Yes it has been too long. Happy Holiday Everyone!
I love molding chocolates. Could not resist making these. So simple to make. Just temper good quality chocolate and fold in your favorite dried fruits and nuts.—I added cranberries and toasted hazelnuts. Pour into candy molds and let set until hard. Carefully remove from the molds. Temper some white chocolate and carefully pipe the chocolate in the indent in the center of the star. Let the chocolate set slightly and sprinkle on the colorful dragees (colorful candy balls).
Special thanks to brother Mel naming these delicious sweets.You may still find a few at my bakery.
Summer season is coming to a close and the local berries are at their peak. I cooked this 12 jar batch at my bakery in the Chelsea Market today. Once they cool, I am going to sell them at the counter. If you happen to be lucky enough to snag one, hooray! In preparation for my new book, pub date Fall 2014, I have been making all sorts of "quick jams". This deliciousness is composed of my favorite seasonal fruit— figs (grown in Brooklyn) and local blackberries (from the East End). To those, I added Valencia juice oranges and a touch of fresh pineapple and— there you have it, "End of Summer Fruit Fantasy Marmalade".
Is this not the most beautiful batch of fig jam you have ever seen?
Arlene Stein is our office manager and she has the most amazing fig tree growing in the backyard of her Brooklyn brownstone. Her husband, Kwame, definitely has a green thumb and every summer I impatiently wait for the tree to bear fruit and be magically cooked into the greatest fig jam ever. The tree is especially abundant with fruit this year, and for the last two weeks Arlene has been cooking up a storm. A couple of years ago she asked me for an easy recipe for preserving the figs. She has been using it ever since.
These Morning Cookies are beautiful and remind me of jewelry designer, Ted Muehling's, Queen Anne's Lace Earrings. If only I could transform them into a pair of his extraordinary baubles. Goddess, where are your powers?
I love the light almost lacy texture of these cookies. They are less fragile than lace cookies and as long as they are kept in an airtight container, will stay crisp and snappy forever—which is exactly how I like them.
Now for some cookie talk and the recipe.
I love these Strawberry Shortcakes and have been serving them in our restaurants for over 20 years. I learned to bake them from a wonderful baker and friend, the late Craig Ruttman, who was inspired by James Beard's recipe. We think of Craig whenever we make them at the bakery— his wonderful nature lives on in these exceptionally light and delicate cakes. Paired with vanilla scented strawberries and vanilla flavor, they are an easy summer dessert and great for brunch as well.
This is perfect cake for the Passover holiday. We sell so many of them at our bakery. This cake has a very small amount of flour in it. During the holiday I omit the flour and the cake still comes out perfectly delicious. If you keep Kosher exchange the butter for a Parve butter substitute and you are home free. Happy Pesach!
Introducing the newest addition to our product line of Spreadable Fruits— Strawberry Kiwi Ginger— it's on the shelves and to say the least, I am thrilled over the taste and color. You all know it takes time to develop good recipes and I am definitely not someone who just pops out a perfect recipe on the first go around. Our kettles are very large and a single product run can range from 600 to 900 jars at a time, depending on the flavor and the types of fruit we are using. Combining fruits is not random, it is a carefully thought out process. It is not just about the taste, its about the chemistry and how fruits interact and react with one another. I do not use pectin to thicken my jams. I depend on the amount of acidity in the fruit combined with the right amount of sugar, as well as the natural pectin present. This varies depending on which fruits your are cooking. When everything is in balance you will get a perfect gel. And believe me, this can be pretty tricky. This combination of strawberries and kiwi is a great marriage—and the crystallized ginger takes it to the next level with its signature little bite. I eat it on our sourdough bread with a smear of soft butter. Come visit me at the bakery and I will give you a taste!
I love this bran muffin and it alarms me that sometimes a great old recipe can unknowingly slip away or be forgotten by the excitement and fickleness of finding a new recipe. Our bran muffin at Sarabeth's has undergone very few changes since its debut in 1981. In fact, every January I review our recipe books and reprint the pages so that we can start the new year with a fresh copy minus the fingerprints of butter and the flour that has found its way between the pages. Sometimes the bakers will make a note or two in the margins; adjustments to the baking time and temperature depending on how large the batches are and how full the oven is. There are also recipe edits that I have made during the year in my own handwriting. These tweaks are subtle—more vanilla, extra lemon zest or a different chocolate.
