Yup, those are little bits of mushroom on those cookies.
Yes, mushrooms in cookies.
Not those kind of mushrooms, people. But Candy Cap mushrooms.
If you’ve never had Candy Cap mushrooms, you are missing out on one of the most captivating ingredients around.
Elusive Candy Caps grow in the wilds in the Bay Area. But their growing season is so short, and the mushrooms so perishable, that you find them mostly sold in dried form.
What makes them so prized is their fragrance and flavor. Think maple syrup on steroids — with a hint of curry on the finish that lingers on and on. In fact, bake with them and your kitchen will smell enticingly of maple for days. Eat an ample enough of them in a dish or baked good, and you will have the scent of maple syrup even exuding from your pores, which, heck, is way better than garlic, right?
These brownie-like cookies have a hidden center of caramel.
Taking time out to spend special moments with friends and family may be the best thing about the holidays.
But a close second surely is all the cookies to indulge in at this time of year.
“Holiday Cookies” (Ten Speed Press), of which I received a review copy, is all about this festive sweet time of year. The book is by food stylist and recipe developer Elizabet der Nederlanden of Berkeley, with photography by the talented Erin Scott of Berkeley.
You’ll find everything from “Gingerbread Cookies” to “Chocolate-Stenciled Shortbread Rounds” to “Saffron Pistachio Biscotti.” Beyond cookies, there are also confections such as “Apple Cider Caramels” and “Matcha Chocolate Bark with Berries and Coconut.”
“Holiday Cookies: Showstopping Recipes to Sweeten the Season” by Elisabet
“Dark Chocolate Cookies with Caramel” is especially fun because these brownie-like cookies hide a center of caramel inside. It’s achieved easily enough by rolling the cookie dough around an unwrapped, purchased caramel candy.
With three types of oatmeal in these cookies, they are practically health food. OK, maybe not…
Is it possible to gain weight just by looking through a cookbook?
Because I just want to inhale everything I see in “BraveTart” (W.W. Norton & Company).
The new cookbook, of which I received a review copy, is by the talented Stella Parks, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, a James Beard Award-nominated writer for Serious Eats, one of Food & Wine magazine’s “Best New Pastry Chefs,” and creator of the BraveTart blog.
It’s a good bet you’ll find yourself equally smitten with this book, because it’s all about iconic American desserts, the treats you grew up loving — only done way better here.
These aren’t fussy, chef-y plated desserts with an overload of flourishes that just make your head spin. Nope, these are thoroughly do-able, designed for a home-cook to make in a home kitchen and to enjoy with friends and family at home.
Where to start with the 100-plus recipes? “Glossy Fudge Brownies” (with that coveted crinkly papery crust)? “Red (Wine) Velvet Cake” (colored by Cabernet Sauvignon and raw cocoa powder)? “HomeMade Pop-Tarts” (with homemade colored sprinkles, no less)? With most of the recipes, Parks also suggests easy ways to riff on the original recipe. Oftentimes, she also includes directions for turning the recipe gluten-free.
It’s kind of like two treats in one.
Is it a cookie? Is it a wreath?
It’s actually both.
This started out as as Martha Stewart’s “Classic Shortbread” recipe from her cookbook, “Martha Stewart’s Cookies” (Clarkson Potter, 2008), one of my favorite baking books.
The butter-filled dough is pressed into a fluted tart pan to create one massive cookie that gets scored with a knife into wedges. The directions have you pressing a round 2 1/4-inch cookie cutter into the center before baking to create a doughnut-like hole.