Monthly Archives: December 2014

CROSTINI GARLIC AND OLIVE OIL, TOMATO, OREGANO AND PECORINO

IMG_0027  The commercials on TV are popping corks, the bubbles from the Champagne and Sparkling Wines are tickling your nostrils and face.  Trays of nibbles of various sizes are displayed for the taking around you or they are whisked to your face by servers who dart in and out of the party space keeping you satiated and happy.  You want for nothing, except maybe more to drink…a shot, a cocktail, a wine, a flute of champagne.  It’s party season and we are approaching  what’s either anticipated or loathed, we are approaching  NEW YEAR’S EVE.  Think what you will about it, it’s another excuse to let loose, enjoy one’s self or quietly relax.  I’ve been through Guy Lombardo years which for sure were as much New Year’s Eve as that wonderful Ball in Times Square. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-ncPPArxEk&list=RDQ-ncPPArxEk#t=80) Ok  Click on the link for what was the last of an era, Lombardo’s last New Year’s Eve show which WAS THE show to watch for almost 50 years.  Of course concurrently was the upcoming New Year’s Rockin Eve   (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iBdZUmAWfkw)  hosted by the late Dick Clark which we were always switching back and forth on because suddenly New Year’s Eve had 2 show that had to be watched, one for us youngster…(ok, i was a kid back then) and one for the parents and grandparents, the Guy Lombardo show, but we respected it because it was the only show for so many years.  After Lombardo’s passing Dick Clark’s show became THE show to have on if you weren’t going to be out at a party. For many years my wife and I and other family members attended the New Year’s Party at the old Assumption Columbian Lyceum in Staten Island, like Dick Clark and Guy Lombardo, it no longer exists.  Great memories and every year you get a chance to create new ones, whatever they may be..a cup of tea and cookies…a tray of Jello Shots….a huge party ..a small gathering, you alone, or with a ton of people..but it’s another chance to create a New Year’s Memory.  I hope nothing but the best for all of you and to make it even more delicious don’t you think you should be eating something fun and tasty?  I think so.

MAKES: about 2 doz or a little less                     TIME: 1/2 hour

2 loaves of good ITALIAN BREAD, sliced on the bias (slanted cut) in no more than 1/4 inch slices.

3 tbs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 finely minced cloves of Garlic

1 cup cooked Tomato sauce, preferably one that contains no meat or fish

1 tsp. dried Oregano

pinch of salt

pinch of fresh ground black pepper

2 tbs. freshly grated PECORINO ROMANO or PARMIGIANO REGGIANO cheese

Heat the olive oil gently in a saucepan. when you feel some heat coming off the oil add the garlic..they will gently give up their flavor to the oil. There will be slight sizzling as long as you don’t have the flame or setting too high.  Remove from the heat when you smell that wonderful garlic aroma.  Turn on the stove to 400 degrees F.

Line a baking sheet with foil.  Place all the cut bread on the sheet and toast for 5 minutes, or until they turn golden.  Remove from the oven.  Now brush the other un toasted sides of the bread with the garlic oil.  Place into the oven for 5 minutes.  While that is happening, heat up the sauce until it’s just warm.  Remove the tray from the oven and place just about 1 tsp. of sauce on the middle of the oiled crostini.  when complete, place in the the oven again until they are just golden brown on the sides (see the pic).  Remove from the oven and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper, a little oregano, and some grated cheese.  Let sit for 5 minutes, then serve.

Not a difficult one but really, it’s not too heavy..it’s some ingredients you probably already have on hand, nothing exotic or stressworthy and LOTS of delicious flavor.

As full as the flavor in these crostini are may your New Year be full as well..Enjoy your holiday and thanks for following me and supporting my blog.  CHEERS!!!!

to make this VEGAN..omit the cheese..

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MY FAVORITE CHRISTMAS COOKIE, THE ANGINETTI (CIAMBELLINE)..

