Nick Malgieri http://www.nickmalgieri.com Wed, 17 Dec 2014 23:38:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=259 Holiday Season Special! http://www.nickmalgieri.com/holiday-season-special/ http://www.nickmalgieri.com/holiday-season-special/#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 23:37:03 +0000 http://www.nickmalgieri.com/?p=2695 50% off Sweet & Simple: 10 Classic Dessertspic

Create no-fuss desserts with guidance from award-winning pastry chef and cookbook author Nick Malgieri. Start with warm, crisp blueberry cobbler and classic crème brûlée with a perfectly caramelized top. Bring elegant pudding back into fashion with a stirred chocolate variation and sophisticated baked butterscotch, and do it all lump-free! Moving on, lighten up with chocolate or lemon mousse and get tips on whipping up the perfect Swiss meringue base. Then, embrace a make-ahead frozen soufflé and infuse whipped cream with liqueur for a fun twist. Get Nick’s personal recipe for decadent flourless mousse cake and create crème anglaise to top a rich molten chocolate cake. Finally, make a show-stopping trifle, complete with moist sponge cake and English crème, a delectably thick custard.

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Moister cookies http://www.nickmalgieri.com/moister-cookies/ http://www.nickmalgieri.com/moister-cookies/#comments Tue, 16 Dec 2014 00:23:45 +0000 http://www.nickmalgieri.com/?p=2655  
A reader has asked: It’s holiday baking time, and I always have the same issue: My cookies are dry. How can I get my cookies to be more moist?
 
A: Make your cookies a little larger or thicker and bake them a little less. It may take a bit of trial and error, but that’s the way to achieve moister cookies.

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Swiss Chocolate Sandwich Cookies and a Few Cookie Baking Hints http://www.nickmalgieri.com/swiss-chocolate-sandwich-cookie/ http://www.nickmalgieri.com/swiss-chocolate-sandwich-cookie/#comments Sun, 14 Dec 2014 17:39:21 +0000 http://www.nickmalgieri.com/?p=2635 Hope you’re having a fun and efficient time getting ready for the holidays.  Today I’m sharing one of my favorite cookie recipes along with a few hints for general ease in holiday cookie baking.Swiss chocolate sandwich cookies

SWISS CHOCOLATE SANDWICH COOKIES

This recipe is adapted from that great work Swiss Baking and Confectionery by Walter Bachmann, a Swiss pastry chef who lived in London after the Second World War.

Makes about eighteen sandwich cookies.

CHOCOLATE COOKIE DOUGH

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

4 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (spoon flour into dry-measure cup and level off)

 

GANACHE FILLING

1/3 cup heavy whipping cream

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 tablespoon light corn syrup

2 ounces semisweet chocolate, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

2 ounces milk chocolate, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

 

Confectioners’ sugar for finishing

 

Two cookie sheets or jelly roll pans lined with parchment or foil

 

  1. To make the dough, beat the butter by hand in a medium bowl just until it is evenly softened. Quickly beat in the melted chocolate, then the flour.  Continuing to mix until dough is smooth.
  2. Scrape the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap and press it into a rectangle about 1/2-inch thick.  Wrap and chill the dough until it is firm – about an hour.
  3. While the dough is chilling, make the filling.  Combine the cream, butter and corn syrup in a saucepan and bring to a boil over low heat.  Remove from heat and add both chocolates.  Shake the pan gently to submerge chocolate in the hot liquid.  Let stand 5 minutes, then whisk smooth and scrape filling into a bowl.  Let stand at room temperature or in the refrigerator until of spreading consistency.
  4. To bake the cookie bases, set racks in upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.
  5. If the dough is very hard, pound it gently with the rolling pin to soften it so that it rolls out more easily.  Divide dough in half and, on a floured surface, roll one half about 3 /16-inch thick.  Use a fluted, round 2-inch cutter to cut the dough into cookies.  Place them on prepared pans as they are cut, leaving about an inch between the cookies.  Repeat with remaining dough.  Save all the scraps.  Re-roll scraps and cut more cookies.
  6. Bake the cookies 12 to 15 minutes, until they are firm.  Cool the cookies on the pans on racks.
  7. When cookies and filling have cooled, arrange half the cookies, flat side up.  Place a dab of filling on them and cover with the remaining cookies, flat sides together.  Dust cookies very lightly with confectioners’ sugar before serving.

