Archive | December, 2010

Leftover bubbles

31 Dec

There may come an absurd day when we become one of those people who suffer from having leftover Champagne, and choose not to slug it back in mimosas on New Year’s Day.

These two recipes call for the tail end of a bottle, and sound quite good.

Blue Flame Kitchen
1/4 cup (50 mL) flour

1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt, divided

1/2 tsp (2 mL) freshly ground pepper, divided

6 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks

2 tbsp (25 mL) butter

2 tbsp (25 mL) oil

3/4 cup (175 mL) champagne

1 cup (250 mL) whipping cream

1/2 tsp (2 mL) tarragon, crumbled

1 cup (250 mL) seedless red grapes, halved

Combine flour and 1/4 tsp (1 mL) each salt and pepper in a large plastic bag. Add chicken to flour mixture and toss to coat.

Melt butter with oil in a large nonstick frypan over medium heat. Add chicken in batches and saute until golden brown and cooked through.

Transfer chicken to a plate. Add champagne to pan. Bring to a boil, scraping to loosen browned bits. Return chicken and any accumulated juices to pan. Reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes.

Stir in cream, tarragon and remaining 1/4 tsp (1 mL) each salt and pepper.

Simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in grapes; cook for 1 minute.

Serves 6.


“This is another simple dish that can be prepared in advance and put in the oven as your guests enjoy the appetizer. I believe in the principle of eating fish once or twice a week. But I notice lots of unpracticed cooks are intimidated by the notion of preparing fish, especially whole, so I’m always on the lookout for quick and easy preparations. You can substitute flounder, sole, monkfish, salmon, cod, bass, or swordfish for the halibut in this recipe. The cooking time will be shorter with lighter fish, such as sole, and longer with meatier fish, such as swordfish

Mireille Guiliano
2 teaspoons olive oil
4 fillets of halibut, about 4 ounces each
1/2 cup Champagne (Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Brut recommended)
8 sprigs fresh thyme
8 thin lemon slices
8 sprigs parsley
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
Salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Cut 8 pieces of parchment paper (or aluminum foil) into squares large enough to cover each fish fillet and leave a 2-inch border all around. Lightly brush 4 squares of the paper with olive oil. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Put each halibut fillet in the center of an oiled square and drizzle with Champagne. Add 2 sprigs of thyme, 2 lemon slices, 2 parsley sprigs, and 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds to each piece of fish. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Place the remaining parchment squares on top of the fillets and fold up the edges to form packets. Simply double folding each of the four sides is enough to seal each packet. Put the papillotes on a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes.

4. Serve by setting each papillote on a plate. Let your guests open their packets and spoon the juices over the fish. Voilà drama as well as flavor!

N.B. You can use dry white wine or vermouth instead of champagne.

Lobby Lobster

31 Dec
... creamy lobster risotto.
… creamy lobster risotto.

White wine, lobster, cheese, butter. What’s not to love?

Now refill my bubbles and let’s eat!

We are still monkeying around with lobster risotto: considering adding saffron, cognac and browning the butter as we poach the lobster tails.

Lobster Risotto
A luxurious dish from Rouge’s Paul Rogalski. Perfect to warm them up on a cold winter night.

Serves 6

1/4 cup-olive oil
2 cups -lobster meat, cooked and diced
12-mushrooms, thickly sliced
2-tablespoons brandy
1/4-cup shallots, roughly chopped
2 cups-Arborio rice
1 cup-white wine
6 cups -broth (lobster, chicken or vegetable)
Salt and pepper-to taste
6 ounces-goat cheese
2 tablespoons-chive, finely cut

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium saucepan. Stir in mushrooms, and cook, stirring, until lightly browned. Add lobster meat and cook for 1 minute. Raise heat, stir in brandy and cook, stirring, for one more minute. Remove from heat, and set aside for future use.
Heat remaining olive oil in a large saucepan. Stir in shallots and cook over medium heat until shallots are translucent. Add rice and stir continuously until all grains are coated and rice is shiny, about two minutes.
Stir in white wine. Cook, stirring for two minutes. Stir in half the lobster broth and continue to cook, stirring continuously.
When broth is absorbed, add remaining broth one cup at a time. When all liquid is absorbed, check rice for tenderness. If tender, gently fold in the lobster and mushroom mix and the cheese. Place in serving dish and sprinkle with chives. Serve while hot!

