Dorie’s Cookies – Chocolate-Oatmeal Biscoff Cookies

I haven’t made many cookies that people aren’t happy to eat. I’ve made sophisticated cookies, complicated cookies, homely cookies, fancy cookies and more. But, the cookies that people go craziest for, the ones people want to make themselves, or (more often) the ones people ask me to make again are the old-fashioned ones. Cookies that make people think of lunchboxes from a time most of them probably can’t remember.

This week’s cookie feels like exactly that kind of cookie and it’s certainly gotten a rousing response from the people I’ve shared them with this week.

They’ve been described as brownie-ish in flavour and a perfect mix of crispness and softness, but no one has guessed one of their features – they’re not just chocolate-oatmeal cookies (as if that could even rate a “just”), but they’re also secretly Biscoff/speculoos/cookie butter cookies.

It’s not immediately identifiable, even when you know it’s there, but the spices deepen the flavour and the creaminess of the spread help create this cookie’s irresistible texture.

My jar of cookie butter is empty, but I’ll be stocking it in my baking pantry regularly now – especially since I’m already getting requests for a repeat of this cookie!

March’s Dorie’s Cookies goodness can be found here at Tuesdays with Dorie.

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Everyday Dorie – Salmon Burgers

Salmon burgers over greens with oven-roasted potatoes.

Spring is a trickster, pouring down rain when you have outdoor plans and serving up glorious sunshine when you’re stuck indoors. I would have loved to be weeding and planting yesterday when it was mild and sunny, but I had a full day’s work and more to do. Today, when I was free(ish), the weather was rainy and chill until well after suppertime.

I was hoping these salmon burgers would be my first patio meal of the summer, but instead, they made for a lovely indoor brunch. I picked up a beautiful piece of sockeye salmon at The Daily Catch and got some brioche buns at East End Food Co-op. Sadly, the buns didn’t make it home with me (I shouldn’t have put my bag down in the vegetable market I visited next), so I decided to serve these over lightly dressed greens with a side of oven-roasted potatoes. I’ve never been much of a burger lover anyway, so I think I’m happier with the meal as it turned out.

The salmon burgers themselves were delicious, with dill, capers, mustard, and lemon stirred into yogurt as the binder for this patties. Some people had trouble keeping them from crumbling in the pan, but mine held together beautifully. I think resting the mixture overnight in the refrigerator helped with that, while intensifying all the flavours beautifully.

I think I’ll be revisiting this recipe several times this summer. So far, all the recipes I’ve tried from Everyday Dorie have been ones I’ve repeated. I can’t wait to work through some more as we cycle through the the growing season.

Salmon burgers

You can read through everyone’s posts here. You can join in on the singular pleasure of cooking, writing, and eating your way through Dorie Greenspan‘s Everyday Dorie with a group of French Fridays veterans, Doristas, and lovely people at Cook the Book Fridays.

Baking Chez Moi – Double Chocolate Marble Cake

Double Chocolate Marble Cake

A simple midweek cake that’s made elegant with white and dark chocolate and spiked with vanilla and almond.

Double Chocolate Marble Cake

I made them in mini pans, which is what I always seem to do with quick breads these days. My larger pans are used for loaves of bread, not cake. The minis are great for sharing, or freezing and saving for later.

Double Chocolate Marble Cake

These ones disappeared too fast for freezing.

You can find the rest of the Tuesdays with Dorie crew’s entries on this month’s recipes from Baking Chez Moi here.

Cook the Book Fridays – Spiced Speculoos Flan

Spiced Speculoos Flan

I was missing an essential ingredient for this week’s recipe right up until this evening, finally finding speculoos butter at a grocery store on Commercial Drive, a few blocks from my house. I ran home and started making this even before considering what to have for dinner.

Speculoos Butter

Even so, I just managed to taste one of the flans a few minutes ago, after they first cooled to room temperature and then chilled in the refrigerator.

I’ve made and eaten many varieties of speculoos, but this was my first taste of cookie butter. It’s good, but I don’t think I’ll be spreading it on toast or eating it with a spoon. As an ingredient in these flans, though, it’s definitely moreish. I enjoyed it with the 5-Spice Caramel that tops it. The caramel is quite strong on its own, but the flan tempers it beautifully.

