Part cookbook, part memoir, part travelogue, and wholly original, F*ck, That’s Delicious is rapper Action Bronson’s comprehensive guide to the food, chefs, food makers, regions, neighborhoods, and restaurants that every food obsessive should know. Organised as a full-colour illustrated guide with 100 entries, the book captures all the foods that get to him: When his mama makes him a good ol’ bagel and cheese with scrambled eggs. The tacos in LA. Dominican chimis. Jamaican jerk. Hand-rolled pasta from Mario Batali and Michael White. The best Chinese red-pork char siu buns in the world, found in London. And more, lots more. F*ck, That’s Delicious also includes 40 recipes inspired by Action’s childhood, family, tours, and travels—like the Arslani Family Baklava and Bronson’s Original Lamb Burger—and adapted from name-brand chefs and street cooks he’s met on his show. Richly visual, the book is layered with illustrations and photographs of Action’s childhood, food excursions, tours, lyric notebooks, and more.
The following recipe is from F*ck That’s Delicious by Action Bronson, with Rachel Wharton, photographs by Gabriele Stabile
Flatbreads with Ricotta and Pickled Jalapeño Honey
Olive oil before, during and after.
MAKES 4 FLATBREAD PIZZAS
This started as a Neapolitan-style pie I made for myself at my birthday party at Otto, but it is also banging as a flat-bread pizza on leftover Balkan bread like the ones on the previous page. I like to use La Morena pickled jalapeños as they have a good kick to them. Pair it with a ginger ale.
112 ounce (340g) bear of clove honey
3 pickled jalapeños, diced
Calabrian chile oil, optional
4 Balkan flatbreads or thick pitas
Extra virgin olive oil
8 ounces (245g) good-quality ricotta cheese
1 cup (135g) hazelnuts
1. Preheat your broiler and set out a sheet pan.
2. In a small mixing bowl, stir together the clover honey and the pickled jalapeños. If you want, swirl in a little Calabrian chile oil for color too. Set aside.
3. Drizzle a little olive oil over the top of the breads, then spread each with of the ricotta cheese and sprinkle on of the hazelnuts. Place them on a baking sheet and drizzle them with olive oil again.
4. Coat the bottom of a small skillet with olive oil, then heat it over medium-high. Add one of the flatbread pizzas and cook just until the bottom has toasted. Remove it to the sheet pan and repeat with the remaining 3 pies.
5. Toast the pies under the broiler until the edges of the bread and the top of the hazelnuts are well toasted. Drizzle on some of the pickled chile-honey (you’ll have some left over, but it keeps forever), then some more olive oil and eat right away.
F*ck That’s Delicious by Action Bronson, with Rachel Wharton, photographs by Gabriele Stabile is out now – find out more here.
You could win a copy of F*ck That’s Delicious, a meal for two at Pitt Cue Co in London and a free bottle of Pitt Cue wine over at Munchies UK. Find out more here!
Today there seems to be less time to shop and cook, and yet the time eating together seems more important than ever. Five Ways to Make Asparagus is about making dinner in real time and under real conditions. Peter Miller argues that no matter how busy your day has been that you can still cook and eat well. The only difficulty is to recognise the possibilities.
Using the number five as a reference, Five Ways to Cook Asparagus (and Other Recipes) is built around a hypothetical five day workweek, offering a plan to make the best use of your time, materials and interest in good, healthy food. To help simplify the process of deciding what to cook and how, there are five exceptional ways to cook asparagus that best represent and celebrate the asparagus. The recipes range from the extremely basic, allowing the ingredient to truly shine, to more nuanced preparations. If you try them, you will know more about asparagus, and it will become a more versatile character in your plans for cooking – and so forth, with broccoli and cauliflower, with quinoa and lentils.
Peter has carefully selected a group of specific foods, focusing on vegetables, grains and legumes. As some of the most versatile and healthy foods, they form an easily adaptable arsenal that can be quickly converted into simple, delicious meals. While his recipes are vegetable centric, he also offers select preparations for incorporating fish and meat.
This week why not try out his recipe for Skinny Asparagus with Tomatoes and Hot Pepper:
Skinny Asparagus with Tomatoes and Hot Pepper
At the very start of the spring season, you can get fresh, skinny asparagus, and you can cook it with a particular, sprightly abandon. Once the asparagus matures, you can still make the dish, but it will not have the same flourish as in the early first days. The same, of course, is true of spring garlic, or the first wild mushrooms, or the early beans and peas.
