Dr. Milnor‘s Favorites:
CHOCOLATE CRINKLE COOKIES
With a crisp, crackled exterior and a chewy, fudgy interior, these cookies satisfy serious chocolate cravings.
Prep Time: 22 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
- 1/2 cup (2 oz./60 g) confectioners’ sugar
- 1 2/3 cups (9 oz./280 g) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (1 1/2 oz./45 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 8 Tbs. (1 stick) (4 oz./125 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/4 cups (10 oz./315 g) sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- Preheat an oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease 2 baking sheets with butter. Put the confectioners’ sugar into a bowl and set aside.
- In another bowl, using a wooden spoon, stir together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until creamy, about 3 minutes. Turn off the mixer and scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add 1 egg and beat on medium speed until blended. Add the other egg and vanilla and beat until blended.
- Turn off the mixer and add the flour mixture. Beat on low speed just until blended.
- Using a tablespoon, scoop up a rounded spoonful of dough. Using your hands, roll the dough into a ball, then roll the ball in the confectioners’ sugar until covered. Place the ball on one of the prepared baking sheets. Repeat, spacing the balls about 2 inches (5 cm) apart.
- When 1 baking sheet is full, put it in the oven and bake the cookies until they are crackled and puffed, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes. Transfer the cookies to the wire rack and let cool completely. Repeat to bake the remaining cookies. Makes about 24 cookies.
Dressed in winter white, these cookies are a beautiful addition to any holiday cookie tin. They’re the invention of pastry chef and television personality Darren Purchese, owner of Burch & Purchese Sweet Studio in Melbourne, a retail store that produces stunning cakes and desserts. In this recipe, he teams up white chocolate and mint to create a simple coating for roll-and-slice pistachio cookies. He likes to use pistachio paste for even more pistachio flavor, though it can difficult to find, so you can substitute almond paste, or omit it entirely. The cookies will still be delicious.
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 40 to 45
- 12 Tbs. (1 1/2 sticks) (6 oz./190 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3 Tbs. superfine sugar
- 1/3 cup (2 1/2 oz./75 g) firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1 Tbs. sweetened pistachio paste or almond paste (optional)
- 1 1/4 cups (6 1/2 oz./200 g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 4 tsp. baking powder
- 3/4 cup (3 1/2 oz./105 g) pistachios, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup (1 oz./25 g) ground almonds
- 3 Tbs. milk
- Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
- 9 1/2 oz. (300 g) white chocolate
- 1/2 tsp. mint extract or 1 drop mint essential oil
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat together the butter, superfine sugar, brown sugar and almond paste on medium speed until smooth and there are no lumps of butter, about 3 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- In a small bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat on low speed until incorporated, about 1 minute. Add the pistachios, ground almonds, milk and lemon zest and beat until blended, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure the ingredients are evenly mixed and there are no lumps remaining.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and bring it together with your hands. Roll the dough into a log and divide into 2 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a log 1 1/2 to 2 inches (4 to 5 cm) in diameter. Wrap the logs separately in plastic wrap and freeze until firm, at least 45 minutes.
- Preheat an oven to 350°F (180°C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Remove the dough from the freezer and unwrap it. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough crosswise into 3/8-inch (1-cm) slices. Place on the prepared baking sheet, spacing the cookies about 2 inches (5 cm) apart.
- Bake until the cookies are just beginning to brown on the edges, 12 to 14 minutes. Immediately transfer the cookies to a wire rack and let cool completely.
- In a shallow bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, melt the white chocolate, stirring occasionally, just until the mixture is melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the mint extract. Stir the mixture until it cools to about 85°F (30°C), using a candy thermometer to check the temperature.
- Line a baking sheet with clean parchment paper. Using a fork or a palette knife, dip each cookie in the white mint chocolate to coat completely and gently shake to remove any excess chocolate, then place on the prepared baking sheet. Let stand at room temperature until the chocolate has set. Makes 40 to 45 cookies.
SKILLET APPLE PIE
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 2 refrigerated rolled pie crusts, such as Pillsbury
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon sugar
- 1 21-ounce can apple pie filling
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Melt butter in a 9-inch cast iron skillet; set aside 1 tablespoon of the melted butter for the top crust.
- Add the brown sugar to the skillet and melt the butter and sugar together on medium heat, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and line the skillet with one pie crust.
- Pour the apple pie filling over the crust and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon cinnamon sugar. Use the second pie crust to cover the filling. Brush the top crust with the reserved melted butter and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon cinnamon sugar.
- Cut vents in the center of the crust. Bake for 30 minutes.
PUMPKIN TOFFEE CHEESECAKE
Prep time 30 min.
Cooking time 1 hr 15 mins
Makes 18 servings
- 1 ¾ cups (about 14 to 16) shortbread cookies, crushed
- 1 tablespoon butter or margarine, melted
- 3 pkgs. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
- 1 ¼ cups packed brown sugar
- 1 can (15 oz.) pureed pumpkin
- ⅔ cup (5 oz can) evaporated milk
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup (about 25 or 30) crushed toffee candies
- 1 container (8 oz.) sour cream, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Caramel ice cream topping (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Combine cookie crumbs and butter in small bowl. Press into bottom and 1 inch up side of 9-inch springform pan.
- Bake for 6 to 8 minutes (do not allow to brown). Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes.
- Beat cream cheese and brown sugar in a large mixer bowl until creamy. Add pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs, cornstarch and cinnamon; beat well. Pour into crust.
- Bake for 60 to 65 minutes or until edge is set but center still moves slightly. Remove from oven; top with toffee candy pieces.
- Combine sour cream, granulated sugar and vanilla extract in small bowl; mix well. Spread over warm cheesecake.
- Bake for 8 minutes. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Remove side of springform pan. Drizzle with caramel topping before serving, if desired.
