July 4, 2016
March 1, 2015
These cookies are an acquired taste: now don’t run away! I mean that these cookies are not your normal, run-of-the-mill, tooth-achingly sweet morsels that we all know (and love!). These Sesame and Tahini Honey Cookies have a sort or savoriness that comes with using tahini- a paste made from sesame seeds. The honey gives a natural sweetness, without being sugary, and the sesame seeds that encrust this short, buttery cookie toast slightly while in the oven and deliver a nutty, creamy flavor. They also give the cookie a great crunch, an amazing contrast to the crumbly, soft interior.
I have enjoyed greatly experimenting with Middle Eastern flavors over the last few months. I was really excited when I purchased Anne Shooter’s book, Sesame & Spice, which puts a twist on classic baked goods. These cookies intrigued me because of the nature of using tahini (something I have never before used in baking) but also the sesame seeds. I can smell the cardamom-scented beauties as I type this; the memory lingers vividly in my mind. But that’s what delicious food can do, create life-long memories that become part of our own narrative. So, without further adieu: the recipe for Sesame and Tahini Honey Cookies; perfect with tea!
January 18, 2015
It seems like all I’ve been thinking about recently is France. I’ve bought a few books about living, eating and loving in Paris and have been inspired to go back. Do I even need to mention David Lebovitz’s blog? That’s an incentive to get on a long flight in itself! I began looking through photos of our last trip to Paris, which was actually part of our honeymoon tour, and I longed for the feeling of sitting outside a Patisserie and enjoying the little sweet treats in the summer sunshine. At this point I had two options: book a trip to Paris, or make something to make me feel Parisian in my own home. So what did I do? Both of course!
So I immediately booked a train for a weekend away at the end of May (WHOOO HOO!), unwrapped the Madeleine pans that my husband had given me for Christmas (he must have predicted this!) and I got cookin’. When making Classic French Madeleines, you need to prepare in advance and make sure you read the recipe at least twice before beginning. You need the correct equipment (two 12 hole madeleine tins) and also the time for this recipe, as the batter needs to rest in the fridge and you need to chill the pans in the freezer before baking.
These little French cakes are almost more cookie than cake. They are like a delicate little sponge with a crisp biscuit like case. They are lemon and vanilla scented bites that will transport you straight to the cobbled back streets of Paris. These super cute cakelets are best enjoyed the day you’ve made them (trust me!) but if you are getting ahead and serving the next day, do not dust with the powdered sugar after baking, wait until just before serving to enjoy them at their best. They can be stored for a few days in an airtight container.
Aren’t they just the cutest little things you’ve ever seen? They would be the perfect thing to bring to a girlie brunch or for a little snack with a pot of tea or coffee. I need to explore more flavor combinations as an excuse to make lots of them! Continue reading
July 6, 2014
Some of my favorite treats as a kid were those that had peanut butter. PB & J sandwiches, peanut butter cups, peanut shaped sandwich cookies, peanut butter filled pretzels and the list goes on and on. Not till I moved to England did I realize how much the rest of the world lacks in peanut butter filled products. So eventually my need for peanut butter grew and grew until I just snapped. The search for the Perfect Peanut Butter Cookies was on.
The Perfect Peanut Butter Cookie is different for everyone. I love lots of peanut butter flavor packed in, with a delicate balance of crumb and chew. For me, they must be soft and slightly fluffy with a real sweet and salty hit. So it shouldn’t be too hard to make the perfect peanut butter cookies, should it?
I have made loads of peanut butter cookies before, but these are one of my favorites. I keep going back for the rich peanut butter flavor and the fact that they last a long time if stored well. It’s great when you want to make a little selfish batch to fill the cookie jar for the week!
This is a great recipe because there aren’t too many ingredients and it’s super easy to whip together in a pinch. They actually don’t need too much chilling time (as little as 30 minutes) so they can be in the oven and filling your house with the delicious scent of peanut butter before you know it! It’s got me thinking about making them again now. I even think next time I might add dark chocolate chips… mmmm.
March 12, 2014
Summer is in full swing now and I’ve been enjoying being outdoors a bit more. It’s just so much more enjoyable walking the dog in the sunshine and in my case, walking down by the river is amazing (except for all the bugs!). So as you’d expect, one of the last things I want to do at this time of year is have the oven on for hours on end. Yet, in order to keep myself sane, I do need to do a bit of baking. Some super simple Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons? Done and done.
