Tag Archives: cookies

Fairway Upper West Side Does Food Demos Saturday

Fairway Upper West Side. Photo: Courtesy of Fairway.

If you’re shopping at Fairway Saturday, you can get free samples and watch some demos by the supermarket’s chefs and other food experts. No, there’s no demo of how to avoid mixing it up with the market’s famously aggressive shoppers.

The program takes place from 11am to 3 pm at the Upper West Side store  (2127 Broadway at 74th Street).

Here’s what’s on tap:

Michael Lewin—cookies.

Hannah Howard—cheeses

Benny Lanfranco—international coffees

Ray Venezia—Hereford shell steaks

Vinnie Olivieri—asparagus pasta

Produce—Uncle Vinnie’s green salads

Lori Levy—pancakes with maple syrup

Will Sneddon—shrimp salad

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e.e. cookies: Moist and Rich and Made on the Upper West Side

Chocolate cookies

Photo: e.e. cookies

I rarely buy cookies. That’s because I try to find the time to make my own.  Not surprisingly, I customize them to my liking.  Like I put double the amount of chocolate chips—make that 70 percent dark chocolate chunks—in my version of that classic cookie.

But often, I’m too busy to bake, so I buy.  My usual go-to packaged cookie is Tate’s, with its buttery finish and crisp, crunchy bite.

Recently, I got to sample e.e. cookies, a line of home-style desserts, made by Kori Stanton, an Upper West Side mother of two. (See ratings below)

Stanton explains that e. e. stands for the first initial of her daughter’s first and middle names. She also has a five-year old son, who may get some treats named after him soon.

“I’m going to have to figure out something for him,” the Indiana native says. “He’s starting to wonder why his name isn’t involved.”

About Those Cookies

If you’re a soft cookie fan, these treats deserve some serious consideration. If you’re after a dainty morsel to satisfy your sweet tooth, look elsewhere. These babies are rotund and rich, with a nice buttery-butterscotchy finish. And e.e. cookies are not cloyingly sweet. They taste like they’re made for grown-ups.

Stanton uses cage free eggs, raw sugar and unbleached flour, according to the e.e. cookies web site. She lards her cookies with sweet bits that include Reese’s Pieces, dried blueberries, walnuts, and vanilla bean shavings.

Do these cookies taste like homemade?  Of course not. But they’re very nice to have around the house when the cookie urge hits, and great with a cup of tea.

Our panel of tasters: Yours Truly, Yours Truly’s Hubby, and Chef Renee Marton.

TOP PICK: Old-fashioned Chocolate Chip

Definitely my favorite. Lots of chips and a buttery after-finished. Soft and moist.

TOP PICK: Peanut Butter

“Your mouth will be glued to the taste!” e.e. Cookie’s web site proclaims. I have to sort of agree with this—and I’m not at all a peanut butter cookie fan.  These were delicious and actually tasted of peanut butter—a rare occurrence, in my experience, when it comes to almost any peanut butter confection.

Triple Chocolate Chip with Pecans

The web site says there are “2 ½ pounds of dark, milk and semi-sweet Ghirardelli chocolate and pecans” in this cookie. The Hubby and I loved how rich and buttery these were, but we couldn’t find the nuts.

Oatmeal with Dried Cranberries, Blueberries and Walnuts.

“A burst of flavor!” says the web site.  That’s for sure.  Was there any 0atmeal in this zoftic treat shaped more like a matzoh ball than a cookie?  I couldn’t say.  The taste of cinnamon and nutmeg was frankly overwhelming. These were the sweetest of all the e.e. cookies we tasted.  For Chef Renee, on the other hand, the oatmeal cookies were a definite standout.  “I like a heavily spiced cookie,” she said, adding that in the 19th century it was customary for bakers to load up their cookies with lots of spices. “Cookies weren’t bland like they are now.”

Dark Chocolate Chunks with Dried Cherries

I’m not a dried fruit fan, especially in my cookies. But if you are, these are larded with pieces of dried cherry and quite chocolatey. The Hubby complained they were a bit dry.

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut with Dried Cherries

Weirdly, given the brightly flavored ingredients that went into making these cookies, they were a bit on the bland side. Hubby and I both rated them our least favorite. Chef Renee really liked them. 

Order e.e. cookies here.

 

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These Rich Sugar Cookie Sandwiches Got Raves

I almost tossed the sugar cookies I baked for New Year’s Eve into the garbage. The recipe was from Mark Bittman, the  NY Times food writer and cookbook author. The round-faced Bittman is usually a reliable source for most cooking and baking challenges—from how to prepare kale to putting together a no-fail buttery pound cake. But this time, it looked like the trusty Mark had failed me.

A few minutes out of the oven, this particular batch of sugar cookies could have passed for water crackers they were so bland and tasteless. Since I was baking treats for a New Year’s Eve party at Chef Renee Marton’s, I set to work to try to rehabilitate them. (It wasn’t Bittman’s’ fault it was mine; I over-mixed the batter.) For sure, when you bring a dish to a chef’s house, you want to get it right.

