Quick Enhancer – Avocado Butter

Posted: September 7, 2010 | Author: Johanna | Filed under: Johanna | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

I love avocados.

I also love butter.

The combination of the two is one of those things you never really think about, until one day, the lightbulb goes on, and you realize “Hey — buttery avocados….butter….holy moly!!”It’s one of those things that I feel silly giving a recipe for, because seriously, the name says it all — avocados and butter are the major ingredients.
Avocado Butter

To make avocado butter, as with all compound butters, I start with room-temperature butter. For me, there is only one kind of butter for this — salted. If you want to use unsalted, that’s ok, but remember to definitely add salt to the mixture — avocados love and need salt.
I use half a stick of butter to half an avocado. In the past, I have combined the butter and avocado with a fork in a bowl, although this time I made it in my Kitchenaid. Once the butter and avocado are combined, I add a healthy pinch of coarse kosher salt. After that, anything goes. I like to add lime zest, lime juice, cayenne pepper, and cumin. Not much cayenne and cumin, because you don’t want to blow your head off while eating your morning toast. Just enough to make you notice it.

Once everything is combined, and you’ve given it a final taste, do your best not to eat it all at once, and wrap it up in plastic wrap or foil, squeezing tightly to make a cylinder. Or, alternatively, put it in a tupperware or other airtight container.

I put this on toast in the morning for an extra jolt of nutrition. You can also cut a piece to put onto a piece of grilled or sauteed fish, or use it to top a turkey burger. It would probably be excellent in a grilled cheese sandwich as well. Experiment, and play around, but know that all you need to make this worth it is a slice of crispy bread.

Summer Tomato Soup

Posted: August 30, 2010 | Author: Bakezilla | Filed under: Bakezilla, vegetarian | No Comments »

Hi guys,

I know that I’m Bakezilla and I’m supposed to tell you all about lovely baked goods… BUT, it’s the summer. And, it’s been a really HOT summer. So, even die-hard bakers like me have been forced to turn off the oven and look for foods that are a little more weather appropriate.

… Like, this tasty chilled tomato soup. I wouldn’t call it a gazpacho, it’s got more of an Italian/French feel. What I can tell you, is that my beau and I came across this, made it, and ate it, we both decided it was awesome.

# 2 1/4 cups tomato juice
# 1 1/3 cups finely chopped tomatoes (about 11 ounces)
# 1/2 cup (generous) finely chopped roasted red bell peppers from jar
# 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
# 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
# 1 tablespoon prepared white horseradish
# 1 garlic clove, pressed
# Generous dash of hot pepper sauce
# Fine sea salt
# 4 1/3-inch-thick rounds soft fresh goat cheese
# 6 grape tomatoes, cut in half
# 2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil

Combine first 8 ingredients in large bowl; whisk to blend. Season soup to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled and flavors blend, at least 2 hours. DO AHEAD: Can be made 6 hours ahead. Keep chilled.

Ladle soup into 4 bowls. Top each with 1 goat cheese round and 3 grape tomato halves. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper and basil.

Fried and Fabulous

Posted: August 26, 2010 | Author: Johanna | Filed under: Johanna | Tags: , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

After the gorgeous squash cakes and tomato salad from my last post, I have to get a little unhealthy on you for one quick second. But even this, this crazy entry about fried goodness, is totally fine. Because barring one moment where I totally ate fried okra 2 nights in a row, I don’t really eat fried food all that often. So whenever it happens, you just have to let it rip, and revel in every minute of it, because it’s delicious, and it’s a treat, and y’know what? The next day you’re probably going to want to go back to something light, cleansing, and guaranteed to help chase the grease from your pores.

Or at least, I usually do.

About a year ago, I developed a blog friendship with Nishta, from Blue Jean Gourmet. And around this time last year, Nishta mentioned (possibly on Twitter) that her sweetie, Jill, made some mean fried okra.
Fried okra
Being from New England, I had never seen okra in  person. I’d only ever heard of it as an element in gumbo. But, having something of a flirtation with Southern food all my life, and loving anything fried, I have been intrigued by the idea of frying okra (or really any vegetable) since I found out that this is something people just….do! My ancestors didn’t really deep-fry. You want a pot roast, or something involving cabbage? A way to figure out how to feed a family on a pound of beans and a hunk of salt pork? My people, the Yankees, the Scots and the Poles, we got you covered.
But breading/battering and deep-frying veggies? Shit, dog, that’s uncharted territory!

