Four Clan Kitchen

What we eat everyday

Archive for March, 2011

Dutch Caramel Sugar Cookies (Koggetjes)

Posted by fourclankitchen on March 26, 2011

These Dutch drop cookies  (koggetjes, koekjes: little cake) look ordinary, but their taste is out of this world.  Their outstanding flavor derives from caramelizing half the sugar first, as you would if you were making flan. This transforms these sugar cookies to a most wonderful dessert for adults.

Dutch Koggetjes (adapted from the Best of Sunset Cooking)


3/4 cup butter at room temperature (really, it must be at room temperature)

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup caramelized sugar (recipe follows)

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp baking powder

2 tbs. water


1. Caramelize sugar

A. Butter a 12×12 inch piece of foil.

B. Place half cup sugar into a 8″ sauce pan on medium heat.

C. Stir the sugar or shake the pan on off until all of the sugar melts and develops an amber color.

D. Working quickly, pour the liquid onto the foil so that a thin layer of caramel sugar forms.

E. Allow the sugar to cool for a bit, then peel it off the foil and break into little pieces.

F. Place in a food processor and grind to a fine powder.  You now have caramel sugar.

2. Make the cookies:

A. Preheat oven to 325˚F.

B. Beat the butter, 1/2 cup sugar, water and vanilla till fluffy (I used a food processor, but a mixer might be better).

C. In a separate bowl, combine flour and baking powder.

D.  Add to the butter mix along with the caramel sugar. Mix thoroughly.

E. Drop by spoonfuls- 2″ apart  onto buttered or parchment-lined baking sheets.

F. Bake 12-15 min (add a few more min if using parchment).

G. Allow cookies to cool for a min or so on the baking sheet before removing.

H. Cool completely and serve with tea (I got 2 doz. cookies out of this recipe, although the recipe said 3 doz).

Posted in baked, Dessert, Vegetarian | Tagged: , , , , , | 9 Comments »

Lemon Ricotta Almond Cake

Posted by fourclankitchen on March 20, 2011

I am on an almond kick and came across this very simple recipe on the Trader Joe’s website.  I love simple desserts and this just spoke to me.  It has no flour and no butter: the fat comes entirely from the almond meal and the ricotta cheese.  So the only really bad for you ingredient in this recipe is the cup of sugar.  Still, if you cut the cake into 10 pieces, the calorie count per piece is considerably less than for most cakes.  So its worth having in your repertoire for when you want to feel righteous about eating dessert and want to spend only 10 min preparing it.
A couple of caveats: This cake doesn’t really rise a whole lot and is more like a pudding  or a spoon cake.  Some people don’t like that texture, but I do.

Lemon Almond Ricotta Cake (Adapted only slightly from Trader Joe’s)
2 cups Almond Meal (finely crush 2 cups slivered unblanched almonds if you don’t have almond meal)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 15-oz tub (2 cups) fresh ricotta (low fat is fine)
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lemon (about 3 Tbsp)-
1 tsp almond extract  (could probably omit this, the cake was plenty almondy)
1 tsp lemon extract (optional)

1.)    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2.)    In a large bowl, combine almond meal, baking powder, and salt.
3.)    In a medium bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and mix well.
4.)    Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir well until smooth.
5.)    Pour mixture into buttered 9-inch springform pan.  Bake 50-65 minutes until the cake is golden and set in the middle  (i.e. it does not jiggle). Mine took 65 min.
6.)    Cool cake completely and chill before serving.  The cake is pretty moist and its flavor is actually better the next day.

Posted in baked, Breakfast, Brunch, Dessert | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Chermoula (Moroccan cilantro pesto)

Posted by fourclankitchen on March 12, 2011

I count Moroccan food among the 10 great cuisines of the world.  I also love dips made out of fresh leafy greens.  So when I hear about Moroccan chermoula (a parsely-cilantro pesto of sorts), I had to try it.  This recipe was a consequence of web surfing and taken from a video posted by the chef of Tagine Dining Gallery in NY.  The chef, Hamid Idrissi, recommends eating this chermoula with steamed fish or  carrots.  I can vouch for chermoula and steamed carrots: they are absolutely marvelous.  I have also made chermoula by grinding carrots into it (this was  lovely).  I bet it would be great with any flat bread.  Finally, today was one of our first warm days.  So we had cold pasta with steamed vegetables and chermoula.  I have posted a photo below, but really no recipe is needed.  Just throw in whatever vegetables you have and dress the pasta with the chermoula and pine nuts.


6-7 cloves garlic

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 tbs. cumin

1/2 bunch parsley (about 3/4 cup)

1 large bunch of cilantro (about 1 cup)

Juice of 1 lemon juice (about 1 tbs)

2 tbs. white vinegar

1 tbs. olive oil

Salt to taste


Put all the ingredients in a food processor or blender.  Pulse till a pesto like paste forms.  Taste and adjust the salt and lemon.  You are good to go.

Posted in Brunch, Main Dishes, middle eastern, vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Walnut-cardamom Viennese crescent cookies

Posted by fourclankitchen on March 5, 2011

These cookies are  Christmas fare in Austria and also in our family .  They are very delicate-tasting  and by some accounts, precursors to the Russian tea cake or Mexican wedding cake.  In my opinion though,  they are better than their cousins.  I think the cardamom is what pushes them over the top and makes them as comfortable at Christmas or after a big Indian meal.  Also, they take about 2 min to put together in a food processor.  The recipe is taken without modifications from “Cookies and Biscotti” by Christine Kidd, a  lovely collection of cookies.


1/4 cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup shelled walnuts
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut in to 1/2-inch pieces
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom (preferably fresh ground)
1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/8 teaspoon salt

A few tbs. of confectioner’s sugar


1. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Combine all  ingredients (except the confectioner’s sugar)  in a food processor. Pulse until the dough begins to come together  Gather up the dough into a smooth ball.
2. Divide the dough into 24 equal balls and roll into a rope with tapered ends.   Arrange these in a crescent shape on an ungreased baking sheet, 1 inch apart. Bake until firm to touch, about 18 to 20 minutes.  You will need to do these in 2 batches for most ovens.
3. When the cookies are done, let them cool in the pan for 5 minutes.

4. Put a couple tablespoons of confectioner’s sugar into a tea strainer and sift  over cookies till they are completely covered. Do this before the cookies are completely cooled.

5. Cool cookies for at least 15 more minutes. The cookies may be stored in an airtight container up to 5 days.

Posted in baked, Dessert | Tagged: , , , , , | 5 Comments »

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