IMG_6361  What makes a Holiday special?  I really think it’s a mix of the present with a heavy dose of the past.  Holidays like all parts of our lives should be a blend and one should not dwell too deeply in the past because much of what was there no longer is.  Cooking is one of the easy areas to recreate those past memories and that is no more apparent than at the end of the year cycle of Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day.  Everything is different from the rest of the year. There are no Menorah lightings in June.  Santa does not come down the chimney in May.  Once a year we bring out decorations and treasured family recipes that connect us to our identities. My Holiday gift to you all at this Christmas time  is my Mom’s CIAMBELLINE recipe.  The proper name for this cookie is ANGINETTI and it was taught to my mom’s mother, my Grandma Maria Adelina Melito Scaramuzzi by her sister in law, my Zi’Caterina Scaramuzzi Luberto.  So this story begins with a sister in law sharing a recipe from Grassano, Matera, Basilicata in Italy with her little brother’s new wife.  My Luberto relatives call this cookie the GINETTE (obviously their way of saying Anginetti) but my grandmother who came from a different town in Italy tagged them with her local name for them, you see, this cookie is made all over Southern Italy and by all the immigrants and their families here in the U.S. and all over the world.  My Grandmother used the term CIAMBELLINE..it’s the word for wreath, something with no beginning and no end.  It’s an ancient pagan symbol of a snake biting it’s own tail, a symbol of life eternal, a symbol of the unending cycle of birth and death.  Other names for this cookies are Lemon Drop, Anisette Drop, Love Knots, Taralli (that is a generic Italian word for small cookies), Orange Juice Cookies, Italian Knot Cookies, etc.  The point is it’s all the same cookie but depending on where your ancestors in Italy came from the flavorings may be different. Our family’s recipe relies on Lemon, Orange, and Anisette.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen buying your extracts stick with 100% pure, never imitation. READ LABELS ALWAYS!! Lots of labels fool you into thinking they are the real deal.  It should be noted that while I’m writing this I’m also eating a CIAMBELLINE as well. How’s THAT for inspiration??? Now before we get started realize that this is only my way which I’m sure is somewhat modified in some way from when my Grandmother handed out this recipe to every child and grandchild.  In some she used melted butter, in others the butter was creamed. My earliest recollections were of the melted so that’s my preferred method. Here is a recipe card written by my mom for her mother’s CIAMBELLINE:1460286_237205316447776_1865507221_n  Give me a moment to wipe a tear away, I certainly miss my Mom and Grandmother, but what a great legacy to honor them by then to recreate every year in our own kitchens something that gave them great joy to share. Time to make CIAMBELLINE (or GIAMBIS as mom called them for short).

MAKES:  about 48 depending on how big you are making them

TIME: 2 hours

8 cups SIFTED UNBLEACHED FLOUR

1 TSP. KOSHER SALT

8 tsp BAKING POWDER

3 sticks MELTED UNSALTED BUTTER

JUICE OF ONE LEMON

JUICE OF ONE ORANGE

1 cup SUGAR

7 EGGS, beaten

1/2 tsp. of ANISETTE EXTRACT

1 1/2 TSP. VANILLA EXTRACT

1 1/2 TSP. LEMON ZEST

1 1/2 TSP. ORANGE ZEST

 

LARGE MIXING BOWL

First mix together the beaten eggs with the Sugar till well blended.  Now add the zests, the extracts, juice and blend well then do the same by adding the melted butter.  Make sure it is cooled.. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Now in batches sift together the dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder) and gently blend into the bowl until it’s a soft, not too sticky, pliable dough.  You may have to gently knead with your hands and don’t panic if it’s still a bit sticky.  To get to the right consistency simply dust a little more flour into the bowl and onto your hands and only add enough until you are at a smooth dough. Then stop and let it rest for a good 15 minutes.  Pull of the dough in small balls, like a golf ball size and roll into a rope then turn it into a knot.  Place onto sturdy baking sheets.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Remember, there’s no “set” size so no debating on this.  Make that your own preference.  Our family likes them a bit bigger than some other families do.  CIAMBELLINE cook fairly quickly and are NOT supposed to be a dark brown.  Bake for 10 minutes, check the bottom to see if it’s light brown.  A good method for a first timer is to break one of the cooked ones open to see if it’s done because the tops may look “not done” to you.  This is part of the practice makes perfect notion.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThat’s it, that’s done.  Look in the picture at how light they appear on their tops.  Yet, the interior is done.  The longer you cook them the harder their texture will be. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  If you want more color to your tops leave them in a little longer.  However, in any case these are an iced cookie.  When you are done with your last batch going in it’s time to make the icing glaze.

