Rustic Olive Oil Crackers

Frustrated by the price and frequency at which we were buying crackers, I resolved to learn how to make the dang things myself. Homemade crackers may sound intimidating, but they are actually quite simple, especially rustic crackers like these Olive Oil Crackers. This cracker recipe is wonderfully simple and adaptive to any favor you would like to explore. Some toppings I’ve tried are: toasted sesame seeds, fresh rosemary, coarse salt or herbes de Provence. Inspired by the Ines Rosales Tortas de Aceite, I am excited to try a sweet version with anis and coarse sugar very soon.

The trick to these crackers is a pasta maker, a gentle hand and some patience. It’s important to get them thin and fairly even so that they crisp throughout. Have your sheet pans ready and lined with parchment before you start rolling the dough as you’ll want to set them down as soon as you’re done rolling.

These crackers make large rustic shapes that will look beautiful next to a cheese platter on your next dinner party. This recipe was developed by Heidi Swanson and published in her blog 101 Cookbooks here.

Rustic Olive Oil Crackers
1 1/2 cups semolina flour or whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 cup warm water
1/3 cup olive oil
Cornmeal for dusting
Topping of choice (optional)

1. Add flours and salt to your standing mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. At low speed, add the water and olive oil in a slow steady stream. Mix the dough at medium speed for about 5 – 7 minutes. Alternately, feel free to mix and then knead by hand on a floured counter-top. The dough should be just a bit tacky – not too dry, not too sticky to work with. If you need to add a bit more water (or flour) do so.

2. When you are done mixing, shape the dough into a large ball. Now cut into twelve equal-sized pieces. Gently rub each piece with a bit of olive oil, shape into a small ball and place on a plate. Cover with a clean dishtowel or plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for 30 – 60 minutes or up to a day.

3. While the dough is resting, preheat your oven to 450F degrees. Insert a pizza stone, if you have one, otherwise, line two sheet pans with parchment and set aside.

4. When the dough is done resting, flatten one dough ball. Using a rolling pin or a pasta machine, shape into a flat strip of dough – I can usually get down to the 4 setting on my pasta machine w/o trouble. Pull the dough out a bit thinner by hand (the way you might pull pizza dough). You can also cut the dough into whatever shape you like at this point. Set dough on a cornmeal-dusted baking sheet.

5. If you will be topping the crackers, lightly wash water over the cracker with a pastry brush. Sprinkle your topping of choice and slide into the oven (onto the pizza stone). Repeat the process for the remaining dough balls, baking in small batches. If you don’t have a pizza stone, bake crackers a few at a time on baking sheets. Bake until deeply golden. Slide the crackers from the cookie sheet onto a cooling rack. Cool completely before serving. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

Makes a dozen extra large crackers.

Glazed Lemon Muffins

Glazed Lemon Muffin Recipe
Plate by Roger Baumann. Photo by Marta Bartolomei Edmonds.
Tangy and sweet, these lemon muffins are a summertime breakfast favorite. Our family’s love affair with lemon muffins began at the Daily Coffee Bar in Bozeman, Montana. During our years in college, we went there often and almost always ordered the same thing: lemon muffins and a mocha. We loved their lemon muffins so much that I began making them once we moved to New York City when we felt particularly homesick.
This lemon muffin recipe makes a light, lemony and not particularly sweet muffin. The glaze completes the muffin with sweetness and the tart and fresh elements of real lemon juice. Just thinking about them makes my mouth water.
For light and airy lemon muffins, the trick is to work quickly when mixing the flour into the liquids, mix the ingredients by hand with a wooden spoon and do not over mix. Make sure that the flour is completely incorporated into the liquids, but stop mixing as soon as there are no longer flour lumps in the batter.
Favorite Glazed Lemon Muffins
Plate by Roger Baumann. Photo by Marta Bartolomei Edmonds.
Glazed Lemon Muffins
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon extract
1/2 buttermilk
1/3 cup oil
Lemon Glaze
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Oil a 12-cup muffin pan and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.
2. In a large bowl, whisk the buttermilk, oil, lemon juice, lemon extract, sugar and eggs until just combined (do not over beat). Using a wooden spoon, fold in the flour mixture in a few swift strokes to form a smooth batter.
3. Divide the batter into the 12 muffin tins. Bake for 20 minutes or until the muffins are lightly golden around the edges and a wooden pick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.
4. While the muffins are baking, prepare the lemon glaze by stirring the sugar into the lemon juice until all the sugar crystals are completely dissolved.
4. Remove the muffins from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove them from the muffin pan and brush them generously with the lemon glaze. Allow them to sit at room temperature to cool completely and soak the lemon glaze.
Makes 12 muffins.

