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Chewy Oatmeal and Raisin Cookies

This is a recipe that I saw on Smitten Kitchen and decided to try it out. I have been making quite a few batches for family and friends ever since. I made a few changes, but very minimal.
Photography by Robert Demetrius

We were heading on a road trip with a group of friends and knowing that they all had a sweet tooth, I decided to surprise them the perfect treat. What could be better than gloriously large, thick, sweet and chewy oatmeal and raisin cookies?
I prefer to use salted butter when baking, although my Omi swore by sweet butter. Please feel free to change to sweet butter if you wish. They will be delicious no matter which one is used.

Golden raisins were used since they have a softer texture, taste and are also sweeter and juicier than regular raisins.

This dough can be prepared the day before. I decided to make the dough and left it overnight, covered in the fridge for 12 hours. I placed the dough in plastic food wrap and left it in a bowl till the next morning.

You will need:
(Printable Recipe)
½ cup salted butter, softened (4 ounces)
2/3 cups of dark brown sugar
1 jumbo egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
1½ cups rolled oats
¾ cup of golden raisins

Pre-heat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit.

In a bowl, mix together ¾ cup all-purpose flour, ½ teaspoon baking soda, ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon and ¼ teaspoon salt.
Mixture of Butter, Sugar, Egg, Vanilla Extract, Flour, Baking Soda, Cinnamon and Salt
Beat the butter and sugar until creamy then add 1 jumbo egg and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Continue to beat until smooth and creamy. Then add the dried ingredients incorporating them together, then add 1½ cups rolled oats and ¾ cup of golden raisins.
Dough with Oats and Raisins
Once the dough is done, leave in the fridge until it is well chilled. You can however make it the night before and leave it in the fridge overnight and bake the cookies first thing in the morning, which I usually end up doing.

Because I used a large ice cream scoop, I knew the cookies were going to expand, so it’s best to place them about 1½ - 2 inches apart. You will need two trays to bake the cookies.

One tray will be on the top and the other on the bottom shelf. The first shelf should be around 8 inches away from the top inner part of the oven.

At around 8 minutes, swap the top and the bottom baking sheets around.

After another 2½ minutes, turn off the oven and leave the cookies in the hot oven for another minute and a half before taking them out.
Once the cookies have been removed from the oven, leave them to cool on the tray for 6 minutes because they will still be very soft.
Cookies Ready to be Enjoyed!
Makes 15 large cookies. Voilà. These cookies can be enjoyed with a glass of milk, a cup of tea or coffee.


Quiche Lorraine

This is such a wonderful way to start off the perfect weekend breakfast. A flaky crust filled with a creamy, cheesy custard filling with bacon bits, a glass of orange juice and fresh fruit on the side with a steaming cup of coffee. What a delicious way to start your morning.
Photography by Robert Demetrius

You will need:
Pâte Brisée or one store bought ready-to-bake rolled pie crust
4 slices thick cut smoked bacon, cut in ¼ inch slices (8 ounces)
⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon pepper
1 cup grated Gruyère
2 eggs + 2 yolks
1 cup whole milk
½ cup heavy cream

