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Bon Appetit’s Tahini Cookies

5 Sep

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In case you haven’t heard, everything everywhere is all about the seeds, and these black sesame seeds are at the top of the hot list. Seeds add texture and appeal to baked goods, and they are pretty darn good for us, too.

These cookies have sesame paste (aka tahini) on the inside and black sesame on the outside. Continue reading

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Dark Chocolate, Pistachio and SMOKED SEA SALT Cookies ~*Recipe ReDux*~

22 Jan

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Oh, what a pinch of salt can do for a dessert. A pinch of salt can enhance the flavor of chocolate, perk up a lemon curd and make a pie crust pop.

What about SMOKED SALT?! I recently acquired a shaker of smoked sea salt, and I think it has great potential in desserts, if used sparingly, mostly with chocolate or nuts (sorry lemon bars and lemon tarts, I do not think smoked sea salt is your friend). Imagine a light sprinkle of smoked sea salt atop an intense chocolate brownie, a milk chocolate pudding or a pecan pie. Woah.

This month’s Recipe ReDux challenge is all about turning up the heat with smoke and spiciness.

“From boldly flavored smoked salts to actual smoking techniques, subtly smoked food is on-trend. The same can be said for spice as we savor heat from harissa, sriracha and smoked paprika. Show us the healthy dish you’re heating up with smoke and/or spiciness.”

I figured that most of the Recipe ReDuxers would be coming up with savory creations, so I decided to keep things sweet and smokey over here. Continue reading

Cinnamon-Cocoa-Pecan Rugelach

11 Nov

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It’s about time I post a recipe here. I have been so busy out and about, road tripping to make pie in Vermont and hang out on a farm, and experimenting with letting others, namely Blue Apron, do the grocery shopping for me.

I am back in the groove now with a recipe for RUGELACH! Perfect for the upcoming holiday season. These darling cookies fit the bill for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Hannukah. But really, they are delicious any time of the year.

Actually, I made the dough for the rugelach way back in August and stuck it in my freezer, intending to bake them off for the Jewish high holiday, Rosh Hashanah. Alas, life got busy and I never got around to making them.

So, three months later, I finally pulled the rugelach dough from the freezer, placed it in the refrigerator to thaw, and set to work rolling, filling, and shaping the cookies. I have been known to keep pie doughs and pizza doughs and apparently rugelach doughs in my freezer for months on end, which is not ideal or recommended, but hey, they always turn out tasting dang good.

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I wrote about rugelach a few years back, and it is high time for an update. Continue reading

Anyway Icebox Cake

25 Dec

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Who knew whipped cream and cookies could become cake and frosting overnight?! The cookies soften as the whipped cream works it’s magic. Amazing.

This is now my secret-weapon-cake for when I’m short on time (aka I have a party to attend immediately after a big final).

You could mix in some jam between the layers, or some pudding, or Nutella or peanut butter. I just kept it simple with cookies and cream. Ginger cookies felt right for the season.

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This would be a great summer cake, too, because there is no need to turn on the oven. *Imagine* Berries with shortbread and whipped cream, or peaches with a drizzle of bourbon-caramel and cream. très bon!

Anyway Icebox Cake

Wafer cookies (I used Anna’s ginger thins), about 40 wafers, or 1.5 5.25-oz packages

Heavy cream, about 2 cups

Powdered sugar, about 1-2 tablespoons

Vanilla (Citrus Zest would be nice, too!), about 1 teaspoon

With an electric mixer or a whisk, beat the cream until it begins to thicken and the whisk leaves a trail. Add the sugar and vanilla and continue beating until the cream is thick, nearly doubling in volume, and forms medium-firm peaks.

On a flat plate, arrange 5 cookies side by side in a circle, and place 1 cookie in the center.

Spread with about 1/2 cup whipped cream, making a circle. Repeat with remaining cookies and cream, making about 7 layers of cookies. You can choose to end with a layer of cream or end with a layer of cookies. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, the cookies will have softened, acting like regular cake. So easy. So good.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

29 Oct

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There has been a lot of pumpkin around these parts lately. Last week, I ate a pumpkin-laden something or other every single day. This week, I’ll be cooling my pumpkin jets, but just because I am taking a pumpkin break doesn’t mean you should…

These oatmeal cookies are magical because the only “glue” holding them together is 1 egg and 1/2 cup pumpkin puree. No butter, no oil. Just pure pumpkin goodness. Reminiscent of a trail mix cookie, every bite is full of something oaty, fruity, doughy, and chocolatey. Who else is with me in that they love the softness of a chocolate chip once it has been baked into something?! So tempting to pick out all of the chips from the cookies!

You know when you make something with pumpkin puree and always have leftover puree to finish off? These cookies are perfect for using up that last 1/2 cup of puree. You could also swirl some puree into hot cereal

Don’t like pumpkin? Try using mashed bananas instead!

