Peach Crisp

Peach CrispAs far back as I can remember, I’ve hated cooked peach desserts. For years, I turned my nose up at every single peachy thing under the sun. But then I started baking, and…you know how it’s sometimes easier to get kids to try new foods if you involve them in the cooking? Well, the same goes for adults who have an aversion to cooked peaches. For every peach pie, peach tart or peach upside-down cake that comes out of my kitchen, I become a little less averse. Add this Peach Crisp to that list and I guess it’s time to just admit to myself (and all of you?) that I am a person who likes peach things now.

There, I said it. Now I (we?) can move forward.Peach CrispMy take on Peach Crisp is pretty classic. Ripe peaches are tossed with sugar and just the tiniest hint of spice, then sprinkled with an oat and almond topping and baked until brown and bubbly and begging for a scoop of ice cream.Peach CrispPeach CrispPeach CrispPeach CrispThis is probably the easiest of all the peach desserts I’ve made—no peeling of peaches, no pastry, nothing that has to stay cold or be ruined forever. Just lightly-sweetened and spiced ripe peaches and a crisp topping so simple I have it memorized.Peach CrispPeach Crisp is one of those desserts that can be made on the fly. Where pies and tarts require you to prep ahead, the assembly of this homestyle dessert takes all of twenty minutes and bakes in thirty. The most difficult part is waiting another ten or so before digging in. The only thing that could ruin this dessert is burning your mouth on piping hot filling!Peach CrispI really can’t get enough of this dessert, y’all. It’s sweet, tangy, crispy, crunchy and summery as all get-out! It keeps well for days, too. The crisp topping retains its texture remarkably well, even after your fourth day dipping into it in the fridge. It’s as good cold as it is hot, but either way, don’t skip the ice cream.Peach Crisp

Peach Crisp
makes one 8-inch dish, about 6 servings

Filling:
5-6 medium-large ripe yellow peaches (about 5 cups after slicing)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (or apple cider vinegar)

Topping:
1/3 cup old-fashioned oats
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup sliced almonds
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For Serving:
vanilla ice cream, optional

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8-inch casserole dish with butter. Set aside.

Pit peaches and slice into 1/4-inch slices–you should have about 5 cups pf slices. Place them in a medium mixing bowl and toss with sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and lemon juice. Transfer to the prepared baking dish.

Make the topping. In a medium mixing bowl (I just wipe out the one I used for the peaches), whisk together oats, flour, light brown sugar, sliced almonds, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Add melted butter and stir until everything is saturated and clumps form. Scatter topping onto the peaches.

Bake 28-30 minutes, until topping is browned and peaches are tender. Let cool 10 minutes before serving in bowls with vanilla ice cream, if desired.

Cover and refrigerate any leftovers for up to 4 days. Reheat before serving.Peach CrispPeach Crisp

Crispy, Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Crispy, Crunchy Chocolate Chip CookiesTwo chocolate chip cookie recipes in four weeks? Don’t mind if I do.

If you like your chocolate chip cookies soft and chewy, I already have at least two recipes for you. But these? These are for the crispy, crunchy cookie people.Crispy, Crunchy Chocolate Chip CookiesYes, you. I know you’re out there. I see you, wading through a sea of soft, chewy chocolate chip cookie recipes, baking them extra long in hopes that they’ll be something they’re not. I’ve read your emails and direct messages, and I’ve been trying on-and-off for years to make a cookie base just for you.

