Shortbread Cookies

shortbread cookies
Recipe and Photo: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/shortbread-cookies-recipe-1945855

Ingredients

  • 3/4 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 to 7 ounces very good semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

Directions

Watch how to make this recipe.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the butter and 1 cup of sugar until they are just combined. Add the vanilla. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt, then add them to the butter-and-sugar mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together. Dump onto a surface dusted with flour and shape into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.

Roll the dough 1/2-inch thick and cut with a 3 by 1-inch finger-shaped cutter. Place the cookies on an ungreased baking sheet and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the edges begin to brown. Allow to cool to room temperature.

When the cookies are cool, place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Put 3 ounces of the chocolate in a glass bowl and microwave on high power for 30 seconds. (Don’t trust your microwave timer; time it with your watch.) Stir with a wooden spoon. Continue to heat and stir in 30-second increments until the chocolate is just melted. Add the remaining chocolate and allow it to sit at room temperature, stirring often, until it’s completely smooth. Stir vigorously until the chocolate is smooth and slightly cooled; stirring makes it glossier.

Drizzle 1/2 of each cookie with just enough chocolate to coat it.

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CHOCOLATE MOUSSE

chocolate mousse

Recipe & Photo Credit: https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Chocolate-Mousse-107437

YIELD: Makes 8 servings
ACTIVE TIME: 45 min
TOTAL TIME: 7 hrs

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups chilled heavy cream
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 7 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), chopped
  • Garnish: lightly sweetened whipped cream

Special Equipment

  • an instant-read thermometer

PREPARATION

  1. Heat 3/4 cup cream in a 1-quart heavy saucepan until hot. Whisk together yolks, sugar, and a pinch of salt in a metal bowl until combined well, then add hot cream in a slow stream, whisking until combined. Transfer mixture to saucepan and cook over moderately low heat, stirring constantly, until it registers 160°F on thermometer. Pour custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and stir in vanilla.
  2. Melt chocolate in a double boiler or a metal bowl set over a pan of simmering water (or in a glass bowl in a microwave at 50 percent power 3 to 5 minutes), stirring frequently. Whisk custard into chocolate until smooth, then cool.
  3. Beat remaining 1 1/4 cups cream in a bowl with an electric mixer until it just holds stiff peaks. Whisk one fourth of cream into chocolate custard to lighten, then fold in remaining cream gently but thoroughly.
  4. Spoon mousse into 8 (6-ounce) stemmed glasses or ramekins and chill, covered, at least 6 hours. Let stand at room temperature about 20 minutes before serving.
Cooks’ notes:
• Mousse can be chilled up to 1 day.
• To vary the flavor, you can replace the 1 teaspoon vanilla with 2 teaspoons instant-espresso powder (dissolve it in the hot cream) or 3 tablespoons Grand Marnier or 2 tablespoons Cognac (either one whisked into strained custard).

National Espresso Day

espresso

Recipe and photo credit:  https://www.thespruce.com/make-espresso-caffee-macchiatos-766132

Espresso Macchiatos (a.k.a. “Caffe Macchiatos”) are compact, flavorful drinks consisting of espresso and foamed milk. Once you know how to pull espresso shots and froth milk, you can easily learn how to make Espresso Macchiatos and Latte Macchiatos.

What You’ll Need

  • 1-2 shots of espresso
  • A dollop of foamed milk ​(with the texture of melted ice cream)​

How to Make It

In a macchiato cup (about four ounces), top the espresso with a dollop of steamed milk. Serve immediately.

Martha Stewart’s Gingerbread Cheesecake

LD102960cake25.tif
Photo & Recipe Credit: https://www.marthastewart.com/317381/gingerbread-cheesecake#Gingerbread%20Recipes%7C/274868/gingerbread-recipes/@center/276958/holiday-entertaining%7C317381

Ingredients:

  • All-purpose flour, for dusting
  • 1/4 recipe of the dough for Molasses-Gingerbread Cookies
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 pounds cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 6 gingerbread men 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wrap exterior of a 9-inch springform pan in 2 layers of foil.
  2. On a generously floured piece of parchment, roll dough to a 13-by-10-inch rectangle, about 1/4 inch thick. Brush off excess flour. Slide dough and parchment onto a baking sheet. Bake until firm and golden brown, about 14 minutes. Let cool completely on sheet on a wire rack. Break into large pieces, then pulse in a food processor until finely ground.
  3. Combine butter, 1/4 cup sugar, and 2 cups cookie crumbs in a bowl. Press mixture firmly and evenly into bottom and one-third of the way up sides of prepared pan. Bake until set, about 10 minutes. Let cool on rack.
  4. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Beat cream cheese with a mixer on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar and the vanilla, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Reduce speed to low. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping sides of bowl as needed. Beat in molasses, salt, spices, and lemon zest. Pour filling into cooled crust.
  5. Place cheesecake in a large, shallow roasting pan. Transfer to oven, and carefully add enough hot water to roasting pan to come about halfway up sides of springform pan. Bake until cheesecake is set but still slightly wobbly in center, 60 to 65 minutes. Carefully remove springform pan from roasting pan, and let cool on a wire rack. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 8 hours (preferably overnight).
  6. Before serving, run a hot knife around edges of cheesecake to loosen, and remove sides of pan. Arrange gingerbread cookies in center of cake in a circle (with heads facing inward and arms touching, alternating light and dark).