Gruyere and black pepper popovers

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 4 large eggs
  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 1 1/2 cups cubed Gruyere cheese (about 6 ounces)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place empty popover pan in the oven to warm up. Whisk flour, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl to blend. Heat milk in heavy small saucepan over medium heat until very warm. Whisk eggs in a large bowl to blend. Gradually whisk warm milk into the eggs. Gradually stir flour mixture into milk/egg mixture just to blend. (Batter may still be slightly lumpy, like pancake batter).

Remove hot popover pan from the oven and spray with nonstick spray. Fill each cup almost all the way to the top, but leave about 1/2 inch. Top each cup of batter with 3-4 small cubes of the gruyere cheese. Bake until puffed and deep brown, about 40 minutes. 

*I got my popover pan from Bed Bath and Beyond for $16. I highly recommend it versus using a muffin tin. 

Homemade oreos

Chocolate shortbread:

  • 1 3/4 cups + 1.5 Tbsp. All-purpose flour 
  • 1 cup + 1.5 Tbsp. Unsweetened alkalized cocoa powder
  • 3/8 tsp. Baking soda
  • 8 oz. Unsalted butter
  • 2 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 3/4 cups + 1 Tbsp. Granulated sugar

Place the flour in a medium bowl, sift in the cocoa and baking soda, and whisk to combine. Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Turn to medium-low speed and mix until smooth. Add the salt and mix for another 15-30 seconds. Add the sugar and mix for about 2 minutes until fluffy. Add the dry ingredients in 2 additions, then mix until the dough begins to come together. Using your hands, mound together into a small, flat block. Wrap in saran wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. 

Preheat oven to 325 degrees fahrenheit. With a rolling pin, pound the top of the dough working from left to right, to begin to flatten it, then turn the dough and repeat (this will prevent the dough from cracking as it is rolled). If the dough does crack, use your hands to roll it into a ball and try rolling it out again. I've found that as the dough cools, it softens and is easier to work with.

Bake for 15-17 minutes, turning the pans halfway through baking. Let cool for 5 minutes and transfer to cooling rack. 

  • Roll the dough as thin as you'd like
  • The dough can be refrigerated for up to two days
  • Cookie cutters are from Orson Gygi

Filling:

  • You can use a vanilla bean buttercream, cream cheese frosting, chocolate buttercream or white chocolate ganache for the filling. My favorite is the vanilla bean buttercream. 

 

French apple pie

Filling:

  • One 9-inch pie pastry
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 cinnamon
  • dash of salt
  • 6 cups thinly sliced pared apples (about 5 medium-red or green whichever you prefer)

Crumb topping:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 firm butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar 

Mix well with fork, pastry blender or finger tips until crumbly. 

Directions:

Heat oven to 425. Stir together sugar, flour, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt; mix lightly with the apples. Pout into the pastry lined pie pan and sprinkle with crumb topping.

Keep an eye on the crust and crumb topping. If it is looking too brown then add a 2-3 inch strip of foil around the edge, or cover the whole pie with foil. You want it to be a nice golden brown. Bake for 40-50 minutes-the filling should be bubbling around edges. 

**Let pie cool for about an hour before serving. I personally think this pie is even better cold!

All-butter crust by Smitten Kitchen

All Butter, Really Flaky Pie Dough

Makes enough dough for one double-, or two single-crust pies.

2 1/2 cups (315 grams) flour
1 tablespoon (15 grams) sugar
1 teaspoon (5 grams) table salt
2 sticks (8 ounces, 225 grams tablespoons or 1 cup) unsalted butter, very cold

1/2 cup ice cold water, might need 1/4 cup more

Fill a one-cup measuring cup with ice cubes and water, set aside. Whisk together the flour sugar and salt in a large bowl. Cut the very cold butter into small cubes. I like to use my hands to press the butter into the flour. Make sure all the parts are worked evenly, until the butter is the size of small peas.

*Do not let the butter melt in your hands. *Do not overwork the dough.

Slowly add in the 1/2 cup water little by little (Do not include the ice cubes). Use a little extra water if needed. The most important thing is to have lots of specks of butter. You should be able to see the butter later when you roll out the dough.   

Wrap the dough in saran wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour before rolling out. The dough can stay in the refrigerator up to one week. When rolling out the dough, you want it to be as cold as possible. If it gets too warm before baking, it will not be flaky. 

Good luck! If done correctly, this is the best pie crust I've ever had. 

Cinnabon cinnamon rolls

Dough:

  • 1 package active dry yeast or 1/4 ounce
  • 1 cup warm milk
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup softened butter or margarine
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour

Filling:

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup softened butter

Cream cheese frosting:

  • 1 package of cream cheese
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter or margarine
  • 1-2 tsps vanilla extract  
  • About 1 bag of powdered sugar

Instructions:

For the dough, dissolve the yeast in the warm milk in a large bowl. Make sure that the milk is lukewarm. If it is too hot, it will kill the yeast, and if it is too cold then it won't dissolve properly. Set aside for at least 5 minutes. 

Add sugar, butter, salt, eggs and flour to the bowl of a mixer and mix well. The mixture will be pretty dry at this point. Pour the milk/yeast mixture in the bowl and use a dough hook to mix until well incorporated. (The dough hook doesn't always work for me, so sometimes I mix with a wooden spoon or by hand. The tricky part is getting all of the flour mixed in well).

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for about 2 hours. The dough will be ready to roll out when it has doubled in size. If the dough has not doubled in size by at least 4 hours, then something has gone wrong. (Try placing bowl on top of preheated oven so it can get more warmth).

Roll the dough out on a very lightly floured surface until it is in the shape of a rectangle and the dough is about 1/4 inch thick. Preheat the oven to 350 F degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. To make the filling, combine butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a bowl. Spread the mixture evenly over the surface of the dough The filling will be very think and hard to spread. I have to use my hands to spread the filling evenly. 

Begin rolling the dough, starting from the long edge, until you've made one large, 18-inch long roll. Cut the rolls into 1.5 inch slices. This is done best by using dental floss. Place the cut rolls in the prepared pan and cover them with a damp towel. Let them rise again for another 30 minutes to an hour, until they have doubled in size. 

Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until light golden brown. I would prefer that the rolls are slightly under done, than over done. If cooked too long, they will dry out. So be sure to keep an eye on them. Cooking time can vary. 

For the frosting, beat the cream cheese and butter/margerine until very smooth. Add 1-2 teaspoons vanilla. Gradually add in the powdered sugar until it's reached the level of sweetness that you like. I think I use almost one full bag of powdered sugar. Wait until the rolls have cooled before frosting, unless you are eating them right away.