Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2013

I participated in the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap again this year (my posts for: 2012 & 2011). It's so fun to bake, wrap, and send off cookies to 3 people all over the country. This year my cookies went to High Heels to Hot Wheels, Being Cheap is Easy, and Wright Kitchen. Want to be in on next years swap? Just visit this link.

The cookies I made this year are a combination of my favorite pie (pecan) and my favorite cookie (chocolate rugelach- rugelach is a Jewish crescent shaped cookie that is traditionally filled with fruit or chocolate, the name rugelach translates from Yiddish as 'little twists'). They made a fabulous combo with the flaky cream cheese pastry, sweet pecan filling and a bit of chocolate, and are sturdy enough to withstand shipping.

Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie Rugelach
dough:
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups all purpose flour

Mix together butter and cream cheese on medium speed until completely combined, slowly add in sugar, salt and flour and continue to mix until the dough just starts to come together. Divide dough into quarters, flatten each into a disc, wrap with plastic, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

filling:
6 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 1/3 cups chopped pecans
3/4 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Melt butter and stir in the vanilla extract. Roll out chilled dough on lightly floured surface into a 12 inch round. Place a tiny bowl, or upside down shot glass in the very center of the dough (only needs to be about an inch in diameter - this keeps the ends clean and easy to tuck under the finished twists).

Brush dough with butter, then spread 3 tablespoons sugar over the top, sprinkle 1/3 cup of pecans on top, and then 3 tablespoons of chocolate chips. Use your hands to spread everything out to make sure everything is evenly distributed.

Cut circle into 16 wedges. Starting with the wide part of each wedge, roll toward the center of the dough, tucking the pointed edge underneath the twist. Repeat with remaining wedges. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Repeat with rest of dough and filling.

topping:
1 large egg
1 teaspoon water
2 tablespoons vanilla sugar (or plain granulated sugar)

Preheat oven to 375.

Beat together egg and water. Brush each cookie with the egg wash and then sprinkle the sugar over the top. Bake cookies one tray at a time for 20 minutes, rotating halfway through.

Allow cookies to cool completely before eating.

Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie Rugelach

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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgivingukkah!

Today, for the first time in many years (1861, had Thanksgiving been an official holiday then), and the last time for quite a few years more (in 79811), Thanksgiving and Chanukah (started last night at sundown, making today the first day) are colliding into a super festive holiday that has been dubbed Thanksgivingukkah.


Light your menurkey
Check out this pinterest board filled with festive ideas
Don this tee
Print some coloring pages for the kiddos
Fill your sufganiyot with cranberry sauce
Hang a poster
Larry David's Thanksgiving rant
Make matzoh ball soup with turkey stock

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Monday, November 25, 2013

Pie Chart of Pies

With pie being the 'official' dessert of Thanksgiving, I couldn't resist sharing this pie chart from modern farmer of pies in honor of the upcoming holiday.


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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Whipped Maple Cream Cheese

Bruegger's (a bagel shop chain), once 2 years ago had maple cream cheese in their shop and it was amazing, and I was a little obsessed with it. And now they don't have it anymore. So I had to make my own (which, considering how delicious and easy to make it is, this could be a dangerous addition to my fridge).

This is such a great way to dress up your cream cheese and typical bagel, it's also perfect to top all the yummy, cinnamon-y fall baked goods.

Whipped Maple Cream Cheese
4 oz cream cheese
2 1/2 tablespoons maple cream

Combine cream cheese and maple cream on low speed until completely combined. Turn speed up to medium-high and beat until fluffy.

this recipe can also be found at some of my favorite food blog hops

  Whipped Maple Cream Cheese 

Whipped Maple Cream Cheese
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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Old Salem 

Happy Halloween everyone! I hope you all have a wonderfully spooky and fun day. Are you dressing up?

Famous last words
An amazing Alice costume
Ben & Jerry's 'Tales from the Flavor Graveyard'
10 spooky treats
Today's Google Doodle lets you make your own potions
Dog costumes
A spooky story
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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Chocoscotch Spiders

Getting ever closer to Halloween! Which means it's time for some treats. This super quick recipe is from Jill Thompson's Scary Godmother, which beyond being a wonderful comic, has fun little crafts and recipes (all are very kid friendly too of course).

