Monthly Archives: March 2010

Side Trip to the Apple Pie Bakery Cafe

On a recent escape this dreary season, we headed up the Hudson River Valley to the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. (We went to use their wonderful library.)  An informative display of antique marzipan molds in Roth Hall was an unexpected treat.

Antique marzipan molds on display at the CIA in Hyde Park, NY.

Their Apple Pie Bakery Café is an ideal place for a lunch and an even batter place to buy bread and pastries. We brought home these sophisticated Danish, the kind of buttery creations you rarely see or taste anymore.

Laminated dough pastries at the CIA in Hyde Park, NY

Citrus Danish pasrty

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Farm Markets Help Bakeries Bloom

Farmers markets are some of the tastiest places on earth especially for lovers of all things baked.  Established bakeries, like Meriano’s Bake Shoppe, sell at farm markets in Connecticut because they want to support local producers and expand their market.  (Here are boxes of their Vienna Cookies we tasted at a farmers market this weekend. They have been using American Almond Products since 1975!  Many thanks.) 

Rasbperry Vienna Cookies

And baking enthusiasts like Todd Solek have created a new business.  Todd sells his flatbread pizzas at  the Coventry Farmers Market among others in Connecticut. We expect to see his business grow and grow in the coming years. (Of course don’t you just want one of those cool pizza trucks.) 

Todd Solek makes flatbread pizza

Todd Solek forming pizza dough at the Coventry Farmers Market

Farm Market Pizza

Farm to Hearth Flatbread Pizza made with Mizuna, Goat Cheese and Lamb Sausage

Do YOU have a talent and passion for baking?  Are there Farmers Markets in your area?  Give them a call. You might just find yourself elbows deep in flour…. and loving it. 

Happy Baking!

Saint Patrick’s Day Cookie? Why not?

With Saint Patrick’s Day on the horizon, we got to thinking about all things green.  Pistachio Paste came to mind and our favorite Pistachio Harlequin Cookies.  (These are made with the same dough used to make the Pistachio Schoolboy Cookies.)  If piping cookies seems like too much fuss, here’s a closer look at how we made them.  First, here is the dough after mixing.  It is firm but softy enough to pipe.

We use a cookie press because it can be easier to handle than a pastry bag fitted with the star tip.

The dough has just the right consistency to retain its shape after baking.  You can still see the crisp impressions and a little browning on the ridges of the dough.

Once you dip the end of each cookie in the melted chocolate and butter mixture, place them on a silicone mat if you have one.  Or use parchment paper.  Let them sit at room temperature and they will set up and pop easily from the mat.

Here’s the finished result.  If you prefer a cookie with a richer green color, add a few drops of food coloring to the batter.

(Here is some useful information on how to stir the oil back into pistachio paste when you open the can.)

FROM OUR RECIPE BOX – Pistachio Schoolboy Cookies

Pistachio Schoolbor Cookies

We’re addicted to a wonderful cookie called Petit Écolier, (Little Schoolboy) made a company called LU. It’s a thick rectangle of milk or bittersweet chocolate sitting atop a not-too-sweet butter cookie.

Our version of this cookie is no after-school snack but a sophisticated treat that happens to be easy to make. We’re using a buttery pistachio cookie dough, which is rolled into a log then chilled. The dough is then sliced and baked. As soon as the warm cookies come from the oven, they are topped with thin pieces of chocolate. As the cookies cool the chocolate will melt into a shiny layer.

(Here is some useful information on how to stir the oil back into pistachio paste when you open the can.)

 Here is the Pistachio Harlequin Cookie Recipe.

FROM THE RECIPE FILE – Mini Almond Pound Cakes

Egg-Shaped Almond Cakes for Easter

 Our favorite almond tea cake batter can be baked in a variety of pans. For Easter, we suggest baking it in small egg-shaped pans, although any mini muffin tin works perfectly as well.   The secret is to grease the pans heavily to help the cakes release easily.   You do not need to invest in multiple sets of pans.  Just bake the batter in a few successive batches.  When unmolded, these pullet-sized cakes are a lovely golden brown.  A dusting of powdered sugar or a coating with a light lemon glaze would be delicious but we like chocolate best of all.

For the recipe, click here.