Yield: 16 large cookies
“Back to Baking”, pp. 46
Flour is once more abundant in my home. Well, not abundant but many pounds more than I had a few weeks ago. As such I have ramped up my baking once more and I was excited to try these raspberry, lemon and white chocolate rugelach. I had never heard of these Jewish delicacies, but I am very glad to have discovered them. These were truly one of the best cookies I have ever made. I say cookie, but truly they are more in between a cookie and a pastry. A cootry? A paskie? That sounds better.
- ¾ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ½ package (4 oz) cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
- 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅔ cup raspberry jam
- 60 g (2 oz) white chocolate, cut in chunks, or ½ cup white chocolate chips
- 1 egg white, for brushing (optional, see notes)
These paskies smelled fantastic while baking, looked quite cute and tasted delicious. I don’t know what I was expecting, but I did not expect them to be that good. I don’t know why I thought this since raspberry and chocolate is a match made in heaven, so thankfully I was pleasantly surprised by the sweet yet not overly sweet pastry. Cookie. Not sure. Anna Olson proves once again that cream cheese is truly a secret weapon in pastry. The dough was perfectly flaky and just melted in the mouth with each bite. Truly a scrumptious treat to enjoy with some nice tea.
- Using a hand or stand mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese until smooth.
- Beat in the sugar and 1 teaspoon of the lemon zest.
- Add the flour and the salt and stir until the dough evenly comes together. Shape the dough into 2 discs, wrap each in plastic wrap and chill for at least one hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- On a lightly floured surfaced, roll out the first disc of dough into a circle about 12 inches (30 cm) across and just shy of ¼ inch thick. Trim away the rough edges.
- Stir the raspberry jam to soften it, then stir in the remaining 1 teaspoon of lemon zest. Spread half of the jam over the surface of the dough, right to the edges. Sprinkle half of the white chocolate over the jam.
- Cut the dough into 8 wedges, and roll up each cookie from the large edge to its point, very much like a croissant, and place the cookies one inch apart on the baking tray.
- Repeat steps 5-7 with the second disc of dough.
- Whisk the egg white until it is very foamy and brush each cookie with it.
- Sprinkle the cookies generously with sugar.
- Bake the rugelach for 20-25 minutes, until they are an even golden colour. Let the cookies cool on the tray before removing them to store.
Note from Anna:
- These can be made egg-free by simply brushing the tops of the rolled cookies with milk in place of the egg white.
Yield: one 9-inch cheesecake
“Back to Baking”, pp. 164
Oh how I love the richness and sweetness of cheesecakes. So much deliciousness in one dessert is probably frowned upon in some parts of the world (sadly!). This recipe is very unique in the sense that it is at least as good as a traditional cheesecake, but contains fresh raspberries and also has hints of lime and white chocolate. The lime cuts down on the sweetness a bit while the white chocolate provides an additional layer of flavor. Another unusual ingredient for a cheesecake is the sour cream, which makes for a less rich cheesecake that is just as scrumptious. I would never have thought to combine these eclectic ingredients together, but they totally work! If you are craving an excellent yet less rich cheesecake, this is definitely the recipe to try.
Ingredients for crust:
- 1/2 recipe Snickerdoodles, processed into crumbs
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
Ingredients for filling:
- 2 packages (8 oz/250 g each) cream cheese, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 3 tablespoons lime juice
- 2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
- 4 oz (125 g) white chocolate, chopped
- 1 cup fresh raspberries, plus extra for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a 9-inch springform pan.
- In a bowl, stir the cookie crumbs with the melted butter and press them into the bottom and halfway up the side of the prepared pan. Bake for 10 minutes and cool while preparing the filling.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 300°F. Beat the cream cheese and flour until the mixture is light and fluffy.
- Slowly pour in the sugar while beating and scrape the sides of the bowl 2-3 times while adding.
- Beat in the sour cream, lime juice and zest, and vanilla extract until well blended. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- One at a time, add the eggs and the egg yolk, beating well at low speed after each addition.
