Chocolate-Avocado Pudding

This pudding gets its creaminess from avocados- and you would never know. It’s also made in minutes using a blender- fabulous! I love that it incorporated a vanilla bean and freshly squeezed orange juice too.

This recipe is from Gjusta in Venice, California, via Bon Appetit. Fresh and great.

Yield: Serves 8

  • 2 large avocados, pits removed
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup
  • ¼ cup agave nectar
  • ¼ cup (or more) fresh orange juice
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1½ cups heavy cream, optional
  • ¼ cup cocoa nibs and/or chopped hazelnuts, optional
  1. Scoop avocado flesh into a blender. (I used a Vitamix.)
  2. Scrape in vanilla bean seeds; reserve pod for another use.
  3. Add cocoa powder, maple syrup, agave nectar, orange juice, and salt and blend to a coarse purée.
  4. With motor running, gradually stream in ¾ cup hot (but not boiling) water; blend, adding more orange juice as needed, until smooth and creamy.
  5. Divide pudding among eight 4–6 oz. ramekins or small bowls and chill (uncovered) at least 2 hours.
  6. Just before serving, whip cream in a medium bowl to soft peaks and spoon over pudding, if desired; top with cocoa nibs and/or hazelnuts.

Note: Pudding can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and chill.

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Pear Clafoutis

My mom and brother were in France last week, so I made a clafoutis. It makes perfect sense… I was pretending that we were there too!😉 Clafoutis was always one of my mom’s favorite desserts to make for dinner parties. It is simple, elegant, and delicious. Absolutely wonderful with pears too!

This recipe was adapted from Barefoot in Paris by Ina Garten, via Loretta @ Safari of the Mind and Food Network.com. I used Cuarenta y Tres (a Spanish citrus and vanilla liqueur) instead of Poire William. I substituted large for extra-large eggs, omitted the creme fraiche garnish, and used the zest of one lemon. I also modified the baking time to fit my deeper pan. Next time I would bake it in a wider, more shallow pan so that the pears were visible in the finished product. Lovely!

Yield: Serves 8

Total Time: about 1 hour

  • 1 T unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, separated
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 6 T all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 2 T pear brandy (such as Poire William) or citrus-vanilla liqueur (such as Cuarenta y Tres)
  • 2 to 3 firm but ripe Bartlett pears
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for garnish
  • creme fraiche, for garnish, optional
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F, preferably on convection.
  2. Butter a 10 x 3-inch round baking dish and sprinkle the bottom and sides with 1 tablespoon of the granulated sugar. (I used a 9 x 3-inch pan.)
  3. Beat the eggs and the 1/3 cup of granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  4. On low speed, mix in the flour, cream, vanilla extract, lemon zest, salt, and liqueur. Set aside for 10 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, peel, quarter, core, and slice the pears.
  6. Arrange the slices in a single layer, slightly fanned out, in the baking dish.
  7. Pour the batter over the pears and bake until the top is golden brown and the custard is firm, about 35 to 45 minutes.
  8. Serve warm or at room temperature, sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar, and creme fraiche, if desired.

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Carrot-Cake Thumbprint Cookies

My friend had the most beautiful Easter party yesterday. She served an exorbitant amount of delicious food and everyone gobbled it up. Her spread included asparagus-cream soup, tomato-goat cheese tarts, grilled lamb chops, baked ham, mustard chicken salad, leek-bacon-gruyere quiche, green salad, arugula-fennel-dill salad, fruit salad, penne a la vodka, and more. That doesn’t even include dessert!:) She also had an egg hunt and goodie bags for all of the kids- AND party favors. Amazing!

I brought one of my favorite appetizers, Leek and Gruyere Tart with Prosciutto, and these flavor-packed cookies to contribute. My kids made Peep kebabs too.:) (Some peeps ended up being roasted over a fire!)

This recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart Living. I rolled the dough in chopped raw pecans and used cream cheese instead of goat cheese in the filling. Using a large cookie scoop to ration the dough made the precise 18 cookies. They had a great consistency- chewy on the inside with a crunch from the pecans on the outside. Loved them.

