Right now I am in a dreamy state after sampling and photographing this incredible cake! If you need a special dessert and you’re a hazelnut fan, you should seriously consider taking the time to whip this up. You will thank me for the rest of your life.
For the month of January Jelena from A Kingdom for a Cake invited us to start this year with a dreamy celebration cake. She challenged us to make the Esterhazy cake a.k.a the Hungarian dream. What better way to start the year than with a sweet dream?
This is my husband’s favorite cookie. I made 200+ of them as favors for our wedding guests. After trying many recipes I found that the one on the bottom of the lid of the Quaker Oats container was my favorite. But when I saw this one in my Test Kitchen cookbook I thought I’d give it a try. You know, for research. They are quite good and may give the Quaker recipe a run for its money.
But really a fair comparison can’t be made. I’d probably have to have them side by side to decide which is better. These are puffier and more tender than the others, they are more full of oats and are flavored with nutmeg instead of cinnamon. I kind of missed the cinnamon, so I’d add some the next time. I might also add more raisins.
I’m working my way through some recipes in the Milk Bar cookbook and really enjoying it so far! If you missed this post, then check it out now. Those cookies will blow your socks off. This is another one that is on the simple side, not at all daunting. It wasn’t what I expected when I saw “brownie pie”, but was quite delicious and something I’d definitely make again.
I like football and I was sad to see college football season come to a close. But I’m glad that the Superbowl is coming up! Not because I care about any of the teams that might be playing (the ones I cared about are out of it now) but because of the food. Oh, Superbowl food. Few things are better. Am I right? I think I am.
My sister gave me the Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook for Christmas and once we got home and unpacked everything I started browsing through it. I’ve never actually been to Milk Bar, but have heard about their legendary cereal milk soft serve, compost cookies and crack pie. My husband and I have grand plans to make a trip (maybe child-free!) up to New York City sometime in the next year to visit my sister and her family. If we really do make it, then Milk Bar will be one of the places we have to go.
The cookbook is totally accessible with recipes for yummy things like confetti cookies, cinnamon bun pie, and brownie pie and ingredients you can buy at the grocery store like ritz crackers, corn flakes, fruity pebbles and ovaltine. But it is intimidating in some ways. Pretty much every recipe calls for a component that you have to make separately. This almost always makes me steer away from a recipe. But this time I found one that seemed doable, even with the extra steps. These cornflake, chocolate chip, marshmallow cookies are worth every second of time they take to make.
The component you have to make before you make the cookies is cornflake crunch. It’s simple, really. Crushed cornflakes, sugar, butter, milk powder and salt. Mix it all together and toast it in a low oven. Other crunches in the book include fruity pebble, pretzel and ritz, all similar to the cornflake crunch. With my new found love of the cornflake crunch I see a day in my future where I make big batches of the stuff and store it all in my freezer so I can add them to all of my cookies.
These cookies are sweet, salty, rich and buttery. They are crunchy on the edges and soft and chewy in the center. I usually prefer a puffier cookie, but these are flat and have earned a spot as some of the best cookies ever to come out of my oven. They are HUGE. Like the size of your face. And amazing. These are so amazing.
The cornflake crunch really makes these cookies special and unlike any cookie I’ve made. I am a believer in the momofuku crunch. And in milk powder. It’s magical stuff.
I’ve tried to add marshmallows to cookies before, but they’ve never quite acted like the marshmallows in these cookies. They provide a sweet, sugary, gooey, chewiness but you don’t get too much marshmallow since they kind of melt into the cookie and join with everything else is perfect baked good harmony.
Mini chocolate chips are the way to go here. Larger ones would be too overwhelming both in appearance in the cookie and in taste. Stick with the minis.
I am so excited to try more recipes in this cookbook! Now that I know how worthwhile it is to make the special ingredients, I’ll be much more likely to make that incredible looking birthday cake on page 104. Drool.
Preheat oven to 275°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.
In a large bowl crush cornflakes with clean hands then mix in milk powder, sugar and salt. Toss to combine.
Add in the melted butter and toss to coat evenly.
Spread out onto the prepared sheet and bake for 20 minutes, let cool.
2 sticks of butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups cornflake crunch
2/3 cup mini chocolate chips
1 1/4 cups mini marshmallows
Beat butter and sugars on medium high for 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and add the egg and vanilla. Beat for 7-8 minutes. Scrape down the bowl.
Whisk together the flour, powder, soda and salt, then add to the butter mixture. Mix on low until just combined, no longer than 1 minute.
Mix in the cornflake crunch and chocolate chips on low speed just to combine, 30-45 seconds. Then mix in the marshmallows just to combine.
