Diamant Sablé

Dug up a recipe from my days in Finishing School.  The cookies are named diamond because when rolled in coarse sugar they appear as they were rolled in diamonds.

Ingredients:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, chilled
2 ¼ cups flour
½ egg (try to get both the white and some yolk)
¾ cup powdered sugar
Dash of salt
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Coarse decorating sugar (white or desired color)
1 egg white for brushing on the dough

Directions

On your work surface, cut the butter into the flour. Mixture should be the size of peas.

Form the mixture into a circle, and make a well in the center. Add egg, sugar, salt and vanilla to the center and mix together with your fingertips. Cut mixture into the flour and butter.

Line the dough in front of you. Using the heel of your hand, smear the dough away from you to shear the dough against the countertop to combine. Gather the dough together and repeat. The dough should be combined after two to three passes. Work quickly so you don’t heat and soften the butter.

Roll the dough into 2 logs, each about 1 inch in diameter. Wrap each log in parchment or plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour.

Turn the logs every 15 minutes so the bottom does not get flat. If you have a rounded loaf pan, you can rest the dough on the pan so it will stay in a round shape. Or, place inside a paper towel roll.

When the dough is well chilled, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Unwrap the dough.

Place a piece of parchment paper on your work surface, or use a large plate. Make a line of sugar the length of the dough, about ¼ to ½ inch deep and 2 to 3 inches wide. Brush the log with a thin layer of egg white, then roll in the sugar, pressing to adhere the sugar to the logs. Repeat with second log. If the dough feels soft, place in refrigerator 5 minutes.

Slice dough into ½- to ¾-inch slices and place about 1 inch apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Reshape as necessary so the cookies are round.

Bake in preheated oven 8 to 10 minutes until cookies are just beginning to brown. Remove from oven and cool. Store in an air tight container up to 1 week, or freeze. 

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Fairy Dust Shortbread Cookies

Ingredients:

2/3 cup of sugar
1 cup of butter, softened
2 cups of flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
sprinkles

Directions:

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, then start combining your butter and sugar until mixed well and light and fluffy.
2. Add in your teaspoon of vanilla and continue mixing.
3. Add flour, one cup at a time until combined.

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4. Refrigerate for about an hour.
5. Roll them into one inch balls then roll into multi-colored sprinkles. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake in the oven for 13 minutes until lightly brown on edges.

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Black Midnight Cake

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INGREDIENTS
For the Cake:
2/3 cup dark cocoa powder (we used Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa Powder to get that deep dark color)
1 cup hot strong brewed coffee
1 pinch cayenne
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
Butter for greasing the pans
Two parchment circles, cut the size of the bottom of your cake pans
Cocoa for dusting the pans

For the Frosting:
1 cup dark cocoa (we used Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa to get that deep dark color)
4 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
1 ½ sticks butter, softened
½ cup buttermilk
2 teaspoon vanilla extract

INSTRUCTIONS
To Prepare the Cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a small bowl, dissolve cocoa powder and cayenne with hot brewed coffee and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream oil and sugar until well combined.
Add eggs and beat until light and creamy, about 1-2 minutes. This process beats air into the mixture. Scrape paddle and bowl and beat once.
Slowly add in the coffee/cocoa mixture, buttermilk, and vanilla and beat until batter is smooth. Scrape paddle and bowl and beat once.

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In a separate bowl, sift flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Add dry ingredients to wet and beat on low speed to incorporate. Scrape down the bowl and mix just until all ingredients are combined, do not over mix once the flour is in.
Butter the bottom and sides of two 9-inch cake pans and place around parchment circle in each. Butter the top of the parchment then sprinkle the whole inside of the parchment and pan with cocoa powder, shaking out excess. Pour batter evenly between two pans and place in the center of oven. (note, aluminum baking pans are by far, the best for baking cakes. Non-stick and dark colored pans can change the cake by browning it more than it needs to)
Bake 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Depending on your oven, you may need to rotate cake pans halfway through. During our baking, one cake was done in 30 minutes and the second in 32 minutes. Do not over bake.
Cool pans on wire racks for ten minutes then carefully invert out of the pan onto a rack to cool further.

