Category ... Cookie
Dec 24, 2016 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Special for the LA Times Syndicate
first published December 1997, for the Los Angeles Times Syndicate
There are those who truly believe in the cliche that love is blind and indeed they are often right. Life isn't perfect, so we tend to fill in the gaps with our creative imagination, and a certain degree of purposeful lack of vision can go far in keeping things going. But given those rare times when one is hit with the real thing that never disappoints, is lasting, in fact mellows and improves with age, and for which one can actually remove the rose colored glasses so often necessary for enchantment, only a fool would fail to treasure such beneficence. There were few such fools Christmas Eve 1996 when the Gods bestowed the gift of the most perfect conditions to date for making Eiswein to many vineyards throughout the wine growing regions of Germany.
Grapes, other than dessert wine grapes, are normally harvested in October. The advantage of allowing grapes to sit longer on the vine is that more flavor and sweetness can develop. The risk, however, is that they usually start to deteriorate before the temperature drops in mid January. The longer the wait, the higher the risk that it will all be for naught and the entire crop wasted.
When grapes freeze, the watery part freezes solid but the sugary juices containing flavors remain liquid. The grapes must be pressed before thawing so that only the naturally concentrated juices are released and the watery part stays frozen and left behind.
Because it is impossible to predict just how long the temperature will cooperate, it is advisable to pick the grapes immediately. When vintners emerged from mid-night mass on Christmas Eve, to discover that an unprecedented early drop in temperature had frozen the perfectly ripened grapes, they felt as if they had been given a Christmas present. It was the same heart-warming story in many vineyards throughout Germany: Fellow parishioners volunteered to go immediately to the vineyards to help pick the precious harvest before the grapes could defrost and spoil.
Eiswein, was invented in 1965 in Germany, the world's Northern-most wine growing region. It is usually made with either the Riesling, or Scheurebe grape (a cross between Riesling and Muller-Thurgau). It's intensity is at least equal to that of the renowned trockenbeerenauslese, fondly referred to as tba. Eiswein, however, has more purity of flavor because the freezing process does not impart any additional flavors.
The concentration of grapes for tba is caused by botrytis (aka noble rot). Botrytis, which is a fungus, breaks down the skin of the grape, causing the water to evaporate and the grape to shrivel. The botrytis also adds a distinctive burnt sugar-like tartness which masks some of the grape's flavor. The most conscientious growers remove any botrytis affected grapes before making the Eiswein.
The 1996 Eiswein harvest had the advantage not only of an early freeze but also of exceptionally clean botrytis free conditions and, of course, this is reflected in the extraordinary quality of the wine.
We all know that too much sweetness can quickly become cloying, but the beauty of a great German Eiswein is that the natural high acidity of the grape lends a provocative stinging poignancy, much desired balance between sweetness and fruit, and aging potential of as long as 100 years. Though often easy to drink even when very young, it isn't until about 10 years that the sweetness and acidity come into full married balance, with layers of unfolding flavors. It only takes a little glass of this liquid joy to go a long way and once experienced, it is impossible to forget.
Eiswein, retailing from $65 to $150 for 350 ml., is relatively inexpensive if you consider that for every glass you are drinking the equivalent of ten glasses that would have been produced from the same grapes had they not undergone the concentration. Besides, Christmas comes but once a year and Eiswein more seldom still. And once opened, the wine will keep refrigerated to be savored repeatedly over several weeks.
People are always asking what to eat with a wine that fills the mouth with such honeyed ambrosial nectar, it's like eating a glorious liquid dessert. My choice would be the simplest and finest cookie I know: the almond crescent. Crisp, buttery, impossibly fragile, with the faintest whisper of cinnamon, they will prove the point that one perfect thing deserves another. And, this recipe takes very little time to make in a food processor.
1996 Eisweins that I have enjoyed in the various wine regions of Germany which are exported to U.S.A. include: Selbach-Oster (Mosel), Hermann Donnhoff (Nahe), Gunderloch (Rheinhessen), Heyl zu Hernsheim (Rheinhessen), Josef Biffar (Pfalz), Fuhrmann-Eymael (Pfalz), Muller-Catoir (Pfalz),Von Buhl (Pfalz), Dr. Heger (Baden), Salwey (Baden).
Continue reading "For the Love of Eiswein--A Christmas Story" »
Jan 07, 2016 | From the kitchen of Rose
Shirl Gard, pastry chef and consultant, recently sent me her version of my Cranberry Scone Toppers from The Baking Bible. This is one of my favorite recipes and she has done an excellent presentation including step by step photos. Check out the posting on her website.
