Christmas Cookies of Yesteryear – 1959 (Coconut Date Balls)

December 4, 2020 Leave a comment

The cookies from this series are attributed to the date the cookie was published in a cookbook, but have been made much earlier. Take for example the Danish Sugar Cookies I posted. The date listed for this is 1969 but I found the same recipe in a 1959 cookbook. It doesn’t mean that cookie was ever popular or popular for that length of time, though it is for certain regions of the country. The cookie I am writing about today is one that screams of the 60s and 70s to me. Having dates and pecans in cookies appear to have been more prevalent back then, but without a proper analysis I can only guess from memory and my memory really doesn’t go back to the 60s.

As a child, visiting relative and being at holiday parties you would see similar cookies to this. They generally had dates or another similar fruit. As I got older, these style of cookies faded away as cookies like peanut butter blossoms took over. If you visit a wedding cookie table or some Christmas carry-in you will not find the coconut date ball but you see plenty of chocolate chips cookies. Our tastes have changed over the years as we move to sweeter cookies.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 C sugar
  • 1 lb pitted dates cut in small pieces
  • 1/2 C chopped pecans
  • 3 C crisp rice cereal
  • 3 C flaked coconut

DIRECTIONS

  1. Beat the eggs well. Add the sugar and dates to the eggs.
  2. Pour this mixture into a sauce pan.
  3. Heat thoroughly at a medium heat. Turn to a low heat and cook 10 minutes; stirring constantly
  4. Cool slightly. Add pecans and rice cereal.
  5. Shape into 1 inch balls. Roll in coconut.
  6. Refrigerate. Makes about 8 dozen

NOTES: The one key thing to do with this is stir unless you want scrambled eggs, an obvious thing to do. I’ll be honest, I won’t be making this even though I have developed a taste for dates in recent years. If you enjoy dates and pecans give it a whirl. This is a very easy cookie to make. I guess you can substitute the sugar with coconut sugar or monk sugar and the dates are said to have a low glycemic index.

Farro with Feta and Sumac

It has been a while since I last posted and not because I haven’t been preparing dishes. I’ve been very busy with other tasks that take away from this. It could be some time before I can post somewhat regularly again.

Today’s recipe is one I just came up with about fifteen minutes ago. It is an attempt to figure out what I can do with farro , and I believe I found one or at least one that I like. Why was I trying to find ways to prepare farro ? Well, it goes back to my wife making a recipe that required farro, a grain I never heard of. When I experienced the dish she made I became infatuated with farro for its taste and chewy texture. After a week had passed, I decided to work with my wife on another farro dish which was equally good. There was a catch. The two farro dishes, though different, were not far enough apart and it gets old eating the same thing… unless it is pasta. I love my Italian heritage and pasta, though I now seldom eat it. I convinced my wife to buy nearly eight pounds of farro as I was sure I could figure something out. Today’s meal is a pork dish with farro but not the dish I am writing about.

This is a simple three ingredient dish consisting of cooked Farro, Feta cheese, and Sumac spice. That is it. You add the amount of each you want and enjoy. I placed Feta in the bowl and cut it up into small chunks. Next, I added cooked farro (follow your farro package cooking directions) followed by the Sumac and stir it together. The cheese provides a creamy texture and the sumac a citrus bite to it.

If you are interested in trying something different then give farro a try and this a try. Do as I did and that was sample these in a spoon. I now have one additional dish to work with my farro. When I get mushrooms I’ll add farro to them. I am now down to near 3 pounds of farro to use.

A Hot Cup of Joe

My growth in roasting, grinding, and brewing my own coffee has pointed me in directions I never thought of doing. Well, roasting my own beans is something I never thought I would do. A year ago I was introduced to the world of coffee bean roasting. No, I do not own a roaster as I couldn’t justify making such an expensive purchase on the roasters I was looking at, and my wife wasn’t going to give the stamp of approval for a $500 coffee roaster for a hobby that I may not do for a long time. It has been a year and I am hooked.

