Parisian Corn Sablés

These simple shortbread-style cookies were minimally sweet with a perfectly crumbly texture. We enjoyed them plain and sandwiched with jam.

This recipe is from Apollonia Poilâne via The New York Times, contributed by Dorie Greenspan. They are included in the book “Poilâne, The Secrets of the World-Famous Bread Bakery,” by Apollonia Poilâne, who heads the legendary Parisian boulangerie. According to the article, the desserts made in the shop are bread-bakers pastries, described as as “less sweet, less fussy and less fussed over.” I chilled the dough in logs rather than rolling and cutting as a shortcut.

Yield: about 60 cookies

  • 125 grams (1/2 cup plus 2 T) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 250 grams unsalted butter (2 1/4 sticks, 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons) cut into cubes, softened until creamy
  • 240 grams (2 cups) corn flour
  • 240 grams (1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons) all-purpose flour
  • jam, for sandwiching the cookies, optional (I used Bonne Maman Four Fruits Preserves)
  1. In a large bowl, working with a mixer on medium speed, beat the sugar, egg and egg yolk until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes.
  2. Add the butter, and beat until well blended, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the corn flour and all-purpose flour to a medium bowl, and whisk until combined.
  4. Reduce the mixer speed to low, add the flour mixture and mix until just incorporated.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap. Divide the dough in half, and using parchment paper, shape into 2 logs, about 1 1/4-inches in diameter.
  6. Wrap the logs tightly in plastic, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. I place the logs in wrapping paper cardboard to maintain the shape. (I refrigerated the dough overnight- and even longer for a second batch.)(The dough can be frozen for up to 3 months.)
  7. To bake, line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Position the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees, preferably on convection.
  8. Working with 1 log of dough at a time, slice the dough into 1/4-inch thick rounds, rotating the log between slices to make more even slices.
  9. Place the rounds 1/2-inch apart on the baking sheets. (I placed 12 cookies per sheet.)
  10. Bake the cookies until the centers are set and the edges are very lightly browned, 12 minutes on convection. Rotate the pans from top to bottom and front to back halfway through the baking time.
  11. Immediately transfer the cookies to a wire rack, and let cool completely.
  12. Serve plain or sandwiched with jam. Store the cookies in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

I shared these cookies with a friend and she shared this beautiful photo of them with me. ❤

Oatmeal Snickerdoodles

I made this twist on a classic snickerdoodle to share with friends at the beach while enjoying one of our last summer sunsets. Perfect. 🙂 The original recipe describes this version as being Early American, from Connecticut. They were thin with crisp edges and a more tender center.

The recipe was adapted from Cookies are Magic by Maida Heather. I had never baked cookies on foil which was recommended in the recipe to slow the browning process. Interesting! I modified the recipe to reduce the amount of cinnamon-sugar topping.

Yield: 50 cookies

For the Cookie Dough:

  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 sticks (8 oz) unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large or XL eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

For the Cinnamon Sugar Topping:

  • 1 T granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  1. Adjust 2 racks evenly spaced in the oven. Preheat to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut aluminum foil to fit 4 rimmed cookie sheets. (I used 4 half sheet pans and 1 quarter sheet pan.)
  3. Sift the flour, then measure.
  4. Sift the baking soda, salt, and cinnamon into the measured, sifted flour. Set aside.
  5. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  6. Add the vanilla and both sugars and beat well, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  7. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well.
  8. On low speed, gradually add the sifted dry ingredients, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula and beating until just combined.
  9. Stir in the oats.
  10. Using a cookie scoop (I used a 1 T cookie scoop), place by rounded scoops onto the prepared baking sheets, about 2-inches apart. (I placed 12 cookies per sheet on the 4 prepared sheets, and the leftovers on the quarter sheet pan.)
  11. Make the Cinnamon Sugar Topping by whisking the cinnamon and sugar together.
  12. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar generously over the scoops of cookie batter.
  13. Bake the cookies for 9 to 12 minutes, reversing the sheets from top to bottom and back to front as necessary to ensure even browning.
  14. After removing from the oven, let cookies rest on the sheets for a few seconds until they are firm enough to transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Summer Bucatini with Buttery Zucchini Sauce

I love trying new ways to use summer zucchini. Making pasta sauce out of grated zucchini is absolute genius! This dish gobbled up all of the zucchini that I received in my CSA share- amazing.

This recipe was adapted from Smitten Kitchen.com. I used bucatini (our favorite) instead of spaghetti. I also modified the proportions and method. It was a vegetarian crowd-pleaser. Super quick to prepare too.