Turkey Curry Buffet

28 Dec

“I realize that when I met you at the turkey curry buffet, I was unforgivably rude… and wearing a reindeer jumper.” Mark Darcy, Bridget Jones’ Diary

The moment we watched Bridget Jones subjected to an annual New Year’s Day turkey curry buffet, we were hooked on the idea. Those Brits do love their saucy curries. Chicken Tikka Masala is their national dish, after all.

EVIDENCE! The case for turkey curry via the New York Times, Nov. 25, 1887 ancient colonial curry.

"Mmmm. Turkey curry... my favourite."

"Mmmm. Turkey curry... my favourite."

New York Times
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/8 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
1 cup tomatoes, chopped (canned are fine; include their juice)
1 cup coconut milk
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 pound fresh spinach, trimmed of thick stems, washed and roughly chopped
2 cups leftover turkey, white or dark meat or a combination, roughly chopped
Freshly chopped cilantro for garnish.
1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat; add onion, garlic and ginger and cook until they begin to soften, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add cumin, coriander, turmeric and cayenne and cook, stirring, until spices are fragrant, about another minute.
2. Add tomatoes and their juices and coconut milk and sprinkle with salt and pepper; bring mixture to a boil and reduce heat to medium. Simmer for another 8 to 10 minutes, or until tomatoes break down.
3. Add spinach and turkey to pan and continue to cook until spinach wilts and turkey is warmed through, another 3 to 5 minutes. Adjust seasoning, garnish with cilantro and serve.
Yield: 4 servings.

600g cooked turkey, chopped into chunks
1 tablespoon turkey dripping
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 sticks of celery, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 heaped tablespoon plain flour
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 heaped tablespoon Sharwood’s Hot Curry Powder (for Madras)
725ml hot stock (or less)
1 medium dessert or Bramley apple, cored and chopped
25g sultanas
1 heaped tablespoon mango chutney
small container of coconut milk
juice of half a lemon, at least.

Heat the dripping and fry the onion and celery over a medium heat, tossing them around till softened and well browned at the edges, then add the garlic and toss that around for a minute.
Now stir in the flour, turmeric, ginger and curry powder to soak up all the juices, and after that gradually stir in the stock. When the sauce begins to bubble add the apple, sultanas, mango chutney and grated coconut, plus some seasoning.
Turn the heat down to a gentle simmer and let it cook for 30 minutes.
After that, add the turkey pieces and a squeeze of lemon juice, stir well, put a lid on and simmer gently for a further 10 minutes to reheat the turkey.
Serve with basmati rice, poppadoms, mango chutney and lime pickle.

New Year’s ideas

27 Dec

Seafood dumplings, baby duck -- optional

Seafood dumplings, baby duck -- optional

For New Year’s Eve, our thoughts turn to a wintery outdoor activity followed by a cozy night in with friends.

We swoon for trendy Asian bites or our still as yet unfilled dreams of chicken hash or creamed sherried mushrooms on toast points with Champagne.

How about steam baskets of seafood dumplings (above. And yes, they were amazing. Baby Duck joke bottle unopened, FYI), chicken and green onion yakitori on skewers, and these babies:

Thai Beef Rolls with Sweet Chili Sauce
Click here to see how amazing they look!
For the sauce:
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon thinly sliced green onions
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 teaspoons Sriracha

For the filling:
1 pound ground chuck (80% lean)
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon finely chopped Thai chilis
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 bunch of Thai basil
12 wooden skewers, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes

Mix all the ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl until the sugar has dissolved.

2. In a large bowl, gently combine the ground chuck with the rest of the filling ingredients.

3. Shape a tablespoon of the filling into a small log. Wrap 1 basil leaf around the beef and thread onto a skewer. Repeat until all of the filling is gone.

4. Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread coals out evenly over the charcoal grate. Clean and oil the cooking grate. Grill the rolls until the filling is fully cooked and slightly firm, about 6 to 8 minutes, turning once during cooking. Serve immediately with the dipping sauce.
New York Times Published: May 4, 2005
Time: 1 hour for soaking skewers, plus 45 minutes for preparation and grilling

1½ pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat
1 large bunch scallions, 1 reserved, others trimmed and cut into 1½-inch lengths
1 cup soy sauce
¾ cup sugar
½ cup mirin
1 clove garlic, peeled and lightly crushed
1 ¼-inch slice of fresh ginger, lightly crushed
1 ½-inch-by-2-inch strip lemon zest
Vegetable oil to brush on grill
Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish.

