Baking

Airy Decadence in Beverly Hills—Le Mervetty

  • 9th March 2014

The boutique pâtisserie, Le Mervetty Beverly Hills, is named after a French-born and Belgian perfected dessert—should I repeat that?  I think I will!  French born, Belgian perfected dessert.   It’s called the ‘Merveilleux’ and it is made by way of delicately stacking crumbly meringue together with decadent whipped cream.

 

 

The chocolate Mervetty

The chocolate Mervetty

 

 

 

A dessert, with a heritage drawing back to two nations with a collective conscience focused on pastry perfection, has to be divine.  Its namesake in Beverly Hills is perfection as well.

 

Le Petit Mervetty in a 6-pack and 12-pack

Le Petit Mervetty, beautifully packaged, in a 6-pack and 12-pack.

 

 

Le Mervetty in Beverly Hills offers a selection airy temptations in flavors ranging from praline to speculoos to chocolate.  They come in regular and the adorable, mignon petit size.

 

 

Coffee flavored Mervetty

Coffee flavored Mervetty

Praline Mervetty

Praline Mervetty

 

 

 

The praline tastes as good as it sounds:  Meringue layers, hazelnut praline whipped cream covered with caramelized praline feuilletines.

 

The desserts are as eye-catchingly elegant as they are delicious.  They look especially lovely displayed on a tiered stand amongst colorful spring flowers like anemone and ranunculus.

 

 

Les Petits on Tiered Crane from Anthropologie.

Les Petits on Tiered Crane from Anthropologie.

 

 

Sharing is hard, thankfully!  It is particularly difficult to maintain elegance when cutting into them.  Here’s a peek inside with the neatest cross-section we could obtain.

 

 

 

Neatly cut Speculoos and Chocolate Mervetty.

Neatly cut Speculoos and Chocolate Mervetty.

 

 

Le Mervetty also tempts visitors with Le Pavlova—meringue layers, fresh strawberries, vanilla whipped cream covered with crystallized meringues and Le Grand Mervetty for bigger parties and fêtes.

 

 

Le Pavlova

Le Pavlova

 

 

 

 

Le Grand Mervetty

Le Grand Mervetty

 

 

 

Le Mervetty

319 North Canon Drive

Beverly Hills, CA

lemervetty.com

 

 

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Chocolate Sparkle Cookies Shine for the Holidays

  • 23rd November 2013

This flourless cookie is prepared with ground almonds, rich dark chocolate and butter, making it more like a truffle.  The recipe originated in Vancouver with Haas a fourth-generation pastry chef from Germany’s Black Forest region.  It is one of the most popular holiday cookies in the bakery.

 

 

Chocolate Sparkle Cookies

Chocolate Sparkle Cookies, decadent and divine

 

 

 

“The cookie is just so soft and rich inside,” says Haas speaking of its appeal.

 

 

 

The chocolate sparkle cookies ready to bake.

The chocolate sparkle cookies ready to bake.

 

 

 

The recipe appeared in the LA Times in 2002 and was immediately seized upon by renowned LA epicure Shirley Cha.  As soon as you taste Cha’s baking or cooking in general you instantly trust that Cha can recognize a good recipe when she sees one.  She handed us the recipe and we have been baking these cookies at holiday time for years!  Every season, like the author of the article Jennifer Lowe says, people beg and beg for the recipe.  Well, here it is….courtesy of Shirley Cha, the LA Times, Ms. Lowe and the German pastry chef, Haas.

 

 

Chocolate Sparkle Cookies:

 

Makes about 36 cookies (we found it made about 20-24)

Note:  Use chocolate that is 70% cocoa.  (We used Ghiradelli semi sweet chocolate combined with Organic Green & Black 85% dark)

 

*The dough for these cookies needs to be chilled overnight

 

 

Ingredients:

• 1/2 lb semi sweet chocolate

• 3 tablespoons butter, room temperature

• 2 eggs

• 1/3 cup sugar, plus more for rolling

• 3/4 cup ground almonds (if you don’t want to grind them yourselves, you can purchase ground almonds at Trader Joes ready to go!)

