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Tag Archive: baking

Star-of-the-Show Apple Pie

November 15, 2018 Print this page

Looking for a simple, yet show-stopping Thanksgiving dessert? Try this apple pie topped with pie crust stars. A creative twist on a classic favorite.

Adapted from NY Times Cooking

Ingredients

Prep Time 3 hr
Cooking Time 1 hr
Total Time 4 hr
Yield 1 pie (about 8-12 servings)

FOR THE CRUST:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Generous pinch of sea salt

2 1/2 sticks of cold unsalted butter, cubed

1/4 cup ice water (you may need a little more)

FOR THE FILLING:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 pounds apples, peeled, cored and cut into chunky wedges (I used Granny Smith, Fuji and Honeycrisp)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or a generous pinch of allspice, cloves and nutmeg)

3/4 cup sugar

Pinch of salt

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

1 egg, beaten

Directions

FOR THE CRUST:

In a food processor, pulse together the flour and salt. Add the butter and pulse until it’s the size of small peas. Drizzle in the water, a tablespoon at a time, until a firm (but not sticky) dough forms.

Dump the dough and any floury remnants onto a well-floured work space. Gently form into a smooth ball of dough, being careful not to overwork. Cut the dough ball in half and chill for at least 2 hours.

Once chilled, roll out one piece of dough on a well-floured work space. You want the dough to be an inch to an inch and a half bigger than your pie tin. For example, I used a 9 inch tin, so I rolled my dough to a little more than 10 inches in diameter. Make sure you continuously flip and flour the dough so it doesn’t stick to your rolling pin or work surface.

Carefully pick up your dough and press it into your pie tin. Using a fork, prick several holes in the crust to get out all the air bubbles. Trim the overhang, crimp or style as you desire, and put the pie crust in the freezer to chill for at least half an hour.

FOR THE FILLING:

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Once melted, add the apples and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the spices, sugar and salt and cook until the apples just begin to soften, about 5-7 minutes.

Sprinkle the flour and cornstarch over the apples and quickly stir to incorporate. Cook until thickened, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the apple cider vinegar, and allow to cool to room temperature. (You can put it in the fridge to speed the process up.)

TO ASSEMBLE:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Once the apples have cooled, gently spoon them into your pie crust, making sure the top is even. Set aside.

Roll out your other piece of dough on a well-floured workspace until it’s about 1/4-inch thick. Using a floured star-shaped cookie cutter, cut out pieces of dough and gently place them atop the pie. Once you’ve worked your way through the dough, squish it back together and roll out another piece. (Don’t do this too many times, otherwise the pie crust will be tough!)

Place the pie on a baking sheet and brush the top with the egg. Place in the oven on a medium rack and cook for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375 and cook until bubbling and golden-brown, about 30 to 40 minutes.

Allow to cool to room temperature (at least an hour if you can stand it), then cut and serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. Best eaten day of!


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Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

October 6, 2018 Print this page

The fall antidote to your standard banana bread. Sweet, nutty and moist, this loaf is sure to become your favorite October breakfast.

Adapted from King Arthur Flour

Ingredients

Prep Time
Cooking Time
Total Time 1 hr 20 min
Yield 1 loaf, about 8-12 servings

1/2 cup vegetable oil or coconut oil, melted

2/3 cup granulated sugar

2/3 cup brown sugar

2 large eggs

1/3 cup coffee (or 1/3 cup water + 1 tablespoon instant coffee granules)

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or 1/4 teaspoon each nutmeg, allspice and cloves)

3/4 cup dark chocolate chunks (also great with white chocolate chips)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9″x5″ loaf pan with parchment paper and lightly grease it with vegetable or coconut oil.

In a large bowl, whisk together the oil and sugars until well-combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, and whisk to incorporate. Add in coffee and vanilla.

Fold in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice. Keep going until all traces of flour are just gone. Then, fold in the chocolate chunks.

Using a spatula to help, pour the batter into the preprepared loaf pan, spreading out so the top is even. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick comes out clean in the center, about an hour and ten minutes. Start checking the bread at the hour mark; it may also need an additional ten minutes or so if your oven runs cold.

Let cool in the loaf pan for half an hour, then transfer to a wire rack. Serve immediately or wrap tightly with cling wrap or foil. Best within a few days, but good for up to a week.


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On Love and Garlic Knots

November 5, 2017 Leave your thoughts Print this page

Every autumn as the leaves start to change, a sudden itch to bake pops into my mental periphery. I find myself daydreaming in class about French pastries and cinnamon, fantasizing about the ways I could reinvent chocolate chip cookies or braid a loaf of challah. As my friends can tell you, this is the season where the communal Tupperware container makes frequent appearances, gracing its audience with piles of brownies and cake slices. To me at least, fall and baking go hand-in-hand, and no autumnal meal would be complete without a sweet or bread-y sidekick.

