 to 1/4-inch thick (see NOTE below). Using a round cookie cutter approximately 5-inch in diameter (or a 5-inch bowl or plate as a guide), cut dough into circles; then cut each circle into quarters.
9. Transfer each triangle to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or silpat. Bake for approximately 6-8 minutes.
10. Cool cookies on a rack. When completely cooled, mix together Confectioners' sugar and lemon juice in a small bowl, using proportions to create a mixture the consistency of heavy cream. Spoon a small amount of the lemon-sugar mixture onto the tips of the cookies and sprinkle with coarse, decorative sugar.
NOTE: The original recipe instructs to roll cookies to 1/4-inch and bake for 5 to 6 minutes. I always prefer a thinner (crisper) cookie and a little browness around the edges; therefore I have increased my baking time by a couple of minutes. Roll and bake cookies to your preference.
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