Using a large cookie/ice cream scoop or a 1/4 measuring cup scoop out dough into balls and place on a parchment or silpat lined cookie sheet. You should have between 15 and 20 cookies. No need to spread the dough balls out on this sheet. Place the sheet into the fridge for at least 1 hour. If you plan to refrigerate them for more than a couple hours, cover the sheet with plastic wrap.
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Arrange dough balls on a parchment or silpat lined cookie sheet (4 or 5 cookies per sheet) with 3-4 inches room for spreading. Bake for 15-18 minutes until edges are beginning to brown and centers are just set.
Let cool for a few minutes on the sheet, then move to a cooling rack. Cool completely.
I am pleased to say that I have successfully completed an entire year of The Daring Bakers! Wahoo! It ended with this Dutch sweet bread that I got to bring to our family Christmas.
For the month of December, Andrea from 4pure took us on a trip to the Netherlands. She challenged us to take our taste buds on a joyride through the land of sugar and spice by baking three different types of Dutch sweet bread.
This bread has nice flavor. It was chewy and is most delicious eaten toasted with a spread of butter.
I’m keeping this post short since I’m currently sitting at the kitchen table at my parents house. So I’m off to spend some more time with them and laugh uncontrollably at silly things with my sisters. Hope you all had a Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year!
Dutch Sweet Bread
1 large egg
1 tablespoon agave syrup
1 cup less 2 tablespoons lukewarm water
1 tablespoon ground gingerbread spices
1¼ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
2 cups whole-wheat flour (I used all purpose)
1¾ teaspoons baking powder
Gingerbread Spice Blend
3 tablespoons cinnamon
1 teaspoons nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground anise
1/2 teaspoon ground mace
Preheat oven to 350°F and grease and sugar a loaf pan.
Put the egg, syrup, water, spices and brown sugar in a bowl. Whisk until everything is dissolved.
Add the flour and the baking powder into the bowl and mix all the ingredients with a wooden spoon until the flour is wet. Some lumps are ok.
Pour into the pan and bake for 60-70 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
On the weekends I have been known to sometimes whip up pancakes or waffles for the kids instead of our typical dry cereal and bananas. My husband is a ritualistic cereal eater, but if I’ve gone to the trouble to make something special he’ll be a good sport and eat what I’ve made.
When I saw this recipe for savory waffles I added what I needed to my grocery list almost immediately and planned to make them the coming weekend. When I told Ben I was making waffles he was not expecting these to grace his plate. He was a little bothered by them at first but came around and admitted that he’d gladly eat them again as long as he had a heads up that they would not be a plain waffle.
I love the idea of a savory waffle topped with sweet syrup. In fact, I welcome any chance to have maple syrup and bacon or sausage mingle on my breakfast plate. If you are also someone who “accidentally” finds that your breakfast meat somehow becomes covered in syrup, then you are going to love these waffles.
The recipe comes from Fine Cooking. The only changes I made were to use regular breakfast sausage instead of the chicken-apple sausage, and a full cup of buttermilk. I also used fewer green onions. It calls for 6, but I found 2 to be just fine. I used a standard waffle iron with great results, but would love to see how these turn out in a Belgian waffle maker. Maybe I will have to go get one…
Be careful not to overfill your waffle iron! This is good advice to heed when making any type of waffle, and I almost always screw up. I under fill my first couple waffles and then overfill the next ones. Cleaning that mess up is no fun. One of these days I’ll learn my lesson, or measure my batter better.
I hope you make and enjoy these! Also, if you have a Belgian waffle maker let me know your thoughts. Is it worth having one? And if so, what brand do you like? Thanks!
There are a lot of foods that hold great memories for me. I am sure I’ve talked about that before, and maybe that is the case for many of you. Of course during this time of year, where food is so important, I have the desire to make and eat a lot of those foods. These peppermint bars are one of my favorite Christmas sweets that my mom makes and I’m happy to share them with you!
These layered brownies pack a punch and are best enjoyed cut into small squares. The bottom chocolate brownie layer is dense and decadent. The peppermint layer is sweet and smooth. The chocolate on top is bittersweet and a perfect contrast to the sweetness.
I used to sneak these from the freezer, they are delicious after warming up just enough to be chew-able. They are also quite good at room temperature, just a little messy. But licking chocolate off of your fingers isn’t all bad.
There are a few tips that make baking and serving these easier.
Line the pan with foil and butter it well.
Use an offset spatula to spread the mint and the chocolate layers.
Chill the bars well after the mint and chocolate layers.
Remove from the freezer and let the bars warm up for about 30 minutes before cutting, if you cut them frozen the chocolate will crack.
Use the foil to lift the bars out of the pan and place on a cutting board. Use a warm knife to cut into squares, wiping it clean after each cut. At that point either serve or carefully repackage the squares and chill or freeze to serve later.
These are a perfect dessert buffet addition, and they would also make a great addition to a cookie plate along with other cookies. I hope you try these and enjoy them as much as I do.
