Chewy Pecan Diamonds

Chewy Pecan Diamonds

Dough From Pastries from the La Brea Bakery

By Nancy Silverton

Topping From Bon Appétit / December 1999 with modifications



For the Dough:

4 cups unbleached pastry flour or unbleached all-purpose flour

½ cup granulated sugar

½ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed

½ cup cornstarch

1 teaspoon kosher salt

4 sticks (1 pound) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1 – inch cubes


For Topping:

2 ½ cups (packed) golden brown sugar

1 cup Lyle’s Golden Syrup (Original: Light Corn Syrup)

1/2 cup ( 1 stick) unsalted butter

29 ounces coarsely chopped pecans

1 cup heavy cream

1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon vanilla extract



Prepare 1/2 sheet pan by lining with aluminum foil and spraying with non-stick coating.


To prepare the Cookie Dough:

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade or in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugars, cornstarch, and salt.  Add the butter and pulse on and off or mix on low, until the dough barely comes together.


Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gently kneed to gather into a ball.  Press dough into the sheet pan and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours or overnight.


Adjust oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake dough in the oven about 30 minutes or until golden brown.


(Marcy, the more you bake the dough now, the more golden it will be, Just remember that its going to bake again with the topping on it.)


Prepare topping while the dough is baking. It needs to be hot when you pour it over the warm crust.


Stir brown sugar, golden syrup and butter in heavy medium sized saucepan over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves and mixture boils; boil for 1 minute.  Add pecan and cream; boil until mixture begins to thicken slightly; about 3 minutes.   Stir in vanilla. Pour hot topping over warm crust.


Bake nut-topped crust until caramel is darker and bubbles thickly, about 20 minutes.  Transfer pan to rack to cool; let cool completely in pan (topping will harden).


Lift foil out of pan onto cutting board; cut into 1 ½ inch diamonds.  Store between sheets of waxed paper in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week

Cranberry Orange Relish

Cranberry Orange Relish

By Roger Sitrin

This recipe for cranberries is my favorite!  I replace some water and some sugar with my Liquid Gold.  Liquid Gold is a simple syrup that is flavored with vanilla, cinnamon, anise, cardamom, cloves and citrus!  Then I use it to poach pears and what remains is pure liquid Gold!  look for the Liquid Gold recipe in my blog!


2 bags fresh cranberries

2 navel oranges,  (zest the oranges and reserve) cut the oranges into Supremes.

2 cups Liquid Gold

2 cups water

½ cup sugar


  1. Place all ingredients in sauce pan and heat over medium high heat until cranberries begin to pop.
  2. Continue to cook until most of the berries have popped,
  3. Cool before serving.

Liquid Gold

Liquid Gold

aka Spiced Simple Syrup

This recipe for simple syrup came from a wonderful woman who taught me how to add passion to baking.  I worked alongside Eileen Wong at the Mountainville Pastry Shop for only a short while.  In that short time I learned how to make this syrup that I use in so many other recipes.  She also taught me how to handle pastry delicately, how to properly brown a crust, how to serve a great savory tart and how to make “White Delight”.   Those were great days cooking alongside Eileen and her sister Joanne!  We cooked, we talked, we laughed and I grew.  Thank you Eileen and Joanne!  I miss you both very much!

Simple Syrup

For Poached pears

1 quart Sugar

2 quarts water

½ lemon cut into eighths

½ orange cut into eighths

1 Star anise or more to taste

½ vanilla bean

2 cloves

2 cinnamon sticks

3 – 4 cardamom, crushed with hulls removed.

  1. Simmer ½ hour until fruit is translucent.
  2. Strain and leave vanilla beans in syrup

Poached Pears.

  1. Pears must be ripe and at room temperature to poach.
  2. Peel and leave whole.
  3. Place in poaching liquid
  4. Simmer until tender. (Easily poked with a toothpick)
  5. Cool in syrup
  6. Store in syrup

Mashed Potatoes with Herb-Infused Cream and Chives

Mashed Potatoes with Herb-Infused Cream and Chives

From Williams-Sonoma Kitchen

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Servings: 10

You can peel the potatoes the day before, then cover with cold water and refrigerate until ready to cook. Alternatively, you can cook and mash the potatoes up to 2 days in advance. Let them cool to room temperature, then transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate. Just before serving, pour a thin layer of milk onto the bottom of a wide, heavy pot. Add the mashed potatoes, set the pot over medium heat and stir occasionally until the potatoes are hot.


