Chocolate Raspberry Rugelach with Pecans

This recipe comes from the Smitten Kitchen cookbook, which is amazing.  Every recipe I have made from it has been delicious.  Raspberry. Chocolate. Pecans. You can’t go wrong!

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Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 brick of cream cheese, 250 grams
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup raspberry jam
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 3 tbs pecans, toasted and finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup miniature bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • coarse sanding sugar (i also used maple sugar for half of them)

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For the dough.

With an electric mixer or paddle attachment on your kitchen aid, beat the butter and cream cheese together until light and fluffy.  In a medium bowl, whisk the salt and flour and then pour the flour mixture into the cream cheese and butter mixture.  Beat on low, just until the flour disappears.   Put the dough on some plastic wrap and make flat.  Wrap the rest of the dough with plastic and chill for at least 2 hours, up to 3 days.

Line 2-3 baking sheets with parchment (I only used 2)

For the filling.

Heat the jam in a small saucepan until it simmers.  Your jam will have seeds, and I recommend removing them for this recipe.  Push the jam through a fine mesh strainer to remove them and then set the warm jam to the side.  Combine your cinnamon and sugar in a bowl.  In another small bowl, whisk the egg yolk and water together until smooth.

Things you’ll need next:

  • rolling pin
  • flour for the counter
  • spatula or butter knife to spread the jam
  • knife or pasty wheel to cut the dough
  • spoon for the dry toppings
  • large piece of waxed paper
  • brush for the egg wash

Divide your dough into 2 or 3 (i did 2).  On a well floured counter, roll the first part out into a thin circle as best you can.  It doesn’t have to be perfect (approx 12 inches in diameter).  Spread 2 tablespoons of jam thinly over the dough and then sprinkle 3 tablespoons of the cinnamon-sugar , 2 tablespoons of chocolate chips and 1 tablespoon of the pecans all over.  Next use your piece of waxed paper and place over top while gently pressing the toppings into the dough.  Use your knife or pastry wheel to dive the dough into wedges (approx 16).  Roll each wedge tightly from the outside to the center and then place on a baking sheet.  Space them apart 1 inch.  Put your tray in the freezer for 15 minutes before baking.

Preheat your oven to 350°.  Repeat the process with your next set of dough while the current dough chills in the fridge.

Before baking, brush the top with the egg yolk mixture and sprinkle sanding sugar on top.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until puffed and golden brown.  Transfer to a cooling rack while still hot, that way the jam spills out or else it will harden.

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Definitely making these again!!!

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Tomato Scallion Shortcakes with Whipped Goat Cheese

This recipe is from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook.  I absolutely love everything in this book.  Every recipe I have made has been delicious, and there are some I have made over and over.

Scallion Biscuits

  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pieces
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons cut up chives (optional) I had them so I added them
  • 1 cup whole milk

Tomato Salad

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 ½ tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • pinch of sugar
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • approximately 1 ¹⁄³ cups cherry tomatoes

Toppings

  • 3 tablespoons whipping cream
  • 115 grams goat cheese, softened (I used a fig flavour goat cheese, so good!)
  • 2 green scallions, thinly sliced

Biscuits

To make the biscuits, preheat the oven to 425ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  In a bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.  Add the pieces of butter and with your fingertips, mix in the butter with the dry ingredients – until it resembles coarse meal.  Stir in the scallions and chives.  After add the whole milk and stir until evenly mixed.  Your biscuits should be 3/4 to 1 inch thick and about 3 inches wide.  Pat them out on the parchment and reshape if needed, with spacing of 2 inches apart.  Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until golden brown.  Rotate the pan halfway.

Tomatoes

To make the tomato salad whisk the olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, sugar and fresh ground pepper in a bowl.  Slice the cherry tomatoes and add them to the mix.  Toss everything together.

Biscuits

To make the whipped goat cheese, use the whisk of an electric mixer and mix the whipping cream until peaks form.  Add the goat cheese, and beat together until its light and fluffy.  I found that the fluffiness for me went down significantly when I added the goat cheese.  Although it was not as fluffy, everything was still delicious.