1 pound (455 g) skinny asparagus, trimmed, soaked, and drained (see below)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter
1 shallot or 2 spring onions, finely chopped
1 small dried red chile
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
6 to 8 cherry tomatoes
¼ cup (60 ml) chicken stock, at a simmer
¼ cup (10 g) chopped fresh cilantro or basil leaves
First, trim the asparagus, cutting 1 or 2 inches (2.5 or 5 cm) off the woody ends. With a swivel peeler, shave the bottom 3 to 4 inches (7.5 to 10 cm) of the stalks, taking off the harder outer skin. As you work, set the peeled asparagus in a shallow dish filled with cold water. Soak it for 5 minutes, then drain. (This seems to rehydrate the asparagus and help it cook more quickly.)
Heat a big pot of water to a boil and toss the asparagus in. When the water comes back to a boil, quickly pull out and drain the asparagus.
Heat a wide sauté pan over medium-high heat for a minute. Add the olive oil, half the butter, and the shallot. After a minute, crush the dried red pepper into the pan and add the garlic. Toss and stir so the parts mix, then throw in the asparagus. Cook for no more than 3 minutes. The sauté cycle is a flash of exuberance for the first of the asparagus. You must shake the pan vigorously to get the asparagus to touch all the other elements. Add a good pinch of salt and black pepper. Throw in the tomatoes and stock and shake the pan even more, above the heat, to get the parts in contact. The stock will loosen and deglaze the pan’s contents, and the tomatoes will create even more disorder as they split and leak.
Add the last of the butter, swirl for a second, then lay the asparagus in a jumble on a warmed platter. Sprinkle with the cilantro and give one last grind of black pepper.
Five Ways to Cook Asparagus (and Other Recipes): The Art and Practice of Making Dinner by Peter Miller (Abrams, out April 11, £18.99)
Offering more than 75 recipes, adjustable menus, tips for giving new life to leftovers and detailed information on sourcing ingredients, with Five Ways to Make Asparagus you can cook a dinner with only one or two fresh ingredients and you can be confident that that will be more than enough.
1 cup [240 ml] chicken, vegetable, or mushroom broth
Mushroom barley pilaf
8 oz [230 g] button or cremini mushrooms
2 Tbsp butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
1⁄2 tsp fine sea salt
1 cup [180 g] pearled barley, rinsed
3 cups [720 ml] chicken, vegetable, or mushroom broth
Sweet pepper slaw
3 bell peppers (a mix of red, orange and yellow is nice)
3 Tbsp canola or olive oil
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1⁄2 tsp salt
1⁄2 tsp freshly ground black pepper dilled white beans
One 141⁄2-oz [415-g] can white beans, rinsed and drained, or 13⁄4 cups [420 g] drained homecooked white beans
1⁄2 cup [20 g] chopped fresh dill
Freshly ground black pepper
1⁄2 cup [120 ml] sour cream
Chopped fresh dill for garnish
FOR THE CHICKEN: Preheat the oven to 375°F [190°C]. Pat the chicken dry. In a large frying pan or sauté pan with a tight-fitting lid, warm the oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook, undisturbed, until it starts to brown on the underside, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn the pieces over and brown on the second side, 3 to 4 minutes longer. Transfer the chicken to a plate. Add the butter to the same pan and melt over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until soft, about
3 minutes. Add the mild and hot paprika and cook, stirring, to coat the onion. Pour in the broth and bring to a boil.
Return the chicken to the pan, cover, and transfer to the oven. Bake the chicken until it is very tender, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, uncover, and use a wooden spoon to separate the chicken into shreds (that’s how tender it should be). Place the pan on the stove top over medium heat and cook, uncovered, until the sauce is reduced by one-third, about 20 minutes.
FOR THE PILAF: Begin the pilaf while the chicken is in the oven. Trim off the stem ends from the mushrooms, then cut off the stems. Finely chop the stems and thinly slice the caps. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and salt and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft, about 3 minutes. Increase the heat to high, add the mushroom stems and caps, and cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms release their liquid, about 5 minutes.
Add the barley and stir to mix everything well. Pour in the broth and stir again to mix. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to maintain a steady simmer, cover partially, and cook, stirring every few minutes, until the liquid is absorbed and the barley is tender, about 30 minutes. If the liquid is absorbed before the barley is tender, add up to 1 cup [240 ml] water, 1⁄4 cup [60 ml] at a time.