There will be more flan tomorrow, to eat and to share. It’s a good start to the weekend.

The flans, cooling.

You can read through everyone’s posts here. And consider joining this community of wonderful cooks and lovely people, as we work our way through David Lebovitz‘ My Paris Kitchen.

Dorie’s Cookies – Moroccan Semolina and Almond Cookies

I haven’t brought a cookie basket to a meeting in a long while. (I guess if I wanted to be current, I’d put them in a box.) My favourite cookie basket was divided between snickerdoodles and chocolate crinkles, both recipes I’ve been making since I was a kid. They look dramatic together, but homey at the same time, and the flavours complement each other well.

Now, I think I’ve got a third candidate for that basket. These cookies have a texture that’s different from both, lemony top notes that are deepened by the flavours of the almond flour and semolina, and a coating of icing sugar that sparks nostalgia.

I made these on Sunday and by Monday they’d all been spirited away from my house. Well, spirited is probably the wrong word – eagerly packed up and driven away? Devoured in the lunch room? Those are more accurate descriptions. I managed to have two myself, so I’m not complaining.

I can just make them again, along with some snickerdoodles and chocolate crinkles, and share.

March’s Dorie’s Cookies goodness can be found here at Tuesdays with Dorie.

Dorie’s Cookies – Cranberry Five-Spice Cookies

Cranberry Five-Spice Cookies

I baked up a storm the last two weekends, helping stock the bake sale table at the craft fair my mother organizes every year. I made three selections from Dorie’s Cookies this year, including the Cranberry Spice Cookies that were one of this month’s selections. I took out some squash that I’d frozen to make the variation of the Sweet Potato Pie Bars, but my mother got hold of it and turned it into several delicious creations of her own, instead. Luckily, I’ve got a really big squash ready to roast, so I’ll make those bars some time before the holidays.

Peanut Brownie Sablés

I also made the Peanut Brownie Sablés and the Melody Cookies (in snowflake form!), along with several batches of cookies from other cookbooks and recipe cards. I managed to taste a couple of cookies along the way (thank goodness for broken cookies!), but I was in production mode, so didn’t take great photos of any of them.

Melody Cookies, masquerading as snowflakes

I am going to have to make all of these again, at a time when they’re not earmarked for sale – they were all so delicious that I was sorry all I got was a share of the very few broken bits when they were unpacked. The Cranberry Five-Spice Cookies were especially lovely, because they’re not sweet – amongst all the sugar bombs on the table, they made a nice contrast. I loved the way the butter and cranberries played against the spices. It’s a perfect cookie for a grown up dessert tray or a grown up cocktail nibble.

Cookie Mix and Match Bake Sale Table

I may not have gotten to eat many cookies this weekend, but I’m going to steal one of their ideas for my next cookie swap – the mix and match table was a huge hit!

November’s Dorie’s Cookies goodness can be found here and here at Tuesdays with Dorie.

Everyday Dorie – Maple Syrup & Mustard Brussels Sprouts

Maple Syrup & Mustard Brussels Sprouts

Just to get this out of the way up front, I was absolutely one of those kids who loved spinach and liver and Brussels sprouts. Though I drank pop when I was a kid, I switched to tea as soon as I was allowed to – I guess what I’m saying is that I’ve always been old.

So, I was delighted that this was a November pick, even if there is no big family dinner on the horizon. I’ll eat Brussels sprouts whenever I can get them, especially if it involves bacon. This recipe also involves a maple-Dijon glaze, so I’ve even happier. So happy, in fact, that I’ve made this recipe twice already. The first time, my photos were awful, so I just gave up and served them up. This time, I made a half batch, the photo is okay, and it’s all I’m having for dinner. (Don’t judge me. It’s been a long day and this dish more than qualifies under the half your plate guidelines.)

On that note, I’m headed for Netflix, apple pie, and an early night. Can’t wait to catch up on everyone else’s posts this weekend!

