Posts Tagged ‘Dorie Greenspan’

We’ve all been sick with a trampoline virus.

I call it that because every time we think we’re on the mend, it bounces back again and knocks us out for a couple more days.  It’s been doing the rounds of the neighbourhood, and our own little family unit, for the last few weeks.

I’m finally feeling a bit better, but poor Pete is still quite sick, and now Big Boy is coming down with it again.  The change in weather hasn’t helped – as I’m writing this, we’re coming out of the wettest April in Sydney in 21 years.

Anyway, enough whinging, I decided that the boys (and the sick neighbours) needed a treat. I wasn’t feeling well enough to bake anything from scratch, but thankfully I had a few rolls of freezer cookie dough stashed away for emergencies.

Today, the freezer yielded a batch of Shortbread Cookies, coated in demerara sugar (Small Man’s favourites)…

…a tray of spiced Speculaas, perfect for dunking in a hot cup of tea…

…and for Pete, these oozy, crumbly World Peace Cookies.  They’re made with Dutched cocoa and 70% dark chocolate callets, making them a very grown up treat.

Everyone was fed and happy, and best of all, there was almost no washing up!

If you’d like to fill your freezer with future cookies, you might enjoy these recipes:

They’re the perfect standby for when friends drop in unexpectedly, when small people announce they’re supposed to take something to school for a class party, or when everyone is down and out for the count with a trampoline virus.

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With the incredible wealth of recipes available on foodblogs these days, it’s a wonder anybody still buys cookbooks!

I made Aleida’s Panetela de Guayaba (Guava torte) on Sunday and was delighted by both its simplicity and  its short, tender crumb.  I baked it in a lined biscotti tin rather than the pyrex dish recommended, and gave it 35 minutes in my fan-forced oven at 165C.  The guava paste was a chance find at Paesanella and gives the dish a distinctive sweet centre, although you could probably substitute quince paste if necessary.  Aleida’s recipe is here.

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For dinner that same night, Pete made Dorie Greenspan’s Tortilha com Chourico; an easy, cream and cheese-free frittata filled with sausage and potatoes.   We only had one chorizo, so Pete added four regular sausages as well, which had been boiled gently and sliced. A simple, yet delicious, evening meal and only one pan to wash up at the end of the night!

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Dorie Greenspan wrote recently about her new cookie venture with “the Kid” (her son Joshua).  Their menu sounds divine, and if you’re in New York this week, you might want to wander over and have a look.

Of course, we’re on the other side of the world, but I decided to make a batch of her World Peace Cookies anyway.  They’re so named because a neighbour of Dorie’s once declared that a daily dose of these cookies could bring lasting “planetary peace and harmony”.  They’re dark, delicious and euphoria-inducing.  A couple of these, and all seems right with the world again.

This is the perfect cookie to go over the top with – source the best ingredients you can find and enjoy the extravagance of it all.  I used  the 75% Tanzanie Origin Chocolate that Joyce and Marty gave us for Christmas, and combined it with Callebaut Dutch Cocoa.

World Peace Cookies
adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking From My Home to Yours

  • 175g plain flour
  • 30g cocoa powder (we used Callebaut Dutch cocoa)
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 150g unsalted butter
  • 120g light brown sugar
  • 50g white sugar
  • ½ teaspoon Maldon salt flakes
  • 1 teaspoon homemade vanilla extract
  • 150g dark chocolate callets (we used Tanzanie Origin 75%)

1. Sift the flour, cocoa and baking soda together.

2. With an electric mixer (preferably a stand one, but hand held will work), beat the butter on medium until soft and creamy.  Add both sugars, salt and vanilla and beat for a couple of minutes more.

3. Add the flour mixture all at once and mix together at low speed until just combined, mixing the dough for as little time as possible.  Add the chocolate callets and mix just to incorporate.

4.  Shape the dough into two logs about 4cm in diameter.  Wrap well in either cling film or parchment paper and refrigerate for at least three hours.  The dough can kept in the fridge for three days, or frozen for up to two months.

5. Preheat the oven to 160C (I used 150C with fan, but my oven runs quite hot).   With a thin sharp knife, cut the dough into slightly thicker than 1cm slices. The discs will split and crack, particularly if you’re using large chocolate chips like I did – just squeeze them back together again.  Note that Dorie uses mini-choc chips, which would make the dough easier to slice. Arrange the rounds on parchment lined trays, leaving room for them to spread.

