From France to Russian Grandmothers, with love

You realize I couldn’t resist saying that right?

This week we round out the apple-o-rama with a cake that is really a pie.  I found this recipe while looking for another in Dorie Greenspan’s Baking from My Home to Yours.  It was one of those recipes that I knew I had to try the moment I saw it.  She’s named it Russian Grandmothers’ Apple Pie-Cake after a version her own grandmother made when Dorie was a child.  And it has a secret weapon: cookie-like crust.  For those of us who continue to fear pie crust, this version is almost as easy as press-in dough.

The dough is very much like a butter or even sugar cookie dough.  After it is pulled together, it gets a nice cool-down in the fridge and then you roll it out (as always, I suggest this method).  But, let’s talk about apples first, shall we?

Ms. Greenspan recommends a mix of apples.  I concur.  I used a couple of Granny Smiths, some Gala and a Golden Delicious or two to round-out the selection.

This recipe calls for 10 apples in all (you can never have too many apples, especially in this recipe).

The instructions say to slice these babies in 1/4 inch slices and then halve them if desired.  I left mine just a tad chunkier.

Before they are set aside to marinate for a bit, the apples get tossed with raisins (I used golden), a little sugar, and some cinnamon.  After making this recipe once, I decided that the next go around will include dried cranberries.  I think dried cherries would also be fantastic in this recipe.

Back to the dough.  As you can see, the original version of this recipe utilized a 9X13 inch pan, and you’ll see why in a minute.  Rolling out a perfect 11X15 inch rectangle of dough isn’t all that easy.  However–because the dough has a leavening agent (aka baking powder), any little cracks or patches in the dough fuse together as if they never happened.  For this reason, you can easily piece the dough of the bottom or even top layers together.

During the baking process the sugar dough and apples sort of mate.  The juices soak into the crusts and the result really is a bit like a pie-cake hybrid.  Or at least hybrid enough to cut into squares and still have the pieces maintain their integrity.

Of all the apple treats I’ve baked over the last month, this one has had the most recipes requests by far.

Because of it’s portability and sheer volume of final product, I think this pie-cake would make a perfect potluck dessert (think Thanksgiving).  According to Dorie, this recipe can easily be converted to a deep-dish pie; which I will be doing for my own Thanksgiving.  The dough instructions stay the same but the filling changes as follows: 8 apples, a squirt of lemon juice, 3/4 C raisins, 3 TBS sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon.


The Katy Perry station on Pandora.  It’s not my fault, TD set it.  And, he’s passed blame-off to the fluffy Kitchen God.  Apparently Balu enjoys the occasional bubblegum pop tune.

Russian Grandmothers’ Apple Pie-Cake

from Baking from My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan


for the dough

  • 1/2 LB unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 C sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 TBS baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • juice of one lemon
  • 3 1/4 to 3 1/2 C all-purpose flour

for the apples

  • 10 medium assorted apples (or all of one kind, your choice)
  • squirt of fresh lemon juice
  • 1 C moist, plump raisins
  • 1/4 C sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon


to make the dough

  1. In a standing mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes.
  2. Add the eggs and continue to beat until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 3 more minutes.
  3. Reduce the mixer speed to low, add the baking powder and salt and mix to just combined.
  4. Add-in the lemon juice (don’t worry if the dough curdles).
  5. Still working on slow speed, slowly but steadily add 3 1/4 C of flour, scraping down the bowl as needed.  While the dough is meant to be soft, if it looks more like batter than dough, add remaining 1/4 C flour.  When properly combined, the dough should almost clean the sides of the bowl.
  6. Turn the dough out onto a work surface, gather it into a ball and divide it into half.  Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least two hours, or up to 3 days.

To make the apples

  1. Peel and core the apples and cut into slices about 1/4 inch thick then cut the slices in half cross-wise if desired.  Toss the slices in a both with a little lemon juice and add the raisins.  Mix together the cinnamon and sugar, sprinkle of the apples and stir evenly.  Taste and apple and adjust sugar as needed.