If using the Pâte Brisée recipe, just use half the ingredients, as you will only need one crust.  Once you have made the dough and it has been in the fridge for an hour, remove and allow to rest at room temperature for about 5 – 10 minutes. This will allow the dough to soften a bit and it will be easier to roll.
Dough Ready to be Rolled
Pre-heat the oven to 400° Fahrenheit. While the oven is warming up, unwrap the dough and place on a lightly floured surface and also dust the top of the dough with flour. 
Rolling Out Dough
Roll out the dough, starting from the center to a 12inch circle. The dough should be around ⅛ inch thick.
Rolled Dough Ready to be Placed in the Dish
Gently Rolling Pastry on Rolling Pin
Lightly butter a 9inch pie dish, then gently roll the pastry on the rolling pin before unrolling over the baking dish. Press the dough gently into the dish as well as around the edges. 
Pressing Dough onto Dish
Cut the excess dough from the edges. Make sure the edge of the dish is well covered with dough, because it may shrink a bit during baking. If you have any tears in the pastry, use some of the excess dough to patch them together.
Flattening Pastry with Fork
Using a fork, lightly prick a few holes in pastry. This will prevent the crust from rising and bubbling up when baking. This has happened to me in the past, even though I used weights while baking. Then, using the tines of the same fork, flatten the pastry evenly on the rim of the dish.
Pastry Flatten on the Rim
Cover the pastry with aluminum foil and weight with beans, rice or with weights. I usually use rice. 
Covering Pastry with Aluminum Foil, Weighted with Rice
Bake the crust for 18 minutes. Once baked, remove the weights and aluminum foil in one swoop, by just lifting the aluminum foil, by the edges with the weights. Place the dish back in the oven to allow the crust to dry out a bit and get golden brown for another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a cooling rack.
Baked Crust
Once the crust has cooled, heat a skillet over medium high heat. 
Bacon cut in 1/4 inch slices
Cut 4 slices thick cut smoked bacon in ¼ inch slices. Toss the bacon slices in the heated skillet and allow the fat to render and the bacon gets crispy. This can take 4 – 5 minutes. When crispy, remove from skillet and place on paper towel lined plate to absorb any excess fat.
Bacon Bits 
Pre-heat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit.
Grated Gruyere
Grate 1 cup Gruyère.

Eggs, Egg Yolk, Salt, Pepper, Nutmeg, Whole Milk and Heavy Cream
In a large bowl, whisk together 2 whole eggs and 2 yolks, ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg, ¼ teaspoon salt, ⅛ teaspoon pepper, 1 cup whole milk and ½ cup heavy cream.
Adding to Egg Mixture, Cheese and Bacon Bits
I then add the cheese and the bacon bits and mix together before pouring into the cooled crust.
Covering Edges with Aluminum Foil
Cover the edges of the crust with aluminum foil. Bake the quiche for about 25 minutes before removing the foil from the edges and bake for 5 more minutes before taking the quiche out of the oven.

To test the quiche, stick a knife or a bamboo stick in the middle and if it comes out dry, then it’s done. If it still jiggles a little bit, don’t worry. It will set by the time it is cooled. Let cool and serve at room temperature.

A Slice of Quiche Lorraine with Baby Greens Tossed with Vinaigrette
This serves 6. Voilà. A slice of quiche with baby greens tossed with vinaigrette and a glass of sauvignon blanc can also be served as light lunch or supper.  Enjoy!


Pâte Brisée

Adapted by Martha Stewart

Pâte Brisée is a basic pie crust. This recipe makes two 8 to 10 inch pie crusts. I like using this recipe for savory tarts.
Photography by Heaven on Hearth

You will need:

Printable Recipe

2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
½ pound cold unsalted butter cut in quarters, then into ½ inch pieces (2 sticks)
¼ cup ice-cold water (4 tablespoons)
For this recipe, it is imperative that the butter is very cold. The water should be ice cold as well, so the best thing to do is to add ice cubes to the water before using.
Cold Butter in Small Pieces
I usually cut the butter into pieces then lay them on a tray and place in the freezer for about 20 minutes, just to make sure that the butter is cold.
In a bowl, add 2½ cups all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon granulated sugar mixing them well together. Add the butter pieces little by little and using a pastry mixer, crush the ingredients together until the mixture resembles a course meal.
Course Meal
Then add water, one tablespoon at a time. Test the dough, making sure it’s still crumbly. When you press it together it should stick together, then you know the dough is ready.
Meal with Water, Ready to be Formed in a Ball
Pour the crumbly mixture onto a flat surface, then press the dough together into the shape of a ball, do not over knead. Once finished, wrap in plastic food wrap and chill for at least an hour before using.
Pâte Brisée
For a crust that will be filled with a custard type filling, partially bake for 10–15 minutes at 400° Fahrenheit before adding the filling so that the bottom does not get soggy. This of course depends on your oven.
If you are partially baking your pie crust, spray or lightly butter the dish. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry, about 1/8 inch thick. Place the pastry in the baking dish, tart pan or pie dish. I like to have the edges of the dish covered with pastry. Then cover the pastry with aluminum foil and weight with beans, rice or with weights. When the edges of the pastry start getting a light golden color, remove the foil and continue to bake until the pastry dries out. Let the pastry cool completely on a wire rack before filling.
Voilà. Make your glorious pies, either savory or sweet. Enjoy!

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