Sunday, February 4, 2018

Sidebar Sundays: Hippie Cookies

Hippie Cookies

I think we've been over this. I was raised by hippies. Which is the same as saying that I was raised by wolves. You know, I've gone through phases of high-heels and decadent food, but it's just not me. If I want something sweet, it's usually some natural-ish thing like whole grain cookies, scones, or a quick bread. Frosting and gooey things just don't float my boat.

Which brings me to my uber healthy post.



So, I made all of these cookies, yeah. Because it was Christmas, and believe it or not, hippies don't have their own eccentric version of it. But we do like to chop down our own trees so we can wear our logger boots with purpose and drink chicory coffee in wet, grassy lots with the noble firs that still have vermin hiding in their boughs when we drag them home and shove organic, edible ornaments on them (maybe these cookies can double as ornaments. I don't know.) My pop used to wander around our plot of land with a green chainsaw, waxing wistful about the virtues of getting back to nature by way of using the ground as a loo.

So, why the f have I been using only white flour to make our once-a-year cookies? Is what you're asking yourself right now, because you're scrolling around looking at all of these whole grain things, waxing wistful about how to get. more. natural. My mum used to make fig cookies with tree bark and foraged figs. Where she found figs in 1975 Wisconsin, I dare say I do not know. All of our sweets were made with tree bark I think. And treacle. Tree bark treacle pies and all that. Poor Mum. What kind of flour was she using?


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Alright then. I used all whole grains for these things, well, except for the rosemary semolina things. I cheated a teensy there. I'm not a purist. The baci here are made with brown rice flour, shout out to David Lebovitz for these, so, yeah, gluten free. The rye cookies I've adapted from Aube over at Kitchen Vignettes (I love that woman), who made this amazing little video showing her make the cookies from threshing the rye to eating them. No. Not amazing. Astounding and very, very cool. I've added cardamom and rose water, because they sounded like flavors that would pair well with rye, and boy, was I right. The brown sugar semolina cookies are an adaptation of Pastry Studio's cookies, hers accented with sea salt. Nice. If you don't know Pastry Studio's blog, you have not seen sunlight nor known happiness nor any sort of love. Seriously. Get over there.



I am happy to report that every one of them came out sandy/tender and pretty unforgettable. Oh, FYI, I love to bake non-bread things, and I've decided to bring back Sidebar Sundays to share my sweets with you. I have TONS of amazing baking books to cull recipes from, and I am assuming that if you like to bake bread, you probably like to bake other things too, and so, there's that, and here we are. Happy Super Bowl Sunday. Let me know if you try your hand at any of these beauties!



Rye Blueberry Cookies
(adapted from Aube's rye cookies at Kitchen Vignettes)

323g dark rye flour
227g cold unsalted butter
173g cane sugar
1 large egg
3g sea salt
90g dried blueberries
3g rose flower water
3g vanilla extract
2g cardamom
38g turbinado sugar for rolling

Mill your rye berries to make flour. Whisk together this rye flour, cardamom and sea salt. Set aside.

In another bowl, cream the butter and cane sugar together until fluffy and pale. Add the egg, beating well after this addition. Beat in the extracts. Stir in the blueberries.

Now, gently fold the rye flour in two additions. Do not overmix. The dough will be quite stiff. It's fine.

Using sheets of parchment or plastic wrap, roll the dough into two logs, about 2" round, keeping them uniform and tight, pressing out cracks and wonks and wobbles. Be sure to finish with blunt ends. Sprinkle with the Turbinado, pressing the granules gently into the dough. Tie the ends shut and refrigerate for at least 30-45 minutes(I refrigerated for an hour. The point is, you want it to get very cold and very firm. This is what helps the cookies hold their shape when you bake them, along with the 10 minute freeze that you will come upon in a moment. Do not shortchange your cookies by refrigerating for less time. This is a critical step to maintaining the shape of the cookies and the integrity of the texture). Now is the time to preheat the oven. 350 degrees.