• Powdered sugar for garnish

 

 

Ground Almonds

Ground Almonds

 

 

 

 

1.) Melt the chocolate in the top of a double-broiler set over, but not touching simmering water.  Remove from the heat.  Cut the butter into a few pieces and mix into the chocolate until melted.

 

 

 

Melted chocolate with butter pieces

 

 

 

2.) Beat the eggs with an electric mixer gradually adding the sugar until ribbons form.  Fold in the chocolate-butter mixture.  Gently add the ground almonds.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.

 

3.) Heat the oven to 325 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

 

 

Chocolate mixture with ground almonds

 

 

 

4.) Use a cookie scoop (or 1 tbsp measuring spoon) to form the dough into 1-inch balls.  Roll the balls in granulated sugar, place on the baking sheet about 2 inches apart and immediately place in the oven.

 

 

Baked cookies

 

 

 

5.) Bake until the center of the cookie is no longer wet, 9 to 12 minutes.  When slightly cool, lightly dust the cookie with powdered sugar.

 

 

 

 

Delicious!

Delicious!

 

 

 

Oatmeal Cookies with Cherries, White Chocolate & Pistachios

  • 16th November 2013
White chocolate chunks, cherries, pistachios and buttermilk add a new twist to the oatmeal cookie.

White chocolate chunks, cherries, pistachios and buttermilk add a new twist to the oatmeal cookie.

The recipe from Martha Stewart featuring white chocolate & apricots that we used as a springboard.

Picture of the Martha Stewart white chocolate and apricot cookie we used as a springboard.

 

Instead of old-fashioned oatmeal raisin, swap in apricots and white chocolate. The white chocolate’s sweetness tempers the tang of the fruit, creating a balanced batch that will appeal to kids and adults alike,” Martha Stewart Living.

 

The words above tempted us to try this cookie.  And it is delicious.  However, the cookie has a more robust flavor when you swap cherries in for apricots.  Adding just 1/8 cup of ground pistachios adds an earthiness and sophistication to the oatmeal.  A dash of buttermilk provides richness and ensures the cookies stay moist for a few days.

 

Oatmeal Cookies with White Chocolate, Cherries & Pistachios

 

• 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

• 1 1/2 cup old-fashioned oatmeal

• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

• 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

• 1/4 cup granulated sugar

• 1 cup packed light-brown sugar

• 1 teaspoon salt

• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

• 2 large eggs

• 8 ounces white chocolate chopped

• 6 ounces dried cherries chopped (about 1 1/4 cups)

• 1/8 cup salted pistachios, shelled and chopped

• 1 1/2 tbs buttermilk

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix flour, oatmeal, and baking soda in a medium bowl.  Cream butter and sugars with a mixer until light and fluffy.  Reduce speed to low.  Add salt, vanilla and eggs and beat until well combined, about 1 minute.  Add flour mixture gradually, beating until just combined.  Gently stir in white chocolate, cherries, pistachios and buttermilk.  Cover, and refrigerate until cold, approximately 30 minutes.

 

 

Oatmeal, white chocolate, pistachios, cherries and buttermilk ready to be gently mixed.

Oatmeal, white chocolate, pistachios, cherries and buttermilk ready to be gently mixed.

Mixture ready to refrigerate.

Dough ready to refrigerate.

 

 

Drop heaping tablespoons of dough onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets, spacing about 2 inches apart.  Bake until cookies are golden brown around the edges but still soft in the center, 14 to 16 minutes.  Let cookies cool on baking sheets for about 2 minutes.  Transfer cookies to a wire rack; let cool.  Cookies will keep, covered, for up to 1 week.

 

Use dried apricots instead of cherries for a milder taste.

Use dried apricots instead of cherries for a milder taste. Photo Courtesy of: Martha Stewart Living

The addition of buttermilk helps the cookies stay very moist.

The addition of buttermilk helps the cookies stay very moist.

 

 

The green flecks are pistachios that add an earthy flavor and texture.

The green flecks are pistachios that add an earthy flavor and texture.

 

 

 

Brown Sugar Strawberry Tart

  • 19th August 2013

A perfect make-ahead dessert, to serve chilled on a hot summer evening.

 

 

Summer tart that shows off gorgeous ripe strawberries

Summer tart that shows off gorgeous ripe strawberries.

