Sunday, August 4, 2013

Baked Sunday Mornings: Lime Tarragon Cookies with White Chocolate Lime Topping

This week's Baked Sunday Mornings recipe was for Lime Tarragon Cookies with White Chocolate Lime Topping from .  You can view the recipe HERE.

I've never really dabbled with herbs in my baking before, other than lavender.  And I've never ever used fresh tarragon in ANYTHING.  In fact, I had to visit four different grocery stores in my area before I found fresh tarragon.

Fresh tarragon leaves don't really have a smell, but once you cut into them there is quite a strong licorice/anise scent.  I was worried this would overpower the flavor in the cookies.  However, I made the dough according to the recipe and tasted it (I LOVE cookie dough), and there was just a hint of the tarragon taste, enough to compliment the lime flavor without overpowering it.  I finely minced the tarragon so that it was distributed pretty evenly throughout the dough.

The recipe said to roll the chilled dough into balls, and during baking they really kept their shape.  I thought they had almost a shortbread flavor, with a refreshing hint of lime and licorice.   The white chocolate on top was a great compliment of sweet to the savory.  The texture was firm and maybe a little on the crumbly side.  It was different than any cookie I'd ever tasted, but I thought it was delicious.   Even my pickiest 12-year-old liked them :)

I'm not sure if I'd make these again, unless I had another use for the tarragon or grew my own...I ended up using only about one-eighth of the plant and tossing the rest. 

Otherwise, thumbs up!


See what other bakers thought of this recipe HERE

Baked Sunday Mornings

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Malted Vanilla Milk Shakes

I was so relieved to see that this week's recipe for Baked Sunday Mornings didn't actually require any BAKING.  My oven fizzled out on July 4th mid ribs, and the repairman can't come til Tuesday.  Besides, with it being a balmy 92 today, I felt it a plus to keep the house as cool as possible!

This week's recipe is for Malted Vanilla Milk Shakes, from Baked Elements: Our 10 Favorite Ingredients.  I have always loved malt, even as a kid I'd eat malted milk powder by the spoonful.   So any recipe using malt definitely peaks my interest, anytime.

PicMonkey Collage

The recipe suggests crushing Whoppers with a mortar and pestle - but I'm not that fancy so I just used the blunt end of my French rolling pin in a cereal bowl.

It also calls for one vanilla bean scraped of its seeds.  Luckily I had two on hand that I had purchased at Home Goods...$3.99 a bottle for TWO decent sized pods.  That's the cheapest I've found them anywhere.  Because I needed to make a third batch, I used 1 tablespoon of vanilla bean paste in place of the fresh beans.  I think the shakes with the freshly scraped vanilla beans were more flavorful than those with paste.  But, they were both REALLY GOOD.



As the recipe states "a good milk shake should be eaten with a spoon...", and I can't agree more.  However, some vanilla beans settled at the bottom of the glass so definitely use a straw as backup ;)

my four happy malt testers :D

THE RECIPE: Malted Vanilla Milk Shakes. 
View other bakers' experiences @ The Roundup

Baked Sunday Mornings

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Baked Sunday Mornings: Cream Cheese Chocolate Snacking Cookies

Did someone say cream cheese and dark chocolate?

I'm in!

This week's Baked Sunday Mornings recipe features Cream Cheese Chocolate Snacking Cookies from the cookbook, Baked Elements.

I had read mixed reviews beforehand so I was skeptical of the results.  But I have to say, I was quite pleased with them.


These cookies, when made exactly how the recipe directs (chill dough, teaspoon sized drops, turn cookie sheet halfway through baking), turn out a tad crispy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside...which is exactly the way I like my drop cookies.

The dark chocolate and cream cheese add a hint of bitterness, but the chocolate chips offset that - especially when accompanied by a cold glass of milk.

The recipe called for a dark unsweetened cocoa powder - the only thing I could find locally was Hershey's Special Dark 100% Cocoa powder.  I'm sure if you found a higher grade cocoa at a specialty shop or online, the results would be even tastier :)

I give these cookies two thumbs up!  And so did all four of my kids..."This tastes like a brownie," and "it's ok to double-dip in your own glass of milk..." ?  Thanks for another great recipe, Baked

Get the recipe HERE.

Baked Sunday Mornings

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Baked Sunday Mornings: Mississippi Mud Pie and a field trip to BAKED

After reading about Baked NYC in a recent issue of Bon Appetit magazine, I promptly bookmarked it in Yelp and added it to my bucket list of places to see while living back East.  I also started following {ok, stalking} them on Facebook and Instagram.

What really sealed the deal was my trip to Home Goods in December, where their cookbook "Baked: New Frontiers in Baking" was on display next to a 4" tall gingerbread man cookie cutter.  It was at that point I decided a field trip was in order - and soon!  (I promptly bought the book! but not the life-sized gingerbread man).

Giant Gingerbread Man!

I loaded my Wingman and his Sock Monkey in the minivan, gassed up, and 1.5 hours and a gazillion toll booths later, safely arrived in Red Hook - a borough of Brooklyn.   My neighbor still makes fun of me for making a trip up to Brooklyn "just to visit a bakery."  Yeah, I'm just that crazy.

After circling for a parking spot, we made it via umbrella stroller to the ever so adorable orange front door of Baked.

It was small inside, but plenty of twenty and thirty somethings on laptops.  It had a cool, retro coffee shop feel...great 60s music, and these big wooden tables - reminded me of something you'd see at a swanky ski lodge.  I went to the counter and picked out a "Sweet and Salty" brownie, a chocolate malt brownie from the 50% off basket (I LOVE malt), and then approached the cash register at what I thought was the beginning of the line... 

{Remember in the Christmas Story when the kids go to see Santa, walk right up to the elves and they say, "Hey kid - this ain't the line...THAT's the end of the line"?  Yeah.  That was me.}

...To the back of the line we went.  No worries, because that was the best part of the shop.  The windows into the heart and soul of the bakery, leading up to the display of cupcakes, scones, whoopie pies, cakes, muffins, brownies, and marshmallows.  Wingman wanted a chocolate-chocolate cupcake, and I couldn't pass up a cinnamon roll.  they packed the cupcake in a "to go" container (aka upside down clear solo cup with lid), and brown-bagged the others.

We found a table at the back.  I checked Wingman's cupcake for poison - chocolate swiss meringue buttercream frosting!!!  My favorite.  With red and green sprinkles for the holidays.


Wingman took a bite, then in typical 4-year-old fashion dropped it head-first onto the table (in his defense...cupcakes do tend to be top-heavy) that point I decided it was time to get up and drop our crumbs elsewhere (like on the sidewalk for birds...or better yet, the floor of the minivan).

I brought the brownies home to sample with the other kiddos.  We all decided the Sweet & Salty was our favorite (not to mention ADDICTING - why oh WHY didn't I grab a handful??? and some marshmallows too?)  It was more fudgy than cakey, rich, but oh so delectable!!

Fast forward a few months and somehow I stumbled upon "Baked Sunday Mornings" - a blog dedicated to baking through each recipe in the Baked cookbook Trilogy.  I was so disappointed I didn't find this blog earlier...but never fear - there's still another cookbook and a half to bake through.  And maybe by the time we're through that one, they will have released another? Wishful thinking.

I'm hoping I can keep up with the baking schedule, or at least most of it.  So here is my first submission:


Mississippi Mud Pie (A) a.k.a. Coffee Ice Cream Tart

We had some friends over to share this with us - a perfect dessert for a hot summer day.  I followed the recipe pretty much to a tee, using an all natural coffee ice cream for the filling, Ghirardelli 70% cocoa bar, and Maker's Mark bourbon (only the best!)  Man, was it good!  Not to mention a huge hit!  You don't need a large slice because it's pretty rich and chocolatey, but the flavor combination and texture of the pecans, softened ice cream, and crunchy crust were great together.   The best part is there was ZERO baking involved - nice for those hot and stuffy days when you don't want to turn on the oven ;)

You can check out the recipe here:

Baked Sunday Mornings: Mississippi Mud Pie (A) aka Coffee Ice Cream Tart

or better yet, get the book:

Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented

and BEST OF ALL - if you're within walking, biking, train, or driving distance of Red Hook, go pay a visit to Baked NYC.  You'll thank me later.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Texas Mini Cookies

Texas Cookies wmk

Texas Cookies Bag wmk

There's nothing big about these cookies, y'all!! 

A girl in my son's 6th grade science class is moving to Texas.  They threw a going away party for her.  Since Texas is our second home, these were a treat to make. 

They did make me a little homesick though: Whataburger, HEB, Rudy's BBQ, Taco Cabana, 90 degree weather in March, armadillos, cochroaches, and the best guacamole and margaritas on the planet.  Not to mention some great friends!!  God Bless Texas!

Want some?  Gallop on over to my Etsy shop and get them here.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Oatmeal Jumbo Raisin Cookies

I spent the first 36-1/2 years of my life without a Trader Joe's within driving distance.  Can you believe it?!?  I moved to the So. Jersey/Philadelphia area from San Antonio last June {SA has since opened one...naturally}.  So "T.J.'s" was first on my list of places to visit (Liberty Bell and Independence Hall came in close second and third - priorities, people!)

After walking up and down the aisles for about 45 minutes, I ended up at the checkout line with one thing.

Strawberry licorice.


Have you tried it???  If not, do it.  You'll thank me later.

Since then, I have gone back...mainly for more licorice (all their stuff is "healthy"  right?), and some other things I've tried and liked.  Like their parmesan crisps, dried mango, mac and cheese, and vanilla granola.

But it wasn't until last Tuesday that I came across THESE suckers:

photo 3

The Jumbo Raisin Medley, consisting of golden, flame (the red ones), and the purple raisins we're used to seeing - but on steroids.

So guess what immediately came to my mind to make with these...


Oatmeal Jumbo Raisin Cookies

2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) butter, room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla
3 cups old-fashioned oats
2 cups Trader Joe's Jumbo Raisin Medley (less if you're not so into raisins like I am)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.

Sift and whisk together flour, soda, cinnamon and salt.

Using an electric beater, cream the butter and sugars til smooth.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add vanilla and beat until pale and creamy, about 3-5 minutes.

Mix in dry ingredients just til combined.   Fold in oats and raisins.

photo 5

Form dough into 2" balls using a small ice cream scoop or by hand and place about 2" apart on baking sheets.  Bake in the oven for 12-14 minutes.  Cool 10 minutes on sheets before removing to cooling racks.  Grab some milk.  Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

 ** You've got to really like raisins to enjoy these cookies.  Because there's usually one or part of one in every bite ;)

This recipe is also part of a link-up party at Simply Sweets By Honeybee.  Woohoo!

What are some of your favorite Trader Joe's products?

Monday, January 21, 2013

January Cookie Inspiration Challenge: Watercolor

One of my goals for 2013 was to get back into making cookies again. After taking about an 18 month hiatus, I felt I needed some sort of push or inspiration. Coincidentally, the challenge "New Year, New You"  given by Simply Sweets by Honeybee and Ellie's Bites Decorated Cookies seemed like the perfect place to start.  We were challenged to try a new technique. 

Here is my first ever "watercolor" cookie - done with Americolor edible gel paste, a combination of Super Red and Fuschia.  Mwwwwaaaaa!

Thanks Melissa and Stephanie for pushing me out of my cookie comfort zone :)

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