Sarabeth Levine - Goddess of Bakedom
 
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Results tagged “Cookies”

HAMANTASCHEN- REVISITED

 

Purim will be here in a few days and I have had numerous request for my Hamanaschen recipe. Rather than refer you to search the archives of my blog, I am posting the entry again.  No searching necessary will give you no excuses for not trying this classic recipe. 
If you are not in the mood to make them, stop by the bakery and pick up a few. 

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 Purim is the springtime Jewish festival celebrating the Jews freedom from persecution. King Ahashuerus was almost tricked by his advisor Haman to annihilate  the Jews of Persia.  Esther, who became his new queen and her uncle Mordecai, the new advisor, helped the King save their people. Haman and his followers were sent to the gallows. The tradition of making hamantaschen has continued throughout Jewish history and they are meant to be shared with family and friends. They are called shalach moneswhich is the Yiddish expression for the giving or sharing of food. Shaped into triangles to signify the hat of Haman, these little cakes or cookies can be stuffed with a poppy seed, prune or fruit filling. I add orange juice for the steaming of the dried prunes and raisins, a touch of cinnamon, and of course vanilla.

My granddaughters, SammijoLilli and Chloe, always remind me when the holiday is coming. I love that they continue the family heritage of their great-grandmother Margaret and me, using the family recipe to bake their hamantaschen at home. They fill them with Sarabeth's Peach-Apricot Spreadable Fruit.


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CHOCOLATE-CHERRY BUTTER COOKIES

 

IMG_0790.JPG chocolate cherry sable

The frenzy of the holidays has left me in a "full throttle"  baking mode and yes, I am still going strong. I made these cookies for the first time about two years ago and fortunately remembered them last week and quickly whipped up a batch to sell in the bakery for New Year's. A spin off of my traditional shortbread, I have added an egg yolk to the dough to give the cookie a more delicate, less "snappy" texture. In keeping with my motto, keep plenty on hand, "There can never be too many cookies waiting in your favorite cookie jar".  They are my new favorite and will be available in the bakery on a regular basis in case you don't feel like making them yourself (recipe below).

My baking mantra has always been "less is more". There is nothing more beautiful than a 2 1/4- 2 1/2-inch diameter cookie like this Chocolate-Cherry Shortbread, or a proper sized muffin to feed one person, or a perfectly proportioned 8-inch chocolate birthday cake. If you have my recent book, Sarabeth's Bakery, you are already familiar with smaller sized cookies, pies and cakes that have been my signature for many years. The Pecan Moons are just one bite and the Chocolate Marmalade Sandwich Cookies, approximately 1-3/4 inches across the the top, are impossible to share.  


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ANNE SEVERSON'S CHRISTMAS GINGERSNAPS

 

IMG_0757.JPG gingersnaps

 Wednesday is the one day of the week that I actually have what I call my ritual "moment to myself lunch" with the New York Times Dining Section. This past week, I grabbed the morning paper as it arrived at the bakery and searched feverishly for the section. I knew it would be devoted to Christmas and I just couldn't wait until lunchtime—my recent lunches have been pretty short; almost non-existent due to my busy baking schedule. This particular morning, I headed to my office paper and coffee in hand and closed the door. The article was titled, The Gifts? I Forget. But The Meal!  I loved reading all the food memories and recipes from nine of the most respected food writers of our time.

When I came to Kim Severson's contribution, I was extremely moved. It wasn't what I had expected or wanted to read. Kim's mom Anne, suffers from Parkinsons Disease. I experienced my own mother's 25 year battle with this debilitating disease. Kim shares her mom's recipe for Gingersnaps and expresses her hope that maybe her mom can muster up enough strength, to roll the tender balls of dough between her shaky hands, just one more time.

I quickly tweeted Kim and made Anne's Gingersnaps the next morning. As you can see from my photo, they came out great. These slightly soft and delicate cookies are perfectly spiced and are exactly what you would expect from a classic ginger cookie. In honor of my mom, Dore Blume, who would have loved these cookies and as an homage to Anne Severson, Merry Christmas.


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PECAN MOONS AND MY BELOVED "COOKIE"

 

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My mother, Dore Blume, was not only beautiful, but she was smart. She was a trendsetter, a fashion plate and could add  4-digit ledger columns in her head. She raised five children, owned a retail fur shop and later became the buyer/manager of Macy's fur department for 25 years. Shortly after her retirement in 1983 (age 67), our eastside restaurant had only been opened a few months, when our manager decided to relocate without any notice. I called her that morning. "Mother, the manager just quit and you have to come and help me at the restaurant for two weeks. Only two, just until I find a new manager. I have too much to take care of and your the only one who can handle the restaurant." Two weeks turned into ten years. Still not ready to retire, we transferred her to our restaurant at the Whitney Museum to handle the bookkeeping, and finally to our bakery at the Chelsea Market, where she retired at the age of 87— twenty years later. Mother died this past October at the age of 94. 

There isn't an item in our bakery that Dore didn't love— and she could tell you every ingredient in each, as well as how much she liked it. These Pecan Moon cookies were her favorite and she ate one or two every day, always with a comment. "These are delicious", sometimes followed by, "it's going to rain today and the cookies are not crisp". This post is a tribute to her, my beloved "cookie", an amazing human being.


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MONET BUTTERY SHORTBREAD FOR THE ROYAL WEDDING

 

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I adore the French Impressionist painters as much as I do a perfect butter cookie. These shortbreads allow me to experience the thrill of both. Inspired by the unmistakable style of Claude Monet, I decorate my cookies with a painterly technique. It is easy to forget that one is baking as you dab and brush these cookies with pastel colored edible petal dust. If you have a chance to visit Paris, it is definitely worth the hour train ride to Giverny to see the glorious gardens that inspired Monet's masterpieces —and these cookies can become treasures to enjoy at your very own Royal Wedding. They are easy enough for a child to make, so grab your brushes and follow me...
 


