June 15, 2016

I Do Cookies

 

Being an avid baker and lover of all things beautiful it was on my London must do list to visit Peggy Porschen's gorgeous cake parlour in Belgravia when I spent some time in the UK capital last summer.  I own several of her books (like this one and this one) and am a huge fan of her impeccable aesthetic.  As soon as I walked through the front door I felt like I'd entered baker's heaven.  I remember thinking to myself that if I ever opened a bakery I would want it to look like Peggy's.   The decor, layout and whimsical displays of cakes and treats were a feast for the eyes. 



I spent quite some time at the parlour, enjoying a slice of delicious lemon, raspberry and rose cake, perusing Peggy's many books and just soaking in the lovely environment.   Of course I couldn't leave the shop empty handed and ended up buying these darling bride and groom cookie cutters.   [The wedding cake cutter I bought from Sugar 'n Spice, my local baking supply store.]  A year later and I finally got around to using them.  How cute would these cookies be as favors at a bridal shower or wedding reception to celebrate "I Do"? 




June 7, 2016

Leek & Gruyère Quiche


Recently I hosted Sunday brunch for work colleagues at my house.  The food, drink and company were excellent, if I do say so myself, and everyone seemed to have a great time.  As with all gatherings, when it came to prepping for the party I erred on the side of over-buying for fear that I wouldn't have enough food, which then led to a surplus of ingredients.  

When I opened my fridge to survey the leftovers what immediately caught my eye were eggs, heavy cream, milk, leeks and Gruyère.  Perfect!  I had everything I needed to make quiche.   I love these savory French tarts and as a student in Dijon would eat them almost daily.  To this day I still think  about the scrumptious tarte au fromage from Boulangerie Garcia.  


Leek and Gruyère is such a delicious flavor combination too.  Nothing better than ooey, gooey melted cheese married with the delicate, sweetness of the leeks.  The attached recipe makes one 9-inch round quiche but I opted to do mini ones using the tartlet tins I bought at E. Dehillerin last summer.  They make the perfect hand held portion that's ideal for a picnic or snack on the go.   

June 1, 2016

Lemon Tea Cookies


My work had a team meeting at the Hyatt Regency in San Francisco recently.  It's an annual conference that's also one of the most anticipated events on my office calendar.  I always look forward to it because it's a chance to connect face to face with global colleagues who are based in North America, Europe and Asia. 



The catering at the hotel over the course of the three days was your typical fare, good but not spectacular.  However, the one thing I and many others absolutely loved were the lemon tea cookies the Hyatt served during a coffee break.  As soon as I took a bite of the soft, tender cookie topped with a thin layer of lemon glaze I knew I had to replicate it at home.  

 
Success all came down to getting the actual cookie, without the glaze, right.  The cookie itself reminded me a lot of a black and white in that it's texture was more cake-like.   I tried googling "Hyatt lemon tea cookie" in the hopes that someone may have posted the hotel's recipe online, but alas, no such luck and I was left to my own devices.


I ended up tweaking Cook's Country's Black and White Cookie and the results were fantastic.  By adding more flour to the recipe I got the thicker cookies I was looking for.  I also substituted lemon juice for the vanilla extract, but next time I think I'll use some lemon extract along with grated lemon peel to give it a real citrus punch.  The glaze couldn't be simpler, powdered sugar mixed with freshly squeezed lemon juice.   I don't think I'm bragging when I say I have a legitimate replica...eat your heart out Hyatt!

May 23, 2016

Pineapple Sugar Cookies



Ananas, piñas, trái thơm....it goes by many names but my friends and family know that pineapples are my absolute favorite fruit in the whole world.  I like to make a summer-themed sugar cookie that I gift to family and friends and when I found this fantastic pineapple cutter at Williams-Sonoma I knew what I was doing for this year's theme.  Here's my homage to the "ananas comosus" and I'm loving how they turned out. 


My love of the pineapple probably borders on the obsessive.  If there's a pineapple in or on something you can pretty much guarantee I'll buy it.  We're talking iPhone cases, wallpaper, necklace, shoes - bought them, received them, love them, done!  


Did you know that the pineapple is a symbol of welcome and hospitality?  Maybe that's why I'm so drawn to this fruit.   Colonial sea captains returning from the Caribbean would spear a pineapple on their fence post to let friends know they had arrived home safely and serve as an invitation to come and visit.  How cool is that? 

LONG LIVE THE PINEAPPLE!

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