mazariner

OK, I am officially in major baking mode for the holiday season. But Molly, aren’t you always in major baking mode?? Well, uh, yes, but consider this major baking mode plus because these days I’m not just testing blog recipes and baking the occasional birthday cake, but I’m also cranking out tasty lil gift boxes for people around town and my entries for the various cookie swaps that I’m going to this month. 

So what does baking mode plus look like? There is a steady supply of butter softening on my counter at all times, my fridge is filled with stacks of discs of dough wrapped in plastic wrap, two stand mixers are out on the counter, I have a regular container of well beaten egg wash sitting in my fridge ready to go at a moment’s notice, the smell of almond and vanilla is in the air, there is probably flour on my face, and I am dressed warmly in fluffy socks and sweaters because I like keeping it kind of cool in the kitchen so that doughs are easier to handle. Also, Christmas movies or ice skating are always always on the TV. And water is in my cup. Because cold Midwest tap water has been at the top of my cravings list and also because everything I read about drinking tea while preggo is kind of a question mark?? I can’t really keep it straight, so I’ve pretty much been avoiding it altogether, even though I realllly want to complete this vibe with sugar cookie Christmas tea, which is probably just vanilla flavored water, but I’m just that paranoid. 

One treat I’ve been baking a ton of has been Mazariner, Swedish almond tarts. They are basically a buttery crunchy cookie cup filled with dense almond cake. In my mind, they’re marzipan in tart form, and you know how marzipan runs through my veins this time of year. I always used to get them for dessert at IKEA when my mom and I would go eat Swedish meatballs. They weren’t the prettiest dessert because they were unglazed and just two shades of brown, but they were by far the tastiest. I don’t actually know if they serve them anymore, but still to this day, I just cannot get enough of the texture of the filling. It’s a texture that I don’t see too often in desserts because even though it’s cakey, the only leavening agent in it is eggs, so it’s extra dense, almost as if it wants to be a blondie when it grows up. The whole tart is quite sturdy, which is one reason why I plan to gift a bunch of these this month. I’ve been topping them with a powdered sugar and heavy cream glaze, which makes a thick cloud-like topping, and to some of them I’ve been adding cranberry juice for bright natural color. And it’s kewt to decorate all of them differently, with fresh cranberries, herbs, sprinkles, etc., you know the drill!

And I’ve partnered with Pampered Chef on this post because their tools have been such amazing help during my big long baking days. I seriously use their stackable cooling racks every single day because of how much I can fit on them and how much space I save. I also love their medium sheet pans because of how sturdy and heavy duty they are. Other tools of theirs that rock are their pretty marble rolling pin, small spreaders (perfect for decorating these tarts), medium scoops (great for distributing the tart filling evenly), sturdy serving spatulas, heavy duty silicon-coated sauce whisks, classic batter bowls, muffin pan, small glass mixing bowls, and stainless steel mixing bowl set. All of the bowls I’ve used in this post have lids, which are so great because sometimes I need to keep glazes and egg washes going for a couple of days, or prep fillings and such a day in advance. Thank you so much, Pampered Chef, for providing these tools and sponsoring this post!!


mazariner

makes 12

Ingredients

Shells:

1/3 c (67g) sugar

1 3/4 c (228g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1/2 tsp kosher salt

3/4 c (168g) unsalted butter, cold and cubed

2 large eggs, separated

Filling:

1 c (120g) almond meal

3/4 c (150g) sugar

1/2 tsp kosher salt

6 tb (85g) unsalted butter, softened

1 tsp almond extract

1 large egg

Glaze:

1 c (120g) powdered sugar

1/4 c (60 ml) heavy cream or 2 tb cranberry juice

1/4 tsp almond extract

To decorate: sprinkles, fresh herbs, sliced almonds, fresh cranberries

Clues

To make the shells, in a food processor, pulse together the sugar, flour, and salt to combine. Add the butter and continue to pulse until mealy. Add the egg yolks (reserve the egg whites for the filling) and pulse until the dough comes together. Press the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least an hour, or overnight.

