Cookies

Chocolate Chip Macaroons

I’ll admit it – this recipe is coming down the pipeline a little bit late. While I would have liked to post it before Passover, so that friends and family could impress their peers with these delicious mounds of goodness, time was not on my side.

However, all hope is not lost. While macaroons have a reputation for being the “Passover cookie,” they are under appreciated at all other times of the year. I’ll take this moment to point out that that they make a gift for a gluten-free friend, or for any die-hard coconut lover.

This recipe also defies all stereotypes about these little coconut mounds. While many of us probably have negative associations with macaroons after gnawing down on the spongy cakes that came out of aluminum tin cans, these cookies are different.  They are rich, moist, and sure to win over even your pickiest of guests.

Chocolate Chip Macaroon Recipe (adapted from The Kitchn)

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups sweetened, shredded coconut
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • chocolate chips

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Combine the egg whites a large bowl and whisk on medium speed until frothy (1-2 minutes). Add the sugar, vanilla, and salt and whisk again until incorporated.
  3. Add the chocolate chips and coconut and stir until the coconut is evenly coated with the egg mixture.
  4. Using your hands or a spoon, mold the coconut mixture into balls about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Place on the baking sheet about 2 inches apart.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the tops of the macaroons are golden brown.
  6. Remove and let cool for 10 minutes.
Dessert · Fruit

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble

One of the things I love most about summer is the sudden appearance of fruit desserts. I’ve seen them pop up just about everywhere, from the fanciest of restaurants to my friend’s laid back weeknight BBQ. The varieties are endless, beginning with berries in June and transferring over to peaches and other stone fruits as the season progresses. Even the toppings differ, ranging from streusels to sweet puffy biscuits.

My personal favorite fruit dessert is the crumble, a simple dish of baked fruit with oats in the topping. The oats compliment the already delicious combination of flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon, adding a touch of crunch to each bite. If you’re curious about the distinctions between summer fruit desserts, like what makes a crumble different from a crisp,  check out this article via the Huffington Post.

Rhubarb Crumble Food Blog (1 of 1)

There are a few options for the filling. Purists will stick with one fruit, but I always prefer two (and a touch of zest, if you have it!). This particular crumble features strawberries and rhubarb, balancing tart and sweet flavors. Both fruits are on the watery side, however, so add corn starch to the mix if you prefer a thicker filling.

Rhubarb Crumble Food Blog (1 of 1)-2

From start to finish, crumbles should take no longer than an hour to prepare. And don’t forget – while you’re waiting for the fruit to bake, run out and buy a pint of vanilla ice cream. You’ll thank me later.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Recipe (adapted from William-Sonoma Essentials of Baking)

Filling:

  • 6 stalks of rhubarb, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 2.5 cups strawberries, hulled and quartered (if large)
  • scant 1/2 cup sugar (I used a bit less)
  • juice and zest of half a lemon

Topping:

  • 1 cup of flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a square Pyrex dish (about 8 x 8)
  2. In a large bowl, mix together fruits, white sugar, and lemon juice. Stir to combine and pour into the prepared dish.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, white sugar, brown sugar, and oats. Slowly add the melted butter and stir until small clumps begin to form.
  4. Spoon crumbs onto the fruit mixture and spread evenly. Bake for 40 minutes, or until the top crumbs are golden brown. Let cool and serve.
Dessert · Fruit

Free-form Apple Galette

Finished tart

In DC, it’s easy to miss the arrival of fall.  September days often reach up to 80 degrees, and it’s totally acceptable to wear shorts and flip flops outside the house.

Since I can’t count on the weather to indicate the changing of seasons, I’ve come to rely on other context clues.  This year, that clue was the arrival of apples.  Sometime around the middle of September, apples began to pop up everywhere, taking the place of peaches at the farmer’s market and lining the center stands in grocery stores.

And just like that, it’s apple season! Apple season is one of my favorites for the following reasons:  1) I love apple picking 2) I can’t get enough of apples with peanut butter 3) apples usher in a baking season full of spices, pumpkin, and cranberries. I decided to celebrate, searching for an apple recipe that was fancy looking but not too difficult.

forming the galette

Enter the galette, or what should be known as the “lazy man’s pie”.  The galette still looks and tastes like your favorite apple pie, but takes about half the prep time.  It also requires no special pots or pans, taking its form from the filling and sitting on your everyday baking sheet.

Despite the reduced difficulty level, the galette doesn’t lose any of its flavor. In this galette, the flavor is due largely to the combination of chopped and sliced apples.  The chopped apples bake until soft and almost melted, taking on the texture of a chunky applesauce and creating a unique texture in every bite.  The galette dough also browns wonderfully, producing a flaky texture that looks like it came from a bakery.

gallete

Free-form Apple Galette (adapted from Food and Wine)

Ingredients:

Galette Pastry:

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 10 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/3 cup water, ice cold

Filling:

  • 4 apples, about 1.5 pounds (I used golden delicious)
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp of cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Instructions:

Galette dough:

  1.  In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, and salt.
  2. Using a pastry cutter, slowly mix the butter into the dough.  Add about half at a time, mixing until butter is well incorporated and the dough has a crumbly texture (some small chunks of butter can still be present).
  3. Slowly add the water to the dough and mix with the pastry cutter.  Once the dough becomes too sticky, finish kneading it with your hands.
  4. Turn the mixed dough onto a floured cutting board and form it into a small flat disk.  Chill the disk in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Apple filling:

  1. Peel and core the four apples, cutting half of the apples into slices and the other half into 1/2 inch chunks.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon and set aside.

Forming the galette:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Remove the disk of dough from the fridge and place on a large piece of parchment paper. Using a rolling pin (or a cold wine bottle, in my case), roll the dough out to a 12 x 14 rectangle.  If the rolling pin sticks to the dough, rub it with flour.
  3. Transfer the rolled out dough to a large sheet pan.  Spread the chopped apples on the dough, leaving a 1-2 inch border from the edge (you’ll need this in order to fold up the edges to form the galette). Top the chopped apples with 1 tbsp of honey.
  4. Place the sliced apples on top of the chopped apples in vertical lines.  Top the sliced apples with the cinnamon sugar mix.
  5. Dot the top of the galette with the remaining butter and fold up the edges. Place the galette in the oven and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the galette is golden brown on top and the apples are soft when poked with a fork.