Saturday, December 12, 2009

Eiffel Tower and a Sweet Au Revoir

After my last trip to E. Dehillerin, I came home with some new "toys"! I didn't get any gorgeous copper pots or Champagne buckets, but I bought some tart pans, some small molds for financiers, canelé molds, and Eiffel Tower cookie cutters. Butter and sugar cookies are a favorite of mine. They are like a blank canvas to express yourself. So I began with cookies. First off I made my reliable sugar cookie dough and started contemplating how to decorate the Eiffel Towers. Should I make them shine and twinkle as the tower does in the evening, outline each detail in chocolate or just free form drizzle the chocolate across them? This time I chose the latter, and and with a smile, drizzled the chocolate freely, and reminisced of sunny days and summer picnics under the tower. I wrapped them in cellophane with a Brigitte cookie saying "au revoir" to my crew at the end of our month together. Rolled Sugar Cookies

2 1/4 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
12 tablespoons unsalted butter (room temperature)
1 large egg
1 tablespoon lemon zest, finely grated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In large bowl or food processor, cream sugar and butter together until fluffy. Add egg, lemon zest and vanilla extract until well blended. Add the flour and salt and mix until it begins to form a ball, scraping down the sides of the bowl if needed. If the dough is too dry, add a few drops of water. Scrape dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap and press together to form a thick flat disc. Wrap well and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter a baking sheet.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to about 1/8 inch thick (1/4 inch, if using Brigitte cutter), or
desired thickness. The dough needs to be just the right temperature to roll and cut properly. If it is too cold, it is hard to roll, and if it is too soft it becomes difficult to cut and pick up. Roll any scraps back into a ball and chill again. Use as little flour as possible to roll out, so they don't get tough. After cutting, place on a baking sheet and bake for 8-12 minutes or until just lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack. I use an insulated baking sheet to prevent the edges from getting too brown.

Makes 4 dozen, 3 inch (1/8 inch thick) cookies.

Rolled Sugar Cookie recipe (pdf)
Click here for Brigitte cookie cutter technique.

Brigitte Cookie Cutter

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Come Shopping...E. Dehillerin in Paris

Do you need a stockpot big enough to sit in, or copper cookware made in France? How about cooking or baking utensils in all shapes and sizes? E. Dehillerin in Paris mainly caters to restaurants, but also trades with the public. This family run business has had their doors open since 1820. As you walk in, you are greeted by a copper rooster and well worn display shelves full of accoutrements for the professional and home chefs. For a foodie, this is a panacea. As you walk around this tight busy space, you walk through a piece of history. There is a reverence and excitement all at once. Do you need a crepe pan,tart pans,charlotte molds,or silicone molds?Walking downstairs you'll find the huge restaurant stockpots as well as many other items geared toward cooking for large groups.
I am mainly interested in what's upstairs, so I walk back up the stairs that have been worn by the steps of food lovers and cooks for almost 2 centuries.Past the display case full of treasures, and bread baskets, there are copper pots that are made in France (but, of course!) for every need and desire. There are rows and rows of spatulas, knives, and just about any other utensil you'll need. The pans and forms come in all shapes and sizes. And who doesn't need an Eiffel Tower cookie cutter?Hmmm....I guess I do!Among a few other things.Thanks for coming along, and think of all of the money YOU saved ;-))