Saturday, January 28, 2012

Too much controversy, I'll just make my own

Girls Scouts are a paramilitary organization! Girl Scouts are a Tool of the Librul Left! Girl Scouts USA is an evil cabal enslaving millions of helpless children!

Jeez, I just want my cookies.*

Homemade “Thin Mints”.
adapted from a comment in Spoonfed Blog

For the cookies:
1 2/3 cups flour
3/4 cup + 3 T unsweetened cocoa
1/4 tsp salt
3/8 tsp baking soda
1 3/4 sticks butter
1/2 c honey
2 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp mint extract

Mix together dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, cream butter and honey, then add milk, vanilla, and mint. Slowly add the dry ingredients while beating. Once the mixture is well mixed (it will be fairly sticky) flour your hands and then form it into a ball. Roll the dough into a 1 1/2″ diameter log, wrap in wax paper, and chill for at least 2 hours. Slice the dough into 1/4" rounds and bake for 12-15 minutes on a parchment lined baking sheet at 350F.

The original recipe called for a cup of sugar; I substituted honey. If you use sugar, you will need to adjust the dry ingredients for slightly smaller quantities and increase the milk to 3 T. Using honey for the sweetener will make the dough sticky. Before placing the dough on the wax paper, dust it lightly with flour, and make sure the dough gets a light dusting as you roll. Once it's cold it handles fine.

For the coating:
1/2 pound semisweet chocolate or semisweet melting dots
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 T mint extract

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler, stir in the vanilla and mint. Dip the cooled cookies into the chocolate and place them on a cold wax paper-lined cookie sheet (this will keep the bottoms neat) and put the sheet into the fridge to help the coating set, which only takes a few minutes.

I tried a chocolate glaze with unsweetened bakers chocolate, because that's what I had, but it didn't set, was more like an icing. I try to do everything the hard way. Don't get fancy unless you know what you're doing (unlike me), just buy the melting dots.

There was some leftover glaze, so we mixed it with milk and made hot chocolate! (Then we had cookies and hot chocolate for dinner. What can I say.)

* Seriously, commercial Girl Scout cookies are a natural foodie's nightmare. Don't buy the cookies, but do make a direct donation to the cookie sale (important for the individual troop--they need to demonstrate participation in order to get other benefits) and write to your local council and GSUSA about retooling the recipe to reflect current thinking about healthy eating and sustainable practices (i.e. get rid of the palm oil, the beet sugar, and the toxic additives.) 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Frozen raspberries

When I was a child, raspberries were one of those things with a very narrow window. You could buy them in July, and that was about it. I don't recall being able to buy them frozen at the market like you can now, and my very urbanized mother would never have thought of buying them and storing them in a basement deep freeze. No one we knew, even the most conspicuous consumers, had a basement deep freeze.

When I started on preserving a few years ago, I was skeptical of the idea of freezing fruit--if you wanted fruit in midwinter, it seemed to me, to be absolutely pure, then making jam was the way to go. And, frankly, you could make this recipe using jam as well, it would be delicious.

But all the same, I'm glad I decided not to be so pure.

Raspberry twirl scones
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon zest
3 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, diced

1/3 cup sour cream
raspberry juice (drained raspberries)
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup honey

1 egg white, whisked with 1 teaspoon sugar

2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries, drained

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheets with parchment.

Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, zest and salt in large bowl. Add butter and cut in with a knife, pastry blender or your fingers until it resembles a coarse meal.

Whisk sour cream, egg, vanilla, and honey in a small bowl until thoroughly blended. Add egg mixture to flour mixture; stir just until combined. Gather dough into ball and knead just enough to make the dough a solid mass. (If you knead it too much, you'll lose the flakiness that makes scones so good.)  Roll out dough on floured surface in a slab about 8x12". It should be about 1/2- 3/4 inch thick.  For larger scones, roll it on the 8" axis, for smaller, on the 12" axis.

Paint the slab with the eggwhite/sugar mix, then spread the fruit on it in a single layer. Gently roll it into a tight log, then slice into 2" pieces. Place scones on prepared baking sheet, about an inch apart. You can brush the tops with any left over egg white and sprinkle with a tiny bit of sugar if you want a little bit of a crunchy glaze. Bake until golden, about 20 minutes. Makes about 16 to 20 small scones or 8 to 10 large ones.