FOR THE SLAW: Seed and thinly slice the peppers. In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Add the peppers and toss to combine.
FOR THE BEANS: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, warm the beans until hot (or put them in a microwave-safe bowl and heat them in the microwave). Add the dill, season with pepper, and toss to mix well.
TO ASSEMBLE: Divide the pilaf among four bowls. Arrange the chicken, beans, and slaw in three separate and equal sections on top of the pilaf. Dollop the sour cream on the chicken and sprinkle everything with the dill.
NOTE: Want to gild the comfort lily? Try this with Mashed Potatoes instead of barley pilaf.
This recipe is from Bowls!: Recipes and Inspirations for Healthful One-Dish Meals by Molly Watson, published by Chronicle Books (£13.99)
The weekend is HERE! Celebrate with a beer and these delicious beer based mussels from Andrea Slonecker & Christian DeBenedetti’s Beer Bites (THE perfect book for beer lovers everywhere!).
Mussels In Celery-Gueuze Cream
First of all, gueuze, a copper-hued blend of young and aged lambic, the famous spontaneously fermented Belgian ale, is pronounced somewhere along the lines of “gherz” and “gooze” (go ahead, give it a try). Lemon-tart, musty, and minerally, with carbonation derived from the same process as Champagne, it’s one of the world’s most remarkable beer styles, and is astonishingly good with certain foods.
Once the most popular style in Brussels, gueuze is the product of ultra-traditional breweries that very nearly disappeared completely in the 1960s. The war, and a century of rationalization and closures—and shifting popular tastes—had made gueuze seem an oddity instead of the vibrant, incredible beverage it really is. Desperate, area brewers started adding artificial sweeteners in a misguided plea for popular taste, which made the beers, well, disgustingly ordinary.
Fortunately, there was one very, very important holdout. Jean Pierre Van Roy, of Brasserie Cantillon, founded in the Anderlecht neighborhood of Brussels in 1900, persisted in making uncompromising lambics according to the old, unsweetened ways, turning his little family brewery into a Brus sels tourist attraction (Le Musée Bruxellois de la Gueuze) and expanding his family, which still runs the brewery together, led by his affable son Jean.
And what to eat with a great gueuze like Cantillon’s? A bowl of steaming mussels is one of the most appetizing, satisfying dishes imaginable, smelling of the sea and aromatic herbs and vegetables, and the joy of the crusty bread you must have at the ready for dipping. It’s also the national dish of Belgium, available . . . everywhere. The acidity of the beer really pops in the broth, and the faint bitterness—very faint—works in tandem with the mineral notes of the mussels and the fragrance of celery and thyme. The beer’s tight, light carbonation has a mouth-cleansing aspect, and overall the effect is, like Cantillon, magical.
Serves 4 to 6
4 Tbsp/55 G Unsalted Butter
4 Celery Stalks, Thinly Sliced On The Diagonal
2 Large Shallots, Thinly Sliced
4 Garlic Cloves, Thinly Sliced
4 Fresh Thyme Sprigs
½ Tsp Freshly Ground White Pepper
1 Cup/240 Ml Gueuze Beer
½ Cup/120 Ml Heavy Cream
Fine Sea Salt
2 Lb/910 G Prince Edward Island Mussels, Scrubbed Well And Debearded
3 Tbsp Coarsely Chopped Fresh Parsley
Artisan French Bread For Serving
Melt the butter over medium-low heat in a large Dutch oven. When the foam subsides, add the celery, shallots, garlic, thyme, and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft but not brown, about 5 minutes.
Add the beer, cream, and a big pinch of salt. Raise the heat to high to bring the mixture to a boil. Add the mussels to the pot and toss to coat them in the broth. Cover the pot tightly and steam until the mussels open, about 3 minutes. Remove the lid and stir in the parsley. (Discard any mussels that fail to open.)
Taste the broth and adjust the seasoning. Serve the mussels directly from the pot at the table, ladling a good amount of broth into each bowl. Pass plenty of bread for dipping.
Our recommended brews:
Oude Gueuze CANTILLON / Golden Blend DRIE FONTEINEN / À l’Ancienne GUEUZERIE TILQUIN / Oude Gueuze DE CAM / Gueuze GIRARDIN / Coolship Resurgam ALLAGASH
Beer Bites by Christian DeBenedetti and Andrea Slonecker.