Chocoscotch Spiders (from here)
1 12-ounce bag chocolate chips
1 12-ounce bag butterscotch chips
1 12-ounce bag crunchy chow mein noodles

Combine chocolate and butterscotch together in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave at 20-30 second intervals, stirring in between until everything is almost melted, and then stir until no lumps remain. Add in chow mein noodles and stir until coated. Drop by spoonfuls onto waxed paper, let sit until fully set (or pop them in the fridge to quicken the process).

 Chocoscotch Spiders

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Monday, October 7, 2013

Cider Donuts

I went to college in Amherst, MA, and nearby there was the best farm store with the most amazing cider donuts (they're such favorites of anyone who tries them, Kringle Candle has added it to its line of scents). When fall comes, I start to crave cider donuts, since I'm a couple hours from my favorites, I decided to make my own version. Not quite the same, but they definitely fill that void.

This recipe is the perfect amount for my donut pan, but this would also work just fine as muffins (or mini muffins).

Cider Donuts
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 tablespoons apple butter
1/4 cup apple cider
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

Sugar Coating:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, and grease your

In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt, set aside. In a separate bowl whisk together the remaining ingredients until smooth. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet mixture, stir until just combined. Let batter rest for about 5 minutes before filling the pan.

After resting, pour donut batter into the prepared pan. Bake donuts for 10 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through to ensure even baking. Allow donuts to cool for a couple of minutes in the pan before removing to a wire rack.

For the sugar coating, mix together remaining sugar and cinnamon and pour onto a plate. Brush a donut lightly with the melted butter and then dip it into the cinnamon sugar, turning it over and rolling it to get a good coating of sugar.

this recipe can also be found at some of my favorite food blog hops

Cider Donuts 

Cider Donuts

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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Penguin Horror curated by Guillermo del Toro

Happy October!

Today Penguin Classics is releasing 6 classic horror stories with special covers curated by Guillermo del Toro (director behind Hellboy, Pan's Labyrinth and many others). I love the colors and the artstyle of these. The Raven is definitely one that will be finding its way to my bookshelf soon.




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Friday, September 27, 2013

Happy Friday!

Happy Friday! I hope everyone has a fun weekend in store. My birthday is tomorrow so I'll be doing a bit of celebrating and some relaxing.


such a perfect fall scarf (in red plaid)
made a big batch of apple butter this weekend and now want to eat it on everything
seeing people in a different way
fabulous cheese print that i'd love to hang in my kitchen
do room temperature eggs make a difference in baking?
fall premiere tv schedule
super mario bedroom
charlotte olympia made some amazing accessories out of archie comics
habits of happy people
real-life heroines

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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Monopoly Properties in the Real World

Scouting NY recently put together pictures of what all the properties in Monopoly look like in real life, seeing as all the properties are named after street in New Jersey.




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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Nintendo Bento Boxes

I find the art of the bento box pretty wonderful- whether perfectly separated types of food, or people who turn lunch into full blown artwork, it's a great thing. The Kitchn recently posted a roundup of some really amazing bento art inspired by Super Mario Brothers. 

Here are a few of my faves








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Monday, September 9, 2013

Sesame and Everything Bagels

Growing up, every Sunday morning my family and I would have bagels from the local shop in our town. They were freshly made and still warm when my dad got home with them. Yesterday I was feeling nostalgic for the Sunday bagels, so I made my own.

Bagels (from here)
dough:
1 cup warm water
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 cups bread flour
2 1/4 teaspoon yeast

boiling:
3 quarts water
3 tablespoons sugar

topping and baking:
1 egg white
2 tablespoons water
sesame seeds
bagel spice (I used the original)
2 tablespoons cornmeal

Combine dough ingredients in bread machine in the order indicated by the manufacturer, set to the dough setting. After dough is ready, place it on a floured surface and let rest for about 10 minutes.

Cut dough into 8 even pieces, shape each piece into a flattened ball. Using your thumb, make a whole in the center of the dough, and use your fingers to stretch the dough out a bit so it's an open circle. Cover shaped dough with a clean towel and allow to rest for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375. Dust a baking sheet with the 2 tablespoons cornmeal.