ICING:

JUICE OF 2 LEMONS

JUICE OF 1/2 ORANGE

4 cups of CONFECTIONER’S SUGAR

1 TSP ANISETTE EXTRACT

1/2 TSP VANILLA EXTRACT

1/2 tsp of LEMON ZEST

1/2 TSP OF ORANGE ZEST

MIX everything together till you get a nice icing consistency.  If it appears too loose, in small batches add more confectioner’s sugar. Dip the cookies on their tops into the icing and let the excess run off.  Grandma Scaramuzzi suggests that you also dip the bottoms as that will encase the cookies in the icing and keep them fresh longer.  I personally listen to her.  Place the iced cookies on racks and top them with small CONFETTI ( multi colored Non-Pareils).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  There is nothing in this world FOR ME that says it’s either Christmas, Easter, or a special occasion than the sight and smell of CIAMBELLINE in my kitchen.

Like the symbolism of Birth and Death between Christmas and Easter and the unending circle of Life that we all share, these cookies tie me into that natural occurrence.  May you all have fun baking these cookies and thank you for letting me share them with you all.

May each one of you enjoy the Holidays…however or whatever you make them out to be…Celebrate…and Happy Cooking!

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ITALIAN-AMERICAN SHRIMP BALLS ALLA LITTLE CHARLIES CLAM BAR, NYC

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  These are Shrimp balls  (ok, stop your lol’ing) and you will want to eat these balls.  Period, end of story.  Tasty morsels of everything that’s good in an Italian-American kitchen and more, it’s SEAFOOD!  And like with all little fried tidbits they are great for entertaining or as a first course.  Now let me tell you about these particular ones, first of all they are not my idea, they are a creation (although probably not unique) of a now extinct Italian-American Clam bar restaurant on Kenmare Street in the old Little Italy section of Manhattan, NYC.  It’s name was LITTLE CHARLIE’S CLAM BAR and it was famous. I know, everywhere is famous, but this place was.  It was pure Goodfellas with a touch of Rat Pack and Godfather and Pope of Greenwich Village thrown in for added effect.  Call it a “Red Sauce” joint if you want (I don’t want, I hate that term) with seafood as it’s specialty.  Little Italy seafood restaurants were /are a subset of all other seafood places.  They of course have the requisite Raw Bar, but they also have this Napoletana influenced fried seafood assortment.  Shrimp and calamari are lightly dusted in flour, quick fried, then placed in a platter, a FRISELLE (hard Italian Black Pepper Biscuit) on the bottom, and your choice of 3 sauces..these hard core garlic laden tomato sauces which come in varying degrees of heat. Sweet, Medium, or Hot.  Get your choices straight or you are in for trouble. The sauce is then poured over the top with lemon on the side and this is the stuff Italian-American food dreams are made of.  This is a picture of Little Charlie’s which closed about 5 years ago. The name is still up there but it’s not the restaurant it was:461044384_b40cc290fe  The cooks and chefs walked over the Manhattan Bridge and resettled in hipster trendy central, Williamsburg, Brooklyn and opened Desy’s Clam Bar.  You can find some of the old flavors there including these SHRIMP BALLS which when we used to order out or in at Little Charlie’s we would get extra.  They are that good.

