Category Archives: Connecticut

Nutmeg Log Cookies with Eggnog Icing – Connecticut

Connecticut’s unofficial nickname is the Nutmeg State. This comes from the alleged practice, in the 18th and 19th centuries, of shrewd Yankee peddlers who sold unsuspecting customers wooden nutmegs instead of real ones. Then again, some claim that certain less

Nutmeg Log Cookies with Eggnog Icing

culinary-inclined customers might not have realized that whole nutmeg (which indeed looks like a little wooden bead) needed to be grated to be used. Swindlers or not, the moniker stuck.

We consider ourselves to be cookie connoisseurs but we had never even heard of these Nutmeg Logs until a few weeks ago. They use a generous amount of nutmeg and make your house smell like all kinds of Christmas when you bake them. And nothing goes better with nutmeg than eggnog, thus the eggnog icing. The fun part is running the fork tines over the icing before it sets to create a log effect.

Visit the Mark Twain house in Hartford, a terrific example of American High Gothic style, where Twain lived from 1874 to 1891. One writer has described this house as “part steamboat, part medieval fortress and part cuckoo clock.”

Nutmeg Log Cookies with Eggnog Icing

  • Servings: 3 dozen
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Ingredients

For cookies:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

For icing:

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 3/4 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tablespoons eggnog
  • Ground nutmeg for topping

Instructions

For the cookies:

In the bowl of the electric mixer, add butter and sugar. Mix on medium speed until fluffy and light. Add egg and nutmeg. Mix until just combined. Add flour. Mix until incorporated. Take batter and divide into thirds. On a lightly floured surface, form dough into three logs approximately ½ inch in diameter. Cut each log into 3 inch pieces. Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes or until cookies just begin to brown.

For the icing:

In the bowl of an electric mixer, add butter and confectioner’s sugar. Mix on medium speed. Add vanilla, then 1 tablespoon eggnog. If icing is too thick, add another tablespoon of eggnog until desired consistency is reached.

Once cookies are completely cooled, spread icing on cookies. Run the tines of a fork over the icing to make the “log.” Top with grated nutmeg. Let icing set before packaging cookies.

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Dems and GOP Vote for Hartford Election Cake – Connecticut

We’re reprising our Hartford Election Cake because no matter if you vote Democrat or Republican, this cake is a huge electoral win. This very old recipe dates back to colonial times, when the cake was

Hartford Election Cake

made to feed hungry militia during training days. After the Revolutionary War, Election Day was almost like a holiday. Historians are not sure if this cake was baked in celebration of the right to vote, or just to feed weary travelers who traveled long distances to get to polling places.

For this election season, we were delighted to discover that Old World Levain Bakery in Asheville, NC created a Make American Cake Again! project with election cake as its centerpiece, to raise awareness about our culinary heritage. If you make this cake, be sure to use #electioncake and #MakeAmericaCakeAgain on social media.

Full of nuts, raisins and spices, including cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg (very appropriate for the Nutmeg State) this cake rises twice for a total of two and a half hours. We can’t think of a better dessert to serve as you watch the returns roll in.

Nathan Hale is Connecticut’s state hero. He was an American soldier and spy for the Continental Army. He was captured by the Brits and before he was hung he stated “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.” Check out the Nathan Hale Homestead in Coventry, built in 1776, with Hale-family furnishings and period antiques.

Hartford Election Cake

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Adapted from Rare Bits: Unusual Origins of Popular Recipes, by Patricia Bunning Stevens, www.ohioswallow.com, used with permission.

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 1½ cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm milk (scalded, then cooled)
  • 3¼ cups all-purpose flour (divided in two parts: 1½ cups, then 1¾ cups)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup chopped raisins (soaked overnight in brandy or bourbon, optional)
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs

For the glaze:

  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 tablespoons milk

Instructions

Dissolve yeast in water. Stir in milk. Add 1½ cups flour gradually, until mixture is smooth. Cover and let rise in warm place until very light and bubbly, 30 to 45 minutes.

Mix together 1¾ cups flour, salt and spices and set aside. Chop raisins, mix with nuts and set aside. Cream butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. By hand, blend in yeast mixture. Gradually add dry ingredients, beating until smooth after each addition Add raisin-pecan mixture and mix well.

Grease and flour a 9-inch tube pan or large Bundt pan. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Cover and let rise in a warm place until dough almost reaches the top, 1½ to 2 hours. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake cake until golden brown, 40 to 50 minutes. Cool 10 minutes in pan, then loosen cake from edges with a knife. Turn out onto a cake rack and cool completely.

For glaze: In a mixing bowl, whisk confectioners sugar, vanilla and milk until desired spreading consistency. Glaze should cover top of cake and drizzle down the sides.

 

Clamoring for More:- New Haven White Clam Pizza – Connecticut

The Nutmeg State’s second largest city, New Haven, is identified with the white clam pizza.  If you’ve never tasted the savory sensation that is white clam pizza, well then friends, you’ve been missing out. Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana on Wooster Street claims

New Haven White Clam Pizza

to be the originator of this dish which dates back to the 1960s when the restaurant served little neck clams as an appetizer.  Presumably, Frank didn’t think it much of a stretch to toss some clams and parmesan cheese on top of dough and call it “apizza” (ah-beets as the locals still say).

