EMOTIONAL EATS

Getting Through Life One Recipe at a Time

Author: Kaitlin Hill (page 1 of 5)

San Francisco Cinnamon-Sugar Crepes

It was a particularly fine weekend. A blue-skied getaway. A long drive with him. The him-him.

My eyes widened as we drove across the Golden Gate Bridge, taking in every inch of gleaming red. My heart filled as we walked hand-in-hand down the pier, sea lions posing for pictures to our right, endless pristine bay to our left and mountains all around. My cheeks hurt from laughing when we ventured to Japantown to find sushi and couldn’t.

Each minute more perfect than the last. Each memory a new favorite.

To top off our daylong date we decided on crepes. The smell caught us from across a courtyard of tourists and street performers.

As we stood in line in the cozy little shop, we decided to split one and considered the options – simple to complex.

Cinnamon-Sugar? Nutella Explosion? S’more Supreme? Strawberry and Cream?

Reading each other’s mind, as we sometimes do, we agreed. Cinnamon-Sugar. Simple it is.

And simple it always seems to be. He and I, me and him – in that crepe munching moment – that was all that mattered – one weekend in San Francisco.

Just a few ingredients and you are well on your way to Crepetown, USA.

Put all your ingredients in a blender. Pulse 10 times until the batter is smooth.

Store in an airtight container and chill for one hour.

When you are ready to fry, heat a large non-stick skillet over medium flame. Pour in about a quarter cup of batter. Lift the pan and swirl the batter in a circular motion until evenly spread. When the crepe batter is mostly set (this will take about two minutes) add three slivers of butter and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar mix. Let butter melt.

When the butter is melted and bubbly and the cinnamon-sugar mix is partially dissolved, fold the crepe in half.

And fold in half one more time.

Eat!

Is my mouth really that big?

San Francisco Cinnamon-Sugar Crepes

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:
1 cup of flour
2 tablespoons of sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1/2 cup of water
3/4 cup of whole milk
2 eggs
3 tablespoons of melted butter, cooled

extra butter for crepe slathering
1/4 cup of sugar + 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon (makes extra)

Directions: 

Place flour, sugar, vanilla, eggs, water, milk, and melted butter in a blender and pulse until smooth.

Refrigerate the batter for one hour.

When you are ready to cook crepes, heat a large non-stick skillet over medium flame. Pour 1/4 cup of batter in the pan and swirl it around until it is evenly distributed.

Cook for two minutes.

When the crepe starts to set, add additional butter and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar.

Fold crepe in half, then in half again.

Serve immediately with a dusting of powdered sugar.

Scones Revisited

We still gather once a week.

We are still Social Scones strong.

It’s been over a year and a lot has changed. We’ve lost a few (not naming names) and gained others. We’ve changed jobs, acquired boyfriends, grown yet stayed the same. We are still called every Thursday for tea, talking, and treats. We assemble.

And it is still my favorite weekly tradition.

As our group has expanded, so have our flavors. The humble plain, chocolate chip, and blueberry no longer cut it. Now you’ll find almond paste, cranberry orange, and my two offerings for today – Oatmeal Chocolate Chip and White Chocolate Cherry.

So, again, this one is for the girls (and guys!) that make Thursday mornings so special.

Oh hey! There we are! And there’s me! And there are guys! My guy! Oh! And Callie, our host! Check out that pile of scones. Not bad!

Moving on…

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Scones

Click here to get the recipe for my Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Scones

White Chocolate Cherry Scones

Click here for my White Chocolate Cherry Scone Recipe

Want a morning tradition of your own? Need a scone? Let me know! I deliver in the DC metro area. Email me for pricing!

White Chocolate Cherry Scones

My basic Social Scone dough is given the old razzle-dazzle with the addition of white chocolate and dried cherries.

Mix together the dry ingredients. Add the grated butter.

Rub the butter and dry ingredients together with your fingers until the mixture is sandy.

Whisk together the egg and the heavy cream. Add to the dry ingredients. Incorporate using a spatula.

When the dough comes together, transfer dough to a generously floured surface. Roll it out to a large oval that is 1/4 an inch in thickness. Place half the dried cherries and half the white chocolate on one half of the dough. Fold the other side over, covering the chocolate and cherries.

Roll the dough out again and repeat with the remaining cherries and chocolate.

Work the dough into a circle and then cut into eight triangles.


Place the triangles on a cookie tray lined with parchment and chill in the freezer for 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 400°F. Remove from freezer and brush with heavy cream. Sprinkle with sugar.

Bake for 15 – 18 minutes until lightly browned.

Serve immediately.

Hell yeah! Look at those scones!

White Chocolate Cherry Scones

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:
2 cups of all-purpose flour
1/3 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 stick of unsalted butter, frozen and grated (I freeze over night)
1/2 cup of heavy cream (additional for brushing)
1 egg
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/4 cup of dried cherries
1/4 cup of white chocolate chips
turbinado sugar (for sprinkling)

Directions:

Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.

Add the frozen grated butter and toss in the dry ingredients to coat. Once the butter is coated, rub the butter into the flour with your fingers.

Whisk together the egg, cream, and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix with a spoon until it just comes together. If the dough seems a bit dry, add a little heavy cream. If the dough seems sticky, add a little flour.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Roll the dough out to a large oval that is 1/4 an inch in thickness. Place half the dried cherries and half the white chocolate on one half of the dough. Fold the other side over, covering the chocolate and cherries.

Pat the dough into a circle and cut the circle into eight triangles.

Place the triangles on a parchment lined baking sheet. Place in the freezer for 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400° F.

Remove the scones from the freezer.  Using a pastry brush or your fingers, apply a thin layer of heavy cream to the top of each scone and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.

Transfer the scones to the oven and bake for 15 – 18 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time. The scones are finished baking when they are puffed and golden.

Let cool slightly and serve!

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Scones

This scone recipe is a twist on my classic Social Scones. The addition of oatmeal makes it hearty and the cinnamon gives a warmth perfect for a rainy day with a cup of tea and a good book. Make some today!

Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and oats.

Add grated butter and work into mixture with your hands, rubbing butter and dry ingredients together until the mixture looks sandy.

Whisk together the heavy cream and the egg. Pour over the dry ingredients. Use a spatula to incorporate the cream. The dough will be very sticky.

Work the dough until it comes together to form a ball. Turn out onto a generously floured surface.

Roll to 1/4 an inch in thickness. Place half of the chocolate chips on one half of the dough and fold the other half on top. Roll the dough out again and repeat the process with the remaining chocolate chips. Work the dough into a round shape.

Cut the dough round into eight triangles. Place on a cookie tray lined with parchment and transfer to the freezer for 10 minutes.

Remove scones from freezer and brush with additional heavy cream.

Bake in the preheated oven for 15 – 18 minutes. While the scones bake, make the glaze.

Whisk together heavy cream and confectioner’s sugar until you get a thick but pourable glaze.

Once the scones have baked, remove them from the oven and let cool slightly. Drizzle with glaze and serve.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Scones

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:
2 cups of all-purpose flour
1/3 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 cup of quick cooking oats
1 stick of unsalted butter, grated (easier to do with frozen butter)
1/2 cup of heavy cream (plus extra for brushing)
1 egg
1/2 cup of bittersweet chocolate chips

For the Glaze:
1/2 cup of confectioner’s sugar
2 – 3 tablespoons of heavy cream

Directions: 

Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, oatmeal, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl.

Add the frozen grated butter and toss in the dry ingredients to coat. Once the butter is coated, rub the butter into the flour with your fingers.

Whisk together the egg and the cream. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix with a spoon until it just comes together. If the dough seems a bit dry, add a little heavy cream. If the dough seems sticky, add a little flour.

Roll the dough out onto a floured surface. Pat the dough into a round and cut the round into eight triangles.

Place the triangles on a parchment lined baking sheet. Place in the freezer for 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400° F.

Remove the scones from the freezer.  Using a pastry brush or your fingers, apply a thin layer of heavy cream to the top of each scone.

Place the scones in the oven and bake for 15 – 18 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time. The scones are finished baking when they are puffed and golden.

While the scones are cooling, make the glaze. Whisk together heavy cream and confectioner’s sugar until it makes a thick but pourable glaze.
Drizzle glaze over scones and serve immediately. Enjoy!

Rainbow Cookies

The rainbow cookie’s background is as difficult to trace as the cookie itself is to resist (I just ate six). While some believe the cookie was first invented in Italy and brought to New York, others maintain it is the product of Italian immigrants already in America in the  early 1900s, thus making it an Italian-AMERICAN invention. This more popular version of the story states that Italian immigrants missing home designed a cookie to resemble the Italian flag – green, white, red – makes sense. In addition to having a boatload of vague and difficult to confirm origin stories, the cookie has just as many names. The Rainbow Cookie, The Seven Layer Cookie, The Venetian, The Neapolitan, the list goes on.

Living in New York, frequenting Jewish delis and bagel shops, I had only ever heard it called the rainbow cookie and had wrongfully assumed it was a Jewish creation. As the cookie is usually wedged between hamentashen and rugelah in the display case, it is an easy mistake to make. So how did the rainbow cookie, an Italian cookie, find itself in Jewish company? Again, we are working in the world of guesswork; but, one idea is that the cultural treat transfer is simply the result of proximity. Jewish immigrants and Italian immigrants living in New York were often neighbors with neighboring businesses (bakeries) – again – makes sense.

Although my research left me disappointed by lack of a clearcut origin story, one thing agreed upon across the board is that they are a celebration cookie. Christmas, birthdays, housewarming gifts, new babies, anniversaries – these bright bites are often found on tables of joyous occasions.

Let’s review what we know.  We know they were invented sometime in the early 1900s, probably by Italian immigrants living in America. We know that they are often given as gifts and present at celebrations of Italian-American families. And finally, I know, and I hope you are about to discover, that they are delicious. I mean really delicious.

Here’s my recipe:

Measure out all ingredients – but you know that already.

Cream together butter, almond paste, and sugar being careful to break up all the almond paste. Add the egg yolks and almond extract.

Add the flour.

The dough will resemble sugar cookie dough. It will be thick and sticky.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites on high until they form stiff peaks.

Fold the egg whites into the batter a little at a time. Be careful not to deflate them.

Divide the cookie dough into three equal portions and dye one bowl green and another red.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease three 9×13 inch cookie sheets, line them with parchment paper and then grease the parchment. Spread each color onto its own cookie tray. Transfer to the preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes until lightly browned around the edges.

Let each layer cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove the red and white layers from their pans and transfer to cooling wracks to cool completely. Leave the green layer in its pan to cool completely. Once cool, slather the green layer with apricot jam. Slide the white layer on top of the green and press down lightly. Remove the parchment from the top of the white layer and cover it with apricot jam. Place the red layer on top. Wrap the entire thing in plastic wrap. Place a cutting board or cookie tray on top, weigh down with heavy plates or cans, and place in the refrigerator to press for eight hours or overnight.

Once the cookie has set, trim the edges to make clean lines.

Cover the top with melted chocolate and use a fork to make the wave pattern. Place in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes. Once the chocolate has set, flip the cookie and repeat the chocolate process. Place in the fridge to chill for another 30 minutes.

Cut that big cookie into cute little squares, about 1×1 inches.

There you have it – The Rainbow Cookie. I hope you’ll bring some to your next event and if someone asks, “What the hell is this?” you can tell them…kinda!

Rainbow Cookies

  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Ingredients: 
One 7 ounce tube of almond paste
2 sticks of butter, at room temperature
1 cup of granulated sugar
4 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon of almond extract
2 cups of all purpose flour
red food coloring
green food coloring
1/2 cup of apricot jam
1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions: 

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl, cream together the almond paste, butter, and granulated sugar.

Beat in the egg yolks and almond extract.

Add the flour and mix until just combined.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites on high until stiff peaks form.

Carefully fold the egg whites into the cookie dough a little bit at a time.

Once the egg whites are incorporated, divide the batter into three bowls. Using the food color, turn one bowl of batter green and another red. Leave one bowl uncolored.

Grease three 9×13 inch cookie trays. Line each with parchment paper and grease them again. Pour each batter into a separate tray and place the trays in the preheated oven.

Bake cookies for 10 minutes.

Let each layer cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove the red and white layers from their pans and transfer to cooling racks to cool completely. Leave the green layer in its pan to cool completely.

Once cool, slather the green layer with apricot jam. Slide the white layer on top of the green and press down lightly. Remove the parchment from the top of the white layer and cover it with apricot jam. Place the red layer on top.

Wrap the entire thing in plastic wrap. Place a cutting board or cookie tray on top, weigh down with heavy plates or cans, and place in the refrigerator to set for eight hours or overnight.

After chilling, remove the cookies from pan and trim for a clean edge.

Melt the cup of chocolate chips and slather half of it across the top of the cookies. Use a fork and make small waves in the chocolate to create a pattern.

Place the cookies in the fridge so the chocolate can set. This will take 10 – 20 minutes.

Once the chocolate is set, flip the cookie over and repeat the chocolate process on the other side.

Return to the fridge to set again.

When you are ready to serve, cut the rainbow cookies into 1×1 inch squares.

They will keep for one week in an airtight container in the fridge.

 

 

Lala’s Sweet Potato Cake

In high school, my brother’s girlfriend Lala was like the older sister I never had, never knew I wanted, but was so happy to find.

As we’ve grown our relationship has changed. Big sister/little sister. Peers. Best Friends. And sometimes something resembling employer/employee (I say that lovingly, of course). However, the one dynamic that hasn’t changed is the eater/feeder status.

I bake. Lala eats.

Years ago for her birthday, I brought her a huge Sweet Potato Cake from the bakery where I worked. Late into the evening, we sat at her kitchen table plunging our forks deep into this behemoth. We ate, we laughed and we ate some more. We munched so much that we had to crawl on all fours to her living room where we laid on the couch rubbing our bloated bellies.

I remember feeling warm and fuzzy in a way that only best friends and cake can accomplish.

Happy to be with Lala and share a slice (a couple of slices) of nicely spiced cake with velvety cream cheese frosting.

I hope you’ll make some for the Lala in your life too.

I know that you know that you need to measure out all your ingredients.

Cream together brown sugar and butter. Add eggs one at a time. Add vanilla.

Add mashed sweet potato and crushed pineapple with juice.

Stir in dry ingredients.

Place in a 9×13 inch cake pan that has been greased and lined with parchment.

Bake at 350°F for 30 – 35 minutes until lightly browned around the edges and a toothpick comes out clean. Let the cake cool completely.

While the cake cools, make the frosting. Cream butter and cream cheese. Add powdered sugar. Add vanilla. Blend with a hand mixer or stand mixer until smooth.

Spread cream cheese frosting over cooled cake.

Decorate with pecans.

Eat!

Lala's Sweet Potato Cake

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups of mashed sweet potatoes (about 2 large)*
2 cups of all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of cream of tartar
1 rounded teaspoon of cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves
1 teaspoon of salt
1 stick of butter, at room temperature
1 cup of dark brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon of vanilla
2 large eggs
1 (8oz) can of crushed pineapple

Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 stick of unsalted butter, room temperature
1 (8 oz) block of cream cheese, room temperature
4 cups of confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon of vanilla

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350°F and grease a 9×13 inch baking dish. Line the dish with parchment and grease the parchment.

Whisk the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt together in a medium sized bowl. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs one at a time.

Add the vanilla.

Add the mashed sweet potatoes* and pineapple with juice and beat with a hand mixer until combined.

Mix in the dry mixture until just combined.

Pour into the 9×13 inch baking dish.

Place in the preheated oven.

Bake for 35 – 40 minutes until browned around the edges and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

While the cake is cooling, make the icing.

Frost the cake and decorate as you desire! I used pecans for natural flare!

Notes –

To make the sweet potatoes, wash and dry your potatoes, leaving the skin on. Prick them with a fork and microwave for 10 minutes, rotating them at the five minute mark. Scrape the meat out of the skins and mash it with a fork. Measure out 1 1/2 cups and allow to cool. You may have extra (eat it).

BG’s Cinnamon Roll Cake

When my guy and I started dating, I gave him the name BG. Initially, it stood for “Big Guy” on account of his towering stature; but, the longer we dated the more I learned about him and the more I liked him, the initials stayed the same but their meaning changed.

The closer we became, the more secrets he revealed, the insight into his quirks and hidden habits made him endlessly endearing in my eyes.

Maybe it’s strange; but, one thing I liked best in those early days of dating was his confessed and demonstrated love of cinnamon buns with extra frosting. As if those mall-made sugar-bomb buns weren’t sweet enough, my normally health conscious guy would throw caution to the wind and treat himself to double glaze.

I wasn’t even aware you could get extra icing without signing a waiver and acknowledging the risk of sugar overload.

Soon “Big Guy” became “Best Guy,” so for his birthday I had to do something special and make his favorite – a cinnamon roll cake with plenty of cream cheese frosting to go around.

The cinnamon roll is light and fluffy and too easy to make. I add cloves to the filling for a little extra something. And, the frosting is my classic decadent cream cheese made melty when slathered on a still-warm mega-bun.

It’s perfect and sweet and easy to love, just like my BG. I’m not blushing – you are!

Homemade cinnamon roll dough might seem intimidating but it isn’t! All you need is some flour (separated), sugar, yeast, salt, milk, butter, an egg and a can-do attitude!

To make the dough-

  1. Place 2 1/4 cups of the flour in a bowl with the salt, sugar, and yeast. Mix together.
  2. In a small saucepan, heat the butter and the milk until the butter is melted and the milk is 115°F – no higher! Add the milk to the flour and mix to combine.
  3. Add the egg.
  4. Add the the reserved flour a little at a time until the dough comes together and starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.

Place the dough on a heavily floured surface and knead a few times until the dough is smooth and elastic. Place in a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place in a warm spot to rise for 30 minutes.

Once the dough has risen, get ready to assemble. Make the filling by mixing 1/4 cup of sugar, 2 tablespoons of cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves. Grease a 9-in pie plate. Soften some butter.

Roll the dough out into something that looks vaguely like a rectangle and is close to 12×15-in. Just do your best. Smear with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar. Cut into 2-ish inch strips.

Start coiling the strips in the greased pie pan, starting in the center and working your way out. Sprinkle with any additional cinnamon-sugar that might have lost its way.

Cover the dough with plastic and set aside for 90 minutes to rise.

Bake in a 350°F oven for 30 – 35 minutes until browned.

While the cake is baking, make the cream cheese smear. Place butter and cream cheese together in a large bowl. Cream until smooth. Slowly add the powdered sugar. Add the milk and vanilla.

Let the roll cool slightly before slathering with cream cheese frosting.

My guy always likes extra frosting, so I made a double batch – you could too.

Cut that roll like a cake and eat it warm or at room temp.

Eat once slice and then eat another. For good measure, eat one more.

BG's Cinnamon Roll Cake

  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Ingredients:
2 3/4 cups of all purpose flour
3 tablespoons of granulated sugar
1 teaspoon of salt
1 package of active dry yeast (2 and 1/4 teaspoons)
3/4 cup of milk
3 tablespoons of butter
1 large egg

Filling:
3 tablespoons of unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup of sugar
2 tablespoons of sugar
1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves

Icing:
8 ounces of cream cheese, at room temperature
1 stick of butter
2 cups of powdered sugar
2 teaspoons of vanilla
2 – 3 tablespoons of milk

Directions:

To make the dough, mix together 2 1/4 cups of the flour, the sugar, salt, and yeast in a large bowl.

In a small saucepan, heat the milk and butter over low flame until the butter is melted and the milk is 115°F – no higher.

Pour the milk mixture over the dry ingredients and mix to incorporate.

Mix in the egg.

Take the remaining 1/2 cup of flour and add it slowly, a tablespoon at a time, working it in until the dough comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. You may not need it all, I used about 1/3 of the reserved flour.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 2 – 3 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. Place it in a lightly greased bowl and set aside to rise for 30 minutes.

While the dough is rising make the filling by combining the sugar, cinnamon, and cloves.

Once the dough has rested for 30 minutes, roll it out to a 12×15 inch rectangle. Smear with  3 tablespoons of softened butter and sprinkle with the sugar and spice mix.

Cut the dough into 2 inch wide strips.

Roll the first strip up into a little cylinder and place it in the center of a 9 inch pie place that has been greased. Working from the inside out, wrap the rest of the strips around the initial cylinder until you reach the edge of the pie plate.

Cover the dough in plastic wrap and set aside to rise for 90 minutes.

After 90 minutes the dough should have doubled in size. Place in a 350°F oven and bake for 30 – 35 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly.

While the cake is baking, you can make the frosting.

Beat the cream cheese and butter together in a large bowl until combined. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk and mix until smooth.

Cover the cake with the frosting (even if the cake is still a little warm) and serve immediately!

Enjoy!

 

Needhams

I came across my first Needham in a wood-walled cafe/grocery in Maine. I was browsing the candy aisle when I stumbled upon, “The Needham: Maine Potato Candy.” They were in a glass jar with a handwritten label, a little homey looking, chocolate exterior and a mysterious filling….they couldn’t really have potato in them? Could they?

I bought two and asked the sweet old bird behind the counter what I was getting myself into.

“Oh yeah, Needhams, everyone makes them. Your grandmother at Christmas, your mom when you get home from school. They are given in tins as gifts. Everyone in Maine knows Needhams.”

As she fiddled with the label attempting to scan it, she squished the candy a little.

“Oh yeah, they melt real fast. Eat this right away, just when you get home.”

Needham in hand, I raced home to figure out exactly what a Needham was, where the heck did it come from and how on earth do I make one?

Here are my findings:

It’s backstory is…a little fuzzy. One of the first recorded references to the Needham comes from “As Maine as Lobster” an article by John Gould, published in 1986.

In it he writes: “Mr. Seavey was the candymaker, and he was already well-known throughout the state for his numerous confections. It happened that one of the candy cooks in his kitchen brought forth a chocolate-covered coconut cream and passed it about to see what Mr. Seavey, and others, thought of it. It is important to know that this new kind of candy was square in shape.”

But what about the unusual name? Why not Seaveys? Or Maineys? Or Coconuttys?

I read on.

It turns out, most people agree that the candy is named for Reverend George C. Needham, a popular Irish evangelist who came to Boston in 1868. His story is almost as tasty as the treat. Rumor has it he was nearly eaten by cannibals in South America and (after escaping) preached unconventional ideas like – faith can make you beautiful.

As the story goes, at the time the candy was invented the name “Needham” was on every tongue and so should the sweet be – or at least that is what Mr. Seavey thought.

Mr. Gould claims, “There was a challenge as to what this new candy should be called. Mr. Seavey himself is credited with coming up with the right answer — let’s call ’em needhams, after the popular preacher!”

So the Needham is invented and named but how does it taste?

It’s like the best Mounds bar you’ve ever had. It’s rich and creamy, definitely no trace of potato in the flavor. The potato only serves to create the smooth texture of the filling which is contrasted with the delicate snap of the chocolate exterior. It is no wonder it is so “sacred and peculiar” to Mainahs.

Finally, as promised, how is this little bite of history made?

Here’s my recipe:

Place the confectioner’s sugar, butter, and mashed potatoes (yes, mashed potatoes) in a heatproof bowl over a sauce pan with an inch of simmering water.

Stir until the butter melts and the mixture is one smooth consistency, this will take about 5 minutes. Add vanilla.

Stir in the coconut.

Place in a small glass dish lined with parchment. Transfer to the fridge to chill until firm.

To make the toasted coconut, spread the coconut in a single layer in a pie dish. Place in a 400°F oven. Cook for about 10 minutes, tossing frequently, until browned.

To make the chocolate glaze, melt chocolate and coconut oil over a double boiler.

Coat the cut needhams in chocolate, tapping off the excess before transferring to a cookie tray lined with parchment.

Sprinkle with coconut before the chocolate sets. I added the toasted coconut to mine for a little extra jazz. I don’t know that Mr. Seavey or Rev. Needham would agree with the addition but I think you will.

Transfer to the fridge and chill for 20 minutes until the chocolate sets.

Eat them, give them, love them, NEEDHAM!

Needhams

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients: 
2 cups of confectioner’s sugar
1 tablespoon of butter
1/4 cup of unseasoned mashed potatoes
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 cup of flaked coconut
2 cups of dark chocolate chips
1 1/2 tablespoons of coconut oil

1/2 cup of coconut, toasted (optional)

Directions: 

Place the confectioner’s sugar in a heatproof bowl. Create a well in the center and add the butter and mashed potatoes in the well.

Place the bowl over a pot with an inch or two of simmering water.

Stir the butter and mashed potatoes until melted and gradually stir in the confectioner’s sugar.

Continue stirring until the mixture is smooth. This will take about 5 minutes.

Add the vanilla.

Stir in the coconut.

Transfer to a small glass dish that has been lined with parchment paper.

Place in the fridge to set for 20 minutes.

While the coconut filling sets, make the toasted coconut and chocolate glaze.

To toast the coconut, place the coconut in a pie plate or cookie tray in one even layer. Place in a 400°F oven and bake for 10 minutes, tossing frequently. Once the coconut has browned, remove it from oven and let cool.

To make the chocolate glaze, put chocolate chips and coconut oil in a heatproof bowl. Set the bowl over a saucepan with an inch or two of simmering water. Heat while stirring until smooth.

When the coconut mixture has set, cut it into 12 squares.

Use a fork to dip squares into melted chocolate. Tap off excess chocolate before placing needhams on a parchment-lined cookie tray and sprinkling with toasted coconut.

Return to the fridge to chill for another 20 minutes until the chocolate is set.

Enjoy!

*Note: These candies melt really easily. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. They’ll keep for a week.

References:

NPR: http://www.npr.org/2012/08/26/159998395/maines-needhams-a-sweet-treat-of-earthy-potatoes

New England Historical Society: http://www.newenglandhistoricalsociety.com/needhams-the-potato-candy-sacred-and-peculiar-to-maine/

John Gould’s Article, Reprinted: https://www.csmonitor.com/1986/1024/uham.html

 

Not-Birthday, Birthday Cake

It wasn’t his birthday but there we were – singing – and loudly I might add, with the whole restaurant accompanying us.

Honestly, I’d needed a non-reason reason to celebrate. It was another summer of unemployment, my guy had moved cross coast (but luckily was visiting), the blog, this blog, still struggling, and while all my blessings certainly aren’t lost on me, I couldn’t help but feeling a little lost again.

I’d needed a break from my long break. It was nice to lose myself in the soft glow of birthday candles in a dimly lit restaurant versus the blinding blast of computer screen with too many tabs to count displaying job applications I’ll never hear back from and plane tickets I can’t afford.

Thankfully, all that was pushed from my mind, even if only briefly.

My friends have a way of doing that. The spontaneity, the silliness, the pursuit of embarrassment, the lack of shame. It’s difficult to feel too down in their presence.

We were together for another round of beach week and celebrating our friend’s not-birthday, birthday with chocolate cake, sprinkles and smiling faces.

Moist chocolate cake, creamy white frosting – a classic I don’t see that often anymore.

A perfectly timed pick-me-up and a profoundly tasty slice.

Just what I needed.

Maybe you need it too.

As always, ingredients. Couple dry, couple wet. You know what to do – measure!

Whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Add milk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla.

Combine 1/2 cup of freshly brewed coffee with 1/2 cup of boiling water. Add to batter.

Grease two 9-inch cake pans, line them with parchment and then butter and flour them. Distribute the batter evenly between the two pans. Place in a 350°F oven. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clean and the cakes have pulled away from the sides.

Let the cakes cool completely then frost with Vanilla Buttercream. 

Decorate as you see fit.

Birthday, not-birthday, Wednesday, Sunday, whatever – make this cake and eat it. You won’t regret it.

Not-Birthday, Birthday Cake

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:
2 cups of all purpose flour
2 cups of sugar
3/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda
1 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of buttermilk
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
1/2 cup of brewed coffee
1/2 cup of boiling water

A double recipe of Vanilla Buttercream

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350°F.

Butter two 9-inch cake pans and line them with parchment paper. Butter and flour over the parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Add the milk, vegetable oil, and eggs to the dry ingredients. Whisk to combine.

Mix 1/2 cup of freshly brewed coffee and 1/2 cup of boiling water.

Add to the cake batter, mix to combine.

Place in preheated oven and bake for 30 – 35 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Set aside to cool.

While the cakes cool, make the buttercream.

Once the cakes are cool, decorate!

Enjoy!

Crab Salad with Apple Gelée on Homemade Cheddar Crackers

People always ask me, in everything that I have eaten, in all the places I have dined – what is my favorite bite? My favorite food memory?

As it turns out, most of my food moments were made with an ex, THE EX, the big, big breakup ex.

It makes sense. We met in culinary school, we loved to eat together, to cook together, and most of all, we loved pretending we had more money than we actually had and checking fine dining spots off our New York bucket list.

So one year for his birthday, we dressed in our finest and tried not to stand out too much at the über fancy restaurant where he was an intern – Café Boulud.

They nestled us into a little corner table, dim lights, warm and cozy, then bombarded us with delicious, amazing, incredible food.

He commented on everything we ate. “This is a bitch to make, but so tasty.” “I had to make about a hundred of these for a buy-out last week.”  “I hate prepping this dish, but isn’t it pretty?” Most of my comments were, “Oh my God.” “This is delicious.” “I could eat seven zillion more of those.”  “Ow der eww mek dis?” – That’s me talking with my mouth full.

I can still see those dark eyes peering at me across a flickering candle, threatening to swallow me whole if I looked too long. His great goofy smile with the severe under-bite appearing between careful, pensive mouthfuls. It felt nice when he took me back to the kitchen and showed me off to his co-workers. I swooned when he told me I looked beautiful and there was no one he’d rather spend a birthday with. And I may have (okay definitely) teared up when my man (now very ex-man), usually short with affectionate words, told me he loved me.

On the ride home, we spread out like stuffed slugs in the back of the cab. I laid on his chest with my head tucked up under his chin and he asked me what my favorite dish of the night was. Was it the handmade pasta? The perfectly crisp chicken? Or the crazy good desserts?

For me, it was one bite. Just one little amuse-bouche that impressed me the most. A small little housemade cracker with apple gelée and crab salad.

“You liked THAT best?” he groaned.

After we broke up – I tried desperately to push this memory from my mind but struggled to do so. Not only were his words of devotion and warmth stuck to my soul, so were the tastes and sensations of that feisty little crab snack.

I worried if I tasted the dish post breakup, it wouldn’t impress. I asked myself, if I take away the boy, the fancy restaurant, the lights of our city, would the dish still be as memorable? As special? Would it still be as perfect? Would it still be my favorite bite?

There was only one way to be sure – I remade it. And as it turns out, though my taste in men has greatly improved, I’m still obsessed with this crab cracker.

But I guess that’s how it works. Like Sirius Black said, “The crab salads that love us, never really leave us.” Isn’t that the line??

So here’s to love, lost or found, with people or crustacean and an elegant hors d’oeuvre to impress you guests or fill your face with.

Pulverize cheese, butter, egg, mustard, salt and old bay. Once smooth, add flour and pulse until all the flour is incorporated and the mixture forms a dough.

With floured hands, shape that dough into a log that is about an inch or an inch and a half in thickness. Wrap in plastic, place in the fridge to chill for 4 hours.

Once firm, thinly slice (1/4 inch) and place on cookie tray.

Bake in a 350°F oven for 15 – 20 minutes until lightly golden.

Apple gelée is just fancy-talk for apple jello. Chunk up apples, halve the lime, acquire a pinch of vitamin C. Blitz in a food processor.

Place that mush in some cheesecloth.

Squeeze the piss out of it. Just when you think you’ve squeezed it all out – squeeze a bit more.

Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of gelatin over 2 tablespoons of water. Let bloom for 5 – 10 minutes. Place 1/4 cup of apple juice in a small sauce pan over low-medium heat. Cook until hot but not boiling. Add gelatin and whisk to dissolve. Mix the gelatin mixture back into the reserved juice.

Place into a plastic wrap-lined glass dish. Transfer to the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours or until firm.

Make crab salad. Toss crab, small diced celery, oil, lemon, salt and pepper in a bowl. Taste seasoning and add more salt and pepper even lemon, if needed.

Assemble! Top crackers with jello, top jello with crab, top crab with dil.

How fancy of me!

The perfect bite from a long ago perfect night.

Crab Salad with Apple Gelée

  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Ingredients: 

Cheddar Old Bay Crackers:
1 stick of unsalted butter, room temperature
8 ounces of sharp cheddar, shredded
1 egg
1 teaspoon of yellow mustard
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of old bay seasoning
1 1/4 cups of all purpose flour

Apple Gelée:
2 granny smith apples
a pinch of vitamin C powder
1 squeeze of lime
1 teaspoon of gelatin, dissolved in 2 tablespoons of water

Crab Salad:
8 ounces of cooked crab meat
juice of half a lemon
drizzle of olive oil
1 stalk of celery, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste

dill for garnish

Directions:

First make the crackers.

Place the butter, cheddar, egg, old bay, salt, and mustard into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until smooth.

Add the flour. Pulse until the dough comes together.

Place the dough on a long sheet of plastic wrap and form into a log that is about an inch wide. Wrap tightly and transfer to the fridge to chill for four hours until firm.

Once the dough is firm, you are ready to bake.

Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a cookie tray with parchment paper.

Cut log in 1/4 inch slices. Lay slices on tray with an inch of space between each and place into preheated oven. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes until lightly browned around the edges.

Let cool completely and set aside.

Next make the Apple Gelée.

In the bowl of a food processor, blend apple chunks, vitamin C powder, and lime juice.

Strain juice through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth. You should get a cup of juice.

Sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let set for five minutes until spongey.

Place 1/4 a cup of juice into a small sauce pan, heat over low-medium heat until hot but not boiling.

Whisk the gelatin into the hot juice until dissolved.

Add the hot juice back into the remaining 3/4 a cup of juice. Pour the mixture into a small glass dish that has been lined with plastic wrap. Place in the fridge to let set for 2 hours or until firm.

Once the gelée is firm and the crackers cool, make the crab salad.

Toss crab, lemon juice, olive oil, celery, salt and pepper together in a bowl.

Now assemble the bites.

Top each cracker with 1 – 2 teaspoons of gelée, a mound of crab and finish with some dill.

Serve!

Notes:

I make the crackers and gelée a day ahead. The next day, I toss the crab salad right before assembling and serving.

Also, the cracker recipe makes a load of crackers. I just slice off as much as I need (for this recipe about 25 – 30) and save the rest of the unsliced dough in the freezer. It’s good for about a month. When you want some crackers, just take it out and let it warm up a bit so it is easier to slice and bake.

 

 

 

 

Older posts

© 2017 EMOTIONAL EATS

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑

Hang on!

New Friend!

Never miss a recipe from Emotional Eats!