Tag Archives: Martha Stewart

final cheesecake thumbprint cookies - fully baked

Martha Stewart Cheesecake Thumbprint Cookies

As I bake my way through Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook this week’s cookie is the cheesecake thumbprint. Sugary (but not overly sweet) and tangy – combining the silky creaminess of cheesecake and the easily edible size of a mini cookie into one delicious bite.

I’m not one to typically have cream cheese or sour cream in the house (since Mark and I both shun most creamy food of this texture…i.e. mayonnaise), so these were some specialty purchases specifically for the cookies.

Overall the cookies were fairly straightforward, however this is another one of those multi-step process confections.

After making the cream cheese filling in the stand mixer and putting it in the fridge to chill, I had to wash out the mixer to then use it for the bottom cookie part.

You make the cookie, which is a standard butter/flour/sugar/egg yolk kind of flaky-crumbly cookie, slightly indenting the top prior to baking, which is where the cream cheese filling will go.

thumbprint cookies with indentations prior to baking
thumbprint cookies with indentations in between baking stints

Bake for 10 minutes, pull out of the oven and RE-indent, and bake for another few minutes.

THEN you have to bring the cookies out to allow to cool.

Fill with the chilled cheesecake batter and pop those suckers back in the oven for a few more minutes until fully baked.

filled cookies ready for baking
filled cookies ready for baking

Et voila! Oh wait, not quite yet, you then have to chill the cookies for at least 4 hours, or even better, overnight, before serving.

Store in a container with wax paper in the fridge.

In these end, these were fairly easy and straightforward, but it is one of those recipes where you are moving and shaking and need to be on top of the baking. Definitely not a set it and forget it drop cookie.

I would definitely make these again for a March Madness party or potluck dinner since you can quickly and easily churn out a fair number. They don’t take up a lot of space and they don’t spread when baked so you can pop them out in a tiny kitchen no problem!

final cheesecake thumbprint cookies - fully baked
final cheesecake thumbprint cookies – fully baked

Black coffee and cheesecake thumbprints sound like a perfect breakfast for me! Enjoy.

final "bread"

Martha Stewart Cinnamon Raisin Bread Fail

I’ve never really tried to make bread before. Sure there were childhood forays with the electric bread maker craze (which churns out deliciouuuuuuus bread that we consumed within minutes after waiting hours upon hours for it to cook), and quick breads like banana bread, pumpkin bread, scones and the like.

But I’ve never made yeast breads (except I guess pizza dough which is super easy).

To start this adventure, I chose the Martha Stewart recipe for cinnamon raisin bread, mainly because it called for all-purpose flour and not bread flour (which I need to purchase but haven’t yet) and because I had all the other ingredients on hand.

Suffice it to say, I don’t know what happened, but it didn’t work out. I kind of knew it wasn’t going to turn out well when the dough barely rose, but I kept going anyway.

Here are some of the ways in which I may have failed:

1. I used the Rapid Rise Yeast which I use for pizza dough. This type of yeast is typically added to the dry ingredients, as opposed to active dry yeast which is typically added to the warm wet ingredients (and bubbles up before everything else is added). The recipe called for active dry yeast, but I didn’t have any of that at home. Following the instructions (but subbing the rapid rise yeast instead), I added the yeast to the wet ingredients. So maybe the bread didn’t work because I used the wrong type of yeast.

But this is a head scratcher because on the yeast company’s website it does say you can make this substitution; you just can’t substitute the opposite way (active dry yeast in place of rapid rise). Hmmmm….

Also when I added the yeast, I did get that bready smell right away, which I took as a good sign.

Maybe I killed the yeast? Maybe it was old? I didn’t take the temperature of my warm milk (as instructed) before I added the yeast….so maybe it was too hot?

