Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Brown butter and cream cheese pecan sandies


I'm not sure what prompts some of these combinations in my mind, other than odd cravings and the ingredients I have on hand when the mood strikes. If you like pecan sandies, or a shortbread cookie, give it a whirl. I don't think you will be disappointed. A rich, almost creamy texture, and an excellent, yet subtle flavor profile.


Ingredients:

3/4 cup butter
1 cup pecans
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Whole pecans for topping cookies

Directions:

In a shallow pan, set your butter to melting over medium heat. Whisking occasionally, cook butter until milk solids begin to brown and turn golden. The darker the milk solids get, the more nutty flavor your cookies will impart. Remove from heat, and allow to cool completely and re-solidify. Do not chill.

When butter has re-solidified, heat oven to 350 degrees.

Spread pecans on a baking sheet, and place in preheated oven for 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven, allow to cool, and coarse chop the pecans. Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine flour and salt.  Set aside.

To the bowl of your stand mixer, add the re-solidified browned butter, softened cream cheese and sugars. With the paddle attachment, beat on speed 6 for 2-3 minutes until well creamed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add nuts, and combine on speed two. With mixer running, add dry ingredients. Continue beating until just combined.

Using a small scoop, drop half rounds onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. With your thumb, press an indentation on the top of each cookie to flatten slightly. Top with a pecan.


Bake in the preheated oven for 12-16 minutes, or until edges begin to turn golden brown. Remove from oven, cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool further. Serve slightly warm with ice cold milk.


Friday, February 14, 2014

Lemon ice cream

Since spring is right around the corner, and summer will soon follow, I'm beginning to think of spring and summer flavors, and lemons would be at the top of my 'favorite flavor' list. I love just about anything lemon, and this lemon ice cream is the best ice cream (lemon, or otherwise), I have ever eaten. I had a hard time stopping last night after the first serving...so I didn't! I had a second serving.


For this recipe I suggest juice lemons, with very thin skin, as they produce the most juice per lemon. Meyer lemons would work, as well, but if you use Meyer Lemons, you may want to cut back on the sugar a bit. Meyer lemons do not have as much tartness as other varieties, and too much sugar hurts the delicate balance of sweet and tart this recipe should produce.

I offer you a 'cook', as well as a 'no cook' version. Choose the option that is best for you, and the amount of concern you have regarding the consumption of raw eggs.

Ingredients:

1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 cups heavy whipping cream

Directions:

Into the bowl of your stand mixer, add sugar and eggs. Affix the whisk attachment. Beat on speed 6 for 3 minutes, or until the mixture is fluffy, and cream colored.

Remove bowl from stand mixer. Add lemon juice, lemon zest, heavy whipping cream, and stir to combine.

If you want the 'cook' version, continue from here by placing the ice cream base into a medium saucepan. Heat over medium until tiny bubbles begin to form around the edges of the pan, stirring constantly. Transfer to an air tight container, and chill in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours.

If you want the 'no cook' version, skip the cooking step above.

When base is ready (chilled if you use the 'cook' version), pour it into your machine, and proceed following your machine manufacturer's directions for freezing ice cream.

Serve immediately, if you prefer soft serve, or transfer to an air tight container, and freeze for a harder ice cream to serve later.  It's great soft, or hard...whatever you prefer.