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We are still in a bit of an in between produce season, but the weather is warming up and the sun is out so I am craving fresh fruit desserts like it’s my job. I guess it kind of is my job…I love to make desserts like this pavlova because it is fairly low lift and aside from a low, slow bake in the oven for the meringue (which you can make the day before if it’s not too humid where you live) everything comes together in a few minutes.

The tart crushed raspberries provide some nice sauciness here and contrast well with sweet strawberries and the crisp, pillowy meringue. Make sure to use the best strawberries you can find for this dessert, and adjust the sugar to your personal tastes. In NYC we get some really nice organic berries from California but they are $$ so you may just want to bookmark this until they are in season locally where you live. The mini mint leaves are also totally optional, but they do add a nice freshness and beautiful pop of contrasting color.

Crushed Raspberry and Strawberry Pavlova

Crisp and chewy meringue, pillowy whipped cream, and sweet-tart berries are combined to make this super springy, and fairly simple dessert. Assemble just before serving for the best textural experience as the meringue will weep and melt as it sits.

Meringue

4 large egg whites

1 cup (200g) superfine sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon white vinegar

Berries

1 pound of the best strawberries you can find

1/2 cup fresh raspberries

2 teaspoons sugar

1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped

pinch salt

To Serve

1 cup (240ml) heavy cream 

1 tablespoon sugar

mint leaves

To make the meringue: Preheat the oven to 250ºF (130ºC/Gas Mark 1/2). Trace an 8-inch (20cm) circle onto a piece of parchment paper and flip it upside down on a baking sheet.

Stir the cornstarch and sugar together in a small bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or with a handheld electric mixer in a large bowl, beat the egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar on high speed until soft peaks form. With the mixer running, slowly add the sugar mixture about one tablespoon at a time until you have added all of the sugar and the egg whites are stiff and glossy about 7 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and vinegar and mix for 30 more seconds.

Dollop the meringue onto the prepared baking sheet and use an offset spatula to spread it evenly to the edges of the traced circle. Make a shallow indent in the center of the meringue which will hold all of the delicious toppings. Bake the meringue for 1-1 1/2 hours or until the outside looks dry and slightly creamy in color. Turn off the oven and prop the door ajar with a wooden spoon. Let the meringue cool completely in the oven. It should feel firm and crackly when you press it, but will be soft and marshmallowy in the center. When cooled, you should be able to gently peel it off of the parchment paper and place it on a serving platter or cake stand.  

To make the topping: Slice the strawberries in half if they are small, quarters if they are large. Combine the raspberries, sugar, vanilla bean seeds and a pinch of salt in a large bowl and crush the berries with a fork. Gently stir in the strawberries and let the fruit macerate for a few minutes. Taste and add a bit more sugar if desired, keeping in mind that the meringue will be quite sweet.

Whip the cream and sugar together to soft peaks. Top the cooled meringue with the whipped heavy cream, followed by the berries. Sprinkle mint leaves over the top and serve immediately.

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Hello Friends!

I am hard at work queuing up some new recipes and blog posts for you all, but I wanted to pop in and tell you about a little class I am teaching next month at Ovenly’s new studio in Brooklyn.

It will be a small class all about galettes! Each student will make a batch of dough and galette to take home, and I’ll be sharing all of my top tips for pie and galette success!

I’m not teaching much this year, and there are just 5 spots left so grab one while you can.

Sign up and details can be found HERE. Feel free to contact me through the contact form on the blog if you have any questions. Happy Baking!

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I love a cake that you can stir together in one bowl, and this passionfruit cake fits the bill. It is packed with passionfruit flavor and is mouth-puckering tart, but the *ahem generous* swoops of chocolate frosting balance it quite nicely. You could also add an additional 1/4 cup (50g) sugar for a sweeter cake, but I’m a fan of the contrast. If you aren’t a huge frosting fan you may want to hold a little back when you are topping the cake. The cake is also delicious - tart, floral, and tropical - on its own. If you’d prefer to skip the frosting all together, make a little bit of glaze made from passionfruit and confectioners sugar and drizzle it over the top instead.

Would you believe that I have misplaced my sprinkles? I’m not sure how it happened, but after my Christmas cookie bonanza I managed to hide ALL OF MY SPRINKLES from myself and I didn’t discover it until I went their normal storage spot to grab some to sprinkle this beaut. In the end it was a blessing because I crushed up a handful of dehydrated raspberries for decor instead and they added a nice tart punch to the topping.

p.s. I use a spoon, instead of an offset spatula, to get these deep swoops and swirls.

