Strawberry Shortcakes

Strawberry Shortcakes

We got those Rosé-Soaked Roasted Strawberries.

rosé soaked roasted strawberries

We’ve got those Buttermilk Biscuits.

img_1246

What else is there to do?

FOOD TEAM, ASSEMBLE!!!!

(Please say the proceeding in your best Ron Burgundy voice, preferably aloud.)

Strawberry Shortcakes

All that previous work was leading up to this one glorious moment!

Strawberry Shortcakes are such a wonderful dessert. Light yet hardy, crumbly and a little messy, undeniably sweet yet buttery, and an all-around comfort.

Meet your favorite spring dessert. ✌🏻

Strawberry Shortcakes
(Makes 4)

– 1 cup heavy cream or whipping cream
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 1 teaspoon sugar (adjust to taste)
– 4 Buttermilk Biscuits (click for recipe)
– 2 cups Rosé-Soaked Roasted Strawberries (click for recipe; see note in Before We Get Started…)

Before We Get Started…

– The original recipe for Rosé-Soaked Roasted Strawberries yields closer to 1 & 1/2 cups of strawberries once cooked down. Increase strawberries in recipe to 8 cups; liquids and sweeteners can remain the same.

Directions:

1.) To make whipped cream, place cream, vanilla extract, and sugar in a large bowl, preferably a chilled metal bowl. Whip with an electric beater until soft peaks form. Set aside.

2.) To assemble strawberry shortcakes, split or cut biscuits in half; a serrated knife works well here!

3.) Place 1/2 cup strawberries on bottom biscuit halves. Top with whipped cream. Place top biscuit halves on top. Pour yourself another glass of rosé. INDULGE.

Buttermilk Biscuits

Remember my Rosé-Soaked Roasted Strawberries from my last post? Well, they certainly pair well with these Buttermilk Biscuits! On Saturday, I’ll combine them into one final recipe (…oh…wow…what could that be?), along with a simple whipped cream recipe to really bring all of these elements together.

Prior to this, I had never really made biscuits. Prior to making them, I had a similar apprehension akin to the first time I made scones: for reasons I can’t truly comprehend in hindsight, I was nervous to make them. The recipes I had heard or read seemed a little too involved, and I was paranoid about not making them the correct consistency. Some people love a dry crumbly scone, while others love a moist scone. Like that, I was worried that I’d make a dry and / or tough biscuit.

My fears were allayed once all was said and done. I will absolutely thank Bon Appétit – via Epicurious – for their Buttermilk Recipe from April 1998, which I followed to almost a complete T.

I ended up with some biscuits that had the proper balance of moisture and crumble. The subtle saltiness satisfied my craving for something savory, but they still work well with fruit and whipped cream.

Buttermilk Biscuits
(Makes 4 biscuits)
(Adapted from Bon Appétit’s recipe for Buttermilk Biscuits)

– 2 cups all purpose flour
– 1 tablespoon sugar
– 2 teaspoons baking powder
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 10 tablespoons (1 & 1/4 sticks) frozen unsalted butter, grated
– 1 cup milk plus one teaspoon lemon juice or white vinegar or 1 cup chilled buttermilk

Before We Get Started:

– If you are going to use the milk + acid way to make “buttermilk”, such as I did, add the acid to the milk and let sit for 5 – 10 minutes before using. Do not stir! Why do I make “buttermilk” this way? I’m too damn frugal to buy a container of actual buttermilk and have leftovers. Haaa.

– Refer to my Orange Ginger Scones recipe if you want to see what I mean about grated butter. I swear, this trick is my lifesaver! Literally grate frozen butter before adding to your dry ingredients to make for easier incorporation! (Thanks for the trick, Dad!)

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 375°F.

2.) Sift flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Add butter and rub into dry mixture with fingertips; the final mixture should look pebbly or like a fine meal.

3.) Slowly add in milk with acid or buttermilk and stir gentle to combine; the batter will not necessarily look uniform at this point, but make sure the dough that is forming is uniformly moist. Once combined, use hands to gather and shape dough into a large ball.

4.) Divide dough into four pieces, approximately 3″ in diameter, and place on an ungreased baking sheet, spaced evenly apart; roughly 2″ between each biscuit will be fine.

5.) Bake biscuits for 20 – 25 minutes; biscuits will be pale and not golden or brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool on rack for 30 minutes. Eat immediately; if not eating immediately, individually wrap each biscuit in plastic wrap or place in an airtight container. Biscuits should stay fresh for up to 5 days.

Russian Apple Pie

Russian Apple Pie

It’s wonderful having friends with rich heritages. Years ago, when a friend / former co-worker of mine started dating a wonderful Kazakh gal, I suddenly started noting how the food she brought in for lunch was influenced. She used to be a raw salad and kombucha person, like clockwork, but soon, plastic containers of borscht started to make regular appearances. Even years later, it is quite common to see Russian Apple Pie appear at their house parties. Granted, it’s more akin to a cake than a traditional pie, but the name remains as is!

