Thursday, March 28, 2013

Some cookies. And a little ice cream.

Right after my January/February cake phase, I quickly moved on to cookies - Our little oven needed to be tested. First up were the Quinoa Cloud Cookies from 101 Cookbooks... Sadly they didn't turn out, though with nearly a kilo of quinoa flour left over, I'll be trying them again to fix whatever mistake I made (I suspect it was measurement of the flour; I should always use a scale is the weight measurements are there).

Moving on, I picked up a copy of Pure Dessert by Alice Medrich early in March. With easy access to great ingredients (I settled into a lovely "off-festival-season" gig at Provisions by Duchess), the desserts in this book, featuring the flavours of a great chocolate, fresh cream or fruit, nuts and grains, are exactly what I want to make when I step into the kitchen.

I started with her recipe for Whole Wheat Sables, though I swapped out the whole wheat flour for spelt, as suggested, since that's what we had on hand. The dough comes together easily, with just a few ingredients, and is then shaped into a log before being refrigerated over night. I found I needed to cook them about four minutes longer than the suggested 12-14 minutes to get that perfect sandy texture, and to bring out the nutty flavour of the spelt flour (again, our oven...). I made Tartine's Lemon Cream to serve atop the cookies after a lamb dinner made my Rachel.

Next up were Nibby Buckwheat Cookies - Definitely the best of all the cookies I've baked this month. If I can get buckwheat flour into something, I will (these scones, for instance), and I was happy to see it featured prominently in this book. The pairing of buckwheat with cocoa nibs is genius. The flour has a wine like flavour, and cocoa nibs, depending on the brand and origin, often have a fruity flavour that compliments the flour well. She also notes that the buckwheat flour acts like cornstarch - but with better flavour - to give the cookies a fine, sandy texture. Alice Medrich knows her stuff. You can find the recipe here.

Now that things seem to be on the up weather wise, we've found a permanent spot in the freezer for the ice cream bowl. At Cally's Teas the other day, I found dried Lemon Verbena, and picked up a little to make a mint and lemon verbena ice cream also found in the book. This was my first attempt at "Philadelphia" style ice cream, without an egg based custard. The base is made with a fifty-fifty cream-milk mixture, along with a little sugar, and then your flavourings of choice.

I took my pint of ice cream into work on Monday, and I think everyone enjoyed its freshness, particularly since it happened to be the first real warm day since last week's storm.

Cookies and ice cream. Clearly the next step is ice cream sandwiches.