Try your hand at this tantalizing Lemony Strawberry-Rhubarb Cobbler from Nicole Franzen’s new book Sweet & Tart.
Start to finish: 1 hour
Hands-on time: 30 minutes
My mother-in-law, Mary Snyder, makes the most memorable rhubarb pie I’ve ever eaten. Since I can’t compete with her most excellent pie, I have set my sights on making rhubarb cobbler. It’s a little easier and less time consuming to prepare, and if you’ve never tasted Mary’s rhubarb pie, you might think this cobbler is the best rhubarb dessert in the world.
12 oz [340 g] rhubarb, stalks halved lengthwise and diced
3 cups [360 g] strawberries, sliced
1 cup [200 g] granulated sugar, plus 3 Tbsp 1⁄2 cup [100 g] firmly packed light brown sugar
4 Tbsp cornstarch
1⁄2 tsp kosher salt
Zest of 2 lemons, plus 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 cups [240 g] unbleached all‑purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1⁄2 cup [110 g] cold unsalted butter, cubed
3⁄4 cup [180 ml] buttermilk
1 large egg
2 Tbsp turbinado or granulated sugar (optional)
Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream for serving
Preheat the oven to 400°F [200°C]. Grease a 2-qt [2-L] baking pan.
Combine the rhubarb, strawberries, 1 cup [200 g] granulated sugar, brown sugar, cornstarch, 1⁄4 tsp of the salt, half of the lemon zest, and the lemon juice in a large bowl and toss together. Set aside.
Combine the flour, baking powder, butter, 3 Tbsp granulated sugar, remaining 1⁄4 tsp salt, and remaining zest in a medium bowl. Rub the mixture together with your thumb and forefinger in a snapping motion until the butter is blended together and no large lumps remain. Beat the buttermilk and egg with a fork in a small bowl. Pour it evenly over the flour mixture and mix with the fork until the dough just comes together. It should resemble loose biscuit dough.
Heap the fruit into the prepared baking pan. Scatter the dough evenly over the top, breaking it up with your fingers to make equal-size chunks. Sprinkle with the turbinado sugar (if using; it adds a bit of crunch).
Bake for about 35 minutes, or until the top is browned and the filling is bubbly. Let cool slightly and serve warm with whipped cream. The cobbler can be baked in the morning on the day it will be served and kept at room temperature for up to 8 hours, or covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. If you’d like to serve it warm, reheat in a 350°F [180°C] oven for about 10 minutes.
Sweet and Tart by Carla Snyder, published by Chronicle Books (£12.99)
At first instinct, eggplant Parmesan is a winter meal, hearty and filling. But assuredly, if you’ve ever grown your own eggplant or bought them from the hands of the farmer who has, you will want to show them off at their peak. In-season summer eggplant almost entirely lacks the bitterness that older, off-season eggplants can have. Put them front and centre in one of the most satisfying of all meals.
When you fry eggplant on the stove top, each piece soaks up a tremendous amount of oil. Eggplant roasted in the oven while the sauce simmers is lighter and faster, and there’s less mess to clean up when guests arrive. Serve your feast outside under a tree, with a big pile of angel hair pasta, sparkling Lambrusco, and green salad—an instant portal to Italian villa life.
Like most dishes with red sauce, eggplant Parm gets better the second night, and more so on the third. If you’re lucky enough to have any leftovers, pile them on rosemary focaccia rolls for a decadent, if messy, sandwich.
3 balls fresh mozzarella cheese
2 large eggplants (about 3 lb/1.4 kg), cut into ½-in/12-mm slices (see Cook’s Note)
Extra-virgin olive oil for brushing
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, smashed or minced
Generous pinch of red pepper flakes
Two 28-oz/800-g cans San Marzano or plum tomatoes in juice
1 sprig fresh basil (optional)
1 bay leaf
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp unsalted butter, plus more as needed
¾ cup/90 g freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 lb/455 g capellini or angel hair pasta
1. Thinly slice the mozzarella and lay on a paper towel–lined baking sheet to drain while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. Preheat the oven to 375°/190°C/gas 5.
2. Lightly brush both sides of the eggplant slices with olive oil, season with salt and black pepper, and spread out on two baking sheets. Roast until soft and golden brown, about 35 minutes, flipping with tongs halfway through cooking.