You can read through everyone’s posts here. You can join in on the singular pleasure of cooking, writing, and eating your way through Dorie Greenspan‘s Everyday Dorie with a group of French Fridays veterans, Doristas, and lovely people at Cook the Book Fridays.

Cook the Book Fridays – Bay Leaf Pound Cake

Bay Leaf Pound Cake

I love the French name for pound cake – weekend cake. The English name is so prosaic, a sort of short-hand recipe. The French name is functional in the best way, evoking family meals, snacks for adventures, and impromptu gatherings with friends. It’s a simple, sturdy cake that’s welcome at almost any occasion.

Its simplicity is also what makes it so open to variation. This week’s cake has elements of a standard orange pound cake, but the flavour is deepened by the addition of bay leaves and it’s finished with an orangey, boozy glaze.

I skipped a couple of steps, based on the pre-post comments at Cook the Book Fridays, leaving off the extra bay leaves at the bottom of the pan and not piping the extra tablespoon of butter down the centre of the loaf before baking. I think it’s a lovely cake, but I’d like to know if anyone knows:

  • Which side was meant to be the top of the cake? (Bay leaf pattern on top?)
  • What function the piped butter serves?

I’m still munching away on this cake and I’ve shared over half of it, so it’s a substantial loaf that will get you through the weekend and give you a head start on your work week, too.

Bay Leaf Pound Cake

You can read through everyone’s posts here. And consider joining this community of wonderful cooks and lovely people, as we work our way through David Lebovitz‘ My Paris Kitchen.

Everyday Dorie – “My Newest Gougères”

Emmental, Mustard, & Walnut Gougères

I first made gougères in October of 2010. I’d just started a blog and was looking for some structure to keep me posting, learning, and connecting. I noticed that a cooking group called French Fridays with Dorie was just about to start cooking through a book called Around My French Table. I bought the book and signed up. I liked the idea of cooking my way through an accessible French cookbook, making some old favourites while being challenged by recipes that I’d been afraid to attempt. I wasn’t sure what to expect from an online community of bloggers, but I was intrigued to find out.

Over the years that we cooked through the book together, and beyond, I’ve been grateful that I decided to cook along. It turns out that I found a group of truly lovely people from around North America and all over the world. I’ve met a few in person and kept up with others online and I’m so pleased that many of us are gathering again to cook through Everyday Dorie together.

Everyday Dorie

It’s not a surprise that the glue that has held us together has been Dorie Greenspan’s cookbooks. She is a lovely person, a great teacher, and an inspiring community-builder – it’s only natural that a terrific community of cooks would spring up around her work, starting with Laurie Woodward and the Tuesdays with Dorie crew.

Gougères ready for the freezer

These gougères are not just a call back to our very first recipe for French Fridays with Dorie, they’re also a perfect celebration treat, elegant, delicious, and simple. Those first gougères showcased the beautiful cheese that they were made with (Gruyère, if I recall correctly), but these new ones complicate things a bit with mustard and walnut playing against Emmental. We’ve all become a little more complex as cooks over the last eight years, too.

If you’re new to the group and to gougères, they’re still a perfect introduction to the path we’re taking, and I bet you’re just as pleased as I was to discover how easy and infinitely variable choux pastry can be. Try it for yourself – we’ve been given permission to share the recipe with you. Tonight, I’ll be toasting to cooking friends old and new, remembered and present with a glass of wine and plate of gougères.

Excerpted from Everyday Dorie © 2018 by Dorie Greenspan. Photography © 2018
by Ellen Silverman. Reproduced by permission of Rux Martin Books/Houghton
Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

MY NEWEST GOUGÈRES

Makes about 60 gougères

Gougères are French cheese puffs based on a classic dough called pâte à choux (the dough used for cream puffs), and it’s a testament to their goodness that I’m still crazy about them after all these years and after all the thousands that I’ve made. Twenty or so years ago, when my husband and I moved to Paris, I decided that gougères would be the nibble I’d have ready for guests when they visited. Regulars chez moi have come to expect them. Over the years, I’ve made minor adjustments the recipe’s ingredients, flirting with different cheeses, different kinds of pepper and different spices. The recipe is welcoming.