I thought to myself, OK, add some sugar and fat. So I rolled each cookie in powdered sugar. I whipped up some chocolate ganache and smeared it between two cookies to create a richly fudgy sandwich. That was the only filling I made.  Everything else—the nutella, the dulce de leche, I pulled from my fridge. Then I glommed a tablespoon or so of sauce onto each cookie, smoothed it with a spatula, and smushed two cookies together to create a sandwich.

The result? The powdered sugar boosted the drab little ovoid’s richness and heightened the sweetness just a tad. The filling seeped into the cookies transforming them into sumptuous little morsels. By the time midnight rolled around, my near-disaster cookies were fit to be eaten—even by a chef.

What was the best part of this cookie-making enterprise?  When Chef Renee drifted by a little after midnight and announced, “Everyone’s raving about your cookies.”

Click here for Bittman’s sugar cookie recipe or use your own.

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The Best Rugelach and Croisaants: Two New Bakery/Cafes Open on the Upper East Side

Rugelach via flckr by by Soup Spoon Blog

Two new bakery/cafes have opened in the last several months on the Upper East Side. Le Moulin a Cafe, a French spot on York Avenue between 76th and 77th streets, serves up some of the best croissants I’ve eaten in the city. Plenty specializes in homey desserts like rugelach and crumb cake, along with cakes and cookies.

Le Moulin a Cafe

Forget all those leaden faux croissants on offer at your neighborhood bodega. Instead, head for Le Moulin a Cafe. The cozy spot opened over the summer when it started dishing up croissants that are as flaky and tender as any I’ve had in France.

The reason? Nicholas Lecuq, the co-owner, imports frozen dough from Brittany. Lecuq’s chef then bakes the dough in-house. Who would think pre-frozen croissants could turn out so well?

The weekday morning I stopped by, the place was hopping. Stroller moms who had dropped their kids at the Lycee Francais de New York across the street, flooded the cafe’s tables. Neighborhoods folks were stopping by too. And I’ll bet there’s more than a few NY Presbyterian docs–cholesterol be damned—who are sampling Le Moulin a Cafe’s offerings as well.

In addition to pastries, there’s a menu of quiche ($10), salads ($11-$12), and entrées (skirt steak with fries ($21) and the like, and wine is coming soon.

Plenty

If it’s old fashioned cakes and cookies you’re hankering for, Plenty is your spot. Arrayed in glass cases, the pastries are pretty much like grandma used to make—and there’s a reason for that. Jessica Weiss, the proprietor and a lapsed MBA, earned her chops baking alongside her grandmother Hannah, one hell of a baker judging by the fare at Plenty.

The crumb cake was light and moist with a buttery, tender topping.  Delicious but not for me.  For me, the chewier and doughier the cake, the better. The rugelach?  I wish that my grandma who’s ruglach were reliably uneatable, had taken some lessons from Hannah. Plenty’s were flaky and not too sweet, just about a perfect bite.

Along with these homey standards, Weiss also offers chocolate cake ($4.75), cinnamon sugar donut muffins ($1.75) and homemade Oreos ($2.50). There are whole cakes for $35-$40 that can also be ordered by the slice.

The place sports a few tables and you can purchase various coffees and teas to go with your pastry.

Le Moulin a Cafe
1439 York Ave
New York, NY
212  288 5088

Monday – 7 am – 9 pm
Tuesday-Thursday – 7 am – 10 pm
Friday – 7 am – 11 pm
Saturday – 8 am – 11 pm
Sunday – 8 am – 9 pm

Plenty
1457 Third Avenue (82nd Street)
New York, NY
212 628 2110

730 am to 730 pm 7 days/week

 

 

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Black Cat Halloween Cookies

 While researching Halloween, Chef Renee Marton came across these Black Cat Cookies, a very easy way to make cookie with a black cat design.

For Candy C0rn Halloween Cupcake recipe, click here.

Black Cat Cookies
adapted from Betty Crocker’s Cook Book
for Boys and Girls, 1957

Ingredients

1/3 cup shortening
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg, slightly beaten

2/3 cup honey

1 teaspoon vanilla

2-3/4 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

flat bottomed glass or small rolling pin
chocolate peppermint wafers
- round
semisweet chocolate chips

toothpick

Thoroughly mix first 5 ingredients. Stir flour, baking soda and salt together and then add to mixture. Blend all together, but don’t overmix. Chill for one hour. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease baking sheet. Roll dough into balls the size of walnuts. Place on cookie sheet. Dip bottom of glass in flour. Use bottom to flatten cookies. Bake for about 8 minutes.

As soon as cookies are removed from oven, place a peppermint wafer slightly off center of each cookie (this will become the main body of the cat). Place two chips close together next to top edge of mint wafer and one at the center of the bottom edge of wafer. With toothpick, using a circular motion, stir the two top chips—one at a time—and drag the toothpick upwards to form the point of the cat’s ear. Repeat. On the bottom chip, with toothpick, shape the melted chocolate into a long tail by pulling the chocolate down and to angle.

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