Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Boterkoek


This recipe is by far the closest to my heart.  I am honored to share it with you.


As I've mentioned before, I am half Dutch and had a wonderful grandmother, Oma.  She taught me nearly everything I know about cooking and baking.
When I had a question about food I did not search the internet, I called Oma. 
 The smells of meat browning in butter and Boterkoek baking in the oven are irrevocably associated with her and make me miss her so badly it hurts.
But I wouldn't trade those sensory memories for anything, and through baking I can share my kitchen and my life with her.


She baked one of these nearly every week for my Opa (the luckiest man on Earth).  Boterkoek means "butter cake" in Dutch, and believe me, it was appropriately named.  
It's also unbelievably simple--it only has six ingredients and I no longer need to look at a recipe to make it.  It's definitely a crowd-pleaser, and everyone will ask you for the recipe.


So preheat your oven to 350 degrees and get ready to never again live without this ridiculously delicious Dutch pastry.




Put two mutilated sticks of softened butter into a large mixing bowl.  If you're normal and don't subject your butter to torture in the microwave, just put two softened sticks of butter into a bowl and continue being normal.




Add a cup of granulated sugar...




And cream them together until they look all fluffy, like this.




The wonderful thing about family recipes is that the steps can seem a bit strange, but through these peculiar instructions you will create something no cookbook can come close to.  
So when I tell you to beat an egg and reserve 1/4 of it and only add 3/4 of it to the dough, you just have to trust that it'll be wonderful.



Lightly beat an egg...




And reserve one spoonful of the egg so you can use it as an egg wash later.




I'm not sure why this picture is oriented like this, but in any case, add the egg into the equation (give or take a spoonful).




Boterkoek usually calls for almond extract, but Oma did not feel like spending a huge amount of money on the stuff, so she used lemon zest and vanilla.  Not only is this cheaper, it's also tasty!  These are mini lemons.  Aren't they cute? I used two because it calls for one regular-sized lemon.  Don't use two average lemons, please.




Go ahead and zest the lemons...




Dump in the zest and the vanilla...




Combine all the ingredients and get ready to add the flour!




Add the flour...




You might think it's ready, but alas, it is not.
One thing I learned is that the finished product turns out much better when you manhandle the dough a bit.  I literally throw it between my hands and warm it up.  Don't question it, it's good.  




It'll look more uniform and smooth once you've handled it a bit.




Use you grandmother's old, beat-up baking pan.  That little bar really works...I still use butter to grease the pan, but it loosens the Boterkoek from the pan pretty well.  




Press the dough into the pan...




Remember the egg we reserved?  Pour it onto the dough...




At this point, you are going to brush the egg onto the surface of the dough.  But because I believe in honesty, I'm going to tell you that I do not know where my pastry brush is and I just used my hands.  So feel free to use your hands, just make sure you wash them afterwards!




It looks a bit odd, but it makes the top all shiny and purty.




Now to create that diamond pattern on the top you are going to make  diagonals on the surface of the dough with a knife (I use a metal butter knife).  




You're gonna rotate the pan and do another set of diagonals in the opposite direction.  


Pop it in the oven for about 30 minutes, until it looks like this:




Beautiful, is it not?




Please let this cool before you cut it.  Please? Just do it, okay? Oma always screamed at me not to touch it until it had fully cooled, and I didn't learn this lesson until I tried cutting it while it was warm and it completely fell apart and tasted awful.
The cooling process is essential, and please don't be like me...just listen to my advice.  Make sense?




It's probably best if you start with a tiny slice because you need to realize that if you go crazy and eat a fourth of this guy, you're eating half a stick of butter.  I'm just trying to be your friend here.


This, friends, is the epitome of lekker.


I hope you love this as much as I do.  I hope you share it with all the people you love.


