Monday, December 22, 2014

Stained-Glass Christmas Cookies

Hello! I can't believe Christmas is a couple of days away. I've been baking tons this month but just haven't had the time to blog about my creations!

This weekend I went to THREE parties all within 24 hours of each other. Tis the season...to be exhausted.

The first party was a surprise birthday party for my dear friend Doug. Doug likes lemony treats. In the past I've made the normal lemon bars etc, but I wanted to do something special this year.

I saw stained-glass cookies on the Chew last week when I was visiting family in AZ. I figured Lemon Heads would work well in the middle of these cookies. I was right. I also added lemon frosting on the edges and sprinkled edible glitter on the frosting. I was feeling so Martha Stewart-y...
Speaking of being a crafty home-maker, I made Christmas cards again this year.
I'm already receiving lovely feedback from the folks who received them so far. Yay!
 
These cookies were very yummy and pretty, but fair warning: the middle is VERY hard seeing it's made of melted hard candy. Don't chip a tooth!
Stained-Glass Christmas Cookies
recipe found here: recipes.com
Bake well and prosper!


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Balsamic Roasted Cherry Brownies

It's not cherry season right now so imagine my surprise when I saw these cherries in a local grocery store! I grabbed them right away because I wanted to try my hand at these brownies.

Unfortunately they weren't great. They felt weak. Yes. Weak. They weren't the normal, healthy texture of cherries. They also weren't very flavorful. But not TOO big of a deal seeing they were about to get a bath in balsamic vinegar and sugar and then be placed in delicious brownies.
I shared these brownies with my wonderful friends who came to my opera performance followed by birthday drinks for moi. One friend asked in amusement, "YOU brought desserts? Aren't we supposed to bring you desserts?"

What can I say? I have lucky friends seeing that this recipe didn't disappoint. I suggest waiting until it's cherry season though so you can get more of a prevalent cherry flavor when baking these.
Balsamic Roasted Cherry Brownies (adapted from Glazed and Confused)
For Cherries:
1 cup cherries, pitted and halved
1 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
2 Tablespoons sugar

Preheat oven to 450 F. Place pitted cherries on a parchment-lined baking tray and sprinkle with sugar and balsamic vinegar. Roast for about 10 minutes until the cherries start releasing their juice. Remove from oven and let cool while making the brownie batter. Turn oven down to 350 F.

For Brownies:
1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2 eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In top of a double boiler set over barely simmering water, melt butter and chocolate together. Cool slightly. In a large bowl or mixer, whisk eggs. Whisk in salt, sugars and vanilla. Whisk in chocolate mixture. Fold in flour just until combined. Stir in cherry mixture. Pour batter into an 8x8 pan. 

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until shiny and beginning to crack on top. Cool in pan on rack.

Yield: 9 large brownies
Bake well and prosper!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

White Chocolate Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Wow! The name for these cookies is quite a mouthful! White Chocolate Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies. Say that five times fast.
 
As you can see, I haven't baked in a really long time. I just haven't felt like it. Also, most of my precious free time has been spent AWAY from the kitchen (and on dates with my boyfriend. Aw.)
 
But the holidays are upon us and I felt like baking (not to mention it's cold here in NYC so turning the oven on is quite nice.)
I wanted to make something with peanut butter and then I saw this White Chocolate Wonderful peanut butter and decided that I had to try it as the base for cookies. It's really sweet so I added chunks of dark chocolate on top to even out some of the sweetness from the white chocolate.
 
They are pretty good, but in the long run I prefer regular ol' peanut butter. What can I say? I'm a traditionalist.
White Chocolate Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
You can find the base recipe here: rachelschultz.com
Just substitute white chocolate peanut butter for the peanut butter and then add dark chocolate chunks or normal chocolate chips
Bake well and prosper!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Apple Pie Muffins - FIVE YEAR Blog Birthday!

Hey! My blog's birthday has come and gone. Once again I was too busy to post. But I feel sad seeing that it was the FIVE YEAR anniversary of when I started this blog.
 
Every year for my blog birthday post I write a recap of what's different in my life. Usually nothing much has changed and it's the same thing year in and year out. But guess what! Times, they have changed!
 
1. I'm still singing a fair amount and booking more gigs than usual.
2. I quit my office job back in May and starting temping around a couple of months ago. It's been fun if not a little unstable.
3. I'm back to running when I'm not super busy or feeling injured.
4. I have a boyfriend! Yes! It's been awhile, but I have one! It's new, so keep following my blog to see how the relationship grows (and maybe even catch a few pictures of us!)
 
Some of my favorite recipes from the last year are:
Pomegranate and Orange Sangria - This recipe is SO GOOD. Must bring to all holiday parties.
Caramel Rolls - I was so happy to ace my mom's recipe!
Matcha Tea Cakes - It was the first time I used matcha. Expensive but fun!
 
As for this post, well, I went apple picking again and therefore needed to use up apples!
I found a nice muffin recipe and quickly put some of my prized apples in the batter. These muffins hit the spot on a dreary fall morning. If you have extra apples around, consider using this Apple Pie Muffin recipe. 
Apple Pie Muffin
recipe found here: Sally's Baking Addiction
Bake well and prosper!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Rum Pecan Cookie Bars with Sea Salt

This past weekend I went camping with a great group of 15 people (and one cat!) So of course I made a dessert to share.
 
Something about pecans, spiced rum, and butter seemed to remind me of fall, thus why I thought these would be perfect for a camping trip in September.
These bars were super buttery and went very well with coffee and tea.
 
Let's just say that this dessert made everyone a happy camper.
 Find the recipe at Baking the Goods.
Bake well and prosper!