  • 4 1/2 lb. russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 large fresh thyme sprig
  • 1 large fresh rosemary sprig
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp. peppercorns
  • 8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter, diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste


Put the potatoes in a large pot, add water to cover by 3 inches and generously salt the water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the potatoes are tender when pierced, about 15 minutes. Drain well in a colander.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the cream, garlic, shallot, thyme sprig, rosemary sprig, bay leaf and peppercorns. Set over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the cream is reduced to about 1 cup, 10 to 12 minutes. Strain the cream through a fine-mesh sieve and keep warm.

Working in batches, pass the potatoes through a ricer into a large bowl. Add the butter, then gradually pour in the cream, stirring constantly until the potatoes are smooth and creamy. Stir in the chives and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. Serve immediately. Serves 8 to 10.

Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.

Chestnut, Apple and Cranberry Focaccia Stuffing

Chestnut, Apple and Cranberry Focaccia Stuffing

By Roger Sitrin

Special thanks to Kate C. for taking notes while I cook and for reminding me to add in the herbs to this recipe!!  Thank you Kate!


1 package of Williams-Sonoma Focaccia Stuffing

1 jar of Williams-Sonoma Roasted Chestnuts (cut into halves)

1 cup dried cranberries

2 apples (peeled and cut into medium dice)

1 onion (cut into medium dice)

3 stalks of celery (cut into medium dice)

4 thick slices of apple wood smoked bacon (cut into small dice)

8 ounces of your favorite beer (the darker the beer, the heartier the flavor!)

4 cups chicken stock fortified with 2 tablespoons of Williams-Sonoma Organic Turkey Stock Concentrate

3 sprigs Thyme

5 Sage leaves

1 Bay Leaf

Salt and Pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 350° F
  2. Start with a large Dutch oven (I use a Staub enameled cast iron Dutch Oven) on the stove top. Place the bacon in the cold pan and turn on the heat to med high.
  3. In a sauce pan, mix the stock with the stock concentrate and heat until simmering.
  4. Allow the bacon to render its fat and stir occasionally to ensure even browning. Careful not to scorch the bacon!
  5. Remove the cooked bacon bits and reserve for later.
  6. Check to ensure that the fond on the bottom of your pot is not burned then remove the bacon fat until you have about 2T left in the pan.
  7. Add 1T of canola oil to the pan to help raise the smoke point of the bacon fat.
  8. Add the onion to the pan and sauté until the onion is translucent, (salt and pepper)
  9. Add celery and continue to cook for approx. 4 mins. (salt again)
  10. Add the beer and deglaze the pan, cook until most of the liquid has evaporated.
  11. In a separate bowl, toss together the stuffing, apples, chestnuts and cranberries and pour the vegetables from the pan into the mixture. Toss lightly careful not to make the stuffing into mush!
  12. Return to Dutch oven (if you prefer, you can do this all in the Dutch oven, it will be one less bowl to clean!)
  13. Add the hot stock, herbs and bay leaf.
  14. Sprinkle bacon bits over the top and cover.
  15. Place in oven for about 25 mins.
  16. Serve hot!

Cookbook Club – Happy Cooking – Giada De Laurentiis

We had another sold out night at Bridgewater Commons Williams-Sonoma for Giada De Laurentiis’s Happy Cooking.  I made three courses from her brand new book.

Best-selling cookbook author Giada De Laurentiis is picking up where Feel Good Food left off. Filled with even more fresh recipes and day-to-day living strategies, the Food Network superstar shares her year-round approach to living a healthy and happy lifestyle. – From Giada’s Website

Giada has presented a very nice collection of recipes that run from easy to complicated.  Cooking fresh and healthy usually takes a bit more prep time since you are foregoing products that come in a can or jar.  For example, when I made her Wild Rice Dressing, it took nearly 45 minutes just to blanch and peel 20 ounces of pearl onions!  I suppose I could have purchased them frozen. But what fun would that be??  The class ran a bit over the allotted time due to the amount of  steps required to complete the Turkey Breast Porchetta, Wild Rice Dressing and Spiced Apple Walnut Cake.  All three recipes were very labor intensive but not difficult to execute.  Here are some pictures!

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