Category Archives: Cool Cooking Techniques

Raspberry Amaretti Cookies With A Fun Surprise Center

Freeze-dried and fresh raspberries make these amaretti extra special.
Freeze-dried and fresh raspberries make these amaretti extra special.

Like the best Easter confections that tempt at this time of year, these cookies are adorable, colorful, and sport a surprise filling sure to delight.

What’s more, “Raspberry Amaretti Cookies” are also gluten-free.

Made with almond meal, egg whites, and sugar, its dough gets fruity tang and a smidge of pink from pulverized freeze-dried raspberries mixed in. And at the center of each cookie hides a single fresh raspberry that you don’t see until you take a bite.

This fun recipe is from “Nadiya Bakes” (Clarkson Potter, 2020), of which I received a review copy. It’s by Nadiya Hussain, the season 6 winner of “The Great British Baking Show.” The cookbook is a companion to her BBC and Netflix series of the same name.

The U.K.-based baker emphatically calls baking her true first love. This book includes both sweet and savory treats. Her recipes take influence from both her Bangladeshi heritage and her British upbringing in creations such as “Matcha and Kiwi Hurricane Roll,” “Scotch Creme Eggs,” “Rainbow Veg Pakora Picnic Pie,” and “Cherry Chelsea Buns.”

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Baked Eggs in Butternut Squash Rings

Sweet, roasted rings of butternut squash make the perfect vehicle to spotlight eggs.
Sweet, roasted rings of butternut squash make the perfect vehicle to spotlight eggs.

Spring may have sprung, but winter squash hasn’t fallen out of favor yet. At least not in my kitchen.

So, how could I resist these darling “Baked Eggs in Butternut Squash Rings”?

The recipe is from the new “The Fresh Eggs Daily Cookbook” (Harper Horizon), of which I received a review copy. It’s by Lisa Steele, who has raised chickens for more than a dozen years on her farm in Maine, and is the founder of the blog, Fresh Eggs Daily.

It includes more than 100 recipes highlighting eggs in every which way. Now, you’re probably asking yourself, “Isn’t it bad to eat eggs every single day? Won’t my cholesterol go through the roof?” The answer is: No. Not if you’re a relatively healthy person. That’s according to the Mayo Clinic, which stated in an article last year, “Research shows that the cholesterol in eggs doesn’t seem to negatively affect the human body compared to other sources of cholesterol. For example, eggs typically are eaten with other foods high in salt, saturated fat and cholesterol, such as bacon, cheese and butter. These foods are known to increase the risk of heart disease, and they should be eaten sparingly.”

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Not Black or White — But Both

Playful black-and-white sable cookies with a French touch.
Playful black-and-white sable cookies with a French touch.

In a world where opposites increasingly butt heads in conflict, these live in complete harmony.

Two doughs of completely different colors combine to create something far more impressive together.

These are not New York black-and-white cookies, but French ones.

“Parisian Black-and-White Cookies” draw your gaze immediately. They deliver that classic snappy, sandy texture and buttery taste that never go out of fashion.

This fanciful cookie recipe is from “World Food Paris” (Ten Speed Press, 2021), of which I received a review copy, by James Oseland, award-winning cookbook author and former editor-in-chief of Saveur magazine, with writer Jenna Leigh Evans.

This book picks you up and sets you down in the heart of Paris, with its evocative photos of lush city parks, bistro life, stately chateaux, and proud cooks and bakers displaying their delectable handiwork.

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When Life Gives You Leftover French Fries…

When life gives you extra French fries, make this awesome Spanish tortilla with them.
When life gives you extra French fries, make this awesome Spanish tortilla with them.

I know, I know, French fries are so addictive, that’s it’s rare to have any leftover.

But on the one-in-a-million occasion that occurs, do yourself a favor and repurpose them in “Tortilla Esapanola on Vacation.”

It is an upcycled and comforting version of the Spanish tapas classic, the eggy tortilla.

This wonderful recipe is from “Burnt Toast and Other Disasters” (William Morrow, 2021), of which I received a review copy. It’s by Cal Peternell, New York Times best-selling cookbook author and former head chef at Chez Panisse for nearly 22 years.

This clever, witty, and useful book is all about transforming leftovers, failures, scraps and the like into delectable dishes.

As Peternell writes, “If…you are the kind of cook who never makes mistakes, in or out of the kitchen, then pass this copy along to someone else who does. However, if things sometimes go sideways, like they do in our kitchen, then I hope you’ll use this collection of family fixes, hacks, and more than forty sauces to not only save dinner, but make it redemptively delicious.”

Yes, it’s basically a book we could all use on our shelf.

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The Cake That Hides A Dramatic Surprise

Put some green in your life in a different way this St. Patrick's Day.
Put some green in your life in a different way this St. Patrick’s Day.

There are cakes, which when cut, tumble out a hidden torrent of rainbow sprinkles or M&Ms.

This cake also boasts a surprise center, but a far more sophisticated one.

Cut into it with a fork, and a gush of melty, brilliant-green, matcha-chocolate will flow out instead.

This genius recipe for “Matcha Chocolate Lava Cakes” is from “The Honeysuckle Cookbook” (Rodale, 2020) by Dzung Lewis, a former Bay Area financial analyst who moved to Los Angeles to pursue her passion for cooking with her YouTube channel “Honeysuckle.”

There are several techniques to create the molten center of lava cakes. This one relies on freezing matcha ganache — melted white chocolate mixed with matcha and a little oil — in an ice cube tray until solid. The frozen cube then gets set into the cake batter, so that during baking, the frozen ganache slowly liquifies within the set cake.

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