And when I see uncharted territory, I barge right in, because who knows when I might end up eating something like Jill’s fried okra.
Fried Okra mosaic
And trust me friends, Jill Carroll’s Fried Okra is something you want to be eating. These little nuggets of fried deliciousness are enough to make me contemplate running to the store and getting okra right now….when all the stores are closed. Honestly, follow Jill’s recipe. I did, except of course I added some cornmeal in with the flour I dredged in, and oh yeah, I deep-fried instead of doing a shallow fry, because it seemed less likely that I would burn the okra on my first try. Holy god this stuff is good. Seriously, even if you don’t think you like okra, make this. Please.

In exchange for the fried okra recipe, Nishta asked for my fried pickle method. I’ve been working on it for a while, and part of the wonder of this particular batch of fried pickles is that I made them using homemade pickles. Cucumbers that I sliced, brined, and processed by using this garlic dill recipe from Marisa’s exemplary blog. And these pickles? I made them basically the same way that Jill makes her okra.
Fried Pickle mosaic

I took my pickles, and put them in a big bowl. I drizzled buttermilk over them, and let them sit, although I have also done a basic flour, egg, flour dredge. When my stock pot of frying oil (usually vegetable or canola) has reached 370, I scoop the pickles out of the buttermilk, and into a combination of flour, cornmeal (usually in a 1:1 ratio) and salt. Oftentimes, I’ll use Old Bay or cayenne as well, but these are some speecy-spicy dill pickles, just the way I like them, so I left out the additional spices this time.

After a solid coating in the flour and cornmeal, I drop them in the oil, being careful not to crowd, and being REALLY careful that the oil temperature doesn’t drop below 350. When they’re nice and golden brown, I scoop them out to drain.
I’ve eaten fried pickles that were more like doughnuts with pickle filling, and while they’re interesting, they’re not my thing. I like a nice, thin coating on my fried pickles, and a good crisp. I think that the quicker you can get the coating to crisp, the better, because your pickle can also stay crispy.
Oh, and one last thing.

Always, ALWAYS chips. Never spears. Anyone who’s ever gotten burned by hot pickle juice running down their chin knows this. And if you don’t, well, consider this your lesson.

Summer Supper: Crisper Cleanout!

Posted: August 23, 2010 | Author: Johanna | Filed under: Johanna | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

My favorite thing about the summer is when it gets hot and sultry out, and tomatoes burst forth with all their colorful, vibrant glory. I mean, look at this:
Composed Salad - Tomatoes

This is a salad (ok, in my world, it’s a salad) involving items that we got in our CSA share this week – 2 big beautiful heirloom tomatoes sliced, and a handful of beautiful little yellow baby tomatoes cut in half. Some parsley, also from the CSA. Salt and pepper. That’s literally all it is, and it’s the most beautiful thing ever. This salad is what I love best about summer. The funky old tomatoes, green and brownish and yellow, orange, pink, red, multicolored and mottled, they’re all finally coming ripe, and being their amazing selves. I love tomato season.
Fun fact: when Jesse and I started dating, he told me that he didn’t like tomatoes. I told him, honestly, that what he disliked was crappy tomatoes. A good tomato is a joy, and judging by the happy look on his face when I gave him his plate tonight, he has learned that lesson well.

The other amazing thing about this particular summertime is our CSA share. Where before, on a night like Sunday night, I would have needed to go to the store to get something to make for dinner, I could just open the crisper and see what veggies we had, or had left from previous weeks. I haven’t had this ready access to fresh, excellent vegetables since I was a kid and my parents and grandparents had gardens. And while just a week or two ago I was bemoaning the fucking omnipresence of zucchini (seriously, there was none this week in the share. I did a happy dace), Sunday night it was a lifesaver to have those squashes in the crisper.

Because it meant that I could make squash cakes to go with our tomato salad, thereby giving us a full on vegetarian meal, complete with the inclusion of fruity beer and cheese!
Summer Dinner

Squash Cakes
adapted from Epicurious

I pretty much stick to the recipe when I make these cakes, which I have made a couple times now. I hope to use the same recipe to make sweet potato cakes in the future, because sweet potatoes with some curry spices and cheese…. just the thought makes me happy!! In fact, it makes me wonder if I could do this with butternut squash and white cheddar, or acorn squash and goat cheese. The possibilities seem endless!!