Putting it all together

  1. Center rack in the oven and preheat to 375 degrees.  Generously butter and line with parchment a 9X13 inch baking pan.
  2. Remove the dough from the fridge.  If it is too hard to roll and cracks, let it sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes or give it a few bashes with your rolling pin to get it moving (I did both, very satisfying).
  3. Spread the dough between two layers of parchment and carefully roll dough to about 1/4 inch thick.  You can go for the gold and try to roll-out an 11X 15 inch rectangle or you can roll out smaller pieces and patch them together in the pan.
  4. Transfer the dough to the pan.  In a perfect world you want the dough to come up the sides a bit–but in the end it doesn’t matter because of the magic and forgiving puff-factor.
  5. Give the apples another toss in the bowl, then turn them into the pan and evenly spread them across the bottom.
  6. Roll-out the second piece of dough and position it over the apples.  Cut the dough so you’ve got a 1/4 to 1/2 inch overhand and tuck the excess into the side of the pan, as though you were making a bed.
  7. If prepping in advance, you can stop here and refrigerate overnight. Otherwise…
  8. Brush the top of the dough lightly with water and sprinkle sugar over the dough.  Using a small, sharp knife, cut 6 to 8 evenly spaced slits in the dough.
  9. Bake for 65 to 80 minutes, or until the dough is nice and golden and the juices are bubbling up through the slits.  Transfer the baking pan to a cooling rack and cool to just warm or room temperature.  Cut into squares, diamonds.

It would be evil to eat these….without a little vino

I don’t know about you, but I like having a little trick with my treat.  And this, is a good one.

You know that orange spice up there?  Guess what it is.

Okay fine.  Let’s back up.  You can tell what is in the next photo right?

That’s right, chocolate.  And, from the this photo, I bet you can guess where we are going (any references to the movie the Sandbox will be completely ignored.  This isn’t that kind of trick).

Returning to the orange stuff.  Have you guessed what it is yet?  Give up? It’s cayenne pepper. Yes.  With chocolate.  And, it makes another appearance below with sugar and a pinch of fleur de sel.  Before refrigerating or freezing, the log of dough above gets a nice roll in this stuff.

Followed by a nice wrap.  Here, I’ve split a paper towel tube down the middle, wrapped the dough in parchment and then placed it in its little dough cozy to help keep its shape.  Yes, I realize this is something your grandmother might do.  It is surprisingly effective.  If you can remember to save the paper towel tubes that is.

You want to give the dough at least a couple of hours in the fridge.  Like most “icebox” cookies, this dough will save nicely in the freezer for a couple of months.  When ready to use, cut 1/4 disks with a sharp knife.

Then, bake.

Remember the trick?  Well.  The cayenne sort of grows on you as the cookie is nibbled.  You won’t notice it at first.  However, slowly the heat will develop until you decide it’s a really good idea to chase it with a sip of a nice, light red wine.  Trick-or treat indeed!


Colin Hay.  Without his working men.

Chocolate Cayenne Cocktail Cookies

adapted from Food and Wine, November 2011

the original calls for neither the spicy sugar roll or mini chocolate chips, revert at your own risk


  • 1 1/2 C all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 C unsweetened cocoa powder (TMH note:use Valhrona.  Trust me)
  • 1/2 tsp + 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp + 1/8 tsp fleur de sel, finely ground
  • 1/2 lb butter
  • 1/2 C confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 TBS granulated sugar + more for rolling
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 C mini chocolate chips


