As soon as I read an article about these cookies, I was obsessed. 😉
Although named butter cookies, I would describe them as shortbread cookies. According to The Chicago Tribune, these fantastic cookies were the standout item served by the Chicago Public Schools from the 1960’s to the 1980’s. Now described as a “cult classic,” easily identified by the three-finger press on top of the dough, Crockett Cookies updated the original recipe by incorporating vanilla bean paste and sea salt.
The recipe was adapted from crockettcookies.com, via myrecipes.com and The Chicago Tribune. I modified the proportions and size, using a cookie scoop to ration the dough. I also baked the cookies in a convection oven. Crockett Cookies sells them (as well as a peanut butter version) in grocery and specialty stores throughout the Chicagoland area- genius.
They have quickly climbed the ranks to be one of my husband’s absolute favorites- tied with Tutu’s! 🙂 The texture is perfect- crispy on the edges and tender and crumbly in the center. Crazy easy and absolutely delicious.
Yield: Makes about 20 cookies
2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, at room temperature
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
Adjust 2 racks evenly spaced in the oven. Preheat to 400 degrees.
Cut aluminum foil to fit 4 rimmed cookie sheets. (I used 4 half sheet pans and 1 quarter sheet pan.)
Sift the flour, then measure.
Sift the baking soda, salt, and cinnamon into the measured, sifted flour. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter, about 1 to 2 minutes.
Add the vanilla and both sugars and beat well, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the eggs one at a time and beat well.
On low speed, gradually add the sifted dry ingredients, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula and beating until just combined.
Stir in the oats.
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.)
Make the Cinnamon Sugar Topping by whisking the cinnamon and sugar together.
Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar generously over the scoops of cookie batter.
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.
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.
According to the original recipe, in Romagna, in Northern Italy, piadine are often served with cured meats, greens and fresh cheeses that soften in the warmth of the freshly cooked bread. They are folded in half and eaten like a sandwich. This version is based on the classic presentation. Yum.
The recipe was adapted from MilkStreetTV.com, contributed by Erica Bruce. I bought lard for the first time in my life to make this flatbread! Christopher Kimball convinced me that lard was the secret to both the optimal texture and flavor in this wonderful bread. In the article, they found that when using lard “the piadine were tender with just the right chew and (had) a deeper, richer background flavor. (They) also tested vegetable shortening, which gave the same supple dough but lacked a bit of flavor. Lard was the clear winner.” The flatbread was perfect.
This special sandwich was a fabulous and fast summer dinner. We hope to try piadine with all sorts of other toppings in the near future. It was dangerously easy to make. 🙂
Yield: 4 flatbread sandwiches (4 servings)
For the Piadina:
1/2 cup water, divided
1/4 cup (4 T) plain whole-milk yogurt (I used Greek yogurt)
311 grams (2 cups) bread flour
1 tsp fine sea salt or table salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
63 grams (5 T or 1/3 cup) lard, at room temperature
In a liquid measuring cup, whisk together 1/4 cup of the water and the yogurt.
In a food processor, combine the flour, salt and baking powder. Process 5 seconds.
Add the lard and process until combined, about 10 seconds.
With the processor running, add the yogurt mixture.
With the processor still running, add the remaining water 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough forms a smooth ball, about 1 minute. If the dough doesn’t ball up in the processor, gather it together and briefly knead it by hand.
Divide the dough into 4 pieces. (I used a kitchen scale.)
Roll each into a ball, then cover with plastic wrap. Let rest for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the topping.
Using a rolling pin, form each dough ball into a 10-inch round. (The round will be approximately 1/16-inch thick.) Poke the surfaces all over with a fork.
Heat a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium until a drop of water sizzles immediately, 4 to 6 minutes.
One at a time, place a dough round in the skillet and cook until the bottom is charred in spots, 1 to 2 minutes. (I cooked mine for a little less than 1 minute.)
Using tongs, flip and cook for about 30 to 40 seconds. Transfer to a plate and cover loosely with foil. Repeat.
For the Topping:
3/4 to 1 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
finely grated lemon zest from 1/2 a lemon (about 1/2 tsp), or more, to taste
2 T freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 1/2 a lemon)
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 slices prosciutto, at room temperature
baby arugula (about 1 cup per person) (we also used baby spinach)
extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling, optional
In a medium bowl, stir together the ricotta and lemon zest. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Add the lemon juice to the ricotta, or reserve to toss with the arugula (or spinach).
Spread the ricotta mixture evenly over half of each piadina, then top with 2 slices of prosciutto.
In a medium bowl, toss the arugula with the lemon juice (if not in the ricotta mixture) and a pinch of salt. Mound on top of the prosciutto.
Drizzle with oil, if desired, and fold. (I omitted the oil.)
My daughter and I planned to make caramel cookies and cream ice cream after enjoying the flavor at Storm Bros. Ice Cream Factory in Annapolis, Maryland this spring.
