Tuesday, December 31, 2013

End of Year

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I will reach an age milestone this year and I'm sure you can guess which one. I try not to put too much weight in my age, but I won't say that I haven't thought of the next year in it's context. When I was younger, I probably planned to be married with a certain number of kids in a certain type of house in a certain city that was certainly not New York.  I never planned to live here you see, but about 7 years ago I took a leap and only look back occasionally when I miss my family and the Pacific Northwest which I maintain is one of the most beautiful places on this earth, but that is a story for another day. I am here and this is a time for looking forward.

I am not one for formal resolutions, but let's all try to be kinder, stronger and more generous in 2014. I am also hoping to go with the flow and get shit done in equal measures.

Cheers and Happy New Year, and as always, thank you for following me here.

these photos are some favorites and some that I haven't shared before for whatever reason

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Chocolate Sablés with Juniper Sugar

Juniper Chocolate Sables with Juniper Sugar

I was recently gifted a jar of freshly foraged juniper berries and a container of juniper sugar from my friend and collaborator Tama Matsuoka Wong. Tama is a forager and conservationist and every winter she collects the berries of the eastern red cedar trees near her home in New Jersey to sell to restaurants in New York. This year, I was lucky enough to get some too! The berries (technically cones) are slightly sweeter and less harsh than commercially available dried juniper berries and they smell absolutely wonderful. When I tasted the juniper sugar, I knew it's sweet foresty flavor and subtle woodsy notes would be just the thing to add to my holiday treat arsenal so I stirred up a batch of my favorite chocolate sablé dough and coated it with the sugar before slicing. The result is a wonderful holiday flavored cookie, perfect for gifting.

More tasty holiday gifts can be found in this post from last year.

In other news:

If you are still searching for an impressive Christmas dessert, check out the Bûche de Noël I made for Food52 here.

I was recently featured on the wonderful site Pantry Confidential. Click through to peek inside my kitchen and get my recipe for Salty Caramel Apple and Cranberry Pie.

Happy Holidays!

Chocolate Sablés with Juniper Sugar
cookies adapted from Dorie Greenspan

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup confectioners sugar1 large egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
juniper sugar for rolling (recipe below)

To make juniper sugar blend 3 tablespoons dried juniper berries with 1/2 cup raw sugar in a spice grinder or high powered blender. This can also be done with a mortar and pestle (and elbow grease).

Mix the butter in a large bowl with a wooden spoon until soft. Add in the sugar and cocoa powder. Add in the egg and vanilla, then finally add the flour and salt and mix until just combined. Dump the dough onto a sheet of parchment paper and use the paper to form the dough into a log 2-inches by 12-inches. Chill the dough until firm, at least 2 hours. When firm, roll the dough log in the juniper sugar then cut into slices, just shy of 1/4-inch thick. Place the slices 1-inch apart on lined baking sheets, sprinkle with additional juniper sugar if desired, and bake in a 350º oven until they are just beginning to darken around the edges, 8-10 minutes. Let cool completely on the baking sheets and store in an airtight container.