While dough is resting, bring 3 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot and stir in 3 tablespoons of sugar. When the dough is ready, put 4 bagels into the boiling water for one minutes, flipping them halfway through. Then remove them to a clean towel to dry slightly. Boil the second batch of bagels.

Mix together egg white and 2 tablespoons water. Brush the bagel with the egg white wash and then sprinkle on the topping of your choice. Arrange bagels on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes, or until nicely browned, rotating the pan halfway through.

this recipe can also be found at some of my favorite food blog hops

Bagels- post boiling, pre baking 

b is for bagel 

Sesame and Everything Bagels

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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Blackberry Jam

My bread machine (which I still adore), has a cycle that makes fresh jam in small batches. I adore having the fresh jam, and since I'm the only one here who eats it, I only need to be canning tons of jam.  

Blackberry Jam
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons low sugar pectin
juice of 1 lemon
2 cups blackberries

Crush berries gently with a potato masher. Add ingredients to your breakmaker in the order directed by the manufacturer. Set to jam cycle. Pour into jars and refrigerate until fully set.

Blackberry Jam

  Blackberry Jam 

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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Scary Godmother

It's no secret that I love Halloween. Not too long ago I discovered the Scary Godmother, Jill Thompson's (fabulously talented artist of Wonder Woman, Sandman and many others) star of books and a few TV specials. I'm a bit hooked on the wonderfully spooky world that Jill has created.

So imagine my delight that there is a Kickstarter devoted to funding a beautiful doll of the Scary Godmother. She looks like she has just stepped out of the amazing watercolor pages of the book. If you have a minute, please check out the Kickstarter, and make a pledge (the options range from $1-$10,000 with amazing rewards like an exclusive digital comic to an audio recording of the first story to Christmas cookie packages to painting lessons to original art), so anything you can do to help out Jill is amazing.

I am pretty jazzed for this doll (a sentiment I have not really felt since elementary school), I really (really!) want her to be a reality:


beautiful, right?
Visit the Kickstarter!



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Monday, August 26, 2013

Coffee Sugar Body Scrub

Instead of throwing out used coffee grounds, lately I have been making them into a sugar scrub and am loving it. It smells completely wonderful, and is an amazing exfoliant. Also, a great homemade gift idea!

Coffee Sugar Body Scrub
1/4 cup used coffee grounds
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons vitamin e oil
1 tablespoon honey

Mix coffee grounds, sugar, oil and honey together. The consistency should be like a thick paste/wet sand. Transfer the mixture to a jar, and enjoy in your next shower!

  Coffee Sugar Scrub
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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Happy Birthday Julia!

Today would have been Julia Child's 101st birthday!


Previous posts about Julia, her legacy, and her recipes
A tour of Julia's home in Cambridge, MA
PBS has gathered all things Julia into one spot
Last year, social media celebrated her 100th birthday with #CookForJulia
I am anxiously awaiting this biography in the mail from a recent Rue La La sale
Williams-Sonoma has made a Pinterest board all about Julia
Some great quotes

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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Raspberry Honey Cider Bread

Every year, my office plans a summer outing around Boston. This year we did lunch out, and then a tour of the Harpoon Brewery, ending with some time spent at the Harpoon Bar sampling different things. I ended up taking a growler of their Honey Cider home (mostly because I wanted the bottle to put flowers in, and you couldn't buy them sans alcohol), and used some of it for baking.

Raspberry Honey Cider Bread (adapted from here)
3 cups flour
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
12 ounces hard cider

1 cup fresh raspberries

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a loaf pan.

Mix together flour, 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl. Gently fold in the raspberries. Pour in cider, and stir until well combined. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan, smooth top, and sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons sugar over the top.

Bake for about 50 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until top is golden brown and crisp.

  Cider Bread w/ Raspberries 

IMG_1612
they match your glass to whatever you order

IMG_1615
one of my coworkers got a flight of beer
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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Beet Salad

I have only recently discovered how much I enjoy beets, which I ordered on a whim when out with some colleagues. I don't know how I hadn't tried them before.

This a beautiful salad, I am a bit obsessed with how pretty beets are. This dish is so simple and delicious, and it utilizes the greens as well, which would be a shame to throw away.

Beet Salad
2 bunches of beets, with greens attached (about 8 small-medium beets)
1/3 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
pinch of salt
plenty of fresh ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 425.