One Bowl Passion Fruit Cake with Fluffy Chocolate Frosting

makes one 8-inch square cake

Frosting recipe from Smitten Kitchen’s “I want chocolate cake cake”

I used Goya brand passionfruit puree for this cake which I can find easily at most of the supermarkets in my area. Its also very inexpensive and runs about 3 bucks for 7 ounces. You can certainly make your own puree or use a higher end brand, but I’m here to tell you that the inexpensive stuff works just fine. Choose your own adventure. Although, if you can find fresh passionfruit, a few of the seeds and pulp sprinkled over the top would make a beautiful, crunchy garnish. This cake tastes best the day that it is baked, but holds up for a couple of days at room temperature. If you use dehydrated fruit as a garnish it will soften as it sits.

For a less tart cake use 1 cup (200g) sugar.

One Bowl Passionfruit Cake

3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar

2/3 cup passionfruit puree

1/3 cup (75g) sour cream

4 tablespoons (55g) melted unsalted butter

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 1/4 cups (140g) cake flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

Chocolate Frosting

2 ounces (55 grams) unsweetened (or bittersweet) chocolate, melted and cooled

1 1/2 cups (180 grams) powdered sugar

1/2 cup (115 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 tablespoons milk, plus more if necessary

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

fat pinch of salt

Heat oven to 350ºF and butter and flour or spray an 8x8 inch baking pan with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl, whisk the sugar, passionfruit puree, sour cream, melted butter, eggs, vanilla extract, and salt until combined and smooth.

Combine the flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a fine mesh sieve and sift it into the large bowl. Whisk the batter until smooth, pour into the prepared pan. Slide the pan into the oven and bake until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean 20-25 minutes.

Cool the cake in the pan on a rack.

While the cake is cooling make the frosting.

Add all of the frosting ingredients to a large bowl and beat until smooth and fluffy, add a bit more milk if necessary. Alternately, Deb makes the frosting in a food processor.

Spread the frosting evenly over the cooled cake and decorate with a shit-ton of sprinkles. Enjoy immediately! This cake keeps is best the day it’s baked, but will keep for a couple of days, covered at room temperature. The dehydrated raspberries will soften over time.

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I have a thing for upside down cakes, and a special love for pineapple - especially in the winter. They are so bright and tart and juicy and as much as I love citrus this time of year, they are a nice change of pace. I guess I even made a pineapple upside down cake last year right around this time (which came as a surprise when I went to look it up). Turns out I am more predictable than I thought.

This cake is quite simple with no secret whiz-bang flavorings, and even though I pretty much always add lemon zest and vanilla to fruit cakes, I resisted the urge to add anything to this one and I can say that its totally delicious without. I also loved the sunny yellow, translucent pineapple slices as is, but some vanilla bean seeds would be a very pretty addition. Maybe for next January’s cake.

Take the time to cut and slice a whole pineapple here, the pattern on the top of the cake is the reason it’s so striking! The additional step of poaching the sliced pineapple might seem a little fussy, but it makes the fruit pliable and tender so that the slices fit together snuggly in the bottom of the tin and no sneaky batter peeks through the top of the finished bake.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

lightly adapted from Donna Hay

makes one 9-inch (23cm) cake

I made this pretty close to as written, but made quite a few tweaks to the method so feel free to click through the link above if you’d like to see the original. The recipe, curiously, didn’t include any salt so I added it, swapped in a higher percentage of almond meal, and I reduced the total sugar by about 1/4 (from 385g to 300g). The finished cake was still nice and moist and plenty sweet for my palate. I also took a few extra minutes to reduce the pineapple poaching liquid to make a more concentrated syrup. I made this cake using gram measurements, and the cup equivalents were so wonky and confusing I decided to not include them here. I highly suggest baking by weight rather than volume - less dishes, more precision.

450g pineapple, cored and thinly sliced lengthwise (about 1 medium pineapple)

360ml (1 1/2 cups) water

300g granulated sugar

190g unsalted butter, softened

3 large eggs, at room temperature

280g all purpose flour

80g almond meal

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon kosher salt

240ml (1 cup) buttermilk

Add the water, 100g (1/2 cup) sugar, and the sliced pineapple to a wide saucepan set over medium-high heat (I used a 3 qt saucier) Bring to a boil, turn down the heat slightly, and simmer the pineapple for 15 minutes. Carefully remove the pineapple to a sheet pan and arrange it in a single layer so it can cool. Turn the heat up to high and reduce the liquid in the pan to about 3/4 cup (180ml). Transfer to a liquid measuring cup and cool slightly.

