Tag Archives: baking

chocolate shortbread fingers

Ok, here’s my last cookie-type-thing for you for at least a little while.  I promise to share some healthier stuff with you soon.  But I thought you’d enjoy these.  It’s a great recipe to have on hand because you’re likely to already have everything you need to make them and they’re easy to make to boot.

But healthy they are not.  Look at all that butter!

But I’m a firm believer in everything in moderation.   So maybe you just don’t go wild with these and maybe you go for a walk after dinner or something, but you should still treat yourself to a little chocolaty goodness every once in a while. Continue reading

chocolate hazelnut crinkle cookies

chocolate hazelnut crinkle cookies

Wait! Hold off on that New Year’s diet resolution! I still have two cookie recipes to share with you! I know, I should have gotten them in earlier, it’s just been such a busy holiday season.

toasted hazelnuts

For years and years, we always made the same cookies for the holidays (such as the forgotten meringues and fruitcake cookies), but this year I wanted to branch out and try something different.  When I saw this recipe on epicurious, I knew would have to make it.

chocolate hazelnut crinkles in powdered sugar

Not only was Joseph looking at the recipe and drooling on my shoulder, but one of my family’s traditional cookies is a molasses crinkle.  It’s obviously a completely different flavor profile, but they’re both rolled and then doused in sugar (although the molasses crinkle is coated in granulated sugar while these are in powdered sugar) before baking, giving it that cool crinkled effect.  And it just felt like it was ok to skip the old tradition if I replaced it (if only temporarily) with another crinkle cookie. Continue reading

forgotten meringues

forgotten meringues

My family has many Christmas traditions and one of my favorites is the forgotten meringue.  It’s called the forgotten meringue because you whip up the meringue, form cookies on a sheet, and put them in a preheated oven and turn the oven off, and then forget about them until the next morning.  You then begin the day with a meringue or two because you just have to see how they came out.  You nailed it if they’re light and airy and dissolve in your mouth.  Even if you didn’t nail it and ended up with a chewier cookie, you’ll still really enjoy them — believe me, I’ve made plenty of less than perfect meringues and no one has ever complained.

Meringues may appear a little tricky, but if you follow the basic rules and tips, they’re actually pretty easy.  Here are some tips for perfect meringues: Continue reading

triple-chocolate cranberry oatmeal cookies

This is a new Christmas cookie for me and believe me, it’s going to find a place in the Christmas cookie rotation from now on.  It has not one, not two, but three kinds of chocolate: semi-sweet, milk chocolate, and white chocolate.  Now, I was initially wondering what the point of buying milk chocolate was when I could just use semi-sweet and just have two chocolates.  But it didn’t seem as fun and they had a sale on milk chocolate chips at the store.

I wasn’t familiar with Guittard chocolates, but I’m going to be on the lookout from now on.  These milk chocolate chips are awesome.  They’re quite large so my initial thought was to halve them, which I started to do before deciding that I had had enough chopping and enough time on prep.  Dear readers, this moment of laziness made these cookies even better.  Every now and then you get the most amazing bite of chocolate.  And the tartness of the cranberries with the chocolate medley is just perfect, really bringing these cookies together.  And they’re made even prettier with a quick drizzle of melted white chocolate.  Yum! Continue reading

fruitcake cookies

fruitcake cookies

I just spent the weekend baking holiday cookies and have so much to share with you!  I’m beginning with my dad’s favorite: fruitcake cookies.  My mom has made these cookies for as long as I can remember but I’m not sure I ever actually tried one until 3 or 4 years ago.

They’re packed with fluorescent candied cherries (the green ones in particular look like they could glow in the dark) so you’d think it would be the kids that would have been excited about these cookies and not the adults.  But for some reason my sister and I thought they were super disgusting (although I’m not really sure either of us ever tried them) and my parents, especially my dad, really liked them.  So a few years ago I decided I should just give them a try and to my shock (and yes, perhaps horror), I really liked them.  I made them for Joseph who also really liked them so they were the first cookie on my list to attack for the holidays this year.

