Kolacky.

My great-grandmother’s recipe; to try when back in Denver:

Combine in a bowl:
1 1/2 cups sifted flour
1 cup butter
1/2 tsp salt

Mix with fork or hands until mixture is crumbly.

In another bowl, beat the following:
3 egg yolks
3 tbsp cold water
3 tbsp vinegar
After beaten together, mix in 1 cup flour.

Combine the two mixtures in a bowl, and refrigerate overnight.

Roll out portions of dough on a lightly floured surface. Cut out shapes and fill centers; bake at 350-375 for 22 minutes.

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Shaved Asparagus Pizza

We always love a pizza recipe. So in an effort to find something easy to make, we stumbled across this one on Smitten Kitchen.

Makes 1 thin crust 12-inch pizza

1 recipe Really Simple Pizza Dough or your favorite pizza dough
1/2 pound asparagus
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 pound mozzarella, shredded or cut into small cubes (we used 12 oz. rather than 8 oz.)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
Several grinds black pepper
1 scallion, thinly sliced

Preheat your oven to the hottest temperature it goes, or about 500 in most cases. If you use a pizza stone, have it in there.

Prepare asparagus: No need to snap off ends; they can be your “handles” as you peel the asparagus. Holding a single asparagus spear by its tough end, lay it flat on a cutting board and using a vegetable peeler (a Y-shaped peeler works best here, but I only had a standard, old and pretty dull peeler and it still worked; a mandolin would also work, in theory, but I found it more difficult to do it that way), create long shavings of asparagus by drawing the peeler from the base to the top of the stalk. Repeat with remaining stalks and don’t fret some pieces are unevenly thick (such as the end of the stalk, which might be too thin to peel); the mixed textures give a great character to the pizza. Discard tough ends. Toss peelings with olive oil, salt and pepper in a bowl and be sure to try one — I bet you can hardly believe how good raw asparagus can taste.

Assemble and bake pizza: Roll or stretch out your pizza dough to a 12-inch round. Either transfer to a floured or cornmeal-dusted pizza peel (if using a pizza stone in the oven) or to a floured or cornmeal-dusted tray to bake it on. Sprinkle pizza dough with Parmesan, then mozzarella. Pile asparagus on top. Bake pizza for 10 to 15 minutes, or until edges are browned, the cheese is bubbly and the asparagus might be lightly charred. Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle with scallions, then slice and eat.

David: It was delicious. It was very, very simple but fresh and I almost don’t believe that it turned out as good as it did. Everything was in perfect balance.
Carla: It was very tasty. We used our pizza dough recipe. It was easy to put together and was great reheated the next night.

Coffee Almond Crunch Cake

David and I have recently become a bit obsessed with Gordon Ramsay. There are episodes of Kitchen Nightmares (U.K) on Netflix and we have been watching some almost everyday. After watching the show so much, we decided that we needed to check out a cookbook and see if Gordon knows what he is talking about. And of course, we tried dessert first.

Coffee Almond Crunch Cake

Cake:
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
3 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten (we used large eggs)
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 heaped cup ground almonds (we used almond meal from Trader Joe’s)
1/4 cup cooled espresso or strong black coffee (we used espresso)
2/3 cup self-rising flour*
1/2 tsp. baking powder
confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Crunch Topping:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees (F). Butter the bottom and sides of a deep 8-inch diameter cake pan with a removable bottom. For the crunch topping, mix the flour and sugar in a bowl and rub in the butter until it resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.

Using a mixer, cream the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, a little at a time, until fully incorporated. Add the almond extract and mix well. Fold in the ground almonds, followed by half the espresso. Sift in the flour and baking powder together and fold this through the mixture. Finally, fold in the remaining espresso.

Spread the batter in the cake pan and level with a spatula. Bake for 30 minutes. Sprinkle the crunch topping evenly over the top, then continue baking until the top is golden brown and a skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, 20-30 minutes longer. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before unmolding onto a wire rack. When completely cooled, dust with confectioners’ sugar, then cut into slices to serve.

*Self-rising flour includes some additional baking powder and salt. We didn’t have any on hand, so we just made our own. To one cup of flour add 1/4 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. baking powder. Keep in mind that the recipe calls for only 2/3 cup of self-rising flour.

David: It was delicious. It was not too sweet, but you could definitely taste the almond and the espresso. Instant winner.
Carla: It was great. It would be good as a dessert or for breakfast. Easy to put together, which is always a plus. I would definitely make this recipe again.