Split the warm biscuits and assemble your shortcakes.  Add the tomato mixture on half the biscuit along with a generous topping of whipped goat cheese.  Sprinkle some scallions on top and enjoy!

Scallion Biscuit with Tomatoes and Goat Cheese

 

Coconut Cake – 4 Tiers

Coconut Cake

I really took a chance with this one, and I was almost certain it wasn’t going to work out.  But with a little patience, this cake turned out wonderful in the end .  I used cake flour and coconut milk instead of all purpose flour and milk, and I found the cake needed to bake a lot longer in the oven.  For a long time it looked finished, but the inside was still… watery.  It was almost like…. a waterbed.  If you would push on it, it might burst.  But I just kept my eye on it and eventually it cooked everywhere and was done.  Turned out super moist and delicious!  You could also make this as 2 tiers in a 9 inch pan, but I used 2 -six inch pans and then cut them in half to make 4 tiers.

Coconut Cake

This recipe was adapted from Ina Garten

Ingredients :

  • 3 sticks of unsalted butter, at room temperature.  Plus more for greasing the pans
  • 1 ¾ cups sugar
  • 5 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 4 ounces sweetened shredded coconut

For the Frosting :

  • 1 pound cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pound confectioners sugar, sifted
  • 6 ounces sweetened shredded coconut

Coconut Cake

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 °F.  Grease 2 (6-inch) round cake pans and line with parchment paper.
  2. In an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Approx 3-5 min.  Then add the eggs, 1 at a time.  Mix well and scrap down the sides as needed.  Add the vanilla.  If the mixture looks curdled, don’t be concerned.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients and the coconut milk, alternating in 3 parts and beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.  Add the shredded coconut.
  4. Pour batter into 2 pans and smooth the top with a knife.  Bake in the center  of the oven for about an hour and a half or until the cake tester comes out clean.  Cool on baking rack for 30 minutes, and then turn the cakes on the baking rack to finish cooling.
  5. In the meantime you can make the frosting!  In an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese, butter and vanilla extract on low speed.  Add the confectioners sugar and mix until smooth.
  6. Once the cakes are cooled, you can slice them in half if you’re going 4 tiers.  Then you can assemble them by icing and then adding a layer. Once the cake is covered in icing, add the shredded coconut all over!

Coconut Cake

Coconut Cake

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Happy Birthday Amy !

Home-Made Gift #3 – Cookies in a Box

cookies!

Last year I got this awesome Martha Stewart cookie package kit on sale at Michaels.  There are 8 cookie boxes included.   This Christmas I did not have as much time for holiday baking and home-made gifts as I would have liked, I am in Hawaii right now until the 24th.  So I spent a Saturday baking away and putting together a few of these cookie boxes with a little gingerbread man tree ornament that I also made.

Double Ginger Crackles – From Fine Cooking Cookies Magazine

  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 ¾ tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar, plus another 1/3 cup for later
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 3 tbs finely chopped crystallized ginger (I have some nice ginger from Epicure that was delicious)

ginger cookies

  1. Position your oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350°F.  Line 2 larger baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a bowl whisk together the flour, ground ginger, baking soda and salt.  In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, mix together the butter with 1 cup of sugar on medium-high speed until well blended.  Add the egg, molasses and crystallized ginger; beat well.
  3. Add the dry ingredients on low in 3 batches until well blended.
  4. In a shallow bowl pour in the 1/3 cup sugar.  Now roll the dough into balls and then roll them into the sugar so they are coated.  You want to be consistent with your sizes so use an ice cream scoop about 1 tablespoon in size to portion your dough balls.  Set dough balls 1.5 – 2 inches apart on your cookie sheets
  5. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes.  Let cookies cool completely on cooling rack.  Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.  I like to throw in a piece of bread to keep them semi soft!

cookies

cookies

Stained Glass Trees – From Martha Stewarts Cookies Cook Book

  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface later
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • About 30 assorted colours of Jolly Rancher candies (Bulk Barn!) finely chopped
  • Christmas Tree Cookie Cutter

