Three types of chocolate plus melted toffee bits on the top nestled in a chewy cookie will satisfy even the strongest chocolate craving.
When traveling from the tiny bush village of Point Hope to the big city of Anchorage, it is customary to bring home produce or other items that are difficult to find in the village.
Standing in the produce section of our favorite Anchorage grocer surrounded by a bounty of colorful, crisp, juicy offerings such as asparagus, leeks, zucchini, avocados, and mangoes, I call Jack to see if there is anything special he wants me to bring back. “Bring Some Chocolate Home,” he requests (demands). Knowing I still have ten pounds of chocolate chips to use up in the next two-and-a-half months, I respond as my students do to me in their cute, slightly cheeky way: “Nope.” Poor guy was suffering not only from a lack of chocolate, but from a lack of freshly baked goods as well due to my absence of several days.
So, this delicious, chocolate-stuffed, brownie-like cookie is dedicated to Jack. When I asked him what he thought of this recipe, he merely pointed to his empty plate indicating a request for another. That’s my Jack.
Triple Chocolate Toffee Almond Cookies
- 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 cup dutch pressed cocoa
- dash salt
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 tbsp Penzeys double vanilla extract
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup crushed toffee bits
- 1 cup chopped almonds
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking soda, and cocoa. Set aside.
- In bowl of stand mixer, blend together butter, sugars, and vanilla.
- Gradually stir in flour mixture into butter mixture.
- Stir in chocolate chips, toffee bits and almonds.
- Drop dough by tablespoons onto parchment-lined cookie sheets.
- Baked for 10 minutes.
- Cool on wire rack.
- Store in airtight container.
Fudgy meringues with a crispy, melt in your mouth shell will have you attending “Meringues Anonymous” if you’re not careful!
How can four little ingredients be so good together? The combination of the crispy exterior and the moist chocolate middle sans flour resulted in an entire batch of fifteen cookies disappearing in just over 24 hours. I wish I could tell you we had guests…
Although airy and relatively low on calories compared to most confections, these meringues did not come about due to New Year’s self-promises centered around slimmer waistlines. The ignoble truth is that after creating crème brûlée, another custard dish and any number of ice creams, we had on hand countless extra egg whites and, according to Jack, “egg whites, fish and beer are three items that can be consumed without fear of weight gain.”
These meringues are quick and easy to make but do require an overnight stay in the oven to finish drying in order to create that crispy exterior.
Fudgy Chocolate Meringues
- 3 egg whites
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp dutch processed cocoa
- 1/2 cup smashed chocolate chips (Place chips in a Ziploc bag and smash with a meat tenderizer)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Place egg whites and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Place bowl on top of pot of simmering water, for a double boiler effect.
- Whisk eggs and sugar for a couple of minutes until sugar is just dissolved.
- Place bowl back on stand mixer. Mix on high speed until eggs are thick and glossy and hold soft peaks.
- Sift cocoa onto egg mixture.
- Mix on high speed until cocoa is just incorporated.
- Fold smashed chocolate chips into egg whites.
- Use a cookie scoop to drop batter onto parchment-lined baking sheets.
- Bake cookies for 10 minutes. Cookies should puff up and may crack.
- Remove cookies and leave oven door open to cool down.
- Place cookies back in oven, close oven door and let cookies sit overnight.
- The next day, cookies will be cooled completely and can be easily removed from parchment paper. Store in airtight container.
Chewy and deliciously salty, these pretzel rolls are ready for turkey sandwiches, complete with deli mustard and homemade ginger-pear cranberry sauce.
While most people roast a turkey for Thanksgiving or Christmas, Jack and I decided to make a turkey for going back to work after our winter break. We have plenty of recipes stockpiled for tasty meals featuring leftover roasted turkey. These pretzel rolls make lunchtime sandwiches something to look forward to.
Bread Machine Pretzel Rolls
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp instant yeast
- 1 3/4 cups milk
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- coarse sea salt
- 2 tbsp salt
- 1/2 cup baking soda
- 16 cups water
- Place first 5 ingredients into baking pan in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Insert pan into the oven chamber. Select dough cycle.
- Turn out dough onto lightly floured surface.
- Divide dough into 8 pieces.
- Roll dough in to balls. Flatten slightly and let rest while you prepare pretzel bath.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cover baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large pot, boil 16 cups water and salt.
- When water is boiling, stir in baking soda.