It’s been more frustrating than you’d imagine—I mean, how difficult could it be to make a cookie that’s crunchy throughout?—but I finally, finally cracked the code a few weeks ago. The results are crispy (duh) but not overly hard, and very caramelly and chocolate-studded and delicious, as all chocolate chip cookies ought to be. Oh, and their crunch? Ridiculous. Ree-diculous.Crispy, Crunchy Chocolate Chip CookiesNow, I’m sure if you bake any cookie dough long enough, the results will be crispy, but this one is *specifically formulated* to be that way. It sounds a little pretentious when it’s written out like that, but it’s true. It’s taken at least 30 test batches, if not more, to make the perfect homemade Crispy, Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookies. I don’t throw the word “perfect” around on here literally ever, so please believe me when I tell you how incredible these are because getting here has been a journey.Crispy, Crunchy Chocolate Chip CookiesWhen I started down this particular cookie road (really going with the journey metaphor), I knew I needed to bump up the granulated sugar and reduce the brown sugar for crisper results. It’s basic cookie science. Sugar is hygroscopic, meaning it absorbs moisture from the air. Brown sugar, which is what happens when you whirl molasses into granulated sugar, absorbs more moisture than plain white granulated sugar. Therefore, more brown sugar in a cookie recipe = more chew. I wanted less chew—no chew, even—but still needed that signature brown sugary chocolate chip cookie flavor, so I opted to use equal parts brown and granulated sugar. The results are all the flavor I expect in a chocolate chip cookie and none of the softness.Crispy, Crunchy Chocolate Chip CookiesNext, I reduced the flour to cause more spreading during baking. Yes, I wanted this dough to spread—no multi-hour chills here! I also decided to try a reverse creaming method after seeing Stella Parks’s homemade Tate’s cookies. This mixing method is unusual in cookies but popular for cakes. The flour, sugar and other dry ingredients are mixed together first, then coated in softened butter, creating a barrier of fat and a visibly sandy texture. This butter barrier keeps the flour from absorbing liquid, which would activate the gluten, which would create chewy texture. Lesson learned: for the crispest cookies and the softest cakes, reverse creaming is the way to go.Crispy, Crunchy Chocolate Chip CookiesNow, all of that is fine and good and very important in the whole crunchy cookie racket, but the real game changer came a few weeks ago. I was eating Hobnobs (crisp chocolate-dipped oat tea biscuits) at 1am on a Thursday and going down an internet rabbit hole about how to make them…because it was 1am on a Thursday. Like all the best love (and recipe development?) stories, I wasn’t even looking for this solution, but then there it was in a homemade Hobnob recipe: golden syrup. It bound together an otherwise crumbly dough, doing what an egg does in other cookie recipes, but since the syrup is sugar (read: it doesn’t have the fat and protein eggs do), it produced a crisp finish, rather than a chewy one.

Mind blown. MIND. BLOWN. Mind *freaking* blown.

Approximately ten more test batches later, these are the Crispy, Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookies I’ve wanted all along.Crispy, Crunchy Chocolate Chip CookiesCrispy, Crunchy Chocolate Chip CookiesNow, If you’re scratching your head wondering what WTF golden syrup is, you’re not alone. It’s a cane sugar-based invert sweetener (invert = liquid) that’s popular in the UK, but a bit more niche here. I can find it in some really well-stocked grocery stores and online, of course, but I can’t expect you to go out of your way for one ingredient. No way. Cookies are an immediate need, as far as I’m concerned—we’re in a pandemic, dang it—so I use the USA’s easy-to-find, low-rent golden syrup substitute, light corn syrup. You can also use a mild honey if corn syrup isn’t your bag. And for those wondering, nope, it’s not the same as the dreaded high-fructose corn syrup.Crispy, Crunchy Chocolate Chip CookiesCrispy, Crunchy Chocolate Chip CookiesCrispy, Crunchy Chocolate Chip CookiesThe syrup is added after the butter is reverse-creamed in, and before the chocolate chips. The dough will hold together as well as any other chocolate chip cookie dough, and rolls easily into 24 tablespoon-sized balls.

They’re baked for 15-16 minutes, until they’re really, really done. Long baking time is key for crunchy cookie success. The cookies will puff as they bake, but should already be relaxing into their final shape when you pull them from the oven, and be fully crisp within a few minutes of cooling. You may be tempted to eat them warm, but I think their flavor is best at room temperature. All the flavors meld together after 30 minutes or so, resulting in super caramelly, crisp, surprisingly light-textured chocolate chip cookies. Prepare to fall in love with their satisfying crunch—don’t say I didn’t warn you.Crispy, Crunchy Chocolate Chip CookiesCrispy, Crunchy Chocolate Chip CookiesOne more reason to get on the crunchy cookie bandwagon? Crispy, Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookies keep like a dream. A dream, I tell you! I am a huge snob about day-old cookies, so believe me when I tell you that these just get better with time. Where soft cookies get a little stale after a day, these crisp treats retain their texture and their flavors only deepen further. You should keep them covered as sugar’s hygroscopic nature means your cookies can be affected by humidity, but the batch pictured made it through some seriously gnarly NYC weather and were still near perfect. And by near perfect, I mean perfect-perfect.Crispy, Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Crispy, Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookies
makes 2 dozen cookies

1 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed (not dark brown)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 tablespoon light corn syrup (or golden syrup or mild honey)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Arrange oven racks in central positions. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Cut softened butter into 8 pieces and add them to the mixing bowl. Starting at low speed and increasing as ingredients become incorporated, use an electric mixer to mix the butter into the flour/sugar mixture until powdery and wet-sandy. You may need to stop a time or two to break up larger pieces of butter.

