Shamrock Cookies

Just in time for St Paddy's Day, here's a recipe for shamrock cookies (aka regular sugar cookies shaped & dyed like shamrocks). I'm in the US just now, so this is a short one, but basically, these cookies, though cute, are so temperamental. The dough didn't firm up enough to really slice through it cleanly, even with my sharpest knife, so the first ones I made had leaves shaped like ovals. Then I started forming the dough into balls and flattening them with the bottom of a glass, but they stuck so badly to the glass that those ones ended up ragged on top. Finally I came up with the idea of forming the dough into three small balls, placing them next to each other and baking like that, which was fine but it yielded a very cakey cookie that went from undercooked to burnt in the time it took me to put on my oven mitt so I could get the pan out of the oven. They reminded me a lot of these, actually.

The verdict:

3 spoons out of five. Adorable! But not very practical, unless you are having a St Patrick's Day party, in which case I would totally make these. I hear green beer washes them down just swell.


three years ago: French Pudding

the recipe:

Shamrock Cookies

the directions:

Stir together flour, salt and baking soda, then set aside.
In another bowl, mix shortening, sugar, egg and vanilla.
Blend flour mixture into shortening mixture, adding enough food colouring to tint the dough green about halfway through.
Divide dough in half and roll each half into a log about 1-inch wide and 10-inches long.
Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and chill at least one hour or up to overnight.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 200C/400F.
With your sharpest knife, slice 1/8-inch slices and place slices just touching on an ungreased baking sheet.
Use the remnant dough from each end to make stems for the shamrocks.
(If your knife, like mine, is not sharp enough to slice cleanly through the cookie dough, you can roll small teaspoons of dough into balls and arrange them as above. This will yield a puffier, cakier cookie).

the ingredients:

1 ½ c (180g) flour
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp baking soda
½ c (110g) Stork (shortening in the US)
½ c (100g) sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
Green food dye

Classic Apple Pie


I don't know who Genevieve Riordan was, but apparently she was a good enough cook to be featured in a Craig Claiborne New York Times cookbook back in the 1960s, and from what I've been able to find on the internet, it seems she was just a woman who owned a pie stand somewhere between New York City and wherever Claiborne's beach house was located. Honestly, it's a simple recipe with a classic apple pie flavour, but the classics are classics for a reason, right?*

Because this recipe is pretty simple (I mean, as simple as any apple pie recipe can be- you still have to peel and slice a load of apples, but there's no parcooking, no prebaking the crust, and no watery filling to contend with at the end), I opted to go fancy with my crust, making a plaited decoration that took me ages to finish but was really fun to do.

If you're looking for a more traditional alternative for your pi(e) day celebration this week than the sugary wonder I presented to you last week, this is your pie. Make it and enjoy by itself, warm with ice cream, or, as Eleanor's family always did, with a slice of cheddar cheese. Happy pi day!


*On an episode of The Great British Bake Off focused on American bakes, a food historian was interviewed who posited that when British soldiers in World War II were asked why they fought, they claimed 'King and country' as their motivation, but when American soldiers were asked the same question, their response was 'mom and apple pie.' I feel like maybe Americans need to broaden our mindsets a little?


The verdict:

5 spoons out of five. Slice those apples as thin as you can and your finished pie will be dense with apple flavour and toasty cinnamon.

one year ago: Mocha Cake with Caramel Frosting
two years ago: Honey Chocolate Cake
three years ago: Dressed-Up Tomato Soup

the recipe:

Classic Apple Pie

the directions:

Make your pastry according to directions, then divide in half.
Roll out one half of dough and line a 9-inch pie plate.
Refrigerate the remaining dough until needed.
Fill a large mixing bowl halfway with very cold water and set aside.
Peel and core the apples, then chop them into quarters and slice lengthwise as thinly as possible.
As you work, put sliced apples into cold water to keep them from browning.
Once all apples are sliced, drain the water, add ½ c sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Stir well, then set aside.
Preheat oven to 200C/400F.
Blend the flour with remaining sugar, then sprinkle over the bottom crust of the pie, rotating pie pan to coat dough evenly.
Pour apples into prepared pan, then dot with butter and sprinkle lemon over.
Roll out the second half of the crust, wet the rim of the bottom crust and lay top crust over the whole thing.
Press any air bubbles out, then seal the edges to avoid leaks.
Use a sharp knife to slice vents into the top crust, then bake 25-30 minutes until golden brown and fragrant.

Chocolate Crust Butterscotch Pie


Pi(e) day is next week, which is a silly American non-holiday invented by maths teachers to promote knowledge of the number pi (get it? Because the date is 03/14?). You can really only celebrate it in the US because literally everywhere else in the world writes dates as day/month/year rather than the US way, but any excuse to make pie is a valid reason to celebrate in my book.

This year I'm bringing you two pie recipes, first this Chocolate-Crust Butterscotch Masterpiece and next week... well, that one will be a surprise. This pie, which requires butterscotch chips, marshmallow crème, chocolate chips and graham cracker crumbs... all America-specific ingredients. So here is where I sourced my substitutes: butterscotch chips sent to me when I begged an American friend to mail me some, marshmallow crème from the foreign section of Waitrose (I bought their entire stock!), chocolate chips from Lupe Pinto's Mexican grocery store and Rich Tea biscuit crumbs.


This pie is really good, but it is so rich. You know how a normal pie is like 8 generous servings or 10-12 tiny ones if it's something richer like cheesecake? If you can slice it thin enough, I think you could easily get 16 slices out of this pie because although delicious, a little goes a long way. I mean, look at the ingredient list: chocolate, butterscotch, marshmallow, cookies and brown sugar? It's sweet. But it's also really delicious, the butterscotch flavour comes through strongly and this is my new favourite chocolate crust that I'm making with all cheesecakes from now on because oh, man, the crust alone is worth making this recipe even if you just fill it with pudding or whipped cream or... eat it plain.

Next time I make it (and there WILL be a next time), I'm going to make it in tiny tart pans, which I think will be perfectly-sized and adorable. Make this for your favourite sweet tooth, or use it to teach a kid what pi is. They'll love it.

The verdict:

Four spoons out of five. I loved it enough to give it five, but I think the sweet overload is going to put some people off so I'm knocking off a spoon as a caution flag.

Click here for previous pies both sweet and savoury!

One year ago: Mocha cake with caramel frosting
two years ago: walnut butter cookies
three years ago: chocolate key lime pie

the recipe:

Chocolate Crust Butterscotch Pie

the directions:

Melt chocolate and butter in a double boiler or in very short bursts in the microwave.
Stir in crumbs and brown sugar and mix well.
Pat into bottom of 9-inch pie pan.
Wait 5 minutes until chocolate has just started to set, then press mixture up the sides of the pie plate (if you try to do so immediately, it won't stay on the sides of the dish).


Melt butterscotch chips.
Once completely melted, add salt and stir until smooth.
Remove from heat and stir in marshmallow crème.
Allow to cool for 15 minutes while you whip the cream.
Whip cream until soft peaks form, then fold into cooled butterscotch mixture until smooth.
Pour into prepared crust and refrigerate at least 3 hours or up to overnight.

the ingredients:
the crust:

1 c (170g) unsweetened chocolate
1/3 c (75g) butter
1 c (85g) Rich Tea biscuit crumbs or graham cracker crumbs
¼ c (50g) brown sugar, firmly packed

the filling:

1 c (170g) butterscotch morsels
¼ tsp salt
2 c (160g) marshmallow crème
1 1/8 c (270ml) whipping cream