Raspberry Crumb Bars

First and foremost these are not healthy: at all. If I were to consume one of these bars in these entirety I would probably have a stroke and fall to the floor. It’s the butter people, there is so much butter, but that’s what makes them outstandingly delicious. To justify making these, I cut them into very small cubes. You really don’t need a big piece to enjoy. So I make it easier for people and cut them half the size of traditional bars. But I will warn you, these are fabulous. The textures all meld perfectly together to create a soft, moist, delightful bite with a little crunch from the crumbly topping. Oh my goodness. So good.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups raspberry jam with seeds
  • 1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar for dusting

FOR THE TOPPING:

  • 1 cup of oats (I use the intant oatmeal kind)
  • 1/2 cup of honey (I use Bee Local)
  • 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • the dough as listed in recipe

DIRECTIONS:

1. Using a stand mixer and paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add vanilla extract and egg yolk until thoroughly combined. Scrape the bowl with a spatula to incorporate all of the yolk. Sift together dry ingredients. Slowly blend the flour into the butter mixture on low speed until everything in the bowl is completely blended.

2. Scrape dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap. Divide it into two pieces: 3/4- and 1/4-chunks. Wrap the larger piece with plastic and press down to form as flat of a disk as possible. Wrap the smaller piece tighly, it does not have to be flat. Refrigerate both pieces for 20-30 minutes until firm but still pliable.

3. Remove large piece of dough from the refrigerator and roll it between two large sheets of parchment paper into a 9×13-inch rectangle. It should be about 1/8-1/4 inch thick. Carefully peel off the top sheet of parchment (refrigerate for a few minutes if dough sticks to the paper.) Trim the edges to form a sharp rectangle. Transfer the dough and bottom parchment onto a baking sheet.

4. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 20 minutes until the shortbread is light brown. Remove from the oven, and while the shortbread layer is still warm, spoon jam evenly on top.

5. Remove the smaller piece of the shortbread and crumble it into a bowl. Add the remaining ingredients for the topping and work into a crumble with your fingers. Disperse evenly on top so that the entire top is coated. Return it to the oven and bake for another 10-15 minutes until the top is lightly browned. (Watch carefully) Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar, trim the edges, and cut into desired number of bars.

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

I had no idea what I was getting into when I made these cookies earlier today. They are soft, rich, silky smooth and amazingly delicious. It’s like a brownie in a cookie form. I took my first bite, completely unaware of the path I was about to skip down. Someone may have to steal these away from me. Seriously.

Ingredients:

•1/3 cup all-purpose flour
•2 tablespoon natural unsweetened cocoa powder
•7 oz. chocolate, 70% cacao
•2 tablespoon unsalted butter
•1/4 cup chocolate hazelnut butter (I used Justin’s)
•2 large eggs
•1 egg white
•3/4 cup sugar
•1 cup confectioner’s sugar for dusting the cookies

Instructions:

1.Place flour and cocoa powder in a bowl and whisk to combine; set aside.

2.Place chocolate, butter and chocolate hazelnut butter in a heavy-bottom pan over low heat and stir until ingredients are melted and combined.; set aside.

3.Place eggs, egg white and sugar in a bowl and beat until the mixture is light in color and thick and fluffy in appearance.

4.Gently fold chocolate mixture into egg mixture until combined. Gently fold in flour mixture until no streaks appear. Chill dough for 20 minutes.

5.Place confectioner’s sugar in a large bowl. Remove chilled dough, using a cookie scoop or a tablespoon drop dough into bowl with confectioner sugar. Push dough around to heavily cover it confectioner’s sugar. Place covered dough balls on parchment lined bake sheet one inch apart. Bake for 350 degrees for about 10-12 minutes. Let cool on cookie sheet for 1-2 minutes, using a spatula press cookie flat.

Luscious Carrot Cake Cupcakes

When “Eat Your Plate”‘ was raging full force last year, these were the star of the show. Customers boasted that these were the very best carrot cake morsels they had ever put in their mouth. Personally, I have never been a huge fan of anything carrot cake, but these, I would happily eat. They are a wonderful mix of flavor with all the ingredients pulling together to make something really special. There are a lot of ingredients but this recipe is extremely easy to make and difficult to screw up. Just remember, shred your carrots very fine, that’s the trick to the fabulous consistency.

