peanut butter & jelly cookies

May 24th, 2019

Sometimes, I think a recipe just chooses you. 

After more than three years of posting recipes on this site, sometimes it feels like I’ve made all the dishes I could possibly think of wanting.  This happens in particular with desserts (maybe because they’re my favorite thing to cook), and especially when I find myself trying to brainstorm ways to come up with a cookie that I haven’t already posted. 

Because there’s something so lovely about cookies.  They’re probably the first thing you remember baking, no?  Whether they were from scratch with your mom or from a mix at your friend’s house, for most people, cookies are the first taste of baking they get.

But I think partly because of that, cookies can sometimes seem unsophisticated.  If you could make them at nine years old, can they really be enough of a challenge to, say, serve at a party?  You’ll notice they’re almost never on restaurant menus.  That’s because cookies are a basic, and sometimes basics feel like the lazy choice.

So when I was thinking about new, exciting cookie recipes, I thought of one of my favorite flavor combinations: peanut butter and jelly.  Peanut butter cookies are beyond easy — the kind of recipe a nine-year-old could happily master.  But this sweet, smooth jelly filling adds so much to these cookies beyond just the basics — they’re interesting, new, and totally delicious.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Cookies

INGREDIENTS
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 egg
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup grape jelly
1/3 cup confectioners sugar
1 tbsp heavy cream

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine peanut butter, 1 cup confectioners sugar, salt and and egg, and drop by teaspoonfuls on cookie sheet. Bake for 8 minutes. Let cool.

Whisk together the grape jelly, 1/3 cup confectioners sugar and heavy cream until the consistency is even (use an electric mixer if you have one — this takes some time).

Place a spoonful of jelly mixture in between two peanut butter cookies, and press together.  Repeat to create sandwich cookies for all the remaining cookies.

→ 6 CommentsTags: desserts · food




Danish Braid

May 20th, 2019

Most of us have a “to cook” list.  Mine is probably a hundred recipes I’ve pulled from magazines and websites, and honestly, I have no hope of ever finishing it (particularly as it grows about ten times faster than I complete any of the recipes).  However, in addition to the recipe list, I have a to-learn technique list, which includes homemade puff pastry.

It started a few months ago, when I saw Jacques Pepin smoothly roll out a homemade sheet of puff pastry using nothing but a tapered wooden rolling pin, flour, water, and butter.  Unbelievable!  No refrigeration, no resting time, just rolling, folding and baking.  Needless to say, when I looked at this recipe, I thought I’d do it the Jacques way.

But I am not Jacques Pepin, and when I attempted to roll, fold, and roll again, something went horribly wrong.  I ended up with a table and rolling pin covered in butter, and definitely nothing resembling puff pastry.  So I stepped back, called upon my inner reserves of patience, and attempted to follow the recipe as written.  Go figure.  Not surprisingly, my dough soon went from picture (a) to picture (b), below:

Much improved.  In fact, eventually, throw in a little rhubarb jam, and I could get it to picture (c), which is this tasty little thing:

I brought this to work because there was no chance I would eat the whole thing, being 1) not particularly prone to eating breakfast, 2) not a huge fan of danish, and 3) not particularly inclined to gain 5 pounds in a week.  

But everyone loved it — I will definitely be making this again.  In fact, it’s Saturday, and I have nothing to do…

Click Here for the Recipe!

→ 43 CommentsTags: breads · Breakfast and Brunch · food




strawberry balsamic tart

May 17th, 2019

This dish was tumbling around in my head after I saw an inspiration photo on Pinterest — and then combined it with the flavors in this recipe and this recipe, to come up with this tart!  I love the strawberry-balsamic combo, and this felt like the perfect way to make it into something a little prettier! 

There’s something so beautiful about a tart like this — it only takes a few minutes to pull it together, but it looks like you put a ton if time and effort into it!  I also love that this could double as an appetizer or a healthy dessert!

Strawberry Balsamic Tart

INGREDIENTS
1 puff pastry crust (I used Pepperidge Farm)
1/3 cup strawberry preserves
1 pint strawberries, greens removed, sliced
10 small basil leaves
2 tsp balsamic vinegar

DIRECTIONS

Defrost puff pastry and bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees in a preheated oven.  Microwave the strawberry jam with 1 tsp of water for 30 seconds.  When the puff pastry comes out of the oven, brush it with the warm jam, leaving about 1 inch around the edges of the tart.  Layer the strawberries over the jam and add basil leaves as desired.  Drizzle 2 tsp of balsamic vinegar over the tart, and serve.

→ 15 CommentsTags: appetizers · desserts · food