September 16, 2010

Yummy Peach Cookies

I was looking through Martha Stewart's Cookies cookbook, and came across these peach cookies.  I read through the ingredient list and I actually had everything on hand to make these cookies.  I had just bought peaches at the farmers market and I use peach jam on my PB & J sandwiches, so I was all set!  And very excited at the thought of making cookies with peaches. 

These cookies are yummy!  In the cookbook, it says they are best the day they are made, but I (and my sweetie) actually thought they were better on the second day.  I'm not a huge fan of soft cookies, but these had a cake like consistency, so it was different.  I would definitely make these cookies again.  They were a good way to say goodbye to cooking summer treats.  

Fresh-Peach Drop Cookies

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large ripe peaches (about 8 ounces each) peeled, pitted, and chopped into 1/4-inch pieces (1 3/4 cups)
1/3 cup peach jam or preserves
2 tablespoons fine sanding sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Whisk together flour, salt, and baking soda.

Put butter and granulated sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Mix on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes.  Reduce speed to low.  Add egg and vanilla; mix until well blended, about 1 minute.  Add flour mixture and mix until combined.  Add diced peaches and peach jam; mix until just combined.

Using a 1 1/2 -inch ice cream scoop or a tablespoon, drop dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing 2 inches apart.  (Chill remaining dough between batches.)

Combine sanding sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.  Sprinkle each cookie with 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon-sugar mixture.  Bake cookies until golden brown and just set, 11 to 13 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through.  Let cool on sheets on wire racks 5 minutes.  Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool completely.  Cookies are best eaten the day they are made, but they can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 2 days.

Makes about 4 dozen

September 11, 2010

Summer Vegetable Gratin, oh my!

Hello, my name is Heather and I'm obsessed with America's Test Kitchen.  I have my DVR set to record the show whenever it comes on, I have the 10 year cookbook, I got a subscription to Cook's Illustrated, I also got a membership, and check out lots of different ATK cookbooks from the library.  Doesn't that sound like someone obsessed?  I enjoy the science and explanation behind the testing they do.  I have learned a lot from Christopher, Julia, and Bridget.  Yes, we are on a first name basis (at least in my mind).  :)

After admitting my obsession, I'm actually surprised that this is the first post I've done from ATK.  I am pretty confident that it won't be the last though.  :)  I watched the episode for the Summer Vegetable Gratin a couple of weeks ago.  It looked delicious!  Especially this time of year with the fresh veggies at the Farmer's Market, I had to try it out.

I'm not going to lie, it was time consuming to make, but then again I'm a bit slow in the kitchen.  Thus the blog name - Taking my Sweet Time.  :)  I thought the gratin was a good combination of veggies.  I used two large zucchini and one squash.  The tomatoes on top with the crunchy topping were super yummy!

Summer Vegetable Gratin

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 zucchini (about 1 pound), ends trimmed and sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 yellow summer squash (about 1 pound), ends trimmed and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes (about 3 large), sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 onions, halved lengthwise and sliced thin, pole to pole (about 3 cups)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
1 slice high-quality white sandwich bread, torn into quarters
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1 cup)
1 large shallot, minced (about 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

Adjust oven rack to the upper-middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees.  Brush a 13 by 9-inch baking dish with 1 tablespoon of oil; set aside.

Toss the zucchini and summer squash slices with 1 teaspoon salt in a large bowl; transfer to a colander set over a bowl.  Let stand until the zucchini and squash release at least 3 tablespoons of liquid, about 45 minutes.  Arrange the slices on a triple layer of paper towels; cover with another triple layer of paper towels.  Firmly press each slice to remove as much liquid as possible.

Place the tomato slices in a single layer on a double layer of paper towels and sprinkle evenly with 1/2 teaspoon salt; let stand for 30 minutes.  Place a second double layer of paper towels on top and press firmly to dry the tomatoes.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon more oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering.  Add the onions, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened and dark golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.  Set the onions aside.

Combine the garlic, 3 tablespoons more oil, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and the thyme in a small bowl.  In a large bowl, toss the zucchini and summer squash in half of the oil mixture, then arrange the slices, slightly overlapping them, in the greased baking dish.  Arrange the caramelized onions in an even layer over the squash.  Slightly overlap the tomato slices in a single layer on top of the onions.  Spoon the remaining oil mixture evenly over the tomatoes.  Bake until the vegetables are tender and the tomatoes are starting to brown on the edges, 40 to 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, process the bread in a food processor until finely ground, about 10 seconds.  (You should have about 1 cup of crumbs.)  Combine the bread crumbs, remaining 1 tablespoon oil, Parmesan, and shallot in a medium bowl.  Remove the baking dish from the oven and increase the heat to 450 degrees.  Sprinkle the bread-crumb mixture evenly on top of the tomatoes.  Bake the gratin until bubbling and the cheese is lightly browned, 5 to 10 minutes.  Sprinkle with the basil and let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 6 to 8

Hat Tip - The Best of America's Test Kitchen 2010 Special Issue