MAKES: ABOUT 20-25 SHRIMP BALLS                                      TIME: 1 1/2 HOURS

1 1/2 LB CLEANED, DEVEINED MEDIUM SHRIMP (DO NOT USE LARGE OR JUMBO BECAUSE IT’S A SHAME TO CHOP THEM  UP), THEN CHOP THEM INTO SMALL PIECES

1 1/8 CUP PLAIN ITALIAN BREADCRUMBS

2 TBS. OLIVE OIL

JUICE OF ONE LEMON

3 FINELY MINCED (ALMOST INTO A PASTE) CLOVES OF GARLIC

3 TBS. CHOPPED FLAT LEAF ITALIAN PARSLEY

1/2 TSP. PEPERONCINO (LESS IF YOU ARE NOT A FAN OF THAT SPICY KICK)

1 TBS. WHITE WINE

2 BEATEN EGGS

1/8 CUP GRATED PECORINO ROMANO

1/2 TSP. DRIED OREGANO RUBBED BETWEEN YOUR HANDS

First mix all the dry ingredients.  Then add the eggs, oil, lemon juice then the shrimp.  Blend well.  Form as many golf ball sized Shrimp balls as you can.  Place on a baking sheet you have covered with a piece of waxed paper then loosely cover and chill them in the fridge for at least 1/2 hour.

In a heavy skillet add 1/2inch of olive oil.  Bring up the heat and fry the balls off till nicely browned on all sides.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  Aren’t they beautiful??  And they taste even better than they look. This process should take no more and 8-10 minutes but LET YOUR EYE BE YOUR GUIDE!!!  A recipe is a guide which sometimes needs adjusting.  You may follow my instructions but have your heat too high, or too low and it will affect the final product.  You want to make sure that the balls are cooked through and no more.  Cook  in batches and drain on Brown paper bags or paper towels.

THE SAUCE:

This is important…it’s what makes something “Little Italy” style in my eyes.  It’s not a Marinara or Sugo di Pomodoro that you generally have with a vast array of pastas or using as a dipping sauce.  One day I’ll find out the genesis of this sauce and be very happy with that knowledge. Till then, just make it, it’s intrinsic to the dish.

You will notice my departure from the San Marzanos. SHOCKING! Here’s why, this is a thick sauce and I’m thinking that this sauce may have been devised in the kitchens of early immigrant Italian cooks to the U.S. Tomato puree and paste are best for this.

1 can Tomato Puree

1 can tomato paste

5 (yes~another reason I think the sauce is a made in  America version of an Italian sauce) CLOVES OF SLICED GARLIC

3 TBS OLIVE OIL

1/4 TSP PEPERONCINO for a SWEET version

1 TSP. PEPERONCINO FOR the MEDIUM version

2 TBS.PEPERONCINO FOR the HOT version

2 tbs. WHITE WINE

SALT, PEPPER

Pay attention to those amounts…you will kill your dish if you don’t pick which heat intensity you are comfortable with.  the Hot version is REALLY hot.

In a heavy saucepan, heat the olive oil..then add the Peperoncino right into the oil..this is going to carry that heat and chile flavor through the finished sauce.  Now add the garlic and let this sizzle JUST until it starts to get golden…work quickly here..then add the wine  and then the tomato paste.  Mix in the paste with the hot oil (at this point lower the heat a bit) and cook for 2 minutes, stirring while you wait.  Then add the tomatoes and 1/2 can of water (using the tomato puree can). Salt and Pepper to taste. Stir well then bring to a boil. Now lover the heat to a simmer and let this cook until it’s about 1/2 reduced.  This should take about 1 hour 15 minutes.  Just keep on low(simmer) and keep stirring.  It’s a hot, spicy, deep colored sauce.   Serve the sauce over the balls or in a small bowl for dipping.

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There’s a bit of dried oregano in the sauce, but that’s  not a good garnish.  Instead I’m using fresh oregano sprigs from my garden.  A note on garnishing, always use something that’s an ingredient in the dish (flowers are exempt from this rule).  Now you must be saying, there’s dried oregano in the sauce and fresh as the garnish. WHAT the hell???  It’s the same herb,yes different tastes but it looks good without throwing you off.  Don’t like that logic?  LOL…sorry, pull up a chair , squeeze some lemon over the balls and dip into that sauce.