Chocolate Peppermint Squares
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 cup chopped pecans
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2-2 tablespoons milk or cream
3 tablespoons softened butter
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
Top Chocolate Layer
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate
3 tablespoons butter
Preheat oven to 350°F and prepare an 8-inch pan by lining it with foil and buttering the foil.
Melt chocolate and butter over low heat, then set aside.
Combine eggs and sugar in a large bowl and beat until light in color and fluffy.
Stir in flour, chocolate mixture and nuts.
Spread into the pan and bake for 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool for room temperature.
Beat together powdered sugar, butter and milk until smooth.
Mix in peppermint extract and a couple drops of food coloring to achieve the color and shade that you’d like. My mom always did green or pink.
Spread evenly over the cooled brownies and place in the freezer until set, at least 30 minutes.
Melt chocolate and butter together. I do this in the microwave. Chop the chocolate roughly and cut the butter into chunks. Combine in a microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for 15 second increments, stirring well in between until melted and smooth.
Remove chilled bars and pour the chocolate on top and tilt the pan to spread the chocolate around. Use an offset spatula to even out the chocolate if needed.
Recently I’ve been in a bit of a rut when it comes to dinner. When that happens I fall back on old recipes that can feed us for the better half of the week so I can cook less often or I really push for eating dinner out or ordering in. This chicken dish was just what I needed, a quick a delicious dinner. It’s simple, doesn’t have a lot of ingredients and is a lot more exciting than your typical crusted, baked chicken.
The hazelnuts are a really nice surprise here and pair well with the rosemary and parmesan. Coating the chicken with the mayo and mustard keeps the chicken moist. Pounding the chicken out thin helps it to bake evenly without getting dry, a problem I often have with baked chicken.
Skinning the hazelnuts is by far the most time consuming (and frustrating! and messy!) part of this meal. After toasting them for a few minutes in a 375 degree oven, place them in a large, clean dish towel and rub them together, pound them on the counter, etc to get the skins off. Don’t worry if you don’t get all the skin off of every nut, though. Your store sells blanched hazelnuts?! By all means use those! And send me some! I am not a fan of skinning hazelnuts, and would love a little shortcut there.
I served this with steamed green beans and mashed sweet potatoes. It made for a lovely, colorful and tasty plate of food and a meal I’d definitely like to have again.
Did anyone else have the post-Thanksgiving blues? I got home after a week with family and had a rough time adjusting back to normal life. I wanted to stay in my pajamas and in bed all day. I scoured the freezer for meals, bought groceries to make pot pies but when it came time to make them I just didn’t want to do it so we ordered pizza, and one night I ate salad straight from the plastic container it came in instead of using a plate. Keeping it classy, y’all. I am back from my hiatus and have even cooked a couple of proper meals this week. Hopefully my post-Christmas blues don’t find me in this same predicament…
Christmas is fast approaching and while my shopping is mostly completed and our tree and lights are up I feel like I have a lot of cooking still to do. I’m excited to make some of the nostalgic cookies that bring me right back to my childhood, but I always like to try my hand at something new. So along with some reliable and time-tested recipes, I’ll also share some new ones that would be perfect for the holiday season.
I have a thing for rosemary. An herb that is lovely in savory dishes but really gets along well with sweet flavors, rosemary is also incredibly easy to grow. In fact, the rosemary plant I thought was dead and moved to the side yard to die a slow death is doing better than the one I have been caring for on the back porch. That should give you an idea of my gardening skills. The blog is already full of sweets that feature rosemary, but that isn’t stopping me from sharing another one with you!
These blondies were a big hit with my husband, who prefers his sweets more on the savory side. My 4-year-old was not a fan. My 2-year old ate them up happily, a girl after my own heart. It has butter and sugar in it? We are in.
Brown butter and dark brown sugar make these blondies quite rich. Add pecans and rosemary to the mix and the flavors are all warm and rich. The cranberries are a welcomed sweet-tart addition that make these blondies more balanced and super delicious.
I went heavy on the salt and rosemary, but realize that not everyone has my taste buds. Opt for less salt and less rosemary if you’re skeptical. Then if you think it needs more you can adjust the next time. I usually say it’s better to have too much than not enough, but that’s not the case with those ingredients.
Brown butter: Place butter in a small saucepan and heat over low-medium heat until butter begins to sizzle and spit. Reduce heat to low, watch closely and swirl the pan occasionally just until butter smells nutty. Pour into a bowl and let cool slightly.
Preheat oven to 325°F and butter a 9×13 pan.
Whisk flour, baking powder, salt and rosemary together in a small bowl.
Beat cooled butter and brown sugar together. Add eggs and vanilla and beat well.
Mix in flour mixture and then the pecans and cranberries.
Spread batter into the pan and bake for 20-25 minutes.