Archive for January, 2012

One Girl Cookies cookbook book signing tonight

I’m planning to go to the book-signing party for the One Girl Cookies cookbook in Brooklyn tonight. Reportedly, they’ll have a variety of baked goods sold in the bakery of the same name on hand at the party. This past Sunday’s NY Daily News recipe pages got into the game with an indirect promotion of the book by printing a couple of the recipes therein for people to try. I’m going to try the Daily News versions, and flip through the book at the party…
[quote]One Girl Cookie in Cobble Hill was just one girl, then Dawn Casale and David Crofton fell in love

Published: Sunday, January 15 2012, 6:00 AM

One Girl Cookies started as a one-girl operation.

At least, until co-owners Dawn Casale and David Crofton fell in love.

Originally a catering business operating out of Casale’s old West Village apartment, today’s One Girl Cookies is a Cobble Hill shop with a devoted neighborhood following.

Families flock to the beloved bakery for bite-sized cookies, whoopie pies and slices of cake that change with the seasons.

Now, with the help of Casale and Crofton’s new “One Girl Cookies” book, they can make them at home, too.

Inspired by her large Sicilian family’s love of food, Casale left her job as an accessories manager at Barneys to bake 11 years ago.

“I started to see that there was a void for cookies as gifts. I felt like a lot of the packaging for cookies at the time was uninspired, a cellophane bag or a tin,” she says. “I wanted to give my customers the same experience as when they open a box of chocolates, which is that very precious ‘Oh my goodness, I don’t know what to eat first’ feeling.”

The result: dainty treats with names like Lucia (after Casale’s great grandmother), Lana (her favorite teacher), and Juliette.

One Girl Cookies soon outgrew Casale’s small New York kitchen, but moving to a commercial one meant hiring someone with more than just a home baker’s knowledge.

A friend introduced her to Crofton, who was about to wrap up pastry school, and the two hit it off immediately.

“I had been a bread baker so I had some experience,” says Crofton. “For a long time, it was really just the two of us doing everything. It was exciting and our relationship started building.”

As the pair planned their wedding — Crofton spelled out his proposal in sugar cookies — they also worked on turning One Girl Cookies into a full-fledged shop.

In 2005, Casale and Crofton opened a bakery on a quiet, tree-lined stretch of Dean St. and started adding non-cookie pastries to the menu.

“We opened and we had a completely different and new audience, lots of families, lots of children, so doing cupcakes was really a no-brainer,” says Casale.

The cookbook lets the Brooklyn couple, who are opening a second shop in DUMBO next month, share even more of their ideas, including recipes from both sides of their families.

“Part of the fun of was the ability to share with the world our stories,” says Casale. “There are a lot of recipes for things we don’t serve here because it’s not practical for this setting and having the channel to share those recipes was really nice.”

Crofton, who wrote and tested all of the recipes, encourages home bakers, even amateur ones, to dive right in.

“The ingredients are things that you probably have in your pantry right now or can get with a quick trip to the store. We try to keep it straightforward. It’s not about making impossible recipes with strange ingredients.”

Adds Casale: “We want it to be the book they always reach for when they have the need to make something sweet. We want our book to be the one they have hand-scribbled notes in all dog-eared and grease-stained. A well-used, wellloved book.”


Stop by the “One Girl Cookies” book signing at powerHouse Arena to sample some of Dawn and Dave’s signature sweets. Wed., Jan. 18 at 7 p.m. 37 Main St., Brooklyn. (718) 666-3049.

Serves: Makes 48 biscotti

1 cup whole almonds, skins on
2 large eggs
Grated zest of 2 Meyer lemons
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup Sicilian olive oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350.
2. Put the almonds on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven for 15 minutes, or until they are well browned and fragrant.
3. Let the nuts cool (leave the oven on). When the almonds are cool enough to handle, put them in a food processor and pulse 5 or 6 times, until ground.
4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the eggs, lemon zest, sugar, olive oil, and vanilla. Mix on medium speed for 1 minute.
5. In a medium bowl, whisk together the ground almonds, flour, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer running on low speed, gradually add the flour mixture to the egg mixture, stopping two or three times to scrape down the bowl. Mix until the dough is just beginning to come together. Do not overmix.
6. Scoop the dough out onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, and shape it into 2 equal logs. The dough should be sticky — you may need to wet your hands slightly with water in order to work with it. Each log should be about as wide as two knuckles on your middle finger and about ½-inch tall.
7. Bake for 14 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet and bake for 14 more minutes. Let the logs cool on the baking sheet for 12 to 15 minutes.
8. Reduce the oven temperature to 250.
9. Transfer the logs to a cutting board. Using a serrated knife, slice the logs into 1/2-inch-thick biscotti.
10. Put the biscotti on the parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing them ½-inch apart.
11. Bake for 7 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet and bake for 7 more minutes, or until the biscotti are slightly crisp on the exposed sides. Transfer them to a wire rack and let them cool completely.
VARIATION: I like it when citrus desserts have a little bit of salt. A modest sprinkle of fleur de sel on top of the biscotti before they go into the oven adds a delicious layer of flavor.
Tips: If Meyer lemons are not available, you can substitute 2 regular lemons, or even the grated zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange.
The stronger the flavor of your olive oil, the more it will shine through in this recipe.
(Recipes excerpted from “One Girl Cookies: Recipes for Cakes, Cupcakes, Whoopie Pies, and Cookies from Brooklyn’s Beloved Bakery” by Dawn Casale & David Crofton, Clarkson Potter Publishers, $22.50.)
Recipe: PUMPKIN WHOOPIE PIES with Maple Spice Filling