 

COOKIE HINTS

Measuring

  1. Unless otherwise instructed by the recipe, spoon flour (cocoa, confectioners’ sugar, cornstarch) into a dry-measure cup and level off. Do not use the measuring cup to scoop up ingredients.
  2. Always use large eggs.
  3. If you don’t have a scale it’s OK to measure some ingredients visually: if your recipe calls for 5 ounces of chocolate and you have two 4-ounce bars, use 1 1/4 bars.

 

Mixing

  1. If a recipe calls for butter softened to room temperature, then have all the other ingredients at room temperature or adding cold ingredients to the butter will make it firm up again and possibly make the dough or batter separate.
  2. Always sift cocoa and confectioners’ sugar before adding to any preparation to avoid lumps. A strainer is okay, you don’t have to use a sifter.
  3. For drop cookies that also contain baking powder and/or baking soda, just mix the ingredients until they are smooth.  Over-mixing and incorporating to much air into the dough might make the cookies puff up excessively during baking and fall flat before they are done.

 

Resting/Chilling/Rolling

  1.  Always allow a dough to chill until firm. If the dough is not sufficiently chilled it will be soft and pasty and stick to everything.
  2.  Check to see that a chilled dough is firm all the way through before rolling by pressing with a fingertip. If the dough is still soft in the center, the firmer dough on the outside will break into lumps while you are rolling
  3.  For soft doughs that have been chilled, cut off a small piece at a time and leave the rest of the dough chilling.   It’s far more efficient to roll several smaller pieces of dough than to roll one large one and have it soften too much to cut out and move the cookies to the pan.
  4.  When rolling small pieces of a soft chilled dough, incorporate the scraps right into the next piece of dough rather than re-roll all of them at the end when they might be too soft to roll easily.

 

Baking

  1. Bake in the middle level of the oven unless the recipe specifies otherwise.
  2. If you need to bake more than one pan of cookies at a time, use the upper and lower thirds, but switch positions halfway through baking, placing the top an on the lower rack and vice versa, turning the pans front to back at the same time.
  3. If you know your over gives very strong bottom heat (cookies burned on the bottom in the past), stack two pans together when baking in the lower third of the oven – this gives a little extra insulation from strong bottom heat.
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Mahleb http://www.nickmalgieri.com/mahleb/ http://www.nickmalgieri.com/mahleb/#comments Tue, 09 Dec 2014 00:30:00 +0000 http://www.nickmalgieri.com/?p=2460  
A reader has asked: I recently visited an Armenian grocery store and saw something called mahleb among the spices. When I asked, they said it was used for flavoring cookies. What is it?
 
A: Mahleb is made from the tiny nutmeats inside cherry stones and has a vague flavor of cherries and bitter almonds. It is sold in whole form and looks like irregular white peppercorns, or it may also be sold already ground. In my experience, stores that sell the mahleb whole will grind it for you.

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NY Times Cookbook review http://www.nickmalgieri.com/ny-times-cookbook-review/ http://www.nickmalgieri.com/ny-times-cookbook-review/#comments Tue, 02 Dec 2014 20:35:25 +0000 http://www.nickmalgieri.com/?p=2597 Pastry coverThanks to Melissa Clark for her great review. Her whole column reads as though she threw a bakers’ party and invited all my friends!

http://www.nytimes.com

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Drizzling confectioner’s sugar http://www.nickmalgieri.com/drizzling-confectioners-sugar/ http://www.nickmalgieri.com/drizzling-confectioners-sugar/#comments Tue, 02 Dec 2014 00:30:00 +0000 http://www.nickmalgieri.com/?p=2462  
A reader has asked: Every time I try to make a confectioners’ sugar icing to drizzle on a cake, it turns out too runny. What am I doing wrong?
 
A: A runny icing may be corrected by adding a little more sifted confectioners’ sugar to thicken it up. Also, if you are heating the icing before drizzling it, make sure not to heat it beyond about 100˚F or it may become too thin.

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Black Friday Sale http://www.nickmalgieri.com/black-friday-sale/ http://www.nickmalgieri.com/black-friday-sale/#comments Sat, 29 Nov 2014 13:35:00 +0000 http://www.nickmalgieri.com/?p=2594 picThis weekend only!

Sign up for Food & Cooking classes at Craftsy, including my Sweet & Simple – 10 Classic Desserts at 50% off.

