Earl Grey Shortbread Cookies

July 19, 2017 § Leave a comment

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Hello there! I know it’s been way too long since I’ve last updated my blog. Life has been busy these past several months but in a good way. I had the chance to visit friends and travel before settling into a new apartment and job. With things slowing down a bit, I’m so excited to cook, bake, and share my experiences with you!

I absolutely love infusing the flavors of tea into baked goods. I’ve made matcha green tea macarons, dirty chai cinnamon rolls, and earl grey waffles, just to name a few. I find that tea adds a nice earthiness yet elegant touch to a dish. Drinking loose-leaf Chinese tea was so common for me growing up that the tastes of tea, especially the simple black and green varieties, has become very comforting and familiar.

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One of my favorite teas is earl grey, so I decided to use it to enhance standard shortbread cookies since it seemed like the perfect British pairing. Shortbread quite often literally only requires three ingredients: butter, sugar, and flour (and salt of course). I love how simplicity is oftentimes a strength when it comes to cooking and baking. The earl grey shortbread is still just as basic as the traditional version but there is an added depth of flavor from the addition of the fragrant tea leaves.  These cookies are buttery, tender, and perfect alongside a cup of tea or on its own.

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Luscious Lemon Bars

March 24, 2017 § Leave a comment

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It is finally spring!! The weather has been quite bizarre this winter but I’m ready for some sunny spring days. With the change of the season, I’ve been craving bright, fresh flavors and these luscious lemon bars are the perfect answer!

I’ve always loved lemon bars for the creamy, tart filling on top of a rich shortbread base. But sometimes I have trouble finding ones that have just the right balance of sweetness and tartness or crust and filling. After some searching, I figured it would be much easier and more satisfying if I just make them from scratch.

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These lemon bars are my absolute favorite! There is a perfect ratio of buttery shortbread to luscious, tart lemon filling that makes these super addicting. I love the freshness that the tart lemon filling provides but there isn’t too much that it makes your whole mouth pucker. They are also really simple to make and you probably have all of the ingredients on hand so there’s no excuse to not make these lemon bars!

Happy Spring!

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The Best Soft, Fluffy Sugar Cookies with Vanilla Buttercream

February 13, 2017 § Leave a comment

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So, I originally wasn’t planning on baking anything for Valentine’s Day this year. Crazy, right? While on Instagram this past week, I’ve been drooling over all of the cute confections and treats everyone else was making, and then when I stumbled across a recipe for soft, fluffy sugar cookies (i.e. Lofthouse-style cookie), I thought of one of my best friends who would absolutely love them. I immediately knew that I wanted to bake a batch so I could send some to her in the mail and also give some to my other Galentines. And that’s all it took – I went from not baking anything to baking two dozen of these cookies plus a dozen black bottom cupcakes (recipe coming soon!) all in one night.

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It’s been proven that these cookies are incredibly addicting. My friends literally finished the ones I gave them in a single sitting. The cookies are perfectly soft, fluffy, and almost more like cake than a traditional cookie, but no one’s complaining. The vanilla buttercream brings these cookies over the top and makes them more special and indulgent.

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The cookie plus buttercream definitely makes for a very sweet treat, which is why I added a suggestion for less sugar in the buttercream. However even after making it with the full amount of sugar and thinking I wouldn’t like it, I was surprised that I kept on eating them because they are THAT good. What was even more shocking was my friend who has a low tolerance for sugar ate all of hers too!

Bottom line – these are the best sugar cookies ever. If you’re planning on making these to give away, be sure to make yourself a batch too otherwise there’ll be none left to gift!

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Arugula Salad with Apples, Delicata Squash & Gruyère Frico

February 9, 2017 § Leave a comment

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‘Tis the season of trying to eat healthier, right? Clean eating can feel like a chore but it doesn’t have to be! The key to making a salad that you will actually look forward to eating is filling it with much more than just leafy greens.

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This salad is full of delicious foods that will help keep you full so you can resist reaching for those chips or that candy bar. I love the contrast of sweet-savory and creamy-crunchy in this salad. I used an apple cookie cutter to form the shape of the frico, which is basically shredded cheese that is baked in the oven until it gets nice and crispy. The addition of the salty, buttery Gruyère frico on top definitely makes this salad for me. Hey, a little cheese here and there never hurt!

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Pistachio-Cranberry Biscotti

December 23, 2016 § Leave a comment

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Who else has been busy baking up a storm for the holiday season? I participated in Food52’s Holiday Swap for the first time this year and it was so fun putting together a package of treats, including these biscotti and butter cookies, as well as receiving one in the mail! I love gifting homemade goodies because I think people really appreciate the love and time that goes into making them. Plus it is the holiday season so bring on all of the sweets!

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This is my all-time favorite biscotti recipe. Most biscotti are so hard that you feel like you’re going to break a tooth eating them. These biscotti, on the other hand, are still crisp but have ground pistachios added to the dough to help the cookies break apart more easily. That means you can actually enjoy them whether you eat them alone or dip them into your coffee, tea, or hot chocolate!

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And since ’tis the season after all, I added dried cranberries and dipped the biscotti in white chocolate with a drizzle of dark chocolate. I absolutely love biscotti with some chocolate on them because when you dunk them into your hot drink, it gets all melty and is oh so comforting.

Wishing you all a very happy holiday!

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Salted Caramel Apple Pie

November 23, 2016 § Leave a comment

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I think one of my favorite types of desserts to bake are pies. They are cozy, comforting, and unpretentious. I love baking them from scratch, starting with the buttery, flaky crust to the delicious sweet or savory filling. Even though it takes a bit longer to make this way, there is something special and satisfying about making the entire thing with your own two hands and lots of love.

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I absolutely adore The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book because it focuses on local, seasonal ingredients and literally every recipe I make from it turns out amazing. I still have yet to visit the storefront in Brooklyn so until then, I will just have to continue baking my way through the pie book. The pie crust recipe is my all-time favorite, and it reminds me of the crust from the homemade pies my family gets from a local farm stand – incredibly flaky and really flavorful, thanks to the cold butter and apple cider vinegar.

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This Salted Caramel Apple Pie is one of the best apple pies I’ve ever had. In addition to the crust, I love that the apples are thinly sliced so the apple flavor is distributed evenly throughout the pie. The filling is surprisingly not too sweet, even though you pour a generous amount of salted caramel over the apples. There is just the right amount of spices to give the pie some warmth and remind you that ’tis the holiday season.

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Mini Pumpkin Pizzas

November 18, 2016 § Leave a comment

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Thanksgiving is less than a week away!! These past few weeks have been so hectic that Thanksgiving completely snuck up on me. I absolutely love baking pies, cheesecakes, and other sweet treats with pumpkin, however I decided to change it up a bit and use pumpkin in a savory way. I couldn’t resist using these fun pumpkin cookie cutters from CookieCutterKingdom and decided what better way to use them than by making pumpkin pizzas! These mini pumpkin pizzas are great snacks, especially to appease your guests as the rest of the Thanksgiving feast is being prepared!

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These pizzas are versatile and super easy to make, especially by using store-bought pizza dough. The smooth pumpkin puree provides a saucy base for the melty Gruyere, roasted squash, and earthy sage. I absolutely love these flavors together – it’s like you’re holding fall in your hands!  « Read the rest of this entry »