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Cookies and Kickstarter

13 Mar

I’m embarrassed to see how long it’s been since I’ve posted anything. Last time I posted,  I said something about how I was going to start to (slowly) work on some new cookbooks. I did actually keep that promise,  but then my world turned topsy-turvy.

Not long after I posted,  a family looking for a new location for their business came to look at Desserts Plus and quickly made us an offer on our building. We accepted for many reasons, and starting looking for a new space. We had no idea how long it would take us.

Since moving our of our building 13 (!) months ago,  we’ve had a pop-up store for Passover,  rented a kitchen to cater a few major events and even had a booth at a farmer’s market for part of the simmer.

All along we worked on finding our space,  which we did last summer. Several delays kept construction from starting until early this year (you can see a lot of our updates on our Instagram account).

In fact,  we even have a  kickstarter campaign going to try to get the final push we need to finish our space.

(You can read more about our campaign on our Facebook page, instagram or kickstarter.)

Meanwhile,  while all of that was going on,  I was slowly working on my next cookbook.

Last month I published Pam’s Cookie Collection:

This is smaller than my other books with just 40-something recipes, but I’m proud of this one!  It’s got lots of recipes that I’ve been baking at Desserts Plus over the years, along with lots of others that I created in my home kitchen.

You can get copies here:

Createspace
amazon. com
amazon. ca
And here’s a wonderful write-up by the equally wonderful Norene Gilletz in the CJN.

If you don’t have any of my books but you’ve wanted them,  now is a good time to get them!  For the next week one of the rewards for our kickstarter campaign is a cookbook collection.  You can get one copy of each of my three books – signed if you like! (It’s listed twice – once if you’re able to pick them up at our new café and once if you need them shipped throughout North America.)

I’ll try not to be such a stranger!  Thanks for stopping by and reading.

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Sneak Peek: Tahini Cookies

13 Jan

The cookie cookbook is rolling along and I hope to be done soon, so I thought it was time to share a new recipe — a sneak peek, so to speak.

I love sesame seeds, sesame paste (tahini) and sesame oil — basically any form of sesame works for me, but usually in a savory dish.  When I was brainstorming ideas for the cookie book, tahini made it to the notepad, though I’ve never baked or even tasted a cookie made with it.  I was trying to decide which other flavours I would use with the sesame — maybe cardamom or Chinese five spice? — but  I decided the first thing I should do was try baking a cookie that didn’t introduce more flavours and then go from there.  When I first tasted these, I was so happy with the results that I decided they didn’t need anything else.

If you like sesame, these cookies are for you. They’re deceptively simple to make, but the double dose of flavour from the tahini and the sesame seeds is delicious. They’re light, yet rich — perfect with a cup of tea.

Once baked, these cookies are delicate, so handle with care. They freeze beautifully in an air-tight container. Keep them parve by substituting a good quality non-dairy margarine for the butter.

sesame cookies

6 ounces butter — softened (3/4 cup)
1 cup tahini — well stirred
4 ounces powdered sugar — (1 cup)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
10 ounces flour — (2 cups)
1 cup sesame seeds, for rolling

Preheat your oven to 350ºF.

Cream the butter, tahini and powdered sugar together in a stand mixer until smooth. Add the salt and vanilla and mix through.

Scrape the sides of the bowl down, add the flour and mix on low until it’s thoroughly mixed in and forms a dough.

I use a 1 ounce (2 Tbsp.) scoop to portion the dough, then roll them into balls. Roll the balls in the sesame seeds then place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Gently press the balls down until they are approximately 1/2″ thick. Leave an inch between cookies because they will puff up a little as they bake.

Bake one pan of cookies at a time on the middle rack of the oven for 10 minutes. Turn the pan and bake another 10 minutes or until the bottom and edges have lightly browned.

Makes 24-30 cookies.

Cowboy Cookies / All in One Cookies

14 Feb

imageWhen I was younger we had a baker that used to make Cowboy Cookies.  I don’t know where the name came from, and an online search doesn’t come up with much, but I remember that they were huge oatmeal cookies that had chocolate chips and raisins in them. Perhaps they got their name because of their size and heartiness, making them a great snack for a cowboy.