Yield: Serves 5 to 6

  • 3 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for pasta water, and to taste
  • 16 ounces (1 pound, 450 grams) bucatini, cooked al dente (I used De Cecco)(can substitute with spaghetti, linguini, or fettuccine)
  • 2 cups (470 ml) pasta water, reserved
  • 2 1/2 to 3 pounds (about 1100 to 1300 grams) zucchini, trimmed, coarsely grated (I used 3 large zucchini- about 8 cups grated)
  • 12 tablespoons (170 grams, 1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 10 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more to taste
  • 1 generous cup (90 grams) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • fresh basil leaves, cut into thin ribbons (about 2 large handfuls)
  1. Mince the garlic cloves in a food processor. Set aside.
  2. Coarsely grate the zucchini in a food processor, emptying the bowl as necessary. Set aside.
  3. Melt butter in a large, deep skillet or pot over medium-high heat. (I used an enameled cast iron pot.)
  4. Add the garlic, stirring it into the butter for one minute.
  5. Add the zucchini, salt, and red pepper. Cook the zucchini, stirring from time to time, for 13 to 15 minutes. It will first let off a puddle liquid, the liquid will cook off, and the zucchini will become soft and concentrated. If the zucchini begins to brown, reduce the heat slightly.
  6. Stir frequently for 2 more minutes until it reaches an almost spreadable consistency.
  7. Meanwhile, boil your pasta in well-salted water until it’s 1 minute shy of fully cooked. Before you drain it, reserve 2 cup of the pasta cooking water and set it aside. (I cooked my pasta for 9 minutes.)
  8. Pour in 1 cup of the reserved pasta water into the zucchini and butter mixture scraping up any browned bits.
  9. Add the drained pasta, and cook together for 2 minutes. Use tongs to pull up the zucchini butter sauce into the pasta strands, tossing frequently, and adding some or all of the remaining pasta water as needed to loosen.
  10. Taste and adjust seasonings, as desired.
  11. Incorporate a generous half of the parmesan and basil and mix, then transfer to a serving bowl, if desired. (I served the pasta from my cast iron pan!)
  12. Garnish with remaining parmesan and basil. Serve.

Butterscotch Pudding

My son is a major fan of creamy comfort food. He was obsessed with this pudding and its caramel notes. ❤ I loved all of the garnishes.

This recipe for this sweet treat was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. She was able to find the perfect ratio of milk to cornstarch to prevent grittiness. I found that the pudding had to cook a little bit longer to thicken.

I topped the chilled pudding with lightly sweetened freshly whipped cream, toasted and sweetened sliced almonds, and a sprinkle of flaky sea salt. Next time, I may try candied pecans instead of almonds. 🙂 The original recipe includes several other options as well.

Yield: Serves 4

  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3/4 packed cup/165 grams dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 cups/480 milliliters whole milk
  • 1 cup/240 milliliters heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon or Scotch whisky, optional (I omitted it)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • freshly whipped cream, sour cream or crème fraîche, for serving (I lightly sweetened the whipped cream with confectioners’ sugar)
  • chopped candied ginger, sliced almonds, Demerara sugar, shaved chocolate, cocoa nibs or flaky sea salt, or a combination , for garnish, optional
  1. Put egg yolks, cornstarch and salt into a large heatproof bowl (preferably with a spout), and whisk until the mixture is smooth and there are no lumps. (I used a balloon whisk and a pyrex bowl with a spout.)
  2. In a medium pot over medium heat, combine brown sugar and butter, whisking, until the brown sugar melts, 1 to 2 minutes. (I used a sauce whisk so that I could get into the edges of the pan.) Let cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture starts to smell like hot caramel and darkens slightly, about 1 minute longer. (Don’t walk away, or the mixture may burn.)
  3. Immediately pour the milk and cream into the pot. (It will bubble fiercely and seize up- the sugar clumps.) Continue to cook, whisking constantly, until the clumps melt, 2 to 4 minutes.
  4. Slowly whisk about 1/2 cup of the hot cream mixture into the bowl with the egg yolks, whisking yolks until smooth, then whisk in the remaining hot cream mixture. Pour the egg-cream mixture back into the saucepan and place it over medium heat.
  5. Cook pudding, whisking constantly especially around the bottom and edges of the pot, until it comes to a full boil. It is important to bring the pudding to a full, vigorous boil to activate the cornstarch. Otherwise, it may not set. (If you end up with thin, runny pudding, undercooking may have been the issue.) Also- it’s okay if the eggs curdle because the mixture is strained at the end.
  6. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring the mixture constantly, until it thickens enough to mound thickly on the spoon, 4 to 10 minutes. If at any point the pudding looks curdled, whisk to help smooth it out.
  7. Strain mixture through a fine sieve into a heatproof container or bowl, then stir in the Scotch or bourbon, if using, and vanilla.
  8. To prevent a skin from forming, press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pudding. (If you like the skin, don’t cover pudding until it cools.)
  9. Chill for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.
  10. If garnishing the pudding with toasted sliced almonds, evenly spread them on a parchment paper-lined rimmed sheet pan; roast in a 400 degree oven for 3 to 5 minutes, or until light golden brown. Remove from the oven and place in a small frying pan. Top with granulated sugar, to taste, and cook over medium-low to medium heat just until the sugar melts and coats the almonds, about 1 to 2 minutes. Return to the lined baking sheet to cool.
  11. When serving, spoon pudding into dishes. Top with dollops of whipped cream, sour cream or crème fraîche, and any of the optional garnishes. (I incorporated some confectioners’ sugar into freshly whipped cream.)

