Swedish Spice Cookies (Muskotsnittar)

These buttery spice cookies may be the closest I’ve come to replicating my favorite Biscoff cookies. They were especially wonderful warm. Known as Muskotsnittar in Sweden, or nutmeg slices, they are also very easy to make. Freshly ground nutmeg is essential.

This recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart, via Martha Bakes on PBS. I weighed the flour, refrigerated the dough, modified the baking time, and trimmed the edges after baking. Yum.

Yield: Makes about 48 cookies

Danish Butter Cookies

Happy New Year! I have many recipes to share- beginning with the recipes for the holiday cookies that were new to my assortment this year.

My husband could eat Danish butter cookies on a daily basis. 😉 I decided to add them to my Christmas cookie assortment this year after seeing and episode about Scandinavian cookies on Martha Bakes.

This simple and pure version from Martha Stewart is most successful when using high-quality ingredients. I used King Arthur Flour and Plugra European-style butter. I adapted the recipe by weighing the flour and by using a cookie press to make the cookies instead of piping them. Nice.

Yield: about 40 cookies

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) best-quality salted butter, room temperature (I used Plugra)
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 300 g (2 1/2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees, preferably on convection.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and confectioners’ sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add vanilla and egg, and beat to combine.
  4. Gradually add flour, 1 cup at a time, and beat until well incorporated.
  5. Transfer dough to a cookie press, I used the wreath disc, or into a pastry bag fitted with a 7/16-inch star tip (such as Ateco #825 or Wilton #4B).
  6. Spritz cookie shapes or pipe dough into 2 1/2-inch rings onto parchment-lined baking sheets, spaced 2 inches apart.
  7. Bake, rotating halfway through, until lightly golden around edges but still light on top, about 12 to 14 minutes for spritz cookies or up to 20 minutes for piped cookies.
  8. Transfer sheets to wire racks; let cool completely.

Apple-Brown Sugar Pie

One of my favorite columns in all of my food magazines is the “RSVP” section in Bon Appétit. Readers write in to request recipes for amazing restaurant dishes. This recipe is from that column. 🙂

I thought that it was incredible that the apple pie I made last Thanksgiving had over four pounds of apples in the filling. This pie also had four pounds of apples- and they were roasted before filling the crust- packing in even more flavor. Delicious!!

This recipe was adapted from Macrina Bakery in Seattle, via Bon Appétit. I used the recipe for an all-butter crust from my Perfect Apple Pie, used a combination of apples, and made a braided lattice-top crust sprinkled with turbinado sugar. I also covered the pie with a foil dome while baking to prevent over-browning.

Yield: 8 Servings

For the Crust:

  • 2 1/2 cups (315 grams) flour
  • 1 T (15 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp coarse salt
  • 2 sticks (8 ounces, 225 grams tablespoons or 1 cup) unsalted butter, very cold
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten, optional
  • coarse or raw sugar for sprinkling, optional

For the Filling and Assembly:

  • 2 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, sliced into ½-inch wedges
  • 2 pounds Jazz apples, peeled, sliced into ½-inch wedges
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup plus 1 heaping tablespoon all-purpose flour, plus more
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, room temperature
  • ½ cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 large egg, beaten to blend
  • 2 T turbinado sugar, for sprinkling

To Serve:

  • Lightly sweetened crème fraîche, whipped cream, or vanilla ice cream, for serving, optional

Make the Crust:

  1. Gather your ingredients: Fill a one cup liquid measuring cup with water, and drop in a few ice cubes; set it aside.
  2. In a large, very wide bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar and salt.
  3. Dice two sticks (8 ounces or 1 cup) of very cold unsalted butter into 1/2-inch pieces. (If the butter becomes slightly warm, re-refrigerate until very cold.)
  4. Sprinkle the butter cubes over the flour and begin working them in with a pastry blender, using it to scoop and redistribute the mixture as needed so all parts are worked evenly.
  5. When all of the butter pieces are the size of tiny peas — this won’t take long — stop- even if it looks uneven.
  6. Start by drizzling 1/2 cup (120 ml) of the ice-cold water (but not the cubes, if there are any left!) over the butter and flour mixture. Using a rubber or silicon spatula, gather the dough together.
  7. Add an additional 1/4 cup (60 ml) of cold water to bring it together, one tablespoon as a time. Once you’re pulling large clumps with the spatula, take it out and use your hands to gather the damp clumps together into one mound, kneading them gently together.
  8. Divide the dough in half, and place each half on a large piece of plastic wrap. I like to use the sides to pull in the dough and shape it into a disk.
  9. Let the dough chill in the fridge for one hour, but preferably at least two, before rolling it out. (I make my dough a day in advance.)
  10. Once the dough is chilled and ready to go, roll out the first half on a well-floured counter into a 14-inch circle and transfer it to 9-inch standard (not deep-dish) pie plate.
  11. With scissors or kitchen shears, trim overhang to one inch all around. Refrigerate dish and dough until needed.
  12. For a regular pie lid, roll out the second dough half into the same sized circle, transfer it to a large parchment-lined baking sheet and chill this as well until needed. For a lattice or woven pie lid, you can use the same sized circle, or you can just roll it into a rectangle at least 14″ in one direction, and then as long or wide you can get it in the other. Transfer it to a parchment-lined baking sheet and chill this as well until needed. (I made a braided lattice top.)

