Bibbity Bobbity Boo!

Tada! I’m back. I promise. I’m not sure what I’ve been doing that would excuse my 10 day hiatus, but I do have a delicious quick recipe for you.

I was making lemon tart a while back, and as I removed the crust from the oven to pour the lemony curd into the shell I dropped it. The little pieces of crust scattered everywhere! But I snagged a little piece from the pan and thoughtfully chewed on it while I swept up the other crumbs. I’m a sucker for pie crust. I was notorious for picking the crust off the pumpkin pie during Thanksgiving as a kid, so I guess not much has changed. I swapped out some white flour for whole wheat, sprinkled sea salt over the tops, and mixed turbindo sugar in for a delightful little crunch. The flavor is mild and the sweet/salt melting on your tongue is just my favorite. The cookies can be difficult to roll out, so I roll them out on plastic wrap and pop the little cookies up and onto my baking sheet.

Whole Wheat Shortbread, for pie crust lovers like Kaprise!

  • 1/2 cup of all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup of whole wheat  flour
  • 1/3 cup of sugar (I used a mixture of granulated and turbindo sugar)
  • 8 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon of flaky salt
  1. In a heatproof bowl, melt the butter until completely melted. Allow the butter to cool to room temperature
  2. Mix the flour, sugar, and salt into the melted butter. Knead for a minute or two until the ingredients come together.
  3. At this point, you may chill the dough for 30 minutes to allow the dough to firm up a little. This makes it easier to roll out and cut.
  4. But, I’m not patient enough to wait for the dough to firm, so I spread parchment paper or plastic wrap on my counter and use my little 1/2 inch fluted circle cookie cutter and punch out my cookies. Then I just lift the paper/wrap and pop the cookies onto a baking sheet
  5. Bake cookies at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown

Almond Kolaczki

I find myself in the kitchen, puttering around and measuring out cups of flour for a lot of different reasons… but I find myself leveling sugar and cracking eggs most when I’m hurt. Most people don’t realize the number of cookies and pies that I ease on to my counter is directly correlated to my happiness. It’s my way of healing myself… I put things together and make things whole and beautiful when I feel everything but. This summer has been a tough one, filled with lots of traveling and baking. Lots of baking. I have made hundreds of cookies, stewed pounds of fruit into jams and jellies, and whipped hundreds of eggs. So when a friend mentioned his grandmother used to make these cream cheese cookies that were light, flaky and dusted with snow white sugar I just had to try them.

I did a little research, and turns out the cookie he is talking about is “kolaczki.” The exact origins of the cookie is not known, but many countries claim it as their own and have their own variations. I only had a block of cream cheese and three boxes of butter in my refrigerator, so naturally I picked the easiest recipe that I had the ingredients for.

Instead of doing the traditional fruit filling, I rolled the dough into layers to enhance the flakiness and omitted the sugar and opted for almond paste. I took a tube of almost paste, dusted it with sugar and rolled it out thin. I sandwiched the thin almond paste between two layers of the kolaczki dough and cut scalloped circles dusted with raw sugar crystals. The result? A light cookie with a sweet almond layer, almost like a lighter and smaller almond croissant.

Kolaczki (Kaprise kitchen style)

  • 8 oz of cream cheese (I used Lucerne neufchatel cheese)
  • 12 oz of butter (3 sticks)
  • 3 cups of sifted all purpose flour
  • 7 oz of almond paste
  1. Let the cream cheese and butter soften at room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  2. Beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth and creamy
  3. Add 1/4 cup increments of flour, blending well. The dough will be very soft.
  4. Turn out on a lightly floured surface and shape into a square. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.
  5. After the dough has rested, roll out the almond paste and set aside.
  6. Roll out the dough into 1/4 inch thickness. Place the almond paste between two layers and roll once to adhere the layers.
  7. Cut cookies out of the dough. Re-roll as necessary.
  8. Bake at 350 F for 15-20 minutes.

🙂 Enjoy!

Procrastination

It is the end of the semester, and I should be frantically reading and studying for my exams. I have 4 of them. One of them is a 4 hour written exam… 4 hours. Thank you Professor B for keeping it old school and making it a written exam.

Instead of doing anything law school related, I took one look at the bright blue sky, jumped into my running gear and bopped my way through an easy 3 mile run. I had every intention of showering and walking to the library when I got back, instead I opened my refrigerator and saw the chocolate and cream cheese I had stashed. Two hours later? I was easing a pan filled with gooey whole wheat chocolate chip cookies out of the oven and easing a pan of cheesecake swirled brownies in. And the minute the brownies were out of the oven, I pretended not to be a bad law student, loaded my bag up. Then I hurried a plate of brownies and cookies to my concierge before guiltily walking to the library.

