Sunday, March 28, 2010

Passover: Toffee-Chocolate Matzah

I've been meaning to make this recipe for the past few years, especially since I've already tasted the same recipe but with either Saltines or graham crackers and can attest to its deliciousness. A sprinkle of salt on top is key—aim for either sea salt or kosher salt. It rounds out the other flavors so well!

Toffee-Chocolate Matzah
4 sheets unsalted non-egg matzah (or Saltines, or graham crackers)
1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 c. packed brown sugar
2 c. semisweet chocolate chips
sea salt (or other toppings like nuts)

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper (less cleanup!). Arrange matzah in an even layer on baking sheets and set aside.

(These pictured matzahs don't even know how lucky they're about to become...)

Melt butter in saucepan on medium-low heat. Once melted, add brown sugar and cook, stirring, until the sugar has completely dissolved, it starts to bubble, and the mixture is pourable—about 5 minutes. Drizzle toffee evenly over matzah and spread with a spatula.

Transfer to the oven and bake until toffee has a rich sheen, 10 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Tent matzah with aluminum foil and let stand 20 to 30 minutes.

Remove foil tent and spread melted chocolate over matzah to cover; sprinkle with sea salt. Transfer matzah to refrigerator and let chill at least 2 hours.

Break chilled matzah into pieces. Matzah will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for 4 days, but you may have to keep it in the refrigerator if your kitchen is always hot like ours is!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

It's that time of year again! Passover baking usually results in fallen cakes, an overabundant use of coconut, or relying on so many egg whites that you start to feel downright wasteful. (Even though those last linked-to cookies remain my very favorite.) Not these cookies! And who doesn't love peanut butter and chocolate?

Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted from Emeril Lagasse, as featured on Good Morning America
1 c. creamy peanut butter
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
1/2 c. (or way more...) semisweet chocolate chips
1 egg, fork-beaten
1 t. vanilla extract
sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir with a wooden spoon until combined.

Put a few scoops of sugar in a small bowl. Roll about 1 heaping tablespoon of dough between your hands to form a smooth ball then drop each dough ball into the sugar and roll around until coated.

Place each dough ball onto an ungreased cookie sheet, spacing them 1 inch apart. Using a fork, press on the dough in two directions to form a crosshatch pattern.

Bake cookies until puffed and lightly golden, 10 minutes. Important: Remove baking sheets from oven and let cookies cool on the sheets. Otherwise, they will completely crumble. Then remove them with a spatula once cooled enough to transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

PB+C=Best Combo Ever

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Earl Grey Tea Cookies

This is a strange recipe. I'm just going to say that from the start. I would never have thought to cut open a tea bag and mix the contents into cookies. However, my husband loves Earl Grey tea so I've had this one bookmarked for a while. I made them for him for Christmas.

If you're a dough eater (come on, who isn't?), you'll be disappointed with this one. The Earl Grey is bitter bitter bitter and raw tasting in the dough, but the heat of the oven cooks the leaves and makes these cookies surprisingly delicate and fragrant. You could easily try other varieties of tea: Darjeeling, English breakfast, Lady Grey, etc.—but even though I wouldn't choose Earl Grey for drinking, it's great in these butter cookies.

To grind the tea leaves, cut open the tea bags and either empty the contents into a small mini-prep food processor or use a mortar and pestle if you have one. I created my own: I dumped the tea leaves into a small bowl and used the flat head of a meat mallet to grind the leaves down by hand.

These would be perfect for a springtime tea party!

Earl Grey Tea Cookies
makes 8 dozen bite-sized cookies
2 c. flour
2 T. finely ground Earl Grey tea leaves (2–4 tea bags)
1/2 t. salt
1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 c. confectioners' sugar
1 T. finely grated orange zest (I wasn't crazy about this flavor, FYI)

Whisk together flour, ground tea leaves, and salt in a bowl.

Place butter, confectioners' sugar, and orange zest, if using, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually mix in flour mixture until just combined.

Divide dough in half. Place each half in parchment paper, shape into logs, and roll in parchment to 1 1/4 inches in diameter. Transfer parchment logs to the freezer; freeze until firm, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut logs into 1/4-inch slices with a sharp knife. Space 1 inch apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a Silpat.

Bake cookies until edges are golden, 13 to 15 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire rack.
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