2. I used stale raisins. I don’t see why this should matter but the little buggers were like sticky pebbles.

rolled bread dough sprinkled with cinnamon and raisins
rolled bread dough sprinkled with cinnamon and raisins

3. I let the bread rise twice as called for in the recipe: the first time for an hour and the second time for 40 minutes or so after shaping the loaf. Perhaps I didn’t put it in a warm enough place? I just left it covered on the counter.

bread dough rising
bread dough rising

4. My “filling” wasn’t quite right. Once the cinnamon raisin dough has risen, you were supposed to roll out the dough and “sprinkle” the filling over top. I don’t really see how sprinkle was the correct word though since you were to mix cinnamon and sugar with water. Mine was more of a paste. And so that egg wash to help it stick was probably unnecessary.And so the interior of the dough was really really wet and soggy. See my photo versus the pic in the cookbook.

All these minor errors probably added up to the undercooked and unrisen center. I mean, it still tasted yummy what with the oozy cinnamon sugar core. It was kind of like a cinnamon roll and some icing would have been appreciated. But it was not bread. Le sigh. I will try again one of these days. Maybe with the correct (and newly purchased) yeast.

final "bread"
final “bread”

Martha Stewart Linzer Hearts (Part II)

I’ve submitted this post to the monthly link up party Our Growing Edge. This event aims to connect food bloggers and inspire us to try new things. This month is hosted by Chinelo from Good Cake Day. The theme is LOVE IN ALL ITS FORMS. our-growing-edge-badge

In Part I of this cookie recipe from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook, I blanched hazelnuts to grind into hazelnut flour for our Valentine’s Day Linzer Heart cookies. I made three variations on this cookie: plain hazelnut shortbread cookies, Nutella sandwich cookies and strawberry jam-filled heart cutout cookies.

After my trials and tribulations with making the hazelnut flour, I was then on to making the actual cookie dough. FINALLY!

Mixing the hazelnut flour, all-purpose flour, cinnamon, salt and baking powder was easy enough. Beating the butter and sugar, egg yolks and vanilla extract also went smoothly.

I combined the dry ingredients into the wet in the stand mixer, and then turned the dough out onto a floured work surface to form into disks for refrigeration. This is where I feel I kind of got tripped up. The dough was pretty dry and crumbly. I think it was generally supposed to be, but perhaps mine was even drier than necessary.

Nonetheless, I got it formed into disks and into the fridge overnight.

The next morning I took it out to roll it think to start cutting out my heart shapes. The dough crumbled apart.

It split all over the place I couldn’t get it to roll smoothly.

I left it for about 30 minutes to warm up a bit and tried again, more successfully, but still with some struggle.

Unfortunately or fortunately, I doubled the recipe so that I would have enough cookies to bring to the art show. But working in a small NYC kitchen, this meant I was manipulating about 1/5 of the dough at a time – rolling it out, cutting it into hearts, placing those hearts on a baking sheet in the freezer while rerolling the dough scraps to cut more hearts to place on a second sheet to put in the freezer. Now mind you, I only own two cookie sheets to my name.

So once the first sheet went in to the oven, I worked more dough on the counter. Pulled the cookies out of the oven, moved them onto a wire cooling rack, and turned around to place a fresh sheet of cut dough hearts on the hot pan and put it in the freezer to chill before repeating the process again and again.

This literally took me ALL DAY.

I could only work with so much dough at a time and was limited by the number of cookie sheets and space. It was like a well-choreographed dance of shifting dough and baked cookies around the room from counter to pan to rack to plate.

piles of plain hazelnut shortbread cookies, awaiting jam or Nutella
piles of plain hazelnut shortbread cookies, awaiting jam or Nutella

The other problem I encountered cutting out the hearts was that my two heart cookie cutters were too close in size. Basically I needed to cut 2 types of hearts: big ones that would be the bottom half of the cookie, and big ones with a heart cut out of the middle to go on top so that the jam can shine through.

Well my “smaller” heart cookie cutter was only slightly smaller than my “big” cookie cutter, so every time I tried to punch out a smaller heart from the bigger heart, the bigger cookie would break apart (remember my dough was already dry and crumbly).