Add corn syrup and vanilla and mix to combine. Dough will look crumbly, but should hold together well when pinched.

Add the chocolate chips to the dough and mix/knead them in with a clean hand (or a silicone spatula or wooden spoon) until evenly distributed and the dough is a cohesive unit.

Scoop the dough by the tablespoon, roll into balls and place them 2-3 inches apart on prepared pans (I fit 12 on each half-sheet pan). Bake for 8 minutes, then rotate the pans top-to-bottom and front-to-back. Bake another 7-8 minutes, until a bit puffy and deep golden.

Let cookies cool for 7 minutes on the pans. Remove to a rack to cool completely. Serve.

Leftover cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.Crispy, Crunchy Chocolate Chip CookiesCrispy, Crunchy Chocolate Chip CookiesCrispy, Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Easiest Ever Mango Sherbet

Easiest Ever Mango SherbetI saw a two-ingredient sherbet recipe on Pinterest a few weeks ago and it rocked my world. Did you know that sherbet could be made by blending a couple of frozen fresh mangoes with a can of sweetened condensed milk and freezing it? Because I did not. I had no idea! But indeed it can and you should make some immediately, if not sooner.Easiest Ever Mango SherbetSherbet is a frozen dessert made of fruit and dairy. It’s the best parts of ice cream and sorbet (no-dairy) blitzed into one cold, creamy, vibrant treat! Traditionally, you need an ice cream maker for sherbet, but this no-churn method works incredibly well if you (like me) don’t have one.Easiest Ever Mango SherbetYes, this really is as simple as it sounds—two ingredients, no-churn, easy easy easy. And you can make it with any fruit you want! Peaches, cherries, berries, pineapple, whatever. I went for mango because that’s what my little heart desired on the day I made this batch.

If you want to use fresh fruit, you’ll need to freeze it first. I’ve included a painstaking tutorial on how to slice a mango in the recipe, but the general gist is to cut whatever fruit you’re using (berries excepted) in 3/4”-ish pieces and freeze them until they’re…frozen. You can also just use bagged unsweetened frozen fruit (20-24 ounces), but there’s so much great fresh fruit right now that you may as well take advantage. With an ingredient list this short, quality is key. Easiest Ever Mango SherbetEasiest Ever Mango SherbetEasiest Ever Mango SherbetAs far as actually making the sherbet, it’s as simple as blending the frozen mango with a can of sweetened condensed milk. You can eat it immediately, but I prefer to freeze it so that it’s scoopable.Easiest Ever Mango SherbetRegarding flavor, it’s exactly as you’d expect. The mango is super prominent and the sweetened condensed milk gives it a smooth, sweet finish. I was initially concerned that the natural water in the fruit would cause the sherbet to be icy, but sweetened condensed milk continues to be the no-churn MVP, always producing perfect creamy results. And I do mean perfect.Easiest Ever Mango Sherbet

Easiest Ever Mango Sherbet
makes about 1 quart

2 lbs fresh ripe whole mangos* (about 2 large mangos)
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment.

Stand one mango, stem end-down, on a cutting board, Use a large, sharp chef’s knife to slice down one side of the long, wide center pit. Slice down the other side of the pit. You should now have 2 halves and the center pit section.

Take one half and lay it flesh-side-up on the cutting board. Carefully (!!!) slice it in 3/4-1-inch intervals lengthwise, being sure not to slice through the skin. Then slice it in 3/4-1-inch intervals widthwise, again not slicing through the skin. Repeat with remaining mango half.

Use a spoon to scoop mango flesh onto the prepared baking sheet. Use your fingers to separate the pieces. Repeat process with remaining mango. Freeze mango on the baking sheet for 3-4 hours, or until frozen.

(Trim skin from pit pieces and eat the fruit off of them as a snack/cook’s treat.)

