Happy New Year!
A toast to good health and prosperity in 2012!
After a 3 week hiatus of traveling in Asia, I’m back to reawaken this blog from its slumber. The trip was magnificent for visiting family and favorite restaurants in Hong Kong—and discovering new adventures and cultures with M in Yunnan province, China.
We flew into that southwest corner of China to visit the small towns of Lijiang and Dali, plus the province capital of Kunming. Yunnan borders Tibet in the northwest, Burma to the west, and Vietnam and Laos to the south. Yunnan has the most ethnic minorities in China, which make up about 1/3 of the province’s population. Of China’s 55 ethnic minorities, Yunnan is home to 51 and 25 of them exceed populations of 5,000.
The photos are from our visit to Jade Dragon Snow Mountain near Lijiang. Visitors wrote their wishes on these little wood plaques and hung them along the fences, trees, and pergolas. What you see represents a year’s worth of wishes. On Jan 1, these will be taken down and stored in the museum, in order to make room for another year’s worth of wishes, hopes, and dreams.
It’s a good time to announce my plans for Hungry Rabbit in 2012. I will add a travel section, as well as a New York section to my blog. These posts will go beyond desserts/baking, since both topics drive my creativity in making recipes.
Until I get these two sections up and running, I would like to offer you a cookie that I made for Cookie Swap in December. I made these prior to the trip but with Asia in mind. Coco-Mac with Pineapple Caramel is a union of East meets West–a buttery cookie of coconut and macadamia nut, compliment by the concentrated sweetness of pineapple.
As soon as I sort out and organize the hundreds of photos from the trip, I will tell tales.
Coco-Mac Cookies w Pineapple Caramel Filling
yield: 30-34 cookies
1/2 cup sweetened coconut
1/2 cup macadamia nuts
1 cup (8 ounces/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup (3-1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out dough
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1. Heat the oven to 350°. Place coconut and macadamia nuts on a baking pan, and toast until golden brown, about 7 minutes, stirring halfway through toasting. Transfer coconut and macadamia nuts to a cutting board, and finely chop. Place chopped coconut mixture in a bowl.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add vanilla, flour and salt; mix until just combined. Add coconut mixture and mix until incorporated.
3. Form the dough into a disk, and wrap in plastic. Transfer the dough to the refrigerator, and chill until firm, about 45 minutes.
4. Line three baking sheets with silpat or parchment paper. On a clean, lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a 1/4-inch thickness. Using a 2-1/4-inch fluted pastry cutter, cut out as many circles as you can from the dough (reroll if necessary). Place the circles, spaced 1 inch apart, on the lined baking sheets; chill dough 5 to 10 minutes.
6. Using a 3/4-inch-round cutter (or the end of a pastry tip), cut out the centers from half the circles.
7. Bake cookies until golden brown, about 12-14 minutes, rotating baking sheets halfway through baking time. Transfer cookies to a wire rack, and let cool completely. Store the shortbread in an airtight container at room temperature until ready to assemble the cookies.
1 can 20-1/2 ounces crushed pineapple, DO NOT drain
1/4 cup (1-3/4 ounces) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (2 ounces) light brown sugar, packed
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 cup heavy cream
1-1/2 tablespoons (3/4 ounce) unsalted butter, chilled
1. Combine pineapple/juice, sugars, cinnamon, ginger and salt in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat until mixture is dry and jam-like.Stir to avoid burning on the bottom of the pan.
2. Add heavy cream and stir to combine. Remove from heat and whisk in butter until fully incorporated.Transfer into a bowl and cool. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
1. Use an off-set spatula, spread a generous 1/2 teaspoon caramel on each of the cookies that have not been cut. Place a cut cookie circle on top of each caramel-covered one. Let the caramel set at least 2 hours or overnight, and store the assembled cookies in an airtight container up to 3 days.