If I am to be quite honest then I must admit I do not taste the unique flavors some “experts” say they get with their coffee. I occasionally get hints of chocolate or a hint of sweetness, but never the complexity they go on about. I will say that roasting my own beans and using the Hario pour over set has produced a better tasting coffee than what my Keurig or Mr. Coffee could make. I now dread the day I go out for breakfast and get a cup of coffee. I knew they were not good then and now expect to find them unpalatable now. But it all comes with a cost.

To make coffee in the morning, I spend about fifteen minutes making coffee that has become my morning ritual. I set up everything, start heating the water, measure out my beans, grind my beans and then go through the process of doing the pour over. This method of making coffee is enough for at most two cups if there is a second person with you and one cup is best if you’re alone. There is also one other element to my ritual that I believe was beneficial; I heat my mug beforehand.

I waste water by heating a mug full of water in order to heat the ceramic mug. There is some thermodynamics involved here, but the gist of it is to get the mug warm so it does not have the heat transfer you experience when you pour a hot liquid into a cold mug. Your coffee stays warmer longer. I considered doing an experiment on this, but others have already done this – Preheating.

I have discovered that the pour over method does make superior coffee to the standard coffee maker, but I really do not notice huge flavor differences that I hear about. What you immediately notice is it is less bitter. There is one downside that I fail to mention and that is it is not the most pleasant aroma when you are roasting beans. I have been banished to the outside for roasting my beans, so I naturally wait for my wife to go to work before I do it in the basement. Yes, I’ve been caught a few times, but it as the saying goes, it is better to ask for forgiveness than permission. This odor could prevent me from buying a nice roaster in the future.

Yes, the image is of a stein that I use for my coffee. If we review the image above we can spot the excessive amount of dust on the printer. It doesn’t look as bad in person. Also, you can see my distorted image. Going back to the stein, it may look like a mug but it is officially a 16oz ceramic stein.

Categories: Food/Drink Tags: ,

Cashews, a Sentimental Treat

I’ve been very busy these past few weeks but thought I could post a little something when I looked at my snack and remembered my past. There are some foods that I have nostalgia for even though they are not very good and others have a sentimental flavor to them. Cashews are one of those items where I have a sentimental feeling for them besides their being tasty.

I have to go back as a child when I first ate these. Cashews were not an everyday food but more of a rare treat that I would get when my Dad would buy some. It was the only time it was worth going with my parents to department stores back then. I knew toys were out of the question, so it was never fun to be forced to go with them, however, there was that one perk that on occasion happened. Department stores always had a candy and nut counter and though I was salivating for the chocolate I would never sample, I knew there was that chance of my Dad buying cashews.

What a treat it was when my father would walk up to me with a small bag. I immediately knew it was cashews. And what it made it so tasty was that they were warm. Eating some heated cashews with my father was an joyous experience. I am sure I ate the bulk of the cashews. I can even remember some of the long forgotten department stores. In fact, I remember the now since defunct Kaufmann’s in downtown Pittsburgh. Visiting that store was not something we did very often, but the experience was new to me as I didn’t grow up in the city.

I don’t know if the stores that remain have those counters selling various nuts and chocolates, but I hope they still do. In this world of buying everything online, we have lost a bit of humanity or sacrificed a part of ourselves for the ease of online shopping and avoidance of humans. We have gone from a family experience to a solo event, a human social experience to a lonely and cold interaction where we think we are truly communicating to humans in a meaningful way. Lost is the interaction between people over simple foods like cashews.

Categories: Food/Drink Tags:

A Curious Case of Monk Fruit Sweetener, Part 2

March 23, 2021 Leave a comment

Yesterday, I posted about Monk fruit sweetener being bitter after heating. Today is a follow up on what I discovered. What an interesting turn of events a day can make. Yesterday, when I tasted the no-bake cookies it was shortly after they were poured into the baking dish for cooling. I sampled it as they were still warm and found the no-bake to be unpalatable and posted my discovery. Today, something surprisingly happened.