What could be more gratifying than sharing recipes and inspiring other professionals to create one's of their own! Oh wait--I know--their having the graciousness and professionalism to credit the originator of the recipe as did Shirl.!
Nov 03, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose
It is a rare treat these days to meet with friends and to have dinner in New York City, so when my long time dearest friend and protégé David Shamah and I planned a special reunion and celebration, the restaurant we chose was Drew Nierporent's new Bâtard. We had a very early 5:45 reservation which we loved because we had a whole hour of quiet conversation before the restaurant filled to capacity and the noise level rose.
We were offered a glass of excellent champagne while we perused the menu and enjoyed the lovely decor and perfect subdued lighting (note the exquisite plaster bas-relief walls behind David in this photo).
My appetizer was a silken and flavorful work of art:
marinated radish, quinoa, bok choi
David's appetizer was a richly luxurious terrine:
SHORT RIB & TAFELSPITZ TERRINE
smoked egg, german sesame, apple
For the main course, we shared a fabulous Colorado lamb dish:
LAMB FOR TWO
roasted rack, confit shoulder, crispy lamb bacon, turnips, grilled lemon
Instead of ordering two desserts, we decided to share the epiosse--my favorite cheese:
mushroom vinaigrette, cipollini, grilled baguette
CARAMELIZED MILK BREAD
blueberries, brown butter ice cream
The milk bread was a delicious combination of soft, moist, and airy interior coated with a gossamer-fine crust of wondrously brittle sugar.
And just as we thought we had fnished, chef Markus Glocker sent out the amazing Lubeck marzipan cookies. As a non-marzipan lover I was blown away by how perfect these were. The virtue of marzipan is how it keeps its moisture so that the insides of the cookies are moist, creamy, and chewy, the topping crunchy with sliced almonds and lightly browned marzipan. But what elevated them to exceptional perfection of balance was the unexpected highlight of salt. Here is the recipe for you to enjoy for your holiday baking. I encourage you to purchase the Lubeck marzipan which is imported by Swiss Chalet Fine Foods from Germany. (They also carry Darbo--the best apricot preserves.) It has the most silken texture and delicious flavor of any marzipan I've ever tasted. Note: Any leftover marzipan can be frozen for months. Also, I tested the recipe with unblanched almonds, as that is what I had on hand, and liked the added flavor and color contrast.
In Austria and Germany this type of cookie is called "marzipan horns" because they are usually shaped to suggest horns, but I've renamed them in honor of the marvelous chef and restaurant: Glocker Marzipan Bâtards.
Continue reading "A Sublime New Cookie for the Holidays" »
Jan 01, 2013 | From the kitchen of Rose
If you would like my recipe for Mexican Wedding Cakes, first published in Rose's Christmas Cookies, it is featured on page 26 of this stunning on line magazine. I just love how they styled and photographed it:
Hope this starts off your New Year's in a sweet and happy way.
Dec 21, 2011 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Web Appearances
photo credit: Sheila Phalon
My dearest friend Nancy Weber has written a most entertaining and educational article on her visit to me several months ago when I was testing buttercrunch toffee for the new book.
When I learned that Betty Fussell, who also lives in the neighborhood, and is a highly esteemed author and friend, is also a friend of Nancy's, I invited her over to watch the process and taste the results.
Several of you have posted questions about toffee so this is a first rate opportunity to review the key steps. Enjoy! NYCityWoman.com
Feb 22, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Questions and Answers
Do you have any experience with Parisian-style macarons? I've been a huge fan of these for years, always visiting Laduree and Stohrer when I'm in Paris. It's been my "life's dream" (in the realm of my baking anyway) to make the macarons as close to French patisserie quality as possible; I've been working on them lately and have had mediocre success. Main problems: many crack and split open while baking. I've tried the approach of letting them sit out for a few minutes before baking and baking immediately and nothing seems to guarantee consistency. I've contacted Laduree (they have a book now, in French!) to ask if I can visit their kitchen, but they didn't like that idea. Do you know of any secrets to these and getting them as tender and as close as possible to the real things?
Macaroons are very difficult to make at home. but I can give you one tip othat was given to me by a Swiss chef: after piping them, let them sit uncovered overnight before baking them. This helps to keep them from cracking, resulting in smooth tops. as Dorie Greenspan says in her delightful book Paris Sweets, each Parisian has his or her favorite place for macaroons. for this New Yorker its Laduree, but then, I have yet to do a thorough tasting investigation.
