Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Chocolate Cake Donuts

There are few things better than a midday chocolate donut and coffee break. I don't know about you, but some days around 4 PM I hit "the wall" and need a pick me up. Enter the coffee and the donut.

These cake donuts are spiked with a bunch of instant espresso. It enhances their chocolati-ness and gives you that 4 PM kick in the pants that you need after a long day at work in order to chase your toddler around the garden and read about 1,004 books... just me?

Oh, and did I mentioned they are baked? I am pretty sure this qualifies them as health food!

Baked Chocolate Donuts
makes 6

1 c AP flour
1/4 c cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 Tablespoon instant espresso powder 
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 c milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
3/4 c brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 c vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
- - -
1. Pre-heat oven to 325F and mist a donut pan thoroughly with baking spray; set aside
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt and espresso; set aside
3. In another bowl, combine the milk, vinegar, sugar, egg, oil and vanilla until smooth
4. Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and stir until smooth
5. Spoon the batter into a piping bag (or a ziplock with the corner cut) and pip into the prepared pan filling the wells about 2/3 full
6. Rap the pan on the counter to try to get rid of any bubbles and then bake at 325F for 10-12 minutes (tops woth spring back when lightly pressed)
7. Cool donuts in the pan for about 5 minutes then turn them out onto a wire rack to finish cooling completely
8. Dip fully cooled donuts in glaze (recipe follows)

Quick Chocolate Glaze

3/4 powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon cocoa powder
1-2 Tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch salt

- - -
1. In a small bowl, whisk all ingredients together (use more or less milk to achieve the desired consistency... I start with 1 Tablespoon and add milk a teaspoon at a time until the glaze is dip-able.) 
2. Dip your donuts!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Funfetti Biscotti

I am currently eating one of these sprinkle studded biscotti. I am hiding. Well not really hiding, but I am taking discreet bites so that Rosemary doesn't see what I am doing and come tearing towards me yelling cooookie cooookie! I am hiding so I don't have to share, OK?

These are exactly what they claim to be... biscotti that taste like heavily sprinkled cake.

Have you ever made biscotti? It is super easy!  Dough gets shaped into a loaf for an initial bake, sliced and then returned to the oven for a second bake. The end result is a crispy biscuit destined for your afternoon coffee.

These biscotti taste like boxed cake thanks to vanilla and almond extracts. And sprinkles because they make life more fun, no? I like to dip my biscotti in coffee, but I also think a buttercream dip situation would be appropriate here. Here are some frosting recipes if you decide to go that route!

Funfetti Biscotti
adapted from

1 c AP flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 oz butter, unsalted and room temperature
1/3 c granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 egg
1/4 c rainbow sprinkles. plus more for topping
- - -
1. Pre-heat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silipat; set aside
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar until light a fluffy
3. While the butter and sugar are creaming, in a separate small bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside
4. Add the egg and extracts to the butter/sugar mixture and mix on low, scraping sown the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed (mixture will appear curdled)
5. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and mix on low until dough just comes together
6. Add 1/4 c sprinkles and mix on low to evenly distribute
7. Scoop dough onto the prepared baking sheet and, using lightly floured hands, shape into a single loaf about 10"x 2" and 3/4" thick; top with more sprinkles if desired (duh) and press into the top of the dough lightly to adhere
8. Bake at 350F for 25 minutes
9. Remove from oven, reduce oven temperature to 325F, and cool slightly (about 5 minutes) before slicing biscotti crosswise into 1/2" slices
10. Return sliced biscotti to the prepared baking sheet, standing them on their edge, and bake at 325F for 25-30 more minutes until they begin to turn a golden brown color (they may feel a little soft in the center but will continue to dry as they cool!)
11. Cool completely before enjoying with coffee of course!

Storage: Keep cooled biscotti in an airtight container at room temperature; best when enjoyed within 7-10 days

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Life with Rose

Time for a Rose update!

Rose turns two in a few short months and is such a little spitfire! She currently loves: walking/running everywhere, splashing in puddles, anything to do with water, coloring with crayons and markers, seeing friends and family (especially her cousin!) Oh and cocoa, she loves a good cup of hot cocoa.

We spend our days with her playing constantly. From the time she gets up until she crashes for a nap or bedtime Rose is in constant motion. Thankfully we have a rooftop garden where we can quickly escape for a walk and some fresh air at any time of day. There are also numerous parks within walking distance that we visit frequently. 

My dad gifted us a membership to the Children's Museum nearby and it has been a lifesaver during these cold/rainy months! We also did a round of swim lessons (this girl can KICK) and are planning a family trip to the indoor water park Great Wolf Lodge which I am sure she will love!