Squash cakes.

I grated up 1 small zucchini, 1 yellow goose-neck squash, and 1 pattypan squash, put them in the colander, and sprinkled them with salt. Then, I squished the shredded squash with my hands, squeezing out the water after the half-hour was up, and rolling it up in a dishtowel to squeeze out some more water. When making the batter, I used 1/3 of a cup of Bluepoint Blueberry Ale, because I’m convinced that the quarter-cup I added the first time wasn’t enough. I also added 1/4 teaspoon of cumin and 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne, because I’m a punk.
From there, the only real change I made this time was using shredded mozzarella instead of goat cheese, because it was what I had in the fridge. I really like the way the mozzarella melts, and gets kind of crispy, so it’s a little like you’re eating pizza or the best grilled cheese. It’s also a little like you’re eating a latke, only a latke jacked up about 10 degrees. In fact, I bet this would be really good with straight up potatoes too, if you could squeeze out enough water, so if anyone’s interested in the attempt, let me know.

This was an awesome Sunday night supper, and used up a lot of the veggies that I was wondering what to do with, and how I could use them before they became a waste. Hopefully it can help you get rid of some of your excess zucchini, or help you appreciate your summer tomatoes a little better. Or maybe both.

Any summer favorites from you guys out there?

About Moi

Posted: August 16, 2010 | Author: Johanna | Filed under: Johanna | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

I realized today that it is entirely possible that we either have new readers, or readers who still don’t know certain information about me. In the interest of bringing people some new stuff, or at least some new information, here we go with a few fun facts about the Improviser that you may not have known.

#1 – I really DO improvise a lot. Most dinners at our house are the result of me reading a recipe, thinking “wow, that sounds good” and proceeding to forget half of the procedures and just going with the ingredient list. I cook by feel, and I’m working really hard to train myself to use my senses more in my daily life, including cooking. This means that things may burn a little more often because I’m not setting timers. It also might mean that I have to guess how long something baked for – but if you cook my recipes frequently enough, you’ll get the hang of it.

#2 – I do not drink anything even remotely close to the recommended amount of water every day. Or at least, I didn’t, until this baby came into my life. Who knew that all it would take to make me drink water was a cute orange metal water bottle with a sport bottle top? I’m actually thinking about getting an even BIGGER KleanKanteen soon, because I love the little one, but I have to get up and refill it ALL THE TIME. The good thing about drinking this much water during the day is that when it’s time for hot yoga class, I don’t feel like I’m going to die. This is seriously the best.

#3 – My favorite comestibles are, in no particular order: chicken fingers, bourbon, french fries, chocolate chip cookies, macaroni & cheese, pizza, cheeseburgers, fried chicken, mashed potatoes, lobster, spicy tuna rolls, strong dark coffee, chocolate croissants, and cookie dough ice cream. Oh, and buttermilk biscuits with sausage gravy. And Gie’s Mince & Tatties. And Jaffa Cakes. And Diesels and Guinness and Vino Verde. And Riesling. And cheese in its many wondrous forms. You may have noticed that a lot of these things are the same foods that 9 year old boys love. That’s totally cool with me, since they’re also freaking delicious.

#4 – If I’m going the boneless-skinless route, I will from now on be choosing ONLY chicken thighs. No more boneless, skinless, textureless, TASTELESS chicken breasts for this girl – give me a little more fat, which means a little more flavor, and a little more *snap* in the texture. Give me more. If I’m paying the same money, I’m taking as much as I can flavor-wise out of it.

#5 – I have no problem, at all, with plunging a lobster into a pot of boiling water, clamping down the lid, and cooking the sucker.

#6 – I forgot to mention that one of my favorite things to eat is my dad’s Red Beans and Rice. And that by mashed potatoes, I mean my mom’s. By biscuits I don’t mean from a can. I love curry and chickpeas, and risotto (I forgot to mention risotto) and things that involve pumpkin, sausage, stock and cream. I also love cold leftovers, topped with a fried egg, for breakfast. Basically, anything topped with a fried egg.

#7 – I do not consider white chocolate to be chocolate.

Thoughts on Food

Posted: August 8, 2010 | Author: Johanna | Filed under: Johanna | 2 Comments »

Hello friends! I’m back, after a brief hiatus known here as The Month of July, or Way Too Hot to Eat, Let Alone Cook month.