Do ahead: Dough will keep in the refrigerator for about a week, and in the freezer longer. If not using it that day, wrap it in additional layers of plastic wrap to protect it from fridge/freezer smells. To defrost your dough, move it to the fridge for one day before using it.

Make the Filling And Assemble:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°, preferably on convection.
  2. Toss apples, 1 cup granulated sugar, and ¼ cup flour in a large bowl. Divide between 2 rimmed baking sheets; bake, rotating baking sheets once, until apples are just tender, 25–30 minutes.
  3. Let the apples cool, then transfer apples and accumulated juices to a large bowl.
  4. Add butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and 1 heaping tablespoon of flour; toss to combine. Chill at least 1 hour.
  5. Scrape apples into prepared pie crust and place dough over top; trim, leaving 1″ overhang. (I made a lattice top.)
  6. Fold edge of top crust under bottom crust, press together to seal, and crimp. If using a full pie crust top, cut 8 slits in top to vent.
  7. Brush top crust with egg, and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of turbinado sugar.
  8. Chill pie in freezer until crust is firm, about 30 minutes.
  9. Preheat oven to 400°. Place pie on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet, cover the edge with a pie shield and cover entire pie with a foil dome (see note); bake 30 minutes (crust should be slightly golden).
  10. Reduce oven temperature to 350° and continue baking until juices are bubbling and crust is deep golden brown, 50–70 minutes. (I kept the edge covered but removed the foil dome the last 15 minutes of baking.)
  11. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool at least 4 hours before slicing. Serve with crème fraîche, whipped cream or ice cream, as desired.

Note: If your pie is browning too fast, take a large square of foil, mold it over the back of a large bowl into a convex dome, then use that to cover the pie in the oven for the remaining baking time so it doesn’t brown much further.

Do Ahead: Roasted apples can be made 1 day ahead; keep chilled. Pie can be made 1 day ahead and stored at room temperature.

Maple Browned Butter Pumpkin Pie

I broke my tradition of serving a Pumpkin Chiffon Pie on Thanksgiving Day to try this pie instead. The combination of maple and browned butter was delicious in a pumpkin pie. 🙂

This recipe was adapted from Budget Bytes.com. I used the all-butter pie crust recipe from my gold standard Pumpkin Chiffon pie. Next time I would not make the pie in a deep dish pie pan as the original recipe suggests- I prefer the filling to puff out over the crust. Nice!

Yield: One 9-inch pie

For the All-Butter Pie Crust:

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • pinch of coarse salt
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1/4 cup ice water
  1. In a food processor, pulse the flour with the salt.
  2. Add the butter and pulse until the size of peas, 5 to 10 seconds.
  3. Drizzle in the water and pulse until the crumbs are moistened; turn out onto a work surface.
  4. Gather into a ball, flatten, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes. (I refrigerated mine overnight.)
  5. On a floured surface, roll out the dough to a 13-inch round a scant 1/4 inch thick. (I lightly flour the dough and roll it out between sheets of plastic wrap.)
  6. Fit the dough into a 9-inch glass or ceramic pie plate and (trim the overhang to 3/4 inch). Fold the dough under itself and crimp decoratively. Refrigerate the pie shell for 10 minutes. (I often refrigerate the crust, covered with plastic wrap, overnight at this point.)

