Tag Archives: entertaining

The Gentleman Caller’s Linzer Cookie

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Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

Welcome back, you crazy carolers!

Alright, I am outing myself here. I am a cookie monster. I have been known to take a cookie to bed with me, and that’s not a euphemism. I could eat a cookie every day. During Trip of Love, given it’s proximity to Schmackary’s, NYC’s most renowned cookie purveyor, I DID eat a cookie almost every day.

My family has a long tradition of making several varieties of holiday cookie, some more notorious than others. There’s this one particular variety that are green butter cookie Christmas trees that – well, let’s just say there is a lot of green food dye in them and you might have a surprise the next morning.

While we’ve always made cookies, we didn’t do the Linzer traditionally. However, I have always thought them pretty and elegant. And perfectly seasonal. So I did a little development and here I present The Gentleman’s Linzer cookie.

What you need:

  • 2 sticks of butter – 16 tablespoons, softened OR 1 stick – 16 tablespoons of butter flavor Crisco + 6 tablespoons water**
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • strawberry (or your favorite red colored) jam (http://thegentlemancaller.net/the-gentlemans-momma-end-of-summer-strawberry-jam-video/)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

**I know I sound like a Crisco salesman, and yes, it is not good for you, but it makes a flakier cookie.

Preheat oven to 375.

In the bowl of your mixer, beat butter and sugar to cream, about 4 minutes. While creaming, sift flour and salt together. To the mixer add the egg and vanilla. Turn the mixer off. Spoon in the flour and salt mixture and stir to combine. This dough is stiff. If it’s especially dry in your house from radiant heat, or you live in Las Vegas or something, you might need a tablespoon of water. Humidity makes a difference in a stiff cookie.

Line a baking sheet with parchment. Take about a 2 cup ball of dough and roll it out on the parchment to 1/8 of an inch. Thin is your friend. Use a biscuit cutter to stamp out circles. Remove excess dough and reuse in the next batch you roll out. Use a smaller cookie cutter (or soda bottle cap or something else like that) to stamp out a relief in the middle. Reuse that dough as well. Not everyone has all these shapes and cutters. Be resourceful, you just need two shapes, one bigger than the other.

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Bake for 7 minutes. Check them. They should not get brown, only barely gold-ish. Watch them fastidiously.

Keep baking in batches. Allow them to cool.

Spread the tops (the ones with the hole in the middle) on wax paper. Put the powdered sugar in your sifter and dust the tops gently.

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Spread the jam on the bottom halves. Squish the two together.

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OPTIONS:

  • Cut the vanilla extract to 1 teaspoon. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract and use cherry jam instead of strawberry jam. Delicious.
  • To the dry ingredients, add 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon cardamom. Use orange marmalade instead of strawberry jam. Spicy.

These are very impressive on the plate and will impress people if you gift them. But good luck not eating them all yourself, says the self proclaimed cookie monster.

That’s all for now.

xoxo,

The Gentleman Caller

THE GENTLEMAN CALLER’S LINZER COOKIE

The Donkey in the Manger, aka The Gentleman’s Holiday Mule

Printable PDF at the bottom of the page!

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

Hello, holiday revelers!

I’m about to knock your stockings off with a donkey kick to the palate with my Holiday Mule.

Do you know what a pomander is? It’s when you take an orange and shove cloves in its skin in a decorative way. We used to make them when I was a kid. Very aromatic. This was my inspiration for this beverage.

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Here’s what you need:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup whole cloves
  • oranges
  • vodka
  • ginger beer**
  • club soda
  • orange bitters

Combine water, sugar, and cloves in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer for 20 minutes. While that’s cooking, use a vegetable peeler to take the outer skin off the orange.

At the end of the 20 minutes, add the orange peel to the saucepan and remove from heat. Allow to steep and cool. Reserve a peel or two for garnish. Strain the solids out of the syrup once cool.

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Fill your mule glass with ice. A traditional mule is copper with a handle. I found this ridiculously cute one at Pier One Imports.

To the ice add:

  • 1 1/2 ounces vodka
  • 1 ounce cooled clove-orange syrup
  • 1 ounce fresh orange juice (if not using fresh, reduce to 1/2 ounce)
  • 2 ounces ginger beer**
  • 3 ounces club soda
  • dash of orange bitters

**ginger beer has no alcohol. Make this kid and Designated Driver friendly by simply eliminating the vodka.

Swirl with a spoon to get everything happily married. Toss a reserved orange peel on top and chug-a-lug from that sweet copper mug!

I’m certain this will become one of your holiday staples.

Enjoy in moderation.

xoxo,

The Gentleman Caller

THE DONKEY IN THE MANGER, AKA THE GENTLEMAN’S HOLIDAY MULE

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Perfect Pie Crust

Printable PDF at the bottom of the page!

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

Kwana – Hannu – Christmas Corridor is here! Time to spread love and cheer! And glut ourselves on fatty carbs! Ahhh, thank the baby Jesus in the manger for elastic waistbands.

Pie is one of the many tools of the devil for me. I love pie. I LOVE PIE. Actually, I like well-executed pie. And I can be a pretty critical taster. As a pie critic, I feel it’s my duty to provide you readers a tool to add to your arsenal. Pie crust is a skill one evolves, but this basic recipe will help you in your plight for pie perfection.

Warning: I am going to use Crisco. Don’t throw your computer out the window or block my site. Give it a try. I shall be waiting here to gloat when you’re ready to concede how good it is.

This recipe is for a double-crust pie or 2 blind bakes.

Here’s what you need!

Pie Crust

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon (I like a little more than that personally but that’s just me…) salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into cubes, frozen
  • 1/2 cup (half a log) butter flavor Crisco, cut into pieces, frozen
  • 1/3 cup cold water with two ice cubes in it

This is a deceptively easy list of ingredients, isn’t it?

Sift dry ingredients into the bowl of your food processor. Add the butter and Crisco. Pulse judiciously, about 8 seconds worth of pulsing. (See video for visual in the Holiday Apple Pie post.)

Pour water in a slight stream through the feed tube while pulsing. Add just enough – if it’s humid you might need only a quarter cup. If it’s dry you might need almost half a cup.  This is where judgement comes into the mix. It should not be dry, but shouldn’t be wet or tacky, and you must not process it more than 30 seconds. You can test this by squeezing a little ball together and seeing if it sticks.

Form two equal size balls. Avoid touching it too much or kneading/overworking it. Flatten into disks. Wrap with plastic or put into Ziploc bags.

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See the flecks of frozen butter still intact? That’s your goal.

Put your wrapped disks into the fridge for at least an hour! These also freeze really well for future use.

See Holiday Pie entry for further inspiration.

That’s it for now.

xo,

The Gentleman Caller

PERFECT PIE CRUST