So I did two things: 1. I simply (not so easily though) used a knife to cut out tiny heart shapes from half of the big hearts to be the top part of the cookie; 2. I decided to cut some stand-alone small heart cookies and make them into Nutella sandwich cookies – no middle hole included.

linzer heart cutouts
Baked heart cut outs

All in all, it worked out for the best. I had a TON of cookies in various sizes and flavors, which was fun. They were: big strawberry jam-filled cookies with heart-shaped holes in the middle for the jam to peek out; small heart sandwich cookies filled with Nutella; big heart cookies ~ as is, plain; and teeny tiny heart cookies (created when I used a knife to cut out the tiny hearts from the bigger cookies) tossed in powdered sugar.

Thanks to everyone who tried the cookies and gave rave reviews. They were about 24 hours in the making, my back hurt when I was done, and while I’m proud to have accomplished such an in-depth recipe, I don’t think I’ll be making them again for a long while (unless someone sends me some pre-made hazelnut flour).

jam-filled Linzer Heart Cookies

Martha Stewart Valentine’s Day Cookies

As it’s Monday, it’s time for another recipe recap from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook from which I’ve been recreating recipes. This time I tackled some sweet heart shaped cookies just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Martha Stewart's Linzer Heart Cookies
Martha Stewart’s Linzer Heart Cookies – my final outcome

As you may or may not recall, I’ve been drawing and painting pretty much my entire life, however I’ve just recently gotten the kick in the pants I needed to buckle down and paint regularly, in the form of an opportunity to exhibit some paintings in an art show in Brooklyn.

Since the art exhibit was put on by a collaborative collective of women artists and entrepreneurs, self-funded, and all of that good stuff, I figured I would also contribute some snacks to the event. Any why not some Valentine’s Day Linzer Heart cookies from Martha Stewart?

The cookies are essentially hazelnut shortbread cookies filled with jam and dusted with powdered sugar. While the original recipe calls for raspberry jam, I substituted strawberry jam, and to be frank, by the end of the whole process I kind of gave up and made a few sandwich cookies with Nutella and left some cookies plain instead of working with the jam.

I knew the dough needed to be chilled overnight, so I started on Thursday with the intention of finishing up the cookies on Friday.

I have to tell you, these were probably the hardest, most time-consuming cookies I’ve ever made, including French macarons, which should tell you something.

First, there was the matter of the hazelnut flour. I really should have thought ahead and purchased pre-made hazelnut flour, but I didn’t. Instead, I wanted to stay true to the recipe, which calls for grinding blanched hazelnuts in a food processor to create the flour.

All well and good, except I didn’t really account for the incredible annoyance that is blanching hazelnuts (in other words, removing the skins).

You see, I ordered regular, whole hazelnuts from Amazon. No problem, right? Wrong.

While these were fine and dandy as far as hazelnuts go, they weren’t blanched. Honestly I glazed right over the “blanched” direction in the cookbook the first time I read it. Like, “What’s that? Who cares?”

When I sat down to actually make the dough, I reread “blanched” and thought, ehhh whatever. So I Googled “Do I really have to blanch hazelnuts?”

Turns out the answer is Yes. Damn it. If you don’t blanch the nuts the skins can cause a seriously bitter taste. So I Googled “How to blanch hazelnuts.”

In theory, it’s a fairly straightforward process: boil water and baking soda, add nuts, boil for a few minutes, drop nuts in cold water and gently rub the skins off. Voila! Blanched hazelnuts.

Here’s what really happened: Boiled water and baking soda – no sweat. Added nuts. Water turned pink-black (as forewarned) and boiled over. Turned off heat. Mopped up puddles of water everywhere.

pot of water and baking soda boiling over pink water from hazelnuts
pot of water and baking soda boiling over with hazelnuts

Turned heat back on medium. Pot immediately boiled over.

how to blanch hazelnuts
boiling hazelnuts to blanch them – removing the skins

And so on and so forth until I couldn’t take it anymore and I scooped out the nuts to dunk them in a cold bowl of water. (PS. My white pot will never be white again. After many washes, it is still stained yellowy-pink.)

cold water turned black from hazelnuts
hazelnuts in bowl of cold water

Then came the tedious process of rubbing the skins off of the hazelnuts in the bowl of water. Fine. But what to do with the sticky skins? I could barely get two nuts clean before having to shake my hand violently over the trash can to get the skins to break loose.

