Delectable – Holiday Refresh

pear cookies with coffee
Caramelized pear, crystallized ginger and walnut

We served Delectable at the recent Northern California Independent Booksellers Association Conference in San Francisco. Inspired by caramelized pear desserts in upscale restaurants, Delectable’s Bosc pears with underlying hints of butter and brown sugar fuse with the cookie’s shortbread-style base and subtle walnut and crystallized ginger flavors. A tin of these bars makes a wonderful hostess gift or addition to a family picnic. Simply delectable.

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed, divided
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger root
2 tablespoons crystallized ginger,
chopped medium
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup walnuts, finely chopped
3-1/2 cups Bosc pears, slivered
3 tablespoons butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 375° F. Lightly butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch by-13-inch baking dish. Set aside. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream together butter, sugar and 1/3 cup light brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in vanilla, fresh grated ginger root and crystallized ginger. Blend until just incorporated.
2. Whisk together flour, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl and add to butter mixture. Beat until just blended. Stir in walnuts.
3. Press dough into prepared pan (smaller dishes will create a thicker cobbler dish). Spread pears evenly over the dough in pan. Sprinkle remaining 1/3 cup brown sugar over pears. Drizzle melted butter over the top.
4. Bake for 40 minutes or until knife comes out clean. Let cool for 15 minutes. Cut into squares and serve.

Fresh Pineapple – Inviting

inviting, fresh pineapple, rum and coconut cookie
Quick note from Kelly: I prefer to bake with the pineapple mixture on. I note in the recipe to place the pineapple on afterward because it’s difficult to gauge how wet the pineapple will be. You might want to experiment. I like the flavor of the pineapple baked with the cookie. If the cookie wants to break because of the pineapple, you might want to drain a bit of juice or go ahead and place it on top afterward.

This week and last I noticed nice pineapples in the store and thought of Inviting. The sweet, chunky topping offers the favorite tastes of pineapple, coconut and rum (optional). Served on a deliciously simple cookie; every bite is filled with texture, sweetness and a nod to living on a tropical island.

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon coconut extract (vanilla extract can substitute)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

For Topping
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1-1/2 cups chopped fresh pineapple
2/3 cup shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened, your preference)
3 Tablespoons run, or to taste (or juice from the pineapple if no rum)

1) In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in egg and coconut extract. Beat until well blended.
2) Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl and add to butter mixture. Beat until just incorporated.
3) Form sough into 2 logs (1-1/2 inches in diameter) and wrap each in parchment paper. Roll logs on counter to form a consistent round shape. Freeze for 30 minutes or refrigerate for 2 hours.
4) Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Slice logs into 1/4-in-thick rounds. Arrange slices 1-1/2 inches apart on a parchment-lined or nonstick baking sheet. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until bottoms are golden brown. Let sit for a few minutes and transfer to a cooling rack.
5) To make topping: In a medium saucepan, saute butter, brown sugar and pineapple over medium heat. Bring to a low boil. Reduce heat to low. Stir in shredded coconut and rum, summer for 3 minutes. Place 1 founded teaspoon of pineapple mixture onto each cookie.

Familiar Memory – Comfort Food Cookie

This recipe begins with an updated version of my grandma’s sugar cookie dough. I love the recipe and the original recipe card in her handwriting. My mom, grandma, and aunt Shirley taught me to bake as a child. My aunt Carol continues the tradition today.

white plate with familiar memory cookies

Familiar Memory: Banana and Brown Sugar, Lemon and Sugar, and Pecan

These cookies are a lot of fun to make. With the dough rolled into a tube shape and partially frozen; you slice the dough. On the bottom slide you lightly place a quick-fried/caramelized banana. On top of the banana you lightly place a second slice of dough and (optional) stick in a pecan or walnut piece. The butter from the caramelization lightly browns and crisps the bottom slice. The top slice bakes over the banana and stays soft. The two texture and slight flavor differences add depth to the taste and the banana is a comfort addition. This is a must-bake cookie :) And thank you once again to the women bakers in my life.

Ingredients
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
4 bananas
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
6 Tablespoons light brown sugar
1/2 cup pecan quarters

Instructions
1- In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream together 1 cup butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in egg, vanilla, lemon zest and juice. Blend until well blended.
2- Whisk together flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl and add to the butter mixture. Beat until just incorporated.
3- Form dough into 4 logs (3/4 inch in diameter) and wrap each in parchment paper. Freeze for 30 minutes or refrigerate for 1-1/2 hours.
While the dough chills, peel and slice 1 banana for each log crossways into 1/2-inch-thick slices. For each banana, place 1-1/2 tablespoons light brown sugar on a small plate. Lightly press banana slices in brown sugar, so there is a light amount of sugar on each side. For each banana, melt 1 tablespoon butter in a medium pan over low heat. Quick-fry banana slices for 30 seconds on each side. Remove bananas from the pan, place on a plate and set aside. When all bananas are quick-fried, drizzle the caramelized butter-sugar mixture left in the pan over the top. The bananas don’t need to be dried or cooled to proceed.
5- Preheat oven to 400 F. Slice logs into 1/8-inch-thick rounds. Place half of the slices 1-1/2 inches apart on a parchment-lined or nonstick baking sheet. Place 1 banana slice on each cookie. Then top each with 1 remaining dough slice, sandwiching the banana between the two slices. Do not press the dough over the banana. During baking, the top slice will drape over banana to just meet with the bottom. Place 1 pecan quarter on each cookie top (optional), piercing the top slice rather than just laying the pecan on top. Bake for 7-10 minutes or until bottoms are golden brown. The bottom will be lightly crisp, while the top will be sift. Let sit for a few minutes and transfer to a cooling rack. Let set at least 5 minutes before eating.

Yields about 4 dozen

Eye Candy – Great Passover Cookie

no leavening, easter cookie, coconut macaroon, grown up cookie

 

Eye Candy                                                                           Yield about 2 dozen

Coconut, White Chocolate, and Pistachio
Crunches of coconut and pistachios come together with a hint of white chocolate in this not-too-sweet coconut macaroon – perfect for Easter, simple and fun to make. For best results, use a bar of high-quality white chocolate, not chips.

Ingredients
3/4 cup sugar
2-1/2 cups coconut, sweetened
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch salt
1/2 cup grated white chocolate (not chips, real chocolate)
1/3 cup roasted, unsalted pistachio meats, chopped

Baking Instructions

Preheat oven to 325° F. In a large bowl, gently mix together all of the ingredients.

Scoop mixture by 1 tablespoon portions, pat together with hands, and place 1 inch apart on a parchment-lined or nonstick baking sheet. Bake for 14-16 minutes or until just golden. Let sit for a few minutes and transfer to a cooling rack. Continue to cool for 10 minutes before serving.