I started (and finished!) my caramel ice cream recipe search with Jeni Britton. One of my favorite homemade ice creams is Jeni Britton’s Vanilla Bean– I make it at least once a summer. President Biden is also big fan of her ice cream. She has a new flavor, White House Chocolate Chip, inspired by his favorite order. 🙂
The secret to her fabulously creamy ice cream is the inclusion of corn starch and cream cheese in the base. “Salty Caramel” is one of the most popular flavors in their stores. The caramel is made using a dry-burn technique. The resulting caramel flavor is rich and sophisticated.
This recipe was adapted from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home by Jeni Britton Bauer, via BonAppetit.com, contributed by Julia Bainbridge. I modified the technique. We first used the ice cream as filling in snickerdoodle ice cream sandwiches. Yum! The leftover ice cream was served with crushed Oreos as a topping instead of being mixed in. Perfect- beyond creamy too.
Mix about 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry.
Using a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth. (I used a stainless steel bowl.)
Mix the cream with the corn syrup in a measuring cup with a spout.
Fill a large bowl with ice and water. (I used a giant glass bowl. It is important that the bowl with the cream cheese can easily fit into the bowl of ice water.)
Heat the sugar in a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat until it is melted and golden amber in color. **Note: This is a dry-burn technique- be cautious. Caramelizing the sugar this way is faster but you have to watch it very closely and be ready to incorporate the cream.** See below.
The Dry-Burn Caramelization Technique:
Stand over the pan of sugar with a heatproof spatula ready. Do not touch the sugar until there is a full layer of melted and browning liquid sugar on the bottom of the pan with a smaller layer of unmelted white sugar on the top.
When the edges of the melted sugar begin to darken, use the spatula to bring it into the center to help melt the unmelted sugar.
Continue stirring and pushing the sugar around until it is all melted and evenly amber in color- like an old penny.
When little bubbles begin to explode with dark smoke, give the sugar another moment and then remove from the heat.
Immediately after removing from the heat, and, stirring constantly, slowly add a bit (about 1/4 cup) of the cream and corn syrup mixture to the caramel: It will fizzle, pop, and spurt. Stir until well combined, then add a little more and stir. Keep adding the cream a little at a time until all of it is incorporated.
Return the pan to medium-high heat and add the milk. Bring to a rolling boil and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry.
Bring back to a boil over medium-high and cook, stirring with a heatproof spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. (I used a hand-held mixer.)
Add the vanilla and whisk.
Place the bowl in the ice bath, making sure that the ice water doesn’t come in contact with the ice cream base.
Let stand, stirring occasionally and adding more ice as necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes.
Using a fine mesh sieve, strain mixture into a frozen ice cream machine canister. Churn until thick and creamy. (I churned mine for 25 minutes.)
Pack the ice cream into a storage container, press a sheet of parchment or plastic wrap directly against the surface, and seal with an airtight lid. (I used a glass loaf pan.)
Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours. (I froze the ice cream a day in advance.)
Not to brag, but Mother’s Day was my daughter’s favorite holiday when she was little. ❤ It has now been surpassed by her birthday, Easter, and Christmas, of course, but she still recognizes it is an important day. 🙂 She tirelessly made this cake- completely independently- for Mother’s Day this year.
My son made a family favorite (my choice!), Penne with Vodka-Cream Sauce, for our Mother’s Day dinner. He served it with garlic bread and a giant salad. This lovely dessert topped off our celebratory meal. Lucky me! 🙂
The recipe was adapted from one of our favorite birthday cakes, Rainbow Sprinkle Cake, contributed to The New York Times by Julia Moskin. She used 8-inch pans, omitted the sprinkles, and modified the proportions and baking time. She also topped the cake with fresh strawberries. Delicious.
For the Cake:
1/2 cup/110 grams unsalted butter (1 stick), slightly softened, more for pans
1 1/2 cups/190 grams all-purpose flour, more for pans
2 1/4 cups/225 grams confectioners’ sugar, sifted, more to taste
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 pound fresh strawberries, optional
To Make the Cake:
Heat oven to 325 degrees, preferably on convection, and place a rack in the center.
Butter and line the bottoms of two 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper. Butter the parchment. Flour the pans, coating the bottom and sides, then tap out any excess flour.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a small bowl, stir together milk and vanilla.
In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.
Reduce speed to low and, with mixer running, slowly add egg and whites and beat until smooth and creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Scrape down bowl.
Add half the flour mixture, then the milk mixture, then the remaining flour mixture, beating to blend after each addition.
Scrape down bowl and blend once more.
Remove bowl and use a spatula or spoon to fold in sprinkles by hand.
Divide batter evenly between the pans (approximately 400 g per pan), and bake until the tops are just dry to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Rotate the pans halfway through baking. (She baked the cakes for 22 minutes.)
Transfer pans to a wire rack and let cool completely, at least 2 to 4 hours, before turning out.
To Make the Frosting & Finish the Cake:
In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese, butter and salt together at medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 minutes.
Reduce speed to low and, with mixer running, slowly add sugar and beat until smooth.
Beat in vanilla just until incorporated.