Mini Chocolate Chip Scones

Mini Chocolate Chip Scone Recipe
Photo by Marta Bartolomei Edmonds.
From June to September each year the Bozeman, MT community would gather to support local farmers, craftspeople and bakers like me at the Farmer’s Market in Bogert Park. Vincent Van Scone was our small operation that consisted of baked breakfast goods, especially scones, and a weekly auction of Scott’s chalkboard reproduction of a Van Gogh painting. We were twenty six then and already dreaming about how to carve out a little place in the world.
During the summers, our home would smell like coffee cake and chalk on Friday nights as Scott would prepare the chalkboard Van Gogh, spreading the big box of chalk all over the floor. The living room and dining room would slowly fill up with coffee cakes as I baked them in batches through the night. In early Saturday mornings, it was the aroma of strong Puerto Rican coffee brewing in large quantities and the gentle buttery smell of scones baked with blueberries, raspberries, peaches or plums that would wake Angelica up.
Scott and I would load up our rickety old wooden picnic table (no, not the ones that fold) onto the roof of our copper Salvation Army Store-bought 1972 Jeep Wagoneer. The crates of still-warm scones, coffee cakes, coffee and other supplies would go in the back. Little Angelica would jump in next to us and Scott would drive us a block to the Bozeman Farmer’s Market to set up. After hauling the heavy wooden table to my spot, Scott and Angelica would disappear – Scott to return the car home and Angelica to get her best friend Chloe to play in Bogert Park. Scott often came back with a bunch of fresh wildflowers or sweat pea blossoms for the table, just in time for the Farmer’s Market “opening bell”. Friends and customers would stop by for their morning fix of baked goods and fresh brewed Puerto Rican coffee and we would catch up on the week’s events.
Our weekends these days are very different, but each time I make scones, my heart swells for those great Vincent Van Scone weekends and those sweet pea blossoms on my rickety red picnic table.
If you are new to making scones, you might be interested in these tips.
You might also be interested in my other scone recipes: Raspberry Almond Scones, Spiced Pumpkin Scones.
Mini Chocolate Chip Scones
2 cups flour
2 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons cold butter
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon turbinado sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 450°. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the mini chocolate chips. Stir in the whipping cream, egg and vanilla extract with a few swift strokes until a crumbly dough forms. Don’t worry if there are still some dry spots.
2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gather the dough into a ball. Gently press the dough into a ¾ inch thick disk.
3. Brush the disk with heavy cream and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Cut the disk into 8 even wedges.
4. Arrange the wedges 1 inch apart on a baking sheet. Bake in the middle of the oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm with fresh whipped cream.
Makes 8 scones.

