Saturday, January 9, 2010

More From James Peterson's BAKING Cookbook


I am loving this cookbook. There are just so many fantastic recipes and they are very easy to follow as the directions are crystal clear with lots of photos of what things should look like. This is turning into my "go-to" cookbook when I need a recipe for something, or I'm just in the mood to bake.

I made the the white sablee cookies and the chocolate sablee cookies. As the book suggests, you can combine both doughs to make a really pretty (and tasty) cookie. Both dough are easy to make but working with sablee dough can be frustrating as it gets soft very quickly. I was back and forth between the fridge and the pastry board a bunch of times trying to keep the dough cool enough to roll out. Still, it wasn't difficult and the cookies rock.

I also made the cream cheese tart filling to use in some pseudo-Napoleons. I cut store-bought puff pastry into rectangles and baked them until they were lightly browned. I added a layer of the cream cheese filling, and some fresh pineapple and pomegranate. Oh, and some powdered sugar on top. These were so simple and really good (and quite fancy-pants looking). As James says in the book, the filling does taste just like cheesecake.

White Sablee Cookies

2/3 cup cake flour
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup cold butter, cut into 1/3-inch cubes
1 whole egg
1 egg yolk plus additional if needed

This method uses a stand mixer but you can also make these by hand or in the food processor.

With the paddle attachment, mix both flours, the salt, and sugar on low speed for 30 seconds. Add the butter and continue mixing on low to medium speed for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the dough looks like fine gravel. If after 2 minutes the dough is still powdery, like Parmesan cheese, pinch a piece to see if it holds together. If it doesn't, add another egg yolk and mix again for 1 to 4 minutes, until the pastry dough looks like fine gravel, then coarse gravel, and finally until it comes together in a clumpy mass and you hear the mixer motor straining.

Cut the dough in half. On a floured work surface, roll half of the dough into a 1 1/2 by 8-inch log, using the palms of your hands. Repeat with the remaining dough. Wrap the logs separately in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Unless you are using nonstick pans, line 2 sheet pans with parchment or silicone baking mats.

Slice the cylinders into 1/3-inch-thick rounds and arrange them on the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 1/2 inch apart. Bake for about 12 minutes, or until a barely perceptible browning is visible on the edges of the cookies. Transfer to a cooling rack or leave on pans set on racks. Store tightly sealed in an airtight container for up to 1 week.


Chocolate Sablee Cookies

3/4 cup flour
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into 1/3-inch slices
1 egg white

Unless you are using nonstick pans, line a sheet pan with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. In a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt and process for 15 seconds, or until well mixed. Add the butter and egg white and process for about 20 seconds, or until the dough comes together in a lumpy mass. Remove the dough from the processor and shape into 1 1/2 by 15-inch log. Refrigerate the dough for 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375F. Slice the dough 1/3 to 1/2 inch thick. Arrange the cookies in rows on the prepared sheet pan. Bake for 20 minutes until firm but not hard. Let cool until set and then transfer to cooling racks, or let cool in the pan set on racks. Store tightly sealed in an airtight container for up to 1 week.


Marbled Sablee Cookies

1/2 recipe Sablee Cookie Dough
1 recipe Chocolate Sablee Dough

Unless you are using nonstick pans, line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Squeeze each dough into rough strips and bunch the strips together. Use your hands to roll the mixed dough into a cylinder into 1/3-inch-thick rounds and arrange the rounds on the prepared sheet pans. Chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Bake for about 12 minutes, or until only the slightest hint of browning is visible on the edges of the cookies. Let cool until set and then transfer to cooling racks, or let cool in the pans set on racks. Store tightly sealed in an airtight container for up to 1 week.


Cream Cheese Tart Filling

8 ounces of cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup powdered sugar, or more as needed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1 tablespoon kirsch
2/3 cup sour cream, or more as needed

Beat the cream cheese using a wooden spoon or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until softened. Beat in the sugar and vanilla.

As the cream cheese gets easier to mix, switch to a whisk and add the sour cream, 1/4 at a time. Whisk until smooth. Add more sour cream as needed to obtain the desired consistency, which should be smooth and silky but still thick.





4 comments:

  1. Wow Michelle - everything looks great! I am totally saving this recipe.

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  2. oooooooh Michele! you would post delicious looking sweets when I'm trying my best not to bake or eat anything sweet!!!! these all look so yummy!

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  3. These both look so good! Buttery cookie dough is hard to work with, but it's worth it in the end. I like the marbled effect! And the pseudo-Napoleons look delicious! I love how puff pastry is so adaptable and makes everything seem so fancy.

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  4. Thanks so much for commenting!!

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