The month of July in Brooklyn included the hottest day in New York City history, as well as roughly 3 weeks of temperatures over 80 degrees, with no respite. Possibly closer to the whole month. I think my brain melted somewhere around the middle of July, conveniently coinciding with the day I began training for the New York City Marathon. Since then, there have been a lot of dinners cobbled together from whatever might have come in our CSA share that week. By the way, friends, when on earth does zucchini season end????? I have pickled it. I have sauteed it. I turned it into fake pasta. I put it in a fritatta. I put it in tomato sauce and turned it into zucchini pancakes (which were delicious) and seriously it keeps on coming. I don’t understand. Help me.

Now, it’s August, and my oven worked for 3 days, which was nice, and now it doesn’t work again, which is aggrivating when one plans to make chicken enchiladas for dinner and realizes one cannot, because one cannot BAKE the enchiladas (yes, I know it’s hot out, and yes, I still planned to bake them). But, we will adapt.

As an element of marathon training, I am covering more miles than ever before every week. So far, I’m running between 18 and 22 miles per week, and it will increase from there. In 2 weeks, I will embark on a 14-mile run, which will be the longest run I have ever undertaken. And every run from there until mid-October will be longer than the one before it, and will be the furthest I have ever run. I have been told that somewhere along the way, I am going to become ravenously hungry all the time, and will begin to eat more than ever before as well. I’m kind of looking forward to that, honestly, knowing that there is truth in the statement that hunger is the best sauce.

One thing I’ve noticed in the running community, such as I am a member, is that a lot of runners view foods as a “treat”, something they can “earn” after a hard workout. I often see running folk posting tweets or blog posts that go somewhere along the line of, “x number of miles logged this week, baking a pie now because I earned it”. This has upset me pretty much every time I hear it or see it, for many reasons. Many people have disordered eating in this country, both overeating, and under-eating. Some people count and restrict every single calorie they put in their bodies, while some people just eat and eat, never once thinking about the calories they put in their bodies.

I’ve worked my whole life to fight disordered eating, and seeing food as a reward. It’s hard sometimes, because there is so much in the world that tells us that we “deserve” a treat after a long day, or that we exercise to “earn” or to “make up for” those little “indiscretions” we make with food.

Since I’m embarking on something that will presumably have me embracing the calories, I’m making a new promise, to myself and to the blogosphere as a whole :

I will make sure that I treat food as fuel, as something I need, and as something to be respected. I won’t treat food as something to be earned, or a reward.

That doesn’t mean I’m going to eat french fries every night. Because I don’t WANT to eat french fries every night. But if I want french fries? I’m gonna have ‘em. In fact, I’m having them for dinner tonight! But I’m having them with grilled chicken thighs and a salad. Because that’s what I want.

Another girl is writing writing a blog about this, and I highly recommend her. Jessica’s One Girl No Diet is a refreshing chance to look at life where food is just food – something you gotta get. Something you love. But not something you earn.

I’m sick of reading about what I should be eating/what others think they should be doing/what we think we deserve regarding food.

It’s about love. Love yourself. Treat yourself well. You’re worth it.

And so am I.

Best Chocolate Frosting, Period.

Posted: | Author: Bakezilla | Filed under: Bakezilla | No Comments »

Hi All-

Summer, it seems, is too busy a season for all of us pretty girls. But, fear not, dear readers, Bakezilla’s back. This frosting was for my birthday cake a few weeks ago, and while the cake was good, it was the frosting that was a real star. I wish I had layered more on, because this recipe, adapted from Shirley Corriher’s Lucious, Creamy Chocolate Icing, makes a TON. And it’s awesome. Really, really awesome.

You will need:
-12 oz milk chocolate chips
-9 oz semisweet chocolate chips
- 2 tbs brown sugar
-pinch salt
-1/2 tsp almond extract
-3 tbs light corn syrup (I promise that this isn’t the high fructose stuff that’s so bad for you found in processed food…)
-1 1/2 cups sour cream

1. Melt the chocolate most of the way, either in the microwave on 50% power or on the stovetop over medium heat. When it’s almost all the way melted, take it off the heat and stir until smooth. Don’t burn it – burned chocolate smells almost as bad as burned hair. A kitchen mistake every baker knows.