To make the filling, combine the almond meal, sugar, salt, and butter, either by blending it in the food processor (no need to clean it out after making the dough, you can just use it immediately for this step), or by stirring it together in a large bowl (I find it’s easiest to get in there with my hands). Add the almond extract, egg, and the reserved egg whites from the shells, and continue to blend/stir until smooth and combined. Set aside while you mold the shells. 

To mold the shells, grease a muffin tin. On a floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/4” thick, dusting with more flour as needed. Cut out 3” circles and press them into the muffin cups, pressing so that the dough comes all the way up the sides. No worries if the dough tears, just patch it up additional dough. Freeze the shells for 15 minutes. 

Preheat the oven to 350ºf. Fill the frozen shells with the filling so that it comes up about 1/4” from the top. Bake until the tops and edges are lightly browned; begin checking for doneness at 30 minutes. Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes and then use a small offset spatula or a knife to remove to a wire rack to cool completely. 

To make the glaze, combine the powdered sugar and heavy cream or cranberry juice until smooth. Add additional powdered sugar or liquid to thicken it up or thin it out so that you get the consistency of a thick glue. Spread the glaze over the cooled tarts and decorate with sprinkles, herbs, cranberries, almonds, and anything else you’d like! These will keep for several days at room temperature or in the fridge. 


-yeh!

thank you, pampered chef, for sponsoring this post!!

photos by chantell and brett!

garlic and onion latkes and sour cream

Zomg it’s almost Hanukkah already! Any earlier and I feel like we would have come dangerously close to reliving the Thanksgivukkah mash-up of 2013 all over again. Luckily I feel like having this week free of any feast-driven holidays has allowed us to create space for all of the latkes and sufganiyot that we’re about to eat… but who am I kidding, the entire holiday season is a feast-driven holiday?! And so is the entirety of pregnancy! Ok, this is gonna be great.

I’m cutting no corners this Hanukkah and following all of the rules for good Hanukkah food:

  1. I will not let impatience get the best of me and I will let the oil heat up completely before frying anything.

  2. I will let the potatoes sit with their salt for at least half an hour to allow the moisture to escape, for the sake of an extra crispy latke. 

  3. I will let them get appropriately browned!! Extra crispy!! Ugh, this always takes more time than I want it to, but it’s gonna be worth it.

  4. I will not go the route of frying store bought biscuit dough and calling it sufganiyot. I’m thinking of going a chocolatey brioche route this year, maybe chocolate and strawberry??

I’m so excited to be able to use Eggboy’s menorah again and, oh gosh, I just got emotional thinking about how this time next year we’ll be lighting the candles with little Poppy Seed. I can already see the Eight Days of Baby Books happening. 

Ok before I get ahead of myself, I’m gonna talk about these latkes. They’re basically an amped up version of the classic latkes that I typically make and they are sooo good. Flavor-wise, I’ve added garlic and scallions (to an already onion-y mixture) and paired them with a caramelized onion sour cream situation that’s just like French onion dip. Texture-wise, I’ve replaced my standard flour binder with panko breadcrumbs for a thicker heartier texture. I find it helps these latkes fry up more like hockey pucks, which is a good thing because we live in hockey country. I supposed you could also use matzo meal!

And since I feel like it’s been a while since we talked latkes, let’s review some tips for prepping them ahead if you’re planning on hosting a big party this year:

-For the most low maintenance route, follow the below directions but instead of transferring to a wire rack or paper towel as written, transfer the latkes in a single layer to a sheet pan covered in foil. Let cool and refrigerate for up to two days or freeze for up to a few weeks. The foil is so that they retain that excess oil and you want them to do that so that when you reheat them on that pan (in a hot oven, 400º or 425º should do), the excess oil lightly re-fries them.

-For a slightly higher maintenance route, follow the below directions as written, taking them out of the oil just before they get to be optimum goldenness. Let cool and refrigerate for up to two days. And then when you’re ready to serve, simply fry them again. They’ll fry up faster and they’ll be super crispy because twice fried latkes are a very good thing.

-The garlic and onion sour cream can totes be made a day in advance.