  1. Sift flour, cocoa, first 1/2 tsp cayenne and first 1/2 tsp salt into a bowl, whisk to combine.
  2. In a standing mixer fitted with a paddle, beat butter with both sugars at low speed until creamy.  Add in the egg yolk and beat until smooth.  Reduce speed to low and add-in flour mixture.  Mix until just incorporated.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead gently until it comes together.  Then, gently roll dough into a log (mine was about 1 1/2 inch diameter and 15 inches long).  I find that roughly forming a log and then gently rolling it back and forth along a sheet of parchment works well.  In a small bowl pour sugar for rolling.  Start by adding 1/8 tsp fleur de sel and 1/8 tsp cayenne.  Mix into the sugar and taste.  Adjust spice as needed. Sprinkle parchment with sugar mixture and roll the dough log over and gently press the sugar into the log all the way around.  Roll in parchment and cool in fridge at least 2 hours.  If you are planning to freeze the dough, wrap securely in plastic wrap and then a freezer bag and freeze on an even, flat surface.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  Using a sharp knife, cut log into disks 1/4 inch thick.  Arrange on cookie sheets (you should get about 24).
  5. Bake the cookies for about 15 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through.  Cookies are ready when they appear just firm.  Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for at least 3 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

The table of terror and other French adventures

Do you mind if we stay in Normandy a bit longer?  What if I offer another version of tarte aux pommes?

As I mentioned last Thursday, TD and I were in France a decade ago.  Sadly, we have yet to return, but that isn’t the point of this post.  Or maybe it is.  You see, TD is a bit of a francophobe.  Despite everything having turned out pretty much okay, he still hasn’t gotten over World War II.  So, the only way I could get him to actually visit France the first time was to include a trip to the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial. This really was a win-win situation.  He got to stand on what is technically American soil in France and I had an excuse to make sure we spent a couple of nights in Bayeux.

I have to admit, I was not expecting the power or emotion of the monument.  Perhaps it was that we’d just finished watching  HBO’s World War II mini-series Band of Brothers.  Or perhaps it was some strange prescience about what was just around the corner as we  returned from this trip on September 10, 2001.  Either way, the experience left an indelible mark on my reverence for what it means to live in a free democracy.

Even after spending the day at the memorial and in the local historical sights, there was plenty to do and see in the area (and what I mean by plenty is like, we should have spent a couple  more months there).  Bayeux is the home of the Bayeux Tapestry, a seriously long embroidered banner made in the early 9th century depicting some serious European history (hence the serious length).  Now, generally, TD and I are all for museums.  And, we did walk by the  Musee de la Tapisserie de Bayeux several times during our visit.  However, the City itself proved too charming a siren and we spent most of our time wandering around enjoying the outdoor markets and quaint architecture.

And then there was the Table of Terror.

Or at least, that’s what TD saw.

I saw La Table du Terroir.

Terroir is one of those lovely french words that does not have an English translation.  Grossly oversimplified, the word references a variety of geographic, weather and generally excellent karmic conditions that give certain crops their identity.  It is often utilized in conjunction with grape varietals.  And  Halloween.

Though terroir and its meaning is significantly more charming, “terror” stuck and we still talk about our meal at the Table of Terror (which was, of course, the exact opposite).

And that brings me to this week’s recipe: tarte normande.

Like its sweet and elegant sister tarte aux pommes, tarte normade is crowned with a composed array of thinly sliced apples.  However, instead of more apples underneath, the normande version has a beautiful layer of frangipane.  Frangipane is sort of like an almond custard.  It is nutty, but also somehow manages to be both light and rich.  It is incredibly versatile and equally delicious with apples, berries or stone fruit.

Unlike last week’s press-in sweet tart dough, this tarte starts with a more savory rolled-dough.

Since you are only using a single crust, the dough can easily be rolled, carefully transferred into a tart pan and then refrigerated or even frozen (be sure to wrap in plastic) in advance.

While your dough is in the fridge, it’s time to make the frangipone.  Which brings us back (once again) to almond meal.  Make your own or buy it, either way, you’ll need about 2/3 of a cup.

Pulsed together in the food processor, the finished product is sort of like a gritty whipped frosting (well, not finished product, I don’t know if anyone would eat this stuff raw).

