Mouthwatering sweet treats


June 11, 2008|By Kate Shatzkin | Kate Shatzkin,Sun reporter

Martha Stewart's Cookies

From the editors of Martha Stewart Living

Swedish Cakes and Cookies

Translated by Melody Favish

Skyhorse Publishing / 2008 / $17.95

First published in 1945, this little book with a red-and-white checkerboard cover is now available in English. It offers 300 recipes for not only cookies and everyday cakes but fancy tortes and all kinds of sweet breads in wreaths and braids.

The book was assembled, its foreword says, as a collection of prize-winning recipes at a time when cake-baking at home had been reduced to a minimum after the privations of World War II. Prize-winning recipes have been added over the years, including the stars of a 1975 contest that sought "healthy" baked goods. The index helpfully points to recipes that are gluten-free, sugar-free or egg-free.

Maybe it was the photography - not as elegant as in the Martha Stewart book - but I wasn't particularly drawn to these cookies. There are lots of rusks - crisp cookies similar to biscotti - sugar cookies and gingerbread. But the cakes (there's a whole chapter on rolled cakes) are mouthwatering, and the breads and rolls look impressive.

I chose to test Simple Danish Pastries, which are made much like cinnamon rolls. The dough was easy to put together and work with. The rolls were tasty, though they were much more about the pastry than the filling, in contrast to the sweet, gooey cinnamon rolls Americans are used to. If the filling is your thing, consider doubling that part of the recipe.

Brown-Butter Toffee Blondies

Makes about 3 dozen small bars or 12 large cutouts

1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for pan

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

2 cups packed light-brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

3 large eggs

2 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 cup chopped walnuts (about 4 ounces)

1 cup toffee bits

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Line bottom of pan with parchment; butter and flour parchment.

In a saucepan over medium heat, cook the butter until it turns golden brown; remove from heat and let cool. Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine browned butter and both sugars; stir with a wooden spoon until combined. Attach bowl to mixer; add eggs. Using the paddle attachment, beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla, and beat to combine. Add the flour mixture, walnuts and toffee bits. Mix until thoroughly combined, and pour into prepared pan.

Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes (do not overbake). Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before turning out of pan onto a cutting board. Peel off parchment paper; cut blondies into shapes with 3- to 3 1/2 -inch cookie cutters, or cut into smaller squares. Blondies can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature up to 3 days.

From "Martha Stewart's Cookies"

Per blondie (based on 36 blondies): 203 calories, 3 grams protein, 11 grams fat, 5 grams saturated fat, 25 grams carbohydrate, trace fiber, 37 milligrams cholesterol, 149 milligrams sodium

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