Taste frosting; you should be able to taste the cream cheese and a little bit of saltiness, as well as the sweetness. If desired, add more salt or sugar. Keep refrigerated.
Turn cooled cakes out of pans.
Using a bread knife, cut off any domed or uneven parts of each cake to make flat surfaces.
Place one of the cakes on a platter or a cake stand, cut side up. Line the edges with parchment or wax paper to keep the cake stand clean.
Using an offset spatula, frost the top.
Stack the other layer on top, cut side down.
Place remaining frosting on top of the cake and, working from the center outward, frost the top and sides of the cake, as desired. (She kept the sides relatively naked.)
Top the cake with sliced strawberries, as desired.
Refrigerate cake 30 minutes or longer to set. Serve cool.
I served this heaping platter of fried deliciousness for our celebratory St. Patrick’s Day dinner. It was extremely well received. 🙂
I used Irish Harp beer in the fish batter, of course. As I was cooking the fish and chips, my husband realized that we hadn’t included the essential tartar sauce in our menu. He was thankfully able to make sauce with a few adaptations.
The beer-battered fish recipe was adapted from Donal Skehan via today.com; I modified the cooking method. The potato chip recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit. I used gold potatoes, olive oil, and seasoned the chips with sea salt. The tartar sauce recipe was loosely adapted from inspiredtaste.net. It was a treat. We’re planning to eat the leftover fish in tacos!
For the Crispy Potato Chips:
2 pounds gold, russet, or purple potatoes
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
vegetable oil, for frying (I used 10 cups of canola oil with 3-4 cups olive oil)
For the Beer-Battered Fish:
4 skinless and boneless white fish fillets, patted dry and cut into thick strips (I used Alaskan Cod)
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more to coat the fish
1 cup cold beer (I used Harp)
coarse salt, sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper
canola oil and olive oil, to fry (see above)
lemon wedges, to serve
For the Tartar Sauce:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 small dill pickle, chopped very small (3 tablespoons)(I substituted 1 tsp white wine vinegar)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste (I used the juice of 1/2 a lemon)
1 tablespoon capers, drained and chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill or 1 teaspoon dried dill (I substituted fresh basil)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
To Make the Crispy Potato Chips:
Using a mandoline, slice potatoes about 1/8-inch thick.
Place slices in a large bowl, add cold water to cover, and stir to release starch; drain. Repeat until water runs clear.
Return potatoes to bowl; cover with 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar and about 6 cups water. Let sit at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours. (the vinegar helps make the chips more crispy)
Drain potatoes and pat dry prior to cooking.
Fit a large heavy pot with a deep-fry thermometer; pour in oil to measure 3 to 4”. (I used a very deep “pasta pot” to reduce splattering.)
Heat over medium-high until thermometer registers 300°. (frying the potatoes at a lower temperature helps to remove moisture)
Working in 4 to 6 batches and returning oil to 300° between batches, fry potatoes, turning occasionally to cook evenly, until golden brown and crisp (oil will have quit bubbling), about 5 to 7 minutes per batch.
Using a spider or slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel–lined rimmed sheet pan fitted with a wire rack. While hot, season with salt.
Reserve the cooking oil to fry the fish.
Note: Potatoes can be fried 6 hours ahead. Keep at room temperature. (I kept the chips in a warming drawer while I cooked the fish.)
To Make the Beer-Battered Fish:
Top the pot with more oil, if needed, and bring it back to temperature, 300° to 340°, over a medium-high heat.
Coat the fish strips with flour, shake off the excess and set aside in a single layer on a plate.
Place 1 cup of flour in a large mixing bowl, make a well in the middle of it and pour in a little beer and whisk. Keep adding the beer and mixing until you have a smooth batter.
Season generously with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Working beside the pan, dip the fish strips in the batter one at a time and then into the hot oil. Make sure not to overcrowd the pan. (I used tongs and cooked the fish in 3 batches.)
Cook for about 4 to 5 minutes until golden-brown, turning halfway through the cooking time.
Remove the fish from the pot using a spider or slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towel–lined rimmed sheet pan fitted with a wire rack. While hot, season with salt.
Serve with some lemon wedges, crispy chips, and tartar sauce, as desired.
To Make the Tartar Sauce:
Combine the mayonnaise, pickles (or vinegar), lemon juice, capers, dill, Worcestershire sauce, and mustard in a small bowl and stir until well blended and creamy.
Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Taste then adjust with additional lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
Note: For the best flavor, cover and store in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Keep, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to one week.
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
4large egg yolks
1/2teaspoon fine sea salt
3/4packed cup/165 grams dark brown sugar
1tablespoon unsalted butter
2cups/480 milliliters whole milk
1cup/240 milliliters heavy cream
1tablespoon bourbon or Scotch whisky, optional (I omitted it)
2teaspoons 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
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.)
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
Strain mixture through a fine sieve into a heatproof container or bowl, then stir in the Scotch or bourbon, if using, and vanilla.
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.)
Chill for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.
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.
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.)