Pinwheel Cookies

I’ve been making cookies / desserts at the suggestions of others just to get me to try new things, and one suggestion a couple of weeks ago was a pinwheel cookie. The guy that asked for it said his mom used to make them for him, but had not in a while.

Well, after I checked into what a pinwheel is, I understand why his mom doesn’t make it anymore. You have to really love someone (which I suggested his mom may not do any more – which was mean, but funny) to do this amount of work … And this much frigign’ math. But, since I have never 1) eaten a pinwheel or 2) made a pinwheel. I took it as some sadistic challenge. And so far that seems to be an accurate statement of the experience. I’ve gone so far as to clock the active time involved in putting this damn cookie together. I even made templates – who what nerd does that?? Me. sigh.D&D_0854

Yields about 10 dozen 2-inch cookies. If you can roll everything in the correct dimension. Yep that was wasn’t me.

13 1/2 oz. (3 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. table salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
10 oz. (1-1/4 cups) unsalted butter, slightly softened
1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 large egg
1-1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. instant espresso powder
2 Tbs. boiling water
3 Tbs. unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder
3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted but still warm

Sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter on medium-low speed until smooth, about 2 min. Add the sugar in a steady stream and mix for another 2 min. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until well combined, scraping the bowl as needed. Reduce the speed to low and add the dry ingredients in two additions, mixing just until combined. Remove 2 cups less 2 Tbs. of the dough and set aside.

Dissolve the espresso powder in the boiling water and set aside briefly to cool. Then mix the espresso and cocoa powder into the remaining dough. Reduce the mixer speed to low, add the warm melted chocolate and mix just until thoroughly combined.

Portion each flavor of dough into three equal pieces. (For accuracy, use a scale – yes, do this) Shape each piece into a 5×5-inch square on a piece of plastic wrap and wrap well. The chocolate will be thicker than the vanilla. Refrigerate the dough for 30 min. (If the dough becomes too hard, let it stand at room temperature for a few minutes before rolling) = 1 hour.

While the dough is chilling, tear off twelve 12-inch squares of waxed paper. Roll each piece of dough into a 7×7-inch square between two sheets of the waxed paper. Without removing the waxed paper, layer the squares of dough on a baking sheet and refrigerate for 10 to 15 min. Have ready three 15-inch sheets of plastic wrap = 20 more minutes.

To shape the cookies, remove one square of the vanilla dough and one square of the chocolate dough from the refrigerator and peel off the top sheet of waxed paper from each. Invert the chocolate square over the vanilla square (or vanilla can go on top of chocolate; try some of each for variety), taking care to align the two layers as evenly as possible. Using your rolling pin, gently roll over the dough to seal the layers together. Peel off the top layer of waxed paper.

Starting with the edge of the dough closest to you, carefully curl the edge of the dough up and over with your fingertips, so no space is visible in the center of the pinwheel.

Using the waxed paper as an aid, continue rolling the dough into a tight cylinder. After the cylinder is formed, roll it back and forth on the counter to slightly elongate it and compact it. And then roll is really crunchy sparkling sugar (not in the original recipe, but so worth it). Transfer the log to the plastic wrap, centering it on the long edge closest to you. Roll tightly, twisting the ends of the plastic firmly to seal. With your hands on either end of the log, push firmly toward the center to compact the dough. It should be about 9 inches long and 1-1/2 inches thick – or whatever it is – really.  Repeat with remaining dough. Refrigerate the logs until firm enough to slice, about 3 hours, or freeze for up to three months = 20 more minutes.

Heat the oven to 350°F. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Working with one log at a time, roll the long in large grain sparkling sugar. Then, use a sharp, thin-bladed knife to slice the dough into 3/16-inch rounds (I used my tomato knife, not thin, but beyond sharp). Set the rounds about 1 inch apart on the prepared pans and bake until the tops of the cookies feel set, 12 to 14 minutes, making sure to rotate pan halfway through. Let the baked cookies stand for 1 minute on the pan, then transfer to a rack to cool completely. When cool, store between sheets of waxed paper in an airtight container for up to two weeks, or freeze for up to three months = 12 – 13 minutes x 6 =78 minutes.

Total time, roughly, since I’m not good at math = 2 hours & 20 minutes, not including time in the fridge.

Fine Cooking

With this all said and done, now that I have experience doing it, I will make these again. Nothing is particularly daunting. There are just many steps and it takes time. It’s fairly forgiving too because my measurements of the squares were not correct. I just made them match and tried to make it close and it worked. As a not huge chocolate fan, this chocolate part of the cookie reminds me of Guinness – coffee, dark chocolate, lovely.