Serves: Makes about 24 whoopie pies

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon table salt
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
2 cups packed light brown sugar
1 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons dark molasses
Maple Spice Filling (recipe below)

Makes 2 cups
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon Grade B dark maple syrup
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon table salt
3 cups confectioners’ sugar, plus more if needed

1. Preheat the oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the pumpkin puree, brown sugar, oil, eggs, and molasses for 3 minutes on medium speed. Thoroughly scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula.
4. With the mixer running on low speed, gradually add the flour mixture for a total mixing time of 30 seconds. Carefully scrape down the bowl again.
5. Using a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip (the hole should be about as large as the tip of your ring finger), pipe 2-inch-diameter circles onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving 1½ inches between them. Be careful to keep your pastry bag completely vertical to achieve nice circles. (If you have to wait between batches of whoopie pies, keep the batter refrigerated.)
6. Bake for 10 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet and bake for 8 to 10 more minutes, until the whoopie pies are a deep orange color and spring back when touched. Let the whoopie pies cool completely.
7. To fill the whoopies, turn half of them over so that they are bottom-side up. Using a pastry bag, pipe a small dollop of the maple spice filling onto each whoopie bottom. Top with the remaining whoopies.

1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the cream cheese and butter on medium speed until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
2. Add the maple syrup, cinnamon, cloves, and salt, and mix for 30 seconds on low speed.
3. With the mixer running on low speed, gradually add the confectioners’ sugar, and then beat for 1 minute. Scrape down the bowl.
4. If the filling is too soft to hold its shape, add more confectioners’ sugar, a tablespoon at a time, until you reach the desired consistency.
5. Store in the refrigerator, in an airtight container with plastic wrap pressed onto the surface of the filling, for up to 5 days.

Serves: Makes 36 cookies

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons solid vegetable shortening, at room temperature
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1/4 cup whole milk

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cloves, and salt.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the shortening, butter, and sugar on medium speed until the mixture is light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
4. Add the egg and egg yolk, and beat for 1 minute. Scrape down the bowl again.
5. With the mixer running on low speed, mix in a third of the flour mixture and about a third of the milk. Scrape down the bowl.
6. Add another third of the flour mixture and another third of the milk. Add the remaining flour mixture and only enough of the milk to make a smooth dough. It should not be too sticky.
7. Using a large pastry bag fitted with a star tip, pipe 1 1/2-inch-long cookies onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, spacing them 1 inch apart.
8. Bake for 15 minutes until the cookies take on a little golden color along the edge. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack and let them cool completely.

Add comment January 18th, 2012

Pork loin, apples, and stuffing, oh my!

I’m not the only one who experiments in the kitchen, and dessert isn’t the only meal with which to experiment: recently, my mother took the reigns and searched the internet for a new and exciting recipe for roast pork loin. She must have been in the mood for apples, because this is what she made last night:
from the Food Network:
[quote]Roasted Pork Loin with Cider and Chunky Applesauce

Recipe courtesy Anne Burrell

Prep Time:
20 min
Inactive Prep Time:
15 min
Cook Time:
55 min


6 servings


* 2 sprigs rosemary leaves, roughly chopped
* 2 sprigs sage, roughly chopped
* 2 cloves garlic, smashed
* Pinch crushed red pepper
* Salt
* Extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 (6-chop) pork rib roast
* 2 large onions, sliced
* 1 bundle thyme, tied with string
* 3 bay leaves
* 2 quarts apple cider
* Chunky Applesauce, recipe follows


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

In a food processor, combine the chopped herbs with the garlic, crushed red pepper, a generous pinch of salt and enough olive oil to make a paste. Brush the paste on the outside of the pork rib roast.

