Thursday, March 3, 2011
Raspberry Frangipane Slice

Raspberry Frangipane Slice

You know when you finally convince yourself to buy that special, expensive ingredient and as soon as you place it in your pantry it just sits special to be used. That happens to a lot of the things I buy. As you can probably attest to, baking isn't exactly the cheapest hobby. Over the next few weeks I'm forcing myself to suck it up and use some of my coveted ingredients that have been sitting around. In the next few weeks expect to find a dessert incorporating the chestnut cream I bought on my last trip to Paris that I just haven't had the heart to use yet. But for today, the star of the dish is the almond meal that was tucked away in my refrigerator.

The recipe is a combination of the shortbread crust from my favorite lemon bar recipe and the almond cream (frangipane) recipe from the (equally coveted and rarely used) Tartine cookbook.

Raspberry Frangipane Slice

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cups almond meal
1/2 cup sugar
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg
1 tablespoon whole milk
1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
pinch of salt
1/4 cup raspberry jam (or as desired)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8x8 inch baking pan. Combine the flour, powdered sugar, and the first amount of butter. Pat dough into prepared pan. Bake for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the frangipane topping. Beat the butter on medium speed until creamy. Add the sugar and mix to incorporate. Add the almond flour and beat until thoroughly combined. Add the salt, almond extract (if using), and egg and mix until incorporated. Add the milk and beat until light and fluffy.

Spread raspberry jam (or any flavor that you like) on the warm crust. Pour the frangpiane mixture on top of the jam layer and spread evenly with an angled spatula, making sure to cover the jam completely.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Halfway through baking sprinkle sliced almonds on top of the frangipane if desired. Cool completely before cutting to serve.

Friday, February 4, 2011
Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

Red Velvet Whoopie PIes

A close friend of mine was celebrating her birthday earlier this week and while I was consulting with her regarding her birthday treat she jokingly suggested "red velvet cookies". I instantly replied "Done!" because I had seen so many adorable looking red velvet cookies online all week. She was surprised that such a thing existed and I assured her that in the food world "anything and everything is possible". I had fallen in love with the cute, crackly cookies I spotted on Babble. However, when I made the recipe myself using the homemade version based on a Paula Deen recipe they came out more like whoopie pies than cookies. Rest assured that my disappointment was short lived as these cookies are delicious, especially the day after they are assembled and the cream cheese filling has a chance to moisten the cookies. If anyone decides to try out the cake box version available on Babble, please let me know if those turn out flat and crackly like in the pictures.

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies stacked

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies (adapted from here)

1/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tablespoons buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon red food coloring
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add in eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in buttermilk, vanilla and red food coloring. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet.

Scoop dough onto a lined cookie sheet (I piped mine) using a generous medium scoop (2-3 tablespoons). Bake at 375 degrees F for 10-12 minutes until centers appear set. Allow to cool slightly. Then pull the liner onto the wire cooling rack to cool completely.

Cream Cheese Filling

8 ounces cream cheese
4 tablespoons butter, softened
2 teaspoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar

Cream together cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl. Beat in milk and vanilla. Sift powdered sugar over the wet ingredients and beat in until smooth. Spread in between two cooled red velvet cookies (again I piped mine, just seems cleaner and easier).

Makes 10-15 sandwiches.