By the way I didn’t miss the step where you bread the balls…they do not get breaded.

ESCAROLE AND BEANS..ITALIAN COMFORT FOOD..

0041  Comfort Food…everyone has a personal definition of this and many times the same dishes will find their way into people’s ideas of what foods are most “comforting”.  My experience is that blend of American as well as immigrant Italian notions of what is “comfort food”.  I can list 10 blogs full of them (I need lots of comfort) but one that is right at the top is the very delicious ESCAROLE AND BEANS (SCAROLA E FAGIOLI), a “soup” or a one pot dish of olive oil, aromatics, fresh escarole and cannellini beans.  Italian-Americans all fall in line on this dish, it’s well loved and non-Italian-Americans who have eaten it feel the same way.  It’s a culinary hug.  What a dish like this does for you no reservation at Noma in Copenhagen or at the table of Ferran Adria’ of the former elBulli will do for you.  Those types of foods are wonderfully rare and exceptional culinary experiences.  Things to be savored by a select lucky few.  A steamy bowl of escarole and beans is universal.  We all can approach this, it’s ingredients price points are within most people’s reach and it’s quite simple to make.  No long hours of tending needed for this, simply the desire to feed one’s body and soul.  Lofty language for a humble dish that finds it’s true richness in basic parings of few ingredients. Most traditionally this is a dish that can be considered VEGETARIAN.  Certainly you can enhance the flavors with a base containing a bit of cured Italian pork like PANCETTA, GUANCIALE, PROSCIUTTO, SALAMI, SPECK, or even Fresh SWEET ITALIAN SAUSAGE or COTECHINO.  I’m complicating this now so I’ll stop there and begin the recipe.  This dish was served very frequently while I was growing up and I continue to make it.  Always highly anticipated!!

 

SERVES: 6                            TIME:  40 MINUTES

1 thoroughly rinsed HEAD OF FRESH ESCAROLE (Escarole takes on lots of dirt..needs to be rinsed over and over again in fresh changes of water), then cut out the inside stem and chop.

1/4 cup OLIVE OIL

1/2 TSP. PEPERONCINO

4 SLICED CLOVES OF GARLIC

2 CANS OF CANNELLINI (WHITE KIDNEY) BEANS, DRAINED AND RINSED

KOSHER OR SEA SALT

2 CUPS OF WATER (OR CHICKEN STOCK)

PECORINO ROMANO or PARMIGIANO-REGGIANO CHEESE

OPTIONAL:

2 TBS. FINELY DICED PANCETTA, GUANCIALE, PROSCIUTTO, ITALIAN SAUSAGE, SALAMI

1 TBS. WHITE WINE

1 SMALL ANCHOVY FILET

 

In a heavy saucepan heat 1/8 cup of the olive oil then add the peperoncino and let that cook for 2 minutes.  This releases the flavors and heat in the peperoncino and gives them a toasty flavor, Then add the garlic and let this cook on medium for no more than 1 1/2minutes…add the escarole and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and let this saute’ for 5 minutes till it’s somewhat softer and wilted.  Now add the water or stock.  Stir and then add the beans.  Bring to a boil for 4 minutes then to medium, just above a simmer.  Stir well and cook for 20 minutes.  Remove from the heat and let it sit for at least 10 minutes.  This tastes better when it’s not piping hot. Check for seasoning (salt) at this point. When serving drizzle each serving with additional olive oil, some peperoncino if you like and a good grating of one of the cheeses. Now if you want the less traditional version, simply add the cured pork or sausage when you a toasting the peperoncino at the beginning of the recipe.  Add the anchovy when you add the garlic, then the white wine and continue with the recipe.