Trim beets of roots and greens (reserving greens for later). Scrub beets and wrap in a few foil packets (I did 2-3 beets per packet). Roast until tender, about an hour.

In the meantime, mix together, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

Remove beets from oven, and let sit until cool enough to handle. Using paper towels to protect your hands (from heat and staining), gently rub the skins away from the beets (this is surprisingly quick and easy). Cut the beets into bitesize chunks. Put beets into bowl and toss with half of the olive oil dressing. Store in fridge until ready to serve (can be done in advance).

Before serving, roughly chop beet greens, rinse and dry. Toss with remaining dressing and pour out onto a platter, top with the dressed beets, and then the pecans and feta cheese.

this recipe can also be found at some of my favorite food blog hops

Beets 

Beet Salad

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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Ice Cream Inspired by Books

In honor of National Ice Cream month and summer reading, Quirk books has brainstormed some amazing sounding flavors based on books. I wish these were real, because they sound delicious!







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Monday, July 22, 2013

Vanilla Ice

I originally bought this adorable ice cube tray to make coffee bean shaped frozen coffee with my leftover cold brew coffee (and because I am somewhat of a sucker for cute shaped items and themes), but then I was thinking I could also make ice cubes to add to my coffee, which is how I landed on these vanilla ice cubes, creamy and vanilla-y, so delicious.

Vanilla Ice makes the perfect amount to fill this tray
1 cup milk
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
2 tablespoons sugar (optional)

Combine milk, vanilla bean, and sugar (if using) in a small saucepan over low-medium heat and bring to a simmer, simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let cool completely. Discard the vanilla bean and pour into ice cube molds, then freeze.

  Vanilla Ice

Vanilla Iced Coffee

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Monday, July 15, 2013

Lucy Knisley: The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

Not too long ago I discovered the wonderful work of Lucy Knisley, when I checked out French Milk from the library after reading a short review online. It's a graphic novel travel diary, and I loved it, especially all the attention she paid to the food eaten while away. I was thrilled to learn she had another book coming out soon, and I got Relish as soon as it came out. This one is all about food, and it's fabulous. My favorite part are the lovely illustrated recipes (I'd love an entire cookbook exactly like this). One of which I had to try almost immediately...and I suggest you do too, these cookies are really something special. The right balance of crisp and chewy, salty and sweet...delicious.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies (from here)
1 cup butter, melted and cooled
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup coconut flakes
12 ounces chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.

In a large bowl, mix together butter with sugars until thoroughly combined. Add eggs one at a time, and then vanilla, mixing with each addition, stir until completely incorporated.

In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and 1 teaspoon salt. Slowly add dry ingredients to the wet until the mixture comes together. Then mix in the coconut and chocolate chips.

Drop dough onto ungreased cookie sheet and top dough with an additional pinch of salt, bake for 10-12 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through.

  Relish & Cookies

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies 

Chocolate Chip Cookie

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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Blueberry Coffee Cake with Cinnamon Glaze

Our local market is practically overflowing with fresh summer berries, and I never leave it without buying more (berries being one of my favorite snacks). With a surplus of blueberries in my fridge, I decided to bake some into a delicious coffee cake.

Blueberry Coffee Cake with Cinnamon Glaze (from here, with a few changes)

Cake:

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda 

1/2 teaspoon salt 
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 cup sour cream 

1/4 cup buttermilk 
2 cups fresh blueberries
2 tablespoons flour

Glaze:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
milk

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a bundt pan. 

Mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Cream together butter and sugar until well incorporated, add eggs one at a time and then vanilla. Mix until fluffy. Add in sour cream and beat until batter is smooth and fluffy. Then add in dry ingredients, beat until mostly mixed together and then add the buttermilk. Mix until batter is completely smooth.

In a small bowl, toss the blueberries together with remaining 2 tablespoons of flour. Gently fold the berries into the batter with a spatula.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for about 55 minutes. 

Allow cake to cool for about 10 minutes before removing from the pan. Allow cake to cool completely before adding glaze.

For the glaze, mix together sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla, then add milk, tablespoon by tablespoon until desired consistency is reached.


this recipe can also be found at some of my favorite food blog hops

Blueberry Coffee Cake with Cinnamon Glaze

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Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th everyone! I hope you all have a fabulous, relaxing day!