 

 

This recipe, which comes by way of Sunset Magazine in 2010, must be made at least once every summer with a fresh bounty of strawberries from the farmer’s market.  We especially love it because:

 

 

• It is super easy to make

• It’s gorgeous and vibrant red

• It does not require any specialty  ingredients or tools

• It will impress family, friends and yourself!

 

 

Dough ready to mold into the crust.

Dough ready to shape into the crust.

Crust ready to bake.

Crust ready to bake.

 

 

Ingredients:

1 cup flour

1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar, divided

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1 teaspoon vanilla extract, divided

1/2 cup crème fraîche

1/2 cup whipping cream

12 ounces strawberries, hulled and sliced

 

 

Crust baking

Crust baking

 

 

Preparation:

 

Preheat oven to 350°. In a food processor, whirl flour, 2 tbsp. sugar, the cornstarch, and salt until combined. Add butter and 1/2 tsp. vanilla and pulse until fine crumbs form and dough just begins to come together. Press evenly into bottom and up sides of a 9-in. round tart pan with a removable rim.  (If you do not have one of these don’t fret!  If you have a pretty one like ours, just serve it in the pan…it slices very easily!)

 

Bake until edges are golden, 20 to 22 minutes. Let cool on a rack, then gently push tart crust from pan rim; set on a plate.

 

In a bowl with a mixer on high speed, beat crème fraîche, cream, remaining 2 tbsp. sugar, and remaining 1/2 tsp. vanilla until thick. Spread in cooled crust.

 

 

We used vanilla bean paste in lieu of extract.

We used vanilla bean paste in lieu of extract.

Whipping the filling.

Whipping the filling.

 

 

Arrange strawberries in circles on top, alternating cut sides down and up.

 

 

Mouth-Watering Tart.  Photo Courtesy of: Sunset Magazine.

Mouth-Watering Tart. Photo Courtesy of: Sunset Magazine.

 

 

Make ahead: Chill, loosely covered, up to 4 hours.

 

*Please do not cut the tart until you have chilled it for at least 1-2 hours.  It slices easily when it is firm.  

 

 

Sliced and ready to enjoy!

Sliced and ready to enjoy!

 

 

 

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Clearly Delicious…Part Un

  • 15th June 2013

Ditch the traditional white ceramic cookie jar!!  (Well, maybe just put it in the cupboard for a while).  These cookies deserve a more fancified presentation.  

 

Coconut Thumbprint Cookies with Salted Caramel

Coconut Thumbprint Cookies with Salted Caramel. Photo Courtesy of Martha Stewart Living

 

We’ll get to the recipe, and some tips on baking them in Saturday’s post (and YOU WANT IT, believe us!)

 

But, first let’s look at the newest ways people are serving up sweet treats.

 

Mini Glass Cake Domes by Myriam B. Maguire

Mini Glass Cake Domes by Myriam B. Maguire. Photo Courtesy of: Departures Magazine

 

 

The Mini Glass Dome cakes created by Myriam B. Maguire are pure whimsical fun! Only 90 pieces of each style are being created in a limited and numbered collection. Starting from $375.00, for more information please contact Bergdorf Goodman or myriambmaguire.com

 

 

 

Cupcake domes by Myriam B. Maguire

 

 

 

How much fun is this?  “Our La Bonbonniere cloche gives any dessert tableau a sense of sweet Parisian panache. This unique glass globe-shaped lidded vessel sits atop a super tall footed stem.” —Olive & Cocoa

 

La Bonbonniere Olive and Cocoa

 

 

labonbonniere, oliveandcocoa.com, $228.00

 

Why can’t your most fabulous wine decanter grace the table-top with bite-sized cookies and candies cozied up inside?

 

Bubbles decanter by Saint-Louis
Saint Louis Bubbles Decanter

 

Bubbles wine decanter by Saint-Louis, michaelcfina.com, $750.00

 

 

Grassland Roads Just Desserts Candy and Cupcake Pedestals

 

Grasslands Roads Just Desserts Cupcake Pedestal Candy Jars Three Styles, amazon.com

 

 

Clearly Delicious…Part Deux

  • 17th May 2013

If you don’t believe us, read the reviews online…these cookies are heavenly. Make them today and bite through oozing caramel goodness surrounded by decadent cakey coconut richness topped off with a salty kick!

