Hye Thyme Cafe

Welcome to the Hy
e Thyme Cafe. Although not all of my recipes are Armenian, the name is a little nod to my Armenian grandmother who is no longer with us. The Hye refers to all things related to her homeland, and she represents all things food-related to me, so the two just seemed to go together. I can't even claim that my Armenian recipes are truly Armenian, since Greece, Turkey, Armenia, Lebanon, Syria, and even Egypt share so many foods that they've all sort of morphed into one over thousands of years.

Whether you like to cook, bake, have never done either, or just like to play with your food...come on in and join me! :)


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Coconut Scones

Hye Thyme Cafe: Coconut Scones


I have always used sweetened, flaked coconut for baking but often come across recipes calling for unsweetened. When I popped into a Big Lots recently to look for stocking stuffers, I found a big bag of Bob's Red Mill Unsweetened Shredded Coconut staring at me, so I couldn't resist.

I didn't have a particular use in mind for it at the time, but whenever I opened the cabinet, the aroma was so overwhelming, I wanted to crawl inside. I knew I had to use it for something right away, so I made scones. I still have a small carton of heavy cream in the fridge that I didn't end up using on Thanksgiving, so I would normally have used that, but I also had a container of Chobani Coconut Yogurt. I opted to use the yogurt.

INGREDIENTS
2 1/2 c flour
5 T baking powder
4 t sugar
1/8 t salt
2 eggs
3/4 stick butter
3/4 c heavy cream or 5.3 oz container plain, vanilla, or coconut yogurt
1 c unsweetened shredded coconut
Coarse sanding sugar for tops
1 egg, milk, or cream for brushing on top

  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer (or mixing bowl), whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.
  2. Add the eggs, one at a time, followed by the cream or yogurt until just blended.
  3. Stir or mix in the coconut.
  4. On a lightly floured surface, pat out your dough to 1/2-3/4" thickness and cut into desired shapes (I used a 2" round cutter).
  5. Transfer to parchment-lined baking sheet.
  6. For a nice sheen and color (and to give the sanding sugar something to stick to), brush the tops with either milk, cream, beaten egg, or an egg beaten together with a bit of milk, water, cream ... any combination will be fine. This time, I used an egg with a bit of milk.
  7. Sprinkle with sanding sugar and bake at 350 for approximately 20" until golden and fragrant.
  8. Let cool for a minute or two right on the baking sheet, then serve with jam, lemon curd, clotted cream, etc.


Hye Thyme Cafe: Coconut Scones

Hye Thyme Cafe: Coconut Scones
Hye Thyme Cafe: Coconut Scones

Hye Thyme Cafe: Coconut Scones


Hye Thyme Cafe: Coconut Scones


 


Monday, December 15, 2014

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap: Chocolate Covered Peppermint Marshmallow Sandwich Cookies




It's that time of year again ... time for The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. The swap is coordinated by Lindsay Landis of Love & Olive Oil, and Julie Deily of The Little Kitchen. I would imagine that there is a whole boatload of work involved with something like this, so I would first like to thank the ladies for all their efforts, especially since the cookie swap serves as a fund raiser. Once again, the proceeds from the swap are being donated to Cookies for Kids' Cancer.

If you don't recall my post from last year's swap, how it works is that each participating blogger bakes and mails a dozen cookies to three different bloggers, in turn receiving a dozen cookies from three other bloggers.


Brand partners for this year's swap, each of which are matching donations (up to $3,000 each), are:


Providing a little inspiration for this year's event, Oxo kindly provided us with their 8 Piece Baker's Silicon Decorating Bottle Kit, and Dixie Crystals provided us with a cookie tin. Sadly, I was working with too much marshmallow to fit into the bottles, but I'm sure they'll be getting quite a workout in short order.

The bloggers I received cookies from this year were Linda, from Brunch with Joy, who sent me her Toffee Choc Cookies; Debbi from Debbi Does Dinner Healthy & Low Calorie, who not only sent me a dozen Almond Joy Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies but also a few bonus Kaleidoscope Cookies; and last, but certainly not least, Sara, of Sweet Dash of Sass, who sent me a dozen Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies. Thanks ladies!





As for me, the bloggers I was paired with to send my cookies to were Greta of Pickles Travel Blog, Megan of Nutrition Awareness (oops, maybe I should have made a healthier cookie), and Krystal of Home Made Austin.  

What I decided to make for this year's swap was Chocolate Covered Peppermint Marshmallow Sandwich Cookies - chocolate cookies filled with peppermint marshmallow, dipped in chocolate, and dressed with crushed candy cane. They take a while to make, but they're worth it.