I moved on to rinsing the nuts under running water, which worked okay, but not having a garbage disposal, the sink quickly filled with water and the drain was clogged with particles of skins that fell apart when I tried to grab them.

Ugh. All in all, I would NOT do this again. Take the shortcut, Hannah. Buy the hazelnut flour.

hazelnut flour
hazelnut flour

Okay, fine, got the hazelnuts where I need them in the form of powder. Now onto the dough….in Part II.

mmmmm crispy edges and chewy center on this chocolate chip cookie

Martha Stewart’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

Who doesn’t love a chocolate chip cookie?!?! I believe they have been named the #1 favorite cookie to bake at home. There are a million good recipes out there for chocolate chip cookies, and for years, my go-to was from The Joy of Cooking (still a fave).

But since I’m working on all of Martha Stewart’s recipes from her Baking Handbook and I was desperately in the mood for chocolate chip cookies, I figured I’d try out hers!

In this book, she actually gives a recipe for chocolate chunk cookies, but since all I had on hand was mini chocolate chips, then mini chocolate chips it would be 🙂

I always tend to start with the fairly standard ratio to make basic drop cookies: 1 part flour, to 1 part sugar (usually half white and half brown) to 1 part butter. 1 egg per 1 part. 1-2 teaspoons vanilla per your liking, 1 teaspoon each of salt and baking soda, and 1 part chocolate chips.

Then you can play around with these ratios to find your ideal taste and texture.

For instance, here I was going for flatter, crisper cookies with harder edges and softer middles. So we upped the butter a little bit.

Also, for most drop cookies, you want to start with room temp butter. But I actually like to melt it slightly in the microwave which also helps create the flatter cookie.

My tips:

  1. Don’t eat them when they’re hot. The temperature masks the flavor.
  2. Realize that they are going to spread in the oven and don’t place them too close together – some of mine ran into each other creating more square-ish shapes.
  3. Create 5 tablespoon-sized balls for really really huge cookies that you can then stack together with icing to turn them into a layered cookie cake! (This is my next project with these cookies).
  4. If you have chocolate chunks, go for that instead of chips since the chips kind of get lost in the expanse of cookie. It would have been deliciously chocolatey to have bitten into a huge hunk of chocolate.
  5. Eat with milk or a malty porter.

My execution was pretty good on this recipe, although I made them a bit larger than Martha did (about 2.5 tablespoon balls). With the excess of butter they definitely spread out upon baking.

I cooked them until the edges and tops were golden brown, and then let them cool on the sheets for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire cooling rack.

They turned out delicious – flat and crispy as desired.

 

Tips from Martha: Preheating the Oven (Part 2 of 2)

As I read through Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook I’m picking up pearls of baking wisdom. But many of the recommendations and To Do’s don’t have a lot of the “Why” behind them. In these “Tips from Martha” I further investigate the deeper reasoning.

Last week, we discussed the argument that preheating the oven is a waste of energy. Today, we look at why one would need to preheat the oven for 20-30 minutes as recommended by Martha Stewart in this cookbook.

Here’s some insight into any cookbook’s guidance to preheat: Since all ovens aren’t the same (an axiom that covers the differences in oven temperatures between say gas and electric ovens or ovens by different manufacturers), cookbook authors must come up with some instruction that will get the majority of at-home cooks to the same end result.

It’s like the scientific method from 7th grade: you have to create a duplicable experiment! If the authors said, “Don’t preheat the oven” they wouldn’t then be able to follow through with reliable cook times, not knowing how long it would take anyone’s oven to get to the right temp.

SO! Part A: Cookbooks must tell you to preheat the oven so that everyone is starting from the same temperature and thus can fully follow the subsequent directions. Therefore, no matter whether or not you think preheating the oven wastes energy, it doesn’t matter: the cookbook author must advise to preheat.

BUT! Back to the deeper question at hand about preheating for 20-30 minutes. Cookbook author Dorie Greenspan explains:

“Mr. RepairMan [who was there to fix her oven] explained that ovens cycle on and off to maintain an average temperature…And that some ovens cycle further up and down from the desired temperature than others. And that some cycle more frequently than others.