 

 

 

Coconut Thumbprint Cookie with Salted Caramel

Finished to perfection…this was soon gobbled up!

 

 

They’re also pretty gorgeous and give the appearance of bakery bought.

 

Coconut Thumbprint Cookies with Salted Caramel

 

Recipe from MarthaStewart.com

 

  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • Table salt
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 12 ounces sweetened flaked coconut
  • 44 small soft caramel candies (12 ounces), such as Kraft
  • 6 tablespoons heavy cream
  • Large, flaky sea salt, such as Maldon
The Caramel Sauce

The Caramel Sauce

 

 

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat together butter and sugar with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy, then beat in vanilla. With mixer on low, gradually add flour and 1/2 teaspoon table salt, and beat to combine. Press dough together in plastic wrap, then roll into 1 1/4-inch balls. Dip each ball in beaten egg, and roll in coconut. Place balls on parchment-lined baking sheets, and press an indentation into each with your thumb. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove sheets from oven, and re-press indentations. Bake cookies until golden, 9 to 10 minutes more. Let cool on wire racks. Repeat with remaining dough.

 

 

Ready to pull out of the oven

Ready to pull out of the oven

 

 

 

Place caramels and heavy cream in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the caramels are melted and mixture is smooth, 4 to 6 minutes. Spoon into indentations in cookies, and sprinkle with sea salt. Rewarm caramel if it hardens before all cookies are filled.

 

 

Ready for a drizzle of salt

Ready for a drizzle of salt

 

Store in airtight containers for up to 2 days.

 

We had about 1/2 of the caramel sauce left-over.  You can store it in the fridge to use on yogurt, drizzle over morning coffee, serve with ice-cream….or, make more cookies!!

 

Last Look!

This is truly how we feel about these cookies!!! (Also, we love these pillows—-perfect to throw anywhere!)

 

Garnet Hill French Word Style Felt Pillow Cover

 

Garnet Hill Word Style Felt Pillow Cover, garnethill.com, $88.00

 

De Bon Goût—In Good Taste

  • 20th April 2013

Pistachio Madeleines

These pistachio madeleines are the perfect Sunday afternoon snack.  They have a delicate nutty flavor and the clarified butter lends a light, fluffy texture. The recipe is from the LA Times and was adapted from Keswick Hall in Virginia.

 

 

Pistachio Madeleines

 

 

Total time: 45 minutes

Servings: Makes 3 1/2 dozen cookies

 

 

Pistachio Madeleines
Pistachio Madeleines

 

 

1 1/4 cups clarified butter (the butter should be firm but not hard), plus more for greasing

To make the clarified butter, heat 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter in a small saucepan over low heat; allow the butter to melt and separate, then spoon off any foam on the top and remove the pan from the heat. Gently ladle out the clear (clarified) butter, leaving the milky residue in the bottom of the pan. Refrigerate the butter until it is firm but not hard, about 2 hours.

1 1/3 cups sugar

4 eggs

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup chopped pistachios

2 cups flour

 

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of a stand mixer using a paddle attachment, or in a medium bowl with a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer running, add the eggs, one at a time. Mix in the vanilla and salt, then fold in the pistachios and flour just until fully incorporated.

2. Pipe or spoon the batter into greased madeleine molds. Bake until set and light brown, about 10 minutes. Cool the cookies in the trays 10 minutes before removing from the molds.

 

De Bon Goût—In Good Taste

  • 17th April 2013

How many ways can you use bananas and the bounty of the banana tree?

 

Banana Tree

Banana tree in Ban Xieng Men, Laos

Banana Tree

Banana tree off of the lane in Ban Xieng Men, Laos

 

 

 

 

 

In Laos the banana flower is cut up and used in traditional salads, the leaves are used to steam food like fish, often as decorative plates for meals and in traditional floral décor and offerings.

