Sunday, May 27
I've been cheating on my favourite chocolate chip cookie recipe. *shh...*
Looking back, I'm quite the c.c. cookie swinger. Each new recipe brings with it promises of happiness, peace, and chocolate, and for a while I'm perfectly content...until something fresh, bright, and flashy scurries across the radar.
When I saw this recipe on Tracey's blog, I knew I had to make it, ASAP. What baker could possibly resist a recipe title that's a cross between an irresistible pastry and a beloved cookie?
I'll say on record that these chocolate chip cookies are now my absolute favourite. Why? Not only do they appease my neurotic love for symmetry (thanks to the use of cookie cutters), but they employ an ingenious technique of actually rolling shards of chopped chocolate into layers of cookie dough...at least that's the idea.
Wednesday, May 23
Don't ever go grocery shopping on an empty stomach. It makes you act like as though you've never had anything to eat before, and that the world is going to come to an end if you don't buy everything in sight...or at least touch it one last time.
What the heck is a grapple? (I don't know, but I still have four of them staring back at me whenever I open the refrigerator.)
One of the perks of my latest hunger-induced, mindless shopping excursions; Almond paste. I hardly ever buy almond paste because I always end up eating it before I can actually bake something.
This time I threw 2 packages in the cart. Thank you, bossy stomach.
Monday, May 21
Remember when I said how much I dislike white chocolate? (No?) That's good. Because I may be eating my words, literally...
There is absolutely no reason why I should like this cake. It's extremely sweet, and there isn't a single drop of lemon, or a hint of dark chocolate. Yet I'm absolutely smitten, I'm over the moon...I'm irrevocably in love, with this exquisite white confection.
Perhaps I should give Brussels sprouts another try? (Don't hold your breath on that one.)
When Jaclyn, of Celebrations asked if I would like to be part of a virtual Memorial Day potluck, I jumped at the chance! (I've never been to an actual potluck, and I'm always looking for a valid excuse to bake an over-the-top dessert.) Thank you, Jaclyn!
Wednesday, May 16
I'm so bad.
I make things with coconut too often.
I make things with coconut, knowing that no one else will get as ridiculously excited about it as I do.
I make things with coconut for purely selfish reasons.
I make them for me, myself, and I.
And we're always so fantastically happy about it!
Saturday, May 12
Notice anything different?
Why yes, my blog is wearing something new! And I'd like to thank Steph Anne, of Yellow & Savvy, for designing the fabulous fresh, spring look. Up until now, I've always used premade templates (and I loved each and every one!), but I wanted something that was unique and crisp, and "mine." :-)
Seriously, If you're looking for an affordable blog makeover, I highly...highly, recommend Steph. She somehow managed to piece together a design from my scattered, indecisive mind. Sheer magic!
Thank you Steph! XO
To all the moms out there, Happy early Mother's Day!
Chocolate, olives, strawberries, basil, pears, and warm cups of milk and honey, always make me think of my mom.
And tomorrow, instead of my vintage lopsided chocolate cake, I'm going to make a batch of strawberry-filled, buttery, crumbly, basil-lime shortbread cookies.
(Not much has changed. Even as a baby, I was already worried about something...will that beet stain ever come off my favourite bib?)
I'll admit, these cookies were a bit of a hassle. The original recipe left the dough far too soft to be able to roll out, and I spent a good part of the afternoon scraping bits and pieces of it off the well-floured counter top.
After a few tweaks, the recipe finally came together, and I think these cookies may be right up at the top of my list of favourites. The cornstarch gives the cookie a softer, lighter, texture, while the lime and basil keep the flavour assertive and perky. [Next time, I would add a pinch more basil.] The filling is simple and flexible. If you would rather use raspberry, blueberry, or peach preserves, go for it! Lime is cordial, it gets along well with others.
Have a gorgeous, mom-lovin' weekend, everyone! ♥
yields about 18-20 sandwich cookies
for the cookies
1/2 cup almond flour
2/3 cup all-purposed flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
Zest of 2 limes (3 if they're small)
1/2 cup (that's 1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 teaspoon basil (if using fresh, chop until fine)
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
for the filling
1 Tablespoon lime juice
1/2 cup strawberry preserves (feel free to use your favourite kind!)
In a medium-size bowl, whisk together the almond flour, all-purpose flour, cornstarch, and salt; Set aside.
In stand-mixer bowl (or any large mixing bowl, if you're using a hand-held mixer), combine the sugar and lime zest. Use your fingertips to rub the zest into the sugar until it becomes fragrant and moist. Add the butter, basil and confectioners' sugar. Beat on medium speed until fluffy (about 3-5 minutes). On low speed, slowly begin adding the dry ingredients, mixing well after each addition, and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Form the dough into a disc and cover well with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and two sheets of parchment paper, roll the cold dough out until it's about 1/8-inches thick. Don't worry if it's a circle or a square, or a wonky rectangle. :)
[Note: My dough was too soft to actually "roll," so divided it into 4 parts and gently "patted" each part out with floured hands until it was the right thickness.] Once all the dough has been rolled (or patted) out, use the parchment paper to transfer it onto a cookie sheet and freeze for about 15 minutes. Freezing the dough before baking will help the cookies maintain their shape as they bake.
Remove the dough from the freezer. Use fluted, or plain round cookie cutters (about 1 1/2-inches in diameter) to cut out the cookies. Place the cookies on prepared cookie sheets.
Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until pale golden. Remove the sheets from the oven and allow the cookies to rest for about 10 minutes before carefully transferring them to a cooling rack. Cool completely before adding the filling.
Prepare the filling: In a small bowl, combine the lime juice and preserves. Mix to combine. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Place a small dollop of preserves onto half of the cooled cookies, and cover with the remaining "nude" halves. Place the cookie sandwiches into a covered container, and refrigerate until the filling has set. [If you serve them right away, the top cookie layer may slide around the slippery filling.]
recipe adapted from Martha Stewart
Tuesday, May 8
Summer is never subtle about it's arrival. It always jumps out of a forgotten corner, on some deceivingly mild Tuesday morning, and throws shorts, skirts, and dresses at my pale legs.
I don't like things that jump out at me. (Still can't be in the same room as a jack-in-the-box, or a bottle of champagne that's about to be uncorked.)
Sunday, May 6
With the Kentucky Derby coming up this weekend, I had a valid excuse to create a recipe inspired by one of my favourite cocktails. I never watch the actual race because too many things can go wrong, and I tend to form bonds with the horses just by looking at them...especially if they have a clever name.
But I'm not afraid to watch all the hats.
I'm hat person.
I collect hats the way some people collect shoes.
Aside from newsboy hats, and my favourite fedora, which I plan on wearing far too frequently this summer, I also love fancy hats...as long as they're feather-free and don't involve anything that obscures my already questionable sense of direction. (Unless it's a big, floppy sunhat, which makes me feel mysteriously nonchalant...until I run into an errant lamp post.)
I also love knee-socks.
Hats are always fashionable, and capable of making you feel better about yourself on those "please, don't look at me," days.
Mint juleps have the very same effect.
Friday, May 4
May has arrived! Granted it knocked on the door and let itself in though an open window when I didn't answer, but I'm glad it's here. I love this time of year. I love it so much, that I want to treasure it like a piece of delicate porcelain. Part of me, the sometimes grouchy realist, is already lamenting the fact that Spring is almost over. (Sometimes I wish I could muzzle that part, or toss her into attic and throw away the key.)