I was browsing a bunch of articles looking for chocolatey inspiration this week. With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, I wanted to try a new recipe for work. I like to make little sweet treats every day leading up to the holiday. These mini chocolate and coffee cakes from Food and Wine looked like a perfect dessert to share with someone you love. Hope you all get to spend time with people you love! Read More
Awhile back I posted about making Smitten Kitchen’s Fig Olive Oil and Sea Salt Challah recipe, which I enjoyed, but I thought the filling was scarce to feel like a filled bread. If I am going to fill a bread, I want it to be noticeably different than a plain bread. So I decided to revisit this recipe and use a different fig filling that was more flavorful. I love Kim Boyce’s Fig Butter recipe from Good to the Grain, but I cut down on some of the spice so I could pair it with Nutella.
Rugelach always catches my attention. They are beautiful little cookies that look intimidating to make. I was browsing through The Kitchn and found a recipe that looked divine. The dough comes together easily and rolls out beautifully. I am putting together my list for holiday treat boxes and I am definitely going to include these! I tried the classic honey walnut filling and Nutella with chocolate chips. Let me know if you try different versions of the filling!
Recipe by The Kitchn: makes 64 cookies
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 package (8 ounces) cold cream cheese, cubed
2 sticks (1 cup) cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg yolk
1 batch filling (see ideas below)
*** My notes: I didn’t have powdered sugar, so I used a little bit of flour to roll out the dough and it worked fine. I took mine out after 18-20 minutes of baking.
1. Combine the flour and salt. Combine the flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse several times to mix.
2. Mix in the cream cheese and butter. Scatter the cubes of cream cheese and butter over the flour. Pulse 10 to 12 times until coarse crumbs form.
3. Mix in the yolk and vanilla. Whisk together the vanilla and yolk in a bowl, and the pour them over the butter-flour mixture. Run the processor continuously until the dough starts to clump together and form large curdlike pieces.
4. Refrigerate the dough. Turn the dough out onto the counter and gather the pieces into a ball. Divide into four portions and flatten each into 1-inch thick disks. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate the dough at least 2 hours or up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months (thaw in the refrigerator before using).
→ When ready to bake the rugelach, preheat the oven to 375°F and prepare your fillings.
5. Roll out the dough. Sprinkle your work surface generously with powdered sugar. Take one disk of dough from the refrigerator and let it warm on the counter for 1-2 minutes. Sprinkle the surface of the dough and the rolling pin with more powdered sugar. Roll the dough from the center out into a circle about 1/8-inch thick. Don’t worry if a few cracks form near the edges. Use more powdered sugar as needed to prevent sticking.
6. Spread with filling. Spread the filling in a thin layer evenly over the surface of the dough. Make sure it goes right up to the edge of the dough.
7. Slice and roll the cookies. Slice the dough into 16 wedges, like a pizza, using a pizza cutter or sharp knife. Roll up each wedge, beginning at the wide outer edge and moving inward. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Make sure the tip is tucked underneath.
8. Chill the cookies. Refrigerate cookies on the baking sheet, 20 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare remaining batches.
9. Bake the cookies. Bake the first tray of cookies until golden-brown, 20-25 minutes. Cool on the sheet, 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack. Bake the remaining cookies.
Cookies will keep in an air-tight container at room temperature for about a week.
Ideas for Rugelach Fillings:
• Nut Filling: In a food processor, grind 1 cup walnuts and 1 cup pecans until they break into tiny crumbs, 30 to 40 pulses. (Be careful of over-processing and making nut-butter.) Combine the ground nuts in a bowl with 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) melted butter, 1/4 cup honey, 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla.
• Fruit and Jam Filling: Warm 1/4 cup marmalade, apricot jam or raspberry jam in the microwave until it liquefies. Stir in the 1 tablespoon sugar. Set aside to cool until no longer steaming, still liquidy. Pulse 2 cups (roughly 10 ounces) dried fruit, such as apricots, cranberries, cherries or currants, in a food processor until it breaks down into tiny pieces. To assemble, spread the jam onto the rugelach dough; sprinkle the dried fruit on top.
• Peanut Butter and Chocolate Filling: Warm 1/2 cup peanut butter in a microwave until it liquefies. Spread over the rugelach dough; sprinkle with 1 cup miniature chocolate chips.
