Wednesday, June 30, 2010

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

Clearance macadamia nuts + leftover bag of white chocolate chips = crunchy yumminess!These cookies were quick to throw together, and since it made a HUGE batch, they have been a great addition to the freezer dessert stash, (sandwiched between the ice cream and frozen cranberries).

These turn out to be very crunchy cookies once cooled. I love crunchy cookies and soft cookies, though I much prefer eating the soft variety while they are still warm....mmmm....gooey.......

Ghiradelli Macadamia White Chip Cookies

Recipe from white chocolate chip bag
Makes about 5 dozen cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar (or honey sucanat)
1 cup brown sugar, packed (or honey sucanat)
2 eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups flour (or 15 oz Soft White wheat flour)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups (or one 11 oz bag) white chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups Macadamia nuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Cream butter and sugars until fluffy. Add vanilla. Adding eggs one at a time, beat well. In a separate bowl blend together flour, baking soda and salt, then add to creamed mixture. Stir in white chips and nuts. Drop by teaspoon onto ungreased cookie sheets. (Or roll into teaspoon sized balls and freeze at this point). Bake for 10-12 minutes (or 12-15 minutes from a frozen state). Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Checkerboard Cookies

Do you like to eat things that look cute, or festive, or gourmet? I do. There is something special about eating a dinner or dessert that looks like it took a long time to prepare. It somehow makes you want to eat it slowly, and enjoy every little bit.

That being said, I also personally enjoy eating homely, messy-looking foods. I guess it has something to do with the surprise of eating a food that tastes so good, yet looks so...not good.

Maybe I just love food in general. Yeah, that's probably it.

I think these cookies look cute. Maybe they aren't supposed to, but I think they do. Cute though they are, quick to make they are not. They aren't particularly hard to make, they just take some time to put together. The end result though? Delish!

(I had some extra dough after making the checkerboards, so I made them into pinwheel cookies. I must say that the pinwheels were quicker to make. If I'm ever in a hurry, and just HAVE to make these yummy cookies, I may opt for making them into swirls, ha ha!)

I halved the recipe, but if you'd like to make the original amount then go for it! The checkerboard "logs" can be frozen for up to a month. They're great to use when you're having a cookie attack emergency : )
Checkerboard Cookies

Recipe from Baking Obsession via 17 and Baking
Makes about 4 dozen cookies (original recipe makes about 8 dozen)

2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour (or 13 oz Soft White wheat flour)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar (or honey sucanat)
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 large egg, room temperature
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add egg and vanilla. On low speed add flour mixture until just combined. Finish mixing with a wooden spoon , or your hands. Do not over-mix the dough.

Split the dough into two equal portions. (The best way to ensure that the portions are equal is weigh the dough with a kitchen scale). Knead the cocoa powder into half of the dough. Then divide each flavor in half again and form into rectangles. (You should have a total of four rectangles, two vanilla and two chocolate). Wrap each rectangle in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours, (or up to one day).

Take one chocolate and one vanilla rectangle out of the fridge. Let soften for about 15 minutes. On lightly floured surface or parchment paper (preferred), with a floured rolling pin, roll out the vanilla dough into a 6' by 5' rectangle. Cut the rectangle into nine strips, 1/2' thick each, using a pizza wheel or knife. Repeat for chocolate dough.

Form into two checkerboard logs: handling the strips delicately, alternate between chocolate and vanilla to form a three by three square. The first log should be vanilla chocolate vanilla, chocolate vanilla chocolate, vanilla chocolate vanilla. The second log should be chocolate vanilla chocolate, vanilla chocolate vanilla, chocolate vanilla chocolate. Press on the sides to make the square log as even as possible Wrap with parchment paper or plastic wrap and chill 2 hours. (For a helpful diagram of how to form the checkered pattern, check out Baking Obsession. Note that this is based on a full recipe, so the measurements will be different).

After the logs have chilled, roll remaining vanilla portion of dough into a 7' by 6' rectangle, about 1/3' thick. Take dough log with 4 strips of vanilla (chocolate dough in the four corners/middle), and wrap dough around to make an even border. Press each side of the square log to define corners. Repeat process with chocolate dough on the other log. (You can cut off dough that hangs beyond the edges of the log). Wrap logs in parchment paper or plastic wrap and refrigerate fully, preferably overnight. Or you can freeze them at this point for up to a month, (just put dough logs into a zip-top bag, and allow to thaw slightly in fridge before cutting).

