When developing Milk Jar’s seasonal flavor for December, I knew it had to be my favorite holiday confection in cookie form. The way the cool peppermint dough hugs the gooey chocolate while the candy cane bits melt into a chewy surprise is like waking up on Christmas morning to a blanket of snow outside. Magical. If you can’t purchase crushed candy cane, you can crush mini candy canes using a food processor.
Makes 18 to 20 three-inch cookies
4 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon table salt 11 tablespoons (or 2/3 cup) unsalted butter, cold and cubed 11 tablespoons (or 2/3 cup) vegetable shortening, room temperature 1 cup sugar 1 cup packed light brown sugar 2 extra-large eggs, cold 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract 1½ teaspoons pure peppermint extract ¾ cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips ¾ cup (6 ounces) white chocolate chips ¾ cup (6 ounces) crushed candy cane
Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the butter, shortening, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, and peppermint extract and beat on medium low speed until mixed with just small chunks of butter remaining, approximately 30 seconds. Every time you mix ingredients, scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula to be sure all ingredients are included in the mix—every bit matters! Add half of the dry ingredient mixture and mix on low speed until just incorporated and no flour is visible, about 30 seconds. Add half of the remaining dry ingredients and mix on low speed until the flour is incorporated and all butter chunks are gone, approximately 20 seconds. Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and is not sticky to the touch, about 20 seconds. Be careful not to overmix—that’s how you get flat cookies. Stir in the chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, and candy cane.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop the dough 1/3 cup at a time and firmly roll into round balls approximately 1½ inches in diameter. Place 6 cookies on each prepared baking sheet, spacing them out well. Bake on the middle and lower racks of the oven until the tops are a light golden brown and you notice hairline cracks forming on the sides, 12 to 14 minutes, spinning each pan 180 degrees and swapping their positions halfway through.
Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes, then use a wide spatula to transfer them to a wire rack or parchment paper on the counter to cool completely. Let the baking sheets cool before repeating with the remaining cookies.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days or freeze for up to a month.
* NOTE: If you’re living a life free from gluten, this is an easy recipe to make gluten free! Simply substitute the all-purpose flour with 4 cups plus 2 tablespoons of gluten-free baking flour (I prefer Cup4Cup brand) and reduce the chocolate chips to 1¾ cups. One trick to get the gluten-free version to bake perfectly is to mix the dough about 20 seconds longer when you add in the last of the flour mixture
Yes from that Laurie Anderson, another facet of the multi-media artist
Birdhouse Potatoes with Brussels Sprouts, Snap Peas, and Mushrooms by Laurie Anderson
This recipe, from the performance artist who lives part time in Springs, is flat-out delicious—so much so that when I made it for Thanksgiving instead of my usual potato gratin, no one missed the dish. The mushrooms were my idea, added with Laurie’s approval.
SERVES 6 TO 8
salt 10 small Yukon gold potatoes 1 cup sugar snap peas 1 pint brussels sprouts (about 20), rinsed, trimmed, and halved 1½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil zest of 1 lemon ½ cup minced shallots 4 ounces medium cremini mushrooms, stemmed and quartered 1¼ cups heavy cream or half-and-half 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard freshly ground black pepper 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
Bring a pot of water with ½ teaspoon salt to boil. Add the potatoes, reduce the heat to medium, and cook until tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the potatoes and set them aside to cool. Add the peas to the pot, cook for 5 minutes, then drain them.
Toss the Brussels sprouts with 1½ teaspoons of the olive oil and the lemon zest and season with salt. Arrange them cut side down in a large heavy skillet. Place over high heat, and when the Brussels sprouts start to sizzle, lower the heat to medium and cook for about 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove them from the pan. Add the shallots to the pan and cook until they have softened, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining oil. Stir in the mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms have wilted, another 5 minutes or so. Add the peas and cook briefly, stirring, until they have softened a bit, about 3 minutes. Quarter the potatoes and add them.
In a small bowl, whisk the cream and mustard together and add to the pan. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes to slightly thicken the sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a warm dish, scatter with the thyme, and serve.
In these Covid times, Berliners like others have had to change their leisure and vacation patterns and rediscovered what is to see in their backyard.