And I’m using Our Family sour cream with this recipe! It’s reliable and comes in a cute package with cows all over it. And! It comes in the huge tubs, which is a must for Hanukkah. Thanks for sponsoring this post, Our Family!


garlic and onion latkes with garlic and onion sour cream

makes 20 latkes

ingredients

for the latkes:

2 1/2 lbs russet potatoes

2 medium yellow onions

4 cloves garlic

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling

4 large eggs

2 tb lemon juice

black pepper

2/3 c (40g) panko breadcrumbs

4 stalks scallions, chopped

Flavorless oil, for frying

for the garlic and onion sour cream:

2 tb olive oil

1 yellow onion, finely chopped

1/2 tsp kosher salt, divided

1/2 tsp sugar

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 c (240g) Our Family sour cream

1/2 tsp onion powder

black pepper

scallions, for topping

clues

Using the shredding attachment on a food processor (or mandoline), shred the potatoes, onions, and garlic. Line a colander with 2 layers of cheese cloth and set it over a bowl or in the sink. Add the potatoes/onions/garlic to the cheese cloth and sprinkle with salt. Let sit for 30-45 minutes. Gather up the edges of the cheesecloth and use your hands to squeeze out any excess moisture. 

In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, lemon juice, a few turns of black pepper, and the breadcrumbs and add the potato mixture. Stir in the scallions.

In a large skillet, heat 1/4” of oil over medium-high heat, until shimmering. It’s ready when a strand of potato added to the oil immediately starts to sizzle. Use an ice cream scoop to add blobs of the mixture to the oil, spacing them out so as not to crowd the pan. Press the scoops down lightly with a spatula to get 1/2” thick patties. Fry until golden brown on both sides, a few minutes per side. Transfer to a wire rack or paper towel and sprinkle with salt or flaky salt. Repeat with the remaining mixture, adding more oil to the pan as needed.

for the garlic and onion sour cream:

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium and add the onion, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and sugar. cook, stirring, until golden brown and caramelized, about 30-40 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 2 more minutes. Let cool and then stir with the sour cream, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, onion powder, and a few turns of black pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve with a sprinkle of chopped fresh scallions. 


-yeh!

thank you, our family, for sponsoring this post

photos by chantell and brett quernemoen


p.s. tune into this weekend’s #girlmeetsfarm for brussels sprout latkes, lefse, pastrami meatballs, speculoos sheet cake, and marzipan chocolate bars!

Turkey Wild Rice Hotdish

I am so far down the road of sufganiyot testing and hallmark movie watching that I have to remind myself that thanksgiving still hasn’t happened or else I’ll get confused about the turkey cupcakes on my Instagram feed. Still I have no regrets about having moved forcefully in the direction of holiday cheer from the moment that Halloween ended. I mean, let’s hear a round of applause for this bagel macaroni noodle menorah and this narwhal address stamp and the new Sia Christmas album. zooomg. 

We are going to Chicago for the long weekend, where we’ll celebrate Eggboy’s birthday, Stoopie’s birthday, Thanksgiving obviously, and the National Dog Show hosted by Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir. Oh, and my high school reunion, to which I will be wearing the closest thing to adult footie pajamas that Eileen Fisher gift cards can buy

I am extremely ready for my Thanksgiving routine, which goes like this:

Wake up to Stoop placing her small dog, Audrey, on my head (Eggboy has been up for hours, chatting with mum and reading the newspaper),

Flop down stairs, pour a coffee, migrate to the couch, struggle for five minutes with mum’s remote controls, and then finally find the Macy’s parade. Sing and dance along when the Camp Broadway kids come on.

Exchange sup dudes with Stoop husband. Alternate between the parade, twitter, pickin my nose, and Audrey being placed on my head until it’s time to oversee Eggboy’s annual pumpkin pie production. (He plans to repeat last year’s success, which consisted of Sarah’s filling and Yossy’s crust.)

Assist with stuffing tasting, vegetable chopping, etc. 

Gush over the sheep dogs during the dog show.

Check Instagram. Crimp Eggboy’s pie, tweet about his progress. Decide if he is a pieboy or not a pieboy this year. 