Preheat oven to 350Fº when ready to bake. Place parchment paper or silicone mat onto a large baking sheet. Using a very sharp knife, slice the square logs into 1/4-inch thick slices. Place 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheet. Bake for about 12 minutes until firm and golden brown on bottom. Do not over-bake, or the color contrast between the vanilla and chocolate dough will be lost. Allow to cool for 15 minutes on baking sheet before transferring to cooling rack. Cool completely. Enjoy!

Easy Banana "Ice Cream"

Here is a recipe for a super quick, super easy, "ice cream". Or maybe since this recipe is completely dairy-free, it should be called sorbet rather than ice cream... Nah, seeing as how it is so luscious and creamy, I think that "ice cream" is the better label.You want to use bananas with brown spots on the peel. The riper the banana, the sweeter the ice cream will be. (If using an under-ripe banana, you may have to add a little bit of honey or maple syrup to the ice cream).
Here's what you do:

Peel a ripe banana (or 2, or 3), and slice into chunks. Put the chunks into a zip-top bag. Place in freezer until fully frozen.

Once frozen, put banana chunks into a food processor. Add 2-4 tablespoons of water per banana (I usually start with 2, then add more if needed).

Churn until creamy, about 1-2 minutes. Enjoy immediately.

Feel free to play around with this recipe. You could make peanut-butter banana ice cream, chocolate banana ice cream, or anything else you can think of, just by adding different ingredients. Have fun, stay cool, and enjoy!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Jam Tart

It is a somewhat rare occurrence when something turns out to be easier than expected. It is also a rare occurrence when something turns out better than expected. So when you find a recipe that is both, you have to share it. And so here it is.
When I first saw the pictures for this recipe it looked really yummy, but I also thought it might be a little troublesome to make. I am happy to report that though it does take a little bit of time to throw together, the results are worth it. The dough is really easy to work with, yet tastes delicious. An amazing combination... : )

The recipe says to let the tart cool completely before removing from the pan, but I couldn't help myself, and I must say that it is exceptionally yummy served warm. I encourage you to give this recipe a go. It is DELISH!
The only kind of jam I had on hand when I made this was blueberry. Something different for a change. It was yummy! (I do think that a strawberry, or raspberry jam would be scrumptious, too!) Feel free to use whatever you're in the mood for, or whatever you have on hand.

Jam Tart

Adapted from 17 and Baking
Makes a 9" tart

2 cups all purpose flour (or 10 oz Soft White wheat flour)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar (or honey sucanat)
1 large egg, whole
1 large egg, separated
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup jam or marmalade (I used a 10 oz jar)
2 tablespoons coarse-crystal or granulated sugar

Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Set aside. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix butter and 1/2 cup sugar until smooth. Add whole egg, egg yolk and extracts. Beat until combined. Gradually add dry ingredients until dough comes together.

Take one-third of the dough and shape into a log. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.

Press remaining dough evenly into a buttered 9-in tart pan with a removable bottom, or springform pan (I used a springform pan). If using tart pan, press dough up sides and place pan on a baking sheet. If using a springform pan, press the dough about an inch up the sides of pan. Refrigerate dough-lined pan at least one hour, or until firm. (Can put in the freezer for about half an hour to speed up the process).

Preheat oven to 375º. Spread jam evenly over dough in the pan. Cut chilled dough log into thin discs and arrange them slightly overlapping in concentric circles over jam to form a top crust (dough can also be rolled out and cut with a cookie cutter if desired). Whisk remaining egg white with 1 teaspoon of water until frothy. Brush the top crust evenly with eggwash. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons sugar over top.

Bake about 25 minutes, or until the top crust is golden brown. Let cool completely before removing. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Spring Has Sprung...a Leak

The first day of summer is almost two weeks away and yet it has felt like summer for the majority of this month. Temperatures reaching upwards of 90 degrees, high humidity, intense sun - all the symptoms of summer.
I've come to the point where I expect to be met with a blast of hot air when I open the front door to head outside for a walk. However, yesterday I was met with a surprise. I stepped outside and a cool, refreshing breeze welcomed me. The mild sunlight creeping through the branches of the trees was casting a speckled array of shadow and sunlight on the pavement. It was so peaceful and inviting. It felt like spring had somehow crept its way back to the forefront.