Pan-Banging Giant Crinkled Snickerdoodles

I first read about Sarah Kieffer’s famous pan-banging baking method when her Giant Crinkled Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe was published in The New York Times, adapted from The Vanilla Bean Baking Book. During the baking process, the sheet pan is intermittently tapped on the oven rack. The resulting cookies have a “crinkled,” rippled, crisp outer edge and soft center. I love how they look. The added bonus is that they have to be large- giant– in order for the method to be successful.

In Kieffer’s second cookbook, 100 Cookies: The Baking Book for Every Kitchen with Classic Cookies, Novel Treats, Brownies, Bars, and More, she has an entire chapter devoted to pan-banging cookies. I can’t believe that it has taken me this long to bake them! The original chocolate chip cookie recipe has been modified in the new book. I will have to try the chocolate chip cookie version, of course, but I loved the idea of making giant crinkled snickerdoodles.

I did find that the method was only successful with three cookies per sheet pan. It may be be because the dough is closer to the center of the pan but I’m not exactly sure. The pans with four cookies cracked on the edges and spread more than the pans with three cookies. I reduced the amount of cinnamon sugar topping in the recipe below because there was excess.

The original recipe states that it yields twelve cookies, but, after weighing the rationed dough, each batch (sadly) only yielded ten cookies. I immediately made a second batch to share after baking the first ten cookies! We loved them.

Yield: 10 giant cookies

For the Cookie Dough:

  • 284g (2 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt (I used fine sea salt)
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup (2 sticks or 227g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 300g (1 1/2 cups) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

For the Topping:

  • 25g (2 T) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 T ground cinnamon
  1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle of the oven. (The remaining oven racks should be below this middle rack to not interfere with the pan-banging.)
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 C). (I did not use the convection setting.)
  3. Line 3 rimmed sheet pans with aluminum foil, dull-side up.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cream of tartar, and nutmeg.
  5. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute.
  6. Add the 300g (1 1/2 cups) sugar and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.
  7. Add the egg and vanilla and mix on low speed to combine.
  8. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until combined.
  9. In a small bowl, combine the 25g (2 T) and ground cinnamon for the topping.
  10. Form the dough in to 85 to 86g (3 oz or 1/4 cup) balls. (I initially used the combination of a large and medium cookie scoop, but found it was easier to just weigh chunks of dough.) Place all of the dough balls on a plate until all of it has been rationed.
  11. Roll each ball in the cinnamon-sugar topping.
  12. Place 3 cookies an equal distance apart on the sheet pans. (One will be leftover to bake after a sheet pan has cooled.)
  13. Bake the cookies one pan at a time.
  14. Bake until the dough balls have flattened but are puffed slightly in the center, 8 minutes.
  15. Lift one side of the sheet pan up about 4 inches (10 cm) and gently let it drop down against the oven rack, so the edges of the cookies set and the center falls back down. (I repeated this lifting the other side of the pan as well.)
  16. After the cookies puff up again in 2 minutes, repeat lifting and dropping the pan. Repeat a few more times, every 2 minutes, to created ridges around the edge of the cookie. Bake for 14 to 15 minutes total, until the cookies have spread out and the edges are golden brown but the centers are much lighter and not fully cooked. (To keep track, I actually kept a paper to keep track of the timing: 8*2*2*2*1.)
  17. Transfer the pan to a wire rack. Let the cookies cool for 10 minutes, then move them to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Note: Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 days (or refrigerate for up to 3 days).