To make the Marinara Sauce: 3. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juices, passing them through clean hands on the way to the pot to crush and swish them. Add ½ tsp salt (use a light hand if your tomatoes are pre-salted), basil (if using), and bay leaf and reduce the heat to medium-low. Gently simmer until the sauce thickens, about 30 minutes, crushing the tomatoes further with a wooden spoon to help them break down. Taste and add another ¼ salt and pepper if needed and stir to combine. Remove and discard the basil and bay leaf.
4. Purée the whole thing together with an immersion blender until smooth. Stir in the butter to soften the acidity of the tomatoes. Taste and add more butter as needed. You should have about 5 cups/1.2 L of sauce.
5. When the eggplant is finished roasting, raise the oven temperature to 400°F/200°C/gas 6.
6. Spoon about 1¼ cups/300 ml of the tomato sauce into a 9-by-13-in/23-by-33-cm baking dish and spread it to cover the bottom. Layer in about half the eggplant and sprinkle with one-third of the Parmigiano-Reggiano, eyeballing the ingredients to create even layers—exact amounts aren’t so important. Top with half of the mozzarella slices. Spoon over a generous 1 cup/240 ml or so of sauce, followed by a second layer of eggplant, another third of the Parmigiano-Reggiano, and the remaining mozzarella. Sprinkle on the remaining third of the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Bake until golden and bubbly, about 35 minutes.
7. Remove from the oven and let cool about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, bring a large pot three-fourths full of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente, about 2 minutes. Warm the remaining marinara sauce over low heat. Drain the pasta and toss with the marinara sauce.
8. Serve the eggplant Parmesan warm with the angel hair pasta.
How an eggplant tastes to you is entirely dependent on if you’re eating it in season, how many days it’s been off the plant, and whether or not bitter is a pleasing flavour to you. I neither peel nor salt my eggplant, particularly when it’s very fresh. But when in doubt, peel and generously salt the slices and set them aside in a colander or on paper towels to drain, about 15 minutes. Rinse and pat dry before roasting.
Feast by Sarah Copeland, published by Chronicle Books
An oldie but a goodie! We still LOVE macarons and this I Love Macarons by Hisako Ogita is a superb way to launch our Top 5 Food & Drink List!
I Love Macaronsis a step-by-step guide to making macarons, with accompanying photographs. Hisako Ogita offers up recipes for making superb macarons at home.
Eat Pretty, the foodie revolution has, without a doubt, earned its place on our Top 5 Food & Drink list.
Beauty nutrition is the fastest rising beauty trend around the world. Eat Pretty simplifies the latest science and presents a user-friendly program for gorgeous looks, at any age. Nutrition buzzwords like antioxidants, biotin and omega-3s are explained alongside more than 100 everyday foods, each paired with their specific beauty-boosting benefits: celery for skin hydration, red peppers for sun defence, nutmeg for beauty sleep and kale for bright eyes, to name a few. Charts, lists and immediately actionable bullet points, plus 20 recipes, make for a delicious and infinitely useful package.
Our favourite Dutch Foodie Yvette Van Boven’s Home Made Summer is an office favourite. It’s seasonal recipes and amazing photography have captured our hearts. Home Made Summer adds a touch of sunshine to our Top 5 Food & Drink titles.
Inspired by her childhood in Ireland and her frequent sojourns in France, Yvette van Boven has created a collection of recipes that will truly inspire you to step into the kitchen. Using seasonal ingredients such as freshly picked apples and berries, as well as delicate summer lettuces and fresh herbs, Yvette presents recipes for Breakfast, Brunch & Lunch, Snacks, Beverages, Appetizers and Dessert. The book includes savoury baked goods perfect for a weekend morning with friends, light salads to enjoy on a warm summer evening and hearty dinners that celebrate great flavour.
From her cabin in the forest, Erin Gleeson created one of our favourite cookbooks of all time. Adorned with wonderful watercolours and filled with mouth watering recipes. We aren’t sure whats NOT to love about The Forest Feast.
Talented artist and professional food photographer Erin Gleeson began her blog, The Forest Feast, in 2011 to document the beauty and simplicity of vegetarian food. Her recipes contain very few ingredients (less than 5 in many cases) and are notable for their simplicity and creative flavours.