 

Banana Flower

Banana Flowers for sale in the morning market in Luang Prabang

Banana Leaf Plate

Banana Leaf Plate

Banana Leaf Floral Offerings

Floral Offerings

 

Experiencing all the unexpected ways they use bananas in Laos inspired us to dig-up this surprising and delicious beloved banana cake recipe.  Similar to the above, it is an unexpected role for bananas in that they are center-stage in an upside down cake—nudging pineapple right out of the spotlight!

 

 

 

Caramel-Walnut Banana Upside Down Cake

Caramel-Walnut Banana Upside Down Cake. Photo Courtesy of: Bon Appetit

 

 

Caramel-Walnut Upside-Down Banana Cake 

(Recipe from Bon Appetit, March, 2008)

 

Ingredients

Topping

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons dark corn syrup
  • 3/4 cup walnut halves or pieces

Cake

  • 1 3/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup mashed very ripe bananas (2 to 3 large)
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon dark rum
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream

Preparation

topping

  • Spray 8-inch round cake pan with 2-inch-high sides with nonstick spray. (We substitute a 9″ cake pan here) Bring butter, sugar, and corn syrup to boil in medium saucepan, stirring constantly until butter melts. Boil syrup 1 minute. Stir in nuts. Spread topping in prepared pan. Let topping cool completely.

cake

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Sift first 4 ingredients into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter and both sugars in large bowl until blended. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, then mashed bananas, sour cream, rum, and vanilla. Beat in dry ingredients in 2 additions just until combined. Spoon batter into pan.
  • Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Cool 15 minutes. Cut around cake. Place platter over pan. Holding pan and platter together, turn over. Let stand 5 minutes, then gently lift off pan. Cool at least 15 minutes for topping to set. Serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Cadeaux Parfait—Prix Parfait (Deux)

  • 5th April 2013

You’ve asked for it again and we’ve obliged!  Our second part in the ongoing series….Cadeaux Parfait!  Perfect gifts for under $50.00 (for you, a hostess, your best girlfriend, your great aunt!)

 

 

 

Sweet Creations

 

Beautiful, unique and delicious, ‘the Cinderella shoe,’ by Sweet Creations is completely edible and made from finely sourced chocolate.  Comes elegantly packaged

Cinderella Shoebit.ly/14wjJuY, $40.00

 

 

Antique Silver Condiment Set Pottery Barn

 

 

Antique Silver Condiment Set, potterybarn.com, $49.50

 

Tylt Y-Charge Dual USB Car Charger compatible with any device that takes a USB charger

 

tylt y-charge
tylt y-charge
tylt y-charge

 

 

 

 

tylt.com $25.00

 

 

Ballard Designs Beverage Tags

 

Set of 6 Beverage Tags, Ballard Designs.com, $15.00

Pure Tangerine Extract, igourmet.com, $12.99*

 

*Tangerine Extract is delicious in numerous cold drinks from lemonade to punch to iced-tea

 

 

Romano Tumblers

 

The perfect housewarming gift for the new couple:  two gorgeous tumblers and fancy cold-drinks for the fridge!

 

Romano Tumblers, exhibit.net.au, $17.00 a piece

Riemes French Limonades Blood Orange, amazon.com, $3.99

 

 

4" Bottle Vase with Wood Holder

 

 

4″ Bottle Vase with Wood Holder, set of 4, worldmarket.com, $9.99

 

1 bunch of multi-colored gerber daisies

 

Crossed Spoons Plate Stand

 

 

Crossed Spoons Plate Stand, anthropologie.com, $20.00

La Woof Plate, anthropologie.com, $24.00

 

Cave Coasters Zara Home

 

Cave Coasters, zarahome.com, $16.00

Fred Cool Jewels Ice Cube Tray, amazon.com, $7.64

 

 

Williams Sonoma Food Made Fast Asian Cookbook

 

 

Williams Sonoma Food Made Fast Asian Cookbook, williams-sonoma.com, $17.95

Norpro Deluxe 3-piece Bamboo Steamer, amazon.com, $16.84

 

 

 

Madeleine mold

 

 

Melamine Faience a la Corne plate, johnderian.com, $9.50

Norpro Non-Stick Mini-Madeleine Pan, bakedeco.com, $14.90

Gourmet Bourbon Vanilla Beans, lifegourmetshop.com, $9.99

 

 

De Bon Goût—In Good Taste

  • 3rd April 2013

These adorable spoons deserve a delicious accompaniment and this they find in Hazelnut Gâteau Breton.    If you like Gianduja or Nutella, trust us, you will LOVE this cake.  It’s dense and buttery and is traditionally served with coffee in the late afternoon.  It is unmistakably French in that it is amazingly simple in ingredients, yet complex in flavor and texture.