- Place 4 dough balls in boiling water for 30 seconds. Flip dough balls and continue to boil for 30 more seconds. Remove from water with slotted spoon and place on parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Repeat with remaining 4 dough balls.
- Sprinkle each roll with coarse salt.
- Slice two slashes into each roll with a very sharp knife.
- Bake rolls for 20 minutes. Pretzels are finished when they are a rich dark brown.
- Let cool for a couple of minutes on baking sheet. Finish cooling on wire rack.
The sweet secret to this gallette is a generous layer of homemade cloudberry jam beneath the pears No cloudberries? Try raspberry, blackberry or apricot jam.
A gallette is a beautiful dessert that can whipped up on short notice – a perfect answer to a seasonal abundance of fresh fruit. During the summer, we made a delicious strawberry-port gallette with sliced almonds in the galley of our sailboat. Since it is wintertime, we decided to make the gallette a bit more full-bodied by adding wheat flour and some cornmeal to the crust. We happened to have pears on hand, but many other fruits readily lend themselves to this recipe. Enjoy a slice of pear gallette with a side salad, a favorite cheese and a freshly brewed cup of tea for a satisfying lunch in any season.
Rustic Pear Gallette
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup coarse cornmeal
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
- 1/3 cup buttermilk (we made this from powdered)
- 2 tablespoons cloudberry jam, or jam of your choice
- 2 D’Anjou pears, thinly sliced
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar mixed with a pinch of ground cinnamon
- Mix together flours, sugar, cornmeal and salt in a medium bowl.
- Using a pastry blender, mix in cold butter. Continue mixing until cold butter is the size of peas.
- Slowly mix in buttermilk. Stir with rubber spatula until dough forms into a ball.
- Wrap dough in plastic and chill for about 30-45 minutes in refrigerator.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the size of a baking sheet.
- Place chilled dough on center of parchment paper.
- Roll dough to about a 15-inch circle. This is a rustic dessert, so no need to be a perfectionist here.
- Brush the entire rolled dough with jam.
- Arrange pear slices atop dough, leaving a 2-inch border.
- Fold border over pears, pressing down any folds of dough.
- Brush dough with egg.
- Sprinkle dough and pears with sugar and cinnamon mixture.
- Bake gallette 40 – 45 minutes, until dough is golden brown and pears are soft.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
Extra rich vanilla ice cream is a delicious accompaniment for these elegant, lacy almond ice cream cups.
Every fall we enjoy making homemade ice cream in a variety of interesting and delicious flavors. And thinking as photographers, we wanted to show off one of this year’s star creations with something less ordinary than a store-bought cone. So, continuing with the almond theme we seem to be on recently, we created a sweet, candy-like bowl featuring the flavor and crunchy texture of this very versatile nut.
The finished ice cream cups came out a beautiful golden brown, supremely crunchy and sturdy enough to handle multiple scoops of ice cream or mounds of fresh fruit and whipped cream. We already have plans to heap them with three flavors of ice cream, sliced bananas and toppings for tomorrow’s dinner – banana splits!
This almond lace cup is in the final stages of cooling on an upside-down ramekin.
Almond Lace Ice Cream Cups
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- ¼ cup light corn syrup
- ¼ cup packed brown sugar
- a few drops of almond extract
- ½ cup sliced almonds
- 6 tbsp all purpose flour
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Have 6 teacups or small ramekins ready.
- Melt butter in a medium pan over low heat.
- Mix in corn syrup and brown sugar. Mix well.
- Turn heat off and stir in almond extract, sliced almonds, and flour.
- Pour batter onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Spread evenly.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes. The finished product should be golden brown.
- Remove from oven and let sit on baking sheet for about 45 seconds.
- Cut the large cookie into 6 even rectangles (one slice lengthwise down the middle to create two long pieces. Cut the long pieces into thirds.
- Lift each cookie off with an offset spatula (or other long, thin spatula) and drape the cookie on an overturned ramekin or teacup to cool and set in the shape of a bowl.
- If the cookies are too firm to shape, you can return the cookies to the oven briefly while they are on the overturned cups in order to let them melt to the right shape. Make sure you watch them, because they will begin to melt quickly.
Moist cake loaded with almond flavor and a sweet, crunchy, crumbly top is guaranteed to make everyone in the house dash to the breakfast table. This cake is simple to make and delivers a triple dose of almond using almond paste, almond extract, and crunchy sliced almonds.
