We live in a time where it’s possible to simply speak into the air in your kitchen and ask for a recipe, when blogs and Pinterest and TikTok, let alone cookbooks galore, offer up an infinite supply of recipes. It’s no surprise then, that sometimes all you want is someone to tell you what to make. Especially if it’s a recipe that comes from someone you know and love.
Today we have some very special (and sweet!) recipes from two tastemakers in Louisville’s culinary scene, and one of my own personal favorites.
Lindsey Johnson of Lush Life Productions and Bar Expo, 114 W. Main St., is sharing her grandmother’s recipe for rainbow cookies. Inspired by cookies found at Italian bakeries in Long Island where Johnson is from, these treats helped her get through the early pandemic quarantine days.
“The amount of work that goes into just one batch was more than I expected,” she told the Courier Journal. “But, I have to say, they turned out so well!”
Kathy Aphaivongs of All Thai’d Up, 211 S. 5th St., is offering up her great Aunt May’s Kentucky State Fair-winning chocolate meringue pie.
“Apparently, I am now the only one in the family who can make it,” she says, “and no matter how many desserts are at the table, if the chocolate meringue isn’t there, I am sure to get grief from everyone!”
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And I’m dipping into my time spent in southwest France where I did a culinary writing residency learning about duck. One rainy day, a fellow student and I had some extra duck fat and time on our hands and dreamed up decadent chocolate cookies that I’ve been dreaming about ever since.
- Three 8-inch-by-13-inch Pyrex/glass pans (or Teflon, but it needs to have straight sides)
- Parchment paper
- Almond filling (recipe follows)
- Food processor
- Mixer with a paddle and whisk attachment
- Kitchen scale
- Double boiler (or use a pot and a bowl)
- 1 cup blanched almonds
- 1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 large egg white
To make the almond filling: Whisk (using the mixer with the whisk attachment) egg white until it forms stiff peaks, and set aside.
Process almonds, sugar, and butter in the food processor until the almonds are very finely ground, and stop to scrape the sides of the bowl every 30 seconds or so. This takes longer than you might think.
Add almond extract and the egg white and let the processor go again until it’s all mixed. You can refrigerate this for a week. This makes exactly the amount you’ll need for one batch.
Make sure you bring it down to room temp before you use it in your cookie batter.
- 8-ounce almond filling (that’s all of the almond filling you just made)
- 1-and-1/2-cup butter (room temperature)
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 eggs (separated)
- 2 cups cake flour, sifted
- 8-ounce raspberry preserves (available canned in the grocery baking section)
- 12-ounces chocolate chips
- Red and green gel food coloring
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks and set them aside in a bowl.
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In your mixing bowl, mix the almond filling, room temp butter, sugar, egg yolks, and extract until very light and fluffy. In a separate bowl, mix together dry ingredients (sifted flour, salt) and slowly incorporate that into your wet ingredients.
Take the mixing bowl off of the mixing stand after all of the ingredients are incorporated. Slowly mix stiff egg whites in with a wooden spoon until they are completely mixed.
Divide the mix into three even bowls (ideally, one pound each). Add red food coloring to one. Add green food coloring to another. Leave one natural.
Grease all three 8-inch-by-13-inch pans and line them with parchment paper; grease that too. Bake each layer separately for 12 minutes at 350 degrees. Make sure you don’t let them brown.
Let the cookies fully cool (ideally overnight). Peel the parchment paper off of each layer and lay on cooling rack.
Warm raspberry filling in a pan. Spread between the layers and let cool. Cut the cookies into three columns.
Set up a double boiler. Once the water in the boiler is at a full boil, add the chocolate to the top pot and let it melt. Once it is fully melted, cover each of the columns in chocolate and let it cool. Once the cookies are fully cooled (ideally put them in the fridge or freezer for an hour or two), cut them into serving sizes.
Kentucky State Fair winning Chocolate Meringue Pie
Courtesy of Kathy Aphaivongs of All Thai’d Up, 211 S. 5th St.
- 1 9-inch cooked pie shell
- 2 cups milk (2% or whole)
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 egg whites
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
To make the chocolate filling: In a saucepan, combine milk, sugar, chocolate, cornstarch and salt. Place on medium heat and stir continuously until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat. Spoon the hot mixture into a bowl with the egg yolk and mix well. Pour egg mixture into pan and stir on med-low heat until mixture bubbles. Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla until butter melts. Pour mixture into cooled, baked pie crust.
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To make the meringue: In a mixer, add egg whites vanilla and cream of tartar. Beat on high until soft peaks form. Slowly add in sugar and continue to mix until a gloss forms (1-2 minutes).
Once the chocolate filling is cooled, add the meringue and spread covering the filling completely. Place the whole pie in preheated oven at 400F for 2-3 minutes or until the meringue turns a golden brown.
Refrigerate for 1-2 hours before serving.
Double Chocolate Ducky Cookies
Courtesy of Courier Journal freelance food writer Dana McMahan
Note: I made these with what we had in the kitchen. If you prefer white flour to the heartier kind, go for it.
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup spelt flour
- 1 cup buckwheat
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
- 1 cup old-fashioned oats
- 1/3 cup duck fat, room temperature [check Red Hog or Kingsley’s for duck fat; butter will suffice if you can’t get your hands on any]
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup chocolate chips
Mix eggs, sugar, and vanilla in a bowl.
In another bowl mix flours, cocoa, baking soda, nutmeg, salt and oatmeal. Stir in duck fat.
Mix the two bowls and stir in chocolate chips.
Bake at 300 degrees for about 20 minutes until puffy and browned.
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Tell Dana! Send your restaurant “Dish” to Dana McMahan at [email protected] and follow @bourbonbarbarella on Instagram.