Category Archives: Recipes

Hermit Bar Cookies on NewlyWife

Hi friends! Just popping in to say I’ve got another post up on the NewlyWife blog: Hermit Bar Cookies. Click on over and check out these autumn-inspired bar cookies filled with molasses, dates and walnuts.

On another note, I’ve been assigned the baked goods for our family’s early Thanksgiving dinner this Saturday. I’ll be making rolls and two desserts, and since I’ll need to do most of the prep and baking ahead of time, I’m thinking of making these Martha Stewart dinner rolls. After making the dough, you can shape and freeze it. Then you defrost it for two hours and bake them. Does anyone have any experience with freezing uncooked bread dough?

As for desserts, I’m going to make a pumpkin pie and this French Apple Tart from Baking with Julia. I’ve had a little trouble lately with my pie dough shrinking while baking, so I’ve been reading lots about pie dough technique and watching videos in hopes of getting it right. Do you have any tips or techniques for achieving a perfect pie crust?


German Apple Pancakes

pancake overhead

Hi Friends! Head on over to Newly Wife to check out my latest guest post: German Apple Pancakes. Not only are these pancakes super easy to make, they’re the perfect way to incorporate some freshly picked apples into your breakfast and savor the bounty of autumn.

In other news, I just got back from my trip, and I hope to share some photos from Paris and Germany soon!

Toasted Coconut Cream Puffs

cream puffs in lineCream Puffs definitely make the cut into my Top Five Favorite Desserts of All Time. You might recall that last year I blogged about classic Cream Puffs and Gougeres, which are both made with the same type of dough— pâte à choux. Ever since I blogged about those classic whipped cream-filled cream puffs, I’ve been dreaming of another variation: Toasted Coconut Cream Puffs.

cream puff overheadFor the toasted coconut version I decided to fill the cream puffs with a combination of coconut-infused pastry cream and whipped cream. For a complex yet mellow coconut flavor, I toasted the coconut in the oven before infusing it in the milk and cream for the pastry cream. Additional toasted coconut made its way into the cream puff dough, and a final dusting of toasted coconut on top of the cream puffs ensured these cream puffs were undeniably coconutty. Drizzles of chocolate and caramel broadened the flavor spectrum while adding a bit of elegance.

cream puffs and plateThere’s another reason I had the urge to blog about cream puffs again: I’ve been scouring David Lebovitz’s impressive Paris Pastry app in preparation for Sam’s and my grand adventure to Paris and Cologne this week. The app’s gorgeous photos of eclairs and religeuses have me salivating and dreaming of pastries. I thought it would be fun to have one last baking hurrah before my trip, so I made these as a nod to Paris pastries.

cream puff single

Au revoir, friends! See you in a few weeks with plenty of pictures of Paris pastries!

cream puffs diptychMake the Toasted Coconut Pastry Cream

Recipe adapted from Michael Ruhlman’s crème pâtissière recipe (Ratiop 215).

3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
½ cup plus 3 tablespoons milk
1½ cups heavy cream, divided
¼ vanilla bean, spit lengthwise
¼ cup sugar
4 egg yolks
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons butter

  1. Toast the coconut. Preheat oven to 325°F. Toast the coconut for 8-10 minutes, until fragrant and golden brown. Set aside ¼ cup of the toasted coconut to use in the cream puff batter and as a garnish.
  2. Infuse the milk. Combine the remaining ½ cup coconut, ½ cup milk, 1 cup heavy cream and vanilla bean in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over moderate heat. Remove pan from heat and allow mixture to steep for 15 minutes.
  3. Prepare other ingredients. Meanwhile, combine the yolks and sugar in a medium-sized heatproof bowl. Stir vigorously to begin dissolving sugar. Prepare an ice bath of ice water in a container large enough to accommodate the saucepan. Stir together the cornstarch and remaining 3 tablespoons milk in a small bowl.
  4. Make the pastry cream. Once the cream has steeped for 15 minutes, remove and discard the vanilla bean. Bring the cream to a simmer once again and then gradually whisk it into the yolks and sugar. (Even though the cream will be gloppy from the coconut flakes, it is important to add the cream to the yolks gradually and to stir quickly so the hot cream does not cook the egg yolks.) Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and add the cornstarch mixture, stirring constantly. Continue stirring over medium heat until the custard becomes very thick and is just about to boil. (Don’t worry if the custard seems overly thick; it will be thinned out with whipped cream later.) Remove the pan from the heat and submerge the base in the ice bath, stirring constantly. Add the butter and stir to thorougly incorporate it. Transfer the pastry cream to a bowl and refrigerate until cool, two to three hours.
  5. Whip cream. When you are ready to fill the cream puffs, whip the remaining 1 cup heavy cream with an electric mixer to hard peaks using a chilled bowl and chilled beaters.
  6. Combine pastry cream and whipped cream. Gently mix together the chilled pastry cream and whipped cream. Chill until ready to use.

Make the Cream Puffs

Recipe adapted from Michael Ruhlman’s pâte à choux recipe (Ratio, p 45).