A couple of tips about white clam pizza: We don’t recommend using canned clams. They will be way too chewy. Frozen will work in a pinch but your best bet, as usual, is freshly steamed. We’ve told you before here and here how to steam clams. It really is easy so don’t be intimidated.  Also, please note that the recipe below makes enough dough for two pizzas but the amount of clams and cheese is for only one pizza. Just double the amounts if you want to make two pizzas.

If you dig all things nautical, check out Mystic Seaport, the nation’s leading maritime museum with four national historic landmark vessels including the 1841 whaleship, the Charles W. Morgan, the country’s oldest commercial ship still in existence.

New Haven White Clam Pizza

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Ingredients

For crust (will make enough for two crusts):

  • I package yeast
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 ½ cups warm water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 1/2 – 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Cooking spray

For pizza (double these amounts if you will be making two pizzas):

  • 25-30 little neck clams
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, finely minced
  • Olive oil

Instructions

To make crust: In a large bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in ½ cup warm water. Let sit until mixture begins to foam. Add rest of water and olive oil.  Add 3 ½ cups flour, salt, and remaining sugar. Mix with a stand mixer fitted with dough hooks until well combined. If dough is too sticky add a quarter cup of flour at a time, until dough is smooth and elastic and pulls away from the bowl. Transfer dough to a large bowl that has been coated with cooking spray. Cover with a tea towel and let rise, about 40-55 minutes. Divide into two. Set aside one crust for a different kind of pizza or wrap in plastic wrap and freeze.

To steam clams: Pick through clams and discard any with cracked or damaged shells. Soak for 20 minutes in fresh water. Lift them out of the water bath (do not strain) and brush them vigorously to get rid of any excess sand. Heat 3 to 4 cups of water in a large pot. Turn down heat to medium. Add clams and cover. Steam about 4 to 6 minutes or until the shells just start to open. Do not overcook as clams will cook again on the pizza. Remove from heat and let cool. Discard any clams that do not open. Once shells are cool enough to handle, open shells, extract and chop meat coarsely.

To make pizza:  Preheat oven to 550 degrees with pizza stone inside if using. Place the ball of dough down on a well-floured work surface. Using the heel of your hand, press down to flatten. Lift the dough onto a round pan or pizza paddle sprinkled with corn meal. Continuing pressing and shaping the dough.  If dough is too springy, let rest about 10 minutes until the gluten relaxes, then proceed. Once dough is the appropriate size, press and shape a ½ inch crust on the edge. Brush dough with olive oil. Add Parmesan cheese, oregano, garlic and then clams. If using a pizza paddle, transfer pizza onto baking stone that has been preheating in oven. Bake at 550 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until the dough is browned and the cheese is golden. Finish with additional olive oil if desired.

Vote for Cake: Hartford Election Cake – Connecticut

While driving through Connecticut, with its scenic towns and quaint villages, you can almost squint and go back in time to 1788 when this colony became a state. It may be one of the smallest states in the nation, but it’s rich in history, and Hartford Election Cake is part of

Hartford Election Cake

its lore. Back in colonial times, Election Day was almost like a holiday. Historians are not sure if this cake was baked in celebration of the right to vote, or just to feed weary travelers who traveled long distances to get to polling places. No matter, Democrats and Republicans alike can stand behind this very old recipe, based on a traditional fruitcake but lighter since it contains yeast. This cake is full of nuts, raisins and spices, including cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg — appropriate for the Nutmeg State. It rises twice for a total of two and a half hours, so allow a bit of time when you are preparing it. Great with a cuppa joe in the morning or with tea in the afternoon as a pick-me-up.

If you want to get your history fix, check out the Connecticut Historical Society Museum and Library in Hartford. And if you need voter info for the November 4th election, check out the handy voter information tool below the recipe.

Hartford Election Cake

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Adapted from Rare Bits: Unusual Origins of Popular Recipes, by Patricia Bunning Stevens, www.ohioswallow.com, used with permission.

Ingredients

For cake:

  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm milk (scalded, then cooled)
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (divided in two parts: 1 1/2 cups, then 1 3/4 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup chopped raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs

For glaze:

  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 tablespoons milk

Instructions

Dissolve yeast in water. Stir in milk. Add 1 1/2 cups flour gradually, until mixture is smooth. Cover and let rise in warm place until very light and bubbly, 30 to 45 minutes.

Mix together 1 3/4 cups flour, salt and spices and set aside. Chop raisins, mix with nuts and set aside. Cream butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. By hand, blend in yeast mixture. Gradually add dry ingredients, beating until smooth after each addition Add raisin-pecan mixture and mix well.

Grease and flour a 9-inch tube pan or large Bundt pan. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Cover and let rise in a warm place until dough almost reaches the top, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake cake until golden brown, 40 to 50 minutes. Cool 10 minutes in pan, then loosen cake from edges with a knife. Turn out onto a cake rack and cool completely.

For glaze: In a mixing bowl, whisk confectioners sugar, vanilla and milk until desired spreading consistency. Glaze should cover top of cake and drizzle down the sides.