Bread baking at its finest. Tartine Breadis a superstar in our Food & Drink list, with good reason; Chad Robertson is one of the most celebrated bread makers in the United States!
Tartine Bread is a master formula for basic bread with many variations forming the backbone of the book, which also includes yeasted breads and recipes for sweet and savoury foods made with days-old bread.
This delicious cookbook is a must have for bread bakers everywhere.
What is your idea of Foodie Heaven? Send us your favourite cookbooks. #FiveYearsOfBooks
Want to know the latest trend in sweet treats? The ice-cream sandwich!
Try out this classic recipe this weekend; Vanilla on soft chocolate cookie.
Pure Nostalgia Vanilla Ice Cream on Soft Chocolate Cookie Bars
This is the quintessential sandwich: vanilla ice cream encased in a cookie that invites licking sticky chocolate crumbs from your fingers. This is the one that takes me back to Maplewood Pool in New Rochelle, New York, where I generated plenty of heat climbing the steep hill to the pool on summer afternoons, cooled down as I swam laps, and refuelled with an ice cream sandwich from the vending machine before heading home for supper. The cookie is adapted, with appreciation, from a recipe by Abigail Johnson Dodge on Fine Cooking’s website.
Vanilla Ice Cream
2 cups (480 ml) whole milk
⅓ cup (67 g) granulated sugar
2 tablespoons inverted sugar syrup (page 27), golden syrup, or light agave nectar
2 tablespoons tapioca starch
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Whisk ½ cup (120 ml) of the milk with the sugar, syrup, tapioca, and salt in a medium saucepan until no lumps remain. Stir in the remaining 1½ cups (360 ml) milk and the cream. Heat the mixture over medium-high heat, stirring with a heatproof spatula, until it begins to steam and slightly bubble at the edges. Adjust to a simmer and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens to the consistency of a cream sauce, about 3 minutes longer; do not fully boil.
Transfer the mixture to a metal bowl set over a larger bowl of ice and water. Stir occasionally until the mixture is cool, taking care not to slosh water into the bowl. Stir in the vanilla, then cover and refrigerate until very cold, at least 2 hours. Transfer the bowl to the freezer for the last half hour before spinning it.
Freeze the mixture in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. Transfer the ice cream to a chilled container, cover, and freeze until firm but still spreadable, about 4 hours.
Soft Chocolate Cookie Bars
Neutral vegetable oil, for the parchment
1¼ cups (165 g) all-purpose flour
½ cup (50 g) unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons (85 g) unsalted butter, softened
½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
¼ cup packed (50 g) light brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
⅔ cup (160 ml) whole milk
Preheat the oven to 350ºF (175ºC) with a rack in the center of the oven. Line a baking sheet (preferably rimless) with parchment paper and lightly oil the parchment.
Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.
Beat the butter with the granulated and brown sugar on medium-high speed using a stand mixer and the paddle attachment until light and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla on low speed. On low speed, add half of the flour mixture, then all of the milk, then the remaining flour, scraping the bowl between additions. (Alternatively, use a handheld mixer.)
Dollop the batter all over the parchment paper, then spread it as smoothly and evenly as possible with an offset spatula to make an 18-by-12-inch (46-by-30½-cm) rectangle.
Bake just until the bar loses its shine, about 10 minutes, rotating the pan front to back halfway through baking. Remove from the oven and, while still warm, use a ruler as a guide to cut the cookie crosswise to make two 12-by-9-inch (30½-by-23-cm) cookie slabs. Use a fork to prick the surface of the slabs in neat rows, like the top of a traditional ice cream sandwich. Slide the parchment with the cookie bars onto a rack to cool completely.
Form sandwiches on a baking sheet lined with plastic wrap (rather than in a pan) using the method below. Once firmly frozen, cut the sandwiches into 4 strips in each direction to make 16 bars.
Using Brownie or Cookie Slabs to Form Bars
Bake brownies, cookies, bars, or slabs, using two 8- or 9-inch (20- or 23-cm) square pans, or one 13-by-9-inch (33-by-23-cm) pan, or as directed in the recipe. (Be sure to line the pan(s) with parchment paper extending up two sides as a sling for easy removal.)
Use the sling to remove the cooled slab(s) from the pan(s), cutting around the edges of the pan with a knife to loosen, if needed. For a 13-by-9-inch (33-by-23-cm) pan, cut the large slab in half to form two 9-by-6½ inch (23-by-16½-cm) rectangles. Wrap the slabs in plastic and freeze until the ice cream is ready.