Ad lib until it’s time to eat and then just keep my head down until it’s clear that everyone’s forgotten about going around the table to say what we’re thankful for. It’s just so mushy 😭😭😭😭😭

Fall asleep in front of a movie, any movie. Maybe Elf this year??

Here is a perfect way to use up your Thanksgiving leftovers, a turkey wild rice hot dish that is topped with leftover stuffing!! It's soo cozy and good, and it's basically a thanksgiving sandwich that you can eat from a bowl. The thing about this wild rice hotdish though is that it should be made anytime during the winter months, not just when you have leftovers. Around here we pretend like it’s a little more of a grownup hotdish since it has ~local wild rice~ adding bite and nutrition, but it’s just as buttery and creamy and rich as, say, its tater tot counterpart. You can totally sub out the turkey for roasted chicken or ground beef or a vegan meat substitute (as so many of you did with the tater tot hotdish)!! And when it’s not stuffing season—which is sad to think about because stuffing should be eaten at all times of the year, right??—go ahead and top this with the traditional crushed cracker topping. Eggmom uses saltines! I bet ritz would be good too. Or cheez-its. Mmmmm.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!!!!


Turkey Wild Rice Hotdish with Stuffing (AKA Thanksgiving Leftover Hotdish)

makes 6 - 8 servings

ingredients

3/4 c (135g) wild rice, rinsed and drained

2 c (480g) water

Kosher salt

6 tb (84g) unsalted butter

2 carrots, finely chopped

2 stalks celery, finely chopped

1 large onion, finely chopped

3/4 c (95g) all-purpose flour

3 c (715g) whole milk

2 tb vegetable, or chicken soup mix (i prefer the orrington farms brand, but something similar, like a bouillon cube or better than bouillon or a homemade bouillon will work)

Black pepper

1 tsp dried rosemary, chopped

4 c (about 515g) cooked shredded roasted turkey*

4 c leftover stuffing (I like this recipe)*

*Since it's impossible to predict exact leftover amounts, don't fret if you have a little more or a little less stuffing or turkey! These amounts are just a ballpark.

Leftover cranberry sauce, for servinng

clues

Preheat the oven to 375ºF.

In a medium saucepan, combine the wild rice, water, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 30 minutes, until al dente. Drain the rice and set it aside.

To make the creamed soup, in a large pot, melt 6 tablespoons of butter over medium high heat. Add the carrots, celery, onion, and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring, until soft, about 12-15 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook for another minute. Stir in half of the milk and cook, stirring, until thickened. Stir in the remaining milk and cook, stirring, until very thick. Add the soup mix, a bunch of turns of black pepper, rosemary, and salt to taste. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.

In a 9 x 13 casserole dish, 1/3 soup on the bottom, then 1/2 the rice, and 1/2 the turkey. Repeat and then top with the remaining 1/3 of the soup mixture. Top with stuffing and bake for 45 minutes, until bubbly. If the stuffing is getting too browned on top, cover with foil.

Serve with leftover cranberry sauce. 


gingerbread chicken coops + white house scenes

seven things i learned about the white house!

1. it is way smaller than i thought it would be. i envisioned a huge building with millions of hallways to get lost in and a state dining room the size of alaska, but that’s not the case! it’s like polly pocket. with a kitchen that is only about twice the size of mine (but then again they do have a separate pastry kitchen and meat room…). 

2. they make 25,000 cookies every holiday season and some of their most popular ones are in the shape of bo and sunny, the white house pups.

3. bo walked by. eggboy saw him. i did not. i was too busy giggling and cookie decorating with joy and ashley, and eggboy didn’t get the memo that you’re supposed to tell everyone else in the room when a white house pup walks by. eggboy is fired.*** 

4. the walls of the white house gingerbread house get baked for eight hours at a very low temperature. this helps them get super duper sturdy and allows them to remain completely flat and not curvy. otherwise the humidity could make them warp. 

5. susie, the white house pastry chef, has been there for 21 years and is a wizard of sugar! the bottom of the white house gingerbread houses are reinforced with a layer of melty sugar that hardens and looks like glass. and all of the trees around the house are also made of sugar. no green frosted ice cream cones in sight.