Heat oven to 350ºF and butter a 9-inch cake pan with high sides. Line the sides of the pan with parchment paper and butter the paper.

Starting at the outside of the pan, layer the pineapple in slightly overlapping concentric circles, rounded sides facing out. Gently pour 1/2 of the cooled syrup over the top.

Stir the all purpose flour, almond meal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and 200g (1 cup) sugar. Beat on medium-high until light and fluffy, 5-7 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the flour mixture and the buttermilk. Mix on low until a few streaks of flour remain, and finish the mixing the last few strokes by hand with a rubber spatula making sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl.

Spoon the batter over the pineapple and gently smooth the top. Tap the pan a few times on the counter to release any large air bubbles. Bake for about 60 minutes or until deep golden and a cake tester comes out clean.

Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes, then invert onto a serving plate. Serve warm with the additional syrup, and some ice cream if you’re in the mood.

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My favorite gingerbread cookies have been up on the site, but a little hidden within another post, for a long time. So, this year I decided to give them a little refresh and some new fun photos. These can be made into cookie ornaments too! Just make sure to bake them for an extra minute or two, until they are crisp and dark brown, and don’t forget to poke a hole in the cookies before baking. I love the contrast of the deep golden cookies and white icing so I tend to ice these guys really simply with lines and dots of royal icing and lots of sparkly sanding sugar.

Gingerbread Cookies with Royal Icing

makes about 3 dozen 3-inch cookies

adapted from Simply Recipes

3 1/4 cups (415g) all-purpose flour


3/4 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons ground ginger


2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/4 teaspoon finely grated nutmeg

1/4  teaspoon finely ground black pepper 

1/4  teaspoon allspice


1 teaspoon kosher salt


14 tablespoons (200g) unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup (110g) packed dark brown sugar 

1 large egg


1/2 cup unsulfured molasses 


In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, salt and spices together. 

In a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg, then the molasses and mix until well combined. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the flour mixture and mix until thoroughly combined. Divide the dough in half, wrap each half in plastic and refrigerate for at least one hour before rolling.


Heat oven to 350ºF and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Working with 1/2 of the dough at a time roll the dough 1/8-1/4-inch thick on a lightly floured surface using a lightly floured rolling pin roll. Use a cookie cutter or stencil to cut out desired shapes then place them on the prepared baking sheets. For cookie ornaments, use a skewer to poke a hole through the top of the cookies before baking.
Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the edges of the cookies have just barely begun to brown. For cookie ornaments bake the cookies until they are lightly browned all over and firm to the touch. Cool the cookies on the sheet pans for a few minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack
to cool completely. Decorate as desired.

Royal Icing

1 pound confectioners sugar, sifted

6 tablespoons pasteurized egg whites

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

pinch salt

For the Icing

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment combine all of the ingredients. Whisk on low speed until the sugar is moistened, then turn the mixer up to medium and whisk until smooth and glossy. 

For piping lines and shapes you’ll want thick icing. When you lift the whisk out of the bowl the icing should flow in thick ribbons that will hold their shape when they fall into the bowl below. Add a bit more confectioner’s sugar to the mixture if necessary to achieve this texture. Fill a piping bag with the icing and have fun!

For flooding and complete coverage of the cookies you’ll want thinner icing that holds its shape for a few seconds, then melts into the icing in the bowl. Add a bit more water, one teaspoon at a time to achieve this texture. Color the icing as desired.

Use the icing right away or store in an airtight container, with a piece of plastic wrap pressed against the surface to prevent a skin from forming, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Stir until smooth before using. Color the icing as desired.,

Royal Icing Tips and Tricks

Fit a piping bag with a small round tip #1 or #2 to pipe lines and shapes and/or another piping bag with a slightly larger tip #3 or #4 for flooding. Fill each bag with the corresponding icing and have fun! Practice on a piece of parchment paper if you are nervous, but truly if you think you messed up - just cover your cookies with sprinkles! 

For the trees in this post I used the flooding icing to draw a line around the border of each cookie, then filled it in completely and sprinkled to my heart’s content. After the trees had dried slightly I went back and used the piping icing to draw the trunks. 

You can also use a spoon to cover the cookies with thinner flooding icing or dip them, have fun! Don’t worry to much about it!

If you are adding sanding sugar or sprinkles to your iced cookies you’ll want to add them just after you pipe the icing. Royal icing will develop a dry skin very quickly, so have your sprinkles at the ready.

If you’d like to pipe lines that sit on top on top of flooded cookies, let the flooding icing dry all of the way or the lines will melt into the flooded icing.