1. Soak 16 6-inch bamboo skewers in cold water for 1 hour, then drain.

2. Rinse chicken under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Cut into uniform 1½-inch pieces. On each skewer, thread alternating pieces of chicken and scallions, pressing them together. Cover and refrigerate until ready to grill.

3. Lightly crush white part of reserved scallion. Slice green part into thin rings and reserve. In a small saucepan, combine soy sauce, sugar, mirin, scallion white, garlic, ginger and lemon zest. Place over medium heat and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until syrupy, 5 to 10 minutes. Strain into small bowl and cool to room temperature. If desired, reserve some as a dipping sauce.

4. Heat a grill or hibachi. Brush and oil grill rack, and place yakitori on grill so that ends of skewers are not over direct heat. Sear meat by continually turning skewers for about 2 minutes. Baste with sauce and turn occasionally until chicken is cooked, 8 to 10 minutes. When chicken is done it should feel firm and be coated with a shiny glaze.

5. To serve, place skewers on a platter and sprinkle with scallion rings and sesame seeds. If desired, serve reserved sauce in a small bowl as a dipping sauce.

Yield: 4 to 6 appetizer servings or 4 main course servings.

New Year’s dumplings

27 Dec

seafood dumplings

seafood dumplings

New Year’s Eve is coming and there’s one thing we know for certain: we want to master the mothertrucker out of seafood dumplings.

What could be more lovely than pinching chopsticks around some luxurious lobster or scallop potstickers and washing them down with bubbly pinot grigio or a Marlborough sauvignon blanc?

A ginger sesame dipping sauce is mandatory. But how about a chardonnay/lemongrass buerre blanc or sake-scented ponzu sauce? We’ve also seen them deep fried and served with mayonnaise, but unless it is a lemon/sesame/ginger number, we’re terrified by it.

1 pound rock shrimp, diced
1 pound Chilean sea bass, diced
1 pound bay scallops, diced
1 egg
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 cup chopped scallions
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Salt and white pepper

In a food processor, add shrimp, bass, scallops, egg, ginger, and sesame oil. Pulse only a little bit to bring ingredients together. Transfer to a large bowl and fold in scallions and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper.

LA TimesMarch 05, 2008
Servings: 8 (makes 32 dumplings)

1/2 pound peeled, cleaned medium Pacific shrimp

1/2 pound sea scallops

1/2 pound fresh Dungeness crab meat

1/4 cup chopped garlic or regular chives

1 tablespoon minced ginger

1 tablespoon rice wine or dry sherry

2 teaspoons tamari or soy sauce

1 teaspoon sugar

Pinch freshly ground white pepper

1 egg white

About 32 round dumpling wrappers

Peanut oil if frying, or oil for greasing the steamer rack

1. Mince the shrimp and scallops almost into a paste. Place in a shallow bowl and add the crab, garlic or chives, ginger, sherry, soy sauce, sugar, white pepper and egg white. Mix well.

2. To stuff the dumplings, mound about 2 teaspoons of the filling in the center of each wrapper, and brush the outer edges lightly with water to moisten. Fold the wrapper in half, into a half-moon shape, then pinch it together at the center of the top edge. Pleat the edges of the wrapper to enclose the filling. Repeat with the remaining dumplings.

3. To pan-fry the dumplings, heat a 10-inch skillet with a lid over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of oil and swirl the pan. When the oil is hot, lay 8 to 10 of the dumplings into the pan, leaving room between each, and cook until the bottoms just start to brown, about 2 minutes. Add one-third cup water and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover the pan and cook until the dumplings are soft on top, crisp on the bottom and the filling is firm, 5 to 7 minutes. Repeat with the remaining dumplings.

4. To steam the dumplings, use a steamer of your choice, and bring 1 to 2 inches of water to a simmer (make sure the water level does not reach the bottom of the steamer). Lightly grease the steamer rack, and place the dumplings on the rack about 1 inch apart from one another (the dumplings will need to be cooked in batches). Place the steamer over the simmering water and cover. Steam the dumplings until the filling is firm and the wrapper is slightly translucent, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the steamer from the water, and gently remove the dumplings to a warm place until all of the dumplings are cooked. Serve warm with a dipping sauce.