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PURIM + HAMANTASCHEN RECIPE

 

hamanIMG_0677.JPG

 Purim is the springtime Jewish festival celebrating the Jews freedom from persecution. King Ahashuerus was almost tricked by his advisor Haman to annihilate  the Jews of Persia.  Esther, who became his new queen and her uncle Mordecai, the new advisor, helped the King save their people. Haman and his followers were sent to the gallows. The tradition of making hamantaschen has continued throughout Jewish history and they are meant to be shared with family and friends. They are called shalach mones, which is the Yiddish expression for the giving or sharing of food. Shaped into triangles to signify the hat of Haman, these little cakes or cookies can be stuffed with a poppy seed, prune or fruit filling. I add orange juice for the steaming of the dried prunes and raisins, a touch of cinnamon, and of course vanilla.

My granddaughters, Sammijo, Lilli and Chloe, always remind me when the holiday is coming. I love that they continue the family heritage of their great-grandmother Margaret and me, using the family recipe to bake their hamantaschen at home. They fill them with Sarabeth's Peach-Apricot Spreadable Fruit.


Continue reading PURIM + HAMANTASCHEN RECIPE

SABLES-THE CHAMELEONS OF THE COOKIE WORLD

 

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I have loved this cookie forever. The luxury to just grab my jams off the shelves and pop them in my cookies is just the best. The cookie dough for this recipe is simple to make. The French call them sablés. They are sandy in texture, light and buttery in taste, with an extra touch of lemon and salt to brighten their flavor. To be more traditional, you can replace the lemon with 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or the seeds of 1 vanilla bean. Some people liken this dough to shortbread, which has no eggs, but I think this dough has a finer crumb and are more sophisticated—after all, they are a little bit French!

This particular dough has found its way into many of my cookie recipes. (Sometimes I even use it as a tart dough.) In my baking book, I sandwich the cookies with marmalade and dip them in chocolate. You can transform them by substituting cocoa powder, or almond flour for some of the flour, or fill them with chocolate ganache. Or, simply egg wash them and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and finely chopped pecans. Whenever I bake these at Sarabeth's, I always leave a dozen plain and sprinkle them with a little sugar just before placing them in the oven. If you happen to be passing by our bakery, you might just see me through the window, popping a few off the cooling rack into my mouth!


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LINZER HEARTS + A PERFECT PAIR

 

Mother met father when she was 22 years old. Joe was a furrier and Doré was a fur model. This photo was taken shortly after they were married and they were attending a black-tie ball in 1939. They loved to dance and were really quite good— my Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire. What a stunning couple—if only I could see them on the dance floor one more time.             

             HAPPY VALENTINES DAY 

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       HERES LOOKING AT YOU, COOKIE!

                           YOUR LOVING DAUGHTER,  SARABETH  

 

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LINZER HEARTS —A PERFECT PAIR
LIKE GINGER ROGERS AND FRED ASTAIRE

LINZER  HEARTS (Click here or on the photo for the recipe.)
From Sarabeth's Bakery: From My Hands to Yours, Rizzoli 2010
Thank you to Liete's Culinaria for posting my Linzer Heart recipe on their site. 
(Linzer Hearts photograph by Quentin Bacon)

 

        

 

                                

 


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MY FIRST TEACHER AND RECIPE

 

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MARGARET FIRESTONE
(1911-2006)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Margaret Firestone was the grandmother of my two daughters and was my earliest culinary mentor. Her specialty was the food and desserts of her native Hungary. It seems like yesterday, that we enjoyed these biscotti-style cookies, called mandelbrot (Yiddish for almond bread), while chatting over a cup of coffee. Margaret used many different store bought flavors of preserves to fill her cookies —I never knew what I was going to find inside her mandelbrot. Being a jam maker has its advantages— lots of flavors to choose from that are always fresh from my pot!  I am going to make these cookies for you with my orange-apricot marmalade. Margaret would have loved the combination; marmalade was her favorite.


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THE CLOUDS & MISS MUFFET

 

LITTLE MISS MUFFET SAT ON HER TUFFET
AFTER BAKING CLOUD COOKIES ALL DAY

ALONG CAME A SPIDER WHO SNUGGLED BESIDE HER...new spiderDSC04637.JPG

THEN TOOK ALL HER COOKIES AWAY. 
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GINGERBREAD COOKIES

 

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Christmas is almost here, and as usual I can be found in my favorite place, the bakery "baking my buns" off. I have been making gingerbread cookies all week and I surprised myself by finding the time to break down this recipe from the very large batch that we make at the bakery. I wanted you to have the recipe in time for Christmas, and I did it! In my previous post (lesson), I teach you how to decorate your favorite Christmas cookies by dipping them in tempered chocolate and then sprinkling them with dragees (silver balls). I love gingerbread and would probably make it all year round if  they weren't considered by many, to be a Christmas cookie.

 There is a wonderful biscuiterie in Brussels called Dandoy, that specializes in biscuits (cookies) and speculaas (gingerbread). I have been to the shop several times—never leaving without several bags filled with boxes of cookies. I adore the thin and crispy ones and prefer them to the thicker cookies that are made by pressing the dough into a decorative wooden mold. I think they are the best I have ever eaten. (Dandoy has been baking speculaas everyday of the year since 1829.) 


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