Chocolate Caramel Tarts

Best Chocolate Caramel Tart Recipe
Photo from Nordljus.
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and if you are looking to treat your lover to a romantic candlelit dinner, then consider ending the evening with this sexy dessert. It’s a chocolate caramel tart conceived by Claudia Fleming, renowned pastry chef and author of the cookbook “The Last Course”.
This exceptional tart starts off with the required Valentine’s Day ingredients of chocolate and caramel. But the dessert itself is much more than just putting two good things together, this tart is about thoughtfully prepared elements using the best ingredients to bring about an experience of texture, intense taste sensations and visual appeal. A not-so-sweet chocolate crust is the container to a rich, buttery soft caramel which is then topped with a dark chocolate ganache glaze. The tart is garnished with fleur de sel salt that makes a bite of this dessert sing in your mouth. Just imagine this thick, deeply golden flow of caramel flowing from the dark chocolate ganache glaze as your fork sinks into the tart to take your first bite. This tart is unforgettable.
Thinking about the chocolate caramel tart brings back memories of an evening Scott and I shared last year. For his birthday, I treated Scott to an overnight getaway at the Battery Park Ritz Carlton. Our room had a telescope to view the Statue of Liberty and other landmarks along the Hudson River, this appealed to Scott’s voyeuristic tendencies. That night we indulged in room service and a bottle of the most excellent Roederer Estate’s L’Ermitage cuvée, which we now call ‘naughty champaign’. The pleasurable taste of that sparkling wine is like nothing we had ever enjoyed. Something about tasting something that good certainly makes you feel a little naughty. At the end of the meal, I surprised Scott with the chocolate caramel tart topped with a single lit candle and a sprinkling of salt. It was a delightful highlight to a memorable evening in honor of Scott.
The chocolate caramel tart is definitely a special occasion dessert. Give yourself plenty of time to make it as you will need to make it in phases (pastry first, then caramel, then chocolate glaze). Don’t skimp on the ingredients – make sure you use a good quality dark chocolate (Valrhona, Callebaut, Scharffen Berger are all wonderful chocolates). The end result will be well worth the effort and your lover might just thank you in more ways than one ;)
Looking for other Valentine’s Day treat ideas? Try this Chocolate-Dipped Florentine Shortbread recipe by Pierre Hermé.
Chocolate Caramel Tarts
Chocolate Tart Dough
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp confectioner’s sugar
1 large egg yolk
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder
Caramel Filling
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tsp crème fraiche
Chocolate Ganache Glaze
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 1/2 oz extra-bittersweet chocolate, chopped
Pinch of fine sea salt, such as fleur de sel
1. To prepare the tart dough, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and confectioner’s sugar until combined, about 1 minute. Sift in the flour and cocoa powder and beat on low speed until just combined. Scrape the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap and form it into a disk. Wrap and chill until firm, about 1 hour, or up to 3 days.
2. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. On a lightly floured surface, roll the tart dough to an 18 x 12 – inch rectangle, 3/16 inch thick. Using a 2 1/2 inch round cutter, cut out 24 rounds of dough and press them into mini muffin tins or 2-inch tart pans, trimming away any excess dough; prick the dough all over with a fork. Chill the tart shells for 20 minutes.
3. Line the tart shells with foil and fill with dried beans, rice, or pie weights. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and weights and bake for 5 to 10 minutes longer, or until the pastry looks dry and set. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. (The tart shells can be made 8 hours ahead.)
4. To prepare the filling, place 1/2 cup water in a large saucepan. Add the sugar and corn syrup and cook the mixture over medium-high heat, swirling the pan occasionally, until you have a dark amber caramel, about 10 minutes. Carefully whisk in the butter, cream, and crème fraiche (the mixture will hiss and bubble up, so stand back), whisking until smooth. (The caramel can be made up to 5 days ahead and refrigerated.) Divide the caramel among the tart shells while still warm (or reheat the caramel in the microwave or over low heat until it is pourable) and let sit until the caramel is set, at least 45 minutes.
5. To make the ganache glaze, in a saucepan, bring the cream to a boil. Place the chocolate in a bowl. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let sit for 2 minutes, then whisk until smooth. Pour some of the glaze over each of the tarts while still warm. Let the glaze set at room temperature for at least 2 hours before serving. Sprinkle with salt, if desired, just before serving.
Variation
For a large tart, line a 10-inch tart pan with the pastry dough, then prick, weight, and bake as directed, adding 5 to 10 minutes to the baking time. When the tart shell is cool, spoon in the warm caramel filling. Allow the caramel to set before pouring the warm ganache onto the tart.