• Freezing Rugelach: The disks of dough can be frozen for up to three months; thaw in the refrigerator overnight before using. The shaped cookies can also be frozen for up to three months. Arrange cookies on a baking sheet, making sure they do not touch, and freeze until solid. Transfer to a freezer container for long term storage. Cookies can be baked straight from the freezer and may need an extra few minutes to bake.
• Making Rugelach by Hand: If you don’t have a food processor, just cut the cream cheese and the butter into the flour mixture using your finger tips or a pastry cutter, just as you would for pie crust. Sprinkle the yolk mixture over the top and fluff the dough with your fingers until it feels heavy and can hold together when pressed into a ball. Proceed with the rest of the recipe as instructed.
• Halving This Recipe: Nix the egg yolk and cut the rest of the ingredients in half.
Last week I went to bed dreaming about dessert. Specifically guava cheesecake. I also went to bed with nerves. A LOT of nerves. The RSVP list kept climbing. Which in theory is great, but when you are the sole person responsible for the dessert bar, you get a little anxious. And when that list hits 400, you freak out. An e-mail was sent to the staff: do not under any circumstances try to use the kitchen today. This was serious. The kitchen was mine! It all starts the day before. I prep doughs and I create a game plan breaking down each hour leading up to the event. These are the days I don’t even need coffee, I just run on pure adrenaline. You would think 11 hours is plenty, but that kind of time on event day flies by. I knew I wanted to create a beautiful dessert bar with plenty of options, shapes and flavors.
Mini Apple Pies
Mini Pumpkin Pies w/ Ginger Cream Cheese Frosting
S’mores Cookie Bars
Mini Cheesecakes w/ Guava Swirl
Creamy Cheesecake Tarts w/ Guava Swirl: makes 2 small tarts
1-package graham crackers (9 sheets=1 individual package)
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
6 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
½ cup plain Greek yogurt
½ tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. lemon juice or grapefruit juice
Fresh fruit to garnish
1 can guava shells in heavy syrup
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place graham crackers in a large sealable bag and crush using a rolling pin until you have fine crumbs.
- In a medium bowl mix graham cracker crumbs and melted butter until well combined. Spoon into mini tart pans, pressing firmly as you go. You might not need all the crumbs. Place on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes and let cool.
- Meanwhile, beat cream cheese in a stand mixer until smooth. Add vanilla extract, condensed milk and lemon/grapefruit juice. Beat for 1 minute on medium speed.
- Add Greek yogurt and beat for an additional minute. Set aside.
- Drain guava shells of MOST of the heavy syrup, reserving a little bit to use. Blend guava shells with a little syrup until smooth. If you are having trouble with the blender, add a splash of water. Set aside.
- To make the tart: fill the center of the crust with the cheesecake filling until it reaches the top of the crust. Place small circles of guava purée in a circle pattern around the tart. Take a toothpick and drag it gently through the center of each circle, connecting them and making a pattern of hearts. Garnish with fresh fruit and refrigerate at least two hours before serving.
- Store extra guava purée in the fridge.
I bake in an open kitchen at work. I am the only chef in a sea of people who do post production. People flock to the kitchen as soon as they hear the sound of my mixer or the smell of something baking. If they happen to linger, I’m not shy to put them to work. Hold this, mix that, chop please! It’s a family environment and I love it.
My two favorite ways to use sad spotted bananas is making banana bread and freezing them for smoothies. Lately this banana bread with jam in the middle and a coconut nutty crumble on top has been making a regular appearance. It requires a little more time and a little more patience, but it’s so worth it. I tried coconut sugar this time with a little coconut oil and I really enjoyed it. If you don’t follow me on Instagram yet, please do! You can find me at www.instagram.com/jacquilyninthekitchen and tons of photos of food and adventures!
Banana Bread with Raspberry Jam and Coconut Macadamia Nut Crumble
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup coconut sugar
6 tbsp butter, softened
2 tbsp coconut oil, softened
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups mashed really ripe bananas
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup raspberry jam
1/3 cup chopped macadamia nuts
1/4 cup shredded coconut
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a loaf pan. Measure all flour, salt and baking soda into a bowl, whisk and set aside. Combine nuts and coconut in a small bowl and set aside.
- Cream butter, coconut oil, sugar and coconut sugar until well combined (at least 1 minute). Add one egg at a time and beat well. Combine the yogurt, vanilla and mashed banana. Add this to the wet mixture and mix well.
- Next add the flour to the wet mixture and beat on low speed until the flour disappears.
