Sunday, September 2, 2018

Poppy Seed Lemon Squares

 Poppy Seed Lemon Squares

I offered to bring cookies to a recent event and my "Why Didn't You Make More Cookies" we're requested (from post on  February 27, 2016). This was the recipe I developed for lemons sent by my dear friend from California - it was a poppy seed thumbprint cookie topped with homemade lemon curd.  I took them to a friend's party and they were gone within minutes. Many guests asked "Why didn't you make more?' Hence the cookie's name.  

However, a recent request was denied for lack of time. But now I have come up with a quicker and very nice alternative - a variation on classic lemon squares. These were also a big hit. and they are much faster to make.

Crust-preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place rack in bottom 1/3 of oven, and use an 8-inch square pan, lined with foil.
8 Tablespoons unsalted butter(one stick) softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar.
1/8 teaspoon salt 
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon poppy seeds

1. Melt butter which has been cut in chunks in medium saucepan over medium heat.  Remove from heat and stir in the sugar and salt.  Mix flour with poppy seeds and add to the pan. Mix a little, just until the flour is incorporated.
2. Press the dough evenly over the bottom of the pan, and bake for about 20 minutes or until the crust is lightly browned.

1/2 cup  plus 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
1 and 1/2 Tablespoons flour
2 eggs
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon peel
1/4 cup lemon juice

1. While crust is baking, stir the sugar and flour together in a medium bowl until well mixed.
Whisk in the eggs, stir in the lemon juice and zest.
2. When crust is ready, turn oven down to 300 degrees F. Pour filling over the crust.
3. Bake about 15 minutes or until topping is puffed at the edges and no longer jiggles in the pan when tapped.
4. Set on rack to cool completely.  Lifting ends of foil, transfer to cutting board.
Use sharp knife to cut into 16 or 25 squares.  I do the 25 - less calories.
5. Sieve powdered sugar on the bars just before serving.

The lemon bars may be stored in the refrigerator, airtight, for about 3 days.  I usually freeze the extras.  

Monday, July 23, 2018

New cartoon from Arax - Trump and Putin

Tuesday, June 12, 2018



This winter, looking in Trader Joe's freezer I saw something new to me-Cannele-I liked the look of the little cakes on the box, the intriguing description of a dark firm exterior and a custardy interior.  I also liked the calories-only about 120 per small cake-lovely with coffee or tea.  We brought them home and Papa and I loved them-a good and lightish dessert.
But alas, sometimes Trader Joe's was out of them for a long time.  Then as I was looking through a favorite baking book by Dorie Greenspan, "Cooking Chez Moi" I noticed a Cannele recipe.  I found out they are from Bordeaux but are available in Paris and other parts of France. Traditionally they were baked in copper molds brushed with beeswax. Today most bakers use silicone molds and no beeswax.  Papa and I went online and ordered a silicone mold(about  $20) which were the exact size and shape of the Trader Joe product.  Easy recipe, no mixer needed-just an overnight refrigeration of the batter between baking.  The recipe was wonderful-even better than the Trader Joe's version if I must say so myself.

2 cups milk(Greenspan calls for whole milk-but 2% is just fine)
Sugar divided:3/4 Cup and 1/2 cup
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter(one ounce)
1 cup flour(I use unbleached-whatever)
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
3 Tablespoons dark rum
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract -optional

  1. Bring milk, 3/4 cup sugar, and the butter to a boil in a medium saucepan.  Bring the mixture to a boil in a medium saucepan, occasionally stirring.  Remove from heat, let cool for 10 to 15 minutes-will still feel hot to touch.
  2. Sift the flour and remaining 1/2 cup sugar onto a piece of wax paper. Have a strainer ready.
  3. In a large bowl, beat eggs and egg yolk together with a whisk until blended.  Keep whisking while adding the hot milk-slowly at first. Add the flour mixture and whisk with energy.  When the batter is pretty smooth(a few lumps won't be a problem) strain it into a large bowl.  Discard the lumps that remain in the strainer.
  4. Whisk in rum and vanilla.  I often omit the vanilla, but the rum, never!
  5. Refrigerate the batter overnight -at least 12 hours.
  6. Brush the Cannele molds with melted butter and put mold in the freezer.  With the silicone molds, I ordered I only had to do the butter thing once-after that they come out like a dream.  I put the molds in the freezer when I put the batter in the fridge -so I won't forget and need to wait for the molds.
  7. Baking: Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Take pan from freezer, pour batter into molds about 3/4 full.  Place mold on rack with a cookie sheet covered with parchment underneath.  Bake at 400 degrees for ten minutes then turn down the heat to 375 degrees.  I usually bake them for another hour-you want the canneles pretty dark-so you will need to play with the time a bit -all ovens are different.
  8. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes so they will hold their shape.  Then turn them out on a cooling rack. (I just use the rack they were baked on.)
  9. They are delicious warm or at room temperature.  These canneles freeze beautifully. 

Yield-16 little cakes-my pan makes 8 canneles -since I have only one pan, I just put the pan back in the freezer and bakes the remaining 8 the next day, or even the day after.

Information about the Cannele pan I ordered: the brand I found online is called-LEKUE(with accents over each "e" and they seem to be from Spain.  The quality seems excellent.  My pans are the 8 cup(as in 8 cakes-not measuring 8 cups)CANNELE BORDELAIS(REF. 0621108)

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

More political cartoons from Arax