The frangipone can also be made in advance and kept in the fridge for a day or two.  Once you are ready to assemble the tart, spread the frangipone evenly in the bottom of the tart.

Then, a nice layer of thinly sliced apples is arrange on top followed by a generous sprinkle of sugar.

Then, bake until toasty.  Your apples will sink-into the tart a little bit.  For this reason, I suggest cramming as many apple slices into your arrangement as you can possibly fit.

Pretty, isn’t it?

The final step is a light brushing of apricot preserves (melted) if you so desire.  You’ll want to let the tart cool before serving so that you can easily remove the tart ring.  However, it would taste pretty amazing slightly warmed with a scoop of vanilla ice cream (or caramel, or chocolate or….) or maybe some scratch whipped cream.  Not that I would admit to it, but this little tart tarte makes an excellent breakfast with a strong cup of black coffee.


Adele.  Both albums.  One playlist.

Tarte de pommes a la Normande




  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3 tablespoons cold water, or as needed


  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon apple brandy (I used peach because its what I had)
  • 2/3 cup ground almonds
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour


  • 4 medium sweet apples – peeled, cored, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar for decoration
  • 1/4 cup apricot jelly


  1. In a medium bowl, stir together 1 1/3 cups of flour and salt. Add the butter, 1 egg yolk and water, and stir until the mixture forms large crumbs. If it is too dry to press a handful together, stir in more water. Press the dough into a ball, and wrap in plastic wrap. Flatten slightly, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or until firm. This part can be done up to three days in advance.
  2. To make the frangipane, cream together the butter and 1/2 cup of sugar in a medium bowl until light and soft. Gradually mix in the egg and the remaining egg yolk one at a time. Stir in the apple brandy. Stir 2 tablespoons of flour into the ground almonds, then mix into the batter. Set aside.
  3. Roll the pastry dough out to about a 12 inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Fold loosely into quarters, and center the point in a 10 inch tart or pie pan. Unfold dough, and press into the bottom and up the sides. Prick with a fork all over, and flute the edges. Return pastry to the refrigerator to chill until firm.
  4. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Place a baking sheet inside the oven while it preheats.
  5. Spoon the frangipane into the chilled pastry, and spread into an even layer. Arrange the apple slices in an overlapping spiral pattern. Each slice should have one edge pressed into the frangipane until it touches the pastry base, and then overlap the previous slice. Start at the outside edge, and work towards the center.
  6. Place the pie plate on top of the baking sheet in the preheated oven. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the filling begins to brown. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bake for another 10 minutes, then sprinkle sugar over the top of the tart. Return to the oven for 10 more minutes, or until the sugar caramelizes slightly.
  7. Cool the tart on a wire rack. A short time before serving, warm the apricot jelly. Add some water if necessary to make it a liquid consistency. Brush onto the tart for a nice shine.

What’s orange and brown and oh so in the season?

This cake!

Things start to get a little frenetic around this time of year what with the big holiday season approaching.  So, here’s what were going to do:  two-a-weeks from here through the end of 2011.  We’ve got a lot to cover.  So, sit-up, pay attention and let’s do this.

I love Halloween.  Well, I love fall in general, but especially Halloween.  It’s fun, there are costumes, it’s a little scary.  I like a little scary.  Of course, there are lots and lots of treats. And this one is probably more for the grown-ups than the kiddos.

This recipe starts with zest. Lots of it: 1/4 of a cup (that’s about four large ones).

This is a pound-cake recipe. This isn’t some springy-light garden party recipe (though it would be great at a garden party, Andy Bernard).  This is a hearty, stick to your ribs, get ready for the cold cake.

And here comes the surprise…chocolate.  Chocolate and orange together are intensely and gorgeously delicious.

Orange, orange cake and chocolate chunks.  Are you picking-up what I am putting down?