After spending the night in the refrigerator, I decided to sample my bitter pill and determined if I was going to toss it or struggle to eat the no-bakes. Visually inspecting the dish, I recognized they were dry and had a chalky appearance to them. Not the most appetizing. I cut a sample and prepared for the bitterness when to my surprise it wasn’t there. Now there was still a harshness in the back of my throat somewhat similar to drinking Scotch or bourbon, but not as strong. In fact, I’d say I even had a chocolate ice cream flavor in this, but I am sure that is the cocoa powder.

When hot or warm the sweetener is quite bitter, but when allowed to cool the bitterness dissipates. I am still not impressed with this sweetener in no-bakes. Also, I am not a no-bake fan.

Less than a day old

A Curious Case of Monk Fruit Sweetener

March 22, 2021 1 comment

I have been using Monk fruit sweetener for a few years but have recently noticed something when I began to make cookies. My initial thought was the almond flour as I never experienced anything strange when making lemonade with the sweetener. Today, we tried no-bake cookies as a lower carbohydrate/sugar version. Upon my first taste, I recognized the same issue as I had experienced previously.

Bitterness. It is almost like an aftertaste and harsh it is. My early suspicions were wrong. This sweetener appears to get bitter when heated. For the no-bakes, this almost became unpalatable. It is not pleasing at all. I am now hesitant to use this sweetener whenever I am going to heat it. It is not as bad as the Ricciarelli in terms of bitterness, but it is there, hidden. Looking back, my blackberry pie had some minor bitterness. I have used the sweetener in other recipes but never in large quantities, and that may be the reason why I never noticed it before. This has me wondering if a chemical change is happening when it is heated. That will require some research, but for now I would not recommend it for no-bake cookies.

It is a shame that I am finding bitterness with this sweetener as it has been my go to sugar but I will be reluctant to use it where heat is used or in large quantities. There are a few other sweetener substitutes I may try in the future, but this has been quite disappointing.

Deep Dish Pizza

March 22, 2021 Leave a comment

As I have hinted in the past, I used to make deep dish pizza based on other people’s version of the well known Chicago deep dish pizza establishments. For me, my exposure was Uno Pizzeria & Grill. When I was making this pizza I would try to duplicate the multiple recipes that were going around and finally arrived at what I believe is my version, though it could be a duplicate of someone else’s. Lookin at my 2007 notes, I have three different crust recipes, and they do not match mine. As for the sauce, I have two version. The directions seem convoluted but they work and are based on those who were making their own versions of deep dish pizza. I no longer add the yellow food coloring, but you may do this in order to mimic one of the Chicago establishments. When I first made this fourteen years ago it was a big deal for me. I spent my Friday evening using my stand mixer to get the dough ready and wondering if it was right or not. I became frustrated when applying the dough to my skillet. Looking back, I was stressed over nothing. Now I don’t use a mixer to get the dough together, and I just don’t sweat things and they come out better.

Not the best image as it was not quite ready to be cut out.

This recipe was one of the earliest that I recorded. Looking back at this recipe, I won’t use food coloring. When it comes to the dough I am more likely to let it sit out for a while before placing it in the refrigerator for the night. This is still worth doing.

INGREDIENTS

Crust Ingredients

  • 1 lb bread flour (This is approximately 3.66 cups)
  • 1 C water
  • 1 package of yeast
  • 1T sugar
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/3 C of corn oil and olive oil (95% corn oil and 5% olive oil)
  • Dash of Yellow food coloring place in the water (optional)

Sauce

  1. Version 1
    1. 1 28oz can of plum or Roma tomatoes
    2. 1 tsp salt
    3. Fresh ground black pepper to taste
    4. pinch of oregano
    5. pinch of basil
  2. Version 2
    1. 1 28oz crushed tomatoes
    2. 1 tsp sugar
    3. 1 tsp garlic salt
    4. Fresh ground black pepper to taste
    5. pinch of oregano
    6. pinch of basil

