If you’re anything like us, you often find yourself in the position of having too many egg whites on hand. This is due entirely to Jon’s tendency to make fabulous homemade ice cream, full of cream and egg yolks, plus our extreme dislike of scrambled egg whites (I’ve tried adding a bit of extra white to regular scrambled eggs, and I’m not crazy about that either). What to do with all those egg whites? It finally occurred to me to start making meringue.
The main way I’ve seen baked meringue is as a pavlova, or the big messy pillows that French bakeries all seem to have piled up in their windows. I wanted a small, bite-sized cookie, so I hunted around and found some recipes to try. The first batch I made, I just spooned out the batter in lumps like drop biscuits, and didn’t bake them quite long enough. They were delicious but very sticky. This last time, I used a piping tube to make evenly sized dollops, then baked them very slowly for two hours and gave them an extra hour in the oven to dry out. They were perfect – crispy to bite into, then melting away. Not to mention adorable. The few remaining cookies that sat out overnight began to get a bit soft, so they were like slightly stale marshmallows – which was kind of wonderful. Continue reading
I’ll admit, I was a bit grumpy. I was coming down with my husband’s cold, and it gets dark so early these days, I didn’t feel like cooking, and yada yada whine whine. But I had already made the dough for rugelach, during the afternoon when it was still sunny and I had motivation. I felt far too guilty not to follow through, despite my pissy mood, so I went ahead and finished them. And what do you know…they were great! I was much cheered up. (I was also cheered by the extremely gooey cauliflower-cheese pasta that we decided to make for dinner at the last second, but you don’t want to hear about that, do you? We’re talking about cookies here.)
This was the first time I’d ever made rugelach, and I’m very pleased to report that they were quite easy, as well as tasty. They’re a very grown-up cookie, hardly sweet at all, with a lovely chewy-crumbly texture. I had studied recipes from both Dorie Greenspan and Cook’s Illustrated, and I went with Dorie’s because it seemed to make a much more reasonable amount. Plus, she observes that, when making rugelach, you practically have to deviate from the written recipe to put your own stamp on it – that’s my kind of cookbook writer. I made mine with apricot jam, dried cranberries and pecans, but you could just as well use raspberry jam and chocolate chips, or marmalade and walnuts, or rhubarb jam and almonds…hmmm, maybe I should make another batch. Continue reading
I’m not necessarily a big one for making Christmas cookies, but I do like to do some baking over the holidays. In past years I’ve made a lot of biscotti, since it ships well, and occasionally chocolate crinkles. But last winter I went back to making a recipe that was a favorite of my grandmother’s – she picked it up while she and my grandfather were living in Corpus Christi, Texas, during World War II. They’re very simple cookies, but they remind me of her – plus they’re fabulously delicious. If I make no other cookies for the holidays, I will make these.