- Measure half of the dough into the loaf pan and spread all of the jam down the center of the pan. Add the remaining dough on top, making sure it covers all the jam. Sprinkle the coconut crumble all over the pan and gently pat down.
- Create a tinfoil tent for the loaf pan that will cover the whole pan. Pinch it in the center to create a tent and cut a few holes to ventilate. Put the pan on a baking sheet and bake covered for 30 minutes. Pull out uncover and bake an additional 30-40 minutes, checking part way through. If the crumble is getting too brown, cover gently with tinfoil until finished baking. Check the dough right under the crumble with a toothpick. Bread is done when it comes out mostly clean. Cool for at least 20 minutes before cutting. I recommend cutting with a serrated knife.
If I walk into a coffee shop, chances are I am not going to choose the muffin. They never seem interesting enough for me and there is always another pastry that looks way more enticing. If I had my own bakery, cafe, cool coffee shop, awesome-hangout-kind-of-spot, I would want every pastry to be this interesting.My co-workers have said they would come to my store for the baked goods and especially for these muffins, so that is enough incentive to make them, right? Dreaming of a bakery and space where delicious and interesting pastries live and I get to eat them all the time.
Pear and Buckwheat Muffins w/ Coconut Crumble
Makes 18 muffins
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup buckwheat flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¾ cup lightly packed brown sugar
¼ cup coconut sugar or raw cane sugar
¼ cup coconut oil, melted
4 tbs unsalted butter, melted
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup Greek yogurt
¼ cup half and half
½ cup + 2 Tbs milk
2 large ripe pears, cut into small chunks (I used D’anjou)
1/ 4 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup hazelnuts, chopped
¼ cup shredded coconut
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ cup rolled oats
¼ cup brown sugar
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line two muffin pans with 18 muffin liners and spray each liner with baking spray.
- Combine the dry ingredients (both flours, oats, baking soda, salt and cinnamon) and set aside.
- In a large bowl combine the brown sugar, coconut sugar, melted butter and melted coconut oil. Whisk until thoroughly combined.
- In a small bowl combine the eggs, vanilla, Greek yogurt, half and half and milk. Whisk until well blended.
- Add the milk mixture to the sugar mixture and whisk until well blended.
- Fold the chunks of pears into the wet mixture and then fold in the dry ingredients until well combined and set aside.
- Make the crumble in a small bowl by mixing the seeds, hazelnuts, coconut, cinnamon, oats, and brown sugar. Set aside.
- Distribute the batter evenly among the 18 cups. Next add a large spoonful of the crumble to the top of each muffin and pat down slightly.
- Immediately TURN DOWN THE HEAT to 375 and bake muffins for 18- 20 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the middle should come out clean.
- Let cool in pan for 5 minutes and then remove and let cool on rack for at least 15 minutes.
Remember when I told you about my hesitation to attempt yeast breads? Well, focaccia helped me get over my fears of making bread. I have made this recipe several times now and I use different toppings while keeping the same base recipe of this wonderful Rosemary Focaccia from The Kitchn. They clearly outline the steps and make you feel more at ease. I love using The Kitchn as a resource for recipes, inspiration, tips and tricks.Once I have made a nice batch of focaccia, I use it to make our snack plates and cheese plates at the office. The one below has roasted artichoke, wine soaked cheese, truffle cheese, rosemary raisin crackers, asian pear, green apple and crumbled blue cheese.
Rosemary Focaccia from The Kitchn
What You Need
1 envelope (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1 3/4 cups warm water
3 1/2 cups white flour
1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons salt
4 1/2 tablespoons (approximately) good extra virgin olive oil, divided
5 sprigs of fresh rosemary
Several pinches of Maldon salt (or other flakey sea salt)
* My notes: I like to add small fresh mozzarella balls or cherry tomatoes on top. If you using mozzarella, squeeze out some of the liquid so it is not soggy and bake until golden brown.
11-cup (or larger) food processor (See Recipe Notes for other mixing options)
Measuring cups and spoons
Medium sized bowl
Large sized bowl
1 baking sheet (16″x12″ or similar size)
Wire cooling rack
1. Dissolve and proof the yeast. Dissolve the yeast in the warm water in a medium bowl. Wait a few minutes for the mixture to start to foam up. This isproofing the yeast. (You can skip this step if you are confident that your yeast is good and strong.)
