Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Saltine Toffee

Kate asked me to guest post on her blog Thriftburgher for a Christmas cookie series, and I posted Saltine Toffee, which is the easiest, best thing ever. If you've never had it before, make it immediately and report back. 

So go see the recipe on Thriftburgher and look around if you haven't checked her blog out before.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies

I know that Christmas was a couple days ago but what is awesome is that there are actually 12 days of Christmas! This means more cookies and for our readers, more cookie recipes.  What really happened was that I ran out of time to blog before Christmas! Whoops.

I made these cookies for 3 different families who we spent Christmas with. I have to say this was the best Christmas so far. There were babies (human and fur babies) all around!

Also, don't skip the frosting. It really makes the cookies. What's cool is that the frosting is baked along with the cookies. I followed the recipe exactly and doubled it because the more cookies the merrier.

Recipe from The Floating Kitchen.

For the Cookie Dough:
2 dozen+ maraschino cherries
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 heaping tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda

For the Chocolate Frosting:
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/4 tsp. salt
1-2 tsp. reserved cherry juice

Chickpea Blondies

Not all of the holiday desserts have to be unhealthy! These blondies taste fantastic. You can even eat the whole pan while feeling good about yourself. At least that's what I did. Then my cousins and sister proceeded to do the same. I made these before I went to Bethlehem, which is also known as Christmas city. They set up little shops all over town like in Europe with local crafts, etc. It was freezing but there was plenty of hot cider and mulled wine. Best of all, it was Rex friendly. Below is a picture of the Bethlehem steel stacks.

 I've made this recipe 3 times in 2 weeks so far. That's how delicious these blondies are. The recipe is from Chocolate Covered Katie, a healthy dessert blog. She's very vegan friendly, so check out the site!


1 1/2 cups (250 g) cooked and drained chickpeas
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
l/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 cup dark brown sugar 
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup ground flax seed or quick oats (both are great, though flax has more nutrients by far)
1/4 cup sunflower seed butter
1 tbsp coconut oil
3/4 cup chocolate chips 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Tree Cheese Ball

Merry Christmas!!

Christmas Tree Cheese Ball
Idea from Betty Crocker - check that one out for their version

Make your favorite cheese ball recipe (I don't use a recipe - I like cheese balls with cream cheese, cheddar cheese, Worcestershire sauce, chili pepper and a little horseradish.)

Shape like a cone and chill. Before serving, decorate with toasted nuts, parsley and dried cranberries or other dried fruit. It's basically an art project so just be crafty. A few of the commenters on the Betty Crocker recipe even cut star tree toppers out of cheddar cheese.

Serve with crackers, pretzels or fresh veggies!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Gooey Butter Cookies

My sister's boyfriend's family makes a ton of cookies for Christmas. This year she got to take part in the tradition and brought back a tin of cookies. I ate pretty much all of them and these ones stood out to me the most. I knew just from the taste that cream cheese was in the recipe, but otherwise I had never had any cookie like it. After pestering my sister (and her bf) for days, we finally tracked down the recipe. It originated from Lottie + Doof. If you've ever had gooey butter cake before, you'll know what to expect but in cookie form. Nevertheless, these are amazing and should definitely be a staple from now on at my family's table!

Gooey Butter Cookies

4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 pound cream cheese
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 vanilla bean, scraped 
3 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Confectioner’s sugar for rolling and dusting

First make sure everything is at room temperature. Stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.  In a large bowl, cream together the cream cheese, butter, and sugar with a wooden spoon. Then add the eggs, vanilla seeds, and extract until combined. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet. The dough will be pretty light. Then cover bowl tightly and refrigerate for about 30 minutes. Since it's cold outside, I just set the dough on our picnic table for about an hour.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Fill a shallow bowl with about 1 cup powdered sugar. Form slightly heaping tablespoon size balls, roll between your hands, and roll in a bowl of powdered sugar. Place on prepared baking trays 2 inches apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes and take out before any browning occurs. I let them bake until at least one of the cookies was very very lightly golden on the edges. 

Let cool on the baking sheets until the cookies reach room temperature. They will be very soft even when cooled. Store and serve cold since they are delicate. Another blog suggested adding an extra egg yolk for more stability in the dough. 

The site says the cookies will last for a week in the fridge. I stored them in a cake dome layered with extra powdered sugar.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Cornmeal Jalapeño Waffles

It would make sense to blog some cookies since I have been baking hundreds of them. Those will probably be posted tomorrow since we're busy spending time with friends and family! I've been making brown butter nutella stuffed chocolate chip cookies (find the recipe on Ambitious Kitchen's blog- they are as amazing as they sound). Instead of posting a cookie recipe, I'm going to share something savory that is perfect for brunch. It's the perfect follow- up post to Laura's. I've been meaning to make these cornbread waffles for ages ever since I found them on Warm Vanilla Sugar's site. I added some Jalapeños and cheddar cheese to make the waffles even better. I made these for breakfast the day my sister came home from California!

This is how I make my waffle:

This is Tiffy's waffle:

And they were too spicy for Kelly so she didn't get any :(


2 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup cornmeal 
1 tbsp baking powder
2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
2/3 cup melted unsalted butter
4 large eggs
2 1/2 cup buttermilk
4 tbsp chopped green onions
2 jalapeños, seeded and diced
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar

Fried eggs
Shredded cheese
Soft butter and honey 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Make-Ahead Sweet Potato & Sausage Hash

I'm all about the breakfast foods, just usually not for breakfast. Later in the day pancakes, omelets, french toast and co. are awesome, and I make them occasionally for a weekend lunch or anytime dinner. However, I'm not a morning person, and I normally wake up with just enough time to get to work looking like a somewhat normal person - that doesn't leave enough time to make food.

