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Thursday, September 14, 2017

Almond, tahini, and honey cookies

The fall is upon us, and while the fall may be synonymous with everything pumpkin spice for most, to me it means that the Jewish holidays are coming.  Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish new year) starts on Wednesday, September 20th this year, and so I've started in on my holiday baking today.


First up were these almond, tehini, and honey cookies.  Honey is used in a lot of Rosh Hasahanah treats since it symbolizes a sweet new year.  Apples and honey, to be exact.  And while these cookies lack apples, they're full of sweet honey.  Another thing they're missing?  Gluten (so if you're looking for a gluten-free recipe on this blog, this may just be the first one -- or at least the first one labeled gluten-free). 


This dough comes together in literally a manner of seconds.  Whisk together the dry ingredients in own bowl, the wet in another.  Then, add the dry to the wet and mix together -- I did this with a whisk and some upper arm strength (thanks to my barre workout this morning).  Seriously, it took seconds!  They also bake up in no time!

Honey Almond Tahini Cookies
By The Gush Gourmet
Makes about 28 cookies

1.5 cups almond flour (finely ground almonds)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp tapioca starch OR 1 Tbsp corn starch (I used corn starch)
1/2 cup well-mixed tahini
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1/3 cup sliced almonds (The recipe called for slivered almonds but I think she actually meant sliced almonds, but I bought slivered.  I actually went out and bought sliced almonds since I thought they looked pretty on her cookies.  Go with sliced almonds.)

Directions:

Whisk together the almond flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and starch in a bowl.

In a separate bowl, mix together the wet ingredients: tahini, honey, egg, and vanilla.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix well.  I added mine in 3 additions.

Place in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Place small scoops of the cookie dough on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Make sure there is plenty of space between each one (they spread a lot!).
Sprinkle a little bit of sliced almonds over each cookie, pressing down slightly so they adhere.  Don't be shy with the sliced almonds -- since the cookies spread, they too will spread out as the cookies bake.

Bake for 8-10 minutes until lightly golden brown.
Remove from the oven.
Cool completely before removing from the baking sheet.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Sugar cookie bars with flower buttercream

I came across a sugar cookie bar I really wanted to make, but didn't have sour cream at home.  We won't talk about the fact that I was at Trader Joe's earlier today -- before I found this recipe -- and reminded myself I wanted to get sour cream in case I made chocolate cupcakes later.  Great reminder, since I left the store without it!


But I digress.

I couldn't make the original sugar cookie bars I wanted to make, but that didn't stop me.  A quick internet search yielded a few other bar recipes (one used cream cheese, which I also didn't have), and I ended up choosing one from Lauren's Latest (remember those recent to die for chocolate chip cookies?  Yeah, those were hers, too, so I knew these bars had to be good!).


I made one and a half times the recipe for the icing, though, because I bought myself a little birthday gift today.  Well, really a few.  I've been eyeing those Russian flower piping tips for a while, and today at the baking store I bought myself 2 sets of them!  I decided that these would be the perfect decoration for the sugar cookie bars, and after I made a HUGE amount of frosting, I divided it up and dyed it different colors, so that I could have a flower garden on top of my sugar cookie bars!  Now all I need to do is perfect my icing leaves!



Sugar Cookie Bars with Flower Buttercream
Recipe from Lauren's Latest, Icing decorations by me

Ingredients:

For the Cookie Bars:

1 cup softened butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1.5 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract
3 cups all purpose flour,
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

For the icing (remember, I 1.5 times'd the recipe, listed below is the original recipe):

1/2 cup softened butter
1 pound powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3-4 Tablespoons milk
Sprinkles, if desired

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with parchement paper.
Lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray.
Set aside.

In a large bowl, stir butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
Stir in egg, vanilla, and almond extract.
Whip until fluffy.
Scrape the sides and stir again briefly.
Stir in remaining dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated.
It won't come together as a dough initially, but if you can grab a handful, it should hold it's shape.
Spread dough into prepared pan and press down evenly.
Bake 20-25 minutes or until edges are golden brown.
Remove from oven and cool completely.