2. Make the dough. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the flours and salt to combine. Add the yeast mixture and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Pulse until a rough ball of dough forms, about 1 minute. Remove from the dough from food processor. It should be moist but not too sticky. Form it into a ball. (See Recipe Notes, below, for instructions on making dough without a food processor.)
3. Leave it to rise. Add about 2 teaspoons of olive oil to a large bowl. Put in the ball of dough and turn it so it is coated on all sides. Cover with a tea towel and place it in a warm place to double in bulk, about 2 hours.
4. Put the dough into the pan. Drizzle about 1 teaspoon of olive oil onto the baking sheet and rub it over the bottom and sides. Punch down the dough and place the dough on the baking sheet. Using your fingertips, coax and stretch the dough to cover the bottom of the pan; it may not reach all the way to the edges. Cover with a tea towel and leave in a warm place to rest, about 30-40 minutes.
→ You can also divide the dough in half with a sharp knife to make one smaller loaf for smaller gatherings, and freeze the other half of dough for later. Smaller focaccia breads can be baked on a quarter-sized baking sheet (9-1/2″ x 13″) or in the center of a regular baking sheet. To freeze the second half, place the dough in a freezer bag, squeeze out the excess air, seal, label, and freeze.
5. Preheat the oven and prep the rosemary. While the dough is resting, preheat the oven to 450°F with a rack in the middle of the oven. Strip the rosemary leaves from the stems. If the rosemary leaves are large, chop them with a knife. You can leave a few of the smaller, softer leaves whole. You should have about 2 scant tablespoons.
6. Prep the focaccia for baking. When the focaccias have puffed up in the pan a little, sprinkle the rosemary evenly over the surface. Using your fingertips, dimple (make shallow indentations) the surface of the focaccia all over. Drizzle about 2 teaspoons of olive oil over the loaf, so the oil pools in the indentations here and there. Use a little more if needed. Sprinkle the loaf with 2 or 3 pinches of the flaky salt.
7. Place in the oven and bake. Place in the oven and immediately turn the heat down to 375F. Bake about 20 – 25 minutes, checking after 15 minutes. The focaccia is ready when it’s golden-brown.
8. Remove from oven and cool. Remove bread from oven. Using a hot pad or spatula, remove the bread from baking sheet and place on a wire rack to cool slightly. Focaccia is best eaten when warm, but perfectly fine at room temperature. If the crust gets too soft, try popping it back in a 350°F oven for a few minutes to crisp it up.
• Make Focaccia in a Mixer: Knead the dough in a standing mixer fit with a hook attachment for 5-8 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic.
• Make Focaccia by Hand: Mix the dough in the bowl with a sturdy spoon until it is as smooth as possible. Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, 8-10 minutes.
• Make Focaccia Rounds: To make 4-8″ round focaccia, just divide the dough in half and bake in two 8″ cake pans.
• Additional Toppings: Add any of these toppings before baking — very thinly sliced lemons, olives (whole or sliced in half), thick slices of fresh garlic or shallots, a sprinkling of parmesan cheese, a few chopped sundried tomatoes, cubed pancetta. Instead of rosemary, try using fresh thyme, chives, or oregano. If you want to use fresh basil, sprinkle it on after baking.
• Working with Refrigerated Dough: The dough can also be held overnight in a covered container in the refrigerator, which will retard the yeast and result in a slow rise and extra flavor. Pick up the instructions with step 4 above. No need to warm the dough before using, but allow extra time for it to rise before baking.
• Working with Frozen Dough: If you are using frozen dough, let it defrost in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours. When you are ready to bake, take it out of the refrigerator and stretch it in the pan, as directed in step 4 above. Continue to follow instructions from there.
All I ever ask for on Valentine’s Day is chocolate. I could do without the flowers, fancy dinner or card professing love for me. Tell me you love me by giving me the most intensely rich and chocolatey thing you can find. And I will love you back. But in a platonic way because I already have Daniel :). To honor this holiday, Daniel and I collaborated to make our version of the perfect Valentine’s Day dessert for our friends over at Richer Poorer. Go check out our guest blog post and find out what we did on our first date together!
1. Postion oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line the bottom and sides of an 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, pressing in the corners to make a crease and pressing over the sides of the pan. There should be an overhang on two opposite sides of the baking pan.
