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February 20, 2014

Recipe for mocha sugar cookies

Mocha sugar cookies, puffy and chewy, from The Perfect Pantry.

The forced confinement of a recent snowstorm made me a little bit stir-crazy, but also reminded me that my perfect pantry holds everything I need to soothe my sweets-starved spirit. A quick browse revealed some decaf espresso powder and cocoa powder, and from that starting point -- and my jars of flours and sugars and extracts -- I created these quick and easy sugar cookies. I could have chilled the dough, rolled it flat, and cut it with cookie cutters. Instead, I put my small ice cream scoop (a disher with a quick release) to work, and set the balls of dough on the baking sheet without pressing them down. The result? Mounded cookies that browned gently on the outside while remaining quite chewy on the inside. The light mocha flavor was a perfect match to my afternoon coffee as I watched the snow pile up outside the kitchen window.

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August 15, 2013

How to use vanilla extract (and five favorite cookie recipes)

Five favorite cookies!

When I first wrote about vanilla extract here on The Perfect Pantry, I called vanilla and chocolate the culinary Romeo and Juliet, because you almost never see a recipe for chocolate that doesn't also include a little bit of vanilla to enhance the flavor. In the past few years, I've learned to appreciate the flavor of vanilla on its own. Well, almost... I love vanilla ice cream, but I love it more when it's packed with chocolate chips, or Oreo cookies, or topped with hot fudge sauce.

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March 21, 2013

Sweet cream butter (Recipe: lemon currant jonnycake biscotti)

First published in September 2006, this updated pantry ingredient post features new photos and links, and tweaks to the recipe. There's just enough lemon in these biscotti to brighten the gloomiest of winter days and celebrate the arrival of Spring.

Lemon currant biscotti, crispy Italian cookies perfect for afternoon tea.

A dairy cow weighs more than 1,000 pounds.

A butter cow — specifically, the Iowa State Fair's famous Butter Cow — weighs 600 pounds, enough butter to coat 19,200 slices of toast.

I know what you're thinking.

Salted butter, or unsalted?

(Are you really thinking that, or are you wondering, like I am, what happens to all of that butter at the end of the fair? Does the cow melt in the heat? Do cow birds eat butter? Does the Butter Cow sleep in a barn at night? Does it moo?)

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February 28, 2013

Recipe for sugar-free applesauce muffins with raisins and pecans

Sugar-free applesauce muffins, great for breakfast or dessert.

Lucky for me, I like my sweets on the not-too-sweet side, and that's a perfect description of these sugar-free applesauce muffins made with ingredients you probably already have in your pantry. The muffins had to have raisins, because I love raisins. And they had to be sugar-free. And they had to be sturdy enough to hold a birthday candle for my friend Charlotte, because I made these muffins for her. Considering all of those "had to" items, they tasted pretty terrific, especially just out of the oven slathered with unsalted butter. No-sugar-added applesauce makes a great substitute for sugar, and it helps keep baked goods moist, too. I used a muffin top pan, because I only like tops, but you can make regular muffins if you like the bottoms. Muffins usually don't keep very well, so make these for a party or a brunch, and eat them the day you make them.

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About The Perfect Pantry®

  • My name is Lydia Walshin. From my log house kitchen in rural northwest Rhode Island, I share recipes that use what we keep in our pantries, the usual and not-so-usual ingredients that spice up our lives.

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