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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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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Pumpkin – Chocolate Marble Bread

November 6, 2016 § Leave a comment

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I wait the entire year for this opportunity to add pumpkin into everything and have it be socially acceptable. I love how pumpkin reminds me of fall, my favorite season, with its bright orange color that reflects the changing colors of fall foliage and warm, cozy spices that often accompany it. I feel like it’s an unstated rule that you are required to bake with pumpkin at least once during this time of the year. So let’s get to the point and talk about this incredible Pumpkin-Chocolate Marble Bread!

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As a general rule, chocolate improves almost anything it is added to. This loaf is no exception. The ribbons of chocolate swirled throughout the pumpkin batter provide not only a beautiful contrast in color but also an added depth of flavor. It is so easy too – you just mix some of the pumpkin batter with cocoa powder and then have fun swirling the two batters together! Why choose between pumpkin and chocolate when you can have both for almost little to no extra effort?

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This Pumpkin-Chocolate Marble Bread is extremely versatile – it is simple and not too sweet so it can be enjoyed as a breakfast treat or afternoon snack yet it is impressive enough to serve to guests. It is moist and perfectly spiced to help counteract the sugar and really make it an autumn dessert. Your home is going to smell absolutely lovely while this is baking in the oven. Don’t be surprised if you end up making this multiple times this week!

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Fresh Fig Tart with Orange Cream

October 22, 2016 § Leave a comment

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I used to not pay much attention to figs, maybe because I was always preoccupied with juicy berries in the summer and crisp apples in the fall. However when a family friend gave us some fresh figs from her fig tree, I was surprised at how delicious they were! When they are ripe, the figs are creamy, sweet, and have a beautiful pink or deep red color inside. They make a great healthy snack or you can do as I do and put them on top of a tart filled with orange cream and pretend your dessert is healthier because it has fruit on it. To each their own.

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This tart has become one of my favorites! My relatives were coming over to my house for dinner and I wanted to make a dessert that wasn’t too heavy but would be a nice, sweet ending to the meal. I normally gravitate towards berries but I wanted to be mindful of the season and then I stumbled upon this great recipe for a fig tart.

The crust is perfectly buttery but isn’t so flaky to the point that it falls apart when you try to slice into it. It is also really simple to make as it doesn’t require chilling or rolling, which gets the tart onto your plate and into your mouth that much faster. Even if you haven’t had luck with a traditional tart or pie dough, you can definitely make this one – trust me!

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The original recipe filled the tart with a lemon curd that was emulsified with lots of butter to create a light, creamy filling. If you’re thinking I’m about to say I decreased the amount of butter, you would be mistaken. You need all that butter for the right consistency! However instead of lemon juice, I simply switched it out for freshly squeezed orange juice.

The hint of orange flavor in the filling with the fresh figs on top help maintain the lightness of this dish (despite all the butter – so sneaky). I drizzled some honey on top of the figs for some added depth of flavor and shine.

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Strawberry – Mango Moscato Popsicles

August 10, 2016 § Leave a comment

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Not sure who first came up with the idea of boozy popsicles but whoever did, kudos. Popsicles are essential to staying cool in the summer and when you add moscato to them, they get that much more perfect.

There’s nothing quite like sitting outside on a hot day with a boozy popsicle inside a glass of sparkling wine. Loopy Doopy Bar in NYC is insta-famous for its version of this with incredible rooftop views. To recreate this experience at home (minus the NYC skyline view unless you’re lucky like that, in which case I’m inviting myself over), make these refreshing and easy strawberry-mango moscato popsicles!

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These popsicles are absolutely delicious – it’s easy to lose count of how many you’ve eaten, especially when they don’t cost $20+ each. They are filled with summer fruit, and the lime juice and mint help balance out the sweetness and bring out the fresh flavors.

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