On the eve of Thanksgiving.

I had a monster baking marathon today. For days I’ve been eyeing my oven, missing the scents that usually come out of it. I’ve been saving my energies for today: the eve of Thanksgiving. So first things first, the main dessert for tomorrow, Sweet potato Pie. I wanted to try something a bit new, not the old, albeit delicious, pumpkin or pecan pies.

I found a wonderful-sounding recipe online at She Simmers, but I’ll add it at the bottom of the page for convenience.

So boil the sweet potatoes. The recipe calls for two large ones, but I did three, just in case. But really, two is plenty.

While they boil, start the dough for the pie crust. Chop your pecans, add your flour, salt, spices, butter, etc. Make a nice mess.

Place it on your pie pan, in my case cheap aluminum ones, since my ridged plate broke long, long ago.

Stick it in the fridge for a bit and then bake it at 375 for about 15 minutes. Make sure you prick the dough before or put some dried beans on it so it doesn’t rise.

By now, the sweet potatoes should be done boiling. Carefully take them out of the pot and let them cool, or if you are reckless and impatient like I am, burn your hands lobster red.

Mix in all the ingredients for the filling. Add the butter last.

And bake!

Here she is, right out of the oven. She looks delicious.

By the way, I had tons of leftover filling, so I decided to share:

Well, the next item on my list was a rosemary herb bread. This is not finished yet, since I am letting it rise overnight and baking it fresh tomorrow morning, but I’ll put up the recipe and what I have so far.

Well, you know the deal with yeasted breads. Warm water, a bit of oil, pour the package of yeast in and let it rest. Then slowly add the sugar, salt, flour, and herbs.  When you have a consistency you like, start kneading.

Let it rise!

Doesn’t mine look adorable, like a baby swaddled up?

For the bread that’s it for today.

But on to the cookies. So, my mom saw these cookies in the last edition of Coastal Living and she HAD to have them, like, NOW. Two batches. Lots and lots of butter.

Mix butter, cream cheese, sugar.

Add flour and salt. Coconut extract, a touch of brandy (this was not in the original recipe, but why not?). Then chop the nuts, the recipe calls for macadamia, but my supermarket apparently has never heard of such a nut, so pecans it is!

Put the dough in the fridge for a bit, and then start placing the cookies on the baking sheets you have prepared.

And bake!

Here are all the recipes:

Sweet potato Pie

Crust:

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup finely-chopped pecans

1/2 cup cold butter (the original recipe calls for vegetable shortening)

1/4 cups ice-cold water, or as needed

In a food processor, pulse together all the dry ingredients and the butter into short bursts until the mixture forms pea-sized lumps. Add the water through the feed chute as you pulse until the mixture forms a stiff dough and pulls away from the sides of the food processor bowl. Form the dough into a 6-inch disk and wrap it in plastic; chill for one hour. The dough can be made in advance. It can be kept refrigerated for several days and even frozen.

Filling:

2 large sweet potatoes (about 1.5 lbs total), peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 large eggs, slightly beaten

1/4 cup condensed milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon melted butter

Pecan halves for decoration

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Roll the chilled pie dough into a 12-inch round and press into a 9-inch pie pan. Flute the edges. Bake for 10-15 minutes until the crust is set and beginning to brown slightly. Remove the pie pan from the oven and let it cool.
  3. Put the sweet potatoes into a medium pot and cover them with water by an inch. Bring to a boil. Boil slowly until the potatoes are tender with no absolutely no resistance at the center when pieced with a fork.
  4. Drain off the water and mash the potatoes with a potato masher. Do not use a potato ricer or food processor.
  5. As you mash the potatoes, add the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg; then whisk in the eggs, milk, and vanilla. The butter goes in last.
  6. Once the filling is well-mixed, pour it into the baked pie crust. Arrange pecan halves around the outside edges and sprinkle the top of the pie with more ground cinnamon. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the filling is set and the edges of the crust have browned.
  7. Serve the pie warm or at room temperature with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

 

Herb Bread:

1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons oil
3 1/2 cups flour
1 package dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon thyme (or herbs of your choice)

Heat water and oil to 120 F.
In a small bowl combine 1 yeast, salt and sugar.
Allow yeast to proof.
Add half of the flour and mix.
Gradually add remaining flour to form a stiff dough.
Knead until smooth about 5 minutes.
Place dough into a greased bowl, cover allow to rise for about 1 hour.
Punch down and reshape, allow dough to double in size.
Place on a baking sheet. Slash the top several times. Cover and allow to rise until double. Bake in preheated 375 for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and continue to bake for 20-25 more minutes.

And finally the cookies:

  • 1  cup  butter, softened
  • 4  ounces  cream cheese
  • 1  cup  sugar
  • 1  egg yolk
  • 1/2  teaspoon  coconut extract
  • 2 1/2  cups  all-purpose flour
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/2  cup  finely chopped toasted macadamia nuts
  • 1  tablespoon  lemon zest
  • 1 1/2  cups  powdered sugar

Preparation

1. Beat first 3 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add egg yolk, and beat until smooth. Stir in coconut extract.

2. Combine flour and salt; gradually add to butter mixture, beating just until blended. Stir in macadamia nuts and lemon zest.

3. Chill dough 30 minutes. Shape into 1-inch balls. Place 1 inch apart on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, and bake, in batches, at 350° for 15 minutes or until lightly browned on bottoms. Transfer to wire racks; let cool 2 minutes.

4. Place 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar in a bowl, and toss cookies to coat. Let cookies cool completely on wire racks. Toss in powdered sugar again, coating well.

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