So let’s hold off any debating here, this recipe is the most basic and most traditional way to make Escarole and Beans, or A’Scarol…as with most in Italy Italian dishes less is always more.  Does that mean your family’s style of making it with a little of this or that is wrong? ABSOLUTELY NOT.  Even in Italy that is done, but this is the basic and possibly the genesis of all other MINESTRA made with escarole and beans.  In Upstate NY this dish is sometimes known as BEANS AND GREENS.

For my vegan and vegetarian readers the basic recipe is wonderful as well.  Of course no cheese in the vegan option but there’s tons of flavor in the soup without it.  Try it the Naples way and then customize it or not.  For me, too much meat in the dish takes away from the earthy  nature of the dish and makes it more like a Minestra Maritata (Italian Wedding Soup) which is delicious and wonderful but I like my ‘Scarol and Beans to just be that..now pass the good Italian bread please..

 

 

 

 

 

 

PIZZELLE SANDWICHES FILLED WITH CANNOLI CREAM FOR THE HOLIDAYS

001  PIZZELLES, a crisp, lightly ANISETTE scented wafer cookie that finds it’s way onto many a table of homemade treats at the Christmas Holiday Season.  It’s a great presentation and once you’ve mastered the PIZZELLE MAKER002 technique you can bang these out by the hundreds.  The maker (iron) is essential and if you are a fan of these treats it’s a nice investment.  Very kid friendly  for those holiday family cookie making kitchen events.  Most makers start around 39.99 or so and can be purchased in a single iron or in the double iron (worth the extra money) and can be found on line or in specialty kitchen stores. So what’s the PIZZELLE all about?  It’s Italian and they are made all over Italy today as well as in Italian-American homes.  However, they do have a precise point of origin and that is the ABRUZZO in Central Italy.  The Abruzzo is a region that straddles the North and the South in terms of culinary traditions but I’ve always felt that it favors the South in it’s foodways.  The powerful pagan mixing with Catholic traditions is a driving force in Italy and there is much talk that the pizzelle is a traditional sweet that originally was part of the feast of one of two saints. The cult of San Domenico in Cocullo or the cult of Beato Roberto in Salle both claim the pizzelle.  I’ll go with the San Domenico story because of this:002 You’re not seeing things, apparently S.Domenico is a magnet for snakes (I’m a fan of the cheesy movie SNAKES ON A PLANE too so this is right up my alley) and they are used in the annual Procession of S.Domenico di Sora every May slitthering up and down the statue.  Another example of snakes as the evil serpent and S.Domenico as the one who restored the area to good clean living.  AND..the pizzelle was created to celebrate the triumph of good over evil.  Don’t quote me as this is one of many legends regarding the crispy pizzelle but chances are somewhere in the history books there’s something to how and why they were originated.  The Anisette flavoring which is so popular may not be part of the original flavoring.  That might have simply been a non flavored wafer since there are now ones made with Vanilla, Anisette (my preference), Cinnamon, Lemon, Orange, Chocolate..the usual Italian suspects.  Since I’m giving you a recipe with Anisette, and then giving you a Sicilian cream to fill it with this version clearly is not authentic nor is it Abruzzese but like myself, an Italian-American mix.

Let’s start with the cream, enough to make 25 or so Pizzelle sandwiches.

1 1/3 cups SIEVED RICOTTA (drain it thru a Cheesecloth for at least 5 hours, or find a fresh made type, use whole milk Ricotta, if your Ricotta is thin or loose it will affect the creme and not be suitable for a sandwich between 2 crisp pizzelle.  The way to correct the excess moisture is by sieving it, not difficult, Cheesecloth though is needed)  If you have access to small amounts of IMPASTATA then you are in really good shape, that’s the low moisture Ricotta used by the pros for Cannoli and ravioli but tough

1/2 cup CONFECTIONER’S SUGAR

DROP OF CINNAMON OIL, or 1/2 TSP. GOOD GROUND CINNAMON

1/4 TSP. PURE VANILLA EXTRACT

1 TBS. GOOD SEMI SWEET CHOCOLATE CHIPS

Blend everything except the chip till thick.  Then fold in the chips. Chill for at least 3 hours, covered.