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To Prepare the Frosting;
Sift cocoa powder with confectioner’s sugar in a large bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer or hand mixer, cream butter until smooth. Add sugar and cocoa powder mixture along with buttermilk and vanilla and beat until smooth and creamy. Add additional buttermilk or whole milk if frosting is too thick.
Place a small dollop of frosting on a cake dish to hold the cake from sliding and place one cake on the frosting. Frost the top of that layer. Place the second cake on the first and frost the entire cake, top and sides.

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Mary Todd Lincoln’s White Cake

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INGREDIENTS:
1 cup butter
1 cup finely chopped blanched almonds
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla (or any other preferred flavoring)
2 cups sugar
3 cups flour (sifted before measuring)
3 teaspoons baking powder
White of 6 eggs

DIRECTIONS:
Cream butter and sugar; sift flour and baking powder together 3 times, and add to butter and sugar, alternating with milk. Stir in nutmeats, and beat well. Then fold in the stiffly beaten whites and flavoring.

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Pour into a well-greased and floured pan. The old-fashioned, fluted copper pan with a center funnel was probably used originally.

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Bake 1 hour in a moderate (350 degree) oven, or cook until the cake tests done.

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Turn out on a wire rack and cool.

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This makes a large cake. The batter can be cut in half and baked in 2 (9-inch) layers if desired. For a good basic white cake, omit almonds. Frost cake with the old-fashioned boiled white icing, noted here.

You may serve Crème Anglaise Sauce with this cake.  A great way to use up all the leftover egg yolks.

NOTES:

President Lincoln is said to have remarked that Mary Todd’s White Cake was the best he had ever eaten. This confection was originated by Monsieur Giron, a Lexington caterer, on the occasion of Lafayette’s visit to that city in 1825. The Todds got the recipe from him and treasured it ever after.

 

Crème Anglaise Sauce

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Ingredients
1 1/2 cups whole milk, cream, or half-and-half
4 large egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
pinch salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions
1. Warm the milk or cream in the saucepan and remove from heat. Make sure it’s cool enough to touch before adding it to the eggs. (You can skip this step, but warming the milk separately helps cut down on cooking time)

2. In a medium, heat-proof bowl, whisk the yolks together and then whisk in the sugar and pinch of salt. Continue whisking until the mixture turns pale yellow and forms ribbons on the surface.

3. Whisking steadily, pour the milk into the egg-sugar mixture in a steady stream.

4. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and set over medium heat. Stir constantly in an “S” shape to make sure the bottom doesn’t scald or the eggs curdle.

5. Continue stirring until the mixture thickens enough to fully coat the back of your spoon and is as smooth as silk.

6. You can also check the temperature with an instant-read or candy thermometer — it should be at least 156°F and not exceed 180&deg. (The higher the temperature, the thicker the final cooled custard will be.)

7. Strain the custard to remove any bits of eggs that may have curdled and stir in the vanilla. Doing this over an ice bath helps stop the cooking process so the custard doesn’t over-cook.

Additional Notes:

• Crème anglaise will keep refrigerated for about one week.

• If you’d like to flavor your custard, you can infuse herbs, spices, or other flavors into the milk in Step 1, or add flavoring extracts along with the vanilla in Step 6.

BACON CORNBREAD STUFFING RECIPE

INGREDIENTS
CORNBREAD
1 1/3 cups milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
CORNBREAD DRESSING/STUFFING
8×8 pan cornbread (from above), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
8 slices white sandwich bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
6 slices bacon, chopped
2 stalks celery, finely diced
1 small yellow onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 3/4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

INSTRUCTIONS
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
For the cornbread: Grease an 8×8 baking dish or pan for the cornbread. Whisk milk, oil, and eggs in a medium bowl. Combine cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Add milk mixture, whisking until smooth. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until golden and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool in pan on wire rack. (Cornbread can be made up to 2 days in advance.)
For the dressing/stuffing: Spread cubed cornbread and bread onto two baking sheets and bake until dry and golden, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until fat is rendered and bacon is crisp, about 5 minutes. Add onion, celery, and garlic and cook until translucent, about 4 minutes. Stir in sage and transfer mixture to a large bowl.
Add cornbread, bread, lightly beaten eggs, broth, parsley, salt, and pepper to the bowl and toss until combined. Let sit 5 minutes, then toss again.
If serving as a side dish/dressing and not stuffing the turkey, spoon mixture into a 9×13 baking dish and bake until top is toasted golden brown, about 30 minutes. Serve warm.
For stuffing: Reserve 4 1/2 cups for turkey, then spoon remaining stuffing into a 9×9 baking dish. Bake until top is golden brown, about 25-30 minutes.
NOTES
The baked cornbread can be left in its pan at room temperature overnight or up to 2 days before making the stuffing, instead of oven drying (in step 3). You can skip the white bread and do all cornbread if you want, just double the cornbread recipe and bake it in a 9×13 for the same amount of time.