The birds chirping, and little squirrels playing with each other, I felt an indescribable happiness to be alive. All the worries and cares of life seemed to leave me. I couldn't help but to silently thank the Lord for all of the blessings that I so often take for granted. was a beautiful day!

However, temperatures are once again on the rise, and so I thought I would share a frozen beverage recipe with you, to help you stay cool during the hot summer months.
Chocolate Shake

Serves 4

2 cups milk
1-2 cups ice
1/2 cup sugar (or honey sucanat)
2 Tbls. cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Add milk to blender. Add enough ice so that it becomes even with the level of the milk. Add remaining ingredients. Whir all ingredients together. Pour into glasses. Top with whipped cream and chocolate syrup if desired.

Enjoy, and stay cool!

Strawberry Crisp

I LOVE fruit. Some days I would rather have a bowl of fresh, seasonal, aromatic fruit then a slice of chocolate cake (and if you know me, you know I love chocolate). Therefore, I'm sure it comes as no surprise that I also LOVE fruit desserts.Growing up, I don't think I ever had a strawberry crisp. We would have strawberry pie (yum!) but never a baked strawberry dessert like this (which is best eaten warm : ) at least, in my opinion). Thats okay, I've made up for it in recent years!

I love this recipe because it is relatively quick and easy, but still has great flavor combinations. Buttery yet somehow fresh, creamy yet also crisp...mmmm!
(The original recipe uses a yellow cake mix. However, having written off cake mixes long ago, I tweaked the recipe to make a homemade "cake mix" type crumble topping).

So, without further ado, here is the recipe (which can easily be doubled - just bake in a 13 X 9 pan).

Strawberry Crisp

Adapted from p. 364 of The Cake Mix Doctor
Serves 8-10

Make topping:

1 cup all-purpose flour (or 5 oz Soft White wheat flour)
3/4 cup sugar (or honey sucanat)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter, melted

Combine dry ingredients. Stir till mixed. Add melted butter. Work it in until mixture is crumbly. Set aside.

Assemble the crisp:

1 (8 oz) bag frozen strawberries, or 3 cups fresh whole strawberries, washed, dried, and hulled
1/4 cup butter, chilled, cut into small cubes
Whipped cream or ice cream for serving (optional)

Preheat oven to 350º. Place strawberries in the bottom of an ungreased 8 X 8 baking dish. Sprinkle topping evenly over berries. Scatter butter pieces over topping (feel free to use more butter if you think it needs it).

Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until golden brown and fruit is bubbly, (bake time will vary depending on temperature of strawberries).

Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving. Top with whipped cream, or vanilla ice cream if desired. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

For my very first recipe post, I wanted to do something classic. Well, you don't get much more classic than chocolate chip cookies.

These chocolate chipsters are actually whole wheat, made with freshly ground flour, organic butter, organic eggs, and sucanat. Don't let that scare you though! They are actually delicious. You can hardly tell a difference between these and your average chocolate chip cookie, except that you might feel less guilty about eating them : )

There is something nostalgic and comforting about chocolate chip cookies. It seems like no matter how bad your day might be going, eating a chocolate chip cookie somehow makes you feel a little bit better. Or maybe its just me. In any case, no matter what type of day you're having, its a good day for cookies.

These cookies are a snap to throw together, and the finished product offers a cookie that is crisp around the edges, and soft in the center - delish!

I had some mini chocolate chips on hand, and they were just so cute, I felt compelled to use them. I pressed the top of the cookie dough balls into a bowl of the mini chips - makes the chips more visible, so everyone can see how adorable they are.
Good to the last bite.

Happy baking!

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

Adapted from the Nestle Tollhouse recipe
Makes about 5 dozen cookies


10 oz. Soft White wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 1/2 cup honey-granule sucanat
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup chopped nuts


Preheat your oven to 375º.

Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and set aside. Cream butter and sucanat. Add vanilla to creamed mixture. Add the eggs, one at a time, stirring after each addition. Gradually stir in the flour mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips and nuts.

Place rounded tablespoons of dough onto an ungreased baking sheet, using a cookie scoop, or two spoons.

Bake the cookies for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Allow cookies to cool for 2 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.