 

Gateau Breton

Photo Courtesy of: Bon Appetit

 

Hazelnut Gâteau Breton

Recipe from Bon Appetit, May 2007

 

  • 1 1/4 cups Vanilla Sugar , divided  (SEE Recipe below for Vanilla Sugar—It’s worth making as you can use it all other baking recipes sprinkle it on yogurt or enjoy it in your morning tea or coffee.  A real treat!)
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts, lightly toasted, husked
  • 6 large egg yolks (preferably organic)
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, melted
  • 2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 large egg yolk beaten with 2 teaspoons water (for glaze)
  • Whole strawberries with stems attached or warm strawberry jam (optional)

 

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 325°F. Butter and flour 9-inch-diameter springform pan. Combine 2 tablespoons vanilla sugar and hazelnuts in processor; blend until nuts are finely ground but not pasty. Combine 6 egg yolks and remaining 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons vanilla sugar in large bowl; whisk until well blended and slightly thicker, about 2 minutes (do not use electric mixer). Whisk in hazelnut mixture. Gradually whisk in melted butter. Sift flour over batter; stir just until blended (batter will be thick; do not over-mix or cake may be tough).

Transfer batter to prepared pan; smooth top with offset spatula (layer will be thin). Brush top generously with egg glaze. Using back of tines of fork, deeply mark crisscross pattern atop cake, marking 3 times across in 1 direction and 3 times in opposite direction. Bake cake until deep golden on top and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool in pan on rack 15 minutes, then remove pan sides and cool cake completely. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Wrap in foil and store at room temperature.

Cut cake into wedges and serve with whole strawberries or with warm strawberry jam.

Vanilla Sugar:

  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 coarsely chopped vanilla bean

Blend sugar and vanilla bean in processor until bean is finely ground. Store in covered container at room temperature at least 2 days, then strain through fine strainer before using.

 

 

 

 

Paques Preview (Deux)

  • 21st March 2013

Every Easter as a child, we have fond memories of the most beautiful 3-dimensional lamb-cake gracing the center spot on the holiday table.  This was in the late 70s and early 80s in St. Louis.  For the past 10 years, in efforts to recreate this tradition on the West Coast, we have used an industrial lamb mold and the fruits of our labor while not nearly as lovely are certainly delicious!

 

Lamb Cake
Lamb Cake

 

It’s a particularly fun tradition to start with children as decorating the little lamb requires many merry-making ingredients, frosting, shredded coconut, candies, sprinkles, ribbon and bells! It’s a wonderful way to cap-off an afternoon of egg dying!

 

Lamb Cake Mold

 

12″ Lamb Cake Mold, bakedeco.com, $67.50

 

 

Some other pretty, delicious and fun Easter finds for your celebrations and Easter baskets… 

 

Lamb Tray Robin King Designs
Rabbit Plate Robin King Designs
Lamb Plate Robin King Designs

 

 

Lamb Tapestry Tray, robinkingdesigns.com, $225.00

Rabbit Plate with Pink Flowers, robinkingdesigns.com, $44.00

 

Wooden Rabbit in Oak nova68

 

Wooden Rabbit in Oak, nova68.com, $120.00

 

Bunny Dish Set Olive and Cocoa
Bunny Dish Set Olive and Cocoa

 

 

Bunny Dish Set, oliveandcocoa.com, $58.00

 

Fill these sweet little nests with delicious Medici Almonds from Williams Sonoma.  These Jordan almonds are unlike any others that you buy elsewhere due to a lining of vanilla just underneath the candy shell.   They are a delicious treat all year long.  We buy boxes and save them to portion out throughout the year.  (They last well for up to 10 months if you store them in a cool dark place.)  They also make a lovely hostess gift for Easter, bridal showers, brunches, or baby showers.  

