May 26, 2010

The Unconventional Peanut Butter Cookie

About a month ago my brother called me wanting the recipe to my peanut butter cookies. When I told him my recipe and method, he immediately got perplexed. Now I will admit that my peanut butter recipe is unconventional, when you compare it to most traditional peanut butter recipes. But if you have been keeping up with my blogs then you know that I welcome the unconventional. I like this recipe, because I got tired of PB cookies that were hard as rocks and equally tasteless. I realize that there are many of you out there now, that love crisp PB cookies. But I like my cookies soft, tender, and slightly gooey and so this recipe is for those like me. My recipe uses canola oil instead of butter and pastry flour instead of all purpose. Why oil? Well any baker knows, that PB has the tendency to make things dry and oil is excellent at providing moister and tenderness, which is what I want. Worried about a butter flavor? Please! The peanut butter's overwhelming aromatic profile overwhelms the butter flavor, so you really don't need butter. Besides canola oil is much healthier with its mono and poly unsaturated fats. Why pastry flour? Pastry flour has the perfect protein content some where between 8-9.5% making these cookies incredibly tender. I hope you enjoy them just as much as I do.

1 1/4 cup pastry flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup of peanut butter
1/3 cup canola (or neural oil)
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup sugar
4 tsp reduce fat sour cream or buttermilk
1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 large or extra large egg
1/2 c chopped peanuts (optional)

In a medium size bowl combine first 4 ingredients and whisk until combine and then set aside
In a large mixing bowl, combine PB, oil, sugars, vanilla, and sour cream. Using a standing mixer or KA on high blend until well combine. Next add egg and beat well until all ingredients come together and are emulsified (about 5 minutes). Next with a spatula or spoon fold in dry ingredients and peanuts until well combined. Transfer the cookie dough to a container and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or over night. It will last about 6 months in the freezer.

Preheat the oven to 350. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and with a cookie scoop (I use 1 1/4 ounce) place on cookie sheet, evenly spaced. Press down on the top of the cookies slightly and bake for 13 minutes, turning half way through the baking process. Transfer sheet to a cooling rack and cool for 5 minutes, then remove cookies from the sheet and allow to cool completely. Enjoy!

May 14, 2010

Apple Pie (My Way)

"American as apple pie," that's what I was thinking when I awoke from bed one morning. It had me not only wondering who coined the phrase, but why I had apple pie on the brain. If you are reading this and happen to know, please indulge me. Anyway, the thought sent me to the local grocery store. One of the best things about apple pies, are the apples. Most well rounded bakers know of the endless varieties of apples and while I enjoy many for eating, I reserve two for my pies: granny smith and fuji. I like granny smith because it’s tart and crisp profile make it excellent in pies and I like Fuji, because it’s sweet, juicy, and crisp and my favorite of the variety. Using these two apple types together makes for the perfect pie. Don't ever forget the "homemade" crust! Whoever told you that the crust makes the pie was right. I use Rose Levy Beranbaum's recipe because she is the Goddess of pasty making and her recipe makes the perfect crust. Enjoy

Method to my madness
2 2/3 cup pastry flour
1 cup well chilled butter flavored shortening
3/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar or splenda
1/4 c (or so) ice water
1 tsp apple cider vinegar

4 cup of sliced granny smith apples
4 cups of slice fjui apples
1 cup splenda
1/8 cup of brown sugar
3 tbsp corn starch
juice of one lemon
zest of one lemon
zest of one orange
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp allspice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp rum extract
2 tbsp of light butter or margarine
1 tbsp milk


In a small bowl, combine splenda, brown sugar, cornstarch and spices; set aside. In a large bowl, toss apples with lemon juice, lemon zest, and orange zest. Add sugar mixture and extracts and toss well to coat. Line a 9-in. pie pan with half the pastry. Place apple filling into crust; dot with butter. Roll out remaining pastry to fit top of pie, trim and flute. Cut a few slits in top. Brush top with a milk wash and sprinkle sugar or splenda on top. Bake at 425 degrees F for 45-55 minutes until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly

Flaky pie crust
In a large bowl combine flour, salt, and sugar. whisk well and set aside. Cut shortening into 1 inch pieces and cut into flour mixture using two forks or a pastry blender. Add vinegar to your ice water and slowly add water in tbsp increments. Moisten the dough so that it comes together in a ball and holds it shape. Divide dough in half and wrap each dough in half forming two disks. refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours and it's ready to go.