Yield: 1 1/2 dozen

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted, plus 1/2 stick, room temperature, for frosting
  • 1/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 3/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup packed finely grated carrots (from about 3)
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins, chopped
  • 3/4 cup raw pecans, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons apricot jam

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, preferably on convection.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together melted butter, brown and granulated sugars, and yolk.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together flour, ginger, cinnamon, and salt.
  4. Stir flour mixture into butter mixture to combine.
  5. Mix in oats, carrots, and raisins.
  6. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.
  7. Using a large cookie scoop, ration 18 scoops of dough. Roll the dough into 1 1/2-inch balls; roll balls in pecans to coat.
  8. Space 2 inches apart on 2 parchment-lined baking sheets.
  9. Bake 10 minutes. Remove from oven; press an indentation into center of each cookie with the end of a wooden spoon.
  10. Bake until golden brown on bottoms, 10 to 12 minutes more. Re-press indentation into each cookie, as needed. Transfer cookies to a wire rack; let cool.
  11. In a bowl, beat remaining 1/2 stick butter and confectioners’ sugar on medium until smooth.
  12. Beat in cream cheese until just combined. Swirl in jam.
  13. Place filling in a pastry bag fitted with a star tip. Pipe filling into the center of each cookie with cream cheese mixture.
  14. Chill until ready to serve.

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Samoa Brownies

When I first saw photos of these brownies, I knew that I needed some reason to make them. Making a fabulous upgraded version of our favorite girl scout cookies was absolutely irresistible. Then I realized that all we needed were friends to share them with! Needless to say, that was easy.:)

This recipe was adapted from Host the Toast, via Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook. I modified the baking times and used jarred dulce de leche instead of caramel sauce. I also combined dark and semi-sweet chocolate for the drizzle. Yummy!

For the Cookie Crust:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces

For the Brownies:

  • 1⅓ cups dark chocolate chips
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 T water
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp coarse salt

For the Caramel-Coconut Topping:

  • 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut, toasted
  • 1 cup caramel sauce (I used dulce de leche)

For the Chocolate Dip and Drizzle:

  • 4 oz dark chocolate chips, melted
  • 4 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted

To Make the Cookie Crust:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F, preferably on convection.
  2. Line an 9 x 9 baking pan parchment paper hanging on the sides (for easier removal) and spray with non-stick spray.
  3. In a bowl, combine all ingredients for the cookie crust. Using a food processor or pastry cutter, pulse or mix the dough until crumbly.
  4. Evenly spread and pat the cookie crust into the bottom of the parchment-lined baking pan. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the cookie crust turns light golden brown.
  5. Keep in the fridge to cool.

Meanwhile, Make the Brownies:

  1. In a bowl, place the dark chocolate chips. Set aside. IMG_3361
  2. In a small saucepan, add butter, water and sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil and remove from heat. Pour onto the chocolate chips and stir the mixture until chocolate has completely melted. Let cool for a bit.
  3. When the chocolate mixture has cooled down, mix in eggs and vanilla extract.
  4. Add in flour and salt. Mix to incorporate well.
  5. Once the cookie crust has cooled, pour the brownie batter onto the top. Bake for about 25 (on convection) or up to 35 minutes (standard oven), or until toothpick inserted comes out with few crumbs (but not wet) batter.
  6. Let the brownies cool on a wire rack and transfer to the freezer to chill up quickly. (Do not remove from the pan.)

While waiting for the brownies to firm up…

Make the Caramel-Coconut Topping:

  1. Spread your sweetened flaked coconut on a baking sheet and toast for 5 to 7 minutes at 350 F, on convection. Watch carefully as the coconut may turn very quickly from beautiful golden from to burnt. Make sure stir the coconut once in a while to avoid burning.
  2. Mix the toasted coconut and the dulce de leche/caramel sauce. (If you just took your caramel sauce out from the fridge, you can microwave it first to thin it a bit. I heated mine for about 30 seconds and stirred it prior to using.)
  3. Spread the caramel-coconut topping over the chilled brownies.
  4. Place back in the fridge to chill again for at least an hour.