Make the frosting.

Stir all ingredients together until smooth and fluffy, except for milk.
Start by adding 3 tablespoons of milk and work up from there until frosting is the desired consistency.
If making bars as I did, continue below at the *.
If making the bars as intended, Spread icing over cooled cookie bars.
Add sprinkles if using (if you can believe it, I didn't use sprinkles this time).
Cut into bars and serve.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Funfetti muddy buddies

Birthday treats are continuing with these funfetti muddy buddies.  Interestingly, this is the 3rd installment of my birthday treats, and it's also the third sprinkle-laden treat of my birthday treats (and the 4th birthday treat, if you include B's birthday galaxy vanilla fudge!).  I guess #sprinkles(reallydo)makeeverythingbetter -- even more so when they're fancy sprinkle blends!


Just be warned: These muddy buddies are HIGHLY addictive.  Like insanely can't-get-my-hand-out-of-the-bag, walk-back-into-the-kitchen-even-though-I-walked-out-because-I-needed-to-stop-eating-them addictive.


Go ahead and make them.  Just don't say I didn't warn you....

Funfetti Muddy Buddies
A JulieBakes original!

Ingredients:

6 cups chex (I used all rice chex, but any plain chex flavor, or a combination, would work)
12 oz vanilla candiquik
4 Tbsp sprinkles/sprinkle medley
3 Tbsp nonpareils, divided
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Directions:

Place cereal in a large bowl.

Process the Oreos in a food processor until fine (my preferred method) or place in a sealed ziplock bag and crush with a rolling pin.

Melt CandiQuik in it's tray (or a microwave safe bowl) and microwave in 30 second increments.
Stir.
Continue microwaving and stirring every 30 seconds until completely melted.

Pour melted CandiQuik over cereal.
Stir carefully to coat it.

Immediately 4 tablespoons of sprinkles and 2 tablespoons of nonpareils.
Toss/Stir to coat.
Next, toss on the powdered sugar and mix until coated.
Toss last tablespoon of nonpareils.

I placed mine on a wax paper lined baking sheet so that the CandiQuik could dry.

If you feel that yours need a little more powdered sugar, add 1 tablespoon at a time until all of the muddy buddies are coated in powdered sugar.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Funfetti sprinkle cookies

When something isn't broken, you really don't need to fix it.  But play around with it a little, make some modifications, and make something different-but-similar?  That's totally OK!


See, I loved the flavor and texture of those heavenly chocolate chip cookies I made a week or so ago (and also a few months ago...you can read about it here), but I wanted to make something a little more *festive* for my upcoming birthday (although I'm not so excited about the actual day...you can read about that here).  So I thought FUNFETTI!  But, although I've seen recipes for chocolate chip funfetti things, I didn't want chocolate chips to overpower the flavor or pretty colorful specks of sprinkles.  So I opted for a funfetti/sprinkle cookie, and left the chocolate chips out.


The only question?  How much many sprinkles should I use?  A cup seemed way excessive (but it's only half the volume of the chocolate chips), but I definitely wanted a pop of color!  So I started with 1/3 of a cup of sprinkles and went from there...eventually I ended up with 2/3 cup sprinkles.


Funfetti Cookies
modified from Lauren's Latest

Ingredients:

3/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup sprinkles

Directions:

Stir melted butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until well combined.
Add in egg, egg yolk, and vanilla.
Mix until light in color.
Add in the flour, baking soda, and salt.
Scrape the sides of the bowl and the bottom really well to ensure the batter is well mixed.

Hand stir the sprinkles into the batter.
Let dough stand for 20 minutes to let the flour soak into the rest of the batter.

Preheat the oven to 325 while the dough is resting.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Scoop cookie dough onto prepared pans using a 2 tablespoon cookie scoop.

Bake 10-11 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through baking (I totally skip this step.....shhh!).
When you take the cookies out of the oven, they will look cooked around the edges and undercooked in the center.