LOBSTER DUMPLINGS2 each 1½ pound lobsters, cooked and meat removed
¼ cup water chestnuts, minced
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 Tablespoons dry sherry
3 each scallions, minced
½ teaspoon sesame oil
½ cup canola oil

Pick the meat from lobsters and reserve the shells for the dipping sauce. Finely chop meat or process briefly in a food processor. Mince the water chestnuts and then combine with ingredients.

2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
Zest and juice of one lemon

2/3 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons sweet butter, cut into small cubes

1/2 pound lobster meat, cut into small pieces
1/3 cup sliced chives or scallions
2 tablespoons ginger, minced finely
1 clove garlic, minced finely
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 package wonton skins
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Place scallops, salt, pepper, and lemon zest and juice in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse these ingredients together a few times. With machine running, slowly add the olive oil and continue processing until the mixture is smooth.

Add the butter and process until smooth again. Remove the mixture from the food processor and fold in the remaining ingredients.
To assemble the dumplings, lay out several of the wonton wrappers on a flat surface and brush the edges with the beaten egg mixture.
Place a small amount of the lobster/scallop filling in the middle of each wonton wrapper and fold the wrapper over the filling and carefully seal the edges of the dumpling.

150g Peeled Prawns, diced
150g Scallops, diced
100g Crabmeat, picked
2 Stalk Scallions, finely chopped
½ tsp Minced Ginger
1 tsp Soy Sauce
¼ tsp Sesame Oil
½ tsp Sugar
¼ Sea Salt
A few dashes White Pepper
½ of Egg White (about 2 Tbsp)
1 tsp Corn flour

1 Packet (about 50 pcs) Dumpling Wrappers


Petal Pizza

27 Dec

Of all the appetizers we gorged on Christmas Eve, the prettiest was this artichoke heart petals and green olive pizza.

The other bites of super-yum were little toasts of melted gorgonzola, drizzled with honey. Divine!

Bruschetta with Gorgonzola Cheese and Honey
Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis
.•36 slices (1/2-inch thick) baguette bread, about 1 loaf
•1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
•8 ounces Gorgonzola, sliced
•3 tablespoons honey
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Arrange the sliced baguette on a baking sheet. Brush with olive oil. Bake until the bread is pale golden and crisp, about 10 minutes.

Arrange the cheese on the toasts and bake until the cheese is melted, about 3 minutes.

Drizzle the toasts with honey. Place on a serving platter and serve immediately.



23 Dec

We love that thwack! moment in “A Christmas Story” when the head of a roasted Peking duck is cleaved.

You remember the Parkers’ yuletide dinner was destroyed when the Bumpus hounds savaged their turkey.

Years later, we remember that “Chinese turkey” scene and we are keen to bust it out Peking duck-style for Christmas Eve hors’d’oeuvres.

For $20, we snagged a barbecued duck, hacked before our eyes, at the Asian market. Mandarin pancakes are proving harder to find, but we’ll use tortillas in a pinch. Green onions cut into brushes and hoisin sauce with orange peel, and we’re set.

4-1/2 to 5-pound duckling

Cooking oil

1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger root

1 tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine

1 tablespoon yellow bean sauce

1 tablespoon hoisin sauce

2 teaspoons five-spice powder

2 teaspoons salt

4 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1/2 teaspoon red food coloring

1 cup warm water

DIRECTIONS: Clean duck thoroughly. Blanch the duckling in a pot of boiling water for a few minutes. Remove and dry well. Rub the duck with salt and tie the neck tightly with string. Mix 1 tablespoon oil, chopped green onion, chopped ginger root, tablespoon sugar, rice wine, yellow bean sauce, hoisin sauce, and five-spice powder. Heat mixture in a sauce pan and bring to a boil, making sure all ingredients are blended well. Pour this mixture into the cavity of the duck. Secure the opening shut with a metal skewer. Dissolve the honey with vinegar and red food coloring in cup of warm water. Brush mixture all over the duck, giving it several coatings. Hang the duck up to air dry for at least 6 hours. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fill a tray with 1 to 3 inches of water and place it on the bottom of the oven. Place the duck , breast side up, on a greased rack in the center of the oven. Bake 30 minutes. Then turn the duck breast side down and bake for 45 minutes. Turn the duck one more time, breast side up, and roast for another 30 minutes until the skin turns a dark brown. Baste with coating mixture each time the duck is turned. Remove the metal skewer and pour out the liquid mixture to be used as gravy to pour over the duck. Serve with scallion flowers, hoisin sauce and egg foo yung.