And, if the zest of many oranges isn’t orange enough, the still warm cake gets a nice soaking of orange syrup.

While we are talking about topping things, make room for some chocolate ganache.  Because really, there is always room for chocolate ganache.

Of course, skip the food coloring and this bundt  is no less addictive.


Al Green.  The Kitchen Gods requested it.

Barefoot Contessa Orange Chocolate

Chunk Cake

from Ina Garten


  • 1/2 pound (16 TBS) unsalted butter at room temp.
  • 2 C sugar
  • 4 extra-large eggs at room temp.
  • 1/4 C grated orange zest (4 large oranges)
  • 3 C plus 2 TBS all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp kosher salte
  • 1/4 C freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 3/4 C buttermilk at room temp.
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 C good semi-sweet chocolate chunks
  • Orange food coloring (optional)

for the syrup

  • 1/4 C sugar
  • 1/4 C orange juice

for the ganache

  • 8 ounces good semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1/2 C heavy cream


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour a 10-inch bundt pan.

Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl or standing mixer (with a paddle attachment) for about 5 minutes or until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, one-at-a-time, then the orange zest and food coloring if desired.

Sift together 3 cups flour, the baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.  In another bowl, combine the orange juice, buttermilk and vanilla.  Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately in thirds to the creamed butter, beginning and ending with the flour.  Toss the chocolate chunks w/ 2 TBS flour and add to the batter.  Pour into the pan, smooth the top and bake for 45 minutes to an hour, until a cake tester comes out clean.  Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the syrup.  In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, cook the sugar with the orange juice until the sugar dissolves.  Remove the cake from the pan, set it on a rack over a tray, and spoon the orange syrup over the cake.  Allow the cake to cool completely.

For the ganache, melt the chocolate and heavy cream in the top of a double boiler over simmering water until smooth and warm, stirring occasionally.  Drizzle over the top of the cake.

An apple a day leads to…100 posts!

Apple of my eye.  How about them apples? The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Don’t upset the apple cart.   It’s like comparing apples and oranges.  The big apple.  Criss-cross applesauce! An apple for the teacher.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s move on to a month of apples.

To tell the truth, I was feeling a little uninspired in the baking department.  However, a friend and colleague (thanks GMS!) made a simple suggestion: tarte aux pommes.  Suddenly, I was back in Bayeaux Normandy in early fall just about a decade ago.  The air was crisp, the camembert ripe et les pommes?  Sigh.

Like its cousin, the apple pie, tarte aux pommes has numerous equally delicious incarnations.  But, let’s start with tradition.  With a twist.  I’ve been experimenting with pie and tart crust.  So, this tart started with Dorie Greenspan’s sweet tart dough.  This is a press-in dough, so if you fear the rolling pin, this is a good option. This is also a sweeter dough than some and so, pairs well with tart (as opposed to tarte) flavors.  Simple ingredients get combined in the food processor.

Once sandy, turn the mixture onto a lightly floured surface, and anything that didn’t get combined in the processor gets a light kneed.

From here, the dough can be pressed directly into your tin, pan or mold.  Or, wrapped securely in plastic and chilled until needed.

From Dorie, we now switch to Julia and peel four pounds of apples.  She recommends golden delicious.  I used a combination of Granny Smith, Gala and golden.  Three cups get sliced into pretty 1/8 inch disks.  The rest are cut into chunks.

In the meantime, push all of the preserves through a sieve.

The result will be a gorgeous glaze.

Mix 1/3 of the apricots with sugar and apple brandy or cider.  Set aside.

Now it’s time for the sauce.  Add apple chunks to a heavy saucepan.

Cook on low for about 20 minutes.

Until the apples are tender.  Increase heat and mix-in the preserves mixture and butter.  Bring to a boil.

And stir constantly until the sauce holds a mass on the spoon.

Then, into the cold tart shell (I’ve used a pie tin here because my tart pan was otherwise occupied.  I mean come on, it is a tart pan).

