Bored Cook In The Kitchen

Tried and true recipes, new twists on old favorites, and new dishes to expand my family's palate.

Tag Archives: Dough

Carmella’s Cookies

When I was a little girl we sometimes went over to Carmella’s house to visit.  Carmella was the sister of my mother’s friend.  Whenever we visited, Carmella always had these cookies on a covered plate on her dining room table.  I would wait patiently for her to grab the plate and ask me, “Would you like one?”  The answer was always yes, and I’m sure she knew it always would be. 

These cookies probably have a hundred different names, but no matter what you call them they are delicious.  I don’t make them often because to me they are a special cookie.  In fact, it’s been a few years since I have made them.  They are cake-like, light yet rich, not too sweet, and just perfect.  Not to mention they are so simple to make, and one recipe yields a ton of these little suckers. 

Start by mixing up your dough.  I use the Kitchen Aid mixer and not the hand-held for this one.  It’s a stiff dough to mix up, and the power of the Kitchen Aid handles it best.

Once the dough is mixed it will be stretchy, not sticky.  Begin grabbing teaspoon sized pieces of dough and rolling them into approximately 1″ size balls.  Place them on an un-greased cookie sheet.  You can space these pretty close together since they are not going to spread, but they will puff up.  I got about 20 of them on this cookie sheet.

 Place them in a pre-heated 350 degree oven and watch them.  These took me about 10 to 12 minutes to finish.  You want them still light-colored  on the top and a light golden brown on the bottom.  These are perfect.  Don’t mind the cracks.  That’s normal for these cookies, and when you glaze them, you are not going to see it anyway.

Set the cookies out on wire racks to cool.  Once cool mix up your glaze.  Your are looking for a consistency like thick, warm syrup.  Dip each cookie into the glaze and swirl it around. 

After dipping, place the cookies on a wire rack with some aluminum foil or wax paper underneath to catch any drips.  Before the icing dries, shake on some sprinkles.  Even if I made these for Christmas, I always use the rainbow-colored nonpareils.  Just call me weird. 

Let them dry and then place them in an airtight container.  Then try not to eat ten of them in one sitting, and yell at your children and their friends when they come over and start stealing your cookies!

CARMELLA’S COOKIES:

  • 1 Cup (2 Sticks) Unsalted Butter at room temperature
  • 2 1/4 Cups Sugar
  • 6 Large Eggs
  • 4 tsps. Anise, Vanilla OR Almond Extract
  • 6 Cups All Purpose Flour Sifted
  • 6 tsps. Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt

GLAZE:

  • 3 Cups Powdered Sugar, Sifted
  • 2-3 Tbsp. Milk
  • 1/2 tsp. Almond Extract **Optional**

Wait until you are just ready to glaze the cookies before mixing up the glaze ingredients.  Begin with your powdered sugar in a large bowl and add in 2 Tbsp. of milk.  Stir well.  You are looking for a thick and warm syrup consistency.  If you need to add milk, do so by adding it in 1/2 Tbsp. increments until you reach the desired thickness.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream together the butter and sugar.  After well blended, add in the eggs one at a time, followed by the extract of your choice.   In a large bowl mix together by hand the sifted flour, baking powder and salt.  Begin adding this to the egg mixture one cup at a time, blending well before adding the next cup. 

Once your dough is completely mixed together, begin pulling off teaspoon size amounts and rolling them into balls.  Place each ball on an ungreased cookie sheet.  You only need about an 1 1/2″ between each cookie.   They won’t really spread, but they will puff up higher.  I am able to get 20 on a standard size cookie sheet.

Bake for anywhere between 10 – 12 minutes, watching cookies closely once you get to the 8 minute mark.   The tops will remain light-colored, but you are looking for a light golden color on the bottoms.

Allow to cool and then mix up your glaze.  Line your surface with some aluminum foil or wax paper, and place your cooling racks on top.  Dip each cookie into the glaze, swirling as you lift it out.  Place each cookie on the wire rack for the icing to cool and harden.  Before glaze hardens, top with sprinkles or colored sugars.   Allow to fully cool and place in an airtight container.  Enjoy!

NOTES:  This original recipe called for 6 egg whites.  Years ago I decided I was going to try these with 6 whole eggs.  The result was EXACTLY the same.  Poor Carmella probably had to find other ways to use those 6 egg yolks all those years, when she could have just been throwing in the whole egg.

The original recipe called for Anise flavoring, but I’m not a real fan of  Anise.  Although, even in these cookies I like them.  But I’ve used Vanilla and Almond extracts since then, and they always come out great.

Don’t be concerned with the tops of the cookies cracking once they are baked.  That’s normal and won’t effect the cookie at all.

Recipe will yield 60 – 70 cookies.

 

 

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Calzone

Sorry for the crappy, blurry, close-up shot.  I was rushing to get this on the table and down the throats of my children and my husband for dinner tonight. 