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  1. Sift together flour, salt and baking powder into a bowl.
  2. With an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, blend together the sugar and butter on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add the egg, mix until smooth.  Reduce speed to low and add the flour mixture.  Mix until well combined.  Stir in the vanilla.  Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes.
  3.  Roll out dough onto floured work surface a little more than 1/8″ thick.  Use tree cookie cutter to cut out shapes and transfer cut outs to parchment lined cookie sheets, 1.5 inches apart.
  4. Using the tip of a paring knife, cut out triangles in the center of cookies for jolly rancher filling.  Fill with a single layer of jolly rancher candies.  Refrigerate again, about 15 minutes.  In the meantime preheat oven to 325°F and have racks in upper and lower thirds.
  5. Bake cookies 10 – 12 minutes.  Do not let the cookies brown too much!  Let the cookies cool completely.

tree cookies

tree cookiesThese were both delicious recipes and fit well in my cookie boxes.  Perfect for holiday baking.

boxes

 

Blueberry Goodness

Blueberry & Cream Cheese Muffins from FRESH & EASY by Jane Hornby

This cook book is awesome. There are pictures for every recipe! These muffins are perfect for a Saturday morning breakfast.  I made half of them without the cream cheese because my husband prefers them without.

Makes about 12 muffins

  • 7 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 tbs sunflower or vegetable oil
  • 1 cup low-fat plain yogurt (or buttermilk)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbs baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp fine salt
  • 1 scant cup superfine sugar
  • 6 oz blueberries
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  1. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan.  Line a muffin pan with muffin wrappers and preheat the oven to 400°F with the rack in the middle of the oven.
  2. Whisk the oil, yogurt, vanilla and eggs into the butter.  In that order.
  3. Sift the flour and baking powder into a large mixing bowl, stir in the salt and sugar, then make a well in the middle.
  4. Pour the yogurt mixture into the mixing bowl.  Fold the dry ingredients into the wet using a rubber spatula.  When everything is mixed together add the blueberries.  Fold them into the batter, the mixture will still look lumpy and uneven.
  5. Spoon half the batter into prepared pan.  Now dot 1/2 teaspoon of cream cheese on top of each half-filled muffin.  Tops the rest with batter, the wrappers will be full.  Add another 1/2 teaspoon of cream cheese on top.
  6. Bake the muffins for 18-20 minutes, or until well risen and golden.  Let the pan cool then transfer the muffins to a cooling rack to cool completely.  These are most delicious when warm, but they can be stored in an airtight container overnight.

On the topic of blueberries AND cream cheese, I also made these delicious blueberry cupcakes with cream cheese frosting found on Pastry Affair  .  So good!

Strawberry Cheesecake Popsicles

Well it’s practically winter here in Alberta so why am I posting about popsicles?  Maybe it’s sunny and warm where you live.  I made these over a month ago and from what I remember they were pretty delicious.

Recipe is slightly adapted from the cook book Perfect Pops by Charity Ferreira

What you need:

  • approximately 2 cups of strawberries, hulled and chopped (6-12 sliced strawberry wheels, optional)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-3 graham crackers, crushed

  1. Put the strawberries in a blender and puree until smooth.  Move the puree into a bowl and whisk in the sour cream, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla.
  2. Spoon the mixture into the moulds and slide down the strawberry slices on both sides.  Leave some room to add crumbled graham crackers for the ‘crust’ feel.  Put in the freezer for at least 6 hours, after about 2 hours I add the popsicle sticks.
  3. When ready to eat run under hot water for a few minutes, until the popsicle is free from the mould!

Popsicles made with Fresh Fruit and Lemon Greek Yogurt

Recipe is adapted from Martha Stewart

Ingredients:

2 cups approx. of Raspberries or Strawberries (hulled and chopped)

2 cups approx. of Blueberries

2 Tablespoons sugar

2 cups approx. of Lemon Greek Yogurt – found at most grocery stores

You can use more or less of the fruit and yogurt, it really doesn’t matter.  Each mould is different and some might require more.  My fun popsicle moulds are from Crate & Barrel.

1. In a food processor puree the raspberries or strawberries, add 1 tablespoon of sugar.  Set aside strawberry or raspberry puree in bowl.

2. Next puree the blueberries in food processor, adding remaining tablespoon of blueberries.  Set aside blueberry puree in bowl.