So, you’ve finished eating all ten polar bear claws and your appetite for almond flavored breakfast pastries is still not sated. You dip your finger into the leftover half-can of almond paste and quickly realize that this product is not intended to be eaten straight. The solution? Almond breakfast crumb cake. The beauty of this cake is that it can be eaten anytime, but since it has breakfast in the title there is no guilt about eating a slice or two first thing in the morning with your coffee. Or drizzle it with a berry syrup for a scrumptious dessert.
Almond Breakfast Crumb Cake
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- dash salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup almond paste
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- crumb topping (see below)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Grease a 9-inch springform pan. Set aside.
- Sift together flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
- In bowl of a stand mixer, combine butter and almond paste. Beat on medium speed until smooth.
- Add sugar and mix until blended.
- Add eggs, vanilla and almond extract and mix until blended.
- Add half of the flour mixture and milk. Mix until blended.
- Add remainder of flour mixture and mix just until blended.
- Pour batter into prepared pan.
- Sprinkle crumb topping evenly over top of batter.
- Bake until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 50 minutes.
- Let cool completely in pan on wire rack.
- Store at room temperature.
Crumb Topping Ingredients
- 6 tbsp all purpose flour
- 1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tbsp melted unsalted butter
- 1 cup sliced almonds
Crumb Topping Directions
- Stir together first three ingredients.
- Add melted butter and stir mixture together until crumbly.
- Stir in almonds until mixed well.
A tempting polar bear claw from our Arctic bakery. No bears were harmed in the making of this pastry!
Topping my baking to-do list this winter were bear claws. There is something about the sweet almond filling that makes these a mainstay of bakery shops – or perhaps it’s their cool name. Jack and I usually pass on these confections because most bakeries prepare them with an overload of sweetness. In researching recipes, I found a plethora of styles, from giant grizzly-sized pastries smothered in sliced nuts to tiny paws with a perfectly manicured almond on the end of each claw, and everything in between.
The recipe I settled on took a bit of time and effort. I wanted a medium-sized confection that emphasized not sweetness but almond flavor.The resulting pastry was superb – a little lighter than standard bakeshop fare and with a nicely balanced taste of almond.
Polar Bear Claws
- 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, cold
- 1/4 cup warm water (105 – 115 degrees F)
- 2 1/4 tsp yeast
- 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- pinch salt
- 1 egg
- 1/8 cup sugar
- Place flour and butter in a medium bowl. Mix together using a pastry blender until well blended and butter pieces are no larger than kidney beans.
- In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand 5 minutes.
- Stir cream, salt, egg, and sugar into yeast mixture.
- Pour flour mixture into cream mixture. Stir with a rubber spatula until ingredients are just moistened.
- Place dough in plastic wrap and chill overnight in the refrigerator.
- Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. Dust dough with flour. Roll out dough to 14 x 18 inch rectangle. Fold into thirds, making three layers. Roll out again. Fold into thirds once more and place back into refrigerator while you make the filling.
- 1 egg white
- 1/2 cup almond paste
- 1/4 cup confectioners sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- Add all filling ingredients to bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on medium speed until all ingredients are well mixed and filling is smooth.
Assembling the pastries:
- On a lightly floured surface, roll the chilled dough to a 12 x 16 inch rectangle.
- Cut the dough in half, length-wise.
- Spread half of the filling down the middle of one piece of dough. Repeat with other piece of dough.
- Roll each dough rectangle jelly-roll style from the long side.
- Tuck seam under roll.
- Cut each long roll into 5 pieces.
- Cut three slits into each piece to make the toes.
- Place each pastry on a parchment-lined baking sheet, curving them slightly (to spread the toes).
- Allow pastries to rise in a warm place for about 20 minutes. They should puff up.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Brush each pastry with beaten egg.
- Generously sprinkle pastries with sliced almonds.
- Bake 12 minutes. Pastries should be lightly browned.
- Let cool slightly on wire rack. Drizzle with honey glaze.
- 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp milk
- Stir together ingredients until smooth. Add more confectioners’ sugar if too thin, or add more milk if too thick. Drizzle over warm pastries.
Pesto gives this bread a subtle tint with basil speckles, the aroma of parmesan and a pleasant pine nut crunch.