Leave the cookies on the hot baking pans for 5-7 minutes or until you can remove them without falling apart.  I let mine completely cool on the baking trays.
Place onto cooling racks.
Cool to room temperature before storing in airtight containers.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Birthday Cake Fudge

I hate to admit it, but I'm a little bit depressed about disinterested in my birthday this year.  I don't know why; I can't put my finger on it, but I just am.  (And I know that I have so much to be thankful for.  I'm just not digging this birthday.)  You know what's making it a little bit more tolerable?  Baking.  So, despite being depressed about my birthday, I'm going to be making treats in the ten days leading up to my birthday.  And I'm actually going to post them on time (that's my birthday present to you!).


First up is this.  Birthday cake fudge.  Because I've been eyeing it for a while, and wanted to make it for B's birthday last week (I made him this galaxy vanilla white chocolate fudge instead, because vanilla fudge is his favorite kind of fudge).  Plus, I ordered a huge shipment of adorable Sweetapolita sprinkles for B's birthday and I've been dying to use them all (I used the galaxy ones for B's birthday fudge).  And because it's called birthday cake fudge, and it is, after all, almost my birthday.

I absolutely loved the way Sweetapolita made her fudge look, with the thicker white chocolate layer on top of the semisweet chocolate "crust" that I made it her way -- and posted the recipe that way, too.  If you want to make it the original way (even white chocolate and semisweet layers), go to the link below and follow that recipe as is.

Birthday Cake Fudge
from Sally's Candy Addiction by way of Sweetapolita

Note: even if you love nonpareils as much as I do, they aren't recommended to mix into the white chocolate layer as their color can bleed.  They are, however, perfectly acceptable to sprinkle on top of the fudge (in copious amounts, if you so choose....which you should.  Just saying.).

Ingredients:

Chocolate fudge layer:

1.5 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 of a 14 oz can of full-fat sweetened condensed milk
2 Tbsp marshmallow creme

White fudge layer:

3 cups white chocolate chips
1 cup + 2 Tbsp (1 14 oz can) full-fat sweetened condensed milk
4 Tbsp marshmallow creme
2 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup (not nonpareils) + 2 Tbsp sprinkles (nonpareils are OK for this portion), rainbow or any color, divided

Directions:

Line an 8x8" square baking pan with aluminum foil (I used a 9x9 inch pan since I STILL don't own an 8x8" pan), leaving enough overhang on the sides to easily remove the fudge once it has set.
Set aside.

Make the chocolate fudge layer:

Combine the semisweet chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk, and marshmallow fluff/creme in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
Stir constantly with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon as the chocolate chips melt.
Once the mixture is smooth and the chips have melted, remove pan from the heat.
The mixture will be extremely thick.
Pour into the prepared pan.
Smooth down the top to make 1 even layer.
Set aside.

You can either wash, dry, and reuse the same saucepan for the next layer or use a new, similar-sized saucepan.

Make the white fudge layer:

Combine the white chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk, marshmallow fluff/creme in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat.
The mixture will be extremely thick.
Stir in the vanilla extract.
Once fully combined, very gently fold in 2/3 cup of the sprinkles (remember, no nonpareils here!).
Do not stir too much or the color of the sprinkles cold bleed.
Pour on top of the chocolate fudge layer.
Smooth down the top to make 1 even layer.
Decorate with the remaining 2 Tbsp sprinkles while the fudge is still warm and wet.

Cover pan with aluminum foil.
Refrigerate for 4 hours or until set -- or you can let the covered fudge sit out at room temperature overnight to set (I don't recommend this during the summer months in NYC....).

Once set, remove the fudge from the pan by lifting out the foil.
Invert the fudge from the pan and onto a cutting board, peel away foil, and turn the fudge back over (or you can just lift it out of the pan, and peel the foil back, like I did).
Using a large sharp knife, slice the fudge into 1 inch squares.  If the fudge is too firm, allow it to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before cutting.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Ooops...I did it again!

I have a confession.  In the nearly 6 years that I've had this blog, I've never unintentionally made the same recipe twice...Until now.


In February, I made these soft and chewy chocolate chip cookies.  They were good.  Really good.  But then I forgot about them.  Let's blame wedding planning and the wedding.  But really, I don't know why.  You should always have a great chocolate chip cookie recipe up your sleeve -- and this one is really a winner because despite being super delicious, they don't require waiting for the butter to come to room temperature!