Everyday Soft French Bread

Recently, my friend’s husband made this wonderful bread. It was so delicious, she ran over to give us a few slices to sample. Lucky me! 🙂 She also shared the recipe, of course. This bread is completely different from a classic crusty baguette. It is soft, tender, and quite dense. The dough is more manageable and it can also be made from start to finish in a single day.

The recipe was adapted from The French Kitchen: Tales and Traditions of Everyday Home Cooking in France by Susan Herrmann Loomis. The texture and flavor of this loaf are reminiscent of my husband’s favorite sourdough sandwich bread, which also includes milk and butter in the dough. Both this loaf and the sourdough sandwich bread seem to be resistant to becoming stale- if they’re not eaten right away. 😉

Yield: One 18 by 3-inch (45 by 7.5 cm) loaf

For the Bread:

  • 250 ml (1 cup) whole milk
  • 1 tsp active dry yeast or instant yeast
  • 2 T granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 325 g to 360 g (2 1/4 to 2 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour (I used King Arthur), plus more for dusting
  • 2 T unsalted butter, melted and cooled

For the Glaze:

  • 2 tsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tsp whole milk
  1. Scald the milk in a small saucepan over medium heat, just until it has tiny bubbles around the edge of the pot.
  2. Remove from heat and transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or to a large bowl.
  3. When the milk is slightly cooled (and no longer feels hot), sprinkle in the yeast and sugar. Let sit until some of the yeast has bubbled up to the top of the milk, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the salt, stir, and slowly add half of the flour.
  5. Add the melted butter.
  6. Add up to 1 1/4 cups (187 g) of the remaining flour to form a fairly thick dough. If the dough is still soft and very sticky, add additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until you get a dough that is firm, but not stiff. (I started with 325 g flour and incorporated an additional 20 g to achieve the desired consistency.)
  7. If using a stand mixer, knead the dough with the paddle attachment on low-speed for 5 minutes. Alternatively, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead by hand for 5 minutes.
  8. Form the dough into a ball, place in a lightly greased bowl, cover with a tea towel or plastic wrap, and let it rise in a warm spot until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours. (I used a proofing oven.)
  9. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 C) and position a rack in the center.
  10. Gently punch down the dough down. Pull to form it into a baguette shape measuring 18-inches by 3-inches (45 cm by 7.5 cm). (I formed mine into a 16-inch long shape because of the length of my baguette pan.) Crimp the ends.
  11. Let it rise until it is about one-third larger, about 30 minutes. (I placed it on a baguette pan in a proofing oven.)
  12. To make the glaze, melt the butter and the milk together, whisk to combine. Keep warm until ready to use.
  13. Brush the loaf with the glaze. (I used about 2/3 of the glaze.) Score the top of the loaf 4 or 5 times using a sharp knife, lame, or kitchen shears.
  14. Bake until the loaf is golden and baked though, about 25 minutes.
  15. Remove from the oven, brush the loaf with any residual glaze, and let cool before slicing.

Vanilla Bean Spritz Cookies

Classic butter cookies are my husband’s absolute favorite, so I had to try this vanilla bean version. He loved them! They are dangerously easy to make too.

This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I used the ground cinnamon option, varied the shapes, and topped the cookies with festive colored sugars prior to baking.

Because the cookies are quite fragile, the original recipe suggests making them into sandwich cookies, filled with chocolate, Nutella, or thick jam, to increase their stability for shipping. We ate them as is!

Yield: about 4 dozen cookies
  • 1 cup/225 grams unsalted butter (2 sticks), preferably cultured, softened
  • 1/2 cup/100 grams granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup/55 grams light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste (or use 1 tablespoon vanilla extract)
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest or orange zest, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon or cardamom, OR 1/2 teaspoon almond extract, optional
  • 2 1/4 cups/290 grams all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • decorative sugar, for sprinkling, optional
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees, preferably on convection.
  2. Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a handheld electric mixer, beat butter and sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Add the egg, vanilla and the zest, spices or almond extract (if using), and mix until well combined and smooth.
  4. Reduce speed to low, and gradually add flour and salt until just incorporated.
  5. Load dough into a cookie press. Following the directions that came with your cookie press (models can vary), push the dough onto ungreased baking sheets, leaving about 1/2 to 1 inch between cookies.
  6. Sprinkle cookies with decorative sugar.
  7. Bake until firm to touch and golden brown at edges, about 8 to 9 minutes, or longer (up to 17 minutes) depending upon the size of your cookie press.
  8. Transfer cookies onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Our festive 2020 “Gingerbread Mansion” (photo above). 🙂

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