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Healthy Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

from Sally’s Baking Addiction

makes about 12-15 cookies

  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour 
  • 1 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup sugar (I used 1/4 cup granulated and 1/4 cup dark brown)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup dried fruit (I used chopped, dried figs and dried blueberries)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl whisk together pumpkin, egg, and vanilla until well combined. In a separate bowl, combine flour, oats, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, salt, spices, chocolate chips, and dried fruit. Fold together the wet and dry ingredients until just combined (I like to use my hands at the end!). The dough will be very thick.
  3. Drop by spoonfuls onto cookie sheets and slightly flatten to the shape you want your cookie. Bake for 12-14 minutes until lightly browned. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for at least 3 minutes and transfer to a wire rack. Cookies stay fresh at room temperature for 3 days in an airtight container.

White Chocolate Pineapple Macadamia Cookies

23 Jan

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The white chocolate macadamia nut cookie got a little fancier today.

Partially whole wheat, with big chunks of chopped white chocolate (Callebaut brand), roasted macadamia nuts, dried pineapple chunks. You could use chips, but if possible, I recommend buying a block of good quality chocolate and chopping it yourself. It looks nicer, especially when using white chocolate, to have those uneven blobs of chocolate all melted and shining. Tastes better, too, what with the oozing chocolate hugging the slightly salty macadamias and pineapple bits.

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Browned butter adds an extra rich, nutty element to the cookies. Using browned butter makes things easier since you don’t have to wait for butter to soften…which can take hours in the cold weather temperatures.

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Macadamia nuts, eaten in moderation, are rich in the minerals calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, and zinc. Alright alright, so we are about to chow down on some cookies, but…at least we can get a little pumped about the macadamias…

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White Chocolate Pineapple Macadamia Cookies

adapted from Joy the Baker

yields about 30-36 smallish cookies

1/2 cup (1 stick or 4 oz) butter

1 cup (200 grams) light or dark brown sugar

2 tablespoons milk (I used 1% milk)

1 egg (if possible, try to use an organic egg; even better, purchase your eggs locally at the farmer’s market or another reliable source…)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 3/4 cup flour (I used 1 cup ap flour + 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour)

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup roughly chopped macadamia nuts

1/2 cup roughly chopped dried pineapple chunks

1 cup roughly chopped good quality white chocolate (a serrated knife works well for chopping chocolate)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Brown the butter: in a medium saucepan, melt the butter, swirling and stirring until nice browned bits appear in the bottom of the pan. This may take 5-7 minutes. Once the butter is browned, remove from heat and set aside to cool a bit while you measure out the dry ingredients.

In a bowl of a stand mixer, add the brown sugar and slightly cooled browned butter. Beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes. Add the egg and beat for another minute. Add the milk and vanilla and beat until incorporated.

Turn the mixer off, scrape down the sides, and add flour, baking soda, and salt all at once. With either the stand mixer on low or by hand with a spatula, incorporate the dry ingredients until just mixed in. Fold in the chopped nuts, pineapple chunks, and white chocolate.

Scoop two teaspoon size balls onto a parchment lined baking sheet (this should use two baking sheets). Bake for 9-11 minutes, rotating once through baking, until the cookies are soft and golden. Remove from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack.

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Smitten Kitchen’s Cranberry Crumb Bars

21 Dec

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Well tickle me pink, these crumb bars are beauts. They taste like pie, but in cookie form. Perfectly balanced tart berry and buttery crumb. I don’t know why I didn’t eat these bars with vanilla ice cream heaping over the top. I did, however, manage to eat every last crumb that happened to “fall off” the top of the cookies. Good heavens!

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I finally found an excuse to do something with the half-full quart container of cranberries that I had been keeping in my freezer for a year. The cranberries held up in perfect condition throughout their year in stasis, and now they’ve had the chance to shine (I tend to put things in my freezer and forget about them until a year later…not the smartest thing to do…but these cookie bars were just a sweet treat to eat at home so the only harm done would be done to me…and I gladly took the risk for these buttery babies!).

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To get a nice, clean cut, it is best to refrigerate the cookie bars for an hour or a few hours and cut them when they are cold. I got too greedy and went right in for the bars when they were still slightly warm and at my disposal. Sigh…I think I need some company to keep my self-control in check.

In other news, I’m totally Smitten with the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. I feel like almost half of the recipes on my blog are “adapted from” Deb Perelman’s beautiful blog, and now I get to cook my way through her beautiful book. Three cheers for Deb!

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Smitten Kitchen’s Cranberry Crumb Bars

adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

makes an 8×8 inch pan of bars

Crumb:

1 stick of butter, cubed and chilled

1 1/2 cups (188 grams) all-purpose flour

1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon cloves

1 egg

Filling:

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest

1 tablespoon orange juice

2 cups fresh cranberries

1/4 cup (50 grams) sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line the bottom of an 8×8 inch baking pan with parchment paper, and butter the sides and the parchment. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and spices. Work the chilled butter and egg into the flour mixture until it resembles a course meal. You can use your hands (my preferred method), a fork, or a pastry blender. Pat half of the crumb base into the bottom of your prepared pan. It will be thin.

In the bowl of a food processor or a blender, briefly pulse the filling ingredients until the berries are coarsely chopped but not pureed. Spread the filling over the crumb base. Sprinkle the remaining crumbs evenly over the cranberry mixture.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until lightly brown on top. Cool completely before cutting into squares. It helps to refrigerate the bars once cool and then cut them when cold.

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