Saturday, April 27, 2019

ChezCindy: Sugared Shortbread Cookies

When you are feeling fancy, you can call these beautiful cookies Sables as they are known in France.  Otherwise, they are known as shortbread cookies.  

The recipe is a classic slice and bake cookie like you can find premade for you at the grocery store.  But so much better if you make them at home with fresh butter, eggs and sugar.  There are only 5 ingredients in the recipe, and it is not difficult to make.  You can even have the kids help with this recipe.  

What I like about this type of cookie is that you can make the dough ahead of time, roll it into a log, and store it in your refrigerator wrapped in plastic wrap until you are ready to bake it into cookies.  The unbaked log can also be frozen for weeks in the freezer.  I find it a great convenience to have homemade frozen cookie dough in the freezer, ready for me when I want a sweet treat.

Sugared Shortbread Cookies
2 sticks of unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 large egg yolks, save the whites
2 cups all-purpose flour

Decorating sugar

Working with a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until smooth, about 3 minutes.  Add the sugars and salt, beating until well combined.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add in the egg yolks, beat until combined.  With the mixer off, add in the flour.  Mix on low speed until the flour is mostly incorporated.  Scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl to mix completely using a rubber spatula.  The dough will feel soft and tender.  Transfer the dough to your work surface, divide into 2 pieces.  Shape each piece into a smooth log, roughly 8-inches long.  Wrap each log in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for a minimum of 3 hours, but 24 hours is best.  The dough can be kept in the fridge for 3 days or frozen for 6 weeks.

Once you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Remove 1 log from the refrigerator.  Unwrap the log, placing it on a sheet of wax paper.  Using the leftover egg whites slightly whipped, brush the sides of the log with the whipped egg whites as a "glue" to allow the decorating sugar to stick to the log.  Generously sprinkle the log with the decorating sugar.

Using a thin-bladed sharp knife, slice the log into 1/3-inch-thick cookies.  Place the cookie rounds onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper.  Place the sheet tray into the preheated oven onto the center rack.  Bake the cookies for 17-19 minutes, baking one sheet tray at a time.  Keep the remaining dough in the refrigerator until ready to bake.  You will know the cookies are done when they are light brown on the bottoms and the edges, with the tops remaining pale.  Remove the tray from the oven, letting the cookies stay on the sheet tray for 1-2 minutes.  Slide the parchment paper with the cookies in place off the tray and onto the counter to continue cooling.  Cookies are ready to eat when completely cooled.  Repeat with the remaining dough.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

ChezCindy: Honey Mustard Glazed Salmon

When I presented this salmon recipe at a cooking class, it was received with rave reviews.  Students later sent emails reporting on their success, and that they too received rave reviews from their family.
The salmon is quick to prepare on a busy weeknight, yet elegant enough to serve at a dinner party.  I decided to make it recently because I wanted something healthy, but also full of flavor.  The whole grain mustard is prominent but highlighted with a touch of sweetness from brown sugar and a delicate hint of honey.  You can use a side of salmon as I have done here or cut into smaller 6-ounce portions.  Be sure to line your baking sheet with foil for easy clean up.

Honey Mustard Glazed Salmon
4 6-ounce salmon filets
3 tablespoons whole grain mustard
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons honey
2 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Serves 4

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with foil.  In a small bowl, whisk together the mustards, brown sugar, and honey.  Place the salmon filets onto the foil-lined baking sheet.  Drizzle the oil over the salmon filets.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Generously spoon the mustard glaze onto the top of each salmon filet.  Some of the glaze may run over the side.  Place in the hot oven, baking until the salmon is firm to the touch, an internal temperature of 125 degrees, about 12-15 minutes depending on the thickness of the salmon.  Remove the baking tray from the oven.  Allow the salmon to rest for 3-5 minutes.  Carefully slide a spatula under the salmon, leaving the skin behind on the foil-lined sheet.  Serve hot or at room temperature for a buffet-style meal. 

Saturday, April 13, 2019

ChezCindy: Meatloaf & Glazed Carrots

As I plated this meal, it came to mind that this is classic diner food: meatloaf, mashed potatoes and glazed carrots.  Comfort classic on a plate. Maybe kicked up a bit from old-style diners.

The meatloaf recipe is my go-to from the Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten.  It never fails.  I make it often, switching up what ground meat I use.  I usually make this with ground turkey.  Ms. Garten calls for all ground beef.  This one happened to be a mix of ground veal and beef.  It was a winning combination.  And yes, it is topped with ketchup.  Okay, maybe I mixed in a little bit of truffle oil to the ketchup before spreading it on the meatloaf ready for the oven.

Aside from the meatloaf, the star of this plate is the glazed carrots.  Buttery with just a hint of sweetness to glisten and coat each carrot coin.  The carrots make a great compliment to any plate.

Glazed Carrots
1 1/2 pounds carrots
4 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Clean and peel the carrots; cut into 1/2-inch rounds.  Place the carrot "coins" into an 10-inch skillet with deep sides.  Add in the butter, brown sugar, and salt.  Add water to the pan, filling just to the level of the carrots, but not above them, about 2-cups of water.  Place the pan on the stove over high heat, bringing to a boil.  Cook over high heat, shaking the pan occasionally, allowing the water to reduce to a syrupy glaze and the carrots are tender.  This should take roughly 10-12 minutes.  Turn off the heat, stir the carrots to evenly coat with the remaining glaze, resting for a few minutes.  Taste and adjust the seasoning with additional salt if needed.