Mac And Cheese By Annie Copps

Monday, March 28, 2011
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sliced irish soda bread

There are loads of ways to make macaroni and cheese and I make no judgments if you find yourself reaching for a box with a silver packet of dried cheese, to satisfy your mac ‘n cheese needs. I will say, again without judgment, that this recipe is easy and far more satisfying.

Start by sautéing some onions in a bit of butter, then add some spicy cayenne—these two secret weapons add another layer of flavor and helps keep this dish from being a heavy, gloppy mound of melted cheese (not that there is anything wrong with a pile of melted cheese). Whisk in flour, then milk to form your white sauce. Melt in a mix of sharp cheddar—New England if you please—a bit of Jack cheese and another secret ingredient, ricotta cheese. Mix in a pound of pasta (cooked al dente), then bake until thickened and bubbly.

If I am really seeking comfort from the kitchen, I have been known to get this little party started with chopped bacon—you decide.

Yield: 6 servings

1 pound elbow macaroni
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, finely diced
6 tablespoons flour
½ teaspoon cayenne powder
3 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
8 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese
8 ounces grated fontina or Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup ricotta cheese
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups unseasoned bread crumbs (I like panko style)

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook pasta about 2 minutes less than package instructions, so that it still has a slight crunch to it. Drain and set aside.

Butter a 13 by 9 -inch casserole pan. Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and gently cook onion until softened; about 5 minutes. Lower heat to medium low. Whisk in flour and cayenne to form a thick paste; cook, while constantly whisking about 2 minutes. Whisk in milk until smooth; cook, while occasionally whisking until thickened and bubbly. Whisk in heavy cream. Whisk in cheeses. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the noodles and stir well to coat.

Pour into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with bread crumbs. Bake 20 minutes or until top is lightly browned. Let rest 5 minutes before serving.

(Courtesy: Yankee Magazine)

annie coppsAnnie B. Copps is a senior editor at Yankee Magazine. Annie oversees the magazine's food coverage, both as an editor and as a contributor of feature stories and columns.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
By Annie Copps

Thursday, October 14, 2010
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pumpkin whoopie pies

So the story I heard about Whoopie pies is that they are originally from Maine and that they got their name from the little kids who came home from school to find a plate of them and exclaimed, "Whoopie!" This recipe gives the delicious treat a seasonal spin.

If somehow you are unfamiliar with whoopee pies they are kinda like a sweet sandwich made traditionally with two small chocolate cakes filled with a whipped, fluffy vanilla filling. They are easy to make and I decided to turbo charge the New England tradion by making the cakes out of pumpkin and the filling with maple syrup.

Combine the usual cake ingredients of butter, sugar, eggs and flour and add pumpkin puree and warming spices such as cinnamon, or ginger to the batter. And for the filling whip together cream cheese and maple syrup… of course you know what you'll say when you pop one into your mouth. Whoopie!

Total time: 40 minutes
Active time: 20
Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients for the Pies
1 stick unsalted butter, melted, 1cooled to room temperature
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
1 cup canned pure pumpkin puree
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
12/3 cups flour

Ingredients for the filling
4 ounces cream cheese, chilled
1/2 stick unsalted butt, softened
3 T maple syrup
1 cup powdered sugar
A few pinches salt

Heat oven to 350.°

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a standing mixer with whisk attachment, mix together butter and brown sugar until smooth. Add eggs, pumpkin puree, spices, vanilla, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using a spatula, fold in the flour.

With an ice cream scoop, drop 12 generous mounds of batter, spaced evenly, onto each baking sheet. Bake until springy to the touch, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

In a standing mixer or electric beater, cream together the cream cheese and butter. Add sugar, salt and vanilla; mix on low speed until blended, then beat on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes.

Spread the flat side of 12 cakes with the cream cheese frosting. Top each with another cake.

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