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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Pumpkin Cookies with Penuche Frosting

“A soft cookie with a candy frosting." from Joy Deneen.  Penuche is a brown-sugar candy/fudge flavor popular in New England that really sets off the soft pumpkin cookies amazingly!

1 C shortening
½ C packed brown sugar
½ C white sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 C all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp salt
1C chopped walnuts

3 tbsp butter
1/2 C packed brown sugar
¼ C milk
2 C confectioners’ sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets.

In a large bowl, cream together shortening, ½ cup brown sugar, and white sugar. Mix in pumpkin, egg, and vanilla. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt; mix into the creamed mixture. Stir in walnuts. Drop dough by heaping spoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake 10-12 minutes.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the 3 tablespoons butter and ½ cup brown sugar. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1 minute, or until slightly thickened. Cool slightly, then stir in the milk, and beat until smooth. Gradually stir in 2 cups confectioners’ until frosting has reached desired consistency. Spread on cooled cookies.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Italian Bread Salad (Panzanella)

from Cook's Illustrated July & August 2011

6 cups rustic Italian or French bread, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 pounds ripe in-season tomatoes, cored, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces
3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
1 cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and sliced thin
1 shallot sliced thing (you could use about 1/4 of a sweet onion)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Toss the bread pieces with 2 tablespoons of oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt; arrange bread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet.  Toast bread until pieces are just starting to turn light golden, turning after about 7-10 minutes.  Continue baking for another 7-10 minutes.  Set aside to let cool to room temperature.
2.  Gently toss tomatoes and 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a large bowl.  Transfer tomatoes to a colander set over the bowl and set it aside for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  (This allows you to use some of the natural juices from the tomatoes in the dressing).
3.  Whisk remaining 6 T of olive oil, the vinegar, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper into the reserved tomato juices. Add bread pieces, toss to coat, and let stand for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4.  Add tomatoes, cucumbers, shallot, and basil to bowl with bread pieces and toss to coat.  Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve immediately.  Serves 4.