For the Pie:

  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp coarse salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 15oz. can pumpkin purée
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 All-Butter Pie Crust (recipe above)
  1. Preheat the oven to 425ºF, preferably on convection.
  2. Cut the butter into four tablespoon-sized chunks, then add them to a small skillet. Heat the butter over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the butter solids turn deep brown and develop a nutty aroma (it will first become foamy, then the solids will sink to the bottom and turn brown). Remove the butter from the heat immediately to prevent burning, and carefully pour it into a mixing bowl.
  3. Add the maple syrup, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt to the bowl with the brown butter. Stir to combine.
  4. Add the eggs and pumpkin purée to the bowl with the butter and spices. Whisk until smooth.
  5. Lastly, add the evaporated milk, and whisk until smooth again.
  6. Place the prepared pie crust on a baking sheet for easy transport in and out of the oven. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the crust. Transfer the filled crust to the oven.
  7. Bake the pie for 15 minutes at 425ºF, then turn the heat down to 350ºF and continue to bake for 35-40 minutes more, or until the pie is slightly domed on top, lightly browned around the edges, and the center is no longer liquid, but jiggles just slightly when you shake the baking sheet. If the crust begins to brown too much as it bakes, you can cover the crust with foil to stop the browning. (I covered the crust for the duration of the baking time.)
  8. Remove the pie from the oven and let cool at room temperature for about one hour.
  9. Once cool, cut and serve, or cover with foil or plastic and transfer to the refrigerator for storage, preferably overnight.

Pear and Almond Tart

I served this elegant tart on Thanksgiving Eve this year. It was very well received! The classic combination of pears and almonds was absolutely delicious.

This recipe was adapted from Dolester Miles’ recipe in Frank Stitt’s Southern Table: Recipes and Traditions from Highlands Bar and Grill, via The Washington Post. The restaurant is located in Birmingham, Alabama. I used poaching liquid instead of rum in the filling and reduced the baking time. Wonderful!

Yield: 8 servings

For the Crust:

  • 1 cup plus 3 T flour, plus more for the work surface
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) cold, unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

For the Pears:

  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 6 cups water
  • half a vanilla bean, split
  • one 3-inch cinnamon stick
  • 5 (large) to 6 almost-ripe, firm pears, such as Bartlett, Anjou or Bosc, peeled, halved lengthwise and cored

For the Filling:

  • 8 T (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup finely ground blanched almonds
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 3 T Calvados, dark rum, or poaching liquid
  • 1 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1/4 cup blanched/slivered or sliced almonds, toasted, for garnish

To Make the Crust:

  1. Use cooking oil spray to grease a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom.
  2. Place the flour in a food processor.
  3. Sprinkle the salt and cubes of butter into the flour. Pulse until the butter is pea-sized.
  4. Pour the egg over the mixture; pulse just until the dough begins to come together.
  5. Turn the dough out onto the counter, and then gather it into a disk.
  6. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour, or up to 1 day.
  7. Lightly flour a work surface. Unwrap and roll the dough out into a 12-inch round. (I roll the dough out between 2 sheets of plastic wrap.)
  8. Transfer it to the tart pan, using your fingertips to line the pan with the dough. Trim the edges even with the rim of the pan.
  9. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until you are ready to bake.

To Poach the Pears:

  1. Combine the sugar, water, vanilla bean and cinnamon stick in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 15 minutes.
  2. Add the pears; once the liquid begins to bubble at the edges, cook the pears for 15 to 20 minutes, until they are tender and the tip of a paring knife slips into them easily. Let them cool in their liquid. Discard the cinnamon stick and vanilla bean.

To Make the Filling and Finish the Tart:

  1. When ready to assemble, make the filling: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees, preferably on convection.
  2. Toast the almonds in a small, dry skillet over medium-low heat for several minutes, until fragrant and lightly browned, shaking the pan occasionally to avoid scorching. Cool completely before using for the topping.
  3. Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer or handheld electric mixer; beat on medium speed for several minutes, until light and fluffy.
  4. Reduce the speed to low; add the egg, ground almonds, flour, Calvados, rum, or poaching liquid and the almond extract. Beat for about 2 minutes, until smooth.
  5. Remove the tart shell from the refrigerator. Unwrap and pour in the filling, spreading it evenly.
  6. Remove the pears from the poaching liquid, placing them in a colander set over a bowl. Reserve 1 cup of the poaching liquid for this recipe; reserve and refrigerate the rest for poaching more fruit later.
  7. Place the pears cut sides down on the tart filling, side by side with the narrow ends facing in, until the entire surface of the tart is covered with pears. Cover the edge of the tart to prevent over-browning and bake (middle rack) for about 28 to 30 minutes, until golden brown.
  8. Meanwhile, cook the reserved cup of poaching liquid in a small saucepan over high heat until it has reduced to a glaze – about 2 to 3 tablespoons total. Remove from the heat.
  9. Once the tart comes out of the oven, brush it with the glaze, then scatter the toasted almonds evenly over the top. Serve warm, or at room temperature.

Note: The dough needs to be refrigerated for at least 1 hour and up to 1 day. The pears can be stored in their cooking liquid in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. The poaching liquid can be reused.

Cheesy Hasselback Potato Gratin

This dish was part of our Thanksgiving feast as a second potato dish to compliment my son’s mashed potatoes. (He almost exclusively eats potatoes on Thanksgiving Day!)