Toss the onions with olive oil, and salt, and place in the bottom of a roasting pan. Add the thyme, bay leaves and 2/3 of the cider. Place the pork on top of the onions and place in the preheated oven. Roast the pork at 425 degrees F for 20 to 25 minutes or until the pork has developed a lovely brown crust. Check the pork, stir the onions and cider if they are starting to burn. Add more cider when the level starts to go down.

Lower the oven to 375 degrees F and roast for another 30 to 35 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer reads 150 degrees F. If the crust on the pork starts to get too dark, cover it with foil. Remove 1 1/2 cups of the cider from the bottom of the roasting pan and reserve for the applesauce.

Let the pork rest for at least 15 minutes before carving. When ready to carve remove the pork from the bone and cut the loin into thin slices. Serve with the onions braised in cider and Chunky Applesauce.
Chunky Applesauce:

* 3 tablespoons butter
* 4 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch chunks (toss the apples in lemon juice if not using right away)
* 1 1/2 cups of the reserved cider from the Roasted Pork Loin with Cider
* 1/4 cup apple cider
* 1 pinch ground cinnamon
* 1/4 cup heavy cream
* 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped

Melt the butter in a saucepan large enough to accommodate the apples. Add the apples and saute over medium-low heat until the apples start to soften. Add the reserved cider, apple cider and cinnamon and cook over low-medium heat until most of the cider has evaporated and the apples are cooked and very soft.

Add the heavy cream and walnuts and cook until the cream has reduced by half. The end result should be a very chunky, sweet/savory applesauce.
She didn’t make the Chunky Applesauce part of the recipe (she is philosophically opposed to cooking with cream), and substituted chicken stock because we were out of cider. Because she didn’t have some of the spices in the house, she bought a Recipe Inspirations set (card with pre-measured spices) for Apple & Sage Pork Chops. (Disclosure: I made the recipe from the card on a previous occasion in recent memory, and it got the same reception…)
It was still a good dinner main dish (involving more effort than the average dinner) but my sister complained about the pork and the cubed apples being too tough as well as the unaccustomed juxtaposition of sweet and savory flavors.
For the side dishes, I cooked the last of the organic spinach I had bought during my last visit to the last session of the NYC Union Square Greenmarket, as well as assembling and baking a small casserole dish of potatoes au gratin (for which I bought a carton of light cream beforehand) using only a ginourmous Yukon Gold potato (obtained at that same Greenmarket) which I was sure had to be at least a pound in and of itself. The problem was, that it wasn’t the pound and a half of potato the recipe called for, and with proportional reduction of the other ingredients, it _just made it_ to be the right volume to fit into a smallish, vintage, covered casserole. The recipe called for one-third cup of unsalted butter; I reduced it by nearly half. I wish I had put even less unsalted butter on the top than I did, because when it came out of the oven, the sides of the casserole were slightly greasy, meaning that the butter had bubbled up and run down the sides while it was in the oven. Though I had a smaller quantity of potatoes au gratin than I had originally planned, I was informed that it wasn’t ready whenever my mother checked it. Indeed, it wasn’t ready to come out of the oven until well after dinner and even dessert. So it resides in the fridge as a leftover to be served another day.

Add comment January 18th, 2012

Suprisingly good

When I finally baked these “Lemon Rosemary Slices” the other day, after having stashed the formed dough in the fridge for about a week, I didn’t think I’d like rosemary as a cookie ingredient, but it works surprisingly well with the lightly lemony shortbread-like matrix. They went over surprisingly well with people (my mother and sister) who are more timid than average about mixing things regarded as “sweet” with those regarded as “savory”.
Well enough that I ended up binging on these little diet-breakers, and my mother and sister liked them well enough to complain that I’d eaten the majority of them.