APPLE PIE BARS
Yield 2 dozen bars
Time 1 ½ hours, plus cooling
For the crust and topping:
- Softened butter for greasing pan
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 3 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- ¾ cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
For the apple filling:
- 1 ½ pounds tart apples, such as Granny Smith (about 3 large), peeled, cored and cut into ⅛ inch slices
- 1 ½ pounds sweet-tart apples, such as Fuji, Pink Lady or Gala ( about 3 large), peeled, cored and cut into ⅛ inch slices
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- ¼ cup unsalted butter (½ stick)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ⅔ cup sugar
- Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9-by-13-inch cake pan with foil with overhang on all sides. Lightly grease pan with softened butter.
- Pulse flour, sugar and salt for crust and topping in a food processor with the blade attachment to mix. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse sand. Put 1 ½ cups in a medium bowl and mix in walnuts, cinnamon and cardamom. Squeeze with your hands to form a solid mass of dough. It’s O.K. if a few bits fall off. Cover and refrigerate.
- Pour remaining mixture into prepared pan and spread in an even layer, then press into bottom of pan and ½ inch up the sides.
- Bake until golden brown and dry to the touch, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Raise oven temperature to 375 degrees.
- While crust bakes, make the filling: Toss all the apples with the lemon juice in a large bowl. Melt remaining butter in a large saute pan set over medium-high heat. Stir in cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom and sizzle for 15 seconds. Add apples and cook, stirring often, until just starting to soften, about 5 minutes. Add sugar and stir well. Cook, stirring occasionally, until all liquid releases from apples then evaporates, 10 to 15 minutes. The mixture should be quite dry and the apples tender, but not sticking to the pan. Remove from heat and cool. (tip: if you want your apples to cool quickly, spread them on a parchment-lined sheet pan and pop in the freezer for 5 to 7 minutes.)
- Spread apple filling evenly over crust and press down gently to get rid of any gaps between the apple slices. Uncover the reserved walnut mixture and break off pebble-sized pieces. Arrange pieces in a lattice or striped pattern over filling or scatter evenly on top.
- Bake until the topping is golden brown, 45 to 50 min. Cool completely in a pan on a rack. To serve, lift apple pie bars out of pan and onto a large cutting board. Slide bars off foil, then cut into 6 even strips crosswise and 4 even strips lengthwise.
SHRIMP COCKTAIL DIP
- Cooked frozen popcorn shrimp, thawed
- Cream cheese
- Cocktail sauce
- Ritz crackers or crackers of your choice
Spread cream cheese on plate or platter.
Spread cocktail sauce over cream cheese.
Place thawed popcorn shrimp over cocktail sauce like pepperoni on a pizza.
Place crackers in bowl ready for dipping.
RUSSIAN TEA CAKE COOKIES
- 1 cup butter or margarine, softened
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 ¼ cups all purpose flour
- ¾ cup finely chopped nuts
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- Powdered sugar
- Heat oven to 400 degrees.
- Mix butter, ½ cup powdered sugar and the vanilla in large bowl. Stir in flour, nuts and salt until dough holds together.
- Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place about 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
- Bake 10 to 12 minutes until set but not brown. Remove from cookie sheet. Cool slightly on wire rack.
- Roll warm cookies in powdered sugar; cool on wire rack. Roll in powdered sugar again.
CHRISTMAS MORNING RECIPE
Cook 1 hour 15 min
Ready in 3 hours 35 min
- 1 pound sausage, casings removed
- 1 (10 oz.) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
- 2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 8 eggs, beaten
- 2 tablespoons mustard powder
- 10 cups cubed, day old bread
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups whole milk
- 2 teaspoons butter, melted
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 1 ½ cups cubed black forest ham
- Generously grease a 9×13 inch casserole dish
- Heat a skillet over medium heat; cook and stir sausage until crumbly and completely browned, about 10 min. Transfer cooked sausage to the prepared casserole dish.
- Cook and stir mushrooms in the same skillet over medium heat until liquid has been released and mushrooms are lightly browned, 5 to 10 minutes; drain.
- Mix mushrooms, eggs, bread, milk, cheddar cheese, ham, spinach, flour, mustard powder, salt butter, and basil together in a large bowl; pour over sausage. Cover casserole dish and refrigerate, 2 hours to overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Bake in the preheated oven until a knife inserted into the center of the strata comes out clean, 60 to 70 minutes.
Around the holidays after all of the cookies, pies, and sweets, my family always likes to balance it out with some spicy salsa to snack on at winter gatherings.
- 1 Large white onion, chopped
- 2 Jalapenos, finely chopped
- 1 habanero, finely chopped (can be removed or add an additional one for less/more heat)
- 1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
- Juice of 2 large limes
- ¾ – 1 bunch of fresh cilantro
- 1 28 ounce can Petite diced tomatoes
- Salt & pepper – about 2 teaspoons of each or to taste
- Add onion, peppers, and garlic to food processor and pulse about 5-10 times or until incorporated well
- Tear off leaves of cilantro and add to food processor, here you can add or reduce the amount of cilantro depending on your taste
- Add lime juice and pulse in food processor about 5-10 seconds at a time, scraping sides with spatula until everything is incorporated well, I usually do no more than 30 seconds total
- Add ¾ of the can of tomatoes, and salt and pepper to food processor
- Pulse a couple more times in food processor, just to incorporate and blend slightly more
- Once it’s all thoroughly mixed, add the remaining ¼ can of tomatoes and stir with spatula, without blending to keep some nice chunks of tomato
- Taste test with a tortilla chip – can always add more salt, pepper, lime or cilantro for flavor
*Alternatively you can add the whole can at step #4 and blend it, making a smoother, finer salsa; personally I like to keep some chunks*