Feb 07, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Cookie Questions
Feedback: hi rose,
i would like to know that if i can bake cookies without using eggs??? if u have few recipes for cookies without using eggs i would love to try them out.
I don't know of the cake that can be made without eggs but many wonderful cookies can be made without them!
Jan 06, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose
I have all of your books and am a huge fan. Your teaching style appeals to me, as I am a university math instructor. One of my favorite recipes is your Shortbread. It needs no improving, but I sometimes would like a little chocolate or nuts with them. Have you ever tried putting mini chocolate chips in the dough or finely chopped pecans?
thank you! I haven't tried putting mini chocolate chips in the dough -- -- as you know, it's a very fragile dough. But I have frosted it with a thin layer of ganache, or tempered chocolate. I haven't tried adding finely chopped pecans but I'm quite sure that would work perfectly. also, the nuts and the chocolate would be terrific together!
Dec 22, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Cookie Questions
Feedback: i HAVE A COOKIE THAT BECOMES QQUITE DRY AFTERBAKING AND i WONDERED IF THERE IS ANYTHING I CAN DO TO PREVENT THIS/
cookies usually become dry due to overbaking as they continue baking after removal from the oven. better to underbake as you can always return them to the oven but you can't UNbake! bake the cookies until starting to brown at the edges and set but still soft when pressed in the center. leave them on the cookie sheets just until they are firm enough to remove and then transfer them to racks.
a few spoonfulls of molasses, honey, or corn syrup will also help to keep cookies soft.
Dec 19, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose
my stepson michael and his wife frances had the good judgment to space their kids a few years and 6 months apart which makes it just perfect for a biannual visit to snohomish washington for each of their birthdays. elyse, who is just turning 6, was born right before christmas, and haley, who will be turning 10 was born in june. this also gives us the chance to experience two different seasons along with seasonal activities in such a beautiful location.
this years’ christmas visit started off with a request from the kids to make cookies. haley wanted her favorite: chocolate chips without nuts, And elyse wanted to try a chocolate fudge recipe that was in one of her books called “strawberry shortcake.” since it was meant for kids to make, i figured it would be quick and easy but when i discovered that we were 1/4 cup short of sweetened condensed milk, i decided to add 2 tablespoons of butter instead. frances told me they all preferred bittersweet chocolate so instead of using 1 cup of semi-sweet chips and 1 cup of milk chips called for in the recipe we used 2 cups of bittersweet chocolate chips.
we decided to start off with the chocolate chip cookie batter as it’s easier to shape after chilling so while it was chilling we could whip up the fudge.
it was great fun for all of us. the kids donned their aprons, chefs hats and potholders i had sent them 2 years ago, got up on their step stools, and were most adept at exchanging turns for every step of the process.
i wasn’t expecting to like the fudge because i’ve always found it to be too sweet and grainy but i have to say this fudge recipe, in all its simplicity, was absolutely fabulous. we all loved it so much it will be sure to become part of a family tradition.
Butter an 8 x 8 inch pan and line it with a piece of waxed paper
In the top of a double boiler, combine 2 cups of chocolate chips, preferably bittersweet, a 12 ounce can (1-1/4 cups) sweetened condensed milk, 2 tablespoons unsalted butter and 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract.
Set it over simmering water and heat, stirring often, until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth.
Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top so that it is even. Place it in the frig and allow it to chill and set for at least 2 hours.
cut the fudge into 1 inch squares and then keep it covered with plastic wrap.
Dec 13, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Cookie Questions
I'm having such trouble with gingersnaps and I hope you can help! My goal is a cookie that can last longer than one day while still being "snappy" and still tender to the bite. I can't seem to find the balance between chewy and tooth-breaking!
I've tried increasing baking powder, I've fussed with bake times, stored in sealed bags, I've thrown in desiccant to see what would happen, but still am unhappy with my results.
i've never actually made gingersnaps but in my book "rose's christmas cookies" i have both gingerbread for building gingerbread houses and gingerbread for gingerbread people! the difference is that in the people one i use egg, more butter and more brown sugar, all of which makes it more tender though still crisp. if you roll them thicker--say 1/4", they will be more soft, chewy and pudgy!
also be sure to underbake them slightly as on cooling they will firm up but still remain a little soft. these cookies keep for several months but of course become less soft with time.