Last week while working with the evening bakers, I noticed something was not quite right with our bran muffin. (Anyone who has had our muffins knows how particular I am, not only with the taste but with their appearance.) I decided to do the bake off that evening and keep an eye on them myself. I was on a mission and stood in the oven room and watched. To my dismay, the muffins began to spread and they took too long to bake. When they came out of the oven I became impatient—wanting to taste them right away, I restrained myself. You can't judge anything correctly right out of the oven. When I did finally break the muffin opened, I was surprised how overly moist the inside was.—much too wet and although it tasted ok, but it did not have the wow factor of the original muffin.
I opened our recipe book and turned to the recipe. To my surprise I discovered a change in one on the ingredients. It was buttermilk instead of the original whole milk called for in the recipe. How does such a thing happen? Many times the bakers will say" Sarabeth, you made the change", and sometimes they are correct— but not in this instance When one uses buttermilk, there is usually the addition of baking soda to calm the acidity from the cultured milk. That was the tell tale giveaway, there was no baking soda in the recipe. Still puzzled, I turned to my recently published baking book to compare the recipes—as I suspected, whole-milk. As much as I love tweaking and trying to improve recipes— if it's not broken, don't fix it.
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.
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.
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.
This is the time of year that we make 1000 pies. You have no idea what it's like to make 1000 hand-made pies in one day! I only bake three varieties—Pumpkin, Apple and Pecan—otherwise it would get too crazy. We prepare all the pie dough about a week before so it can mature and the gluten can relax in our walk-in freezer. Today we will make the Pumpkin and Pecan fillings and they will chill in the refrigerator until very early tomorrow morning when the pies are filled and the oven madness begins. Twenty-five cases of fresh apples will arrive this morning and we will peel and slice them tonight. Early tomorrow morning the apples will be seasoned in small batches and the unbaked shells will be filled, shaped and topped with our delicious streusel. Each pie is handcrafted, just the way you would make them at home. This is an easy single-crusted covered pie— kind of resembles a big dumpling. You can make your own in your favorite pie dish, with my recipe that I posted recently in full detail —and here it is again. Or, if you have my book, open it to page 180 Oh, by the way, the recipe for my creamy Pumpkin Pie is also in my book.
This is what it looks like UNBAKED and then...
If you don't have time to make your own, let us bake one for you. This pie won the Macy's Best Apple Pie Bake-Off this year. Available at the bakery and by special order and can be picked up at all of our Sarabeth's restaurants. Sarabeth's Bakery, 75 9th Avenue, NYC. It is best to order in advance, so give us a call 212-989-2424. Don't forget to buy a jar of my Cranberry Relish to go with your Thanksgiving Turkey. If you stop by, please wave at me through our glass window and I will wave back. HAPPY THANKSGIVING
The first morning cup of coffee is always the best. The pillow-like foam is so easy to make—the Nespresso Milk Frother is the perfect tool. The secret to good foam is organic 2% milk. Now you know how I start everyday before I go to the bakery! And wait until you see the Caramel Apple Cakes that would be perfect with a coffee anytime of day...
I have been fighting the cupcake fad for a long time and was desperately hoping it would go away. Then one of our restaurant partners began asking me to make them, I responded with, " Oh , Steve, cupcakes are silly, it's a temporary craze—please leave me alone, I have more important things to bake than cupcakes. The request continued to fall on my deaf ears and finally the begging ceased. Whew, I was glad that was over with— boy was I wrong! A few weeks before the opening of our new Sarabeth's restaurant in Tribeca, the pleading began again—it was daily. This time it was our partner Stewart. "Sarabeth, you have to make us cupcakes! Must we beg you? If so, we are begging!" Needless to say, I reluctantly gave in to the nagging and began preparing for their debut. I knew that if I thought of them as mini- birthday cakes, half the the battle would be over, as I love making party cakes. I am ashamed to admit that I have become obsessed with the idea of the little cakes. With my new found mission, I immediately began to research and experiment. It had to be a great cupcake and the frosting had to be perfect. I tried several recipes before I stumbled upon Martha's cupcake cookbook in my library. There they were, buttermilk cupcakes, I whipped out my small mixer and I was off and running. The batter was lush and creamy and the little cakes turned out tender and light. The cake (or pastry) flour is the secret to creating a light, delicate crumb. They were everything I expected from a perfect cupcake. In fact, the Yellow Buttermilk Cupcakes are so terrific that I have made only one change, I substituted the seeds from 1 vanilla bean for the vanilla extract, which the recipe called for. And of course, I use my own recipe for the Lemony-Vanilla Bean Frosting. Thank you Martha! Everyone is very happy. You will be too!