When the logs are frigid, and working with one log at a time, slice into coins about, oh, 1/4" thick or a hair less. Line one or two sheet trays with parchment paper, or Silpat. Shape the cookies into nice rounds and place on sheet trays about an inch apart. They don't spread very much. Pop the sheet tray into the freezer  for about 10 minutes, then pull out and slide into the oven once the dough is firm. Bake until only slightly golden, rotating the pan halfway through baking. Cool on the sheet pan for a bit, then transfer to a wire cooling rack.

You don't have to bake these cookies immediately. The cool thing about all of these cookies is that you can make the dough, and actually just freeze it and slice off what you need when you need it. So, maybe you have a hankering for a couple of cookies. Boom. Whack off some dough, shape and bake. Fresh cookies at a moment's notice.







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Brown Sugar Semolina Cookies with Rosemary & Orange Flower Water
(Adapted from the Pastry Studio)

227g cold unsalted butter
110g packed brown sugar
1 egg yolk
150g semolina
101g all purpose flour (I used Bob's Red Mill)
3g pure vanilla extract
3g orange flower water
1/4 teaspoon very finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves, it should be almost a powder
1/4 tsp toasted and ground fennel seeds
1.5g sea salt
38g Turbinado sugar for sprinkling

Mill your durum wheat finely to make semolina. Whisk together the a/p flour, semolina, fennel, rosemary and sea salt. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, cream together the butter and sugar till pale and fluffy. Add the egg yolk and beat into the butter mixture till pale. Add the extracts. Beat well.

In two additions, fold the flour mixture into the butter mixture carefully. do not overmix.

Turn the dough out onto a piece of parchment or plastic wrap and form into a uniform log with no cracks or bubbles. Sprinkle with Turbinado, pressing it into the dough. Wrap the dough with plastic and refrigerate for at least 30-45 minutes (I refrigerated for an hour. The point is, you want it to get very cold and very firm. This is what helps the cookies hold their shape when you bake them, along with the 10 minute freeze that you will come upon in a moment. Do not shortchange your cookies by refrigerating for less time. This is a critical step to maintaining the shape of the cookies, and the integrity of the texture). Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Line a sheet pan with Silpat or parchment. Slice the cold log into 1/4" coins and place on the lined sheet tray about 1" apart. Reform the coins so they are round with no edges. Pop in the freezer for 10 minutes, then pull out and bake until golden, rotating pan halfway through baking.

Cool for a bit in the pan before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.






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Baci Di Dama
(Happily borrowed from David Lebovitz; the only changes I made here were the additions of vanilla and a pinch more salt)

140g hazelnuts, toasted
140g brown rice flour
100g cold unsalted butter
100g cane sugar
6g pure vanilla extract
1.5g salt
55g bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Mill your brown rice. Set aside.

In a food processor, pulse the nuts until very fine. It should look like coarse polenta.

Whisk together the hazelnut meal, the brown rice flour and the salt. Set aside.

Cream together the sugar and butter till pale and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla extract.

Fold the brown rice mixture into the butter in two turns until just combined. Now, I know this is hard, but form this into a ball. Lay out three sheets of plastic wrap, divide the dough into three equal portions over the lain parchment/plastic and form each one into three small logs about 1" round. It will seem sort of impossible, because the dough is crumbly, but do the best you can, pressing and squishing and coaxing and patting with your fingers. It's this texture that will result in a very tender cookie. All of your labor will be rewarded later.

Refrigerate for at least 30-45 minutes until firm (I refrigerated for an hour. The point is, you want it to get very cold and very firm. This is what helps the cookies hold their shape when you bake them, along with the 10 minute freeze that you will come upon in a moment. Do not shortchange your cookies by refrigerating for less time. This is a critical step to maintaining the shape of the cookies, and the integrity of the texture). Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a sheet pan with Silpat or parchment.

When the dough is firm, working with one log at a time, slice into small pieces and form into balls a little larger than a marble. Keep the pieces uniform. Line up on the prepared sheet pan spaced about 1" apart. They do not spread much. Freeze the dough marbles for 10 minutes, then pop in the oven and bake till only slightly brown, rotating the pan halfway through baking. They will bake into little domes with one flat side.

