Milk Street Sweets (Ep 311)

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Maple-Whiskey Pudding Cakes

Start to finish: 45 minutes (20 minutes active) | Servings: 4

These individual desserts bake up with a gooey sauce beneath a layer of rich, tender cake. We tried a few different types of whiskey here: our favorites were Jameson for its clean, bright flavor and Rittenhouse rye for its spicy depth. This recipe can easily be doubled to serve eight. Serve the pudding cakes warm, with vanilla ice cream or lightly sweetened whipped cream.

Don’t stir the maple-whiskey syrup into the batter after dividing it among the batter-filled ramekins. With baking, the syrup will form a sauce at the bottom.

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons whiskey, divided
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) salted butter, divided
  • Kosher salt
  • 107 grams (1⁄2 cup) white sugar
  • 1⁄4 cup whole milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 90 grams (3⁄4 cup) pecans, toasted
  • 65 grams (1⁄2 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

INSTRUCTIONS

In a small saucepan over medium, combine 1⁄2 cup water, the maple syrup, vinegar, 4 tablespoons of whiskey, 2 tablespoons of butter and 1⁄4 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

In another small saucepan over medium, melt the remaining 6 tablespoons butter. Cook, swirling the pan, until the milk solids at the bottom are deep golden brown and the butter has the aroma of toasted nuts, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl and cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, heat the oven to 325°F with a rack in the middle position. Mist four 6-ounce ramekins with cooking spray and place on a rimmed baking sheet. When the butter is cool, whisk in the sugar, milk, egg, vanilla and remaining 2 tablespoons whiskey. Set aside.

In a food processor, process the pecans until finely ground and beginning to clump, 30 to 40 seconds. Add the flour, baking powder and 1⁄2 teaspoon salt, then pulse until combined, about 5 pulses. Add the butter mixture and pulse until a smooth, thick batter forms, about 5 pulses, scraping down the bowl once.

Divide the batter among the prepared ramekins. Gently pour the maple mixture over the batter in each ramekin. Do not stir. Bake until the cakes are puffed and the centers jiggle only slightly, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before serving; the cakes will fall slightly as they cool.


Chocolate-Almond Spice Cookies

Start to finish: 1 hour 15 minutes (30 minutes active) | Makes 24 cookies

This recipe is a loose interpretation of the Swiss chocolate-almond holiday cookie known as Basler brunsli. Traditionally, the dough is rolled and cut into shapes before baking, but we opted for an easier drop cookie studded with bits of chocolate. Even without butter, these cookies are intensely rich—and they happen to be gluten-free, too. Both Dutch-processed cocoa and natural cocoa work. If you have a 2- tablespoon spring-loaded scoop, use it for portioning the dough; otherwise, two soupspoons get the job done. The dough can be made ahead and refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 24 hours; bring to room temperature before shaping and baking. The baked and cooled cookies keep well in a well-sealed container at room temperature for up to two days.

Don’t skip toasting the almond flour; it gives the cookies a fuller, deeper flavor. But don’t forget to allow the almond flour to cool after toasting; if the flour is too hot when the egg whites are added, the whites will cook. Take care not to overbake the cookies or they will become tough.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 54 grams (1⁄4 cup) plus 285 grams (11⁄3 cups) white sugar
  • 250 grams (21⁄2 cups) blanched almond flour
  • 26 grams (1⁄4 cup) cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 egg large whites, lightly beaten
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

INSTRUCTIONS

Heat the oven to 375°F with racks in the upper- and lower-middle positions. Line 2 baking sheets with kitchen parchment. In a small bowl, stir together the cinnamon, cardamom and ginger. Measure 1⁄4 teaspoon of the spice mixture into another small bowl, stir in the 54 grams (1⁄4 cup) sugar and set aside.

In a 12-inch skillet over medium, combine the almond flour and remaining spice mixture. Cook, stirring frequently and breaking up any lumps, until fragrant and lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool until barely warm to the touch, 15 to 20 minutes.

To the almond flour mixture, whisk in the remaining 285 grams (11⁄3 cups) sugar, the cocoa and salt. Use a spatula to stir in the egg whites and vanilla until evenly moistened. Stir in the chocolate. The dough will be sticky.

Using two soupspoons, drop a few 2-tablespoon portions of dough into the spiced sugar, then gently roll to coat evenly. Arrange the sugar-coated balls on the prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Bake until the cookies have cracks in their surfaces and a toothpick inserted into a cookies at the center of the baking sheets comes out with few crumbs attached, 12 to 15 minutes, switching and rotating the sheets halfway through. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.


Triple Ginger Scones with Chocolate Chunks

Start to finish: 1 hour 15 minutes (40 minutes active) | Makes 12 scones

These flavor-packed oversized scones are the creation of Briana Holt of Tandem Coffee + Bakery in Portland, Maine. Ginger in three different forms—ground, fresh and crystallized—give these breakfast pastries plenty of kick, as does black pepper. Keep both the butter and buttermilk in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use them so they stay as cold as possible, which makes the dough easier to handle. Holt recommends serving the scones after they’ve cooled to room temperature, but we also loved them warm, while the chocolate is soft and melty.

Don’t worry if the flour-butter mixture doesn’t form a cohesive dough immediately after all the buttermilk has been added. In fact, it will be very crumbly, but a brief kneading and the act of shaping and pressing the mixture into disks will bring it together. When kneading, though, take care not to overwork the dough, which will result in tough, not tender, scones.

INGREDIENTS

  • 455 grams (31⁄2 cups) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 67 grams (5 tablespoons) white sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons ground ginger
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons grated nutmeg
  • 2 1⁄2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons ground black pepper 11⁄4 cups cold buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
  • 18 tablespoons (2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons) salted butter, cut into 1⁄2-inch pieces and chilled
  • 150 grams (1 cup) roughly chopped bittersweet chocolate
  • 154 grams (1 cup) finely chopped crystallized ginger
  • 1 large egg, beaten

INSTRUCTIONS

Heat the oven to 375°F with racks in the upper- and lower-middle positions. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with kitchen parchment. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, ground ginger, nutmeg, salt and pepper. In a 2-cup liquid measuring cup or a small bowl, stir together the buttermilk, grated ginger and orange zest.

To a food processor, add about 1⁄2 of the flour mixture and scatter the butter over the top. Pulse until the butter is in large pea-sized pieces, 10 to 12 pulses. Transfer to the bowl with the remaining flour mixture. Add the chocolate and crystallized ginger, then toss with your hands until evenly combined. Pour in about 1⁄3 of the buttermilk mixture and toss just a few times with your hands, making sure to scrape along the bottom of the bowl, until the liquid is absorbed. Add the remaining buttermilk in 2 more additions, tossing after each. After the final addition of buttermilk, toss until no dry, floury bits remain. The mixture will be quite crumbly and will not form a cohesive dough.

Lightly dust the counter with flour, turn the mixture out onto it, then give it a final toss. Divide it into 2 even piles, gathering each into a mound, then very briefly knead each mound; it’s fine if the mixture is still somewhat crumbly. Gather each mound into a ball, then press firmly into a cohesive 5-inch disk about 11⁄2 inches thick. Brush the tops of each disk lightly with beaten egg. Using a chef’s knife, cut each disk in half, then cut each half into 3 wedges. Place 6 wedges on each prepared baking sheet, spaced evenly apart.

Bake until the scones are deep golden brown, 27 to 30 minutes, switching and rotating the baking sheets halfway through. Cool on the baking sheets on wire racks for 5 minutes, then transfer directly to a rack and cool for at least another 5 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

PHOTO CREDIT: CONNIE MILLER OF CB CREATIVES