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Posts Tagged ‘Hazelnuts’

This has gotta be the biggest pain in my arse dough ever. It is dry and flakey and you’re supposed to roll it out. Really.  It insists on falling apart and crumbling at the edges. You’ll find yourself pushing it together with your fingers, mumbling swear words under your breath and begging the baking gods to just give you a break.

We have the lovely Kim Boyce to thank for this recipe. I was privileged enough to be invited to photograph a baking class she instructed at SweetWares in Hillsdale. If you live in the Portland area, you MUST go to SweetWares. SweetWares is an adorable and quaint bakewares boutique owned by another of Portland’s baking royalty, Julie Richardson. If you go, bring your credit card. And say hi to Julie, cuz she’s cool.

I digress. Here’s a little background: Stone-Buhr, producers of flours made with sustainably grown wheat, sponsored a week of baking classes (all proceeds went to the Oregon Food Bank) at SweetWares and I was asked to document Kim and Julie’s classes. Let me tell you, those ladies make baking look easy. Tossing flour around, breaking butter with their fingers, and generally entertaining a room full of enthralled and awestruck women.

Kim made these cookies, from her cookbook, Good to the Grain, during her class and I was intrigued. They came out just slightly nutty, with a hint of cardamom and orange. Light and crisp and delicious. Granted I was working while she was baking, but I thought I got the gist of this recipe. However, I don’t think I was paying attention when she was rolling out the dough. Or, what is more likely, is that she just breezily whipped out these cookies like nobody’s business and I thought, well, I can do that. And I can (did), mostly.

As we know, I like to tweak and change things in recipes that inspire me. I first started doing that because, as a new blogger, I was too shy or timid to call an author or publisher to ask permission to use their recipe. Now I do it because it ups the challenge of  cooking. When I read a recipe, my mind automatically starts shifting flavors around, ‘what about this?’, ‘how will it taste if I change this to that?’.  It’s like building a puzzle with a few new pieces replacing existing ones. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t (read: apple tartlets), but I find it’s fun, and keeps my brain from going soft :)

Cheers and thanks again to Food Press for showing me so much support and sharing my blog. Thanks to all my new subscribers and readers, too! You make my heart melt. I am truly grateful and humbled:)

Rosewater Hazelnut Cookies

These are definitely a tiny bit heavy on the rosewater. They made me think of something that would be served in a café in Iran. If you’re not a fan of rosewater, then substitute with orange blossom water.

What you’ll need~

1/2 cup raw hazelnuts, skin on

1 stick of room temperature butter

Dry mix~

1/4 cup amaranth flour

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2-cup sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

Syrup~

1/4 raw, unfiltered honey

1 tablespoon finely chopped fennel seeds

Zest of one lemon

1-tablespoon rosewater

Place hazelnuts on a cookie sheet and place in 350-degree oven. Toast for about 15-20 minutes, stirring halfway. Nuts should be fragrant and dark brown. Be careful not to burn them. Remove from oven and let cool. Once cool, grind nuts in a food processor for about 20 seconds.

Line your baking sheet with parchment paper.

Stir your dry ingredients in a bowl. Add butter and ground hazelnuts and press butter into the dough with your fingers until ingredients are just blended.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface and press it together. At this point I was having issues keeping the dough together, so I added a splash of almond milk to soften the dough and make it more workable.

Use a rolling-pin to roll out the dough to 3/16 of an inch-Kim’s instructions. Because of the temperamental dough, I rolled mine out to about 1/2 inch. The cookies aren’t as light and crisp as Kim’s, but they are still yummy.

Use your favorite cookie cutters to cut out shapes and place on your baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes rotating tray half way through. Your cookies should be golden with just darkened edges.

While cookies are baking make your syrup. Warm honey, fennel, lemon zest and rosewater in a small saucepan. Don’t let the honey boil. Stir until nicely melted and let ingredients infuse for about 15 minutes.

While cookies are still warm, brush with syrup.

Serve these guys while they’re still fresh. And definitely share :)

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When Adam and I have a day off together and the weather is clear, you’ll find us strolling Portland’s streets, exploring the neighborhoods and simply moseying the day away. On last weeks walk, unusually warm weather and a super bright sun led us to find some cooling tree cover in one of Portland’s oldest cemetery, Lone Pine Cemetery. Cemeteries truly are interesting places. Considering that there are hundreds of bones beneath your feet, and you are literally surrounded by death, there is a surprising bustle of life on the surface. Aside from the oldest known grave in Portland, Emmor Stephens who died in 1846, Lone Pine boasts a rose garden, an asylum, and trees as far as the eye can see. Everywhere we turned there were squirrels burying their winter nuts in the graves. Joggers, ancestry hunters, and yes, bridal portraits, the cemetery was alive with activity. I love irony.

I was more interested in leaves that day for some reason rather than headstones, but I’m intrigued by Lone Pine and think I’ll soon head over there for a little photographic exploration.

As usual, all roads eventually lead us to Powell’s for some book perusing and then to Bridgeport Ale House, it’s right across the street after all, for a happy-hour pint and a bite. The warm weather and long walk warranted a pint of Blue Heron, don’t you think?

We have a possibly unnatural love of cookies in our house. Despite my (general) dislike of desserts, cookies tend to be a weakness passion of mine (especially chocolate chip). Many of my childhood memories involve cookies. We had a drawer full of plastic cookie cutters in every holiday shape, and we’d find Mom rolling out Valentine’s Day hearts or Halloween cats on the kitchen counter and, on occasion, she’d let us decorate the cookies. The kitchen was her domain, after all.

A recipe in the current issue of Sunset Magazine inspired these thumbprint cookies. It was one of their clever ways of recycling Thanksgiving Day leftovers involving day-old cranberry sauce. I had a few baking apples rolling around and I thought I’d give these cookies a shot, with a twist, of course. I picked up some vanilla salt at Whole Foods and, itching to use it, I sprinkled a bit of it on the cookies before placing them in the oven. Truth be told, my sprinkling was a tiny bit heavy-handed on a few cookies making them more, shall we say, biscuit-like than cookie, but over all they turned out to be tasty little bite-sized apple pie (ish) treats. And Adam gobbled them up with almost as much enthusiasm as he did with my Ginger-licious cookies.

Ok, I did too.

I also want to send out a HUGE thank you to Food Press for not only featuring two of my images as Favorites, but for also choosing me as a Featured Blogger. Do check out their new site. Loads of food and blogging fun!

Cheers!

Apple Thumbprint Cookies with Roasted Hazelnuts

What you’ll need:

3 Cups diced apples

1 cup butter

1/2-3/4 cup brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups spelt or all-purpose flour

Splash of almond milk, or other milk, or water

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

pinch of salt

3/4 cup chopped roasted hazelnuts

Fig jam, optional

Vanilla salt, optional

Preheat your oven to 350

In a stand mixer or food processor beat butter and brown sugar together until smooth. Stir in vanilla extract. Add flour, cinnamon and salt. Blend. Add almond milk as needed to maintain a smooth batter.

Stir in roasted hazelnuts.

Using your hands, roll dough into 1 to 1-1/2 inch balls and place about an inch apart on parchment lined or greased baking sheet. Press a well into the center of the ball with your thumb. Spoon enough apple mixture to fill well. Top with a dollop of Fig jam and/or sprinkle with vanilla salt.

Bake for 35-40 minutes until cookies are a lovely shade of golden brown.

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