I obviously am sitting at the law school library and still procrastinating. I might have spent an hour popping the keys of my keyboard to clean the keys, and another 30 minutes posting these recipes…. but no matter. Theses brownies and cookies were well worth it. These cheesecake-marbled brownies were found on the veritable smitten kitchen website. I halved the brownie recipe and kept the cheesecake the same because I like a higher ratio of cheesecake to brownie in mine, however I am sure the chocolate lovers out there will prefer the original recipe. I also left the chocolate chips off the top, and swirled the brownies significantly less (because I was trying to get a heart shape in the pan…. which did not work very well).

Gooey Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies (interpreted from everywhere! everyone has chocolate chip cookie recipes that they swear by, and this is my take on chocolate chip cookies. You’ll notice that this recipe is large. You can easily halve the recipe, but I think that is unnecessary. I bake 12 cookies at a time, and make neat little 1 tablespoon balls of cookie dough and freeze them in 12 cookie containers. When you want cookies, you can just pull a container out and plop them on a sheet before baking. Just add one or two minutes to the overall baking time.)

  • 2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour*
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons of baking soda
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1  teaspoon of Kosher salt (the flaky kind)
  • 1 1/4 cups of  unsalted butter, softened (2 1/2 sticks of butter)
  • 3/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup of turbinado sugar (sugar in the raw)
  • 1 cup of sugar**
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 10 oz of 60% chocolate chips***
  • 3.5 oz of almond paste, cut into small cubes and tossed in a tablespoon of flour****

* I use Bob’s Red Mill Whole Wheat Flour for this round and the cookies were a pinch tougher than a normal cookie. I have had extremely good results with King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour.

**I used Organic Cane Sugar, but feel free to use regular white granulated sugar

*** I used Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Baking Chips in the dark brown bag. I like the largeness of the chips, but feel free to use anything else you like. I use almost the entire bag, save for a handful of chips that I eat while I’m baking.

**** I used Odense Almond Paste. (This is NOT marzipan). It comes in a 7 oz tube, I cut it in half and throw one side in the freezer to firm up before I cut it. I cut with an extremely thin and sharp knife and put the little cubes in a bowl with a little flour to prevent the little cubes from getting stuck together. Also, though I only use 1/2 of the tube, I think the cookies would benefit from the use of the entire tube. Some of the cookies were lacking the tangy almond paste, which I found disappointing.

  1. Cube almond paste (see ingredient notes)
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the butter, brown sugar, turbindo sugar, and white sugar together until creamy
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking well after each egg.
  4. Stir in vanilla.
  5. Add 1 cup of all purpose flour and baking soda and baking powder and salt still until evenly incorporated
  6. Add the remaining 1 cup of all purpose flour, 1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour, and stir until smooth
  7. Add the chocolate chips and almond paste cubes and stir until just incorporated
  8. Turn the oven to 350 F
  9. Spread parchment paper on a cookie sheet and drop 1 tablespoon rounds of cookie dough on the sheet about 2 inches apart. Flatten a little with the palm of your hand.
  10. Bake at 350 F for 15 minutes until just brown (check your oven to make sure that your cookies don’t need less or more time. My baking sheet is an industrial aluminum pan and so it tends to bake a little faster)

General Notes

  • I used turbinado sugar for the crunch it gives the cookies. Sometimes, to enhance the crunch in the cookies, I’ll increase the volume of this sugar and lower the brown sugar. I also add a drop or two of water in the white sugar to make up for the lack of brown sugar. The water helps achieve a deep molasses flavor in the cookies during baking, just be sure not to go overboard with this step.
  • These cookies bake at a lower temperature for longer, be patient, they are well worth the wait
  • Like most cookies, if you store this dough covered in your refrigerator, the flavors of the vanilla and sugar are enhanced and the cookies taste even better. The gluten in the flour relaxes and you get these amazingly tender and chewy cookies. I’m sure there are better explanations than mine out there, but I imagine it’s some sort of chemical reaction that creates a better cookie after the dough has rested in the refrigerator for a while. In any event, I tend to be on the impatient side, so I always make a pan of cookies before the dough gets anywhere near the refrigerator.
  • If you do store your dough in the refrigerator, make sure it is tightly wrapped and stored away from any smelly foods (like garlic/onions and leftover dinner). I have a sensitive nose, so the minute my cookies smell like dinner, I chuck them. Also, do not leave your dough in the refrigerator for more than a week. I’ve been told they can be left for 2 weeks… but something about eggs in flour for 2 weeks skeeves me out.
  • Do not melt your butter. Something about melted butter absorbs more flour and your dough turns into this weird texture. Do not melt! I’ve been told that softening the butter in 10 second intervals in a microwave is helpful. I didn’t grow up with a microwave, so I tried this and ended up with really hot butter coating the inside of my microwave. I usually take the butter out of the refrigerator, go for a run and take a shower before I start making the cookies. The butter is still firm but creamy at that point. The moment you see transparent yellow, throw it in the refrigerator until it firms up again.
  • Even if you are using parchment paper, make sure your pans are squeaky clean. If you have any residual oil or food on them from another meal, the oven will bake that smell and taste right into your cookies as they bake. Scrub those pans!
  • For non-stick pan users, you might consider lowering the temperature 10-25 degrees. Something about that dark coating makes cookies bake differently.

