Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Cookies for Allison

Allison called me today to tell me about her "life changing cookie experience." She then went on to describe eating what I am fairly certain was a almond thumbprint cookie with a Rolo candy melted on top. Being the generous and amicable person that I am, I offered to make her a batch of said cookies and entirely sabotage her attempts at dieting.

She accepted my offer.

Every year at Christmastime my dear friend Sarah Pavis makes me a plate of these delicious noms, which I consume so quickly that it might make a lesser person ill. Here is the recipe, straight from Sarah's mom (insert mom joke here) with pictorial annotations by your's truly:

2 sticks butter, softened
1 egg
1 tsp salt
1 tsp almond extract
1/3 cup + 2 Tbsp Sugar (1 cup if doubling recipe)
2 1/2 cups flour

-Preheat oven to 350° F
-Mix all ingredients together well *

* Dough will look all crumbly DON'T PANIC just smoosh it with your hands like this---->

- Roll dough into small balls
- Place on ungreased baking sheet
- Press thumb into middle of cookie*

*This part is the most fun! Kitties can help too!

-Add desired topping, (sugar crystals, sprinkles, almonds, if you are doing a melty topping like kisses, rolos, jam, etc wait until later...I'll tell you when!)
-Bake 8-10 minutes.*

*While the cookies are baking, unwrap your melty toppings. (Kitties can help with this too!)
-Remove from oven and add melty toppings immediately.*
*Quick, Quick they need time to melt!!

This recipe makes about 30 cookies.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Mick Napier's Hash Brown How-to

Mick Napier, Artistic Director of the Annoyance Theater in Chicago, included this step-by-step guide to making hash browns in the latest email newsletter.

Dude, you have GOT to get your motherfucking Hash Brown ON! Go get that red potato, not a brown or white, a fucking RED potato and the grater. Don't have a grater, then go straight to IDIOTVILLE. Get a grater on the way home from the job you hate and hold the RED potato. We are doing HASH BROWNS moron! OK, now, grate the potato! There's two to four of you so you want to reach for another RED potato but DO NOT!! That's part of the hash brown secret fuck head, one potato! Why? I'll get to that. Now don't be stupid, find the PAPER TOWELS! Why, because you are making FUCKING EXCELLENT HASH BROWNS for A MEAL to enjoy. Put the shredded RED potato (One) on two sheets of paper fucking towel. Roll it. Get two more sheets of paper towels. Unroll potato on new sheets. Roll it and squeeze. Two more sheets, transfer RED potato (One, not two). Roll it and squeeze. That's right, two more sheets. (DO NOT FUCK THIS UP). SQUEEZE. That is EIGHT sheets total. Eight sheets of paper towel. You can actually omit this step if you want to FUCK UP YOUR HASH BROWNS!! Now, get a skillet that is NOT TEFLON. (Doesn't quite burn properly) Now get BUTTER not OIL. The reason for this is to NOT FUCK UP MAKING the hash browns. Heat the NON Teflon skillet and put a slice of BUTTER in it. Let it melt and simmer for a BIT. Now put RED potato (one) in skillet. IMPORTANT: Find a METAL spatula. You want to further chop the POTATO (red) in the skillet and then MASH and POUND IT DOWN!! More even. Now more. NOW you know why you only need ONE potato. You fucking have got to get that THINNED out in the skillet so they will not be "cakey", but they will get to be the fucking crispy hash browns you find in a DINER. (If you've never been to a diner you're really missing out on something). ANYWAY, NOW! DO! Not flip those hash browns yet! Goddamn, do not touch them! Let them burn. Yes, DRY! (remember the paper towel steps earlier???) Yes BURN. NOW! DO NOT flip them yet!! Listen to me, Let them burn a bit more! Is there a little smoke coming out from underneath? Well then YOU DID IT HAWKING!! A little bit more...... and FLIP IT!! Now you've done it! Fuck It!! (Do not add onion, garlic, salt, or pepper..... believe you me, I went down that crooked road, take it from me it's not a good one..... let the potato (red) flavor win) You are done. You did it. Now's the hard part..... You have to go through the entire day knowing that you made perfect hash browns. Good luck to you.

-Mick Napier, Artistic Director

Delicious Red Wine Buttercream Frosting!

Pardon the silly photo, but they always disappear before I get a chance to take a picture of them! I wanted to post a link to the website I got the recipe from, because this is the most amazing frosting ever. Very Small Anna is an awesome food blog written by a pastry student in NY (presumably named Anna and being very small) who makes some awesome baked tasties. Poking around on her blog gives me all kinds of food fantasy ideas. Toasted Marshmallow Frosting, anyone?

This frosting just cries out for chocolately cake! The cupcake recipe I used is my standard chocolate cake recipe, but it's a bit to dry for these. They work better as mini-cupcakes, but I think a fudgier chocolate cake, or one with espresso in it, would be even more exciting. And they definitely want dark chocolate shavings on top!

A few notes on the making of buttercream, as this is the first I've made (twice). Buy yourself a candy thermometer, first of all. But mostly, pay attention to the recipe! The temperatures of the ingredients are super important. I tried to rush it the second time and wound up with a melty butter spread; luckily upon chilling it a bit I was able to whip it back up again. Sadly, the chilling separated the wine a bit, but no real harm done. I also recommend adding a bit more wine and mulling spices to your sauce pot and letting it simmer down a bit longer to the same, syrupy amount. This frosting borders on being too buttery, and the extra spiced wine really takes it to a happy place.

P.S.I'm going to use some of her recipes for the new ICE CREAM MAKER Chrysteena got me. WHOO!!!