The Chocolate Chip Cookie

Jacques Torres Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
Photo by Marta Bartolomei Edmonds.
Ever since Jacques Torres opened up a little shop at the Chelsea Market I seem to be finding many excuses to go to the Chelsea Market. The other day it was cold so I stopped at the market to warm up. I just happened to enter by the side entrance on 15th Street that gave me direct access to Jacques Torres and I thought “what better way to warm up than a hot chocolate?” So I ordered one, and since I was already there, I said “I might as well take one chocolate chip cookie to go!”
The chocolate chip cookies at Jacques Torres are decadent and chewy with layers of bittersweet chocolate that are held together by a sweet but sparse dough. They beat the almost perfect City Bakery / Birdbath chocolate chip cookies, which have been at the top of my chocolate chip cookie list for many years.
I love a homemade chocolate chip cookie. The recipe in the back of the Nestle Toll House chocolate chip package has been loved by many, including me, and has been my preferred recipe for many years. These are delicious right out of the oven, but this recipe usually falls short after the cookies have cooled down. And after you’ve tried an exceptional chocolate chip cookie like those served at Jacques Torres, you realize that you’ve been missing out on a truly great chocolate chip cookie recipe.
So I did some research to find a recipe for a chocolate chip cookie that remains rich, buttery and chewy at room temperature and has lots of really great chocolate. I tested a number of recipes like this one that gets it’s inspiration in from the City Bakery’s chocolate chip cookie. I studied Alton Brown’s show on chocolate chip cookies (part 1 and part 2) and tested his chewy variation. These were good, but I was still not satisfied. So I resorted to one of my favorite sources of great dessert recipes on the web, Dorie Greenspan’s blog, and found an entry referencing David Leite’s New York Times article with his chocolate chip cookie recipe.
The secrets to this recipe are:

  • letting the dough stand for 24 to 36 hours
  • sprinkling the cookies with coarse salt
  • using bittersweet chocolate disks instead of chips

Of all the chocolate chip cookie recipes I tried, this one is a winner. And guess what? It was adapted from Jacques Torres’ chocolate chip cookie recipe!

Photo by Marta Bartolomei Edmonds.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Jacques Torres
2 cups minus 2 tablespoons (8 1/2 ounces) cake flour
1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
1 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate disks or fèves, at least 60 percent cacao content
Sea salt
1. Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.
2. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Drop chocolate pieces in and incorporate them without breaking them. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.
3. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.
4. Scoop 6 3 1/2-ounce mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more. Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches the next day. Eat warm, with a big napkin.
Yields 1 1/2 dozen 5-inch cookies.

Turkey Empanadillas (Empanadillas de Pavo)

The day after Thanksgiving marks the beginning of leftover turkey dishes. From pot pies and turkey sandwiches to turkey soup – by the end of this weekend we will have had our fill of roasted turkey for the year.
This recipe is my offering to this post-Thanksgiving tradition of leftover turkey preparation: turkey empanadillas (empanadillas de pavo). It’s a savory Latin dish that gives turkey leftovers a Puerto Rican twist. Turkey empanadillas are half moon pastry pockets that are stuffed with a savory filling of shredded turkey, olives, raisins and cilantro. Unlike their fried cousins traditionally sold in cuchifrito stands around the island, these pastry pockets are baked.
Making the empanadilla pastry from scratch yields the best results, but if you are as tired as I am after days of preparation and cooking for the Thanksgiving feast, then use frozen empanadilla pastry disks from your local grocer.
If you like this empanadilla recipe, you may also like baked beef empanadillas.
Turkey Empanadillas (Empanadillas de Pavo)
2 cups cooked turkey meat, shredded
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 medium onion, diced
1/4 green bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup turkey broth
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 packet Sazón annatto seasoning
1/4 cup sliced pimento-stuffed green olives
1/4 cup chopped raisins
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
salt to taste
12 empanadilla pastry disks, thawed (pre-made or homemade)
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup oil
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. In a medium heavy skillet over medium heat, heat the oil, then add the onion and cook until they begin getting glassy. Add the bell pepper and garlic and cook until fragrant. Do not allow them to brown.
3. Add the cumin and allspice and stir until well incorporated. Add the tomato sauce, broth, annatto seasoning and raisins and bring to a simmer. Add the shredded turkey and continue cooking until all the liquids have been incorporated into the mixture. Turn the heat off and add the olives, cilantro and season to taste. Set aside to cool.
4. Prepare your work surface to assemble the empanadillas by having the following handy: empanadilla pastry disks, baking sheet, fork, bowl of water, and the cooled filling.
5. Place a disk on your work surface and add 2 to 3 tablespoons filling. Moisten edges of disk with water and fold over to form a semicircle. Crimp the edge with a fork, turn over and crimp the edges with a fork again. Set the empanadilla in the cookie sheet and repeat.
6. Brush the empanadillas with oil and bake for 20 minutes or until golden.
Makes 12 empanadillas.