candied cherries

Joseph helped enormously with the prep by cutting up all these suckers.  I always forget how long it takes because you have to quarter each one and they’re super sticky.  It’s one thing for someone like me who is just a slow cutter, but someone with great knife skills, such as Joseph, may find it agonizingly slow because the stickiness gets in the way of just about everything.  Oh, um.  And while you’re prepping, I would refrain from trying the cherries because they are sickeningly sweet and it may scare you off from what you’re making.  But the finished product is worth it, I promise you!  The cookie is buttery and has a rich brown sugar taste and the candied cherries make them about as festive as any cookie could be while the dates and pecans help them back to earth. Continue reading

chocolate glazed gingerbread cakes

Ok, I know, I know, it’s been way too long since my last post.  But believe me, this recipe should (somewhat) make up for it and it’s just in time for your holiday parties, dinners, etc.!  I came across this recipe from Martha Stewart a few years ago and love to make it for guests.  Love or hate Martha, you’ve got to agree that it’s an ingenious idea to invert a cupcake and pour some ganache over it.  It takes it from average, everyday cupcake to a beautiful, elegant individual dessert.  Ok, well, you don’t have to agree that it’s ingenious, but I sure think it’s pretty cool.  And it makes it look so much more complicated than it actually is.

I first made these cakes on a fall night a few years ago when Joseph, my sister, Jessica, and her future husband, Adam, were all meeting up at my parents’ house to watch a Redskins game.  I think it was an important game.  I don’t remember, I wasn’t all that interested.  I had decided that I would pass at least part of the time by baking something for dessert and I had gotten Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook recently and really wanted to try these.  I asked my sister if it would be weird if I made a fancyish dessert when we were just watching the game (or at least some of us were) and having a simple dinner.  She was thrilled and seemed to think the fancier the better.  Her enthusiasm made more sense when she and Adam announced just before dessert that they were engaged! Continue reading

pumpkin pie

As much as I love pumpkiny foods, I’ve never really been a big fan of pumpkin pie.  I guess it’s the texture (so mushy).  But it such a classic Thanksgiving dessert that I figured I should make one.  I was also inspired when I found this recipe when flipping through Joanne Chang’s new cookbook at the bookstore. I’m a big fan of Joanne Chang from her bakery, Flour Bakery and apparently this pie has gotten all kinds of accolades, so I figured, hey, why not?   I went home and quickly found the recipe on the Food Network website.

pumpkin and brown sugar

The funny thing is that when I got in the car the day before Thanksgiving, there was a woman explaining a pumpkin pie recipe on the radio and I kept thinking, wow, that sounds exactly like the pie I made the night before.  And indeed it was because it was Joanne Chang on the radio!  It’s a little embarrassing how much I enjoyed listening to her on the radio.  I’m so clueless when it comes to pop culture, so food people end up being my celebrities. Continue reading

apple crumb pie

apple crumb pie

I don’t know exactly how old I was (10ish?), but I still remember standing at the kitchen counter trying to roll out my pie dough and my grandmother guiding me through this process that was proving to be so much more complicated than I had thought it would be.  I’ve made an apple pie every Thanksgiving since.

In fact, every Thanksgiving I made the exact same recipe, an apple pie loaded with spices from the 18th century in Recipes from the Raleigh Tavern Bake Shop.  It’s a unique recipe (the only reason I have mace in my spice cabinet), and it’s good, but I got tired of making it.  More than that, I got tired of making a lattice top pie (pretty though they are) and wanted to try a crumb pie.  So last year I made a new recipe and I wish I could remember where I got it because it was the worst apple pie I’ve ever made and I want to be sure that I never make it again.  It’s funny because none of my family members remember it being that bad, but when I cut into it, all I really got were some soggy apples swimming in their juices.  I mean, it was edible, but it was definitely nothing to be proud of. Continue reading

apple cider cake

The way food disappears at my office, you’d think that we don’t ever get fed.  We had a Thanksgiving feast for lunch on Monday, with the office providing all the turkey and sides and employees supplying the desserts.  There was so much food that I was sure this time people would be full and that there would be enough leftover to bring a slice home for Joseph, but I was sorely mistaken.  I came back from a meeting and all that was left was a plate of crumbs.

Which isn’t in and of itself a testament to the quality of the cake because I have seen Easter candy that looked at least a couple years old put out at Halloween that was gone by the end of the day.  If you need to get rid of food, just put it on out the table in the kitchen and it will be gone before you know it.  However, enough people asked me for the recipe for me to feel confident that this was in fact a hit.  The creamy, tangy, sweet frosting alone is worth it.  Believe me, that’s a spoon you’ll be licking when you’re done mixing it together!

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tres leches cake

When a coworker’s going away dinner became Mexican-themed (all because another coworker said she was bringing tequila and no one could argue with margaritas), I figured I should make a tres leches cake.  I had never made one before and a few people mentioned that they had heard they were difficult to make, though they had never tried it themselves.  Let me assure you, it wasn’t hard at all and that’s a very good thing because you’re going to want to try this.

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