For the Chocolate Dip and Drizzle:

  1. Remove the brownies from the fridge.
  2. Grab the sides of the parchment paper and lift the brownies from the pan. Remove the parchment paper and cut them into smallish squares.
  3. Place about 2/3 of the mixed chocolate chips in a bowl and melt in the microwave with 30 seconds interval, stirring in between. You can also melt your chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. (I usually have more success with the double-boiler method.)
  4. Dip each brownie bottom into the melted chocolate and place upside-down on another sheet of parchment paper to let dry.
  5. When the chocolate coating has cooled, turn each piece right side up. Melt the remaining chocolate as directed above.
  6. Drizzle the remaining chocolate over the top of the Samoa Brownies. You can eat right away or you can let the chocolate drizzle firm up before serving.

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Momofuku Milk Bar’s Crack Pie

I am actually a fan of heart-shaped Valentine’s Day desserts.❤ But, after receiving this recipe from Nancy of Feasting With Friends Blog, I knew that I had to make this pie to celebrate with my family this year. I suppose I could have made it more celebratory by dusting the confectioners’ sugar in hearts! Next time…

I have made the Bon Appetit version of this best-selling Momofuku Milk Bar pie a few times in the past. This version is the real deal (I think!). They are both delicious, of course!😉 Salted caramel-esque. Sweet and salty with an oat cookie crust. Mmmmm!

If I had known it was going to be the coldest Valentine’s Day in 100 years, I may have picked a cozier dessert!:/ This version of the pie is served directly from the freezer… Thankfully, this is purely for texture, the actual pie didn’t taste cold. Whew! The original recipe makes 2 pies, so I divided it in half. (It sounds crazy, but I was scared to have too much of a good thing.)

By the way, there is truth in the name… we all had seconds!😉 Happy Belated Valentine’s Day!❤

Yield: One 10-inch pie or 9-inch pie, 8-10 servings

For the Oat Cookie:

  • 4 T unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 1/2 T tightly packed light brown sugar
  • 20 g (1/2 T) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 egg yolk
  • 40 g (1/4 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 60 g (3/4 cups) old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 0.25 g (1/16 tsp) baking powder
  • 0.125 g half-pinch baking soda
  • 1 g (1/4 tsp) kosher salt
  • pam or other nonstick cooking spray (optional)

For the Pie Filling:

  • 150 g (3/4 cup) granulated sugar
  • 90 g (1/4 cup plus 2 T) tightly packed light brown sugar
  • 10 g (2 T) milk powder
  • 12 g (2 T cup) freeze-dried corn powder
  • 3 g (3/4 tsp) kosher salt
  • 8 T butter, melted
  • 80 g (1/4 cup plus 2 T) heavy cream
  • 1 g (1/4 tsp) vanilla extract
  • 4 egg yolks**
  • confectioners’ sugar, for dusting, to finish

To Complete the Crust:

  • 1 recipe oat cookie (above)
  • 1/2 T (7.5 g) tightly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 g (1/8 tsp) coarse salt
  • 2 T (27.5 g) unsalted butter, melted, or up to 3/4 T (12.5 g) more, if needed

To Make the Oat Cookie:

  1. Heat the oven to 350°F, preferably on convection.
  2. Combine the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes, until fluffy and pale yellow in color. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
  3. Divide the egg yolk in half: Zero a bowl on a digital scale. Add whole egg yolk. Add half of the weight to the bowl.
  4. On low-speed, incorporate the egg yolk and increase the speed to medium­ high and beat for 1 to 2 minutes, until the sugar granules fully dissolve and the mixture is a pale white.
  5. On low-speed, add the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix for a minute, until your dough comes together and any remnants of dry ingredients have been incorporated. The dough will be a slightly fluffy, fatty mixture in comparison to your average cookie dough. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  6. Line a quarter sheet pan with parchment; spray with cooking spray.
  7. Plop the cookie dough in the center of the pan, cover with plastic wrap, and, with a spatula or rolling pin, spread it out until it is 1/4 inch thick. The dough will cover about half of the pan.
  8. Bake for 10 minutes, or until it resembles an oatmeal cookie-caramelized on top and puffed slightly but set firmly.
  9. Cool completely before using.