Hurry, offer ends soon!

http://www.craftsy.com

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Fresh Pumpkin http://www.nickmalgieri.com/fresh-pumpkin/ http://www.nickmalgieri.com/fresh-pumpkin/#comments Tue, 25 Nov 2014 00:30:42 +0000 http://www.nickmalgieri.com/?p=2507  
A reader has asked: I would like to use a fresh pumpkin to make my pie this Thanksgiving. Any hints?
 
A. Yes, of course. First of all, make sure to buy a sugar or pie pumpkin, which is rather flat in shape. Do not use a round jack o’lantern-type pumpkin or the puree you make from it will be watery and tasteless. A real pie pumpkin has fairly dry, bright-orange flesh; after it is cooked and pureed it looks just like the type of pumpkin that comes in a can and is identical to it in every way – one of the reasons I always use canned pumpkin.
To cook fresh pumpkin, halve it and scoop out seeds (toast them separately with a pinch of salt if you wish). Place pumpkin, cut side up, on baking pan and cover loosely with foil. Bake at 350 degrees about an hour, or until tender. Cool, scoop flesh from skin and puree in the food processor. And remember, baked and pureed acorn squash or sweet potatoes are also good alternatives to canned pumpkin.

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Cranberry Pecan Pie http://www.nickmalgieri.com/cranberry-pecan-pie/ http://www.nickmalgieri.com/cranberry-pecan-pie/#comments Tue, 18 Nov 2014 21:51:44 +0000 http://www.nickmalgieri.com/?p=2522 Beautifully simple cranberry pecan pie will be a welcome burst of tart, tangy flavor at your Thanksgiving table.

From my new book, Pastry, a recipe from my late friend Joseph Viggiani.

Warning: this pie has a tart and tangy filling that might not be sweet enough for some people. That said, I love the tangy quality of this filling and wouldn’t want it to be any other way. By the way, since the filling is cooked before the pie is baked, you can taste it and add a little more sugar if you want.

Ingredients

One 9-inch pie crust made from 1/2 batch sweet pastry dough (below)
6 cups (about 1 1/2 pounds) fresh cranberries, rinsed, picked over and drained
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup turbinado or light brown sugar
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
finely grated zest of 1 large orange
1/2 cup fresh orange juice, strained before measuring
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 5 or 6 pieces
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup pecan pieces, coarsely chopped, divided

Combine the cranberries with the rest of the ingredients except the pecans in a large nonreactive saucepan.
Bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring often, and cook at an active simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Don’t overcook, or the filling will be hard after the pie is baked. Let cool.
Set a rack at the lowest level in the oven and preheat to 375°F.
Stir half of the pecans into the filling and pour it into the prepared pie crust.
Smooth the surface and scatter the remaining pecans on top.
Place the pan in the oven and decrease the temperature to 350°F.
Bake until the crust is baked through and the pecans are toasted, 35 to 40 minutes.
Cool the pie on a rack and serve it at room temperature.

 

Sweet Pastry Dough

Yield: two 9-inch pie crusts
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold  and cut into 12 pieces
2 large eggs

Pulse dry ingredients in food processor. Add butter and pulse again until finely mixed. Add eggs and pulse again until dough starts to form a ball. Invert to a floured surface, divide in half, wrap in plastic and chill.

Knead one piece of the chilled dough on a floured surface and form it into a disk. Flour the surface and the dough and roll it to a 12-inch disk. Fold the dough in half and line up the fold with the diameter of the pan; unfold the dough into the pan. Trim excess dough except for about 1/4-inch. Fold the excess dough under at the rim of the pan and flute or press with the tines of a fork.

If you have time, chill the crust for several hours before filling and baking.

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Mashed potatoes in bread dough http://www.nickmalgieri.com/mashed-potatoes-in-bread-dough/ http://www.nickmalgieri.com/mashed-potatoes-in-bread-dough/#comments Fri, 14 Nov 2014 02:19:10 +0000 http://www.nickmalgieri.com/?p=2457  
A reader has asked: A friend told me she adds cooked, mashed potatoes to her bread doughs and gets great results. How is this done?
 
A: You can add 4 to 6 ounces (by weight) of warm, cooked and mashed Idaho potato to any bread dough for a single loaf of bread and it will improve the flavor and make the bread have a great, tasty crust after it is baked. Add the potato to the other ingredients at the beginning of mixing. Two rules: Don’t add too much potato, and make sure the mashed potato is not hot when you add it or you may harm the yeast.

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