Sugarlaws: Living Sweetly.

Entries Tagged as 'desserts'

three-ingredient peanut butter cookies

March 31st, 2014 · 6 Comments

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People sometimes forget this, but five years ago, when I started Sugarlaws, it began as a food blog.

I was in a long-distance relationship (Chad spent a year working in San Antonio while I was still in New York), fresh out of school, and for the first time in my life, I decided to actually learn to cook.

And it was wonderful. My Saturday mornings would start off with a trip to the farmer’s market, where I’d take inspiration from whatever was in season. December in Manhattan meant apples and local goat cheese and rendering duck fat, spring brought ramps and sunchokes and dragonfruit. I made my own sourdough starter and piped éclairs, baked cakes from scratch and finished them off with scoops of homemade ice cream.

I became, after many months of effort, a pretty darn good cook.

And then… life started getting in the way. Chad moved back to New York, and we got engaged and moved in together. I went from a 9-to-5 job to an “Oh, it’s Saturday? Nice try, but we need this research memo in two hours” kind of job. We got married, I added fashion, beauty and lifestyle posts to this blog, I wrote three novels, we moved to Texas, and then moved again into this house, I started my own law practice, got pregnant, and then some.

Things just… changed. It wasn’t any one of those things on its own, but the fact is: my life is different now than it was five years ago.

In some ways, I have a hard time accepting that. Part of me wishes this post would conclude with, “so, I’m going to make more of an effort and go back to mastering french techniques and tackling recipes that challenge me and make me a better cook.”

But… I have to face facts. That is very unlikely to happen.

Who knows? Maybe having a newborn will make me whip out my old pâte à choux techniques, revive my long-dead starter, and custom order duck legs from the farmer’s market to create a jar of that beautiful, golden fat.

But, from what I gather about newborns… probably not.

And if there’s anything I’ve learned in the last five years, it’s this:

When your life changes, you can either work yourself into exhaustion trying to keep everything exactly the way it used to be… or you can go with it.

Maybe I’ll never pipe another homemade éclair. But that doesn’t mean I won’t spend many more Saturdays in our kitchen, whipping up creations for my little family (dogs included). Maybe they won’t be as fancy or as complicated as they could be in a world where I had infinite hours each day. But that doesn’t mean they won’t be delicious, and homemade, and very much appreciated.

So even if it’s as simple as combining three ingredients in our pantry into these sweet little treats, I will still be cooking and baking as much as I can.

And, for now: that’s enough for me.

(Also: I do not do justice to these cookies by rambling about life changes. They. Are. Awesome. And you probably have all three of these ingredients right now, so basically have no choice but to make them.)

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Three-Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies

INGREDIENTS
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 cup peanut butter
1 egg

DIRECTIONS
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Stir together the sugar, peanut butter and egg until smooth. Roll cookies into small balls using about 1 tbsp of dough per ball, then press gently onto a baking sheet lined with Silipat or parchment paper. (These cookies do not spread, so you can place them close together!)

Bake for 9 minutes and then remove them from the oven and use a fork to create the criss-cross pattern on top of each cookie. Let them cool for 1-2 minutes on the tray before placing the cookies on a wire rack to finish cooling.

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Tags: desserts · food

recipe: caramel sandwich cookies

March 10th, 2014 · 4 Comments

Caramel Sandwich Cookies Sugarlaws 1

You know how everyone has their desert flavor?

For some people, it’s chocolate.  (Ok, for a lot of people, it’s chocolate.) For others, it’s lemon or coconut or strawberry or mint.  But whatever it is, it’s that flavor that you just can’t resist on a menu — the one that calls your name every time you see it.

For me, that flavor is caramel. 

I’ll face it: I’m a little obsessed.  On this site, I’ve made homemade caramel sauce, caramel mousse, caramel fudge cookies, caramel syrup, caramel cupcakes, marshmallow caramel bars, and, of course, caramel ice cream

I know, I know.  It’s getting a little out of control at this point! 

Weirdly enough (go figure), I’ve never actually made caramels, but clearly that needs to be remedied pronto.

But that’s what happens when you have a favorite flavor — there’s no end to the variations you come up with.  So, to add to the list, I give you Caramel Sandwich Cookies.  They actually use the caramel sauce I made a few months ago, so this is a perfect recipe to use up any leftovers on. 

And they come out completely delicious.  Caramel buttercream, in between crispy chocolate cookies? 

Yes, please.  I’ll take the whole batch.

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Caramel Sandwich Cookies

INGREDIENTS

For the cookies:
1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, softened (1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp)
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

For the frosting:
1/4 cup caramel sauce
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened (3/4 cup)
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

DIRECTIONS

For the cookies, preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Cream together the butter and sugar and then add the egg yolk.  Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and then add that mixture to the wet ingredients, mixing until just incorporated.  Drop dough by teaspoons onto baking sheets lined with parchment or Silipat.

Bake cookies for 7 minutes and allow them to cool completely.

For the frosting, beat together the caramel sauce and butter, then gradually beat in the confectioners sugar. 

Spread frosting on the bottom side of one cookie and then create a sandwich with a second cookie.  Repeat until all the cookies are gone! 

Makes about 30 sandwich cookies.

Caramel Sandwich Cookies Sugarlaws 2

Tags: desserts · food

Southern Charm

February 27th, 2014 · 4 Comments

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As a newly minted southerner myself, I’m always fascinated by southern culture!  The first year we lived in Texas, I was surprised to find out things really are different in the south.  It’s true: the pace is a little slower, the people are a LOT friendlier, and the landscape is a little more colorful than I’ve seen anywhere else.

So I was super excited to tackle some classic southern recipes in celebration for Bravo’s new reality series, Southern Charm!  (Check out the trailer here!) It’s about a group of twenty-somethings in Charleston, and I love that it’s showing all the traditions of southern culture, and the behind-the-scenes drama too! 

I’ve already set my DVR for the premiere on Monday — it’s basically everything I look for in a reality show!  Southern aristrocrats, backstabbing drama… I.  Cannot.  Wait!

For this post, I picked two of the ultimate classic southern recipes: Strawberry Shortcake and Sweet Tea!  (Incidentally, these are two of Chad’s favorite things on this planet, so I had a very happy husband when he got home!) One of my favorite things about southern culture is the way that it can be so traditional and so modern at the same time, so I thought these were the perfect dishes to try!  They’re both recipes that his parents and grandparents have made, but they’re perfectly at home in our modern kitchen.  Kind of like this show — a little old, a little new, and the perfect guilty pleasure. 

(And yes, I totally ate shortcake for breakfast after making this!)

So mark your calendars for the premiere on March 3rd, and in the meantime, get in the mood by whipping up these southern recipes!

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Sweet Tea

INGREDIENTS
Pinch baking soda
2 cups boiling water
6 tea bags
3/4 cup white sugar
6 cups water
1 lemon, sliced

DIRECTIONS:

Sprinkle a pinch of baking soda into a large metal bowl or glass pitcher (must be heat-proof). Carefully our in boiling water, and add sugar and tea bags. Stir, and allow to steep for 15 minutes.  After 15 minutes, pour in cool water, stir again, and then refrigerate.  Serve over ice with sliced lemons.

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Strawberry Shortcake

INGREDIENTS
16 ounces fresh strawberries, stems removed and sliced
1/2 cup white sugar
2 1/4 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp white sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup shortening
1 egg, beaten
2/3 cup milk
2 cups whipped heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Toss the strawberries with 1/2 cup of white sugar, setting aside a few for garnishing.  Allow to sit for 15 minutes.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, 2 tbsp white sugar and salt.  Cut in the shortening until combined, and then add the beaten egg and milk.  Stir until just combined.

Spread the batter onto a greased 8-inch cake pan.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden, and then allow the cake to cool for about ten minutes on a wire rack.

Slice the partially cooled cake in half, making two layers. Place half of the strawberries on one layer and top with the other layer. Top with the whipped cream and reserved strawberries, and serve.

And remember to tune in on Monday, March 3rd at 10/9c for the Season Premiere of Southern Charm only on Bravo!

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Tags: desserts · food · sponsored