Note: Wrapped well in plastic, the oat cookie will keep fresh in the fridge for up to 1 week.

To Make the Filling:

  1. Combine the sugar, brown sugar, milk powder, corn powder, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low-speed until evenly blended.
  2. Add the melted butter and paddle for 2 to 3 minutes until all the dry ingredients are moist.
  3. Add the heavy cream and vanilla and continue mixing on low for 2 to 3 minutes until any white streaks from the cream have completely disap­peared into the mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
  4. Add the egg yolks, paddling them into the mixture just to combine; be careful not to aerate the mixture, but be certain the mixture is glossy and homogenous. Mix on low-speed until it is.

Note: The filling can be used right away, or stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

To Complete the Pie:

  1. Heat the oven to 350°F, preferably on convection.
  2. Put the oat cookie, brown sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse it on and off until the cookie is broken down into a wet sand. (If you don’t have a food processor, you can fake it till you make it and crumble the oat cookie diligently with your hands.)
  3. Transfer the crumbs to a bowl, add the melted butter, and knead the butter and ground cookie mixture until moist enough to form into a ball. If it is not moist enough to do so, melt an additional 7 to 12 g (1/2 to 3/4 T) butter and knead it in.
  4. Using the bottom of a dry measuring cup, your fingers and/or the palms of your hands, press the oat cookie crust firmly into the pie dish, making sure the bottom and sides of the tin are evenly covered. Use the pie shells immediately, or wrap well in plastic and store at room temperature for up to 5 days or in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
  5. Put the pie dish on a rimmed sheet pan. Place the filling in the pie crust; the filling should fill them three-quarters of the way full.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes only. The pies should be golden brown on top but will still be very jiggly.
  7. Open the oven door and reduce the oven temperature to 325°F. Depending on your oven, it may take 5 minutes or longer for the oven to cool to the new temperature. Keep the pie in the oven during this process.
  8. When the oven reaches 325°F, close the door and bake the pie for 5 minutes longer. The pie should still be jiggly in the bull’s-eye center but not around the outer edges. If the filling is still too jiggly, leave the pie in the oven for an additional 5 minutes or so.
  9. Gently take the pie out of the oven and transfer to a rack to cool to room temperature. (You can speed up the cooling process by carefully transferring the pies to the fridge or freezer if you’re in a hurry.)
  10. Then freeze the pie for at least 3 hours, or overnight, to condense the filling for a dense final product—freezing is the signature technique and result of a perfectly executed crack pie®.
  11. Serve your crack pie® cold! Decorate with confectioners’ sugar, either passing it through a fine sieve or dispatching pinches with your fingers.

Note: If not serving the pie right away, wrap well in plastic wrap. In the fridge, it will keep fresh for 5 days; in the freezer, it will keep for 1 month. Transfer the pie from the freezer to the refrigerator to defrost a minimum of 1 hour before you’re ready to serve.

**Note: It will be the death of your wildly dense pie filling if there is any bit of egg white in the mixture. The easiest, and best, way to separate an egg is to do so in your hands. You may also use the two half-shells to separate the eggs, but the cracked shells can tear the yolk open, and you may not totally separate all the white. If you do this by hand, you can feel when you get every last bit of white away from the yolk. Remember to wash your hands under warm soapy water for 30 seconds or more before and after you handle raw eggs!

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My Mother-In-Law’s Napoleon Torte

My Mother-In-Law is an amazing cook. As much as I enjoy baking, I had to take her up on an offer to bring a dessert for our Thanksgiving weekend feasts. After one bite of this beautiful torte, my son exclaimed that it was the best dessert he has eaten in his entire life. I knew that I had to share her recipe as a guest post of sorts. My son wanted the title to be “The Best Dessert the World Has Ever Known.”:)

Delicious and pretty! Here it is:

For the Cake Layer:

  • 3 cups (390 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup light cream

For the Caramel:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 2 cans (14 oz each) sweetened condensed milk (Carnation or Borden’s Eagle Brand)

For the Pudding:

  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 2 T sauce flour (Wondra brand)
  • 1 T granulated sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup light cream
  • vanilla extract or 1 envelope of Dr. Oetker vanillin sugar
  • 3 oz (1 package) serve and cook vanilla pudding (Jello brand)

For the Apricot Layer:

  • 1 12-oz can Solo Apricot Cake and Pastry Filling

To Make the Cake Layer:

  1. Combine the flour, butter, egg yolks, and light cream until a dough is formed.
  2. Divide the dough into 7 equal balls; refrigerate overnight.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  4. Line 9.5″ cake pans with parchment; coat with cooking oil spray.
  5. Roll out each ball of dough into a 9.5″ circle (to fit into the cake pan), trying to make rounds of equal thickness.
  6. Prick each round of dough with a fork, cover with aluminum foil (or parchment), and pie weights. Bake for 15 minutes.
  7. Remove the foil and weights and continue baking for 4 to 5 minutes, or until lightly brown. (You may have to use a shield to prevent the edges from over browning.)
  8. Repeat these steps and bake the remaining rounds.
  9. Use 6 rounds for the torte. Crumble one round for decorating.

To Make the Caramel:

  1. Place the cans of sweetened condensed milk in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring water to a simmer and cook for 1 1/2 hours- making sure that the cans are covered with water at all times. Cool completely. (This step can be done in advance.)
  2. Cream the butter until fluffy.
  3. Add 1 1/3 to 1 1/2 cans of caramel (to taste) and mix to incorporate well.

To Make the Pudding:

  1. Beat 3 egg yolks with granulated sugar and vanilla until lemon-yellow.
  2. Mix in flour.
  3. Combine the milk and light cream.
  4. Add one cup of the milk-cream mixture to the egg-flour-vanilla mixture. Mix well.
  5. Transfer the mixture to a saucepan; add the remaining milk-cream mixture. Add the vanilla pudding mix.
  6. Mix well and heat on medium until the mixture comes to a boil. Cover with plastic wrap and cool completely in the refrigerator. (The pudding must be cold!)

To Complete the Filling:

  1. Fold the Caramel into the Pudding until a uniform mixture is achieved.

To Make the Apricot Layer:

  1. Using a small blender, immersion blender, or food processor, blend the apricot filling to make a uniform mass.

To Complete the Torte:

  1. Spread the first cake round with a thin coat of apricot filling and then spread the Caramel/Pudding on top.
  2. Top with the second round of cake; top with the Caramel/Pudding filling layer only.
  3. Continue the process, spreading the apricot filling on every other round.
  4. Cover the top and sides of the cake with the remaining Caramel/Pudding filling.
  5. Crush the 7th round of cake and decorate the sides of the cake to hide any imperfections.
  6. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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Country Apple Fritter Bread

When I recently saw this recipe on The Company She Keeps– I needed an excuse to make it. Thankfully we had a surprise snow day! (We seriously didn’t even know that snow was in the forecast…:/ ) I knew it would be the perfect special breakfast.

This recipe was adapted from The Baking Chocolatess. I modified the recipe to incorporate whole wheat pastry flour, unsalted butter, and coarse salt. I also baked the bread in my favorite Pullman loaf pan. Decadent and delicious.

Yield: Serves 8

For the Cinnamon Sugar:

  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

For the Batter:

  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 tsp coarse salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup milk or almond milk (I used whole milk)

For the Apple Mixture:

  • 2 large apples, peeled and chopped (any kind – I used Pink Lady apples- my favorite!)
  • 2 T granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • walnuts, to taste, optional