Tonight was a super easy night of cooking for me.   I had purchased some bulk Italian Sausage I was planning to make sauce with, and decided instead to change things up.  Instead I decided on making a calzone.  I knew it would be fast, easy and something different for a change.   I should tell you right off the bat, the pizza dough was not made from scratch.  I have done it in the past and it’s been okay, but my own personal results with it have never been anything to sing about it.  Personally, I’m not really a dough-making-kind-of-gal.  I believe that to truly work dough well you have to possess a talent for it.  I don’t possess that talent.  My grandmother had that talent.  I know several friends that have that talent.  Me?  Not so much.  Not at all really.  So when dough is involved I tend to take the easiest path possible.  Either make it from scratch if it’s a dough recipe of some kind that is fool-proof.  Or buy it already made.  When I make my Chicken Pot Pie, I make it with pre-made pie dough.  And when I make my pizza, calzones or stromboli…you guessed it…I make it with pre-made dough.

This dough came from our favorite pizza place around the corner.  Their dough is fantastic and they will sell you a pound of it for $2.50.  Why mess around when I already have a great start?  That’s my thought, anyway.  If you are one of those wonderful dough working folks, go for it and use your own.  If not, don’t feel guilty buying a good dough.  The only pizza dough I won’t use is that stuff that comes out of a can.  Not that I’m too “above” using anything pre-made out of a can.  Not at all.  The reason I won’t use the canned pizza dough is because a great pizza dough is already accessible to me and to most other people.  Did you guys know that pizza places will actually sell you a pound of dough if you ask?  Try it sometime.  More often than not, they will!

CALZONE:

  • 1 Lb. Pizza Dough (either freshly made or pre-made)
  • 1 1/2 Lbs. Bulk (loose) Italian Sausage (Hot or Sweet)
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper
  • 1 Medium Onion
  • 1 tsp. Italian Seasoning Blend
  • 1/2 Lb. Shredded Mozzarella
  • 1 Egg
  • Pepper to taste

Heat oven to 450 degrees.

In a large pan, break up and brown the sausage.  While the sausage is browning, dice up the red bell pepper and the onion and set off to the side. 

When the sausage has browned, remove it to a plate with paper towels and drain off the excess fat.  Using the same pan you just browned off the sausage in, remove some of the excess fat, but leave about a teaspoon in the bottom.  Add the onions and red bell pepper and sauté until just tender.  Add the pepper and italian seasonings and remove from the heat. 

Stir together the sausage with the red pepper and onion mixture and set it to the side.

Lightly flour your working surface and begin rolling out your pizza dough.  You want it 15″ L x 12″ W. 

Once you rolled out your dough, dump in the sausage, pepper, onion mixture and spread it out, leaving about 1″ on either side and 2″-3″ on the top and bottom.  Then sprinkle the shredded mozzarella all over the top of the sausage mixture. 

Then pull the top flap of dough over the sausage mixture and join it at the bottom.   Pinch the ends of the dough together on all sides and fold them up and tuck them in nice and tight.

Spray a baking sheet lightly with cooking spray and place your nicely folded calzone on top.  As you can see from my picture I had to place it diagonally across the sheet as it was too long to fit any other way.  Take your egg, crack it into a small bowl and whisk it up.  With a pastry brush, brush it all over the outside of the dough, making sure to get into each and every crevice you can find.  This will make the outside of the dough brown beautifully and give it a beautiful shine.  

Place this in the oven on the bottom rack and allow it to cook for a good 15 to 20 minutes, or until the outside is a beautiful golden brown.  Once you hit the 15 minute mark, you want to keep your eye on it.  It can go from beautifully brown, to horribly burnt very quickly at this point.  This particular calzone took just under 20 minutes to reach that perfect point.

 

Gorgeous!  Look at that crust.  I could just pull off all the ends and just eat them and nothing else. 

 

Once you remove it from the oven, place it on your cutting board and allow it to sit and just hang out for about 15 minutes.  You don’t want to cut into this puppy right away or you will end up with a gooey mess all over.  Once you have let it rest, just slice it as thin or thick as you want with a bread knife and stuff huge amounts of it in your throat.  Sometimes, I serve this with some Marinara Sauce on the side for dipping.  Sometimes, like tonight, I don’t. 

This is such an easy and versatile recipe.  I use this a lot if I’m cleaning out my fridge.  There are so many varieties of fillings you can use. 

  • Sliced steak, onions and provolone cheese
  • Diced ham, peppers, onions and cheese
  • Diced chicken, broccoli, and cheddar cheese
  • Browned ground meat, cheddar cheese and sautéed onions

Anything you have left over you can stuff into a pizza crust, sprinkle on some cheese, bake it off and have a great meal.

Normally a calzone contains ricotta cheese.  I’m not overly thrilled with ricotta cheese in my calzones, unless I’m making one with ham, ricotta, and mozzarella.  But the rest of the varieties I make don’t contain ricotta.  Of course, if you love it, throw some in.

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