As I stand in my kitchen stirring a caramel sauce or kneading dough, my mind turns reflective. In these repetitive motions, I think. A lot. And every fall, for some reason, I think about love.

Maybe it was because fall was the season when I first literally fell from someone. It was seventh grade, when I had the poofiest hair and biggest chutzpah you’d ever seen. I had a huge crush on this kid in a few of my classes, and one day, I decided to call him up and ask him to hang out. (Spoiler: he said yes, but to this day, it was truly one of the most awkward nights of my life.)

Honestly? Mistake. What was I thinking?! I was twelve and already a loud, ballsy feminist. The world of teenage boys was certainly not ready for adolescent Abby, who was ready for a mature man while still wearing peace sign scarves from Justice. Even though I commend my younger self for being so confident, I do wish I had waited. Because my very sensitive little heart got very disheartened when things didn’t go as planned.

After that, my love life was basically nonexistent until senior year, when I tried to give “romance” another try. I let myself be vulnerable and was honest with my emotions — which was kinda badass, I guess. But I got really, really badly hurt. It was the wrong time, and I picked the wrong person.

I got to college thinking things would be different. Boys would be more mature! Someone out there would be looking for an independent, quirky, strong-willed woman like myself! And I laugh. I’m sure people are out there, they gotta be. But so far, I have been disappointed. Young people are so into hookup culture, and I, as a closeted 40-something, am not. College students can be so wishy-washy and last-minute about things and people and plans. And even though it’s 2017 — where women should be able to ask out men (or other women!) without it being weird — initiating and being forward has never gone well for the potato. Ugh.

Part of it is patience. I’ve just gotta let go and let love find me. And sure, I can be all yoga-y about it and say, “I am a complete individual on my own, I do not need anyone to complete me. What you seek is surely seeking you, don’t be attached to ideas or people. Let the universe take you where it shall.” But you know what? That’s not really how I feel most of the time.

How do I feel? I feel frustrated. I feel frustrated that I still scare people away because I have opinions and personality and spunk. I feel frustrated that people still don’t respect my time. I feel frustrated how seemingly little people can seem to care. I feel frustrated that all of that — the inconsistency, the blasé spontaneity, the forgetfulness — is somehow okay. I feel frustrated that this is the same trope I’ve been experiencing since the first time I ever asked someone out seven years ago.

And you know what? It’s okay for your feelings about life and love to not be tied up in a perfect little box with a ribbon on top. It’s okay to be angry and frustrated and salty with the way societal norms are. It’s okay to want love and want to be loved and cry about it not being there in the way you want. It’s okay to have emotions, even “negative” ones.

So I guess that’s why I turn to carbohydrates. Because quite frankly, carbohydrates never fail to satisfy the romantic love I crave.

Apologies for the rant. I am truly an optimistic, upbeat person 90-95% of the time. But I think it’s important to share that 5-10% of pessimism, saltiness and frustration, because our multifaceted nature only makes us more endearingly human.

Anyway, to me, there is nothing more tender than biting into a fresh cookie, biscuit or roll. That doughiness, that warmth, that butteriness just melts all of the frustration away. One cannot possibly be sad whilst eating a homemade baked good: that is a scientific fact.

So, when I was feeling sad and nervous and anxious and disheartened last week, I made garlic knots. Because garlic can cure anything, I’m convinced.

I had such a fun time making these for my friends. My favorite part was tying them, because look at how cute they are! And each one is a little different. I find it simply adorable.

These are certainly a labor of love, but that’s my favorite part about baking. The more care you put into it, the more love you taste when you bite into that finished product. And having hot, crispy, chewy garlic knots last weekend was worth every second I put into making them.

Some notes! Please use bread flour. Bread flour means chewy, crispy garlic knots. Just get your butt over to Whole Foods and do it. And use lots of garlic. I actually adapted my recipe from the first time I made it to include more garlic. You wouldn’t want to make out with a vampire, anyway. (Sorry, I was never into Edward Cullen.)

Bony African feet! (Bon appétit in meme slang.)

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Garlic Knots

Ingredients

Prep Time 2 hr 30 min
Cooking Time 20 min
Total Time 3 hr
Yield 16 garlic knots

FOR THE KNOTS:

1/2 tbsp sugar

2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast

1 1/2 cups warm water (~110 degrees)

2 tbsp EVOO

2 1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp garlic powder

4 cups of bread flour

FOR THE GARLIC DRIZZLE:

8 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 stick of salted butter (1/2 cup)

1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped

Directions

In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the sugar, yeast and warm water. Make sure the water isn’t too hot, or else the yeast will die! Stir together with a spoon and let sit until the yeast are nice and bubbly, about 10 minutes.