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Monday, July 1, 2013

Cold Brew Coffee

I love iced coffee, it's one of my favorite things to drink.

For a while now I have seen several variations on the cold brew coffee, and read the claims of less acidity. I wanted to try it for myself. I love it! It's definitely a smoother flavor, and I love that it starts out cold, so you don't have to wait for your coffee to cool down before icing it.

Cold Brew Coffee (inspired by here, here, and here)
1/4 cup ground coffee
water

Measure coffee into a quart sized container with a lid (I love my mason jars for this) Fill the rest of the way with water, cover and give it a shake to mix it up a little bit, then lit the mixture sit for at least 12 hours.

Strain coffee mixture through a coffee filter set into a strainer (this process can take a while, but be patient).

Add coffee to your glass, then add milk/cream/sugar, etc to your liking.

  Add Milk 

Cold Brew Coffee

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Friday, June 28, 2013

RIP Google Reader

As I am sure everyone knows, Google Reader will retire as of Monday, July 1. I don't want to lose touch with anyone, so please take a minute to update your bookmarks with my site, or update your subscriptions in a different service so you don't miss anything:

Feedly (has a handy one click import feature to pull over all your subscriptions from Google Reader)
Twitter
BlogLovin'
RSS
Digg (still in beta, but will be ready soon)
The Old Reader
AOL Reader (still in beta)

I hope you all are having a great Friday, and have a wonderful weekend!


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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Yuck

New Yorker 4th grader Zachary is a young film maker. The public school student has created a documentary centered around school lunch called Yuck. Over the course of six months, Zachary smuggled a video camera in to school every day to document what he was being served for lunch, and how greatly it differed from the descriptions from the menu provided by the school. I'm hoping it comes to some theatres around the Boston area or goes up online in its entirety, because I would love to see it. The current scheduled screenings can be found here.

   

Did you buy school lunch or were you a brown-bagger? I mostly brought my lunch from home, but there were certain school meals that I liked to buy for, like French bread pizza day. Did you have a favorite school lunch?

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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Homemade Hot Dog Buns

I apologize for my absence as of late. But I am back!

Happy nearly summer everyone! One of my favorite parts of the summer is all the delicious grilled out food. Greg got me a hot dog bun pan recently, and couldn't wait to try it out. The results were really awesome, I started out with the recipe that came with the pan.

Hot Dog Buns (recipe from here)
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. instant yeast
2 Tbs. sugar
1/4 cup nonfat dry milk
2/3 cup instant mashed potato flakes
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbs. butter , softened
1 egg
1 cup warm water

 1) Mix all of the ingredients together and knead until dough is smooth and shiny. Add additional water a little at a time if dough is not smooth.
2) Allow dough to rise in greased bowl until nearly doubled in size.
3) Gently punch dough down and place into a lightly greased New England Hotdog Bun pan, stretching the dough to the corners. If dough does not easily stretch, let it rest a few minutes then continue stretching.
4) Place a greased baking sheet on top of the pan and weigh it down. Let the dough rise again until the dough comes to within 1/2 inch below the rim of the pan.
5) With the cover still in place and weighted, bake 18 minutes at 375ยบ F. Remove the cover and bake an additional 5 minutes or until the buns are golden brown.
6) Allow buns to cool in pan then turn out onto cutting board. With rounded side up, slice the top of the buns almost to the bottom.

Homemade Hot Dog Buns

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Development

Was anyone else super excited for the return of Arrested Development this weekend? I haven't watched all the new episodes yet, but have been enjoying them thus far.


Recurring developments
Themed snacks
What the critics are saying
How are you feeling today?
Posters
Arrested Dinner, including frozen bananas for dessert Pin It

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Key Lime Ice Cream

With the weather beginning to turn warm, I made my first batch of ice cream this year. I decided to do a variation on a favorite dessert, key lime pie, and turn it into a frozen treat.

Key Lime Ice Cream
1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup key lime juice
1 tablespoon lime zest

Whisk ingredients together until smooth. Pour into ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions.

Key Lime Ice Cream

Key Lime Ice Cream Sandwiches
my favorite way to enjoy the ice cream was to make them into ice cream sandwiches between two graham crackers and dipping the edges in colorful sprinkles

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