- By hand, fold in the white chocolate and raspberries. Pour the mixture into the cooled crust.
- Place the pan on a baking tray and bake for about 40 minutes (it took my oven more like one hour !), until the outside edges of the cheesecake are set but the centre still has a little jiggle to it. Cool the cheesecake to room temperature, then chill until set, at least 6 hours.
Notes from Anna:
- Crumbs from any other buttery sugar cookies could be used in place of Snickerdoodles.
- Just before placing it in the refrigerator to chill, run a palette knife around the inside edge of the springform. This allows to separate the cheesecake from the pan so that if it contracts, it will pull away from the sides of the pan and will be less likely to crack in the middle.
Yield: about 25 squares
“Back to Baking”, pp. 53
In recent weeks I had gotten several not-so-subtle messages from coworkers saying that they would be more than willing to taste my concoctions. It is true that it been quite some time since I had brought any baked goods to work. As such, I looked in “The Book” and found a recipe for these interesting bars. I had never heard of blondies, but I am very glad that I made this recipe. First of all, the smell of the peanut butter baked into bars with white chocolate is incredible. Secondly, the taste is even better! If you like peanut butter, you will love these bars. They are moist, delicious, sweet but not-too-sweet and just simply satisfying. I think I have never brought baked goods at work that disappeared so quickly! So go ahead and give this recipe a try, you won’t regret it!
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2/3 cup peanut butter
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup white and/or dark chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch square pan with butter and line it with parchment paper so that the ends hang over the sides.
- Using a hand or stand mixer, cream together the butter, sugar and brown sugar.
- Beat in the peanut butter and the vanilla extract.
- Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition.
- In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add this to the butter mixture and stir until evenly blended.
- Stir in the chocolate chips and scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
- Bake for about 30 minutes, just until the edges are golden brown.
Notes from Anna:
- You should expect that once in the oven, the blondies will soufflé somewhat and then fall once removed.
Yield: 10 scones
“Back to Baking”, pp. 225
Confession number X: I have never had a scone! Until recently, I never actually realized that such a thing existed. Since I have come to realize what a scone looks like, however, I have not been enticed to try one. I always wondered: what are they supposed to be? A cake? A cookie? Some type of bread snack? To my inexperienced eyes, scones looked dry and crumbly. How wrong I was!! Today I made the white chocolate and black pepper scones and…. my oh my. I love it! A crispy outer layer, a flavour-packed moist butter interior, what’s not to love? I feel like I deprived myself of a succulent dessert (or is it more of a snack?) for years. Oh well, there’s plenty of time to make up for it, and plenty of time to make more scones! The unexpected addition of the pepper in this recipe provided a pow that is welcomed and the white chocolate offers the flavour burst that makes these scones oh so delicious. Definitely, definitely try these. Go do them now, actually.
- 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
- 6 tablespoons (90 mL) unsalted butter, cut in pieces and chilled
- 4 oz. (125 g) white chocolate, chopped, or 1 cup white chocolate chips
- 1 egg
- 6 tablespoons cold milk, plus extra for brushing
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and pepper until well combined.
- Cut in the butter using two knives or, even better, your fingertips until the mixture is a rough crumbly texture but pieces of butter are still visible.
- Stir in the white chocolate to coat with the flour.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, milk and vanilla extract.
- Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and stir just until the dough begins to come together.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Using your hands, flatten and fold the dough 2-3 times until the dough is an even texture. At first, the dough will be somewhat wet and sticky. This is normal. Roll out the dough to just under 1 inch thick and cut scones either with a knife to obtain square scones (which you can reshape into triangular scones if you wish) or with a 2 1/2 inch round cutter. Reroll the dough as necessary to obtain 10 scones.
- Places the scones 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet and brush the tops of the scones with milk. Bake for about 15 minutes, until they have browned evenly.
Notes from Anna:
- These scones are best served the day they are baked, but they can be enjoyed the next day by reheating them at 300°F for 5 minutes.