 

Turkey Brine

“This is a tasty brine for any poultry. It will make your bird very juicy, and gravy to die for!! This is enough brine for a 10 to 18-pound turkey.”

Ingredients

1-gallon vegetable broth
1 cup sea salt
1 tablespoon crushed dried rosemary
1 tablespoon dried sage
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon dried savory
1-gallon ice water

Directions
Ready In 8 h 20 m
In a large stockpot, combine the vegetable broth, sea salt, rosemary, sage, thyme, and savory. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently to be sure salt is dissolved. Remove from heat, and let cool to room temperature.
When the broth mixture is cool, pour it into a clean 5-gallon bucket. Stir in the ice water.
Wash and dry your turkey. Make sure you have removed the innards. Place the turkey, breast down, into the brine. Make sure that the cavity gets filled. Place the bucket in the refrigerator overnight.
Remove the turkey carefully draining off the excess brine and pat dry. Discard excess brine.
Cook the turkey as desired, reserving the drippings for gravy. Keep in mind that brined turkeys cook 20 to 30 minutes faster so watch the temperature gauge.

Turkey Brine
This brine infuses your bird with flavor and makes it moist.

Footnotes
Tip
Aluminum foil can be used to keep food moist, cook it evenly, and make clean-up easier.

 

Easy, No_Fail Method to cook a Turkey by Pillsbury.com 

 

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Pumpkin Pie in a Pumpkin

Pumpkin Pie in a Pumpkin

 

INGREDIENTS
1 small pumpkin (4-5 inches in height and 18 inches in diameter, sugar pumpkins work great)
¾ cup sugar
3 large eggs plus 4 egg yolks
½ TBS vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon of cornstarch
Pinch of salt

INSTRUCTIONS
Prepare your pumpkin by scooping out the seeds and pulp, place it on a baking sheet, do not put the top of the pumpkin (stem) on the sheet just yet.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a mixing bowl combine the sugar, eggs, and vanilla and whisk until combined.
Add the heavy cream, cornstarch, and salt and whisk until fully combined.
Pour mixture into your prepared pumpkin (allowing about ¾ of an inch space between the filling and the top of the pumpkin and begin baking it.
Bake at 400 degrees uncovered.
After 15 minutes, cover the top of the pumpkin loosely with foil (don’t let it touch the top of the custard or it will stick and “ruin” the appearance) and bake another 15 minutes.
Lower oven temp to 375, place the top of the pumpkin on the tray and continue baking for 15 minutes more. Remover the foil and bake an additional 30 minutes or until a knife inserted into the custard comes out mostly clean.
Turn off the oven, allow the pumpkin to cool for an hour, then place it in your cold garage (loosely covered with wrap or foil) or your refrigerator and allow the custard to set 6 hours or overnight. When ready to serve, scoop out custard into small dishes (you can scrape the sides a bit as you scoop it out if you choose to scrape off some of the cooked pumpkin for additional flavor, I am sure the Pilgrims wasted nothing).

This makes an impressive dessert offering, one of these will serve 4-5 people so you could make a few to run down the center of your dessert table.

Dirt Brownies

Ingredients for 16 servings

1 ¼ cups sugar
¾ cup cocoa powder
10 tablespoons butter, melted
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
½ cup flour

Optional: raisins

Preparation
Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C).
In a large bowl, combine sugar, cocoa powder, and butter. Stir using a spatula or a wooden spoon. It will be gritty.
Combine vanilla and 1 egg. Mix until the egg is fully incorporated. Then mix in the other egg.
Add flour and salt, and mix into the batter.
Transfer into a baking dish, add raisins if you wish and bake for 20 minutes and let it cool completely.

Spread the chocolate frosting and then the gummy worms, followed by the cookie crumbs.  If you are using Oreo Cookie crumbs like I have done below,  make sure you mix 2/3 of the crumbs with the frosting and sprinkle the rest on top.  This way the crumbs will stick together better.