1 cup water (8 oz.)
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (4 oz.)
2 teaspoons sugar
1 scant cup flour (4 oz.)
4 large eggs (8 oz.)
¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted (see pastry cream recipe)

  1. Prepare. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Mis en place: measure all ingredients and line them up so they’re within reach and ready when you need them.
  2. Make the Dough. Heat the water, butter and sugar in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon and bring the mixture to a boil. As soon as it boils and the butter has melted, add the flour. Stir like mad to incorporate the flour into the liquid. The dough will move from gelatinous goop to a shiny, cohesive ball that forms around the spoon as you stir. Continue stirring for 60 more seconds. This will cook the flour and remove its raw taste.
  3. Stir in the eggs. Spoon the dough ball into a clean bowl and let cool for two minutes. While the dough is still warm, heartily stir the eggs in one at a time. The dough will not accept the egg at first and look curdled, like spätzle. Continue stirring and eventually the egg will incorporate thoroughly into the dough. Add the other eggs one at a time, making sure each egg is fully incorporated before adding the next egg. Then stir in the toasted coconut. Alternatively, you can use an electric hand mixer or stand mixer with paddle attachment to beat in the eggs one at a time. Use a low speed to avoid beating extra air into the batter.
  4. Shape or pipe. Using two teaspoons or a small ice-cream scoop, place small mounds of dough about 1 inch apart on the baking sheets. My small ice cream scoop (7/8 oz. capacity) yielded 20 puffs. Alternatively, you can pipe with dough onto the baking sheet. Just make sure you pipe a mound and not a flat disk.
  5.  Bake. Bake the puffs at 425°F for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F and bake for 10-20 more minutes, until puffs have risen and are golden brown.

Assemble the Toasted Coconut Cream Puffs

Toasted Coconut Pastry Cream, above
Cream Puffs, above
2 tablespoons toasted coconut (reserved from pastry cream above)
caramel sauce (optional)
melted chocolate (optional)

  1. Slice the top of the cream puffs off with a sharp knife and fill with 1-2 tablespoons of coconut pastry cream. Replace top. Alternatively, place the pastry cream in a pastry bag fitted with a round tip. Poke a hole in the bottom of each cream puff with the pastry tip and fill with pastry cream.
  2. Drizzle the cream puffs with caramel sauce or melted chocolate and sprinkle with toasted coconut. Serve.


Sausage, White Bean and Arugula Soup

soup with titleIf you were to join me for lunch lately, you’d be eating a lot of soup. We might have Chicken and Rice Soup, Lettuce Soup or maybe this Sausage, White Bean and Arugula Soup. I don’t think it’s any secret that soup makes an ideal lunch food: It’s easy to make ahead and reheat for lunch; it’s usually full of veggies and other healthy things; and it freezes well. As much as I love cooking, making lunch can feel like a chore if I’m deep in other projects. Pulling a single serving of soup out of the freezer gives me one less thing to worry about.

Since tomorrow marks the first day of autumn, I thought this hearty soup would be a great way to usher in the new season. A blend of hot and sweet Italian sausage is the key to creating a spicy, flavorful broth. The paprika in the hot sausage adds ample heat, while the fennel of the sweet sausage lends it that characteristic Italian flavor. White beans add creaminess and wilted arugula provides a touch of bitterness.

soup horizontal_620pxThe traditional accompaniment for white beans and sausage is a bitter green called escarole, but this Italian cousin of endive proved elusive when I went grocery shopping. I figured my readers might also have trouble tracking it down and decided to use a more readily available green—arugula. If you can find escarole, use it; otherwise, arugula makes a fine substitute.

Happy autumn, friends! And enjoy the weekend.

Recipe adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook

Serves 4-6 as an entree


½ pound bulk hot Italian sausage
½ pound bulk sweet (mild) Italian sausage
7 garlic cloves, minced
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 cups packed arugula
2 (15 oz.) cans white beans (such as great northern or cannellini), drained and rinsed
4 cups chicken broth or stock
1 large tomato, diced
salt and pepper
½ cup grated parmesan cheese

Make the Sausage, White Bean and Arugula Soup

Brown the sausage in a large pot over medium heat, breaking the sausage into bite-sized pieces with a wooden spoon. Once the sausage is cooked, about 7-10 minutes, stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring frequently, until garlic softens, about 2 minutes. Stir in the arugula and cook until it wilts, about 2 minutes. Add the white beans, chicken broth and diced tomato, stir and bring to a simmer. Simmer for at least ten minutes to allow the flavors to meld. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and garnish with grated parmesan.

Green Goddess Dressing

Hello, Dear Readers! Remember last month when I wrote a blog post for NewlyWife? Well, I’ve officially become a contributor on NewlyWife and will now post there once a month. Head over to NewlyWife now to check out my post on how to make Green Goddess Salad Dressing and homemade mayonnaise. Both are super easy and tasty, so you won’t want to miss it!

salad, tongs, dressing

I should also add that the inspiration for the post came from my new wooden salad bowl. I’ve had my eye on wooden salad bowls for a while, but the prices at stores like Crate & Barrel and Sur La Table put it in the “maybe later” category. When Sam and I saw a bamboo serving bowl at Ikea for $20, we popped it in our cart with hardly a discussion. Not only does the wood add a lovely warmth to our table setting, but the bowl is lightweight, unlike our porcelain salad bowl (which is actually even smaller than our new wooden bowl). If you’re in the market for an inexpensive wooden salad bowl, Ikea is the place to go.

I’ll be back tomorrow with another post for you here on Tomato Tango, so stay tuned!

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