Combine frozen mango and sweetened condensed milk in a high-powered blender. Blend on high for about 1 minute, or until smooth and thick. Use a silicone spatula to scrape down the sides of the carafe as necessary. You may eat the sherbet mixture immediately, but it will be soft.

For the scoopable texture pictured above, transfer sherbet mixture to a loaf pan or other vessel. Press a sheet of plastic wrap to the top and cover with aluminum foil. Freeze 4-6 hours before scooping and enjoying.

Mango Sherbet will keep covered in the freezer for up to a month.

Note:

You may make this with store-bought frozen mango. Use 20-24 ounces frozen mango chunks, and start the recipe at the paragraphs beginning “combine frozen mango and sweetened condensed milk.”Easiest Ever Mango SherbetEasiest Ever Mango SherbetEasiest Ever Mango Sherbet

Black & Blueberry Galette

Black & Blueberry GaletteWhile there is a time and place for a traditional crimped and latticed pie, my kitchen in the middle of a heatwave is not it. That said, there are a ton of berries at the markets right now, and it would be a real shame to miss tucking them all into a flaky shell, now wouldn’t it?Black & Blueberry GaletteBlack & Blueberry GaletteGalettes to the rescue! They’re pie’s no-nonsense, rustic sisters–we’re talking all the flavor and beauty of pie with less than half the work. You don’t even need a pie plate! Simply roll out some pie dough, mound a fruit filling in the middle, fold up the edges and bake ‘til golden and bubbly. Boom, done, galette.Black & Blueberry GaletteI used my All-Butter Pie Dough for this glossy beauty, but I know pie dough scares the bejeezus out of some of you. Also, I can’t blame anyone for not wanting to mess with temperature-dependent dough in the middle of summer. I’ll admit that trying to keep tiny bits of butter from melting is not my favorite warm-weather activity either, but when all is said, done, sliced & served, it sure is worth the effort.Black & Blueberry GaletteGenerally speaking, I think baking should be an enjoyable process, so if making dough from scratch is going to ruin the fun of making a galette, by all means, take the easy way out. Use whatever pie dough you like here, even the refrigerated store-bought stuff. I am pretty sure a sheet of puff pastry would work, too. Whatever your dough of choice, just remember to keep your surfaces floured and your dough cold.

Cold dough = cold butter = super flaky crust.Black & Blueberry Galette I used blackberries and blueberries in this galette for a multitude of reasons, chief amongst them that these varieties looked the best at my local green market a few weeks ago. They also happen to remind me of Maine—I love when food and nostalgia line up. I went with a 50:50 ratio of blackberries to blueberries, but you should feel free to play around with the amounts, use all of one berry or the other, or swap in some raspberries. When it comes to galettes and summer berries, there are no bad ideas.Black & Blueberry Galette

Black & Blueberry Galette
makes 1 galette, about 8 servings

1 1/2 cups fresh blackberries
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons cornstarch
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 recipe All-Butter Pie Dough, or other good single-crust pie dough
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg
1 teaspoon water
coarse sugar, for sprinkling
whipped cream, for serving (optional)
vanilla ice cream, for serving (optional)

Arrange oven racks in the upper and lower positions. Preheat oven to 375F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

Combine blackberries and blueberries in a large mixing bowl. Add sugar, cinnamon, cornstarch, salt, and lime juice. Stir together with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon and let sit for 15 minutes at room temperature.

Flour a surface and a rolling pin. Roll pie dough out until it is 1/8-inch thick. Trim edges so that you have a 12-inch circle. Transfer to prepared pan. Mound filling in the middle of the dough, leaving at least 2 inches of excess on all sides. Fold dough over the sides of the filling to contain it. Scatter butter over exposed filling.

In a small bowl, whisk together egg and water. Brush mixture on exposed pie dough. Sprinkle with coarse sugar.

Bake galette on the upper rack for 25 minutes. Move to the lower rack. Bake for 20-25 more minutes, tenting with foil if anything begins to brown too quickly. Crust will firm up as the galette cools.

Let galette cool completely in the pan on a rack. Remove to a cutting board. Slice and serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, if desired.