Form the sandwich block in the pan used to bake the brownie or bar, or on a baking sheet. (If you used a 13-by-9-inch / 33-by-23-cm pan, you will be filling only half the pan.) Line the pan or sheet with plastic wrap, extending it well beyond the edges on all four sides.
Place one slab top-side down in the pan and spread softened ice cream over it in an even layer. Top with the second slab, top-side up, pressing firmly to evenly distribute the ice cream. Wrap tightly in the plastic wrap and freeze until very firm, at least 6 hours or overnight, for easiest cutting.
When the ice cream is very firm, take the pan from the freezer, remove and unwrap the block, and place it on a flat cutting surface. Use a sharp, heavy knife to cut the block following recipe instructions, dipping the knife in hot water and wiping it dry between cuts.
Take it easy
Fill store-bought chocolate cookies or thin brownies with vanilla, chocolate, coffee, strawberry or mint chip ice cream.
Dress it up
Roll the sides of the sandwiches in mini chocolate chips, toasted nuts or toasted coconut.
I Scream Sandwich by Jennie Schacht, published by Stewart, Tabori & Chang
Did you know, in Germany, the pretzel symbolises good luck? Try your had at making your very own lucky charm with our recipe for Pennsylvania Dutch Hard Pretzels!
Pennsylvania Dutch Hard Pretzels
A happy culinary accident, hard pretzels are one of America’s first salty, crunchy snack foods. Traditional recipes for hard pretzels are fat-free, but I find that a few pats of butter added to the dough lend the pretzels an extra-special crispiness and a savory flavor. If you prefer the drier crunch of the traditional style, omit the butter. For pretzel rods, see the variation at the end of the recipe.
Makes 24 classic pretzels
One 1/4-oz/7-g package active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
1 cup/240 ml warm water (between 100 and 115°F/38 and 45°C)
1 tbsp barley malt syrup or 1 tbsp firmly packed dark brown sugar
3 1/2 cups/440 g unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tbsp unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the bowl
2 tsp fine sea salt, such as fleur de sel or sel gris
2 tbsp food-grade lye, or 1/4 cup/60 g baked baking soda (see separate notes)
Coarse salt for topping
Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl. Add the barley malt syrup, stirring until it is dissolved. Allow the yeast to bloom until it is foamy, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the flour, butter, and fine sea salt and stir to form a shaggy mass. Attach the bowl and the dough hook to the stand mixer and begin kneading on medium-low speed. After about 1 minute the dough will form a smooth ball. The dough should be quite firm and may be slightly tacky, but not sticky. (If it is sticky, add a little more flour, about 1 tbsp at a time, and knead it in until the dough is smooth. If the dough is too dry to come together, add more water, 1 tsp at a time.) Continue kneading the dough on medium-low speed until it is elastic, 5 to 7 minutes. Alternatively, turn the shaggy dough out onto an unfloured work surface and knead it by hand.
Choose a bowl that will be large enough to contain the dough after it has doubled in size, and lightly grease it with butter. Transfer the dough to the greased bowl and cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Put the dough in the refrigerator to rise for at least 8 hours, and up to 24 hours, for optimal flavor.
Line two 12-by-17-in/30.5-by-43-cm rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
Turn the dough out onto an unfloured work surface and press it down to deflate. Cut it into four equal portions, and divide each portion into six small chunks of dough. Work with one piece of dough at a time and keep the rest covered with a damp, clean kitchen towel. Pat a piece of dough down with your fingertips to form a rough rectangle. Roll it up tightly, beginning with a long side, into a cylinder. Shape the dough into a rope 18 in/46 cm long by rolling it against the work surface, using your palms and working from the center of the rope out to the ends. Apply a little more pressure as you get closer to the ends to taper them slightly. If you need more friction, spray the counter with a little water from a squirt bottle or drizzle a few drops of water and spread it with your hand. It is important that the dough be rolled out to the correct length, or it will be too thick to harden during baking.
Position the dough rope into a U shape, with the ends pointing away from you. Holding an end in each hand, cross the ends and then cross them again. Fold the ends down and press them into the U at about 4 and 8 o’clock, allowing about 1⁄8 in/3 mm of the ends to overhang. Place the pretzel on one of the prepared baking sheets and cover it with a damp towel. Repeat this process with the remaining dough, arranging the pretzels at least 1 in/2.5 cm apart and covering them with a damp towel.