 

Easter Birch Twig and Nest Grandinroad

 

Easter Birch Twig and Nest, grandinroad.com, $19.00-$39.00

 

Williams Sonoma Medici Almonds
Williams Sonoma Medici Almonds

 

 

Medicis Almonds, williams-sonoma.com, $15.99

 

 

De Bon Goût—In Good Taste

  • 21st March 2013

Easter Lemon Cookies (Vintage Recipe You Must Try!)

 

Lemon Drop Cookies

 

 

My mother-in-law uses this vintage cookbook by Mary Meade, former ‘Home Economics Editor of the Chicago Tribune.’  100 Favorite Cooky* Recipes by Mary Meade could be purchased for 18 cents by mail, and 14 cents at the Public Service Office, 33 West Madison!  A true steal any way you look at it!  While the book is no longer in print, you can still enjoy the lemon cookie recipe!

 

*This appears to be how they spelled cookie

 

Lemon Drop (Cookies)

 

2 cups sifted flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 lemon juice ( juice of one lemon)
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind

Lemon glaze (Powdered sugar and lemon juice.  Add lemon juice to powdered sugar until the desired consistency—thick, milky)

Sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Cream together shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat well. Add flour mixture to cream mixture alternately with lemon juice and rind. Mix well. Must chill cookie dough at least 4 hrs, over night is good.  Drop by teaspoon full on parchment lined baking sheets.  We press them down gently before baking them. Bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes until edges are lightly browned.

Once completely cool, glaze with lemon glaze.

 

Enjoy!

 

Interested in purchasing the book? We found a few copies on biblio.com:

100 Favorite Cooky Recipes by Mary Meade, biblio.com, $19.50

 

Some fun trivia!  

Edit below comes directly from the Chicago Tribune Web site:

 

“Mary Meade was the pen name used by five food editors of the Chicago Tribune from 1930 to 1974. Ruth Ellen Church was the longest tenured food editor, from 1936 to 1974. She published recipes, books and booklets under her own name as well as the Mary Meade pen name. When Church, so did Mary Meade.

Church published many pamphlets, but was best known as the author of the 1964 cookbook, “Mary Meade’s Country Cookbook.” In this cookbook, there is a recipe for a sunshine cake, a spongecake. The recipe is printed in the chapter for old-fashioned cakes, where she also includes suggestions on how to make flavor variations to cakes.

We tested the recipe, with her suggestion for orange and lemon flavoring, and found it just as delicious 37 years later.”

De Bon Goût—In Good Taste

  • 28th January 2013

Totally unrelated to its alcoholic counterpart, Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste originates from Madagascar and is named for the islands off of its coast.  Deliciously smooth and decadent it masterfully replaces any call for “essence” or “extract” in a recipe and adds a gourmet look, remarkable scent and unparalleled taste to baked goods. Made by Nielsen Massey it is available at igourmet.com

 Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste

Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste, igourmet.com, $12.99

Try it in these rich, soft sugar cookies which garner a request for the recipe wherever they are served (seriously!) 

(Recipe courtesy of, “The Gourmet Cookbook,” edited by Ruth Reichl available on Amazon.com, $26.40)

Sugar Cookies (Page 669)

1 cup granulated sugar, plus additional for shaping and sprinkling on cookies

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

1 cup vegetable oil (may seem odd at first, but keeps the cookies super moist)

1 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (Here’s where we substitute with vanilla bean paste)

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

4 cups all-purpose flour

Put a rack in the middle of oven and preheat oven to 375 F.  Whisk together granulated sugar and confectioner’s sugar in a large bowl.  Whisk in oil, eggs, vanilla, salt, baking soda, and cream of tartar until combined.  Add flour and stir until a dough forms; dough will be dry and slightly crumbly.  (It’s quite dry and crumbly.  Keep patting it together and have faith)

Form level tablespoons of dough into balls and arrange about 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Flatten balls with bottom of a glass dipped in granulated sugar (edges of cookies will crack), then sprinkle cookies with sugar.

Bake cookies in batches until set but still pale for chewy cookies, about 8 minutes per batch, or until pale golden for crisp cookies, about 10 minutes per batch.  Transfer to racks to cool.

Perfect for Valentine’s Day heart cookies and Easter egg cookies!!

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