Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Pfefferneusse

I've made Pfefferneusse, a cookie which I cannot even pronounce its name. This recipe is from Dorie Greenspan's latest baking book "Dorie's Cookies". Tuesdays With Dorie (TWD) is currently baking from two books of Dorie's, every Tuesday of the week. 

According to Dorie, Pfefferneusse, (the name is German for "peppernut"), are made with chopped nuts, lots of spice and citrus. And there are lots of different spices used in these cookies ; ground cinnamon, ground black pepper, grated nutmeg, ground cardamom, dry mustard, orange zest and pecans. 



The recipe yields 38 cookies for me, close enough to 40 as indicated in the recipe. As mentioned in the book, these cookies can be kept for weeks as they are dry and firm by nature. 



Either glazed the top with melted chocolate mixed with espresso powder, or just a dusting of confectioners' sugar. I glazed most of the cookies with the chocolate glaze and about a dozen with the confectioners' sugar. 

I have mixed feelings over these cookies. As you bite into them, you would first notice the dry texture, (though not overly dry!), the crumbly crumbs and the taste of the spices all blended into one, though the spices are surprisingly mild. At the end of it, when you have finished the whole piece, there's the taste of black pepper lingering in the mouth. These cookies are rather different and new to me, I have not made cookies with so many different spices combined together. When I first bite into these cookies, I thought that it was just OK, but I find it sort of grow on you. They tasted nicer when I ate the second and the third piece. While the ones with the chocolate glaze is nice, I prefer the ones with the confectioners' sugar, goes really well with these spiced cookies. "Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice"! 

Stop by TWD to see what everyone is baking this week.


Saturday, December 3, 2016

Apple Pie Bread

If you have some apples begging to be used, use them to make this Apple Pie Bread. You would be glad you did, this is one delicious quick bread. This wonderful recipe is from Better Homes and Garden : Baking, a lovely cookbook with more than 350 recipes of delicious baking treats, with photos for each recipe. This was the cookbook I've used at Cookbook Countdown #2 back in February, and sharing it again this month for Cookbook Countdown #12.  For this month of December, we are using those books again, the ones that we have shared before at Cookbook Countdown from January to November. 



I've used Fuji apples, which are shredded, and there was a lot of juice, so I've squeezed the shredded apples gently, just to extract out most of the juice. Don't discard the juice, drink it, it's sweet and yummy, and good for you! I have omitted the walnuts in the batter, using it only for the streusel topping. As usual, I have reduced the sugar, by half. For the raisins, I have used a 1/4 cup more. Very easy quick bread to make. Once the batter is done, sprinkle the streusel topping evenly over the top and bake as instructed. For the streusel topping, I've added half a teaspoon of ground cinnamon, after all apple pie always has ground cinnamon! 



Though the recipe indicated that the bread be double wrapped and left overnight before slicing, I did not wait that long. Sliced the cake after a few hours of cooling.



This quick bread is very moist and flavourful, with soft, tender crumbs. See the shredded apples throughout the slice. And I love the bite of the raisins in each slice. I did not miss the walnuts in the bread as there's walnuts in the streusel topping, which is "cinnamon-y" fragrant. This Apple Pie Bread is delicious, makes a perfect breakfast treat with a cup of hot coffee, or, perfect with in the afternoon with a cup of warm tea.


Apple Pie Bread
(Better Homes and Gardens : Baking)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar (1/2 cup)
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups shredded, peeled apples (about 4 medium)
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, lightly roasted (if desired)
1/2 cup raisins
1 recipe streusel-nut topping

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease the bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of an 9x5x3-inch loaf pan; set pan aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Beat in sugar until combined. Add buttermilk and baking powder; beat until combined. Add eggs and vanilla; beat until combined. Add flour and salt; beat until combined. Stir in apples, nuts, and raisins. Spoon batter into the prepared pan, spreading evenly. Sprinkle Streusel-Nut Topping over batter.
  3. Bake for 60 to 65 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the centre comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove bread from pan. Cool completely on wire rack. Wrap and store overnight before slicing.

Streusel-Nut Topping :
In a small bowl, stir together 1/4 cup packed brown sugar and 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour. Cut in 3 tablespoons butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in 1/3 cup chopped walnuts or pecans. (I've added 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder).



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Grab a  cookbook and join us!

Cookbook Countdown is a monthly cooking/baking event, which I'm co-hosting with Emily's Cooking (Makan2) Foray.  Everyone is welcome to join us. How does it work? To summarize, you may select a cookbook from your own cookbook collection, to cook or bake from each month. That selected book shall be your cookbook of the month. You may cook any recipes and as many recipes as you want from your selected book of the month. This is a fabulous way of using your cookbooks at least once! For more information on how to join Cookbook Countdown, please click here. 



Friday, December 2, 2016

Grated Carrot Salad

Cook The Book Fridays, a group of lovely foodie bloggers are cooking their way through David Lebovitz's cookbook, My Paris Kitchen. The selected recipe for this week is Grated Carrot Salad. According to David Lebovitz, Grated Carrot Salad is so commonplace in France, that you'll hardly find it mentioned in any of the books on traditional French cuisine. Everyone has their own version of making this salad.

I have never grated carrots for salads before. What I would usually do is to slice them either thinly in rounds or half-moons, or sometimes julienned them to matchsticks, but never grated, for a salad. One of the things that I dislike doing while preparing veggies for a dish, is grating root veggies! I do grate carrots when making carrot cakes, which I enjoy eating, but dislike grating the carrots. I prefer chopping my veggies over grating, as chopping can be a rather enjoyable task, rather therapeutic at times. 

Because this is a Grated Carrot Salad, I dutifully grate my carrots. 

The grated carrots and some fresh chopped cilantro greens from my garden pot. 

The dressing is a mixture of Dijon mustard, honey, olive oil, lemon juice and salt, whisk to combine. Toss the carrots and fresh herbs with the dressing and serve. 



Quite a nice salad. The sweetness of the carrots balances well with the lemony-mustard sweet dressing. My son likes this. 



Makes a nice side dish. I served it alongside some baked chicken breast with fresh crisp celery sticks.

Stop by Cook the Book Fridays to see what everyone thought about this salad.


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