These little babies are delicious. The light, fluffy coconut clouds are dipped in a rich, bittersweet chocolate that has been melted slowly and speckled with sea salt. Then there’s the arty bit- go all Jackson Pollack after the bottoms have set and drizzle away! Who said baking isn’t fun? I’ve made these macaroons a few times before, but I thought dipping them in some slightly salted dark chocolate would elevate them to a whole new level of awesomeness! I mean, chocolate and coconut are one of those classic combinations that just belong together (Mounds or Almond Joy anyone?). If you are an Almond Joy fan, feel free to replace the vanilla extract with almond extract to get that flavor fix.
More importantly, make sure these little coconut clouds are completely cooled before dipping in the chocolate, or they can break apart. Also, that the chocolate has set before you pack them into an airtight container. Remember- watch these bad boys in the oven, they can go from perfect to disaster quite quickly in terms of browning. Be ready to impress anyone and everyone with these little dollops of indulgence!
February 8, 2014
I moved to London over 4 years ago. Fresh out of college, I made the leap across the Atlantic for the one reason that any girl would do something so life-changing: love. All these years later, I haven’t looked back. I’ve been exploring a new city, enjoying a new life and trying new things (like this blog!). London has become my second home, but as the story goes, when you least expect it, life changes. A few weeks ago I found out that we would be moving away from London. I have given notice at work, we’ve found a new house and cardboard boxes are piling up around me as I write this. (As long as it doesn’t block out my Netflix, Orange is the New Black is BRILLIANT.) Anyways, a new page in the story is about to be written…
When I think about moving, I get stressed. When I get stressed, I need comfort. When I need comfort, I bake. But most of the time when I am stressed, I don’t really want to spend hours in the kitchen. That’s when I look in the cupboards: butter, egg, brown sugar. All the basics are already here! All I need is one big mixing bowl, and it’s blondie time! BTW It’s the same base as my Perfect Peanut Butter Blondies, and if you’ve had those, then you know how AMAZE these bars will be!
January 19, 2014
In the great cookie debate, I think that you’re either a chocolate chip or an oatmeal raisin person. Most cookie people are quite loyal to their favorite- with both sides completely convinced that their recipe is superior to all others. I find it really difficult to claim that I have the best recipe for anything, but what I can claim is a damn good one. I’ve searched and researched and tried loads of Oatmeal Raisin cookies in my day. I even made Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Pancakes to fill the void of the missing perfect cookie. Most that I’ve made before have either been too soft or too crisp and never have the delicate balance between the two that I look for in a great cookie. This recipe will give you all of that and more. They were so good that I couldn’t even bring myself to share- with anyone.
These cookies are extremely easy to throw together and won’t taste like how simple they are. They have crisp edges and a chewy center, full of plump raisins and speckled with cinnamon. When you bite into one you are instantly transported to childhood. I think parents around the world would give these cookies to their children instead of their chocolate-dotted rivals because if a cookie has oats and raisins in it, it must be healthier than the others. These remind me of the best version of a bakery cookie. They are so pleasing to all, both young and old and will disappear from the cookie jar as quickly as they come out of the oven. Don’t skip on the chilling time however, that is what keeps the cookies tall and dome-shaped with a chewy middle rather than flat and crispy. And who wants that in a perfect Oatmeal Raisin cookie?
This month I’ve started doing something that I’ve always wanted to try, but never been able to keep up with: weekly meal planning. Not only is it a way to save money, it makes the evenings when we come back from work a breeze. I am the worst when it comes to deciding what to have for dinner when I’m tired, stressed, have work or chores to do and the list goes on. I find that when I’ve planned it out in advance, I can’t change my mind and don’t need to run to the store for any extra ingredients or impulse buys (CHOCOLATE!). We have even planned our lunches that we take with us to work, snacks and breakfasts. At first, it seemed like a lot of effort sitting down planning, writing grocery lists and doing a big shop all on the weekend but after doing it for a few weeks it really has turned out to be worth it. I’ve even managed to fit in some time for baking! Hence the most delicious cookies I’ve baked in a long time.
I first read about these cookies on one of my favorite food-related sites : Food 52. It was a recipe called World Peace Cookies by Dorie Greenspan and Pierre Hermé. The title is what drew me in to this recipe- any cookie that claims to be able to do the one thing that many Pageant girls have spent countless hours wishing for sounds like one heck of a delicious cookie to me. As if I wasn’t already sold, these delights were described in the post as, “Shortbread cookie meets salted chocolate chip, and world peace feels within reach.” Talk about my idea of heaven.
These cookies are really intensely flavored. If you like dark chocolate you will thank me for these! They are crumbly in texture with chunks of rich dark chocolate and flecks of sea salt to give it that salty sweet combination that I love so much. Be warned: DO NOT over bake these cookies. When you take them out after 12 minutes they will be soft and not look like they’re done, but trust me- when they cool they will firm up and give that lovely sandy texture with every bite.
Bonus: these cookies smell amazing when they’re baking in the oven.