For the Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup of powdered sugar
  • 1-3 tablespoons of milk or cream (depending on desired glaze thickness)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, preferably on convection.
  2. Grease desired loaf pan with non-stick spray.
  3. Make the Cinnamon Sugar: Mix brown sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl. Set aside.
  4. Make the Batter: In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat granulated sugar and butter together until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes.
  5. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, until blended in; add in vanilla extract.
  6. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in a separate bowl. Add to creamed butter mixture and mix until blended.
  7. Add milk to batter and mix until smooth.
  8. Make the Apple Mixture: Combine chopped apples, granulated sugar, and cinnamon in a separate bowl. Add nuts, if using.
  9. Spread half of the batter into the prepared loaf pan; add half the apple mixture, then half of the cinnamon sugar mixture.
  10. Lightly pat apple mixture into batter.
  11. Dollop the remaining batter over apple layer and top with remaining apple mixture, then the remaining cinnamon sugar mixture.
  12. Lightly pat apples into batter; swirl brown sugar mixture through apples using a knife.
  13. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean, approximately 45 minutes for a Pullman loaf or 50-60 minutes for a standard loaf.
  14. Make the glaze: Mix the powdered sugar and milk or cream together until desired consistency is achieved. Mix well.
  15. Remove loaf from pan. Let cool for about 15 minutes before drizzling with glaze.

Two Years Ago:

Three Years Ago:

Momofuku Milk Bar Corn Cookies

When my mom comes to visit, she often brings along the Food section from the Washington Post for me to peruse.:) I was thrilled when she brought one that included cookie recipes from Momofuku Milk Bar!

Some of the best cookies I’ve ever made are from Momofuku Milk Bar: Momofuku Milk Bar’s Cornflake – Chocolate Chip – Marshmallow Cookies. SO GOOD!!

There was also the Milk Bar Crack Pie- which was worthy enough to make on a few occasions…

Momofuku Milk Bar recipes are held in high regard in our home!😉 Before finally tracking it down, my husband and I went to at least 5 grocery stores to hunt down freeze-dried corn to use in this cookie batter. Knowing the recipe source, we were pretty sure that they would be worth all of the effort!

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This recipe was adapted from Momofuku Milk Bar by Christina Tosi, via The Washington Post. I decreased the cookie size and the resulting baking time. I weighed all of the ingredients as well. I ground the freeze-dried corn into a powder using a food processor. Yummy!!

I’m sharing these special cookies at Fiesta Friday #104– hosted by Mila @Milk and Bun and Hilda @Along the Grapevine. Enjoy!!

  • 16 T (225 g, 2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 300 g (1 1/2 cups) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 225 g (1 1/2 cups packed) bread flour
  • 45 g (1/4 cup packed) corn flour
  • 65 g (2 oz) freeze-dried corn, ground to a powder (2/3 cups packed)
  • 3/4 tsp (3 g) baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp (1 1/2 g) baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp (6 g) kosher salt

  1. Line two large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Using a food processor, grind the freeze-dried corn into a powder.
  3. Whisk all of the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl to combine.
  4. Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat on medium-high speed for 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the egg and beat for 7 to 8 minutes or until very light and fluffy. (Do not rush this step, as it helps the cookie dough incorporate a large amount of butter.) Stop to scrape down the bowl.
  6. On low-speed, add the bread flour, corn flour, corn powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; beat just until the dough comes together, no longer than 1 minute.
  7. Using a large cookie scoop (mine is almost 1 3/4″ in diameter), portion out the dough on one of the parchment-lined baking sheets. Pat the tops of the dough domes flat.
  8. Wrap the baking sheet tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (or up to 1 week).
  9. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, preferably on convection.
  10. Place the chilled dough portions on the parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing at least 2 inches apart.
  11. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until the cookies are lightly browned on the edges yet still bright yellow in the center. They will have puffed, cracked and spread.
  12. Cool the cookies completely on the baking sheets before serving or storing.

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Eleventh Birthday Longboard Cake! (Yellow Cake with Chocolate Icing)

The number one gift on my son’s Christmas wish list was a longboard. He learned how to ride one with his friends at the beach this summer and has been desperate for one ever since. My husband & I let Santa know that WE wanted to give it to him! The designs on these longboards are really works of art. I cannot even begin to tell you how long we searched for the perfect one for our special gift. We fell in love with the giant squid eating a lighthouse!! Isn’t it cool?😉

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So, of course, I tried to recreate this design on his 11th birthday longboard cake. (It’s pretty close considering I recreated the design with cookies and m&m’s!)