Kaprise Kitchen’s Inaugural Recipe

Welcome to Kaprise Kitchen!

To kick off this new shiny blog, here are the makings for Strawberry Key Lime Tart. I used red, ripe strawberries and these adorable little key limes. The key limes make me smile, they are these tight little ping pong ball limes with the tartest puckery flavor. And I love them! Plus, they keep relatively well in my refrigerator, which is always a plus.

For the crust: I like to contrast the sweet and tart filling of this tart with a flaky and slightly salty shortbread. Obviously, if the salty/sweet thing is not your cup of tea, feel free to omit the salt from the recipe and add a pinch more sugar to have a sweeter shortbread crust.

  • 1 stick (8 tbl) of unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup of sugar (you can use brown sugar for a dense crust, I used organic cane sugar)
  • 1 cup of all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp of flaky Kosher salt

For the filling: I really love the natural sweetness and tartness of the fruit in this tart, so I use less sugar than the average recipe. If you dislike tart desserts… dial the sugar up a few tablespoons

  • 2 large eggs (the size of your eggs is important, jumbo eggs will give you a looser filling, so you will have to add more of the other ingredients for this to work properly)
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons of flour, sifted
  • lime zest (if I can’t find organic and spray free fruit, I don’t add the zest because it normally contains the highest concentration of pesticides

Instructions (with picture guidance)

Melt the butter in a small pan, make sure not to burn or boil the butter. You just want it to be melted. (I might have very quietly added this pretty little pan to my box of things when I moved out of my parent’s house.)

In a bowl, stir together the ingredients for the crust. Flour, sugar, salt.

Add the melted butter to the dry ingredients and stir until you get a soft and pliable dough.

At this point you need to determine if you should add more flour or not. Sometimes my dough is too sticky and I’ll add a tablespoon or two more flour to make the dough less sticky. If the dough is oily, add more. But, your dough should look something like this:

Gather the dough into a ball at the bottom of the bowl, and put it in the refrigerator while you prepare the pan. Cover a 9 inch round pan in foil. (Remember, dull side up).

Remove your dough from the refrigerator and pat it neatly into the bottom of the pan.

Set your oven to 350 F and let the crust bake until it is lightly browned, about 20 minutes. You can see that I set my timer for 25 minutes and my crust was a little too crisp. (I don’t preheat my oven because I really never remember to until the last minute, and I recently saw a commercial that told me pre-heating wastes energy.)

Now! While your crust was happily baking away, you should get the filling made. Quickly soap and scrub out your bowl and flip it to dry while you zest and juice the limes.

Remember, if your fruit is organic and spray/pesticide free, you should zest the limes before squeezing for juice. It’s easier to zest whole limes than chopped/squeezed ones. I was lucky enough to find these little organic and low pesticide limes, so I zested away. I used about 1 tablespoon of zest. (See my cute little citrus Microplane? Don’t ever buy it. That little bugger’s handle broke off 4 months after I bought it.  Thumbs down.)

Now, take your naked little limes, chop them in half and squeeze them into a glass. (I actually have a Pyrex measuring cup that would have been super helpful in this exercise, but I didn’t use it.) Key limes have a lot of seeds, so you will need to either pick them out with your fingers or strain the juice through a mesh sieve. I didn’t want to use my fingers and I don’t own a sieve, so I flipped my (currently handle-less) Microplane over and poured the juice through that to catch the seeds. Obviously, I am simultaneously writing this blog and buying a mesh sieve online.

Now, mix together all of the filling ingredients (sans the strawberries). Make sure the eggs and flour are beaten in well so that your final filling sets smoothly.

Chop your strawberries. I de-stemmed and cut them to show the pretty insides and sprinkled a little lime juice on them.

At this point, your crust should be sitting on your counter. Reduce the oven temperature to 300 F. Pour the filling into the pan, and neatly arrange the strawberries on top of the filling. (You want to make sure that you don’t overwhelm the tart lime filling with the sweet strawberries, and be mindful that adding too many strawberries will make your filling too loose).

Bake at 300 F for 20 minutes, or until the center is set. And when it comes out of the oven, it should be shiny, beautiful and utterly mouthwatering. (I realize this picture doesn’t look much different than the one before, but I promise it is the fully baked tart, and you will be able to see the difference when you make it!)

Let the tart cool in the pan. Or you can be super impatient like I was and try to take it out of your non-spring form pan (also buying one of those right now!) and then realize that a 300 degree tart is really really hot. And PLOP it on your floor.

And even though you were terribly upset and mildly burnt from this tart, you lick your fingers and realize it was DELICIOUS. Plus… it helps when your munchkin hears the WHOMP and runs over with her toy, promptly dropping said toy, licking up the tart frantically…. and then begging for more.

So. Happy Inaugural Recipe!

Kaprise Kitchen!