Add the olive oil, salt, garlic powder, and 1 cup of the bread flour. Stir together with a spoon or the dough hook attachment on your stand mixer. Keep adding flour, 1 cup at a time, until the dough is thick. Knead with your hands on a well-floured work space or with the dough hook in the stand mixer until smooth and not sticky, about ten minutes. If the dough still clings to your fingers or palms after kneading, add more flour, 2 tbsp or so at a time, until it stops sticking. If the dough seems dry and crumbly, add more water, 1 tbsp at a time, until it becomes smoother.

Lightly oil a clean bowl with some olive oil and put the dough inside. Cover with a tea towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 90 minutes – 2 hours.

Once doubled, put the dough on a well-floured work space. Cut in half, then cut in half again. Cut each piece into four quarters, trying to keep each piece the same size. If you have a kitchen scale, use it! Simply weigh the whole dough ball and divide by 16 to determine your individual roll mass. If not, no worries, just eyeball it the best you can.

Place the dough balls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, cover with a tea towel, and let rise for 30 minutes.

When the 30 minutes are up, take a dough ball and, on a well-floured work space, roll it into a rope about 7-8 inches long. Tie it just as you would a knot. If you have excess dough after tying the knot, tuck it under the formed roll. Repeat with remaining dough balls.

Place back on baking sheet, cover with a tea towel, and let rise for another 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Add the garlic and parsley, stir, and let cook for a minute. Remove from the heat, cover with a lid, and let steep while the rolls rise.

Once the rolls have finished their final rise, lightly brush them with half of the garlic/parsley butter. Let bake until golden brown on the outside, about 18-20 minutes.

Brush with the remaining half of the garlic/parsley butter upon exiting the oven. Let cool for a few minutes, then serve immediately.


We’ll see when love will find me. But until then, I have garlic knots and some incredibly kickass friends to keep me company.


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Garlic Knots

November 4, 2017 Print this page

Feeling knotty? Then make these simply scrumptious garlic knots! You’ll never need to go to your local shady pizzeria again.

Adapted from this recipe

Ingredients

Prep Time 2 hr 30 min
Cooking Time 20 min
Total Time 3 hr
Yield 16 garlic knots

FOR THE KNOTS:

1/2 tbsp sugar

2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast

1 1/2 cups warm water (~110 degrees)

2 tbsp EVOO

2 1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp garlic powder

4 cups of bread flour

FOR THE GARLIC DRIZZLE:

8 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 stick of salted butter (1/2 cup)

1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped

Directions

In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the sugar, yeast and warm water. Make sure the water isn’t too hot, or else the yeast will die! Stir together with a spoon and let sit until the yeast are nice and bubbly, about 10 minutes.

Add the olive oil, salt, garlic powder, and 1 cup of the bread flour. Stir together with a spoon or the dough hook attachment on your stand mixer. Keep adding flour, 1 cup at a time, until the dough is thick. Knead with your hands on a well-floured work space or with the dough hook in the stand mixer until smooth and not sticky, about ten minutes. If the dough still clings to your fingers or palms after kneading, add more flour, 2 tbsp or so at a time, until it stops sticking. If the dough seems dry and crumbly, add more water, 1 tbsp at a time, until it becomes smoother.

Lightly oil a clean bowl with some olive oil and put the dough inside. Cover with a tea towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 90 minutes – 2 hours.

Once doubled, put the dough on a well-floured work space. Cut in half, then cut in half again. Cut each piece into four quarters, trying to keep each piece the same size. If you have a kitchen scale, use it! Simply weigh the whole dough ball and divide by 16 to determine your individual roll mass. If not, no worries, just eyeball it the best you can.

Place the dough balls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, cover with a tea towel, and let rise for 30 minutes.

When the 30 minutes are up, take a dough ball and, on a well-floured work space, roll it into a rope about 7-8 inches long. Tie it just as you would a knot. If you have excess dough after tying the knot, tuck it under the formed roll. Repeat with remaining dough balls.

Place back on baking sheet, cover with a tea towel, and let rise for another 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Add the garlic and parsley, stir, and let cook for a minute. Remove from the heat, cover with a lid, and let steep while the rolls rise.

Once the rolls have finished their final rise, lightly brush them with half of the garlic/parsley butter. Let bake until golden brown on the outside, about 18-20 minutes.

Brush with the remaining half of the garlic/parsley butter upon exiting the oven. Let cool for a few minutes, then serve immediately.