6. The security men in the little security house that you have to go through to get onto the grounds burn sugar cookie scented candles. idk if this is the norm but when we walked in all of the lights were off and it smelled of cookies and the big beefy security men who were ushering us through the metal detectors seemed to really appreciate it when we complimented them on their candle.

7. the news briefing room is exactly what it looks like on veep and designated survivor

***eggboy edit: he wants you to know that he is 99.9% sure that is was bo and is reserving .1% for the possibility that this could have been a bo decoy and eggboy doesn’t want to get arrested if this was classified information. hiiii white house! 

even though we spent less than 48 hours in d.c., we had the gosh darn loveliest time! aside from spending an afternoon at the white house, we hung out with the super awesome ladies of pineapple d.c. at on rye (which is the most insanely delicious new jewish deli (they have babka ice cream sandwiches!!!)), poked around the smithsonian and saw julia child’s old kitchen and got a tour from our new friend jessica, met our congressman who we learned is also a musician, and saw some extremely wonderful old friends!! everybody we saw had so much pride in d.c., and i certainly saw why. it is such a beautiful city with so many cool historical things, which i guess is exactly what you want in a capitol. that’s all i have to say about that, i wish i could say more, we tried to extend our trip because at the end of it we still had a list of people to see and things to eat, but then eggboy got food poisoning and barfed his brains out so we had to leave. he was officially forgiven for not telling me about his bo sighting. 

all of susie’s gingerbread got me inspired to come home and make my own gingerbread houses! it was the first time i’d had any desire to do that since i burnt myself out on making our gingerbread farm. i figured i should ease into it with something on the smaller, simpler side, so here are some gingerbread chicken coops! i searched high and low for chicken cookie cutters but couldn’t find a small enough one, so the official story here is that all of our chickens are dressed up as other animals. 


gingerbread chicken coops

makes 4 small houses

ingredients

for the gingerbread:

1 c dark corn syrup, molasses, or a mix of the two (corn syrup for lighter colored walls, molasses for darker walls)

3/4 c dark brown sugar

3/4 c margarine or butter

4 c all-purpose flour

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

for the gingerbread house glue:

3 large egg whites

1/2 tsp cream of tartar

4 c powdered sugar

for decoration:

candy, sprinkles, shredded coconut, marzipan, chocolate, or other edible things you can find around your kitchen

clues

for the gingerbread:

In a medium saucepan or microwave-safe bowl, combine corn syrup or molasses, brown sugar, and margarine or butter. Heat over medium heat on the stove or in the microwave for 1-minute increments, stirring in between each, until the margarine or butter is melted and the sugar has completely dissolved.

In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Stir in the sugar mixture until combined. Cover with plastic wrap and let cool at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350° F and get your stencils ready. You can either make them or find them onlinethe coops pictured are about 2 3/4" wide and 4 1/4" tall at the tallest point.

Roll your dough out onto a piece of parchment paper that will fit on your cookie sheet. Lightly flour the dough and place your stencils on top (leaving 1 inch in between them) and use a pizza cutter or sharp knife to trace around them. Remove excess dough, slide the parchment onto your cookie sheet, and then bake until the edges just start to brown. Begin checking for doneness at 15 minutes. If you'd like a darker brown color, you can leave them in there for up to 45 minutes. You can re-roll your dough scraps a few times. If it starts to feel dry, microwave it for 30 seconds or so.

allows the walls to cool and then assemble using gingerbread house glue...

for the gingerbread house glue:

In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat together the egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar. Beat on medium high for 7 to 10 minutes, until very fluffy.

Immediately spoon into a piping bag and use. Any frosting that's not being used should remain under plastic wrap (the plastic wrap should touch the surface of the frosting), so that it doesn't dry out.

to assemble the coops:

use the glue like mortar, pasting together the walls. reinforce every corner on the inside with more glue. prop them up to dry before gluing on the roof.

once all of the coops are assembled, let them dry for about 15 to 20 minutes. then, use your remaining glue to decorate! 


-yeh!