6. Bake the cookies for 12 minutes, or 13 minutes if baking from frozen.  They won’t look firm or set, but leave them on the trays until cool, and they should carry over cooking to crumbly perfection.  These cookies are quite fragile, so you’ll want to package them carefully.  They keep for a few days in an airtight container, or for a couple of months frozen, providing they’re well sealed.

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Pete and I hit the markets recently the Spice Girl. We had a great time, despite the fact that I’d lost my voice (though Pete might say he had a great time because of that).

SG recently wrote about how she and I are “food twins”, which amused Pete enormously.  He commented that the Spice Girl and I were products of convergent evolution – two people from completely unrelated backgrounds who had serendipitously developed similar tastes and interests.  This was brought home when we passed a vegetable stand selling young Australian garlic.  It’s so rare to find local garlic at the markets that I immediately picked up four of the seven bunches on the table, then wandered off to look at other produce.  When I came back five minutes later, SG was buying the remaining three bunches…

Once home, I broke up most of the garlic into cloves and froze them for later use.  Did you know that garlic freezes brilliantly?  Separate the bulbs into cloves but don’t peel them, and freeze them in an airtight bag.   The defrosted garlic lacks the crisp texture of fresh, but the skins slip off easily, there is minimal loss of flavour and aroma, and it’s a breeze to mince them for cooking.  Since we’ve started doing this, we haven’t thrown away a single clove of mouldy garlic.

The green stems on the garlic were still quite tender and I was keen to try Dorie Greenspan’s recipe for garlic scape pesto.  I started by removing the outer layer of the stems and washing them to remove any residual dirt.


Then I simply popped them into my mini food processor with some flaked almonds, grated parmesan, olive oil and a little salt, and whizzed them until combined.  Because mine were the stems rather than the young scapes (flower shoots) Dorie used, the mix was drier and I needed to add a little hot water to loosen it up.

The pesto has a delicious garlic bite and will make a wonderful addition to soups and pasta.  I froze half in a ziplock bag and stashed the rest in the fridge with a piece of cling film pressed on the surface, to prevent oxidization.

As always, I’m happiest when I get to use something that would normally be discarded. Waste not, want not!


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Our friend Anna, Aussie expat in France, mentioned to me recently that this is the  cake that Parisians bake.

In fact, it’s almost the only thing that most of her peers ever bake and, despite being the standard birthday cake for children, it’s usually served unadorned. Anna is revered by her fellow school mums for going to the extraordinary effort of making icing!

I can understand why it’s so popular, because this is an incredibly simple  yet delicious recipe to knock together.  I needed to make two cakes in a hurry yesterday, and was able to whip them both up in under 15 minutes (and that was making one cake at a time).  The batter is made without an electric mixer and involves simply beating the dry ingredients into the wet ones with a whisk.

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There are oodles of recipes for this cake floating around, but the one I like best is Dorie Greenspan’s, from her cookbook, Baking From My Home To Yours.  Here is our version, made with Pete’s homemade Greek yoghurt and cumquat jelly.  This batch was made with straight flour, omitting the optional almond meal.

Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

  • 1 cup (150g) plain (all purpose) flour
  • ½ cup (65g) almond meal (or extra ½ cup plain flour)
  • 2 teaspoons (10g) baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1 cup (220g) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon zest
  • ½ cup (125ml) Greek yoghurt
  • 3 large (59g) eggs
  • ¼ teaspoon homemade vanilla extract
  • ½ cup (115g)  vegetable oil
  • ½ cup cumquat jelly (for glaze) or other jam or marmalade

1. Spray a 21.5 x 11 x 7cm loaf tin with oil spray.  I use this Chicago Metallics loaf tin, which seems to be the perfect size for all sorts of things.  Preheat oven to 175C (350F), or 160C with fan.

2.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, meal, sifted baking powder and salt.

3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the yoghurt, eggs, vanilla, sugar and zest until well combined.

4.  Scatter in the dry ingredients, a little at a time, whisking as you go.  Once mixed, gradually fold in the oil with a spatula.  The resultant batter with be smooth and shiny.  Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf tin and level out the top.

5. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.  Cool the pan on a rack for 5 minutes. Loosen around the edges of the cake with a butter knife, then turn out the cake and allow to cool to room temperature on a wire rack.

6. Glaze: melt the cumquat jelly in a small bowl in the microwave, being careful not to boil it.  Brush all over the cake with a pastry brush, and allow to set.

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Here is an easy birthday cake which I made using this recipe…

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