Toppings

  1. 1 lbm Mozzarella cheese (No low fat!) low-moisture part skim is preferred
  2. Pepperoni
  3. Onions
  4. Green Peppers
  5. Sausage
  6. Mushrooms
  7. Olives
  8. Romano cheese (Parmesan can be substituted)
  9. Pinch of oregano

DOUGH CONSTRUCTION

In a bowl, add the food coloring to the luke warm water. Next add in the yeast and allow it to sit for ten minutes in order to make sure the yeast is alive. A the oil, cream of tartar, and sugar. Mix with your hand. Add the bread flour little by little as you mix with your hand. Once it is mixed, knead the dough until it gets firm. Add more flour if needed. Continue to knead for 2 straight minutes. Roll into a ball and put it in a bowl with oil brush on the inside of the bowl. Place the dough ball in the bowl and coat it with oil. Cover with plastic warp and a kitchen towel. Allow it to sit overnight un-refrigerated. Only let it rise once. Portion and use.

If the dough is refrigerated, allow for the dough to achieve room temperature before use by setting it out for 2 hours.

  • SAUCE PREPARATION:

Empty the can of tomatoes in a bowl. Mash the tomatoes so the pieces are no larger than a quarter. You can do this with your hands or a potato masher. Add the rest of the ingredients to the mixture and combine it well. Note: you may want to drain the water from this before adding the additional ingredients.

  • PIE BUILDING:

Coat the inside of a deep dish pan or cast iron skillet with one of three mixtures: olive oil, butter, or a combination of olive oil and butter. Heavier the coating the greasier the pizza. Not enough oil will cause the crust to burn.

Roll out or stretch your dough to approximately 3″ wider than the bottom of your pan and letting it rest as needed. If using a cat iron skillet you may want to stretch it a little further. Place the dough in the pan and pinch the top of the dough so that it sits on the sides of the pan. It is optional to allow the dough to sit in the pan for 15 to 20 minutes.

  • ADD THE TOPPINGS:

Add the sliced mozzarella cheese or you can grate the cheese onto the pie. Next, add the toppings of your choosing followed by the sauce. Finally, grate Romano or Parmesan cheese over the top of the pizza. Add a dash of oregano on the top.

  • COOKING PROCEDURE:

If desired, place a baking stone on a rack above where you will be baking the pizza. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200 or 205°C). Bake the pizza on the bottom rack of the oven for about 40 – 45 minutes.

NOTES: DO NOT buy low fat mozzarella. It will not melt properly and do not use the pre-grated cheese. If you make your own pizza then you understand that this cheese won’t work. When it comes to tomatoes I see many people recommending 6-in-1, but I do not have this in my area. It is better to get the highest quality tomatoes as the lower grades have more water in theirs.

How does it taste? I’ve always like this better once cooled. Being honest, I baked it too long, but the flavor was nice. The major complaint was not enough sausage. When you look at the image it doesn’t look so good, but that is what happens when you take a slice out of the skillet too early and I waited ten minutes.

Now I like this recipe and it works well, but the dough can be very soft after sitting over night. Does it taste like the well-known Chicago establishments? I don’t know as I have only gone through Chicago and never ate at these places. Are there easier recipe versions? You bet, and I may try some of them. I will keep the sauce, but I will at some point toy with other dough/crust recipes.

Slow Roast Pork Roast

March 16, 2021 Leave a comment

There are times when I think about preparing a food using a method I normally do not use. This time is was a pork roast. There is a standard method of me making a pork roast, but I wasn’t in the mood to do it the same way I always do. I wanted to try a different method.

My method of preparing this pork was to do one of my dry rubs. I happen to have one sitting around but have no idea what the ingredients are. It was just labeled pork dry rub. I generously coated the roast after trimming and scoring some of the fat. I placed the roast on a cooling rack that a baking sheet and roasted the pork at 250°F (120°C). I roasted the pork until it reached an internal temperature of 155°F (68.3°C). I took it out and let it rest.