When the first baking sheet is filled with twelve pretzels, transfer it to the refrigerator while you shape the rest of the pretzels to prevent the first batch from overproofing. When all the pretzels are shaped, leave both trays, covered, at warm room temperature to rise until the pretzels have doubled in size, 30 to 40 minutes. (The pretzels can be refrigerated at this point, covered tightly with plastic wrap, for up to 8 hours before dipping and baking them.)
At least 20 minutes before baking, position one rack in the upper third and another rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat it to 325°F/165°C/gas 3.
Using the lye or baked baking soda solution, dip the pretzels following the instructions for (see separate notes), working in batches of four to six pretzels at a time, depending on the size of your pot. After dipping, sprinkle the pretzels with coarse salt. Bake them immediately.
Bake the pretzels for 25 minutes, and then rotate the pans from front to back and top to bottom. Continue baking until the pretzels are mahogany in color and completely hard throughout. This could take anywhere from 25 to 40 minutes more, but rely on the visual and textural cues rather than the time. To test a pretzel for doneness, remove one from the oven and break it in half. If the center is still a little chewy, continue baking. If the color is deep brown but the pretzels are not done inside, remove the trays from the oven and allow them to cool to room temperature while you reduce the oven temperature to 300°F/150°C/gas 2. Return the pretzels to the oven to finish hardening to a crisp. Test a pretzel after about 10 minutes, and in 5-minute increments after that. When they are hard, transfer the pretzels to a cooling rack. Once they are completely cooled, store them in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
Hard Pretzel Rods
Divide the dough into forty-eight pieces. Roll the dough ropes out to 8-in/20-cm sticks without tapering the ends, and proceed as directed in the recipe. The total baking time will be reduced to 45 to 55 minutes, or until they are deep brown and hard throughout.
Pretzel Making at Home by Andrea Slonecker, published by Chronicle Books
Try something new this weekend. How about Spanish Tortilla?
POTATO AND ONION EGG TORTILLA
TORTILLA DE PATATAS Y CEBOLLA
MAKES ONE 10-INCH/25-CM TORTILLA; SERVES 6 TO 8
One of the most classic and popular of all Spanish dishes, the egg and potato tortilla is, simply, iconic. It was, fittingly, the first dish I learned to make when I moved to Spain in 1996, in a lesson given to me by my future brother-in-law, Robert. Preparing a tortilla with potato alone is fine, but using an equal amount of onions produces a sweeter, moister and, in my mind, superior result. While the key to a good tortilla is keeping it moist in the centre, the real trick, he showed me, comes in flipping it. Or rather, flipping the tortilla without the bottom sticking.
1 ¼ pounds/570 g medium white potatoes
1 ¼ pounds/570 g medium onions
1 quart/1 L mild olive oil or sunflower oil
Peel the potatoes, halve lengthwise, and thinly slice crosswise. Peel the onions, halve lengthwise, and thinly slice crosswise.
In a large sauté pan or deep skillet, heat the olive oil over high heat until shimmering. Carefully add the potatoes and onions and cook over medium high heat, stirring from time to time, until they soften and just begin to brown, about 15 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the potatoes and onions to a colander to thoroughly drain. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the oil.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs thoroughly with a hand whisk until frothy. Season with salt. Pour the drained potatoes and onions into the egg. Gently push down to cover with egg. Let sit and absorb for 10 minutes.
In a 10-inch/25-cm nonstick skillet, heat the reserved 2 tablespoons of oil over high heat. Pour in the egg mixture. Immediately turn the heat to low and swirl the pan in a circular motion for a few seconds to keep the egg from sticking. Cook until the bottom is golden and the tortilla set, about 6 minutes.
Wearing an oven mitt, place a flat, tight-fitting plate over the tortilla. Firmly pressing the plate against the pan, carefully and quickly turn the tortilla over onto the plate, and then slide the tortilla off the plate and back into the pan. Swirl the pan in a circular motion to settle the tortilla and keep it from sticking. Tuck any edges down with a spatula. Cook for another 3 to 4 minutes, until firm but still moist in the center.
Flip the tortilla onto a clean plate. Dab off any excess oil with a paper towel. Let cool before slicing it into fat wedges to serve.
Spain by Jeff Koehler, published by Chronicle Books