“Mr. RepairMan said that when the oven light goes off for the first time, the oven is hotter than the temperature it’s set to.  For example, he explained that my oven swings plus/minus about 25 degrees F.  [And], if I set it for 350F…when it first preheats, it’ll go as high as 400F.  According to Mr. RepairMan, the oven hits its stride and keeps the most consistent temperature after it has cycled on and off three times.”

Ah ha! So there you go! Preheating the oven for a longer period of time gives the oven more time to heat to the correct temperature without crazy temperature swings. My math brain would like to illustrate with this simple graph:

Preheating Oven
Graph of when the oven temperature normalizes to desired temperature. Fabricated numbers for illustrative purposes only.

At this point your cookbook author is more confident that the directions that follow about baking time will lead you, Dear Home Cook, to a more reliable and delicious outcome.

All this leads me to conclude that it makes sense for Martha to tell us to preheat the oven for 20-30 minutes to ensure that we are on the same page temperature-wise before moving forward and thus can expect the best outcome, all else equal.

I would say this though: If you get to know your oven well (probably by employing an oven thermometer), you may discover that you can cut your preheat time or not preheat at all if you work out how much longer you may need to bake to make up that time.

Isn’t math fun!? Further thoughts?

Tips from Martha: Preheating the Oven (Part 1 of 2)

As I read through Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook I’m picking up pearls of baking wisdom. But many of the recommendations and To Do’s don’t have a lot of the “Why” behind them. In these “Tips from Martha” I further investigate the deeper reasoning.

Take, for instance, Preheating the Oven. Yes, of course, pretty much all recipes that entail using the oven tell you turn it on ahead of time. Martha Stewart goes so far as to recommend preheating the oven for 20-30 minutes before baking.

But why is this?

Before we investigate how long one should preheat the oven, first we must decide about preheating the oven at all. There are two sides to the oven preheating argument, which would be 1. to preheat vs. 2. to not preheat.

Those of the #2 to not preheat at all camp claim that it wastes energy and that food essentially will cook the same whether it goes into a hot oven or not. You may have to cook it a smidge longer, but probably not as long as you would’ve been preheating the oven. Okay, I guess I can see that argument. I haven’t seen the scientific data to back up that theory so I can’t say for sure, but it could be plausible.

Those of the #1 to preheat mindset argue that food needs to be cooked at an even temperature for the duration of the process to have the correct qualities of taste, texture, etc. (And I would argue that for baking certain desserts this is more true than for instance roasting vegetables.)

So first it’s time for you to decide whether you think preheating at all is worth it. It probably depends on what you’re making, how well you know your oven and how well you trust your senses to let you know when something is done. But whether or not #1 or #2 is universally or occasionally correct, doesn’t tell us why the advice to preheat for so long…

Next week will reveal more in Part 2!

 

Martha Stewart Meringues with a (Lemon) Twist

It was recently a friend’s birthday: she doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth but she does enjoy meringues, so I figured I would scope out a good Martha Stewart recipe for the occasion!

I turned to Chapter 3: Cakes of Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook to find pavlovas, which are basically just larger meringues that have a dip in the middle so you can eat them with fruit and whipped cream if you’d like.

Martha Stewart pavlovas
Martha’s pavlovas

I’ve made mini meringues in the past, and while they were still yummy, they oozed a little bit of caramelized sugar (“weeping” it’s called). This is caused by not having the sugar totally dissolved into the egg whites ~ either too much sugar to egg white ratio or not whisking sugar in slowly enough. [Side note: The pavlovas are in the oven now and I’m positive I’ve messed this up again by dumping all of the sugar in at once :(]