For the PIZZELLE..I use the Williams Sonoma recipe with a few tweaks:

FOR 25 PIZZELLE , YOU NEED TO DOUBLE THE RECIPE FOR THE 25 SANDWICHES

  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus
    more for brushing
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. ANISETTE EXTRACT (LOOK FOR PURE ANISE EXTRACT ONLY, chocolate, lemon, or orange are also fine to use)
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder

Directions:

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until light yellow and thick ribbons fall from the whisk, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the 8 Tbs. melted butter, the vanilla and lemon zest and whisk until blended.Over a sheet of waxed paper, sift together the flour and baking powder. Fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture in two additions, folding each addition just until blended.Heat a pizzelle maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Brush lightly with butter and spoon about 1 Tbs. of the batter onto the pizzelle maker. If any batter oozes out, cut it off immediately. Cook according to the manufacturer’s instructions until golden brown. Transfer the pizzelle to a wire rack and let cool. Repeat with the remaining batter.

Makes about 25 pizzelle.
when the pizzelle are completely cooled, ASSEMBLE right before serving or the wafers will get soggy.  Simply and gently spread no more than 1/8 inch of the creme between the 2 pizzelle.  Dust with extra powdered sugar when serving.  An awesome Holiday /Winter Dessert especially because they evoke fresh twinkling snowflakes.
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You can certainly made as many or as little as you want and only fill some.  The key is to not have a loose filling and not to overfill.

PEANUT BUTTER BLOSSOM COOKIES, YOU KNOW, THE ONES WITH THE CHOCOLATE KISS ON TOP

162885_1500720160349_5853202_n   December is here and for many it means COOKIE baking time.  COOKIES and lots of them.  Today (Dec. 4) is National COOKIE DAY so here’s one of my favorites of the season, the PEANUT BUTTER BLOSSOM, that sort of chewy (when I don’t over bake them that is) cookie topped with a Chocolate Kiss, ok, no product sponsors on my blog, but they are Hershey’s Kisses. The recipe too is from the Hershey website with just a few tweeks I’ve made, like swapping out the shortening for butter.  I personally don’t use shortening because of it’s Hydrogenated oil processing but that’s up to you.  Unless you are dealing with peanut allergies in the house, these are a great family recipe to make.

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Why do the end of the year Holidays, that time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s bring out the excess?  I guess it’s just a time to shake off the rules you try to live by through the year and have a little fun and celebrate with TONS of cookies…and booze. Again, that’s up to you but there are a few wines that can be paired with Peanut Butter cookies..Port, Banyuls, and Madeira, some nice Mediterranean dessert type wines.  OR, my choice would be a frothy hot chocolate or ice cold glass of milk.  Just some suggestions for that cookie bake swap night you plan on having (or not).

MAKES: about 4 dozen               TIME: 25-30 minutes

  • 48 HERSHEY’S KISSES Brand Milk Chocolates
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 teaspoons REAL vanilla extract, please, use the real stuff, not the imitation, The taste difference is huge.
  • 1-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon  kosher salt
  • Additional granulated sugar(optional)

    LET’S BAKE!!

    1. Heat oven to 375°F. Remove wrappers from chocolates.

    2. Beat butter and peanut butter in large bowl until well blended. Add 1/3 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar; beat until fluffy. Add egg, milk and vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into peanut butter mixture.

    3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar; place on ungreased cookie sheet.

    4. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately press a chocolate into center of each cookie; cookie will crack around edges. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely.

    That’s it..the use of Shortening, Margarine or Butter will be up to you but the more puffy and cracked looking versions are made with Shortening, just a disclaimer there.  You can see that my butter based ones are a bit flatter. Taste is about the same, although the butter always add better all around flavor.  Margarine I avoid like the plague, I don’t like the product or the taste.

    Hope this satisfies your sweet tooth for National Cookie Day~!!

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