INGREDIENTS

•2 eggs
•1 cup packed light brown sugar
•3/4 cup canola oil
•3 tablespoons nonfat buttermilk
•1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
•1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
•1/2 teaspoon baking powder
•1/2 teaspoon baking soda
•1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
•1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
•2 cups tightly packed shredded carrots
•1/2 cup raisins
•1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped

For the cream cheese frosting:
•12 ounces cream cheese, left at room temperature for 4 hours
•1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
•1 2/3 cups confectioners’ sugar

For the candied carrot strips (optional):
•1 small carrot
•1 cup granulated sugar
•3/4 cup water

DIRECTIONS

For the carrot cake:

Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Butter and flour an 8-inch cake pan (or line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with  paper liners).

Using a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment (or a handheld mixer),  beat together the eggs and brown sugar on medium-high speed for 3–4 minutes, or  until the mixture is light and thick. (This step will take 8–10 minutes if using  a handheld mixer.) In a small bowl or pitcher, whisk together the oil,  buttermilk, and vanilla. On low speed, slowly pour the oil mixture into the  egg-sugar mixture. This should take about 30 seconds.

In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt,  cinnamon, and ginger. Using a rubber spatula, fold the flour mixture into the  egg-sugar mixture. When most of the flour mixture has been incorporated, add the  carrots, raisins, and walnuts and continue to fold until the batter is  homogenous. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan (or divide evenly among  the prepared muffin cups).

Bake the cake flour for about 1 hour and 20 minutes (or the cupcakes for  about 50 minutes), or until the top is golden brown and springs back when  pressed in the middle with a fingertip. Let cool completely in the pan on a wire  rack.

For the cream cheese frosting:

While the cake is baking, put the cream cheese in the stand mixer fitted with  the paddle attachment, and beat on medium speed for about 1 minute, or until  smooth. If you have forgotten to take the cream cheese out of the refrigerator 4  hours in advance, you can soften it in a microwave on medium power for 30  seconds. Add the butter and continue to beat for another 1 minute. Scrape  the sides and bottom of the bowl and add the confectioners’ sugar. Beat for 1  more minute, or until well mixed. You should have about 3 1/2 cups.

Cover the frosting and refrigerate for 2–3 hours before using to allow it  firm up enough to pipe and spread. (The frosting can be made up to 5 days  in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.)

For the carrot strips (optional):

In a small saucepan, combine the granulated sugar and water and bring to a  boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the carrot strips  and boil for 10 seconds. Remove from the heat and let the strips cool  completely in the syrup. (The strips can be stored in the syrup in an airtight  container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.)

Remove the cake from the pan and split it into two layers. Place the  bottom layer, cut-side up, on a cake plate. Spoon about half of the frosting  onto the layer and, using an offset spatula, spread it evenly to the  edges. Place the top layer, cut-side down, on top and press down to  adhere. Spoon on about 1 cup of the frosting and spread it over the top and  down the sides of the cake. This is the crumb coat which will keep any loose  crumbs from migrating to the surface of the finished cake. Spoon the remaining  frosting on top of the cake, and spread it evenly across the top and down the  sides. If using the carrot strips for decoration, lift the cooled strips from  the syrup and blot gently to remove the excess syrup. Coil the strips into  little spirals and place them whimsically on the cake.

(If you have baked cupcakes, remove them from the muffin tin. Fit a pastry  bag with a 1/2-inch star tip and fill the bag with the frosting, then pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes. Or, spread the frosting on the  cupcakes with an icing spatula.

The cake (or cupcakes) can be stored in an air-tight container in the  refrigerator for up to 3 days. It is best served a little cooler than room  temperature, so remove it from the refrigerator about 2 hours before serving.  (ti’s delicious straight from the fridge, too, so don’t worry if you forget to  pull it out in time.)

Note: Softening the cream cheese in the microwave might  sound like a strange step, but I’ve learned if the cream cheese  is at all cool, it will get lumpy when you try to combine it with the  butter. Just 30 seconds in the microwave (or about 4 hours on a countertop)  ensures that the cream cheese, butter, and sugar will blend together seamlessly  to create the silkiest, creamiest frosting ever.