Makes 2 to 4 servings.

China Moon, Barbara Tropp
1/2 cold unsalted butter, cut into eight pieces

1/4 cup sugar

1 cup all-purpose flour

pinch of fine sea salt

1/2 cup currants

1 packed tablespoon finely diced crystallized ginger

In bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar on medium speed until smooth and light, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add flour, salt, currants, and ginger; mix the dough until well blended, about 3 minutes. Gather the dough into a ball and flatten slightly. Lightly flour a 12-inch/30-cm square piece of parchment paper. Place the dough on top and roll out, using a flour-dusted rolling pin, into a 10-inch/25cm square that is an even 1/4-inch/6mm thick. Cover and refrigerate the dough until firm, about one hour.

Preheat the oven to 350F/180C and move oven rack to middle position. Line large baking sheets with parchment paper. Using sharp knife, divide the dough into 10 1-inch/2.5cm wide strips. Cut each strip into 11/2-inch/3cm long shortbreads; place them 1/2-inch/1cm apart on prepared baking sheets. Gather and roll out scraps and cut more shortbreads. Doing one sheet at a time, bake cookies until edges are lightly golden, 12 to 15 minutes.

2-3/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour

1 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup lard

1 egg

1 teaspoon almond extract

Almonds (shelled)

DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Sift flour, sugar, baking soda and salt together into a bowl. Cut in the lard until well mixed. Then add egg and almond extract and mix well. Roll dough into 1-inch balls. Set them 2-inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Place an almond on top of each cookie and press down slightly. Bake for 15-18 minutes.

Makes 2 to 2-1/2 dozen cookies.

Cheese puff?

23 Dec

gougeresWhen it comes to holiday cocktail party fare, it’s hard to beat gougères (New York Times version here).

Beautiful, golden, puffy bites of airy cheese pastry *loves*

Here are two more cheese-based pastry nibbles that stand the test of time.

1 lb hot sausage
3 cups bisquick
10 oz sharp cheddar
Ingredients must be room temperature. Squeeze raw sausage out of casings. Mix together into pastry and roll into small balls. Can be frozen at this point. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups grated cheddar (1/2 pound)
1 pound bulk breakfast sausage
1/2 large yellow or red onion, grated on large holes of a box grater
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, and baking powder. Add cheddar and toss to coat. Add sausage, onion, and butter. With your hands, mix until well combined and roll mixture into 1-inch balls. Place balls, 1/2 inch apart, on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until balls are golden and cooked through, 25 minutes. Serve warm.

A friend of ours keeps threatening to throw a Spain-inspired party. We’ll be adding saffron and manchego to these babies for the occasion. See Cook’s Illustrated version below.

1 cup flour
1/2 cup butter
1/2 lb sharp cheese
Pinch of salt
Mix like pastry and wrap around olives. Bake at 350 f until browned.



New York Times
4 tablespoons (½ stick) butter

½ teaspoon salt
1½ cups (about 7 ounces) all-purpose flour
3 eggs
1 cup freshly grated Emmenthal, Gruyère, Cantal or Cheddar cheese
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan or other hard cheese.

1. Lightly grease two baking sheets and preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2. In a medium saucepan, combine one cup water, butter and salt. Turn heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring, until butter melts. Add flour all at once and cook, stirring constantly, until dough holds together in a ball, 5 minutes or less. Dough will get stiffer as you stir; keep stirring until dough is smooth. Transfer batter to a large mixing bowl or the workbowl of a standing mixer.

3. Add eggs one at a time, beating hard after each addition (this is a little bit of work; a hand mixer will probably not be powerful enough). Stop beating when mixture is glossy. Stir in the cheeses.

4. Drop teaspoonfuls onto baking sheet and bake until puffed and lightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

Yield: 30 to 40 gougères.

More Christmas cookies

16 Dec


Marianne’s Desserts offered a wonderful selection of Christmas goodies, including a yule log combining delicate coffee and chocolate roulade with ganache and a deep cocoa icing; chocolate hazelnut truffle torte; upside down cranberry cake; cranberry orange scented sour cream cheesecake; pear and brie tart; butterballs, Zimsterne, gingermen, Viennese triangles, and much more.

Marianne Sanders was also known for divine holiday cookies like Swedish butterballs, shortbread, white chocolate apricot biscotti, cherry almond brittle, linzerhearts, Amarula pecan triangles, and candied violet shortbreads.