CHOCOLATE COVERED PEPPERMINT MARSHMALLOW SANDWICH COOKIES

COOKIES:
¾ c (1 ½ sticks) butter, room temp
1 c sugar 
1 egg
2 t vanilla 
1 t instant espresso (optional)
1 ½ c flour
¾ c unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ t salt

MARSHMALLOW:
3 pkgs unflavored gelatin – less about ½ t 
1 ¼ c water, divided
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar 
¼ t salt
1 cup light corn syrup 
2 t peppermint extract
Pink food coloring - optional

COATING:
Chocolate of choice 

Crushed candy canes
Optional - Crisco and/or Corn Syrup

COOKIE DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then blend in the egg, vanilla, and espresso.
  2. Whisk together the flour, cocoa, and salt, then add to the butter mixture, a little at a time.
  3. Divide the dough into two or three sections, and roll each between sheets of waxed paper or parchment to 1/8” thickness, then stack and chill until stiff. Most people chill dough before rolling, but I find it works easier this way. It’s easy to roll out because it’s soft, then it will be stiff when you cut it out and transfer it to your baking trays.
  4. Taking one sheet out of the fridge at a time to work with, cut into one-inch rounds and bake on parchment-lined trays at 350° for 8-10” until just set. Allow to cool on tray for about a minute, then transfer to cooling racks.
You can make the cookies ahead of time and store them in an airtight container.

MARSHMALLOW DIRECTIONS:
  1. For the marshmallow, sprinkle the gelatin into the bowl of your stand mixer, remembering to hold back about 1/2 t. I did that, and increased the water, to make the mixture softer for piping. Pour ¾ c cold water over the gelatin and leave it alone to bloom while you cook the other ingredients.
  2. Over medium heat, bring the sugar, ½ c water, salt, and corn syrup up to soft-ball stage - 240°.
  3. If the gelatin has stiffened up, let the mixer spin for a few seconds to break it up, then slowly pour in the syrup mixture. Let run on low for a minute to get going, then increase to high and let run for about 10” until thick and glossy. Add the food coloring if using, and the peppermint extract, and let run until incorporated.
  4. Transfer the marshmallow to a piping bag fitted with a large circle tip – or a zip-lock bag with the corner snipped out. Pipe marshmallow onto the bottoms of several cookies and top with additional cookies – repeat until all the cookies/marshmallow have been used up.
About ¾ of the way through, even having made a softer mallow, I did find that it started to set on me and was difficult to work with – I actually squeezed so hard, I blew the seam on my piping bag and ended up spooning the mixture onto the last of the cookies. If you have the time and patience, I would recommend doing the marshmallow in two small batches. Not a deal breaker, but they’ll be shaped better if piped rather than scooped. 

Another thought I just had was to dust a pan with powdered sugar, spread the marshmallow into the pan, let it set for a while, then cut rounds with the same cutter you used on the cookies, dipping it in powdered sugar as you go along, to prevent sticking. My only concern with this method is that it might make dipping the cookies more difficult if the powdered sugar prevents the cookies from sticking to the marshmallow - might be worth a try though. If it works, this would give the cookies a more uniform appearance.

COATING DIRECTIONS:

  1. You can melt your chocolate in the microwave if you like, but it will firm up more quickly that way, so I recommend melting it in a double boiler, or a bowl set over a pot of simmering water. That way, you won’t need to keep re-heating it. Or, you could set a pot of water to simmer, nuke the chocolate to melt it, then keep it melted by setting it over the simmering water. That will shave off a few minutes in getting started.
  2. Drop a cookie into the chocolate, then tilt it on it’s side with a fork to let the excess drip off the top and sides. Then, with the cookie sitting on the fork, scrape the fork across the edge of the bowl to remove the excess from the bottom and transfer to a cooling rack or sheet of parchment or waxed paper to set. Once you have dipped a few, sprinkle crushed candy canes over the tops and repeat.
I grew up making Peanut Butter Balls every year around the holidays and had learned to melt a little paraffin with the chocolate to help it set. More recently, I read that a bit of Crisco will do the trick as well. Even more recently, I read that you can add corn syrup to the chocolate to make it set and give it a bit of a shine. Being out of wax at the time, I decided to try the Crisco. Everywhere I read that indicated a different amount, so I just added a small scoop to see what would happen. I didn’t notice it having much effect, so I then drizzled in a bit of corn syrup to see how that would go. Personally, I would steer clear of the corn syrup. The first several cookies I dipped turned out nice and smooth and set just fine. The ones I dipped after adding the corn syrup have a sort of rippled texture. Both versions set well, but visually, I prefer them smooth.  (Yield: 5 dozen)

Hye Thyme Cafe: Chocolate Covered Peppermint Marshmallow Sandwich Cookies
Hye Thyme Cafe: Chocolate Covered Peppermint Marshmallow Sandwich Cookies

Hye Thyme Cafe: Chocolate Covered Peppermint Marshmallow Sandwich Cookies
Hye Thyme Cafe: Chocolate Covered Peppermint Marshmallow Sandwich Cookies

Hye Thyme Cafe: Chocolate Covered Peppermint Marshmallow Sandwich Cookies
Hye Thyme Cafe: Chocolate Covered Peppermint Marshmallow Sandwich Cookies

Hye Thyme Cafe: Chocolate Covered Peppermint Marshmallow Sandwich Cookies

Hye Thyme Cafe: Chocolate Covered Peppermint Marshmallow Sandwich Cookies

Another big thanks to all those who participated in this year's swap ... especially those who sent me cookies or other presents.  ;)

If you're a blogger and interested in participating in next year's Cookie Swap, click here to sign up receive notice when it comes back around.

Best wishes to everyone for a wonderful holiday season!