The second special thing I must share about this cake is where I got the amazing recipe. One of my friends gave me a very special- out of print- cookbook for Christmas. She has a copy and I had been desperate for my own. It is loaded with gold standard recipes for classic baked goods. The author’s shop is now known as Tate’s Bake Shop in Southampton, New York. What a sweet friend!❤ I love it!!

The cake and icing recipes were adapted from Kathleen’s Bake Shop Cookbook: The Best Recipes from Southampton’s Favorite Bakery for Homestyle Cookies, Cakes, Pies, Muffins, and Breads by Kathleen King. I used unsalted butter and coarse salt. I also baked the cake in a convection oven. I made the squid, house, and axles with my birthday Number Cookie recipe. If you have been following my blog, you can guess that my son wanted Roman numeral “11’s” (XI’s) this year!:)

For the Yellow Cake:

Yield: Makes one 9-inch 2-layer cake (or 1 longboard cake)

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp coarse salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 5 eggs, separated
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • chocolate icing (recipe below)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, preferably on convection. Grease and flour pans of choice, two 9-inch round cake pans for a layer cake or one Pullman loaf pan, one mini loaf pan, and 4 cupcake tins for a longboard cake.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In another large bowl, cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
  4. Add egg yolks one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  5. Beat in vanilla.
  6. Add dry ingredients alternately with the sour cream, ending with the dry ingredients.
  7. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff. Fold egg whites into cake batter, and pour into the prepared pans.
  8. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
  9. Remove pans to a wire rack. Cool 10 minutes before removing cake from pans; finish cooling on a rack.

For the Chocolate Icing:

Yield: 3 1/2 cups (enough to ice a 9-inch layer cake or 1 longboard cake)

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2/3 cup milk (I used 1 percent)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup Confectioners’ sugar
  1. Melt butter and chocolate chips in the top of a double boiler.
  2. Stir in milk; add vanilla.
  3. Stir in sugar.
  4. Place mixture in the bowl of a stand mixer.
  5. Chill mixture for 45 minutes, then beat with an electric mixer every 15 minutes (chilling mixture between beatings) until it becomes light and thick enough to spread. (This will take three or four beatings.)

I’m bringing this one to share with my friends at Fiesta Friday #103 this week hosted by Sonal @Simply Vegetarian777 and Petra @Food Eat Love. Enjoy!!

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Speculaas: Dutch Spice Cookies

One of my all-time favorite cookies are Belgian Biscoff cookies. They are SO GOOD! When my husband picked up this holiday cookie cookbook at the library for me, this recipe immediately caught my eye. These Northern European spice cookies are called Speculaas in the Netherlands, Speculoos in Belgium, and Spekulatius in Germany.

This recipe for Dutch Spice Cookies was adapted from Christmas Cookies: 50 Recipes to Treasure for the Holiday Season by Lisa Zwirn. It was recommended to use a diamond-shaped cookie cutter with fluted edges, but I made Christmas trees for the occasion! (Any other shape would truly make them seasonless.) The dough had an ideal texture and rolled and cut like a dream.:) I am going to make them again for sure- and will (at least) double the recipe next Christmas. I may also have to get the traditional cookie cutter.

Yield: Makes about 50 (2 1/2-inch diameter) cookies

For the Cookie Dough:

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp coarse salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice (or cloves) (I used freshly ground allspice)
  • 8 T (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest (I used the zest of 1 lemon)

For the Egg Wash & Topping:

  • 1 egg white whisked with 2 tsp water until frothy
  • sliced almonds, to taste

  1. Whisk together the flour baking powder, salt cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice in a medium bowl.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and brown sugar in a large bowl until creamy.
  3. Beat in the egg, then the lemon zest.
  4. With the beaters on low-speed, mix in the flour mixture until throughly combined.
  5. Gather the dough in to a ball, then divide it in half.
  6. Shape each half into a disk and wrap separately in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (I refrigerated the dough overnight.)
  7. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees on convection. Line 2 rimmed cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  8. Working with one disk at a time, roll out the dough  between two sheets of plastic wrap or on a lightly floured surface to a 1/4-inch thickness.
  9. Using a diamond, square, or round cookie cutter measuring about 2 1/2-inches in diameter, cut the dough and arrange on the prepared baking sheets about 1 1/2-inches apart.
  10. Reroll the scraps and repeat.
  11. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the egg wash over the tops of the cookies.
  12. Press a few almonds onto the center of each cookie.
  13. Bake for 11 to 14 minutes or until the cookies are slightly browned around the edges and the almonds are golden. (The cookies will crisp up as they cool.)
  14. Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool.