Cookbooks make such a nice gift. It seems you can never have too many. They’re useful and it’s nice to leave them out for others to enjoy,” says Marianne Sanders at Marianne’s Desserts. “This year, I really like the look of The International Cookie Cookbook. . . . The pictures are so beautiful and I’ve tried a few of the recipes and they seem to work quite well.”

Here was one of Marianne’s most popular recipes.

1 cup butter

2 cups sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons EACH brandy and water, mixed together

4 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup ground pecans

gold dust or decorative sprinkles

Cream butter and sugar in a bowl. Beat in eggs, vanilla and a mixture of brandy and water. Without over-beating, fold in dry ingredients and ground pecans. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours.

Roll dough out on a well-floured board to 1/4-inch/6mm thickness. Cut dough with a five-point star cookie cutter. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet for eight to 10 minutes at 350F/180C.

When cookies are cool, prepare gold dust by mixing with a small amount of clear liquor such as vodka or white rum, in a teaspoon. Paint gold paste onto cookies, let dry and enjoy. Makes about 36 cookies.

And another:


Makes about two dozen

11/2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate (chocolate chips may be used)

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate

4 ounces unsalted butter

Melt together in microwave on medium setting. Combine and mix in:

1/2 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

4 eggs

1 cup sugar

11/2 tablespoon instant coffee

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 pound chocolate chunks or chocolate chips (or substitute white chocolate chunks)

11/2 cups pecan pieces

Let the batter sit in the fridge for half an hour. Drop on greased pan, using an ice cream scoop (about 3 tbsp) and bake at 350 F for 8-10 minutes. Let the cookies cool for at least one hour, then refrigerate. They freeze well.


La Chaumière Christmas cookies

16 Dec

We clipped these cookie recipes from La Chaumière years ago but have never tried them. Love the idea of a plate of little cookies.

1/2 cup EACH butter and shortening

2/3 cup ground almonds

1/3 cup sugar

12/3 cups sifted flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup icing sugar

1 teaspoon powdered cinnamon

melted chocolate

Cream butter, shortening and sugar well. Add almonds, then work in flour and salt; chill dough. Roll bits of dough into pencil thick, 21/2-inch/6cm lengths, then form each into a crescent shape. Place on ungreased baking sheets and bake at 325F/160 for 14 to 16 minutes or until set, but not brown. Cool on pan, then while still slightly warm, dip each crescent into a combined mixture of the sugar and cinnamon or melted chocolate.



1 cup all purpose flour

1 cup Robin Hood oats

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup butter


1/2 cup corn syrup

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup whipping cream or evaporated milk

11/2 cups sliced almonds

11/2 teaspoons vanilla

To make crust, combine all ingredients, mixing until crumbly. Press firmly into 13x9x2-inch/4L baking pan. Bake in 350F/180C oven for 10 minutes.

To make topping combine corn syrup, brown sugar, butter and cream in medium saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture boils; remove from heat. Stir in almonds and vanilla. Pour over crust, spreading evenly. Bake in 350F/180C oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden. Cool on wire rack, then cut into triangles, bars or squares. Store in refrigerator. Makes 48.


If you prefer, Pat says you can make these using apricot jam and almonds.

1/2 cup butter at room temperature

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup seedless red raspberry jam.

1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

In a medium-size bowl, beat butter and sugar with electric mixture until fluffy. Beat in egg. Gradually stir in flour until blended. Divide dough in half. Wrap each half and chill one hour or until firm enough to roll. Heat oven to 350F/180C and have ungreased cookie sheet ready.

Put each piece of dough between two sheets of waxed paper and roll to 12×5-inch/30×12.5-cm rectangle. Peel off top paper sheets, and invert dough onto cookie sheet about 2inches/5cm apart. Peel off paper.

Fold long sides of each rectangle inward to make 1/2-inch/1cm wide side-borders; pat any cracks to seal. Carefully spread half the jam on each rectangle up to folded edges, then sprinkle nuts over jam.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes until edges are golden, then cool until warm. Cut each rectangle into 16 slices. Remove to wire rack to cool.

Melt chocolate in small pan over low heat. Dip plain edges of slices into chocolate, scraping off excess against side of pan. Arrange on waxed paper. Leave in a cool place or refrigerate for chocolate to set. Store airtight up to two weeks.