Sunday, August 28, 2011

Lemon Cornmeal Cookies

Hey Readers! How are ya?

Are you holed up in your apartment waiting out Hurricane Irene, like I am? Are you using the hurricane as an excuse to watch old episodes of Mission Impossible, like I am? Are you also using it as an excuse to make Banana Bread Pudding, like I am?


Oh. Why not?

Because you're at the beach today?


What's that you say? You're not even on the east coast?


Sorry. Please excuse my shouting. I fear that being holed up in my apartment has caused me to eat quite a bit of sugar recently.

The beach huh? That must be nice. I was at the beach once. Only seven days ago, in fact. And I brought these Lemon Cornmeal Cookies.

Reasons these cookies are great for the beach:

1) They're sturdy enough to withstand the schlep to the beach.

2) They do not melt in the sun.

3) The cornmeal gives them a sandy texture, which means you can eat 'em with sandy fingers and never know the difference.

4) They remind me of sand dollars.

5) And the sun.

6) And frisbees.

7) In fact, if you got desperate for beach sports equipment, you could probably use these as frisbees.

8) You could probably also use them to shield your eyes from the sun while you sunbathed. But then a seagull might swoop down to steal a cookie and poke your eyes out in the process...

...which would be worse: being on a beach during a hurricane, or getting your eyes poked out by seagulls?

What's that?

Oh. Yes. You're absolutely right. I should lay off the sugar before I go completely loopy.

Here's the bottom line: Stay safe during this hurricane, and if you're not on the east coast and are enjoying the beach, take these Lemon Cornmeal Cookies. But stay away from seagulls.


Lemon Cornmeal Cookies
Adapted from Cooking Light, via Me, Myself & Pie
Makes approximately 3 dozen cookies

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1 large egg
1 tablespoon lemon zest

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line baking sheets with parchment.

2. Whisk flour, cornmeal, baking soda, salt, and ground ginger in a medium bowl and set aside.

3. In a large bowl, cream sugar and butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Scrape sides of bowl occasionally. Add egg; beat well. Beat in lemon zest.

4. Add flour mixture in two batches, beating well until incorporated.

5. Use a cookie scoop or teaspoon to scoop 1 1/2 teaspoons of dough. Roll dough between palms to make a ball. Place dough balls 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. 

6. Bake for 12 minutes or until lightly browned and almost firm, rotating pans halfway through. Cool cookies on pans for 2 minutes or until firm. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Store cookies in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Note: I made these once on a very hot day and the cookies spread a lot more, so if it's very hot in your kitchen, you may want to consider chilling the dough first, and in between batches.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Butterscotch Pudding

I'm just gonna say it: I've had a tough week. So tough, in fact, that I've come down with spoon-food syndrome.

Spoon-food syndrome (SFS): The state of only wanting to eat comfort foods consumed with a spoon.

Things such as:

Cereal. Pudding. Soup. More pudding. More cereal. Spaghetti.

Wait. You don't eat spaghetti with a spoon?

Well I do, or at least I did this week. Even when the lady sitting across the lunch table looked at me funny over her super expensive sunglasses and schmancy mineral water. 

I don't care what you think, Manhattan Lady! I need my spoon this week, okay?!


Point is, I've gone through a lot of spoons this week. And, up until I made this pudding, all those spoons were shoveling food into my mouth that I hadn't made myself. Because if I'm suffering from SFS, I'm definitely not up for making said SF myself.

But then something happened.

I ran out of spoons.

If I wanted more spoon food, I was going to have to wash the dishes.

I thought it over, and decided that washing the dishes was less overwhelming than switching to forks (the horror!), so I got out the Dawn and a sponge and went to work.

But then something else happened while I stood there scrubbing spoons. I decided that if was going to the trouble to wash all those spoons, I might as well also go to the trouble of making something truly deserving of a shiny spoon. Something better than stale cereal, tomato soup, or takeout pasta.

This butterscotch pudding is what I chose. I don't really know why I chose it, frankly. I don't like butterscotch much, never have. Maybe it was the simplicity that was appealing; I already had the ingredients on hand.

This is the first time I've made pudding from scratch, and honestly, I don't think I'll ever go back to the instant stuff again. If I, impaired by SFS as I was, can handle pudding from scratch, anyone can. I even found the constant whisking to be comforting. I began to see a day when I'd pick up a fork again.

There's something else healing about this recipe: because it makes more pudding than one person can eat - no matter how many spoons she washes - one has to seek out friends to share it with. And friends, dear readers, are the foolproof cure for SFS.

Happy whisking,

Butterscotch Pudding
Adapted from David Liebovitz via JoytheBaker
Makes 4-6 servings

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan. Add dark brown sugar and salt, then stir until sugar is well-moistened. Remove from heat.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch with about 1/4 cup of the milk until smooth (there should be no visible pills of cornstarch), then whisk in eggs.

3. Gradually pour heavy cream and remaining milk into the melted brown sugar, whisking constantly, then whisk in the cornstarch mixture as well.

4. Return pan to medium low heat and bring the mixture to a boil, whisking frequently. Once it begins to bubble, reduce heat to a low simmer and continue to cook for one minute, whisking non-stop, until the pudding thickens to the consistency of hot fudge sauce.

5. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. If slightly-curdled looking, blend in a food processor or blender (or just whisk the heck out of it).

6. Pour pudding into a bowl or 4-6 serving glasses or custard cups and cover with plastic wrap, directly on top of pudding (unless you like pudding skin, in which case, plastic wrap doesn't need to touch top of pudding). Allow to cool and thicken in the refrigerator for several hours before serving.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Zesty Lemon Ice Cream

It was time, ladies and gentlemen.
Time for some homemade, melt-y, refreshing, creamy goodness.

How had August arrived without Katie and I making ANY ice cream this summer?!

This wrong had to be righted. Pronto. Was there time to venture out of our air-conditioned apartment to the grocery store for ingredients? No sir! Could we afford to wait for a silly custard-based ice cream to cook and chill? Of course not!

David Lebovitz, ice cream extraordinaire, to the rescue! This recipe for zesty lemon ice cream uses ingredients we already had on hand and involves almost no waiting. (I say almost because all ice cream-making requires at least a little bit of waiting. I think it's the universe's way of keeping people like me from becoming ice cream-making maniacs.)


Churned from a custard-less base (just cream, no eggs), this treat is light, refreshing, and well, zesty! Just perfect for a lazy summer afternoon pick-me up.

If you prefer your treats more sweet than tart, do like Kate and me and add a bit of hot fudge. Divine.

It's August, ladies and gentlemen. We've made our ice cream, and eaten it, too. All is right in the K&B kitchen.


Zesty Lemon Ice Cream
Adapted from David Lebovitz's The Perfect Scoop
Makes approximately 1 quart

2 lemons
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 3-4 lemons)
2 cups half-and-half
Pinch of salt

  1. Zest the lemons directly into a food processor or blender. Make sure to zest only the very top (yellow) layer of the skin; the white underlayer is bitter.
  2. Add the sugar and blend until the lemon zest is fully incorporated and very fine.
  3. Add the lemon juice and blend until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  4. Blend in the half-and-half and salt and process until smooth.
  5. Chill mixture for one hour, then churn with an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Once churned, place in freezer until frozen (about 2 hours).