What I found was a very juicy and tender roast compared to the higher temperatures I normally make my pork roasts at. The down side to this is the length of time it takes which was four hours in my case. The best tasting part are the edges where the rub, fat and meat mix. The bottom left of the roast shown in the image was the best tasting. The dripping and juice from this roast makes an excellent gravy.

Are there downsides to this method? Time is the obvious one. The biggest problem I find with pork is that the leaner it is the less favorable the taste is. Also, with a larger roast, you do not get the full flavor of the rub.

Sometimes we are so caught up with what we usually do that we fail to try new avenues of approach. I never thought about preparing a pork roast like this, but it is an option. This is not some unique recipe or method but just one I never tried until now.

Categories: Food/Drink Tags: , , ,

My Kitchen Essentials

March 15, 2021 Leave a comment

How often are we told we need some kitchen utensil that is often more expensive than we can afford? I see these professionals telling me I need this and that to be able to make beautiful meals. If I owned a rice cooker, Instant pot, scale, some type of grinder, and whatever else I would have no place to put the equipment and would hardly use any of it. What kitchen utensils do I have that is a must?

I am looking at how often I use something, different tasks it can accomplish, ease of use, and ease to clean. Some items I have are such a pain to clean that I won’t bother with it. I either use something else or not make the food. Others are more work than they are worth when using them. Now, I am assuming you have eating utensils, pot, and skillets.

  1. Chef’s knife: There is nothing like have a sharp chef’s knife that I can cut meat, vegetables, and fruit. Heck, you could cut bread. You don’t have to buy the most expensive, but you do want a decent knife. What I hate the most is visiting someone and put on the task of making a meal and finding out they only have some steak knife or another dull knife. It becomes too much work. The downside is that you do have to take care of it, so you either have someone sharpen it for you or invest in a sharpener.
  2. Whisk: More often than not I use my whisk more than my mixer. Yes, it is a little more work and horrible when whisking egg whites, but it is often faster and less of a hassle for me. Yes, I use a mixer for my egg whites.
  3. Spatula: A set of these will do wonders for you. I know prefer the rubber version as I do use nonstick pans at times. They are great for frying eggs and any sauté. When you making a cake or pie these come in handy.
  4. Cooling rack: A versatile item. This is one thing I use a lot with cooking as well as cooling items. If you buy one, buy stainless steel and not a plate rack or coated rack. You want one that can be put in the oven. I use the rack to cook any type of meat in the oven. I did a excellent chicken with having a cooling rack on top of a baking pan. This leads me to my item.
  5. Cookie / Baking pan: This has been referred to two names, though technically there is a difference between cookie pans and baking pans. I won’t bother going into the difference, but I am referring to that pan with with rolled edges. I bake cookies on them as well as roast vegetables and of course, chicken. This is also very versatile as you can use it as a prep for making a batch of the same items such as cookies or meatballs or whatever you make a batch of and want to place the item somewhere before you begin cooking it.
  6. Roasting Pan: If you prefer to make a rib roast, turkey, or some other item where tall sides are needed. Some may come with a rack and a lid which are not necessary. I could use a baking pan, but there are times I need that high side as I am not interested in spilling hot liquids. You have your cooling rack and aluminum foil.
  7. Digital thermometer and probe: Before I purchased this item, my roasting was guesswork. This led to too many overdone roasts. I would make a perfect rib roast one time and a poor one the next. Once I spent the $20 for one, I have not overcooked anything. No longer will you arrive at my house to a pork roast that is imitating the Atacama Desert. You won’t experience the parched feeling you get from eating an overcooked meal.
  8. Measuring spoons, cups, Pyrex cup: These are one of the most important items even if you are the type to just eyeball and toss in what you think is the correct amount. I can tell you eyeballing the correct amount of salt can be miserable. I usually start with the exact measurements before fine tuning to my tastes by eyeballing, and this meaning I am adding very little.
  9. Tongs: Even though I have had my tongs for years, it has only been very recent that I have decided to use them when I am making bacon or doing some type of frying. It is really nice to not burn you fingers every time you are flipping something. No, I don’t when I am frying, but I will do that with other things.
  10. Can opener: Try to open a canned good in my house and you’ll be left with one option. It is a manual opener but a needed one. I think this requirement goes without saying, but people seem to forget about them.
  11. Cutting board: This is very important when you was to chop, dice, and slice. Do NOT buy those plastic cutting boards that are paper thin. My family has ruined my chef’s knife on these. Buy a cutting board according to the size you need. If you run out of room then it’s too small. Among the multiple cutting boards I have is my unnecessary 32″x32″ board that is heavy and only served one purpose – large meat. It is too big for other purposes, but a smaller board that I have does just fine. A wooden board is the standard preference, but that is for you to decide.
  12. Aluminum foil: This is one of my most important items I have in the kitchen. It serves as a cleaning agent as it preventing my pans from getting overly dirty when I use foil as a liner. I use foil as a lid and even a container at times. When I reheat food like pizza I sometimes use foil as a pan. My biggest appreciation is the saving me time of having to scrub my pans.