Recently, when Irina celebrated her Big 3-2, Melissa was in the kitchen whipping up that luscious dessert. The directions? So simple! She had the ingredients written down in a notebook with one note, verbatim: “Bake 350 20 min.”

I figured I could give it a try, eh?

Russian Apple Pie

This past weekend, I went up to Connecticut for a family event, celebrating Christmas a few weeks late and the pending of arrivals of two cousins’ babies. I offered to make an extra dessert, this easy dish in mind.

Russian Apple Pie

Perhaps, unfortunately for me, barely anyone touched it because I was unaware that a giant fondant elephant-topped chocolate mousse cake to celebrate my cousin Simone’s son would also be present. But hey, more leftovers for me to nosh on!

Russian Apple Pie

Russian Apple Pie
(Serves 8)

Ingredients:

– 1 cup flour
– 1/2 cup sugar
– 1 teaspoon baking soda
– 1 teaspoon cinnamon
– 3 eggs
– 1/2 cup water
– 2 Granny Smith Apples, unpeeled
– 1 cup walnuts, whole or chopped

Before We Get Started…

– Apples must be Granny Smith or another tart variety. Do not use sweeter apples in this dish.

– Walnuts can be whole or chopped, depending on the texture you prefer. I’ve made the pie with both and they’ve been wonderful!

– Though this could be baked in a variety of pans, I make this in a pie plate or a round cake pan.

– That original note stated “Bake 350 20 min”, but I found I had to bake it longer. Bake for at least 30 minutes, but check the pie at the 20 minute mark, as different ovens bake slightly differently.

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 350°F.

2.) Core and slice apples into eight even sections. Place slices at bottom of a lightly greased pie plate or round cake pan; the slices should cover the bottom of the pan in a single layer, so if you start to pile slices on top of each other, remove those extra slices. Sprinkle apples with walnuts.

3.) In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and cinnamon; whisk until combined. Add eggs and water to dry mixture and whisk again until combined.

4.) Pour batter on top of apples and walnuts; the batter should coat / cover everything, but if a few apple slices or walnuts break out of the top of the batter slightly, that is fine!

5.) Bake for 30 – 35 minutes; remove from oven and allow to cool on cooling rack for 15 minutes before serving.

 

This is a photo of the Russian Apple Pie from my friend’s birthday party. She used a smaller pie plate than I did to make this recipe, hence the smoother top. Still delicious, regardless!

 

rosemary chocolate bark

Rosemary Chocolate Bark

OKAY. Fourth chocolate recipe in a row! I’m even going to stop myself. Believe it or not, and much to my father’s chagrin, I’m not a huge sweets person. I’m not a huge chocolate fan, despite this blog’s seeming evidence to the contrary. If given the choice, I’d take a family-sized bag of Utz potato chips and a lifetime supply of Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar Cheese over a chocolate bar or a donut. Still, every December, a switch flips inside of me, and I become ravenous when it comes to sweets!

Luckily, as I type this, I’m eating a very Instagramable bowl of diced sweet potato, avocado drizzled with EVOO and garlic powder, and a 7 minute-boiled egg that is exhibiting mass amounts of #yolkporn.

img_8820

I can still keep myself balanced. Ha!

Yesterday, I met up with my friend Nicole; she’s a former co-worker that trudged deep through the silos and warehouses of infection control data along side with me…though she eventually left me to take a job at the city’s DOH. (RUDE.) After we had a lovely Sunday afternoon slurping Xiao Long Bao in St. Mark’s Place and drinking Thai iced bubble tea out of a plastic lightbulb at Spot Dessert Bar, we decided to take a spin through the Union Square Holiday Market before heading off on our respective ways. I have a love / hate relationship with NYC’s multiple holiday markets. The feeling of Christmas joy is almost tangible, but I’m also gripping my bottle of Xanax in my purse as I weave through the tight crowds. At one point, I had to pull over into a booth before I got too irritated, and I spotted some wonderful looking chocolate bars. As I know I’ve mentioned, I love something slightly spiced mixed with my chocolate, such as cinnamon or a mild curry. (SO good.) Before pulling back out to deal with the crowds again, a rosemary chocolate bar caught my eye. WOW! For the past 24 hours, I have been thinking about how I wish I bought it.

rosemary chocolate bark

Then I realized…hey! I could make it!

rosemary chocolate bark

If you know how to make a basic chocolate bark recipe, you can go innumerable directions with it.

rosemary chocolate bark

I’m glad I’m on vacation from work until January 3rd. It’s so nice to have time to develop recipes and do my photography during the week…while using precious natural light. Haaa.

rosemary chocolate bark

Rosemary Chocolate Bark
(Makes roughly 12 pieces, depending on how you choose to break it up!)

Ingredients:

– 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips; aim for 40% – 60% cacao.
– 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped and divided into two 1 tablespoon portions
– 1 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt, divided into two 1/2 teaspoon portions
– 1 cup water

Before We Get Started…

– Do not substitute milk chocolate or unsweetened chocolate in this recipe.