Add comment January 18th, 2012

In mourning for the cat

The black cat depicted in the illustration on this website was based on a real black cat who lived in my household. Notice that I said “was”: the cat in question died in August 2011, and I’m still in mourning. Months afterwards, her absence is still tangible. It really is like losing a family member when you’ve had the cat for 20 years.
I don’t think I’ve discussed the cat on this blog, except perhaps an occasional mention in passing. Her name was Bunky, and I could write a lot more than a blog post about her, as she had a long, eventful, and destructive life for a cat. As in the picture, Bunky was a constant presence, especially at mealtime. Dinnertime and afterwords were her time to socialize with her human family as well as to eat. This was made easier by the fact that like The Simpsons, my immediate family tends to be informal about things like this: we eat most of our meals in front of the television. Towards the end of Bunky’s life, we gave up on all pretense of keeping the cat from the human table, which was never easy, because she usually jumped up there when she was able. We took to setting aside tidbits from our plates (the alternative was actively guarding them, which we still had to do if we were having one of her favorites) for her, and sometimes even serving her on her own plate. Yes, the portrayal of a lean and hungry cat hanging around and reaching for the table top is emotionally, of not materially, accurate! Though she was a connoisseur of “people food” (roast beef from the deli and tuna from the can were among her favorites) she insisted on her regular ration of cat food (Nine Lives canned cat food preferred), and she hunted.
Thanks to the fact that our house is at the end of a dead-end street, and a brush-filled vacant lot and other properties’ backyards are contiguous to my family home, the cats of our family had a safe and well-stocked hunting ground within domestic feline walking distance. Though other cats my family has had have all been decent enough hunters (one wiped out my gerbil population overnight), for sheer body count, nobody beat Bunky. Though her usual prey were mice and voles, there were a few instances when she attempted to capture prey that was too large for her. My mother likes to tell the tale of the time Bunky attempted to catch a squirrel in the backyard, and came away with the end of its tail in her mouth. Then there was the time she captured a crow alive, and subdued it long enough to drag it into the house though it was nearly her size. The crow broke free after she got it through the door, and flew up to the second floor, where it perched on the lid of the toilet seat. My mother had to let the blackbird out the bathroom window.
She brought home mice on a regular basis, by which I mean, most days of the week! In most cases the mice were alive and well, and she would release them once she got indoors. Some were hustled through the door with furtiveness and obvious guilt, some were openly presented to myself and other family members as “presents”.
My younger sister read something on the internet some time ago that said that when cats bring home live prey, it is because they think you are kith and kin, and they are trying to teach you how to hunt! She must have thought we were incredibly slow on the uptake for her to be bringing home live mice for 20 years and none of us successfully killing and eating them. Nevertheless, she preferred a lot of what her humans were eating to the alternatives. Perhaps she had no way of knowing that the reason we failed to go after the live mice she brought home was because we could “bring down” animals she couldn’t possibly hunt, but whose meat she also enjoyed (beef, chicken, fish). Perhaps that is what motivated her to pursue prey that was too large for her. For years, we thought she merely hunted for sport or out of instinct, as she would go after any fast-moving object at home: my mother couldn’t crochet when the cat was around, because Bunky was constantly pouncing on the yarn. Then came the day when, as senior citizen cat, she brought home a smallish mouse, batted it around for a bit in the living room, and before we could react, promptly chug-a-lugged it! So we have no idea how much of her “catch” she might well have eaten outdoors in the course of a night of hunting before she would come home with a mouse in her mouth.
Like most domestic cats, she became habituated to hanging around the refrigerator when she wanted to be fed, and reacting with obvious enthusiasm to cans and can openers. But while the others we’ve had liked whipped cream well enough, she was the only one who came running whenever she heard whipped cream being squirted from the can.
She had a place in the food lore of our family, with definite likes and dislikes, her opinions were well-known. Therefore, she has always had a place on this website.

Bunky, at it again! Couldn\'t leave the George Foreman grill out, because she\'d lick the grease where it had collected...

Bunky, at it again! Couldn't leave the George Foreman grill out, because she'd lick the grease where it had collected...

Bunky unashamedly jumped onto the dinner table and joined the family at the evening meal.

Bunky unashamedly jumped onto the dinner table and joined the family at the evening meal.

Bunky on the stove! The warmth from the pilot light in this old gas range made this a frequent scene!

Bunky on the stove!

Add comment January 7th, 2012

Lemon Cream Cheese Cupcakes-a success!

I used Neufchatel cheese for the frosting (much more spreadable and even-textured, and the lemon juice/lemon zest hid the difference in flavor). I used sugar-free/fat free lemon pudding mix in the batter. The cake itself was no great shakes: not very moist and very slightly lemon-flavored, but my family liked the frosting!

[quote] total time 1 hr 34 min prep 10 min servings 24 servings
1 pkg. (2-layer size) white cake mix
1 pkg. (3.4 oz.) JELL-O Lemon Flavor Instant Pudding
1 cup water
4 egg whites
2 Tbsp. oil
1 pkg. (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 pkg. (16 oz.) powdered sugar

Make It
HEAT oven to 350ºF.

BEAT first 5 ingredients in large bowl with mixer on low speed until moistened. (Batter will be thick.) Beat on medium speed 2 min. Spoon into 24 paper-lined muffin cups.

BAKE 21 to 24 min. or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 min.; remove to wire racks. Cool completely.

BEAT cream cheese, butter and juice with mixer until well blended. Gradually add sugar, beating on low speed after each addition until well blended. Spread onto cupcakes.
Kraft Kitchens Prepare using PHILADELPHIA Neufchatel Cheese.
Blend 1 tsp. lemon zest into frosting before spreading onto cupcakes. [/quote]

Add comment January 7th, 2012


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