Today’s featured recipe is from Sara, her cooks name on Food52 is hardlikearmour. She is a Veterinarian, experienced and prize winning cook and a cake decorator, her cakes are amazingly beautiful and professionally done. Her recipes are approachable, comforting and so very delicious. This recipe for her soft, spicy chocolate cookie is just one of her 110 recipes on Food52. She has been a finalist and/or won prize after prize on both Food52 and Whole Foods. Her Pear and Rosemary Danish is unbelievably delicious and won the contest for Best Recipe for Pears on Food52. Her prize winning recipe for State Fair Cream Puffs is so wonderful, you will think you have died and gone to heaven and the Bourbon Chocolate Whipped Cream filling is truly heavenly. It’s not just sweets that Sara specializes in, her savory dishes and drinks are amazing also, try her incredibly complex and delicious Chili El Pastor one bite and you will understand that she is a master at blending and balancing spices. I am also including my favorite summer drink that she developed. I triple the recipe every time I make it, Sara’s Lime in the Coconut Float is made with a delicious lemongrass and Lime simple syrup. The simple syrup makes an outstanding drink when added to seltzer or make the float, either way it’s absolutely delicious. Please visit Food52 and peruse her recipes, you will want to make each and every one, they are all so good you will have a hard time deciding which to make first and many of her recipes I make over and over, they are just that good.
1 ¾ cups sugar (12.25 oz)
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), room temperature
2 large eggs,room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups all-purpose flour (10 oz)
1 cup dutched cocoa powder (3.25 oz)
1 tablespoon aluminum-free baking powder
2 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon cayenne – see cook’s note at end of recipe
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
½ cup turbinado or sanding sugar
Preheat oven to 350º F with a rack near the middle. Line 2 to 3 baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpats.
Cream sugar and butter using a stand or hand mixer, until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add eggs and extracts, and beat until well-combined, about 1 to 2 minutes. In a separate medium sized bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, cinnamon, cayenne, and salt. Add them to the sugar and butter mixture, and mix on low speed until the flour has been incorporated. Increase to medium speed and mix until well-combined, another minute or two.
Roll dough into 1- to 1 1/4-inch diameter balls, then roll balls in sugar. Place 12 to 15 balls on prepared baking sheets – stagger 3 rows each of 2 and 3 balls to get 15 on a sheet. Flatten balls slightly, so they are about ¾-inch thick . Bake one sheet at a time for 9 to 9 ½ minutes, rotating the baking sheet after 5 minutes. The cookies will look puffy, and may seem like they’re not done, but they will be perfect! Allow to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing the cookies to a cooling rack. Once cool store in a sealed container to maintain perfect texture for at least several days.
Cook’s notes: 1.) 1/2-teaspoon cayenne gives a pleasant warmth to the back of your throat after eating a cookie or two. If you’re not a fan of heat, feel free to scale back or omit the cayenne. 2.) If you prefer to use regular cocoa powder just add 1 teaspoon baking soda and decrease baking powder to 1/2 teaspoon.
Lime In The Coconut Float
Lime/Lemongrass Simple Syrup
1 stalk lemongrass
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
Thinly slice lemongrass and set aside. With a vegetable peeler remove the lime zest in strips trying to avoid getting much white pith. Set aside. Juice the limes and set juice aside for making the soda.
Combine water and sugar in a small saucepan. Heat on high, stirring or swirling occasionally to dissolve sugar until it boils. Boil for 30 to 60 seconds.
Remove from heat. Add the lemongrass and lime zest, cover with a tight fitting lid, and allow to cool to room temperature. Pour through a mesh strainer into a glass jar. Cover and store in the refrigerator.
1 to 1 & 1/2 tablespoons lemongrass & lime syrup1 tablespoon lime juice2 scoops coconut sorbet (about 1/2 cup total)seltzer, cold Combine syrup and lime juice in a 12-oz glass. Add sorbet. Slowly pour seltzer over the sorbet, it with froth up pretty fiercely. Stir gently after glass is about 2/3 full. Continue to slowly fill glass with seltzer. Serve immediately with a straw.
I want to leave you with a picture of just one of the beautiful cakes that Sara designed.
Gorgeous isn’t it!!