I also don't want to spend time cooking on Christmas morning (and I don't want my mom to have to spend time cooking either). Especially since we started hosting Christmas dinner at my mom's house a couple years ago, Christmas morning is for presents and relaxing before all of the early dinner and holiday hosting crazy prep time.

Today I made sweet potato hash, inspired by a Kitchn post to make it ahead and reheat on Christmas morning in a cast iron skillet with some fried eggs for an easy brunch/breakfast. Hash is my go-to with eggs, like eggs florentine, quiche or scrambled eggs, but I never thought about making it in advance.

Sweet Potato Hash
Adapted from the Kitchn

2 tbsp butter
2 medium onions, sliced
1/2 lb Italian sausage
2 large sweet potatoes
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup rosemary leaves, chopped (about 4 stalks)
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp salt, plus more to taste if necessary
Black pepper

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Lavender Coffee Cake

This a a recipe I haven't made in years. Just this weekend my friend Kate came to visit in Philly which meant brunch!! This cake is great because it can be made the night before. It's really moist and the crumb topping is fantastic. There's just enough lavender flavor so the cake is not overpowered. I bet substituting 2 tablespoons of fresh herbs would work too (Rosemary, perhaps?). I know Laura would like that! 

Recipe from The Joys of Lavender


1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tsp. cinnamon

Mix together and set aside in a small bowl.

Chocolate Glazed Donuts

Ever since I bought a donut pan, I feel obligated to use it as much as possible! I especially feel this way since I generally don't like to buy any kitchen supplies that are beyond the basic ones. In fact, a friend of mine bought me a potato masher since I kept painstakingly and stubbornly using a fork. I have to say, this has been one of the most worthwhile additions to my baking collection. 

Donuts for brunch all the time!!! Also the best part is that I can double the glaze on the donuts! Nick and I made these ones twice already. I usually double the recipe from the Fauxmartha since they taste just like the chocolate munchkins from Dunkin Donuts. I've also made her apple cider donuts and they are delicious too.

1/3 cup + 1 tbsp. buttermilk
3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 cup white sugar
2 tbsp. honey
1 large egg

Glaze (doubled recipe)
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk 
1 tsp vanilla
dash of sea salt

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Pumpkin Red Thai Curry

I like my curry strong- like strong enough to punch you in the face just like they serve in Thailand. It needs to be super spicy and flavorful. None of that mild stuff. If you want something more gentle, try the recipe from Love and Lemons. My recipe is loosely based off of it. I also like to make about 10 servings at a time, so if you're not feeding lots of people, halve the recipe.

Also this is a picture of Rex eating a Turkey cake from the Dining Dog. It's the coolest pet store with food for animals and humans. I had a chai spiced yoghurt sample from there. So good.

Pumpkin Thai Curry

4 cups Kobocha + pumpkin squash purée
1 jar Red Curry paste
7 kefir lime leaves, sliced
5 cloves garlic
1 medium red onion
3 shallots
2 inch piece ginger, peeled
1 red thai chili, whole
1 can coconut milk
1/4 cup maple syrup
Splash fish sauce
4-5 cups water

Friday, December 5, 2014

Pumpkin Pie

No one in my family really likes pumpkin pie. I usually end up eating the entire pie by myself after thanksgiving, which I completely don't mind doing. This pie, however, I had to share. It was a hit with my cousins and even my mom who doesn't even like pumpkin. The recipe is from 101 Cookbooks. I knew it was going to be good since none of Heidi's recipes have failed me yet. Anyways, the recipe is unique since it calls for coconut milk and fresh spices to make the pie really special. If I had access to Penzey's spices, I would totally use their spices. Instead I used regular old pumpkin pie spice. Next time, I'll try to use the spice grinder. I also really like graham cracker crusts for pumpkin pie which you all can feel free to switch out. What really makes the recipe awesome is the fresh pumpkin purée.

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup butter, melted
2 tbsp honey
Pinch sea salt

Mix all of the above together and press firmly into a 9 inch pie pan. Then make the filling. No need to prebake the crust.

1/2 cup real dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
1 1/2 cups of roasted pumpkin puree from pie pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 extra large eggs
1 cup coconut cream from can

Prejeat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk all ingredients together until smooth. Pour into pie crust and bake for 50 minutes until the center is just set. My sister, Tiffany, was in charge of taking the pie out of the oven and she pricked it with a fork, haha. So don't do that. Let pie cool before serving.

Coconut Cardamom Squash Soup

At the organic apple festival back in the fall, there was a farmstand complete with a mountain of squash. Literally all of the pumpkins and gourds. I picked out a couple I've never heard of before and decided to make soup with one pumpkin. I completely forget the name, so I've been calling it mystery squash. I saw this recipe on Love and Lemons and knew this is what the mystery squash was destined to become.

1 medium squash or pumpkin
2 cooking apples
3 leeks
1 medium yellow onion
1 head garlic
1 can coconut milk
1 inch piece ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
Vegetable broth, to thin
salt + pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Slice squash in half, remove seeds, and drizzle with olive oil. Roast, cut side up, for about 30 minutes until fork tender. Let cool, then scoop out all the squash meat.
At the same time, I roast all the veggies. Peel and quarter the onion. Slice the white parts of the leek into coins. Halve and core the apples. Peel ginger. Peel garlic. Place everything on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for about 15-20 minutes until golden brown. I like to roast until the edges of the onions are black.
Once everything is cooked, place all vegetables and fruit into the blender. Add spices and thin a little with vegetable broth. Blend until completely smooth. Then add coconut milk and season with salt and pepper.

I ate my soup with some cheese ravioli with garden peach tomatoes and prosciutto on the side.

The mystery pumpkin:


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