Cool in the pan before turning out onto a wire rack. Meanwhile, put the chocolate in a small metal bowl, then get a small pot of water barely simmering. Put the bowl over the pot and let the chocolate melt naturally. No need to stir.

When the chocolate is melted, scrape into a pastry bag or a small ziplock and nip off the end. Pipe a dot of chocolate the size of a pea onto the flat side of the baci, and press another of a similar size over this to create a little sandwich. Carefully balance on the wire rack to cool and solidify.








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Hazlenut-Walnut-Oat Thumbprints with Rosehip Jam
(Adapted from NYT)

183g oat flour
93g toasted hazelnuts, skinned
93g toasted walnuts
127g cane sugar
128g cold unsalted butter
6g vanilla extract
1.5g sea salt
Jam of your choice, I used D'Arbo rosehip jam

Mill your rolled, whole, or steel cut oats. Set aside.

In a food processor, pulse the nuts and flour together until it resembles course polenta. Transfer to a bowl, whisk in the sea salt. Set aside.

In another bowl, cream the butter and cane sugar together until fluffy and pale. Beat in the extract. Now, gently fold the nut flour into the butter mixture in two additions. The dough will be quite stiff. It's fine.

Using sheets of parchment or plastic wrap, roll the dough into two logs, about 2" round, keeping them uniform and tight, pressing out cracks and wonks and wobbles. Be sure to finish with blunt ends. Tie the ends shut and refrigerate for at least 30-45 minutes (I refrigerated for an hour. The point is, you want it to get very cold and very firm. This is what helps the cookies hold their shape when you bake them, along with the 10 minute freeze that you will come upon in a moment. Do not shortchange your cookies by refrigerating for less time. This is a critical step to maintaining the shape of the cookies, and the integrity of the texture). Now is the time to preheat the oven. 350 degrees.

When the logs are frigid, and working with one log at a time, slice into coins about, oh, 1/4" thick or a hair less. Line one or two sheet trays with parchment paper or Silpat. Get the coins onto the sheet pan, then shape into little cups, pressing a little dimple into the center of each round, making sure that the walls and bottom of the cup are all pretty uniform in thickness. Fill each cut with a little jam. I used rosehip jam. Yumerola.
Pop the sheet tray into the freezer  for about 10  minutes, then pull out and slide into the oven once the cups are firm. Bake until only slightly golden, rotating pan halfway through baking. Cool for a bit in the pan before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

You don't have to bake them immediately. The cool thing about all of these cookies is that you can make the dough, and actually just freeze it and slice off what you need when you need it. So, maybe you have a hankering for a couple of cookies. Boom. Whack off some dough, shape, fill with jam and bake (or bake and fill). Fresh cookies at a moment's notice.









To the staff of life!

4 comments:

  1. I love cookie recipe round-ups, especially at Christmas time. No less in the first week of February, for that matter. The Thumbprint cookies remind me of a recipe my mom used to make, she called them “Bird’s Nest Cookies.” They were a real treat because they were a cut above the usual fare of refrigerator cookies and oatmeal and raisin. I’d mostly forgotten about them until I saw your lovely pictures, scrolling through the post. With the freshly milled flour in these recipes, I am sure they are a few notches above the ones in all seasonal recipe magazines. And tree bark and fig cookies. WTF?!?

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  2. OMG. Junkopartner, you HAVE TO try these cookies. i mean, all of them. They are all so insanely good. And no, not really tree bark. lol. But our food may have well been tree bark. Hippie parents back in the 70s?? No fun. Ugh. All that TVP. But now, in the wake of our whole food revolution, hippie living is so good! hashtag:proud2Bahippie!
    x

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hmm is anyone else encountering problems with the images on this blog loading?
    I'm trying to figure out if its a problem on my end or if it's the blog.
    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi there. I don't seem to be having issues.... Is the problem still happening for you??

      Delete

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