Posts Tagged ‘Cookies’

The Ultimate Chrismukkah Cookie

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

Candy Cane Toffee Crisps

Candy Cane Toffee Crisps

I actually detest this new, made-up word “Chrismukkah” for too many reasons to list here. But in a culinary sense, I just experienced it in its purest form when I created a cookie of sorts inspired by my favorite Passover treat but flavored for Christmastime to share with friends. I am a huge fan of matzo brittle, praline strips, matzo toffee, or whatever you like to call it. I make it every year for Passover, and I just love the flavor and texture of a thin, crisp matzo covered in toffee, chocolate, and nuts. What could be bad? Matzo for Christmas, though, probably would not be the biggest hit.

My Grandpa Ted had pointed out to me many years ago that matzo and Carr’s Water Crackers taste and feel the same. A Carr’s Water Cracker, however, has the aesthetic advantage of being perfectly round. He loved to make super-chic-but-not-at-all-pesadich matzo brei hors d’oeuvres with them for this reason. Then it dawned on me: I could make matzo brittle year-round with Carr’s crackers! Once I got going, I knew I was on to something: use crushed candy canes instead of nuts. I never loved candy cane bark as much as the idea of it. But if candy cane bark could be on a toffee coated cracker, well, that I could learn to love. And, boy, do I!

I served these Candy Cane Toffee Crisps Saturday night at my annual holiday party, affectionately called “Matzo Ball & Mistletoe.” They were truly the perfect December fusion sweet treat, and one that both Tara and Jen have asked me to share. So, here it is:

Candy Cane Toffee Crisps

1 sleeve Carr’s Water Crackers
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup crushed candy canes

Bubbling Toffee Toffee Coated Crackers Melted Chocolate Chocolate Coated Crisps

Preheat the oven to 325F.

Line a rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Place the crackers on the sheet pan in a single layer and set aside.

In small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the brown sugar and boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. It will bubble and look frothy. Pour the mixture evenly over the crackers to coat them completely. Place the sheet pan in the oven for 8 minutes.

Remove the sheet pan from the oven and sprinkle the crackers with the chocolate chips. Turn the oven off and return the pan to the oven for 5 more minutes, until the chocolate chips are soft and melted to the touch.

Remove the sheet pan from the oven and gently spread the chocolate evenly over the toffee-coated crackers. Using a small offset spatula, remove the individual crackers to a cooling rack. Sprinkle with the crushed candy canes and cool for 30 minutes before storing in the refrigerator.

Lavender, Vanilla Bean, and Rosewater…Oh My!

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

Lavender is making a hug come back in my kitchen this spring. I am tucking it under the skin with lemon zest and thyme when I am panfrying a butterflied chicken. It’s floating in my simple syrup for a bold and distinctive lemonade. And now it is taking over my cookie plate.

The following recipe for my Lavender Vanilla Bean Tea Biscuits with Rosewater Icing is a new favorite. As soon as these shortbread cookies leave the oven a sweet perfume pervades the kitchen. Fragrant and mildly floral, they are an unexpected treat for a summertime garden party, paired with a tall glass of herbed tea or crisp lemonade. It is important to use the seeds of a vanilla bean instead of the more typical extract so that the natural and rich flavor shines. The dried lavender gets a little boost from the optional rosewater icing.

for the cookies:
1 cup sugar
¾ cup (1½ sticks) butter at room temperature
2 eggs
seeds of one vanilla bean
1 teaspoon dried lavender, crushed
2½ cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon fine sea salt

for the optional icing:
2 cups powdered sugar
3-4 tablespoons milk or water
1/2 teaspoon rosewater

To make the cookie dough, beat the sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla bean seeds, and lavender in a large mixing bowl until fluffy and well combined. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt, and then stir it into the butter/sugar mixture. Divide the dough in two equal parts and roll into logs in plastic wrap. Store in the refrigerator for at least one hour, or until chilled enough to slice.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Once the dough is chilled, cut the logs crosswise into 1/8 inch-thick circles and space an inch apart on a lined or greased cookie sheet. Bake for 7-9 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven to a cooling rack.

Meanwhile, prepare the icing. Whisk the powdered sugar, milk, and rosewater together in a mixing bowl and drizzle over the tea biscuits once they are completely cool.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Store the cookies in an airtight container for up to one week once the icing has fully dried.