Note: The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks or frozen for up to 3 months.

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If you like this you may also like:

Haselnussmakronen: Raspberry-Hazelnut Macaroons

Oh my goodness… I hope it’s not too late to wish all of you a Happy New Year!:)

I am so behind on my posts- so please forgive me.:/ I have to do a little catch-up with a couple of holiday cookie posts before I can move on!😉

These Raspberry-Hazelnut Macaroons were a new addition to my Christmas cookie plates this year. I thought that they were special and tasty- but my biggest critics (read: my husband & my son) were skeptical. Well, let me tell you that TWO of my neighbors told me that they were their absolute favorite!! I was absolutely thrilled.:)

This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Luisa Weiss. I doubled the original recipe and reduced the baking time for a convection oven. These cookies are described as “extremely no-fuss”; they require minimal ingredients and no chilling time. Truly the hardest part of their preparation was roasting and peeling the hazelnuts!! I used a hand mixer (as instructed) but would use a stand mixer (with whisk attachment) next time to whip the whites to a little bit past soft peaks. My thought is that the cookies would be less flat as a result. I’ll keep you posted!😉 They would also be wonderful for Valentine’s Day!❤❤

Yield: approximately 30 cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups whole hazelnuts
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup raspberry jam (I used Trader Joe’s)
  1. Preheat the oven to 400° on convection. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Spread the hazelnuts in a pie plate and toast until the skins split and the nuts are fragrant, about 10 minutes.
  3. Transfer to a clean kitchen towel and 
rub together to release the skins. Let 
the hazelnuts cool completely.
  4. In a food processor, pulse the hazelnuts until finely chopped.
  5. In a medium bowl, using a hand mixer (or stand mixer), beat the egg whites with the salt at medium speed until foamy, 2 minutes. Gradually add the sugar and continue beating until soft peaks form when the beaters are lifted, 
5 to 7 minutes.
  6. Fold in the hazelnuts.
  7. Using a 1-ounce ice cream scoop 
or a soup spoon, scoop 1 1/2-inch rounds 
of the batter onto the prepared baking sheets, about 1 inch apart.
  8. Bake the cookies for 10 minutes on convection, or up to 11 to 13 minutes in a standard oven, or until fragrant and lightly browned; rotate the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking.
  9. Remove the cookies from the oven and, while they’re still hot, carefully make an indentation in the center of each with 
the back of a teaspoon.
  10. In a small saucepan, boil the raspberry jam for 30 seconds, until slightly thickened. Carefully spoon about 1 teaspoon of the hot jam into the center 
of each cookie. Let the jam set and the cookies cool completely before serving.

Note: The cookies can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container between wax paper for up to 4 days.

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Christmas Cookies 2015

Every year, I wait to start my Christmas baking until after I have completely finished shopping for gifts. and then… Every year, I feel as if I am running out of time and won’t be able to make it all happen. Well, I did sacrifice other things – going to the gym, cleaning my house… cooking dinner!?!? – but I did make my Christmas cookies!:) I even added two new types: Speculaas and Raspberry-Hazelnut Macaroons (posts to follow).

Thank goodness, it always works out somehow! It would be hard to have Christmas without them. Happy Holidays to you!!❤

Center:

Speculaas: Dutch Spice Cookies (1x recipe- I need to make more next year!)

Clockwise from Top:

Chocolate-Espresso Snowcaps (4x recipe)

Pecan Shortbread Cookies (4x recipe- two batches of 2x recipe)

Lemon Butter Cookies (2x recipe)

Haselnussmakronen: Raspberry-Hazelnut Macaroons (2x recipe)

Raspberry Meringue Kisses (2x recipe)

Haystacks (2x recipe)

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

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