January is a HARD month for me and I think for many people. The holiday cheer is gone. The guilt about holiday weight gain sets in. The weather leaves a little something to be desired. You DON’T want to leave bed and go to work, because bed is sooooooo nice and cozy and inviting. These are my thoughts. I want it to be February already.This is what happens when I walk into the kitchen to experiment. Feel free to sub the dried fruit or mixture of nuts to your liking, but I would stick with the measurements I have used. These are pretty healthy, chewy and surprised me when they came out of the oven. The first time I actually left them raw and they definitely work as a raw bar, BUT when you bake them and they come out of the oven warm, they feel so much more indulgent and satisfying, trust me.Hope everyone has a good weekend. I plan to have a restorative weekend filled with lots of relaxation, yoga, cooking and reading. Happy Friday!
Cherry Almond Gluten Free Cookies: makes 18 cookies
1 cup raw almonds
1 cup raw almonds
½ cup raw cashews
½ cup raw or toasted macadamia nuts
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
3 tbs coconut oil, divided
1/4 cup golden raisins, divided
½ cup dried cherries, soaked in warm water for 2 minutes, patted dry and divided
¼ cup cacao nibs
1/3 cup shredded coconut
3 tbs honey
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Process almonds, cashews, macadamia nuts, cinnamon, ginger, 2 tbs of the coconut oil, ¼ cup of the cherries (patted dry), 2 tbs of the golden raisins in a food processor for about 1 minute. You want the nuts and the overall mixture to remain a little chunky, so I leave my food processor in the middle of the thin to thick scale. If you don’t have that on yours, stop every 20 seconds to see what the texture looks like. It should break down nicely, but should not be smooth. Scrape down the sides and process for another 30 seconds.
3. Add the last tablespoon of coconut oil, the other ¼ cup of cherries, ¼ cup of cacao nibs, the shredded coconut, 2 tbs of golden raisins and honey. Process until the mixture begins to clump together. It is done when you can press the mixture firmly and it sticks together.
4. I used an ice cream scooper (3/4oz) to scoop out these cookies. Fill the scoop and press down firmly. Gently release the mixture onto the parchment paper. I prefer not to press them firmly because I like the way they look when they aren’t perfect. I put 9 cookies per baking sheet.
5. Bake for 10 minutes. Let them cool down slightly and then enjoy!
I woke up Saturday morning and felt like I just had to bake something. But it wasn’t the type of thing where I wanted to look through cookbooks, go to the grocery store to get exactly what I needed, then return home and start baking. I just wanted to do something right away. So I went to the kitchen, opened my cabinets and realized I had spices, espresso, flour, sugar and milk. Immediately, I thought of the flavors of one of my favorite drinks, the Dirty Chai Latte. If you have never had this drink before, you are missing out! It is a Chai Tea Latte with a shot or two of espresso and it is amazinnggggggggg. So I suggest you do two things: go get a Dirty Chai Latte AND make these Dirty Chai Scones to go with it. Trust me, it is a perfect weekend plan and these scones make an excellent weekday breakfast.
Dirty Chai Scones: makes 8 big scones
3 cups all-purpose flour (you can sub 1 cup of AP flour for whole wheat flour if you desire)
1/3 cup cane sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp of cinnamon
1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 cup milk (I have used both 2% dairy milk and almond milk, both work great)
1/2 stick butter, melted
1/2 cup cane sugar
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp nutmeg
dash of allspice
2 tsp ground instant espresso
1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl mix the flour, cane sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Cut the butter into the flour mixture until the butter resembles the size of peas (I use my hands to break the butter into the flour).
2. Next add the milk slowly and mix with a fork until the dough comes together. Pour the mixture onto a lightly floured work surface and knead a few times until the dough completely comes together. Flour your work surface again and flour the top of your dough. Roll out the dough to a 16 by 10 rectangle. If you are having trouble with the dough being sticky, sprinkle a little more flour on top and bottom.
3. In a small bowl mix the melted butter, cane sugar, spices and espresso. It will be a little bit chunky. Spread this mixture evenly over the dough, leaving a 1 inch border at the far end of your dough. You are going to be rolling the larger side of the dough. Tightly roll your dough towards the border and press firmly down on the border to seal the edges. Cut into two inch pieces, which should give you 8 pieces.
4. Place the scone pieces on the baking sheet, flatten out a bit with a gentle push from your fingers and sprinkle the top with a little cane sugar. Bake for 12-15 minutes until the tops are lightly golden brown. Let cool on a wire wrack on the baking sheet. Enjoy warm. Scones keep refrigerated for a few days in the fridge and are good if they are reheated in the microwave for 30-45 seconds.