Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas Kitchen II

The King's Singers and Mannheim Steamroller are playing on the stereo today. A quick re-read of the last post tells me that I need to tone down the sugar a notch; which is unfortunate since we made Cashew Brittle today*.

But first we'll do the Potato Cakes we prepped for yesterday. In the middle of all the rest of the projects yesterday, I peeled, cooked and mashed potatoes. I should note that this is the only recipe in my kitchen for which I ever peel potatoes. Here is the rest:

Potato Cakes

8 c. cooked, mashed potatoes
1/4 c. whole milk
2 t. salt
1 stick butter

In a large bowl, add milk, salt and butter to potatoes and mix well. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

2 c. potatoes
3/4 c. flour
1/8 t. baking powder

One batch at a time, mix cold potatoes, flour and baking powder until thoroughly combined. Dough will be very sticky. On a well floured surface, roll dough to 1/16th inch thickness. Cut 6 inch circles (I use a sherbet lid. Sophisticated, huh?) and cook on a hot griddle (400* or so) until golden brown spots form. Flip and repeat on other side.
You need to work fast to get the dough rolled out while it is cold. As it warms it will be harder to work with unless you use a lot of flour. Too much flour can make them tough though. I find it useful to keep a pastry brush handy to brush off excess flour before cooking. Once the circles are cut and moved from the rolling surface, however, they can sit for a little while until there is room on the griddle. Electric griddles work better than stove top. If this is your first time making these, I highly recommend that you have a second person there to man the griddle, so you can concentrate on rolling. Once you get the hang of it, you will be able to coordinate rolling and flipping.
If you are not covered in flour from the waist up when finished, then you didn't do it right.
To serve, spread a thin layer of butter on a warm potato cake and heavily dust with sugar and tri-fold them. You did know this was a Norwegian recipe, right? They work equally well when used in place of a tortilla and stuffed with ham, scrambled eggs or whatever else you can find.
You should get 45-50 cakes out of this, with about 1/2 c. of extra potatoes left over.
They freeze well, but you will need to put a layer of wax paper in between each one as you stack them. The wax paper isn't necessary if they are just going in the fridge.

Evil Cashew Brittle

1 c. butter (Not margarine!)
2 T. light corn syrup
1 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. cashew halves

In a heavy saucepan, bring butter, syrup and sugar to a boil. Over medium heat, boil 5-6 minutes, stirring constantly, until candy thermometer reaches 300*. Remove from heat, stir in cashews and immediately spread on greased parchment paper on a baking sheet. Cool completely and break in pieces. Store in an air tight container. You can double this recipe, but any more than that and it becomes too difficult to spread out before it hardens.

*In this case today isn't actually today. My posts are slightly off kilter with reality, so what I'm writing about happened on Friday.

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