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Citrus-Herb Cookies

citrus

This surprising combination of aromatic herbs, tart citrus and buttery, sweet dough satisfies even the fussiest cookie aficionado. The Kitchn‘s Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan developed the recipe using orange zest and thyme leaves, but you can use the basic dough to experiment with other flavors to come up with your own signature cookies.

 

Citrus-Herb Cookies

 

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1/8 tsp. salt

1 large egg

2 Tbs. grated orange zest

2 tsp. very finely chopped fresh thyme leaves

6 to 8 fresh mint leaves, very finely sliced

2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

Raw or turbinado sugar for sprinkling

 

In a bowl, combine the butter, granulated sugar and salt. Using a wooden spoon or an electric mixer set on medium speed, beat until smooth. Add the egg, orange zest, thyme and mint and beat until well mixed. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the flour in 3 batches, beating after each addition, until combined. Divide the dough in half and shape each portion into a log about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap the logs tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 1 hour or up to overnight.

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and position the rack in the middle level. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

 

Remove the dough logs from the refrigerator. For round cookies, roll the plastic-wrapped logs on a work surface (like rolling a rolling pin) to smooth the sides, keeping the diameter uniform. For square cookies, using your hands, tap each wrapped log on 4 sides against the work surface to flatten the sides evenly. Unwrap the logs and, using a sharp knife, cut the logs crosswise into slices about 1/4 inch thick.

 

Arrange the cookies on the prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle each cookie with a pinch of raw sugar. Bake the cookies, rotating the sheets front to back after about 5 minutes, until light golden brown, about 10 minutes.

 

Let the cookies cool on the pans on wire racks for a few minutes, then use a metal spatula to transfer the cookies to wire racks and let cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

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Lemon Chiffon Cake

chiffon

This moist, lemony chiffon cake is simple, delicate and delicious, with a texture that falls somewhere between a dense butter cake and a light, airy sponge cake. Take it to the next level with a topping of fresh blueberries and vanilla ice cream.

Lemon Chiffon Cake

3 or 4 lemons
2 1/4 cups (9 oz./280 g) cake flour
1 1/2 cups (12 oz./375 g) granulated sugar
1 Tbs. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) canola oil
6 eggs, separated
1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) water
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar

For the citrus glaze:
2 cups (8 oz./250 g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted, plus more if needed
2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice, strained, plus more if needed
1 Tbs. heavy cream

Preheat an oven to 325°F (165°C).

Grate the zest from the lemons and set aside. Juice the lemons and strain the juice into a liquid measuring pitcher. You should have 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml). Have ready an ungreased 10-inch (25-cm) tube pan with a removable bottom.

Sift the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder and salt onto a sheet of parchment paper. In a bowl, combine the oil, egg yolks, lemon zest and lemon juice. Add the water and whisk until well mixed. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the flour mixture until the batter is smooth.

In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Using the rubber spatula, gently fold half of the whites into the batter until almost fully incorporated. Add the remaining whites and gently fold in just until combined. The batter should be smooth but foamy. Pour the batter evenly into the tube pan.

Bake the cake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and invert the pan onto a wire rack. Let the cake cool completely, upside down, about 45 minutes.

Rotate and tap the pan against the countertop until the cake disengages. Using the center tube, pull the cake out of the pan. Invert the cake onto the rack and disengage it gently from the pan bottom. Pull the pan bottom and tube from the cake.

To make the glaze, in a bowl, whisk together the 2 cups (8 oz./250 g) confectioners’ sugar, the 2 Tbs. lemon juice and the cream until the sugar dissolves and the glaze is smooth. Add a few more drops of lemon juice if the glaze is too thick, or a little more sugar if it is too thin. Pour the glaze over the top of the cake, letting it drizzle down the sides. When the glaze dries, transfer the cake to a platter. The cake is best served the day it is baked. Serves 10 to 12.

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Itsy-Bitsy Lemon Meringue Pies

lemon

Let’s face it: making a lemon meringue pie isn’t easy. But the rewards are great, especially if (like us!) you’re a major lemon fan. These little pies take some effort, but they are adorable, perfect for a party, and will impress your guests.

Itsy-Bitsy Lemon Meringue Pies

1 batch Flaky Pie Dough for single crust (recipe below)

For the filling:
3/4 cup (6 oz./185 g.) sugar
3 Tbs. cornstarch
Pinch of kosher salt
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
4 large egg yolks, beaten
1/3 cup (3 fl. oz./80 ml.) fresh lemon juice, strained
2 Tbs. unsalted butter

For the meringue:
4 large egg whites
Pinch of cream of tartar
Pinch of kosher salt
1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g.) sugar

Prepare the flaky pie dough and chill as directed.

Lightly butter two 24-cup mini muffin pans. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough quite thin, to 1/16-1/8 inch (2-3 mm.) thick. Using a 2 1/2-inch (6-mm.) round cutter, cut out as many disks as you can. Gather the scraps, press together, reroll, and cut more disks. You should have around 40 disks total. Gently press each disk into a muffin cup to line it evenly. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes.

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 375°F (190°C). Fill any empty muffin cups with a little water. Prick the bottoms of the shells with a fork. Bake the shells until golden brown, about 13 minutes. Let cool for about 5 minutes, then remove the shells from the pans and place on a rimmed baking sheet.

