Suzi's Blog

Raspberry Shrub Syrup and Beverage

 

Man goes into a bar. [Sorry, for timing reasons it has to be a man.] The bar is in New York City. The man pulls his stool up to the edge of the bar. Sawdust shuffles as the stool legs scrape along the floor.

The bartender, large and flush, says, “What’ll you have?”

The man says, “A shrub.”

What does the bartender do?

The correct answer depends on what time period we are talking about. If the time is now, then the bartender will turn, pick up a cell phone, and discretely call the nearest NYP precinct. A man drinking a shrub, or wanting to, is a sign of psychological disorder that probably calls for a minimum of 48 involuntary confinement.

On the other hand, if the time is two or three hundred years ago, the bartender will simply say, “What flavor.”

A shrub is a fruit-vinegar-sugar based beverage that contains no alcohol, but has powerful intensity. I’ll just say that the note of vinegar as you put your nose to glass can be strong, but the flavor of the beverage itself has just a pleasantly sour note on top of the underlying fruit base.

If you love lemonade, if you want a distinctive beverage with a non-alcoholic punch, then shrubs are in your future. This first recipe comes from Clementine Paddleford’s The Great American Cookbook. This raspberry shrub hails from Maine, in fact from the kitchen of the late Senator Margaret Chase Smith. Her husband raised bushels of raspberries in Skowhegan, Maine – the site nowadays of the famous Kneading Conference. What goes better than bread and berries?

Raspberry Shrub Syrup and Beverage

Yield: 5 cups of syrup, enough for 20 1-cup beverages

 

Ingredients:

  • 4 quarts fresh raspberries
  • 1 quart of cider vinegar
  • 5 cups of sugar

Preparation:

Clean and pick over the berries. In a large bowl, cover the berries with the vinegar. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let stand in a cool, dry place for 4 days.

When the berries are ready, strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, pressing gently on the solids and then discarding them. What remains should be clear red raspberry juice with no pulp or seeds.

In a large heavy saucepan, combine the raspberry mixture and sugar and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.

Pour the syrup into a bowl or bottle, cover, and chill in the refrigerator.

To make a shrub beverage: Serve the syrup diluted, with three parts cold water to one part syrup. Fill a tall glass with crushed ice and pour in the syrup. Tinkle it, whiff it, sip it, and smile.

Note: I did cheat at the end, adding a little sugar syrup to just dull the edge of the vinegar. I’m going to be practicing. And, there are other shrub recipes in the mill.

Source: The Great American Cookbook by Clementine Paddleford

Jammy Dodgers

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Tuition for my first year of college, at a good private school in Portland, cost $800. You may deduce that I wasn’t born yesterday. By the time I graduated, it cost $1500. I got a great education. I was a physics major who minored in Russian. Look at me now.

Tonight, in Manhattan, dinner for two with good wine can easily cost $800. You can make it $1500 by just shifting from one column of the wine list to another.

Those great restaurants with the serious prices, and wonderful wine lists, often end the meal with some very surprising cookies offered next to the final tab. For example, Michael Hatnell, chef at Le Caprice at The Pierre, provides a Jammy Dodger. Dodger here has nothing to do with Brooklyn baseball. These are a popular British dessert with two shortbread cookies sandwiched using jam. One or two bites of these cookies, and the bill for dinner seems to bite you less.

Tracey Zabar has thankfully collected this Jammy Dodger recipe, along with many others from the best New York restaurants, in her compilation One Sweet Cookie.

There are many obvious temptations in One Sweet Cookie. My next experiments will include:

  • Double Chocolate fudge Cookies
  • Pecan and Chocolate Cookies
  • Sugar Topped Molasses Spice Cookies
  • Macadamia Milk Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

How to proceed? One cookie at a time. And these Jammy Dodgers are just the way to start. The shortbread gives the body and substance, and of course, the flavor to this cookie. Needless to say, use the best butter you can. Flour needs to be fresh. If your flour has been sitting around in that can for a few months, dump and get fresh. It does, truly does, make a difference.

Raspberry jam? It’s a great choice here with that raspberry tartness challenging the shortbread for the flavor lead. But other jams are surely fine. Strawberry, blackberry, … Look on that shelf and find a treat for yourself and these cookies.

Jammy Dodgers

Yield: 7 large sandwich cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon g r a n u l a t e d sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • ¼ cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • Raspberry jam, as needed
  • Confectioners’ sugar for dusting [optional]

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line two half-sheet pans with parchment paper.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda. Rub in the butter until the mixture is the consistency of bread crumbs. Add the yogurt and milk to form a rough dough. Do not overmix. Set aside, and allow the dough to rest for about 15 minutes.

Roll out the dough until it is about ½  inch thick. Cut out the dough with a 2 ½-inch square cookie cutter. With a ½-inch round cookie cutter [or smaller], cut out a small porthole in corner of half of the cookies. Place them all on the prepared pans.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden. Cool completely on wire racks.

Turn over the cookies without the holes and pipe or spoon a dollop of jam onto each one. Dust the tops of the cookies with the holes with confectioners’ sugar tapped through a small sieve. Sandwich the top and bottom cookie together. Press to secure. Serve and enjoy.

 

Source: One Sweet Cookie by Tracey Zabar