– To make this recipe 100% vegan-friendly, make sure to use dairy-free chocolate.

– I have not done this recipe with dried rosemary, so I can not speak to if it will work.

– If you do not have a double-boiler to melt your chocolate, the glass bowl – over – the – saucepan method always works! Please follow this video from Real Simple for instructions.

Directions:

1.) Place a piece of parchment paper on a large baking sheet and set aside.

2a.) If using a double-boiler to melt the chocolate, add water to the lower portion and bring to a boil before reducing to a simmer. Place top portion of double-boiler into place. Add chocolate to top portion and slowly melt. Once chocolate has melted, stir in 1 tablespoon of rosemary and one 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir well to combine.

OR

2b.) If using a medium saucepan and heatproof bowl (Please see Before We Get Started…), add water to sauce pan and bring to a boil before reducing to a simmer. Place heatproof bowl on top of saucepan, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Add chocolate to bowl and slowly melt. Once chocolate has melted, stir in 1 tablespoon of rosemary and one 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir well to combine.

3.) Pour chocolate mixture onto parchment paper and spread until even. Sprinkle chocolate with remaining rosemary and salt.

4.) Set chocolate mixture into refrigerator for one hour to cool. Remove and break into pieces.

dark chocolate butterscotch cookies

Dark Chocolate Butterscotch Cookies

Oh, dear. It seems like I’ve gone off on a bit of a chocolate tangent on these past few posts, eh? And I thought I was going cranberry crazy by having two cranberry recipes on a row. I’m about to get chocolate wasted with my third chocolate-based recipe in a row! Eh. ‘Tis the season, am I right? (All in moderation, of course. I’m typing this up as I’m eating a kale salad with vegetables, EVOO, garlic powder, and vinegar. Total guilt avoided. Ha!)

One of my coworkers, Jean-Marie, is my department’s Queen of Baking! No birthday is complete without some of her chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, and her scones with currants are so incredibly authentic! With a little jam and clotted cream, I feel like I’m in a London tea house rather than a windowless 5th floor office on the Upper East Side. Don’t get me started on her Banoffee Pie! Her food has even inspired a hashtag between a few other coworkers and myself: #dammitjeanmarie ! Why? Because on those days when we say, “I’m having oatmeal for breakfast and going to Sweetgreen for lunch!”, J-M will casually drop a plate of scones by the microwave. DAMMIT, JEAN-MARIE!

ue The other day, she made these dreamy Dark Chocolate Butterscotch Cookies. Their color alone indicated to me that they would be rich, but it was quite the opposite! The cookie had a cakier and more crumbly texture than I was expecting, and the cookie’s flavor was not dissimilar to that of an Oreo, likely due to the addition of black cocoa. It wasn’t too sweet, which worked well because the butterscotch can be such a dominant sweet flavor. The black cocoa counters this beautifully. I had to ask for the recipe, and I had to make it right away. She even gave me black cocoa to use! Honestly, without it, I doubt they’d be as delicious.

dark chocolate butterscotch cookies

Dammit, Jean-Marie! These are great!

dark chocolate butterscotch cookies

Dark Chocolate Butterscotch Cookies
(Makes 12 – 15 cookies)

Ingredients:

– 1 cup all-purpose flour
– 2 tablespoons dutch-processed cocoa powder, sifted
– 2 tablespoons black cocoa, sifted
– 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
– 1/4 teaspoon salt
– 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
– 1/4 cup granulated sugar
– 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
– 1 large egg, room temperature
– 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 1 cup butterscotch chips

Before We Get Started…

– The original recipe calls for light brown sugar, but I used dark. I could tell no discernible difference, so use whichever brown sugar you have available.

Directions:

1.) In a medium bowl, whisk flour, both cocoas, baking soda, and salt until combined.

2.) In a large bowl, cream together the butter and both sugars on medium-high speed until the mixture becomes light. Reduce speed of beaters and slowly add egg and vanilla. Continue to beat until combined.

3.) Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and mix together. Add butterscotch chips and mix until chips have uniformly spread throughout the dough. Place dough in refrigerator for at least one hour, but up to overnight.

4.) Prior to baking, preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet(s) with parchment paper and set aside.

5.) Portion dough into 12 – 15 cookies, roughly the size of a large golf ball, and place onto baking sheet(s). Flatten very slightly, but make sure they maintain an overall round-ish shape. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes; cookies may look a bit undercooked, but they will firm up once they cool!

6.) Remove from oven and cool cookies on baking sheet(s) for 5 minutes before removing and placed on a wire rack to finish cooling.

– – – –

NOTE: Because I want some credit, please know that because my Kitchen Aid Mixer is currently packed away in the back of my closet and my hand mixer is non-functional, I creamed my butter and sugar with a fork AND combined the dough by hand. YES. My hand looks vile. Ha! Digging black dough out from under my fingernails was worth the creation of these amazing morsels.

dark chocolate butterscotch cookies