This current favorite has a structural tweak: Instead of the usual five eggs in the dough, I use four, plus a white—it makes the puff just a tad sturdier. In addition, I’ve downsized the puffs, shaping them with a small cookie scoop. And I’ve added Dijon mustard to the mix for zip and a surprise—walnuts.

  • 1⁄2 cup (120 grams) whole milk
  • 1⁄2 cup (120 grams) water
  • 1 stick (4 ounces; 113 grams) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1-1⁄4 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1 cup (136 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg white, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard (preferably French)
  • 2 cups (170 grams) coarsely grated cheese, such as Comté, Gruyère and/or sharp cheddar
  • 2⁄3 cup (80 grams) walnuts or pecans, lightly toasted and chopped
W O R K I N G A H E A D

My secret to being able to serve guests gougères on short notice is to keep them in the freezer, ready to bake. Scoop the puffs, freeze them on a parchment- lined baking sheet or cutting board and then pack them airtight. You can bake them straight from the oven; just give them a couple more minutes of heat.

Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat it to 425 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

Bring the milk, water, butter and salt to a boil over high heat in a medium saucepan. Add the flour all at once, lower the heat and immediately start stirring energetically with a heavy spoon or whisk. The dough will form a ball and there’ll be a light film on the bottom of the pan. Keep stirring for another 2 minutes or so to dry the dough. Dry dough will make puffy puffs.

Turn the dough into the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or work by hand with a wooden spoon and elbow grease). Let the dough sit for a minute, then add the eggs one by one, followed by the white, beating until each egg is incorporated before adding the next. The dough may look as though it’s separating or falling apart but just keep working; by the time the white goes in, the dough will be beautiful. Beat in the mustard, followed by the cheese and the walnuts. Give the dough a last mix-through by hand.

Scoop or spoon out the dough, using a small cookie scoop (1-1⁄2 teaspoons). If you’d like larger puffs, shape them with a tablespoon or medium-size cookie scoop. Drop the dough onto the lined baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between each mound. (The dough can be scooped and frozen on baking sheets at this point.)

Slide the baking sheets into the oven and immediately turn the oven temperature down to 375 degrees F.

Bake for 12 minutes, then rotate the pans from front to back and top to bottom. Continue baking until the gougères are puffed, golden and firm enough to pick up, another 15 to 20 minutes. Serve immediately—these are best directly from the oven.

S T O R I N G

The puffs are best soon after they come out of the oven and nice (if flatter) at room temperature that same day. If you want to keep baked puffs, freeze them and then reheat them in a 350-degree-F oven for a few minutes.

These gougères disappeared quickly!

You can read through everyone’s posts here. You can join in on the singular pleasure of cooking, writing, and eating your way through Dorie Greenspan‘s Everyday Dorie with a group of French Fridays veterans, Doristas, and lovely people at Cook the Book Fridays.

Cook the Book Fridays – Chicken Pot Parmentier

Chicken Pot Parmentier

I’ve always been fond of chicken pot pies, cottage pies, veggie pot pies, and shepherd’s pies. They’re the essence of comfort food for me, especially because my mother’s versions have always been so delicious. When we were first starting on Around My French Table, I was introduced to hachis parmentier and I thought I’d found the ultimate expression of this genre of food. I was wrong. This week’s dish, a chicken twist on the standard, is my new gold standard. Perhaps it’s because I prefer chicken to beef mince, or maybe it’s the vast quantity of butter incorporated into the dish, but I could happily eat this every day (and did, for several). The dish was made even nicer by the lovely carrots from my Dad’s garden, along with fresh herbs from my mother’s planters.

I froze some turkey from a recent holiday weekend bird and I’m planning to make a turkey version when the weather turns cold and rainy and I’m in need of some comforting fortification. In the meantime, I’ll be whipping up some gougères for next week’s Cook the Book Friday, in celebration of the release of Dorie’s new book.

You can read through everyone’s posts here. And consider joining this community of wonderful cooks and lovely people, as we work our way through David Lebovitz‘ My Paris Kitchen.