This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by J. Kenji López-Alt, from his book titled “The Food Lab.” I substituted unpeeled Yukon Gold potatoes for the peeled russet potatoes and added extra garlic and cheese. 😉 I actually added the cheese at the wrong time (oops!) and was thankfully still quite pleased with the results.

Yield: Serves 6 to 8

Time: about 2 hours

  • 3+ ounces finely grated Gruyère or Comté cheese
  • 2 ounces finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 T fresh thyme leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 1/2 to 5 pounds unpeeled Yukon Gold potatoes, sliced 1/8-inch thick on a mandoline
  • 2 T unsalted butter
  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees, preferably on convection.
  2. Combine cheeses in a large bowl.
  3. Transfer 1/3 of the cheese mixture to a separate bowl and set aside.
  4. Add cream, garlic, and thyme to cheese mixture.
  5. Season generously with salt and pepper.
  6. Add potato slices and toss with your hands until every slice is coated with cream mixture, making sure to separate any slices that are sticking together to get the cream mixture in between them.
  7. Grease a 2-quart casserole dish dish with butter.
  8. Pick up a handful of potatoes, organizing them into a neat stack, and lay them in the casserole dish with their edges aligned vertically.
  9. Continue placing potatoes in the dish, working until all of the potatoes have been added. The potatoes should be very tightly packed. (If necessary, slice an additional potato, coat with cream mixture, and add to casserole.)
  10. Pour the excess cream/cheese mixture evenly over the potatoes until the mixture comes halfway up the sides of the casserole. (You may not need all of the excess!)
  11. Cover the dish tightly with foil and transfer to the oven. Bake for 30 minutes.
  12. Remove the foil and continue baking until the top is pale golden brown, about 30 minutes longer.
  13. Carefully remove from oven, sprinkle with remaining cheese, and return to the oven. Bake until deep golden brown and crisp on top, about 30 minutes.
  14. Remove from oven, let rest for a few minutes, and serve.

Cornbread Dressing with Bacon & Sage

I am not usually the biggest fan of Thanksgiving stuffing but I was in love with this version. This classic Southern stuffing had wonderful flavor and a perfect balance of crunchy and custardy texture. Perfect. It will definitely be part of my Thanksgiving menu next year.

This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Josh Miller. The skillet cornbread is baked in a piping hot cast iron skillet sprinkled with salt- resulting in a fabulously crispy crust. This cornbread would be delicious on its own as well. I made the cornbread a day in advance. The stuffing can be completely assembled one day before serving and baking.

Yield: Serves 8 to 10

For the Dressing:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F, preferably on convection.
  2. Toss together 5 cups cornbread cubes, torn white bread, 1/2 cup melted butter, and sage in a large bowl.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high. In 2 batches, add cornbread mixture to skillet; cook, stirring, until bread is toasted, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer corn-bread mixture to a large bowl, and set aside. Wipe skillet clean.
  4. Add bacon to skillet; cook over medium, stirring often, until crisp, about 12 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove bacon; add to cornbread mixture.
  5. Reserve 2 tablespoons bacon drippings in skillet; discard remaining drippings or reserve for another use.
  6. Add onion, apple, celery, parsley, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add onion mixture to cornbread mixture.
  7. Crumble remaining 5 cups cubed cornbread into cornbread mixture.
  8. Whisk together 3 cups broth, eggs, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl until blended. Fold into cornbread mixture.
  9. Spoon mixture into a 13- x 9-inch baking dish.
  10. Drizzle with remaining 1/2 cup broth and remaining 1/4 cup melted butter. Bake in preheated oven until lightly toasted, about 35 minutes.
Note: Dressing may be assembled up to 1 day ahead; cover and chill until ready to bake.

For the Buttermilk Skillet Cornbread:

  1. Add oil to a 10-inch cast-iron skillet; place skillet in oven, and preheat to 450°F, preferably on convection. (Do not remove skillet while oven preheats.)
  2. While oven preheats, whisk together cornmeal, flour, sugar, 2 1/2 teaspoons salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a medium bowl.
  3. Stir in buttermilk until smooth; stir in eggs, then stir in butter.
  4. Carefully remove skillet from oven; pour hot oil from skillet into cornbread batter, stirring until blended.
  5. Working quickly, sprinkle remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in bottom of skillet, then immediately pour batter into hot skillet (do not stir), and return to oven.
  6. Bake at 450°F until top is golden brown, about 22 minutes.
  7. Immediately invert cornbread onto a wire rack (to retain the crispy crust); let cool completely before using, about 1 hour and 30 minutes.

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