Here is the general recipe and my twist

Ingredients:
2 egg whites (mine were fairly old, which is great for meringue; I’m saving the egg yolks for a day or so in the fridge to make chocolate lave cake)
3/4 cup of granulated sugar (if you have superfine sugar this is even better – or you can pulverize your granulated sugar in the food processor to make it superfine – then it will smoothly integrate into the egg whites better…I did NOT do this)…ALSO a note on sugar: eyeball the amount of egg whites you have; if the eggs are sort of small or old (as they start to have less liquid in them as they get older due to evaporation), use a smidge less sugar; better a little less than a too much sugar because you can add more, but you can’t take some away. Another lesson I need to learn myself.
Okay, back to ingredients:
Smidge of salt (technical term according to me that about equals a pinch)
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla (or just guesstimate)
My Twist:
Lemon zest!!! Again, an eyeball’s worth should do to brighten up the flavors! And if you add a fair amount, your meringues will turn out tasting like LEMON MERINGUE PIE! YUM! So the lemon zest is totally optional of course.
And then, if you have it, a bit of confectioner’s sugar…I did not have it…so skip!

To Make:
1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees and line a baking pan with parchment paper.
2. Bring a pot of water to a simmer and place a glass bowl over top
3. Place the egg whites in the glass bowl and begin to whisk by hand. I asked, But Why do we have to do this over a warm bowl?!?! So I did some research for you folks: The warmth helps warm up the eggs (uh duh). Warm egg whites are easier to whip into stiff peaks so this is especially good if you hadn’t already brought your eggs to room temperature, which you definitely should have done…did I not mention that earlier? Oops sorry!
4. SLOWLY (this was not mentioned in the book) add the granulated sugar ~ literally tablespoon by tablespoon ~ as you whisk by hand. Add the salt at this time too.

Here’s where Martha moves to the stand mixer and where we deviate…my recreation follows:
5. Once the sugar is THOROUGHLY whisked into the egg whites (in other words, you cannot feel grains of sugar if you rubbed the mixture between your fingers), remove from heat and beat on medium high with your hand mixer until stiff peaks form (perhaps 4 minutes)

egg whites stiff peaks
Egg whites whipped – holding peaks

6. Add the vanilla and LEMON ZEST! and beat a little bit more until mixed
7. Use a large spoon to glop 6 heaping piles of meringue onto your baking sheet
8. Use the back of the spoon and a sweep of the wrist to spread out a little bit and form indentations in the center of each meringue without making the centers too thin (don’t want that part to cook faster than the rest of the meringue).

meringues ready for oven
Meringues ready for the oven

9. Pop those lovelies in the oven for 1+1/2 hours
10. I like to open the oven door about 20 minutes in to allow any trapped moisture to escape the oven – a trick I learned from making macarons.
11. When they easily pop off the paper, they are done. If the centers are still too chewy, you can flip them over and bake a little longer. You can also leave them in the oven with the heat off a little longer to dry. You can also transfer the paper and pavlovas to a wire rack for cooling and drying….All sorts of techniques here!

They come out smelling sugary and sweet, and if you’re like me, you’ll eat them as is…but I guess if you’re being fancy you can add berries and cream (and maybe some chocolate shavings).

Pair with: CHAMPAGNE!!!

cooked meringue
Cooked pavlova

 

Raspberry Scones

Martha Stewart’s Raspberry Scones

You guys ~ This is so out there, but I started a YouTube Channel *grimace face emoji*!!!

I feel like working for a cooking show would be SO much fun, but since I don’t have that job, I figured I would play around with making some of my own videos for some of these baking recipes.

The first such installment WAS going to be this easy raspberry scone recipe from Martha Stewart HOWEVER I need to work a bit on my camera skills before I can actually put this out in the world.

Sorry you will miss the unfortunate camera angles, terrible lighting, the hilarity of me throwing things on the floor and splattering raspberry goo down the front of the cupboards (and my large chin pimple). Maybe next time.

Meanwhile, I was really pumped to make these warm and comforting scones for my friends. Downton Abbey has started again, so duh, we needed scones and tea to make our viewing party complete!

This isn’t from the Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook, but rather a recipe of hers I found online a number of years ago and have been making ever since. Here’s my re-creation of the original recipe.