Another name for these cookies could be the Everything But the Kitchen Sink Cookies — but I like to think of them as an All in One cookie.  This recipe combines a peanut butter cookie with an oatmeal raisin cookie and a spice cookie and a chocolate chip cookie. These cookies are great as they are, but there’s plenty of room to play around with the additions.  Replace the chocolate chips and raisins with dried cranberries and pecans or slivered almonds and apricots — or any other combinations you can think of.

The ingredient list calls for almond butter, but I also make them with peanut butter and like them that way too.

The recipe makes approximately 24 cookies — they will keep in the freezer for a few weeks if they’re well wrapped.

imageCowboy / All in One Cookies

  • 1 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup smooth almond butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. allspice
  • 2 cups quick cooking oats
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
  • 1 cups raisins

Preheat your oven to 350° F.

Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and two sugars together.  Add the almond butter and mix to combine, then the egg and vanilla.  Make sure everything is thoroughly mixed together.

In another bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice together.  Add the flour mixture to the stand mixture and mix on low until combined.

Add the oats, chocolate chips and raisins and mix on low until they’ve all been incorporated.   The dough will be very thick.

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Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and use  two spoons to portion the dough into approximately 2 Tbsp. balls.  Use a fork to press the balls down and flatten each cookie, making sure you leave about 1 inch between the cookies.

Bake one sheet of cookies at a time on the middle rack of the oven for 17-21 minutes, or until the bottoms of the cookies are golden brown.  Remove and cool.  Store in an airtight container for 2-3 days, or in the freezer, well wrapped, for a few weeks.

Hamantashen

12 Feb

Through the years I’ve tried several different types of Hamentashen.  Some of my favorites include almond pastry with apricot filling, gingerbread pastry with pear filling, cream cheese pastry with any fruit filling, yeast pastry and chocolate pastry with cherry filling.  Though all good, sometimes I think there’s nothing better than a plain-old-simple-pastry with assorted fruit fillings.

Here’s my recipe for Simple Hamantashen dough.  You can fill these with anything you want — jam, pie filling, chocolate, etc.  I’ve made my own apricot, pear, poppy seed, prune and other fillings, but there are lots of great fillings out there, ready to go.  Use whatever you like.

I use lemon zest in the recipe because I really love the hint of lemon flavour it adds to the cookies, but you can leave it out and they’ll still be delicious.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup margarine, soft
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • assorted fruit jams, pie fillings or other fillings

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Preheat an oven to 350°.

Using an electric mixer or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the margarine and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until incorporated. Add the lemon zest, baking powder and salt and mix through.  Add the flour and mix on low until it’s all combined and a ball of dough forms.

Divide the dough into 2 sections, setting one aside.  Roll the other section approximately 1/8″ thick on a well-floured counter.  Use a cutter to cut out 2 1/2″ – 3″ circles.  You can keep the scraps and re-roll them once.

Place about 1 tsp. of a filling of your choice in the center of each circle.  Bring three sides of the dough together to make a triangle.  Pinch the three corners together and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Continue with the rest of the dough.

Place the hamantashen in the oven and bake 15-17 minutes, or until the bottom and edges are golden brown.

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You can make the dough the day before you want to make them, keeping it in the fridge, well wrapped.

Makes approximately 4 dozen hamantashen.

Cranberry Pecan Cookies

24 Jan

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These simple cookies are delicious. When I first made them I used an assortment of dried berries (cherries, blueberries and cranberries) but you can use any dried fruits you like.  The last batch I made had some diced dried apricots that were delicious combined with the cranberries and pecans.

You can also play around with the nuts — use almonds, walnuts or pistachios with different dried fruits. Use the combination that appeals to you!


Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups butter or margarine, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups icing sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 cups dried cranberries

Preheat an oven to 350° F.

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Using the paddle attachment, cream the butter/margarine and the icing sugar until fluffy.  Add the

eggs one at a time, while mixing on low.  Add the vanilla and salt and mix until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl a couple of times to make sure it’s all well mixed.

Add the flour and mix on low until just combined.  Add the nuts and fruit and mix until evenly distributed.

I like to use a scoop to evenly portion out the dough — the one I use is equal to 2 Tbsp.  Scoop out all of the dough, roll into a ball then flatten into a circle.  Place the dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper and bake for 20-22 minutes, or until the edges just start to brown.  Remove from the oven and let cool.

These will keep, wrapped for a few days on the counter or a few weeks in the freezer.

Makes about 24.

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