Arrange the apples on top.

And, into the oven until the crust and apples are slightly browned.

As a final step that I somehow forgot to photograph, lightly brush the remaining preserves over the top of the tart.  Enjoy warm or at room temperature.  And with that, I close my 100th post.  Ooh la la!


Coldplay.  Don’t know what it is about them or me lately, but they sure hit the spot.

Tarte aux Pommes

adapted from:

Crust: sweet tart dough, Dorrie Greenspan, Baking from My Home to Yours, Houghton Mifflin

Filling: Tarte aux Pommes, Julia Child (with Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck of course), Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Alfred A. Knopf



  • 1 1 /2 C all purpose flour
  • 1/2 C confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 9 TBS unsalted butter, frozen and cut into small pieces
  • 1 large egg yolk


  1. Put flour, sugar and salt into a food processor and pulse a couple of times to combined.
  2. Scatter butter pieces over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is coarsely cut-in.
  3. Stir the yolk to break it up and then gradually add to the mixture, pulsing in between until the dough becomes sandy and and forms clumps and curds.
  4. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and kneed gently to incorporated any unmixed ingredients.
  5. Butter a nine-inch fluted tart pan (or in my case, a pie tin as my tarte pan was in use at the time).
  6. Press the dough evenly into the pan and up the sides of the pan.  (TMH note–using the bottom surface an 8 ounce measuring cup is useful in smoothing down the dough, just don’t press too firmly otherwise the dough loses it’s crumbly texture).
  7. Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes.  Or, refrigerate over night.

For filling and to complete the tarte


  • 4 lbs firm cooking apples
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/3 C + 1/2 C apricot preserves, forced through a sieve
  • 1/4 C Calvados, rum, or cognac or 1 TB vanilla (TMH note:  because I took this tart to work, I utilized the vanilla and substituted-in 1/4 C apple cider)
  • 2/3 C + 2 TBS granualted suagr
  • 3 TB butter
  • Grated zest of one lemon


  • Peel, core and quarter the apples.  Cut enough to make 3 cups into even 1/8 inch lengthwise slices and toss them in a bowl with the lemon juice and first 2 TB sugar.  Reserve for the top of the tart.
  • Cut the rest of the apples into rough slices.
  • Place remaining apples in a heavy saucepan and cook, covered over low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until tender.
  • Beat in the first 1/3 C apricot perserves, butter, remaining sugar and lemon zest.
  • Raise heat and boil, stirring until apple-sauce is thick enough to hold in a mass in the spoon.
  • Remove crust from fridge and spread the applesauce in the shell.
  • Cover with a neat, closely overlapping layer of sliced apples arranged in a spiral or concentric circles.
  • Bake in upper third of over for about 30 minutes or until the sliced apples have browned lightly.
  • Slide tart onto a rack or serving dish and spoon or paint over it a light coating of melted apricot preserves.

They’re sweet! They’re savory! They’re sweevory!

I swear there is a really great story behind the inspiration for this recipe.   But, every time I try to write it down it almost immediately devolves into a “you had to be there but it was really hilarious” tale.  Let’s just say it involved giant head sculptures, lots of rain, a certain non-hierarchical leadership model and an incident in a candy aisle at a grocery in a town that shall remain nameless (but shares an eerie commonality with the last name I would have had if I had gone the traditional route when TD and I married).  I told you, you had to be there.

Other than the fact that the road trip of which I speak really was a pivotal event in my graduate education, it also introduced me to the most amazing rosemary walnut biscotti made by my friend Charles.  The little cookies were rich, savory, nutty and resoundingly addicting.  Equally perfect with a glass of wine or greedily consumed at a gas stop somewhere on the California Grapevine.