 

Mrs. Lenkh’s Cheese Sables

I have had this recipe printed and in my cracker binder –  yes, I have a cracker binder, and have had one for donkey’s years. No comments about that because I am just that girl. I Just have never made this until now. It uses way more butter than normal for cheese crackers, but comes together easily. And I let the dough sit in the fridge for a couple of days before baking. That is one thing I like about cracker recipes. Make them and then bake a few days latter … no biggie.D&D_9562

9 oz. (2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp. table salt
1/8 tsp. cayenne
1/8 tsp. baking powder
7 oz. (14 Tbs.) cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
3-1/2 oz. (1-1/2 cups) finely grated sharp Cheddar
1-1/2 oz. (1/2 cup) finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts (optional – not really)
1 large egg yolk mixed with a pinch of paprika and 1/2 tsp. water, as a glaze
Kosher or sea salt for sprinkling

Put the flour, salt, cayenne, and baking powder in a food processor. Pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse again until the butter is in small pieces, six to eight 1-second pulses. Add the cheeses, pulse, and finally, add the egg and pulse until the mixture just starts to come together.

Dump the dough on an unfloured surface. If you’re using nuts, sprinkle them on the pile of dough. Knead by lightly smearing the ingredients together as you push them away from you with the heel of your hand until the dough is cohesive. Shape the dough into a flat disk, wrap in plastic, and chill for an hour or two to let the butter firm.

Position racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven. Heat the oven to 400°F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thick. Stamp out shapes or cut shapes with a knife. Arrange 1-inch apart on two ungreased baking sheets. Reroll scraps once and stamp again.

Brush with the glaze and sprinkle lightly with kosher or sea salt. Bake until golden brown and thoroughly cooked inside, about 14 minutes, rotating the sheets from front to back and top to bottom about halfway through. To test, break one in half and look to see if the center still looks doughy. If so, cook for a few more minutes, but be careful not to over bake. Let cool on a rack and store only when completely cool.

Notes: These were only slightly amazing. So light, so crispy. I cannot think of anything I would do different. Except make them again and again.  I really cannot imagine it took me so long to make them.

Source: Fine Cooking. http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/cheese-sables.aspx

Mrs. Lenkh’s Cheese Sables

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Cheese Sables

I’ve had this recipe printed for about ever and in my cracker binder – yes, I have binder for cheese crackers – mock me if you dare. But I have never made this recipe until now. It uses way more butter than normal for a cheese cracker recipe, but it is super flaky.  It comes together easily and then I let it sit in the fridge for several days. About a week, if I’m going to be honest, though the recipe said two days – I know from experience with cheese crackers, you can just let that slide a bit. Thankfully. I like the idea of making something one day and then bake them a bit later – that works for me. I do the same thing when pickling.

Okay for a definition of a sable – I have my handy-dandy The New Food Lover’s Companion.   A book I relied on as an event planner – it’s small and pretty much tells you everything you need to know about food. My mentor had one and when I went off on my own way, it was one of the first things I bought. So the definition of a sable is – “The French word sable means sand (knew that) and the cookies are so named because of their delicate, crumbly texture.”*

  • 9 oz. (2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. table salt **
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne (used about 1/4 tsp because I am me)
  • 1/8 tsp. baking powder
  • 7 oz. (14 Tbs.) cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 3-1/2 oz. (1-1/2 cups) finely grated sharp Cheddar
  • 1-1/2 oz. (1/2 cup) finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts (optional, nope – not optional – walnuts)
  • 1 large egg yolk mixed with a pinch of paprika and 1/2 tsp. water, as a glaze (smoked Spanish paprika)
  • Kosher or sea salt for sprinkling (didn’t use this at all) **
Put the flour, salt, cayenne, and baking powder in a food processor. Pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse again until the butter is in small pieces, six to eight 1-second pulses. Add the cheeses, pulse, and finally, add the egg and pulse until the mixture just starts to come together.

Dump the dough on an unfloured surface. If you’re using nuts ( yes, you are), sprinkle them on the pile of dough. Knead by lightly smearing the ingredients together as you push them away from you with the heel of your hand until the dough is cohesive. Shape the dough into a flat disk, wrap in plastic, and chill for an hour or two to let the butter firm.

Position racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven. Heat the oven to 400°F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thick. Stamp out shapes or cut shapes with a knife. Arrange 1-inch apart on two ungreased baking sheets. Reroll scraps once and stamp again.

Brush with the glaze and sprinkle lightly with kosher or sea salt. Bake until golden brown and thoroughly cooked inside, about 14 minutes, rotating the sheets from front to back and top to bottom about halfway through. To test, break one in half and look to see if the center still looks doughy. If so, cook for a few more minutes, but be careful not to overbake. Let cool on a rack and store only when completely cool.

Source: Fine Cooking

*The New Food Lover’s Companion, 2001. p. 531.

** My printed version of the recipe says 1 Tbs table salt, which I thought was total over load, especially with Parmesan,  so I kind of used not that much. And then I tasted the first batch with no extra salt and loved them. So that’s how I did it. And the sables are pretty much amazing. And they hold up pretty well over a week or so. Humidity didn’t seem to get to them. Nice.

Not sure who Mrs. Lenkh is, but I am thankful for this recipe. Another win in the cheese cracker department.