When not playing or sleeping, Rose can be found eating. She loves food, especially food that I make for myself. Of course I don't mind sharing. She has an affinity for peanut butter, chocolate chips, apples and bananas. She also loves fries, hamburgers, tacos, curry... really anything. She doesn't like purees anymore (probably because that was all she ate for a long time) and prefers food with texture.

I am obsessed with Rose's curls. They are amazing. I hope she grows up loving them!

Both Jeff and I are really enjoying all the time we get with Rose each and every day. While it can be challenging (she is a willful little lady!) we both realize this time is priceless and are so so happy with how the changes we made have impacted our family. It is something I am thankful for every single day.

Jeff and Rose have such a special relationship, I love seeing this because I am very close with my dad and I know Rose will grow up with the same kind of relationship. They are buddies and she lights up whenever she sees him.

She is almost two, and we are just as smitten as the day we met her!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Salted Tahini & Chocolate Cookies

I have had a teeny-tiny tahini crush lately. It all started when I decided to make a batch of this hummus. Then, last week Jeff, Rose and I went to a new ice cream spot for pre-dinner dessert and I saw they had tahini chocolate swirl on the menu. So naturally I got it. Aaaand it was amazing. 

So, the obsession continues. 

For those of you who haven't had tahini on its own, in candy form (Halvah) or scooped onto a pita when mixed into hummus, tahini is a paste made from ground sesame seeds. It is toasty and delightful and lends itself well to both sweet and savory cooking. 

I had grand plans to make tahini macarons. I saw them in my head. They would be topped with toasted sesame seeds and filled with a tahini chocolate ganache. I had this vision and then remembered I have a toddler and don't have time for that whole process.  

So instead we have simple tahini cookies, studded with chocolate chips and sprinkled with sea salt. Bonus: you can make, photograph and eat them while your toddler takes their afternoon nap!

Salted Tahini & Chocolate Cookies
makes about 1 dozen 

2 oz butter, unsalted & room temperature
2 heaping Tablespoons tahini paste (unsalted and unsweetened)
1/2 c granulated sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 c AP flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon coarse grain salt, plus more for finishing
1/2 c chocolate chips
- - -
1. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy (3-5) minutes
2. While your sugar and butter are creaming, combine the flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, baking soda and powder in a small bowl; set aside
3. Add the tahini to the fluffy butter mixture and mix to combine
4. Add the egg and vanilla to the stand mixer and mix on low until fully incorporated
5. Add all the dry ingredients (except chocolate chips) to the mixer and mix until the dough comes together
6. Add the chocolate chips and mix on low until evenly distributed
7. Chill dough for about an hour (or pre-scoop into rounded Tablespoons, sprinkle with salt and freeze)
8. Pre-heat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment or a silipat
9. When ready to bake, scoop chilled dough into rounded Tablespoons and place 2" apart on the prepared baking sheet 
10. Sprinkle a little coarse salt on top of each cookie before baking at 350F (13-15 minutes for frozen dough or 8-10 minutes for chilled/fresh dough**)

** I like to pre-scoop my cookie dough and freeze for about an hour before baking because I think the final cookies have a better texture and spread less than when using fresh dough!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Whole Wheat Squash Muffins

It is no secret Jeff and I love to eat. While we try our best to diversify and keep our menu rotating, there are a few constants in our kitchen.

There are always berries in our fridge and freezer. I call Rosemary the berry bandit. Our girl can go through a half pint of berries before we are done grocery shopping.

There is always at least one jar of peanut butter in our cupboard. Usually two. I go through about a jar a week (more if I am running a lot.)

There is always a big batch of my favorite granola for parfaits and adding to smoothie bowls.

And we always have muffins for a quick snack or breakfast.

These muffins are made with whole wheat flour, coconut oil, pureed squash and are sweetened with maple syrup. They are healthy muffins that are also addictive and toddler approved (win, win, win.) I have made these muffins with both pumpkin and sweet potato puree but you could use acorn or butternut for sure!

These muffins are delightful on their own but I find I like them best when they are topped with a generous scoop of peanut butter. Shocking, I know.

Whole Wheat Squash Muffins
makes 12
adapted from

1 1/2 c whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon coarse grain salt
2 eggs
1/2 c maple syrup
1/2 c coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 c squash puree (I have used both sweet potato and pumpkin but you could sub butternut or acorn as well!)
- - -
1. Pre-heat oven to 350F and line a muffin tin with paper baking cups
2. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, spices and salt; set aside
3. In a larger bowl, combine the eggs, squash puree, syrup, oil and vanilla, mixing until smooth
4. Fold the dry ingredients into the squash mixture, the mixture may appear a little lumpy that is ok!
5. Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tin filling each well about 2/3 of the way full (I use a large cookie scoop for this)
6. Bake muffins at 350F for 18-20, the tops will be domed and spring back to the touch
7. Cool completely before enjoying

These muffins will last stored in a sealed container for about four days (though I doubt they will survive that long!)