Ingredients:
6 tbps milk
1 & 1/4 tsp white vinegar
1 & 1/4 cup flour
2 tbp sugar (plus some for sprinkling at the end)
1 & 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 stick cold butter
1/2 an egg yolk (just divide it with your hands and eyeball it)
2/3 cup fresh raspberries washed and dried (or frozen raspberries which will make your scones pink)

To Make:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. Mix milk and vinegar in a cup and wait 5 minutes until the milk is a bit curdled (this is going to sub for buttermilk)
3. Meanwhile mix the flour, 2 tbp sugar, baking powder and salt in the food processor
4. Add the cubes of cold butter and pulse until pebble-like crumbs have formed
5. With the mixer on low, add the milk-vinegar and egg yolk through the feed tube until the dough comes together
6. Turn the dough out on a floured surface and pat into a square
7. Add the raspberries on top of the dough and fold one side over to encompass the raspberries. Try not to totally smash the berries.
8. If you can manage, fold the dough a few more times without squishing the berries – turning the dough a quarter turn with each fold. You are creating the flaky layers by doing this. [Side note, if you DO smoosh the berries, the scones will still be super yummy, they may just be tinted slightly pink 🙂 Even better this way?]

baking raspberry scones
A screen shot of what you’re missing!

9. Pat the dough out to about an inch thick and use a long sharp knife to cut the dough into equal size pieces
10. Place the pieces and inch or two apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
11. Sprinkle the extra sugar over top of the scones.
12. Cook for 15-20 minutes, rotating the sheets after 10 minutes. Check for browning at about the 15 minute mark. Mine took about 17 minutes.
13. Eat warm with clotted cream, lemon curd, jam, Scottish Afternoon tea
14. Smile.

sugar coated scones
the finished product

Martha’s Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (Or, Recipe #1 and I’m Already Not Following Directions)

Welcome to Recipe #1 from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook: Oatmeal Raisin Cookies. Now, in theory, as I bake my way through this Martha Stewart cookbook, I would like to do these recipes in order, but since New Year’s Eve called for cookies instead of biscuits, I skipped right on ahead to Chapter 3: Cookies!

oatmeal raisin cookies

My first recipe in, and already I’m unable to fulfill all of the ingredient requirements (this might be a longer journey than anticipated). So I’m doing what I do best: adapting!

The original recipe called for shredded coconut. WELP, don’t have that and not going to buy it, so that’s out.

Also the original recipe called for maple syrup. Again, don’t have any of that, so I’ll sub in molasses. Well I’ll be darned if I don’t even have enough molasses! So some molasses and some honey it will be.

Okay, well other than those two things, I did *pretty much* follow the recipe and the cookies turned out great! Dense and sweet with just the right amount of oatmeal to raisin ratio.

Oh, I also used salted butter when it called for unsalted. *Grimace face emoji*

Whatever, they were delicious. I’m confident that however you choose to sweeten these or how much or little salt you use, you’ll do just fine.

So here’s the scoop (get it, like scooping cookie dough? no? okay fine) on how I re-created these.

Ingredients:
1 & 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 sticks butter at room temp (I softened a little bit more than room temp in the microwave for 5-10 seconds on high)
1 cup light brown sugar (mine was hard as a rock so I put a few drops of water on it in a bowl and microwaved it for 10-15 seconds on high and then mashed it up with a spoon…it was about 1 cup *wobbly hand motion to indicate “more or less”*)
1/3 cup molasses and honey mixture
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups oatmeal
1 cup raisins

To Make:
1. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper
2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
3. Mix flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a bowl (aka “dry”)
4. Cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy (in a separate bowl duh) (aka “wet”)
5. Add molasses & honey to wet and mix
6. Add egg and vanilla to wet and mix
7. Mix the dry into the wet with the mixer on low speed – add it in two pours so it incorporates well and you don’t spin flour all over yourself and the kitchen by just dumping it in all at once
8. Once flour is integrated, mix in the oatmeal and raisins gently

martha stewart oatmeal raisin cookies batter
9. Use a small cookie scoop (or spoon) to scoop balls of dough onto the baking sheets and cook for 15-18 minutes, swapping the top and bottom pans halfway through for even baking.
10. Cool on the pans and then transfer cookies to a cooling rack.

Enjoy!

My Suggested Drink Pairing: Coffee with milk and cinnamon

My Suggested Adult Drink Pairing: Port

cookies and coffee