TOM'S TASTY TOMATO SOUP WITH BROWN BUTTER CROUTONS
Note: "When I was a kid and my mom made tomato soup, she would cut buttered toast into squares and float them on top of each bowl," writes Tom Douglas in "The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook." "My twist on Mom's toast is to make brown butter croutons."
• 4-in. chunk (4 slices) rustic bread
• 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
• 1 tbsp. olive oil
• 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
• 3 garlic cloves, smashed with side of a knife and peeled
• 5 c. (two 28-oz. cans) canned whole tomatoes in juice
• 1 c. water
• 2/3 c. heavy cream
• 2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more as needed
• 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
• 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
• 1/4 tsp. celery seed
• 1/4 tsp. dried oregano (or 1/2 tsp. freshly chopped oregano)
• 1 tbsp. sugar
To prepare croutons: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a serrated knife, cut off and discard bread crusts, and cut bread into 3/4 - to 1-inch cubes.
In a small pan over medium heat, melt 3 tablespoons butter and cook, stirring often, until butter is golden brown and aromatic, about 3 minutes after butter melts. Remove from heat.
Place bread cubes in a medium bowl and pour butter over them, tossing to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper and toss again. Spread bread cubes on a baking sheet and bake until croutons are toasted and golden, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove pan from oven.
To prepare soup: In a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter and olive oil. Add onion and garlic and sauté until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, water, cream, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, celery seed, oregano and sugar. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer and simmer for 15 minutes.
Remove soup from heat and purée in batches in blender. Return soup to pot and reheat to a simmer, seasoning to taste with more salt and pepper. Ladle soup into bowls and serve hot, garnished with croutons.
OLD-FASHIONED MOLASSES COOKIES WITH FRESH GINGERMakes about 4 dozen small cookies.
Note: This recipe must be prepared in advance. From "The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook."
• 2 c. flour
• 2 tsp. baking soda
• 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
• 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
• 3/4 c. (11/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 11/2 c. sugar, divided
• 1 egg
• 1/4 c. molasses
• 2 tsp. peeled and freshly grated ginger
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
In a bowl of an electric mixer on medium speed, cream butter and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg, molasses and ginger and mix until thoroughly combined. Reduce speed to low, add flour mixture and mix until just combined. Cover and refrigerate dough for at least 1 hour before shaping cookies.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup sugar on a plate.
Make 3/4 -inch balls of dough and roll them in sugar. Place 2 to 3 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Using palm of your hand, press balls of dough flat.
Bake until golden brown and set around the edges but still slightly soft in the center, 7 to 8 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking time (if you have 2 pans of cookies in the oven at the same time, also switch them between racks).
Remove from oven, cool cookies on baking sheets for 2 minutes before transferring them to a metal rack.
PARSLEY CHIVE SCONES
Makes 1 dozen.
Note: Though most scones are sweet, this savory one is good with scrambled eggs, a creamy seafood stew or even pot roast, writes Tom Douglas in "The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook." He suggests splitting them while warm and spreading them with butter and big-flake sea salt.
• 21/2 c. flour, plus extra for rolling dough
• 2 tbsp. sugar
• 11/2 tsp. kosher or sea salt
• 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
• 21/2 tsp. baking powder
• 1/2 tsp. baking soda
• 10 tbsp. (11/4 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-in. dice
• 1 tsp. freshly grated lemon zest
• 2 tbsp. thinly sliced fresh chives
• 1/3 c. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
• 1 c. buttermilk
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt, pepper, baking powder and baking soda. Using a pastry blender or your fingertips, cut butter into flour mixture until mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs.
Using a soft rubber spatula, stir in lemon zest, chives and parsley. Gradually add buttermilk, stirring, until dough just comes together to form a soft, slightly moist dough.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gently knead dough with your hands for 1 to 2 minutes to help it cohere, but do not overmix. Divide dough into 2 equal pieces and pat each piece with your hands into a flat round about 1/2 -inch thick. Using a floured knife, cut each round into 6 wedges.
Place scones on prepared baking sheets and bake until golden and cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes (bottoms of scones should turn a nice golden brown, but if they seem to be browning too fast, double-pan them by sliding another baking sheet underneath). Remove from oven and transfer baking sheet to a wire rack to cool briefly. Serve warm.