Have ready all the ingredients for the filling and meringue before you get started. In a saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch and salt. Whisk in 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml.) water and the lemon zest and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until the mixture starts to thicken. Place the yolks in a bowl, pour in a bit of the hot sugar mixture, and whisk together. Pour the yolks into the saucepan and whisk to combine. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, whisking constantly. Whisk in the lemon juice, then the butter. The mixture should be quite thick. Using a small spoon, fill the baked shells with the lemon filling. Place in the oven to stay warm while you make the meringue (you don’t want to leave the shells in the oven longer than 5 minutes, so you will need to work quickly!).

To make the meringue, in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whip attachment, beat the egg whites, cream of tartar and salt on medium-high speed until frothy. Beating constantly, slowly sprinkle in the sugar. Beat until the meringue is thick and glossy (when you stop the beaters, the peaks should just barely curl at the ends).

Dollop the meringue on the pies, doing your best to spread it to the edges of the filling to seal the filling in the shells. You can also use a pastry bag and a medium tip to pipe the meringue onto the pies. Bake until the meringue is golden brown, 5-8 minutes. Let the pies cool completely before serving. Makes about 3 dozen mini pies.

Flaky Pie Dough

1 1/4 cups (6 1/2 oz./200 g.) all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. sugar
7 Tbs. (3 1/2 oz./105 g.) very cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
5 Tbs. (3 fl. oz./80 ml.) ice water, plus more if needed

In the bowl of a food processor, stir together the flour, salt, and sugar, if using. Sprinkle the butter over the top and pulse for a few seconds, or just until the butter is slightly broken into the flour but still in visible pieces. Evenly sprinkle the water over the flour mixture, then process just until the mixture starts to come together. Dump the dough into a large lock-top plastic bag, and press into a flat disk. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes or up to 1 day, or freeze for up to 1 month. Makes enough for one 9-inch (23-cm.) pie or tart.

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Soft Pretzels with Grainy Mustard

pretzels

If you really want to impress your friends, bake a batch of these guys — perfect for wrapping up this year’s Oktoberfest! Be sure you eat them the same day you make them, preferably while they’re still warm, as they won’t keep well. But that shouldn’t be a problem. Bring out the beer and mustard!

 

Soft Pretzels with Grainy Mustard

Note: The baking soda added to the boiling water makes a massive difference in these pretzels. It’s what helps them turn gorgeous and brown, so don’t skip it.

1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml.) warm water (110 degrees F/43 degrees C)

1 package (2 1/4 tsp.) active dry yeast

1 Tbs. sugar

3 Tbs. olive oil, plus more if needed

3 1/4 cups (16 1/2 oz./515 g.) all-purpose flour

1 tsp. kosher salt

1/3 cup (2 1/2 oz./75 g.) baking soda

Coarse salt for sprinkling

Grainy mustard for serving

In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together the warm water, yeast and sugar. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add the 3 tablespoons oil, the flour, and kosher salt. Attach the dough hook and knead the dough on medium-low speed until smooth, about 10 minutes. Form the dough into a ball, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled, about 1 hour.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and brush the parchment with oil. Dump the dough onto a lightly floured work surface, then cut it into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a long rope about 18 inches (45 cm.) long. With each rope positioned horizontally, bring the 2 ends up and toward the center as if forming an oval, cross one end over the other, and press each end into the bottom of the oval to create a pretzel shape. Place the pretzels on the prepared pan, spacing them evenly.

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Easiest-Ever One-Pot Dinners: Skillet Edition

WS_1Pot_ChknTagine_2309-652x663

This week, we’ve decided to go after a good cause. We’re focused on meals that require only one item—a skillet, Dutch oven, wok, you name it—and you get to figure out what to do with all that extra time you’ve regained from not having to clean a sink full of dishes.

 

We can’t mention one-pot dinners without highlighting the versatility of the skillet. These shallow, wide pans are ideal for sautéing, searing and broiling (especially if you use one that’s made of cast iron, enameled cast iron or stainless steel). Below, you’ll find a week’s worth of one-pot recipes to also demonstrate the ease of cooking with a kitchen skillet.

 

Spicy Simmered Eggs with KaleSpicy Simmered Eggs with Kale 

This vegetarian dish is surprisingly hearty, featuring eggs nestled into a bed of garlicky braised kale. A garnish of red pepper flakes adds just the right amount of heat.

Pork Medallions with Roasted Nectarines 

Pork tenderloin, a lean source of protein, is also quick-cooking when sliced into medallions. Match its inherent sweetness with roasted stone fruit (or apples, cooked a little bit longer, in the winter).

Steak Piperade 

Inexpensive, flavorful skirt or flank steak is ideal for a quick weeknight meal. For this one-pan dish, steak is seared in butter at high heat, and its browned bits are used to flavor the Basque pepper, onion and tomato specialty known as piperade.

Smoked Salmon Frittata with Goat Cheese 

This dish works equally well as the basis of a hearty weekend brunch as it does for dinner, served with a big bowl of baby greens and a crisp white wine.

Chicken Tagine with Preserved Lemons and OlivesChicken Tagine with Preserved Lemons and Olives 

This colorful Moroccan stew offers deep spices, but stays light and bright with tart citrus, briny green olives and fresh cilantro. For an authentic presentation, serve on a bed of couscous.