So, when I was looking at recipes recently, this aptly named actually perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe came across my eye again (I realized I had copied down the recipe before, just not that I had made them!).  And I made them right away.  And you know what?  It was worth it!  They were actually even better than I remember them this time.  Maybe it's because I used chocolate chips instead of chunks this time?  Or maybe they're just as delicious as last time?  Either way, this recipe is definitely a keeper!

Actually Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies
from Lauren's Latest

Ingredients:

3/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup milk chocolate chips (I used semisweet chocolate chips....although in retrospect I think I only ended up using 1 cup of chocolate chips total...but I'm not 100% sure....)

Directions:

Stir melted butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until well combined.
Add in egg, egg yolk, and vanilla.
Mix until light in color.
Add in the flour, baking soda, and salt.
Scrape the sides of the bowl and the bottom really well to ensure the batter is well mixed.

Hand stir the chocolate chips into the batter.
Let dough stand for 20 minutes to let the flour soak into the rest of the batter.

Preheat the oven to 325 while the dough is resting.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Scoop cookie dough onto prepared pans using a 2 tablespoon cookie scoop.

Bake 8-9 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through baking (I skip this step).
When you take the cookies out of the oven, they will look cooked around the edges and undercooked in the center.

Leave the cookies on the hot baking pans for 5-7 minutes or until you can remove them without falling apart (I let mine cool completely on the tray before removing them)
Place onto cooling racks.
Cool to room temperature before storing in airtight containers.  Honestly?  They won't last that long!

Galaxy vanilla fudge

It's been a LONG time since I've posted anything on this blog, and I have no one to blame but myself.  I've even been baking (a little), I just haven't been posting.  There have been lots of reasons, and I can list them for you if you really want, but frankly I just need to be better about posting.  I mean we did get married 6 weeks ago, we had guests in from out of town, and we've been trying to get the apartment in order.  But today, I'm turning over a new leaf.  I'm going to be better about posting.  I'm even going to go back and post some of the treats I've made between my last post and today.  But first let's talk about this...


Let me tell you about this fudge.  I saw it posted as unicorn fudge.  I wanted to make unicorn fudge.  I even bought all of the ingredients for it a while ago.  And then they sat.  But see, my husband's birthday (I still can't get used to saying that, my husband!) is in 3 days, and I wanted to make a treat.  But my husband probably wouldn't want unicorn fudge, so I changed it up a little.  I used these awesome new sprinkles I just got -- which are aptly named Galaxy Twinkle Sprinkles -- which I figured were more "manly" than unicorn sprinkles.  I used the original purple color that they recommended, but any color would work.  I even thought about swirling a few colors, but figured I'd start off simple.  I'm pretty sure I'll be making this again, so I have time to test out all of my new theories!


The best part of this fudge?  It's vanilla white chocolate.  And B loves vanilla fudge!

It's also super easy to make.  Like one bowl, straight into the pan, and then chill.  Easy peasy.  And delicious, too!

Vanilla Fudge with Sprinkles
Recipe from Sprinkles for Breakfast

Ingredients:

24 oz white chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Purple food coloring (you can use any color, really.  I went with purple gel coloring, and used 4 drops to get the shade of purple I liked)
Sprinkles -- lots of sprinkles.  I didn't measure mine out, I just shook and shook until the entire top of the fudge was covered.

Directions:

Prepare an 8x8 inch pan with parchment (I used a 9x9 inch pan since that's what I had).

Place white chocolate, heavy cream, and vanilla extract into a microwave safe bowl.
Melt in 30 second intervals, stirring between, until smooth.

Add in a few drops of purple (or whatever color you choose) food coloring.
Keep adding until you get the desired color.

Pour into prepared pan.
Smooth with a knife or an offset spatula.

Add sprinkles.
Press lightly into the fudge.

Place into the fridge for at least an hour.
Cut into squares.  I recommend small squares -- it's super sweet!

Let fudge come to room temperature before serving.