Tag Archives: city bakery


17 Dec

Since it’s Hanukkah, we’re thinking about latkes. We’re also dreaming about Zabar’s cinnamon rugelach. Since we are neither Jewish nor in New York, we scraped up three recipes.

We’re certain that the Barefoot Contessa will give Zabar’s rugelach a smackdown.

And City Bakery’s Maple Butter Baked Seckel Pears look too easy to be true.

Barefoot Contessa

•8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
•1/2-pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
•1/4 cup granulated sugar plus 9 tablespoons
•1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
•1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
•2 cups all-purpose flour
•1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
•1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
•3/4 cup raisins
•1 cup walnuts, finely chopped
•1/2 cup apricot preserves, pureed in a food processor
•1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon milk, for egg wash
Cream the cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light. Add 1/4 cup granulated sugar, the salt, and vanilla.

With the mixer on low speed, add the flour and mix until just combined. Dump the dough out onto a well-floured board and roll it into a ball. Cut the ball in quarters, wrap each piece in plastic, and refrigerate for 1 hour.

To make the filling, combine 6 tablespoons of granulated sugar, the brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, the raisins, and walnuts.

On a well-floured board, roll each ball of dough into a 9-inch circle. Spread the dough with 2 tablespoons apricot preserves and sprinkle with 1/2 cup of the filling. Press the filling lightly into the dough. Cut the circle into 12 equal wedges—cutting the whole circle in quarters, then each quarter into thirds.

Starting with the wide edge, roll up each wedge. Place the cookies, points tucked under, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Brush each cookie with the egg wash. Combine 3 tablespoons granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon and sprinkle on the cookies. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove to a wire rack and let cool.

Maple Butter Baked Seckel Pears
City Bakery’s Ilene Rosen likes to slice them in half and bake them—stem, seeds, and all—with maple syrup and butter for a simple fall dessert that’s even better paired with creamy Camembert from Old Chatham Sheepherding Company.

1/4 cup unsalted butter
3 tablespoons maple syrup (preferably grade B or dark amber)
6 to 10 medium to larger-size seckel pears, stems on
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut pears in half lengthwise. (1) Brown butter in a small saucepan, and combine in bowl with the maple syrup. Mix well. (2) Toss pears in bowl to coat with mixture, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. (3) Place pears on sheet pan, cut side down, and bake 20 minutes, until pears are soft and cut side is very soft and caramelized. Let cool briefly before serving.

Rockin’ around the Rock

30 Nov

The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting ceremony is happening at the Plaza Wednesday.

The glamourous event always heralds the official start of the holiday season for us.

We are suddenly struck with cravings for hot apple or cranberry cider to warm us during frosty evening strolls.

Something even more Manhattan: a cup of luxurious molten chocolate and uber fattening pretzel croissant from City Bakery.

Since we have the next month of rich and fattening treats ahead, we’re going to scale back but still celebrate the start of Christmas in New York.

We’re talking pizza, people. And not just any pizza.

A crunchy, garlicky, broccoli and mozzarella pizza topped with roasted grape tomatoes, a la the season. It’s even red and green, people.

We still swoon with memories from our hot slice from Famiglia Pizzeria on Madison and 97th Street on a cold autumn day.

In a pinch, the spicy broccoli topping works perfectly on whole wheat pita with crunchy results. We like the smaller size, also. This is going to be a long month of parties and goodies, after all. Let’s not get crazy.

One more famous New York treat:

From The Union Square Cafe Cookbook, 1994:
“These nuts won The New York Press award for best bar nuts in New York. Every afternoon at about 4:45, a piping hot batch emerges from our ovens and is sent out to the bar, where the sweet rosemary fragrance wafts throughout the restaurant.”

Union Square Bar Nuts
3 2/3 cups (18-ounces) assorted unsalted nuts: peeled peanuts, cashews, brazil nuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans, and whole unpeeled almonds
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
1-2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon butter, melted

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Spread nuts out on a cookie sheet. Toast in the oven until they become light golden brown, about 10 minutes.
In the large bowl, combine the rosemary, cayenne, brown sugar, salt, and melted butter.
Thoroughly toss the warm toasted nuts with the spiced butter. Toast for another 5 to 10 minutes. Let them cool but serve warm. In fabulous sterling silver nut bowls, natch.
Yields 5 cups