Strawberry Lemongrass Linzer Cookies

This blog post is dedicated to fiercely protecting the things in life that make you feel fulfilled and light.  Like these Strawberry Lemongrass Linzer Cookies!

Do what you love.

I think this is a statement that both motivates and plagues millennials.  We’re prompted to find a job we’re passionate about, because we’ll be plugging every waking hour into it. There is little to no “clocking off.” Nothing is ever as finished or as polished as it could be if you just spent more time with it.  Working in digital media, work duties extend to the weekend and after-hours at home. 

I had this on my mind recently, as I was tasked with putting together a staff bio for myself at the agency where I work.  Before even beginning the process, I had the sinking feeling that everything that makes me “me” has been fading away. 

It’s difficult to balance a relationship and friendships on my current schedule, let alone pursue the silly and fun extra things that have contributed to forming the unique individual who was drawn to the energy of New York almost three years ago.  

I’ve found that it’s important to understand the distinction that doing what I love as a career won’t necessarily make me feel fulfilled, even if it is a key part of the equation.  The fun side projects and shenanigans are just as important for well-rounded contentment.  

My big New Year gift to myself will be truly carving out time for one or two things that are just for me… like updating this blog, which I haven’t done since October! 

These Linzer Cookies are laden with sweet Brins Strawberry Lemongrass Jam and have a crumbly-yet-chewy consistency that only gets better as the cookies age. I adapted this recipe from a King Arthur Flour recipe that includes both AP flour and almond flour. 

These little cookies pack a fruity punch. I suggest adding orange zest to the dough for an even more flavorful cookie. 

Scroll down for the recipe! 

Strawberry Lemongrass Linzer Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup AP flour
  • 3/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup Brins Strawberry Lemongrass jam

Instructions:

  1. In a stand mixer, beat the butter, sugar, and cinnamon until light and fluffy.
  2. Incorporate egg yolk and vanilla, and beat until combined
  3. Whisk together flour, almond flour, and salt.  Slowly incorporate the flour mixture into the whipped butter mixture.
  4. Form dough into a disk and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Chill for 1 hour.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  6. Roll out dough until about 1/4″ thick. Cut into circle shapes. Using a smaller flower-shaped cookie cutter, cut flower windows in half of the circles. 
  7.  Bake for 10 minutes, or until the edges are slightly brown. 
  8. Let cool.  Once cool, dollop some jam onto the cookies and sandwich with the flower halves.  They taste great immediately, but taste even better if you let them sit for a few hours.  Give the jam some time to soak into the cookie!

 

 

Balsamic Berry Pavlova

With the first day of summer upon us, I can feel the pastry potential humming in the balmy New York air.  Are you ready to try something new in the kitchen?  Challenge yourself to create the feathery beauty of a pavlova.

The pavlova cake dates back to the early 1900’s, when Russian ballerina and choreographer Anna Pavlova began touring America, Europe, and the UK.  In 1911, she founded her own ballet company that was the first to tour ballet around the world.  Notice the parallels to her graceful dancer form in the soaring, fluffy pavlova dessert.  Her tutu truly looks like a billowing round of meringue cake!

The strength of the pavlova’s meringue base, coupled with its sweet strawberry topping lends itself to the same complex beauty of the powerful ballet dancers that wear airy, silky tutus.

If you manage to make this cake, you’ll feel pretty glorious and get this blissful look in your eye.  The process can be intimidating, but if you start practicing now, you can only improve.  Even prima ballerinas have to start somewhere!  In the case that you over-whip your meringue, you’ll still be left with a delicious dessert of whipped cream and balsamic berries.

There are many parallels between the pavlova form and the moves of a ballet dancer.  Arrange a loose, wide meringue, like this move, or mound the meringue tall and tight, as if it were a dancer pulling her arms in tight for a spin.

Scroll down for the recipe!  Unleash your inner baker-ballerina.  Bakerina, if you will.

Balsamic Berry Pavlova (originally seen in the New York Times)

For the Meringue

Ingredients:

  • 4 egg whites
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 ¼ cups superfine sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon white-wine vinegar
  • A few drops vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and draw a circle on the paper using an 8- or 9- inch cake pan as a guide. Flip the parchment over so the pencil marking is facing down (this ensures that the pencil won’t transfer to the meringue).
  3. In bowl of an electric mixer, combine egg whites and salt. Begin beating at low speed, slowly increasing to high. Continue until satiny peaks begin to form; gradually beat in sugar a tablespoon at a time until meringue is stiff and shiny.
  4. Sprinkle in cornstarch, white-wine vinegar and vanilla, and fold in gently.
  5. Mound onto parchment within circle, and shape into a disk, flattening top and smoothing sides.
  6. Place in oven, and immediately reduce heat to 300 degrees. Bake 1 hour 15 minutes. Turn off heat, and allow meringue to cool completely in oven.

For the Topping

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound strawberries, hulled and halved or quartered
  • ½ teaspoon high-quality vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon high-quality balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons superfine sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream

Instructions:

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine strawberries, vanilla, balsamic vinegar and sugar.
  2. Cover with plastic wrap. Let sit at room temperature at least 15 minutes and up to 2 hours.
  3. Whip cream until it is thick enough to hold peaks.

To Assemble: 

Carefully peel off parchment and place meringue on a platter or cake stand. Gently crack the top with the back of a soup spoon to make a shallow nest for the whipped cream and berries. Spoon cream evenly over meringue. Cover cream with strawberries, allowing a small amount of their liquid to dribble onto cream. Serve immediately.