The Best Chocolate Cake

The Ghirardelli semi-sweet baking chocolate wrapping that this recipe was printed on is completely crusted with dried batter, chocolate prints and a generous dusting of flour. I’ve kept it in a folder labeled “cakes” that is stuffed full of great recipes, but nine out of ten times when I want to make a chocolate cake, this is the recipe I reach for. It is the best chocolate cake recipe, period. It’s rich yet super moist and light with just the right amount of chocolate and not too sweet. I have made it many times with very stable and delicious results, even at high altitude in Montana.
This chocolate cake is heavenly on its own and needs no frosting. I enjoy it most with a light dusting of confectioner’s sugar. If you are making a birthday cake, consider frosting it with a good buttercream frosting. Or, what about filling it with raspberry preserves and frosting it with chocolate ganache for Valentine’s day?
The secret to this cake is whipping the egg whites to stiff peaks and folding them into the batter just before baking. The egg whites create air pockets that are going to make this cake light and delicious. This video from epicurious.com has some good tips on beating the egg whites to stiff peaks. Fold the egg whites in two installments is key. Chef John Mitzewich demonstrates proper folding techniques in this video.
The Best Chocolate Cake
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup water
1 cup butter
1 1/2 cup sugar
4 large eggs at room temperature, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups unsifted flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk or strong cold coffee
1/2 teaspoon salt
1. Line three 8″ or 9″ round cake pans with parchment paper, set aside. Chop the chocolate and place in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Add the water and stir until melted. Set aside until cooled to room temperature. Cream butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating after each addition. Mix in the melted chocolate and vanilla.
2. Sift flour with soda. Add dry ingredients alternately with buttermilk or coffee to the chocolate mixture. Mix until smooth.
3. Beat egg whites with salt until stiff peaks form. Fold one third of the egg whites into chocolate batter until well incorporated. Fold in the rest of the egg whites until well incorporated.
4. Spread into the prepared round cake pans. Bake at 350° F for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on rack for ten minutes. Remove cake to cool completely.
Makes 3 cakes or one triple layered cake

Best Homemade Bagels

Emeril Lagasse Bagel Recipe
Photo by Marta Bartolomei Edmonds.
This winter we traveled to Colorado and Wyoming to visit our family. During our visit we were treated to a truly special breakfast with a New York twist: homemade bagels. Our nephew and young chef, Keith, woke up early in the morning and, with his dad’s help, prepared us the best homemade bagels we had ever had. We enjoyed an assortment of warm bagels right out of the oven, including asiago cheese, everything, garlic, salt, sesame, poppy seed and chocolate chip. Sharing this breakfast with our talented nephew was one of the highlights of a restful and healing vacation.
Keith uses Emeril Lagasse’s Homemade Bagel recipe. The bagels are soft and chewy on the inside and crusty on the outside. Our nine year old nephew impressed us with these fantastic homemade bagels and inspired me to try to make these at home.
According to Keith, they are time consuming, but easy to make.
Emeril’s Homemade Bagels
2 cups warm water, about 110 degrees F
2 (1/4-ounce) packets active dry yeast
3 tablespoons granulated sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
5 to 6 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
Optional Toppings:
1/2 cup lightly toasted chopped onions (2 teaspoons each)
2 tablespoons poppy seeds (about 1/2 teaspoon each)
2 tablespoons sesame seeds (about 1/2 teaspoon each)
1 tablespoon kosher salt (about 1/4 teaspoon each)
1. Combine the water, yeast, and 3 tablespoons of the sugar in the bowl of an upright mixer fitted with a dough hook. Stir and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Gradually add 4 cups of the flour and the salt, and mix until the mixture comes together.
2. Add 1 to 1 1/2 cups additional flour 1/2 cup at a time to make a stiff dough, either stirring with the wooden spoon or working with your hands. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and no longer sticky, about 5 minutes, adding just as much flour as needed. (Dough should be heavier and stiffer than regular yeast bread dough.)
3. Grease a large bowl with 1 teaspoon of the oil. Place the dough in the bowl, turning to coat. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot until almost doubled, about 1 hour.
4. Remove from the bowl and punch down the dough. Divide into 12 equal pieces, about 2 to 3 ounces each, measuring about 4 inches across. Form each piece of dough into a ball. Roll each ball into a 4 to 6-inch log. Join the ends and place fingers through the hole and roll the ends together. Repeat with the remaining dough. Place on a lightly greased surface, cover with a clean cloth, and let rest until risen but not doubled in a draft-free spot, 20 to 30 minutes.
5. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a baking sheet with the remaining teaspoon of oil.
6. In a large, heavy pot, bring 12 cups of water and the remaining tablespoon of sugar to a boil. In batches, add the bagels to the water and boil, turning, for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Flip bagels onto the prepared sheet pan. Bake for 5 minutes, turn over and cook for another 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack.
Makes 12 bagels