To help you discover all that's to see around Berlin, the Brandenburg Tourism Office has now reissued their English version of the Brandenburg map. It shows 62 highlights around Berlin with a short explanation and website on the back.
A taste of what to expect from the Map notes:
"The Berlin Wall divided the German capital and separated West Berlin from the territory of the GDR from 1961 to 1989. On a cycle tour along the Berlin Wall Trail, you can still see the remains of the former border installations. Stop off on your 106-kilometre long round trip in Potsdam, where many of the city´s attractions have great stories to tell. If you look closely, you can see that the Glienicke Bridge was painted in two different colors, testifying that the bridge was divided between east and west and that captured spies were exchanged in its center. The route along the border section in Brandenburg´s capital is approximately 15 kilometers long. In New Babelsberg, you cycle past villas steeped in history and the Media City, where leading DEFA films were produced during the GDR period. From there the trail leads back to Berlin."
Recommended start/finish: Glienicke Bridge, Potsdam or Brandenburg Gate, Berlin
Anreise: RE1 to Potsdam, S-Bahn S7
Don't Get Lost thanks to Signposts: Grey beam against a white background with 'Berliner Mauerweg' logo and watchtower to the left.
Total length: 160 km, approx. 56 km through Brandenburg and 15 km through Postdam.
(Screenshot of Berlin to Potsdam trail map above)
Check PDF here for the Full Map of Brandenburg Cycling Trails, besides Berlin Wall Trail.
Here's a short introduction to the work of textile artist Itchiku Kubota (1917-2003) as shared by museum website:
"This museum contains the works of the textile artist Itchiku Kubota who revived the traditional fabric dyeing technique of Tsujigahana. Tsujigahana flourished in Muromachi period and then disappeared just as suddenly. When Itchiku Kubota was 20 years-old, he was absolutely-fascinated with the beauty of the fabric dyeing and created his own contemporary style called Itchiku Tsujigahana."
Distant travels and dye art for Tokyo Thursdays # 317
(* Image from Itchiku Kubota Art Museum from museum's website)
Manchurian Candidate, Not Exactly! from from Saladish by Ilene Rosen with Donna Gelb (Artisan Books, 2018/Photographs by Joseph De Leo )
Browsing through books I received in Spring 2019, I realized this bright red choux fleur recipe had failed to show up here, now corrected.
This is a simplified and not-fried version of Gobi Manchurian, an Indian restaurant favorite of fried cauliflower seasoned Indo-Chinese style. Try to find a head of cauliflower that still has its leaves.
1 head of cauliflower, cut into medium florets, core reserved and tender part sliced, leaves left whole
One 6-ounce can tomato paste
2 teaspoons molasses
2 teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted and ground
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1⁄4 cup flavorless vegetable oil
1⁄3 cup minced jalapeño
1⁄3 cup finely minced fresh ginger
1 large garlic clove, finely minced
4 or 5 scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the cauliflower florets, return to a boil, and cook for about 1 minute, until the florets are just tender. Drain thoroughly and transfer to a sheet pan to cool.
Whisk together the tomato paste, molasses, cumin seeds, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and 3 tablespoons of the oil in a small bowl until thoroughly blended.
Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a small skillet over medium heat and sauté the jalapeño, ginger, and garlic for a minute or two, until soft and fragrant but not browned. Season to taste with kosher salt and pepper and add to the tomato mixture, whisking to thoroughly combine.
Put the cauliflower florets in a large bowl and toss with the tomato mixture, rubbing the mixture into the florets’ cracks and crevices. Taste and add more kosher salt if necessary. Spread out on the same sheet pan and roast for 15 minutes. Rotate the pan and roast for 10 minutes more, or until the florets are tender and browned, even charred in some spots. Meanwhile, toss the slices of core and the leaves with oil and kosher salt and pepper to taste.
Roast on a separate small pan just until browned, about 7 minutes. Let the florets, core slices, and leaves cool.
Transfer the cauliflower florets, leaves, and slices of core to a bowl, add most of the scallions, and toss to combine. Transfer to a platter, drizzle with the olive oil, and scatter the reserved scallions and some flaky salt over the top. Serve.
"For the Japanese, the concept of design is not limited to functionality and materiality—it is deeply connected with culture and tradition. In this sense, everyday objects become more than their function: they are to be reﬂected upon, to be touched and cherished."