Galette will keep covered at room temperature for two days, or in the refrigerator for up to four.Black & Blueberry GaletteBlack & Blueberry Galette

Oatmeal Waffles

Oatmeal Waffles {Vegan & Gluten-Free}It seems like every July my mind goes to Maine while my body stays in New York and bakes in preparation to join it…in Maine. That’s how it’s been for the last five years, but this isn’t most years. My mind has been in Maine since March 13th, but I didn’t think I’d physically get there this year, considering literally everything.

I think most of you will agree with me when I say that 2020 blows. It blows hard. That said, as of this past weekend, one thing this year from hell has not taken away (yet) is our annual trip up the coast. It won’t be during the summer and there will be face masks and social distancing and many considerations we would never have imagined six months ago, but—2020 permitting—we will head north in 70 days.Oatmeal Waffles {Vegan & Gluten-Free}I’m not saying I manifested a Maine trip, but I’m not saying I didn’t (with a lot of VJ’s help and a big check). What I am saying is that when I started testing these gluten-free, vegan Oatmeal Waffles a few weeks ago, I could only daydream about making them on a sunny Swan’s Island morning…someday. Ten test-batches later, I’m looking forward to making them this October, while sipping a hot cup of coffee and doing some leaf-peeping out our kitchen window.Oatmeal Waffles {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Until then, these Oatmeal Waffles are my current weekend breakfast obsession. They’re fairly quick and easy to make, and have a slightly sweet whole grain flavor—no cardboard here, I promise. These are real, delicious, syrup-in-every-divot, Saturday morning-worthy waffles, just without the gluten, eggs and dairy.Oatmeal Waffles {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Oatmeal Waffles {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Oatmeal Waffles {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Oatmeal Waffles {Vegan & Gluten-Free}The batter is made with eight ingredients: gluten-free old-fashioned oats, non-dairy milk, applesauce, touches of oil and sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. It comes together in the blender and, after resting for ten minutes, makes four burnished, crispy-edged, fluffy-centered waffles—enough for two or four people, or eating one now and freezing three for when a craving hits. And oh, it will hit.Oatmeal Waffles {Vegan & Gluten-Free}For those who don’t need or want their waffles to be vegan—something I did intentionally so that VJ and my other friends with dietary needs can enjoy them—the change over to traditional eggs and dairy is very simple to make. Swap the non-dairy milk for whole milk, the applesauce for two large eggs, the oil for melted butter, and bump the oats up to 3 cups. If you don’t need your waffles to be gluten-free, you can just use regular old-fashioned oats—simple as that. The rest of the recipe remains the same, including waiting for the steam to dissipate to determine doneness, rather than trusting the manufacturer’s light on your waffle iron. VJ taught me that last piece of advice, and that lady knows. her. waffles.Oatmeal Waffles {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Again, I’m not saying I manifested a trip to Maine, but if you put intention—in this case, waffles and a dream—out into the world (and write a check and ask VJ to send a series of emails to the powers that be), sometimes good things happen. Like vacation and a freezer-full of Oatmeal Waffles.Oatmeal Waffles {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Oatmeal Waffles {Vegan & Gluten-Free}
makes about 4 large waffles

For waffles:
2 2/3 cups old-fashioned oats (certified gluten-free for gluten-free)
2 cups unsweetened almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tablespoons canola or coconut oil
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

For waffle iron:
cooking spray

For serving:
butter (vegan or regular)
maple syrup
fresh seasonal fruit

To make this recipe with traditional eggs and dairy, see the post for swaps.

Combine all waffle ingredients in a high-powered blender. Blitz 45-60 seconds, until mostly smooth (there will be some small flecks of oat). Let batter rest at room temperature for 15 minutes while the waffle iron is heating.

Preheat oven to 200F. Place a cooling rack over a rimmed baking sheet.

Grease waffle iron with cooking spray. Pour about 3/4 cup of the waffle batter into the center of the iron and close the top. Let cook until steam dissipates and the waffles are crisp and browned, about 8 minutes.

Transfer cooked waffles to the prepared rack-over-pan and place in the oven to keep warm. Re-grease the waffle iron and cook remaining batter.

Serve waffles with butter, maple syrup, and seasonal fruit, if desired. Enjoy immediately.

Leftovers may be layered with parchment, placed in a freezer bag, and frozen for up to 3 months. Reheat in the toaster.Oatmeal Waffles {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Oatmeal Waffles {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Oatmeal Waffles {Vegan & Gluten-Free}