Chocolate Ginger Crackles

Chocolate Ginger Crackle Cookie Recipe
Photo by Marta Bartolomei Edmonds.
These are a favorite holiday cookie in our household, so well liked that, when I make them, Angelica spontaneously gives me a hug. Not that I bake to win people’s affection, but getting a spontaneous hug from my teenage daughter is all the encouragement I need to make these cookies.
Chocolate ginger crackles are little mounds of moist chocolate cookie studded with bittersweet chocolate chips and candied ginger pieces and covered in powdered sugar. They are delightfully easy to make. The dough can be made ahead of time and refrigerated for a few days until ready to bake. They can be stored in an airtight container for up to three days.
This recipe first appeared in Food and Wine magazine, October 1997.
Chocolate Ginger Crackles
1 cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
2 large eggs
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup minced candied ginger
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1. In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the granulated sugar with the butter. Mix in the eggs, then add the cocoa and vanilla; beat at medium speed until smooth and creamy. Scrape down the bowl and add the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix the dough for 2 minutes. Stir in the chocolate chips and ginger. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
2. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or foil. Form the dough into 1 inch balls and coat them generously with the confectioner’s sugar. Arrange the balls 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for about 12 minutes, or until the tops look cracked. Transfer to wire racks to cool.
You can store these in an airtight container for up to three days.
Makes 30 cookies.

Spiced Pumpkin Scones

Spiced Pumpkin Scone Recipe
Photo by Marta Bartolomei Edmonds.
It’s pumpkin time! My favorite time of the year. Pumpkin is the perfect fall vegetable. Delicious and versatile it lends itself to many applications in anything from breakfast to dessert.
I love to sneak pumpkin into my dishes whenever I can, especially in the fall. Sunday morning I made a batch of pumpkin scones that I wanted to share with you. They are moist, light, with a touch of spice and sweetness. Serve them with a little butter and dark maple syrup.
When you make these, keep in mind that this particular recipe will yield a very wet dough that will likely stick to your hands. Don’t get frustrated, the results are worth the mess! If you are new to making scones, take a look at these scone baking tips.
Also, if you love pumpkin as much as I do, try these pumpkin muffins.
Spiced Pumpkin Scones
2 cups flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground clove
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon turbinado sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 450°. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In a separate bowl, combine the buttermilk, pumpkin, egg, vanilla extract, and spices. Stir the pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture with a few swift strokes until a loose wet dough forms.
2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gather the dough into a ball. Gently press the dough into a ¾ inch thick disk.
3. Sprinkle the disk with turbinado sugar and cinnamon. Using a knife, cut the disk into 8 wedges.
4. Arrange the wedges ½ inch apart on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake in the middle rack of the oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.
Makes 8 scones.