Jenny’s OOber Doober Famous Biscotti

Jenny’s FAMOUS Biscotti (My mom would mug someone for these)

2 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
few drops of almond extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour + 2-4 tablespoons (mixture should be fairly thick)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cups chopped almonds
1/4-1/2 cup dark chocolate chips/chunks (this is optional)

*You can use this as a base recipe to put anything you’d like in your biscotti. Ex: take out the almonds, add in dried cranberries & pistachios. The possibilities are endless!

** I usually dip mine in chocolate rather than adding the chocolate chips. If you wish to do this simply melt chocolate in a double boiler (you will need about 2 cups), slowly over simmering water. Pour melted chocolate onto a clean piece of parchment paper and dip each biscotti in it, smooth side down. Lay on their sides on another piece of parchment. Allow to harden.

1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

3. Place the eggs and sugar in a bowl and beat with a mixer for several minutes on medium-high speed. You will see the color change from deep eggy yellow to a pale lemon, and the mixture will thicken up a bit. Beat in the vanilla extract and almond extract.

4. Mix in the flour, baking powder and salt on low-speed.

5. Fold in the almonds and chocolate chunks/chips. Put the dough onto a your parchment lined baking sheet and pat down into a long, thin rectangle. (I would call it more of a log)

6. Once the “log” is formed, start to taper the ends, so that the result is a thicker “log” in the middle that gets thinner towards the ends.

6. Cook for 20-25 minutes. The biscotti log will have risen and spread a little and it should be a golden brown color. Leave for 2-3 hours to cool.

7.  Then, on the diagonal, cut into the familiar biscotti shapes in the thickness you desire.

8. At this point you can determine your desired consistency. I usually stop at this point as I like my biscotti a little soft. If you like them harder, put these back onto the baking sheet, laying them down flat, and cook an additional 10 minutes. By this time they should be golden brown and crunchy. Let them cool and then store in an airtight container

It’s Friday Bitches.

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I basically start thinking about Friday on Sunday because basically Sunday means my weekend is over. Monday is too early in the week to start drinking wine and by Wednesday I am at the point where I am done wearing pants. I find that with two small children the weekdays are almost more than I can handle. And if I can successfully shower every day without a major disruption, I feel like I have really accomplished something. I’m not sure if all parents feel this way but I’m at the point where I just really need my kids to be in college. I always told myself that I would never alter my personality for my kids but lately my 2-year-old thinks yelling: “Fucking Shit” is wonderful so, I guess some things just have to go. Anyways, enough about them.

For some reason, baking this weekend is just calling to me. I feel like I need to go and purchase large amounts of butter, flour and vanilla and just create. I feel like baking, when recreational, is really calming, especially when the end result is how I imagine. I love putting on an apron, chef style, playing some music and letting my kitchen whisper to me the things I need to make happen. It’s a magical thing you know, putting a powerful woman in a kitchen with all the right tools. We can move mountains. It’s beautiful. Some may say that it’s sexist to say things like that, but I don’t give a shit, men can’t do what women do. We make it look easy. With our hair did and our flashy smiles. It’s just a different sort of thing.

If I had a bakery of my own, it would be all about the vagina. There would be Julia Child quotes written on the windows with giant portraits of her doing everyday things adorning the walls, there would be cake stands scattered with stacked treats and we would play the music of Paris all day long, swaying our hips in just the right way. And of course, there would be a pair of running shoes with an Open & Close sign on each sole.

Obviously I am feeling whimsical today.

Now, for a recipe.

This cake is great for gatherings. It’s easy to make, tastes delicious and goes great with coffee. I make it often, serving it with home-made whipped cream and strawberries that have been soaking in Grand Marnier.

torta di mandorle

Almond Cake

1 & 1/3 cup almond flour

1 tsp. almond extract

1 cup unsalted butter (melted and cooled)

4 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup granulated sugar

Grated peel of 1 lemon

3 eggs, beaten

3 tablespoons Amaretto liqueur

1 tsp. cream of tarter

1 tsp. baking soda

3/4 cup milk

confectioner’s sugar for dusting

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

2. Grease and flour a pan (I use a 9 inch round pan, you can use whatever you like)

3. Beat all the wet ingredients together.

4. Sift all the dry ingredients together.

5. Combine  and add the lemon peel, make sure all the ingredients are well mixed.

6. Place in your pan and bake.

7. Takes about one hour or until the toothpick inserted into your cake comes out clean.

Serve with vanilla ice cream while warm or any other accompaniment of your choosing.