2. In a mixing bowl, stir together the sugar, salt, almond and corn syrup. Stir in the sour cream with one or two strokes. Add the melted chocolate, beat on low until very smooth. If it’s too runny, let it sit for 30-60 minutes.

Before frosting, make a soaking solution for the cake. I had never used this technique before, but this really enhances your frosting and cake’s flavors. To do so: mix together 1 cup of hot water with 1 cup of sugar until the sugar dissolves. Add in 2 tbs rum or liqueur of your choice (I like Grand Mariner). Drizzle 3-4 tbs of this over each layer of your cake before frosting it. The hot water evaporates all of the alcohol, so not to worry serving this to those who cannot have any.

To make the frosting more chocolatey, play with the quantities/types of chocolate – use dark, or use more semi-sweet and less milk. You could also use bars of chocolate chopped into little bits, but chocolate companies are making chips much more high quality than they used to (there are more options than Tollhouse! I promise!), so I think there’s no shame in using them.

The Salvadoran People Have the Sky for a Hat

Posted: July 11, 2010 | Author: Bakezilla | Filed under: Bakezilla | No Comments »

As the summer hits New York City, and I experience its heat, its humidity so thick it’s hard to breathe, its sleepy days and frenetic nights, I’m brought to a far away place where I spent a summer now six years ago. El Salvador, a tiny Central American country where the heat never breaks, and life moves painfully slowly and so fast you can’t keep up all at once.

I’ve had a long time to reflect on my time there. Most time in El Salvador, including mine there, is spent outdoors. Their national song, a poetic description of the Salvadoran people’s dignity, courage and strength in the face of brutal repression and a horrible war begins with “the Salvadoran people have the sky for a hat,” meaning that they are always outside, retreating only inside to sleep. The family I lived with for those three intense months, like most Salvadoran families, had no formal kitchen. They had a large sink, called a pila, outside under a tree, where all washing (and I mean to say I washed my dishes, my clothing and stood there nude at night and washed myself) takes place. They had a small gas range and a refrigerator also outside, protected by a porch. Like most Salvadoran families, they had no oven, and bought most of their food already prepared from street vendors, cooking only on the occasional Sunday after church. This is a place where it is always too hot to cook.

View of the capital, San Salvador

I think about this now, when my computer’s weather monitor says it’s 99 degrees, and I too eat mostly food that’s already prepared, or that requires no cooking and certainly no baking. The only baked good I ever ate there was a sweet and savory cheese bread known there as “quesadilla,” not to be confused with the more popular Mexican version. No one taught me to make it, as it is made there only in restaurant kitchens and not private homes. I’ve made it here several times, substituting Parmesan for Salvadoran cheese, which is remarkably similar but somehow different all at once.

Here is a Salvadoran Quesadilla recipe, taken from epicurious.com, for days I want to remember El Salvador, but it thankfully isn’t too hot to cook:

  • 1 3/4 cups sifted cake flour (not self-rising; sift before measuring)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature 30 minutes
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1/2 ounces finely grated parmesan
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds (optional), not toasted

They say to use a 9×5 inch loaf pan, however, I’ve only ever seen this made in round cake pans.

Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle. Line bottom and sides of pan with parchment paper.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat butter and sugar in another bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale, about 1 minute. Beat in eggs, sour cream, and cheese.

Reduce speed to low and mix in milk. Add flour mixture and mix until just combined.

Transfer batter to pan and smooth top. Sprinkle with sesame seeds (if using). Bake until a wooden pick or skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes.

Cool to warm in pan, 20 to 30 minutes. Turn cake out onto a rack. Serve cake slightly warm or at room temperature.

Wrap it Up

Posted: June 28, 2010 | Author: Johanna | Filed under: Johanna | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment »

Last week, I sent out a missive to the internets, wondering what on earth I should do with a massive head of napa cabbage I’d received from my CSA share. This week was a bit crazy, and I didn’t have a chance to actually sort out how to cook it or use it until yesterday. And what I came up with was a riff on lettuce wraps. If you’re not feeling up to eating the monster raw, take heart. I will be trying a whole bunch of other recipes soon to get this cabbage cooked before it goes bad. Kimchi anyone?
Cabbage Wraps

I used a mishmash of items from the fridge, and came up with something lovely and delicious. I would definitely recommend using the tender, inner leaves of your Napa cabbage, since the outer leaves can be somewhat tough. I would also recommend cutting out the central rib from the leaves, as this makes it easier both to roll AND to eat without spraying the filling all over your face.