Charles generously gave me the recipe and I enjoyed making it for years, each time reminded of our winter “break” (ha!) adventure.  Alas, somewhere in the six moves I’ve made in the last 15 years, I lost track of the original recipe.  And so, have had some fun attempting to find it again.  I’ll tell you up front, this one isn’t it (I actually found the original in my sheet-protected dessert binder in alphabetical order.  Imagine that).  But, like a crow easily distracted by a piece of shiny tin, the interesting little twists and turns this recipe presents were too tempting to resist.

Twist number one: a rosemary simple sugar glaze.  Intrigued?

Twist number two: caramelized walnuts.  Making caramelized nuts is  like making a little bit of magic.  Nuts plus sugar and a pinch of sea salt.  That’s all you start with!

Then, you stir constantly.  Eventually the sugar melts.  Really, it does.

Once liquified and taken off the heat, everything cools into delicious clusters of sweet nuttiness.

While the nuts are cooling and your syrup is steeping, it’s time to start the dough.  Lots of fresh rosemary.

Pulse it together with your dry ingredients (including twist number three: a bit of cornmeal).

Add in yogurt, an egg and your nuts (now chopped) and then pulse until the dough just comes together. Then, lightly work the dough into two logs.

And, into the oven for bake numero uno.

Out of the oven for a generous glazing of rosemary simple syrup and then back into the oven for a very patient, low-heat final bake.

These are significantly sweeter than the original recipe (you’ll see that recipe on this site before the end of the year).  But, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  The flavor combination is surprising and…dare I say…delightful.  I’d recommend pairing them with a nice light red wine.  Or a bratwurst.  Oh, there I go again with the “you had to be theres….”


You know, I can’t remember what I was listening to while making these.  However, when I think of my friend Charles and music, I always think of the soundtrack from My Best Friend’s Wedding. So, there you go.

Rosemary Walnut Biscotti

Shamelessly but gratefully copied from Recchiuti Confections, San Francisco


The Glaze

  • 1/2 cup granulated cane sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary

Caramelized Walnuts

  • 1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup granulated cane sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel in fine grains
  • 1/8 teaspoon unsalted butter

The Biscotti

  • 2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons stone-ground cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon double-acting baking powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon fleur de sel in fine grains
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, coarsely chopped
  • 1 extra-large egg, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup plain non-fat yogurt, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature


Make the Glaze

  1. Put the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil for one minute.
  2. Stir in the rosemary, cover and let steep for one hour.

Caramelize the Walnuts

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom of a sheet pan with parchment paper
  2. Spread the walnuts on the prepared pan in a single layer. Roast the nuts until they are golden brown, about 20 minutes.
  3. Line the bottom of a second sheet pan with parchment paper or a nonstick baking liner. Measure the butter and put it next to the stove.
  4. Put the nuts, sugar and salt in a medium heavy-bottomed pot. Place over medium-high heat and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the sugar liquefies and coats the nuts. When only a few specks of sugar remain unmelted, remove from the heat and add the butter. Stir until the nuts glisten and start to separate from one another.
  5. Scrape the nuts onto the prepared sheet pan and let them cool for 15 minutes.

Bake the Biscotti

  1. Combine the egg and yogurt in a medium bowl and whisk together by hand. Whisk in the butter. Set aside.
  2. Combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt and rosemary in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to incorporate.
  3. Lightly chop warm walnuts and add to flour mixture. Briefly pulse to incorporate, making sure to keep walnut pieces intact. Add the egg mixture and pulse until a dough forms.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a work surface. Cut into two pieces and roll into 12-by-2 inch logs.
  5. Line the bottom of a sheet pan with parchment paper. Place the dough logs on the prepared pan and bake on the middle shelf of the preheated oven for 20 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven and brush rosemary sugar glaze on top. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
  7. Let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes.
  8. While the loaves are still warm, using a serrated knife, slice into 1/2-inch rounds on the diagonal.
  9. Place sliced the biscotti on a cooling rack. Place the cooling rack on a sheet pan and toast the biscotti in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool completely before serving.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature.