Entries Tagged as 'food'

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

Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken

January 27th, 2014 · 11 Comments

Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Sugarlaws 3

Here’s the thing about our slow cooker:

We have owned it for YEARS.  I’m not sure if it was a present or just something I picked up one day, but we have a beautiful, fancy-schmancy one from All Clad, and we’ve had it for probably five years.

And up until a few months ago, do you know how many times I had used it?  Once.  (Conveniently documented on Sugarlaws, I used it to make beef chili back in 2009… during which I accidentally fed Chad a spoonful of straight cayenne pepper, oops!  He still brings it up.)

For a long time, I thought our slow cooker might go the way of the breadmaker — a bulky, essentially useless appliance that eventually we’ll either give away or toss when we run out of kitchen space.  But then a few months ago, I thought to myself: “Hey, these things are supposed to be really good for easy meals, and I’m about to have an infant on my hands in a few months, so anything that can make cooking dinner into a five-minute endeavor might be worth revisiting.”

And so I did.  This recipe is about the simplest, easiest thing ever — just a couple of ingredients, and you literally put them in a pot and check back in 5 hours. 

And when I did?  I went to lift a chicken breast out of the pot, and it literally fell apart on the fork.  Needless to say, a big grin spread across my face — this one was an instant success.

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Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken

INGREDIENTS

3 large boneless skinless chicken breast halves
8 ounces barbeque sauce (I used Bulls Eye Original, because Chad is extremely picky about these things)
1/3 cup Italian salad dressing
3 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Sandwich rolls, split

DIRECTIONS

Place chicken in a slow cooker.  Mix together the barbecue sauce, italian dressing, brown sugar, garlic powder and Worcestershire sauce. Pour over the chicken.  Cover, and cook 4 hours on your slow cooker’s “High” setting. 

When the chicken is cooked, use two forks to shred the breasts.  Spoon generously onto sandwich rolls (I also like to add a layer of extra bbq sauce to the rolls) and serve. 

Makes enough chicken for 6 sandwiches.

Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Sugarlaws 1

Tags: food · main dishes

pumpkin gingerbread

November 26th, 2013 · 5 Comments

Pumpkin Gingerbread Sugarlaws 2

When it comes to Thanksgiving recipes, I’ve already covered the basics: stuffing, sweet potatoes, green beans, apple pie, and more.  But let’s face it: unless you’re hosting for the first time, you probably have a recipe or two of your own.

But what about the morning before Thanksgiving?  See, I bet you didn’t put much thought into that, did you?  Usually over the holidays you can count on a house full of visiting family, and they need breakfast!  And you need to get started on the turkey, so you know what’s a great idea?  A simple, easy, totally delicious recipe that they can enjoy — perfect for getting everyone into the holiday spirit a little early! 

For this recipe, I tried to focus on an ingredient that was great for your skin and perfectly for the holidays — and I settled on pumpkin!  Pumpkin has tons of Vitamin A, which jump-starts the skin cell renewal process and helps give you youthful, radiant skin.  It’s also a great source of Vitamin E, an antioxidant that protects and repairs your skin (Vitamin E is also found in Simple Skincare Protecting Light Moisturizer, one of my favorites)!  So you’re doing good for your skin as well as your body — think about that when you go for seconds! 

And for more awesome skin-loving recipes, check out Simple Skincare’s Skin-Loving Food and Nutrition Pinterest board!

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Pumpkin Gingerbread

INGREDIENTS
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
2 eggs
1/3 cup water
1/2 of a 15-ounce can of pumpkin puree
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp cinnamon
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 cup powdered sugar
1-2 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly grease a 9″ by 5″ loaf pan. 

Mix together sugar, oil and eggs and beat until smooth.  Add water, pumpkin, ginger, pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon and beat together until well blended.

Add the flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder to the mixture and blend until evenly distributed.  Pour into the loaf pan and bake until a knife inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, about 1 hour. 

For the icing, mix together powdered sugar, vanilla and milk.  Start with one tablespoon of milk and increase in small increments until the icing is pourable.  Pour onto the gingerbread, cut and serve.

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Tags: breads · Breakfast and Brunch · food · This post was created in connection with my appointment as an Ambassador in the Simple® Skincare Program. · Visit www.facebook.com/SimpleSkincare to share your story on sensitive skin. For more tips and deals from Simple, join the Simple VIP community at https://www.simpleskincare.com/simplevip/

homemade caramel sauce

October 17th, 2013 · 10 Comments

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And now, a little break from all things pregnancy-related, for you all to meet my new best friend:

Homemade.  Caramel.  Sauce.

Are you drooling yet?  Because you should be.

I have weird taste in desserts — my favorite candy is always the stuff that nobody buys.  Chad makes fun of me for it — this Halloween, when I came home with a huge bag of Dots, the first words out of his mouth were, “you have the worst taste in candy.”  Seriously, the kind that I pick most often, hands down: Good & Plenty.  Inevitably, they’re always stale (I think convenience stores restock it once every seven to nine years).  But I love them.

So after that ringing endorsement, are you ready to take my word for it on a dessert recommendation? 

You should be.  Of the non-candy desserts, caramel is my absolute favorite flavor, and I consider myself a bit of a connoisseur.  And homemade caramel sauce?  A thousand times better than anything you’ve been served from an ice cream shop or a bottle.  This tastes completely pure and absolutely delicious. 

So, go ahead.  Whip up a batch and spoon it over some ice cream.  You can even top it with some Good & Plentys — I swear, they’re actually really good!

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Caramel Sauce

INGREDIENTS

1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 tsp vanilla

DIRECTIONS

In a small saucepan, combine sugar, salt, vanilla and water. Cook over medium heat until sugar is amber-colored, about 7 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Stir in heavy cream; add butter, and stir until combined. Let cool to room temperature or slightly warmer, and serve.

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Tags: desserts · food