Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Dark Chocolate, Pistachio, and Sea Salt Cookies

The first cookie you make in the new year should be this one. Seriously. Dark chocolate chunks mixed with pistachios and slight saltiness all in a cookie?! Incredibly good.
Maybe the fact that I baked these in my boyfriend's new oven helped with making these cookies my favorite of 2014. These were one of those desserts that I didn't want to share. I wanted to eat them all by myself. It's been a while since I've felt that way about something I baked. Usually I'm more than happy to share the sweet calories, but I wanted to hoard these.
But I did share. And I strongly suggest you share these in 2015. They are a crowd pleaser! (That is if you can resist eating them all by yourself!)
Have a happy and tasty new year!
Dark Chocolate, Pistachio, and Sea Salt Cookies
Recipe found here: Two Peas and their Pod
Bake well and prosper!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Orange Pecan Icebox Cookies

I made these lovely cookies at the beginning of December and then forgot all about the pictures I took of them. It was a nice surprise to see them in my blog post cue. It was like I was tasting the intricate flavors of these orange pecan icebox cookies all over again.
These cookies are "adult" cookies. No, it's not because they have alcohol in them. As one friend asked, "Is it because they don't contain chocolate or tons of sugar?" Exactly! As a kid I would have passed these over for more chocolatey types. But now that I'm SLIGHTLY older... I love these! I love how the orange and butter flavors blend well together while the pecans help enhance that mixture. If you still have time to bake for Christmas and you have a lot of "older people" visiting, I suggest you consider making these delightful cookies.
Orange Pecan Icebox Cookies
recipe found here: One Perfect Bite
Bake well and prosper! 

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 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:
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:
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!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Dark Chocolate M&M Cookies

I was going to make chocolate chip cookies. I WAS. But my brother called while I was on my way to the store to buy chocolate chips. I told him what I was up to and he told me about how he made cookies with dark chocolate m&ms.

My ears perked up. My taste buds were excited. Dark chocolate m&ms?! My plan quickly changed and I bought those instead of chocolate chips. Seeing that my brother's a pastor, maybe his phone call was a divine intervention? ;)
I used my trusted chocolate chip cookie recipe and wasn't let down. The cookie monster inside me rejoiced while eating these cookies. 

Do not worry. I didn't eat all of them. I shared! I know...I'm a nice person. These cookies hit the spot with their buttery and dark chocolate candy goodness. Maybe you won't want to share them...
Dark Chocolate M&M Cookies (adapted from My Mom's Best Recipe Book)
1 stick butter
1/2 cup of white sugar
1/4 cup of brown
1 egg well beaten
1 cup and 2 Tablespoons of flour
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
6 oz of dark chocolate m&ms

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix butter, sugars, and egg together until well incorporated. Sift flour, baking soda, and salt together and then stir in batter until well mixed. Stir in vanilla. Add the m&ms. Place dollops of dough on a cookie sheet with room between each dollop. Bake 8-10 minutes. Remove when edges are barely tan for softer cookies.
Bake well and prosper!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

I've been running a lot again this summer. I'm not training for much over 6 miles and yet every weekend for the past month I've run at least 8 or more miles in one go.

Yay me. (Silly me is more like it.)

But more running means my metabolism is slightly cranked up and sometimes I want to eat food. No, not just eat. SCARF food. I want the food to GET IN MY BELLY.

This feeling especially happened after running 12 miles two weekends ago. Even though I had a hearty brunch after my run, in the afternoon I needed more food. And my stomach told me it wanted cookies.

I did a quick inventory of ingredients and then decided that whatever I made needed to have protein in it. Thus, these nicely plump Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies were born.
They were delicious and just what my tummy ordered. I ate a handful that evening and then about a dozen the next day.

*hanging head* It's true...

But that just goes to show how yummy I found this mix of peanut butter, cookie, and chocolate. (Or just how much my metabolism was ignited!)
 Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe found here: allrecipes
Bake well and prosper!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Macarons for Diner en Blanc

Another Dîner en Blanc! I am feeling like a semi-pro for these amazing events. This time for NYC I made a center piece. (See above. I was very proud of myself for the whimsical aspect of it. Also, it's been awhile since I did any arts and crafts, so it was quite enjoyable to make!)

Last year I made "Almazing" Almond Bars and this year I wanted to keep with the white dessert theme. So, I decided to make macarons. When I picked up the pieces for the center piece, I also picked up some edible glitter dust. I must say, these were pretty!
I used organic pear preserves for the filling of the glittery ones.
I also decorated some with edible markers which I ended up loving the look of. Nothing like marking the name of an event on food!
These ones had raspberry preserves in them, you know, to match the font color. :)
My guest at the diner was a really wonderful musician friend of mine who also happens to be a foodie. I had her in charge of the meal. Check out this beautiful spread!
And that was just the first course!

Here we are enjoying it and the lovely evening. Can you spot the center piece on the table?
Once again I was asked to sing for the event which I gladly did. It's always such a magical night and I'm always happy to sing in front of 4,000 beautifully dressed people. 
I sang Summertime. I thought it was very fitting for a Monday evening in August. :) Here's a video if you'd like to check it out: Youtube Summertime
After singing I broke into my desserts. It was kinda like singing for supper...but I sang for sugar.

The night was even more magical than last year's (which is almost impossible since last year was so wonderful as well!) I ended up sharing my macarons with many people and everyone raved over them. (I was worried they were too sweet but people said they were just right.) After dessert my friend and I walked around a lot of the tables and even ended up making our way into the packed dance floor with our glasses of wine in hand. At the stroke of 10, we all packed up and it was like Cinderella's carriage became a pumpkin again. All the fun preparation and partying...and then life as usual...but life made just a bit more beautiful!
Macaron Recipe found here: Goodfood 
Bake well and prosper!