These are my basic items that I use frequently. I am sure there are some if I remembered them I would say, “yeah, you need them,” but it makes you wonder why I haven’t remembered them. If I were to add pots then it would be a 3 quart sauce pan and a nice pot for pasta. Also, I go rather big on the skillets simply because I am not cooking for one or two. You could make a case that tongs shouldn’t be included in my list, but I’ve scratched nonstick pans using a fork and have struggled using other utensils in grasping food in hot liquid. I need my fingers for what I do and burns are not pleasant. my ham glaze incident is a constant reminder of why I prefer tongs now even though tongs would have helped in that case. I won’t describe the agonizing task of peeling off formerly molten sugar from my hand.

Today, I have a growing number of gadgets for the kitchen. I do have a scale that I now use most often with grinding my coffee as I need to know the weight. I even have a poppy seed grinder which is a definite must when making poppy seed rolls. I can’t leave out my Brod & Taylor Sahara Folding Dehydrator which I recommend. Yes, there is a stand mixer in my basement that I use from time to time and I have two Cuisinart processors of different size. I do have my Polder thermometer and two other thermometers. Yes, my wife shakes her head at me when I say I need something that she thinks I already have and the thermometers are one of them. I have my oven one, outdoor grill probe, and my quick stick version that I use. I thought about a blender, but I only ever use it to make milkshakes.

I am most fortunate that after purchasing these kitchen items my wife understands and appreciates them. The fortunate part to this is that I can continue to buy my fly tying and fishing equipment from time to time as the kitchen items go from a hobby requirement of mine to a family use, therefore, I am free to make small request for fly fishing. That is why I can get my $200 wading boots. Don’t worry, she gets to buy for her hobbies, too. We are slowly getting back to the days when we had no children, thus no financial burden, and we could enjoy our earnings. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Back to my essentials.

These twelve are what I really need for what I make in my kitchen. Kitchen essentials really are dependent on what you make. If you eat out all of the time your essentials may not be many. I do a lot of roasting of vegetables and meats, so you can see why I require the rack and pans. As I use a lot of spices, the measuring utensils are also very important. Yes, you can add too much vanilla, cinnamon. For you, the requirement may be different as it depends on how you use your kitchen.

Slow Roast Chicken

March 11, 2021 Leave a comment

How good is something that you eat it before you can take photos of it? Well, this is the recipe that will do that. Normally, we do not devour a whole chicken at dinner even with my fourth son. Yesterday, we nearly did it. My wife was skeptical with this method, but I had seen it done and wasn’t worried. Now the aroma while the chicken was roasting had me wondering if I would like the taste. No worries there.

This is where the expected photograph was supposed to be. What a lovely chicken it was.