3.  Add puree in popsicle moulds, alternating between strawberries, blueberries and lemon yogurt.  You can either make nice layers, or add flavours randomly and swirl with a skewer for a swirl look and taste.  The lemon yogurt goes excellent with the berries, no extra sugar needed.

I used raspberries and strawberries and I also layered and swirled.  Delicious for the heat we have been having here.

I tried a different recipe where after you pureed the fruit, your strained the juices and threw out the seeds and chunks, then adding the juice to yogurt.  I did not enjoy these as much, I find them much better using all of the puree and yogurt as a separate layer.  Enjoy !

Pop Tarts !

There are lot’s of recipes for pop tarts and I would definitely be into trying a different recipe next time, but for my first time making pop tarts we used a recipe from Alton Brown’s blog.  We LOVE Alton Brown!  The leftovers were perfect to take to work for breakfast throughout the week.

I used Strawberry, Raspberry, 3-Berry jam and Lemon Curd for our fillings.  We definitely made frosting for them as well, and I topped a few of them with sprinkles.

One thing I would do differently next time is I would roll the dough out a bit thinner.  I went a bit too thick, still delicious though.

Momofuku Corn Cookies

 While visiting New York last summer my friend Justin took us to Momofuku noodle bar and Momofuku milk bar.  I don’t remember what I ate at the noodle bar, but I remember it being delicious and despite showing up before the restaurant opened, we barely got a seat.  Justin wanted to go to the milk bar as well for their Corn Cookies.  I was a little skeptical at first, but after trying them I had at least 3.  A few months ago Kati (who was with Justin and I in NY) linked me to the Momufuku Milk Bar cook book by Christina Tosi on Amazon, which I quickly purchased.  I finally got to make these cookies last night and they were sooooo good (I had to order an ingredient online).  I’m excited to try more recipes and hopefully someday soon I can visit Momofuku again.

Momofuku Corn Cookies from Momofuku Milk Bar

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature or cold
  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup corn flour (I found corn flour at Bulk Barn)
  • 2/3 cup freeze-dried corn powder (I purchased this online)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

Directions

  1. Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2 -3 minutes.  Scrap down the sides of the bowl, add the egg, and beat for 7-8 minutes.  It is very important to make sure you cream together for 7-8 minutes!!!
  2. Reduce the speed to low and add flour, corn flour, corn powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Mix until the dough comes together, about 1 minute.  
  3. Using an ice cream scoop, portion out the dough onto a cookie sheet lines with parchment paper and pat the top of the cookie dough domes flat.  Wrap the sheet tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.  Do not make your cookies at room temperature!
  4. Preheat over to 400ºF
  5. Line more baking sheets with parchment paper (I used 3 in total) and arrange chilled dough 4 inches apart (I did 2 inches, worked out great).  Bake for 18 minutes, they should be faintly browned on the edges and bright yellow in the center.  
  6. Let the cookies cool completely on the sheets before transferring them to an airtight container.

Recipes I have enjoyed

Thousand-Layer Chocolate Chip Cookies

from Sarah Copeland

This is another favorite recipe from The Newlywed Cookbook.  These cookies were amazing and so much fun to make!  Layering dough and shards of chocolate together is genius.  I have honestly been trying different chocolate chip cookie recipes for what feels like forever and I have found my new ‘go to’ cookie.  I also took some to work and they were a hit!  This recipe can be found here on Martha Stewart’s website along with a video! Also check out Sarah’s lovely blog.

Meringue Swirls from Martha Stewart

Speaking of Martha Stewart, I have the Martha Stewart Living app on my ipad and i love it.  I tried these Meringues and they were delicious.  Vanilla bean and orange zest added a nice kick to them.  Recipe found here.

Earl Grey Dark Chocolate Cupcakes from Desserts for Breakfast

A recipe from the first issue of Sated Magazine, a quarterly publication and each issue they focus on a single food subject.  These cupcakes were so tasty and the ingredients were different from any cupcakes i’ve made before.  Find out more on Stephanie’s blog about the magazine, recipe, and see her lovely photos.

Please share any recipes that you have been enjoying!