A previous version of this bread I made was really tasty, but I wanted more pizzazz. So I upped the amount of pesto and added additional chopped pine nuts for more flavor and a subtle layer of texture. The mixture went into my Zojirushi bread machine and came out with the desired taste and texture but still light and airy. It was so tempting, half the loaf didn’t survive till the photo shoot!
Pesto Pine Nut Bread Machine Loaf
- 1 cup water
- 1/3 cup prepared pesto sauce
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 3/4 tsp granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 1/4 tsp dry yeast
- 1/3 cup chopped pine nuts
- Place ingredients in bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Start machine.
- Remove baked loaf at the end of cycle and cool on a wire rack for at least an hour before slicing.
With a golden-brown crust and a soft inside, this flavorful combination of rye flour and caraway seeds is the perfect loaf to be sliced thick for home-made reuben sandwiches.
One of our favorite sandwiches is an East Coast style reuben with the rye sliced thick and everything piled high. Up here in the Arctic, the only way to get a sandwich like that is to make it ourselves. So, based on several recipes and my own calculations, I created a rye bread recipe for my Zojirushi “dough machine.” After four years of fairly heavy use (we bake all our own breads), this built-like-a-tank bread machine is still going strong. After it had done its magic, I kneaded the dough once more by hand and shaped it into an oval for one last rise.
I gave the dough two quick slashes, brushed it with egg, popped it in the oven and 35 minutes later our kitchen was filled with the delicious aroma of freshly baked rye bread – the final ingredient for our “up-town” Arctic lunch of hot tomato soup and reubens! Our recipe for DIY sauerkraut to follow.
Bread Machine Rye Bread
- 3 tbsp melted unsalted butter
- 1 egg
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup rye flour
- 1 tbsp caraway seeds (a few more for the top)
- 1 envelope active dry yeast
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 egg (to brush the top of the loaf)
- Place all items except the last egg in the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer.
- Set machine to dough setting.
- Start machine.
- Remove dough from machine and place onto lightly floured board. Knead dough a few times and shape into ball.
- Place dough ball on a parchment-lined baking sheet and cover with a damp cloth. Let rise until almost doubled in size.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Slash a big X on top of loaf.
- Brush loaf with egg and sprinkle a few more caraway seeds on top of loaf.
- Bake for 35 minutes. Finished loaf should should have a golden brown crust and sound hollow when tapped.
Friends who share a love of baking and cream-filled pastries dipped in chocolate ganache warmed up a rainy afternoon in our kitchen north of the Arctic Circle.
Perfectly turned out pastry puffs filled with delectable cream and dipped in chocolate ganache are the the stuff of home bakers’ dreams. Cream puffs and eclairs require a special dough called pâte à choux. Worked to exactly the right consistency, this dough bakes up light and flaky and leaves a hollow space in the center of the confection. Although we used traditional vanilla-flavored pastry cream, we also imagined filling these airy profiteroles with fresh whipped cream, homemade ice cream and even savories such as smoked salmon cream.
Making cream puffs and eclairs can’t be rushed. The pâte à choux dough requires time and attention in order to get it to the correct consistency as it cooks on the stove top. Next, it must be carefully piped onto a baking sheet and placed in the oven where it will finish. Creating the pastry cream is fairly easy, and making chocolate ganache is magical.
All that work, and between three bakers, three tasters and steaming mugs of of rooibos almond tea, our eclairs and puffs disappeared in short order.
Pâte à Choux
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 4 oz. unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- up to 4 eggs
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Pour milk and water into medium pan.
- Stir in salt and sugar.
- Add butter.
- Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat.
- Take mixture off heat and stir in all the flour. Mixture should look like mashed potatoes.
- Return pan to low heat and stir continuously. This will dry out the dough a little.
- Dough should come together to form a ball.
- Starchy residue at the bottom of the pan is an indicator that the dough is dried out enough.
- Take dough off stove and place it in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer. Turn it to low to allow the dough to be cooled off by the mixer.
- Mix in eggs one at a time, watching that the dough does not become too thin. The dough should be soft, creamy, and shiny.
- Transfer the dough to a piping bag with a large tip.
- Pipe ball shapes onto parchment-lined baking sheets, leaving plenty of room for these puffs to double in size.
- Bake puffs for 10 minutes.
- Turn oven down to 325 degrees F and continue to bake for 15 minutes.
- Fill with chilled whipping cream or pastry cream – savory or sweet.
These will freeze nicely.