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Chewy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

October 23, 2017 Leave your thoughts Print this page

Hello again, friends! I’ve been cooking up a storm, so I’m back again for another post. I hope you’re ready for some fat, decadent cookies.

In other news, it’s October, but still feels like summer. What gives, New York? (Or more like, what gives, climate change?) I’ve got a pile of sweaters in my closet just waiting to be worn, but the weather refuses to budge away from tank top temperatures. UGH.

While this complaint is justifiable — it shouldn’t be 75 degrees in the second half of October — part of the problem is that I’m an incredibly impatient person. I always have been: patience is an Achilles heel of mine. As I child, I couldn’t last for more than 45 minutes in a museum or aquarium. I’d work myself up into a tizzy if I didn’t know what I was doing each day. Lines and long car rides were the death of me (and my poor parents).

Patience is something I’ve been coming back to again and again recently. Because lately, I’ve been especially antsy about getting things to happen.

Everything I do is fast. I walk fast. I talk fast. I jump into friendships fast. I make decisions fast. I get tests done fast. I practice yoga fast. My brain is constantly going at lightning speed, quickly bouncing from one thing to the next. It doesn’t help that I live in New York City, one of the most fast-paced environments in the world. Simply stepping out my door makes me want to move and think even faster.

Slowing down is honestly so challenging for me. I wish I was some chill, laid-back girl-next-door who could just be spontaneous with life. But alas, I’m not she, nor will I ever be she.

And you know what? That’s okay. Being an energetic planner means that I’m great at initiating, whether that be in conversations or lunch dates. It means I give a shit about getting shit done. Authenticity is my jam, and I will never stray from who I am just because I’m not “chill” enough.

That being said, we all have things we could and should work on, and one of mine is definitely patience. I need to be more patient with people: friendships take time, and everyone has flaws and approaches things differently. I need to be more patient with life: love will find me when the time is right, when the person is right. And I need to be more patient with myself: lessons cannot be learned overnight, and something like anxiety takes a lifetime to conquer.

But one place where I can definitely exercise patience? The kitchen!

I personally see cooking as a laboratory for things I need to work out in my life. (Perhaps this is why I always hide in the kitchen when I get stressed out?) So this week, I worked out some impatience by baking some cookies that needed to chill in the fridge for a few hours before baking. (See the theme?)

No matter how you prepare them, cookies are delicious. But allowing some doughs to chill in the fridge before baking can do wonders for texture. Have you ever bitten into a thick, sensuous, chewy cookie? Part of that is likely flour content, but part of it too is that fridge time. When doughs are cooled in this fashion, the fat (butter) melts more slowly in the oven, thus preventing the cookies from becoming flat and crunchy.

And who would want a flat, crunchy cookie when you could have a sumptuous mouthful of peanut butter and chocolate?

These are pretty straightforward. My only recommendations? Use salted peanut butter. Crunchy, creamy, whatever, doesn’t matter. But please use salted. And DO NOT flatten the cookies before baking them in the oven. Drop ’em on the baking sheet and let them be. You want to maintain that magical thickness.

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Chewy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

Prep Time 15 min
Cooking Time 15 min
Total Time 3 hr
Yield ~30 cookies

2 sticks of unsalted butter (1 cup), softened

1 1/4 cups of brown sugar

2 eggs, at room temperature

1 cup of salted peanut butter (crunchy or smooth, up to you)

1 tbsp vanilla extract

2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt (if you aren’t into salt, use unsalted peanut butter and keep salt at this amount)

1 tsp baking soda

2 cups of dark chocolate chips or chunks

Directions

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a bowl with an electric beater), cream the butter and sugar. Scrape down the bowl. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until incorporated. Scrape down the bowl again. Add the peanut butter and beat until smooth. Add the vanilla and give a quick beat just to incorporate.

Add the flour, 1 cup at a time. Scrape down the bowl between each addition. During the final addition, add the salt and baking soda. The cookie dough should be quite thick: if you’re using a stand mixer, the dough should stick and hold its shape around the hook attachment. If still feeling a bit too wet, add up to 1/4 cup more flour.

If you’re good to go, fold in the chocolate chips with a spatula. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let chill in the fridge for 1-3 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with plastic wrap.

With an ice cream scoop or two large spoon, shape the cookies. Do not flatten them in any manner. Space them evenly on the baking sheet. Bake until the edges begin to turn golden brown and the middle springs back with a gentle touch, about 12-14 minutes.

Let cool slightly, then transfer to a cooling rack. Serve warm, or keep in an airtight container for 3-4 days.


Here’s to zen, my friends. Maybe one day I too can be a chilled-out cookie.


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