I hope your summer is going well!
Annelise


Here's the recipe:


2 sticks of butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg (divided)
the zest of one lemon
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour


Preheat your oven to 350.  Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy.
Lightly beat the egg and reserve about a spoonful and set aside.  Pour the egg (minus the one spoonful) into the butter mixture.  Add the lemon zest and vanilla until combined.  Gradually add in the flour until thoroughly combined.  Take the dough out of the bowl and warm it up in your hands until it's smooth and uniform.
Grease a round cake pan and press the dough into it.
Pour the reserved egg over the top of the dough and spread it around (using your trusty pastry brush or even your hand).  To make the design on the top, use a metal butter knife to make diagonals on the surface of the dough.  Rotate the pan about 90 degrees and make the same pattern running in the opposite direction.
Pop it in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until it is golden brown.  Enjoy!



Friday, June 1, 2012

Blondies With Vanilla Glaze



I brought these to work...
They lasted all of about ten minutes.


Let me preface what I am about to say with the fact that I am a sensitive person.  


That day, my friend Jaime turned to me as we were cashiering and said:
"So, according to the rumors going around about you--"
"What rumors?"
"Oh, you didn't know there were rumors?  Yeah, I was kinda mad, but don't worry, I got your back."
*Cue customer*


Jaime walks away to organize the magazines so I am left at the cash register feeling a bit concerned and...sensitive about the whole situation.
I turn to my beautiful head cashier Jessica and say, "But...but why would people be saying anything about me?  I don't understand."
Beautiful Jessica said that I could go over and ask Jaime about these rumors.
"Jaime, what are people saying?"
"Oh, just that you made some AWESOME blondies."
"But I thought it was something serious!"
"Are you going to cry? Were you going to cry?"
"No."
"Then you're okay."
I have wonderful friends. 


But the blondies are so good you won't even care if you have friends like mine.  


So, preheat your oven to 350 degrees!




Butter.  Put it in a bowl.
Softened butter.  If you want to set it out on the counter for a while as opposed to mutilating it in the microwave like I do, I highly support it.  




Dump in the two kinds of brown sugar.
I kind of sound neurotic, but I love light brown sugar too much to leave it out.




Cream the butter and the brown sugars until fluffy like this.




Crack in the eggs.  It's best if you crack them in one at a time, but I've been forgetting to do that.




Whisk in the eggs and it will look like this.




Add the salt and vanilla...




Dump in the flour...please




I don't know why I don't have a picture of the finished batter...
I think I remember finishing it and thinking, "Hey, I need a picture of this, but I'm just not going to take it, that makes sense!"
But here I am wondering why all I have is this stupid blurry picture.


Let me say that usually brownies (and blondies) are usually made with melted butter.  It makes them pretty dense and chewy, but I wanted mine to have a little more oomph so I was going to add more flour.  However, I forgot to melt the butter and add extra flour.  Without melted butter, the texture of these blondies is killer. I am never using melted butter for these again. And I won't be adding more flour.
Baking chemistry is ridiculous.
This batter will be pretty thick and annoying to spread into a large baking pan.


SO, pop this guy in the oven for about 20 to 25 minutes. 




Dump the powdered sugar into a bowl...




Add two tablespoons of milk and about a teaspoon of vanilla.




Whisk it all together and your glaze is done!  The glaze MAKES this recipe.  




Please let these guys cool before you even attempt to pour the glaze on them.  Please.




Go crazy! Pour the glaze on however you want.  Make it look like a Jackson Pollack. 




It's art!




See this? This is good.  It's beautiful.




Hello, gorgeous.  You come here often?




You might want to make two batches of these because, trust me, they won't last.  
Make these for your friends, even if they're like mine.  
They'll never think of living life without you after you make these for them.  


They're lekker x 23437568.


Love,
Annelise


Here's the recipe!


Blondies


2 sticks softened butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch salt
2 cups flour


for the glaze:


1 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract


Preheat your oven to 350.  
Cream the butter and sugars together until fluffy.  Crack in the eggs one at a time and whisk into the butter mixture.  Add the vanilla and salt and combine.  Gradually incorporate the flour.  The batter will be thicker than regular brownie batter.
Pour the batter into a large baking pan and bake for 20-25 minutes.


In the meantime, combine the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla in a small bowl and whisk together until smooth.
Once the Blondies have cooled completely, drizzle the glaze over them in an artistic/haphazard/perfect fashion.  Cut into squares and serve!
Enjoy!