Napa Cabbage Lettuce Wraps

1. Begin by breaking 1-2 handfuls of rice stick noodles in half, and putting them to soak in hot tap water.
2. Julienne 2 golfball-sized Japanese turnips, chop a few bundles of baby bok choy, and mince 2 cloves of garlic. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a skillet over moderately high heat, and throw in the veggies. Season with salt, and saute until they’re starting to pick up some color.
Steps pt. 1

3. Throw in some diced cooked chicken (or shredded, or whatever) and stir around until the chicken is heated through. At that point, add the rice noodles into the pan, with some of the soaking water to make sure everything gets cooked. Add more salt if you need to at this point.
4. Make the sauce. Scoop 2 tablespoons of peanut butter (I used honey roasted, but any kind will work), and 1 teaspoon of red curry paste into a bowl. Whisk together as best you can, and then add a small drizzle of sesame oil. You just want it to thin out the sauce, and add a little depth. When the noodles are softened, add the whole mess in the skillet to the sauce and toss. The heat from the items formerly in the skillet will melt the sauce and help it coat everything. Now is the time to add an additional drizzle of sesame oil, more curry paste, or maybe some soy sauce, if you feel like it needs something.
5. Prepare the cabbage. Peel the leaves off, rinse them under cold water, dry them, and cut out the central ribs. Then, assemble your friends and loved ones, and start rolling!
Steps pt. 2

Cabbage wraps are tasty. There’s lots of green in this dish (as well as protein from the peanut butter and the chicken) and plenty of crunch. The warm filling plus the cool cabbage made a nice contrast, and tasted pretty fantastic.
The stove was on for a grand total of 15 minutes to make this dish, which feels like an instant AND a lifetime as the weather heats up and my kitchen remains windowless. But from those 15 minutes at the stove comes a lovely, crisp, cool-warm-crashing meal that you can cook for 2 or 10 with basically the same items.

And honestly, if I’d thought about it, I probably should have made it for 12 — much less cabbage left to work with that way!

The Cookies of Italy and Greece

Posted: June 21, 2010 | Author: Bakezilla | Filed under: Bakezilla | 1 Comment »

One of the greatest things about food is that it lets you travel without leaving home. Traveling to far away places might not happen every day, but eating their cuisines can. In that vein, today I bring you a cookie recipe from either side of the Aegean.

Lemon-Polenta Cookies:
* 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 3/4 cup polenta (yellow cornmeal)
* pinch of salt
* 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
* 1/2 cup sugar
* 1/2 tablespoon lemon zest, (1 lemon)
* 1 large egg
* 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pre-heat to 350. Whisk together the dry ingredients, set aside. Cream the butter, sugar and lemon zest until light and fluffy. Add in the egg, the the vanilla. Slowly add in the dry mixture.

Place the batter into a pastry bag with a large star tip. Pipe 2-3 inch S-Shapes onto parchment lined cookie sheets, spaced at least 1/2 an inch apart. Bake for 15-18 minutes.

My cookies came out flatter than the recipe’s picture, but they were wonderfully moist and stayed for several days.

Kourambiethes (Greek Powdered Sugar Cookies)
*2 sticks of butter, creamed until fluffy
*1 egg yolk
*2 (or more) cups flour
*1/2 tsp baking powder
*3 tsp liquor (brandy or whisky work well)
*1 tsp vanilla
*1/2 cup chopped almonds
Preheat to 350. Add 1/2 cup powdered sugar to the butter and beat well. Beat in the egg yolk, vanilla and liquor. Add the almonds and enough flour so that the dough stops sticking to the side of the bowl.
Shape the cookies into small crescents, place them on a parchment lined baking sheet, and bake for 15 minutes or so. Let cool for about 5 minutes.
Transfer to a clean surface, placing the very close together. Dust with confectioner’s sugar, using a mesh sieve. Let cool completely.

Johanna: The Improviser

Never quite follows the recipe. Doesn't really measure. Tastes with her fingers. Somehow, it always works.

Alyssa: The Triple Threat

Can do it all. And modest to boot.

Bakezilla: We Use Mixers Too

She likes to bake. Actually, baking is the only thing she does. It's a passion.

Rita: The Kosher Chick

Restrictions have nothing on her.