EQUIPMENT

  • Baking pan
  • Cooling rack
  • Thermometer with probe (optional)

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 1/2 – 4 pound whole chicken
  • 2 t poultry seasoning – (thyme, sage, marjoram)
  • 2 t garlic powder
  • 2 t pepper
  • 3 t salt
  • 1 t sugar

DIRECTIONS

  1. Place the chicken in a pan and coat it everywhere with the seasonings. I had extra, so I even placed some inside of the chicken.
  2. Place the rack on the baking pan and put the chicken on the pan. Place this in the refrigerator and dry brine it for 18 to 24 hours.
  3. Preheat the oven to 225°F (110°C). Insert the probe into the chicken.
  4. Place in the oven and allow it to cook until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C). This should take about 3 hours. If doing a larger chicken it may take five hours.
  5. Allow the chicken to rest for 15 to 20 minutes.

NOTES: I had a 6 pound chicken so I doubled the seasoning. You can expect the skin to be nice and crispy, so if you’re one of those people that like to eat the skin or sneak a piece, you will not be disappointed. Yes, I tasted a piece out of curiosity and for food science. Also, if you were like my family you couldn’t allow for it to rest properly, you’ll have juice running everywhere. When prepping the baking pan I suggest you line it with foil as to reduce clean up.

What was amazing was how well the flavor drifted into the flesh of the chicken, though I suspect is came from our fingers and utensils. This takes much longer than my rotisserie, but it was worth it. All I had to clean up was a rack, pan (forgot the foil), knife, and cutting board.

This is one method I highly recommend and thanks to Brian Lagerstrom for leading me to this version of the promised land.

Ricciarelli Update: Failure Hits

I have been making the chocolate Ricciarelli with some frequency recently when I decided to try the non-chocolate version. The biggest difference was no cocoa. I like a nice vanilla cookie that is somewhat plain. Also, my youngest son is not a huge fan of chocolate, so why not make something he may like. What went wrong?

I grabbed a recipe that I found online and did my normal substitution. I wrote the ingredients and amounts on some paper and immediately began to set things up. The first thing I notice was 1 3/4 C sugar. What?! That is nearly as much as the 2 1/2 C of almond flour. I went back to look at the recipe and verified the amount. I next looked at another recipe which had 1 3/4C sugar. There is even one for 1 2/3 C sugar. Okay, if that is what it calls for.

As I mixed my dry ingredients with the egg whites, I recognized an issue. The dough wasn’t coming together as it should. That was my first hint that something was not right, and in the back of my head I knew what it was. Fashioning the fragile cookies I baked the first batch. They weren’t pretty and were quite fragile. I had one that was somewhat hot and tasted sweet. Too sweet. I decided to roll the next batch in some Dutch cocoa powder in the hopes I could offset it. Nope. That, too, was horrible. Worse yet, when they cooled down they were hard and sweet. The texture was grainy and just the cookies were not palatable.

I had double checked the recipe and verified the ingredients and the amounts. What went wrong if these cookies were to be good? I was going to chalk it up to just horrible recipes but decided to do a final check this evening. One recipe indeed had 1 3/4 cups of powdered sugar and another 1/2 cup of powdered sugar for coating cookies. Another had 1 2/3 cups of powdered sugar with another cup of powdered sugar for dusting. I was correct in my recipe recording, however, there was another recipe that I saw but never reviewed when I began questioning the amount of sugar added. It only required 3/4 cups of sugar. In fact, only 2 out of the 7 recipes I reviewed called for 3/4 cup of sugar.

Several things are clear. This was so bad that I am considering never making these cookies again. They left an impression on me. I actually got sick in the afternoon, my iron stomach must be rusting, and had to lay for a while. If I get the nerve to try these again I will use 3/4 cups of sugar. If you find a Ricciarelli cookie recipe asking for 1 3/4 cups of sugar be careful. If it is powdered sugar know that you need to adjust your sugar amount by 1/2 if you are using granulated sugar. This was the mistake I made. Powdered sugar is part granulated sugar, pulverized, and some cornstarch. More importantly, you need to think in terms of volume. “Two tablespoons of granulated sugar will produce approximately 1/4 cup of powdered sugar.”1

There you go. Remember this: 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar is about equal to 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar.


1. How to Substitute Powdered Sugar for Granulated Sugar – Christabel Lobo