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.
To My New Baking Friends and Family,
Wishing you a Happy Passover filled with chocolate macaroons and candied lemons. Please come and visit the bakery for your holiday sweets. If you see me through the window, come in and say hello.
Now join me in the kitchen and lets make macaroons...
On a previous post I tempted you with a yummy looking photo of my Lemony –Pear Pineapple Preserves. I teased you with its name, calling it “Lemony Pear-Snicketty”—and the Whole-Wheat Ginger Scones were topped with the preserves. Immediately, I received several requests for the missing recipe. Missing? No, it wasn’t missing. I did tell you that it was in my baking book—hoping you would buy the book and learn to make the preserves. Dorie Greenspan (renowned cookbook author, writer, blogger, cookie-maker extraordinaire, and longtime friend (whew) and her son/partner Josh Greenspan debuted the pear preserve on a new cookie called "Jammers" at their CookieBar pop-op in the beginning of February—more requests. Last weekend, while on a family vacation with my three granddaughters at Disney World in Orlando, Florida, I received more emails, asking for the recipe! Here it is “Lemony-Pear Snicketty”, aka Lemony-Pear Pineapple Preserve along with a few POINTERS...
BELOVED MARBLE CAKE, every time I pass you sitting on our bakery counter I feel a pain in my heart that you were excluded from the final round up of the "Everyday Cakes" chapter of my baking book. It was not an easy decision. Oh, so tender, moist and chocolaty; scented with a hint of almond, and a touch of coffee. How I love your beautiful brown and golden swirls. This morning as I looked at you, it came to me quite naturally, why not include you in the blog? Let me hurry and prepare you in your beautiful pan for your debut and take a photo. Now, everyone will enjoy you.
The day before Christmas, I arrived at the bakery around 5:30 A.M. The scones were already in the oven and the bakers were organizing the orders for the first delivery. I decided to make some last minute maple muffins as well as finish my Bûches de Noël. I wanted them to be very fresh for the holiday so I decided to come in early to complete my orders. What a surprise I had when I went into the retail area of the bakery to help the girls restock the jam racks and display our bakery items for our biggest shopping day of the year.
Permanently propped on her nose, was a handcrafted miniature replica of my very own gold- rimless eyeglasses. Stacked on the tray were two of my new books, Sarabeth's Bakery: From My Hands to Yours. What an incredible surprise! Jackie, our retail manager, had arranged with the gift-giver to have it secretly delivered the previous evening after I had left the bakery. My spiritual-meditation teacher, Baba Ganapati, had found "her" at a swap meet in Escondido, California, where she was meticulously refinished to her original condition by fellow students. Her eyeglasses were handcrafted in Ghent, Belgium, brought to Esondido, where they were placed on her face. She was shipped to New York City, assembled on her pedestal and delivered to the bakery. There she stands 4-feet tall and quite a beauty. Stop by and see her and have a cup of hot chocolate while you are there. If you see me in the window of the baking room, wave at me and I will come out and say hello. Happy New Year.
Chanukah is my favorite Jewish holiday, and not for the reason you may think. For me, it has never been about the gift giving aspect, it has always been about being with my family and eating great food. To be more precise, it is really about potato latkes. For many years I had been searching for the perfect potato latke and it wasn't until a few years ago that I found Mimi Sheraton's jewels. They are the best I have ever tasted— great potato flavor, not soggy with oil, and always crispy, the true qualities of a great latke. Mimi Sheraton is one of New York City's culinary treasures, who wrote a book on Jewish Cooking, From My Mother's Kitchen:Recipes and Reminiscences, Harper Collins 1991. Many years ago, before I found Mimi's latkes, we created a potato waffle for our menu. I remember how surprised I was when they turned out so golden and crunchy on the outside, and full of potato flavor on the inside. I love to eat them with cold sour cream and Chunky Apple Preserves (recipe can be found in Sarabeth's Bakery, From My Hands to Yours, Rizzoli 2010).
I encourage the staff to bring their children to work with them when they have holiday vacation days. Luana is Marcelo Gonzalez's daughter (Marcelo is our Pastry Chef). Luana cooks a lot with her parents at home and she is very comfortable in the kitchen. We love when she comes to the bakery and as you can see, she loves being there as well.
Whenever I am testing recipes, the baking staff always gets to try them out and offer their suggestions. Of course, I have to triple the recipe so there is enough for every one (12 servings). This recipe (Potato Waffles) is listed on my home page. Bon Appetit! (November 2010)