Recipes for the Taste 50.
PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES
Makes 2 to 3 dozen.
Note: From "The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook" by Jennifer Appel and Allysa Torey (Simon & Schuster, $25). With extra-good peanut butter, these cookies are terrific.
• 11/4 c. flour
• 3/4 tsp. baking soda
• 1/2 tsp. baking powder
• 1/4 tsp. salt
• 1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 1 c. chunky-style peanut butter, at room temperature
• 3/4 c. granulated sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
• 1/2 c. firmly packed light brown sugar
• 1 egg, at room temperature
• 1 tbsp. whole milk
• 1 tsp. vanilla extract
• 1 c. peanut butter chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking power and salt, and reserve.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, combine butter and peanut butter and beat until fluffy. Add granulated sugar and brown sugar and beat until smooth. Add egg and mix well. Add milk and vanilla extract, and mix well. Reduce speed to low, add flour mixture and mix until just combined. Stir in peanut butter chips.
Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto prepared baking sheets, leaving several inches between for expansion. Using a fork, lightly indent with a crisscross pattern, but do not overly flatten cookies. Lightly sprinkle cookies with granulated sugar.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Do not overbake. Cookies may appear to be underdone, but they are not. Remove from oven and cool cookies on baking sheets for 1 minute, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes about 10 shortcakes.
Note: From "Baking: From My Home to Yours" by Dorie Greenspan (Houghton Mifflin, $40).
• 4 c. flour
• 2 tbsp. baking powder
• 3/4 tsp. salt
• 6 tbsp. sugar
• 12 tbsp. (11/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
• 11/2 c. cold heavy cream
•Fresh strawberries (about 1/2 c. per shortcake), hulled and sliced
• Sugar to taste
• Lightly sweetened and softly whipped cream
To prepare shortcakes: Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Drop in butter and, using your fingers, toss to coat pieces of butter with flour. Quickly, working with your fingertips (the author's preferred method) or a pastry blender, rub (or cut) butter into dry ingredients until mixture is pebbly. You'll have pea-size pieces, pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and pieces in between, and that's just right.
Pour cream over dry ingredients and toss and gently turn ingredients with a fork until you have a very soft dough. When dough comes together, you'll probably still have dry ingredients at bottom of bowl -- just use a spatula or your hands to mix and knead dough until it's evenly blended. Don't overdo it; it's better to have a few dry spots than overworked dough. Even with all flour mixed in, dough will be soft and sticky.
Spoon about 1/3 cup of dough for each shortcake onto baking sheet, leaving about 3 inches of space between mounds of dough.
Gently pat each mound down until it is between 3/4 and 1 inch high. (The shortcakes can be made to this point and frozen on the baking sheet, then wrapped airtight and kept in freezer for up to 2 months. Bake without defrosting, just add at least 5 minutes to oven time. )
Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, rotating sheet from front to back at midway point, until shortcakes are puffed and give just a bit when prodded. Remove from oven and transfer shortcakes to a wire rack to cool. If you have more dough, repeat, cooling baking sheet between batches.
To prepare filling: In a large bowl, sprinkle strawberries with sugar to taste and let sit about 10 minutes, until berries are juicy. The shortcakes are pretty tender and fragile, so go easy with them. Use a serrated knife and not much pressure to cut each cake in half horizontally (alternately, you can use the tines of a fork to prick a ring around the middle of a shortcake, then use your fingers to gently pry the halves apart).
Put bottom halves on plates, top with berries (make sure to include some of the sweet juices) and add a spoon of whipped cream. Put tops on shortcakes or lean them against the whipped cream (the author's preference). If you decide to go for the open-faced shortcakes, you'll get two textures: moist and moister.
Serves at least 6.
Note: "When fall rolls around, so do the maple recipes," writes author Lee Svitak Dean. "But that's a bit odd given that the maple season takes place in the spring when sap is collected, one of the treasures of this time of year. The amber syrup gives only a hint of color but a depth of unexpected flavor that is very refreshing." From "Come One, Come All: Easy Entertaining With Seasonal Menus" (Minnesota Historical Society Press, $29.95). This calls for a double boiler -- two pots that fit together, with the lower pot holding simmering water; the ingredients then are placed in the top pot. A good substitute is a metal bowl put in a larger pot of water.
• 7 egg yolks
• 1 c. real maple syrup
• Dash salt
• 2 c. heavy cream
In a double-boiler -- but not yet on a burner -- whisk egg yolks lightly. Gradually whisk in maple syrup and salt. Put double boiler on burner over medium heat. Cook maple syrup mixture until it has thickened and lightened in color, about 20 minutes, whisking frequently. Do not increase heat or flecks of cooked egg will appear in the mixture (and you don't want that with the finished product).
When syrup mixture has thickened, remove pot from heat and cool mixture, either by transferring to a bowl and refrigerating it, or by putting pan on top of a bowl full of ice cubes. As mixture cools, stir occasionally to cool it faster. The syrup needs to be entirely cool before it is mixed with whipped cream (mixture can be made up to a day in advance).
Whip cream until very stiff, and fold cooled maple mixture into whipped cream. Portion finished mousse into serving dishes, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve (dessert will hold at least 8 hours in refrigerator).