In any case make sure to let the cookies dry all of the way, uncovered, before stacking or packaging, I like to leave mine overnight.

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My biggest cookie decorating advice is make sure the cookies are delicious, pick a limited color palate for your icing and sprinkles, and don’t worry too much about it! Have fun! Make a mess! Cover everything with sprinkles!

These are the most delicious and tender cut out cookies I’ve ever made. They have a combination of sugars and a few extra egg yolks which give them excellent flavor and texture. I add a little bit of almond extract too, but it’s totally optional.

I’ve also included some royal icing tips below, but again, my best advice is don’t worry about it too much and have fun. It takes some practice pipe perfectly.

Cut Out Sugar Cookies

makes about 3 dozen cookies, depending on size

adapted from Holiday Cookies by Elisabet Der Nederlanden

These cookies are tender, buttery and delicious. Decorate them with royal icing, leave them plain, or if you’d like to sprinkle the un-iced cookies add the sprinkles or sanding sugar before baking. Press very lightly to adhere the sprinkles to the dough.

3 3/4 cups (480g) all purpose flour

1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 cup (170g) unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 cups (300g) granulated sugar

1/2 cup (55g) confectioners sugar

2 eggs plus 2 egg yolks

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract (optional)

Royal Icing

1 pound confectioners sugar, sifted

6-8 tablespoons pasteurized egg whites

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

pinch salt

For the Cookies

Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugars and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs and egg yolks one at a time, mixing until each egg is incorporated before adding the next. Add the vanilla. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl to ensure even mixing.

Add the flour mixture all at once and mix on low speed until incorporated. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured countertop and divide it in half. Wrap each half in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days before rolling.

When you are ready to bake, line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Heat oven to 350ºF and position 2 racks evenly spaced in the center of the oven.

Roll one of the chilled dough rounds out onto a lightly floured surface just under 1/4-inch thick. Use cookie cutters to cut as many cookies as possible. Carefully transfer them to the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 1 1/2-inches in between the cookies. Gather up the scraps and roll and cut another round of cookies. Refrigerate the cut cookies for about 15 minutes before baking.

Repeat with the second round of dough.

Bake the cookies for 15-20 minutes or until they are light golden. Rotate the racks from from to back and top to bottom. The baking time will depend quite a bit on the size of the cookies so if yours are quite large or small, they may take more or less baking time.

Transfer the baking sheets to cooling racks and let sit for five minutes. Transfer the cookies to racks to cool completely before icing.

For the Icing

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment combine all of the ingredients. Whisk on low speed until the sugar is moistened, then turn the mixer up to medium and whisk until smooth and glossy.

For piping lines and shapes you’ll want thick icing. When you lift the whisk out of the bowl the icing should flow in thick ribbons that will hold their shape when they fall into the bowl below. Add a bit more confectioner’s sugar to the mixture if necessary to achieve this texture. Fill a piping bag with the icing and have fun!

For flooding and complete coverage of the cookies you’ll want thinner icing that holds its shape for a few seconds, then melts into the icing in the bowl. Add a bit more water, one teaspoon at a time to achieve this texture. Color the icing as desired.

Use the icing right away or store in an airtight container, with a piece of plastic wrap pressed against the surface to prevent a skin from forming, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Stir until smooth before using. Color the icing as desired.

Royal Icing Tips and Tricks

Fit a piping bag with a small round tip #1 or #2 to pipe lines and shapes and/or another piping bag with a slightly larger tip #3 or #4 for flooding. Fill each bag with the corresponding icing and have fun! Practice on a piece of parchment paper if you are nervous, but truly if you think you messed up - just cover your cookies with sprinkles!

For the trees in this post I used the flooding icing to draw a line around the border of each cookie, then filled it in completely and sprinkled to my heart’s content. After the trees had dried slightly I went back and used the piping icing to draw the trunks.

You can also use a spoon to cover the cookies with thinner flooding icing or dip them, have fun! Don’t worry to much about it!

If you are adding sanding sugar or sprinkles to your iced cookies you’ll want to add them just after you pipe the icing. Royal icing will develop a dry skin very quickly, so have your sprinkles at the ready.

If you’d like to pipe lines that sit on top on top of flooded cookies, let the flooding icing dry all of the way or the lines will melt into the flooded icing.

In any case make sure to let the cookies dry all of the way, uncovered, before stacking or packaging, I like to leave mine overnight.

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These slice and bake cookies are my favorite sort of thing to put in a cookie assortment because they are so easy to make and so sneakily delicious. You might see a light brown round like this on a cookie plate and pass it up for something a little more exciting looking or powdered sugar coated, but when you take a bite you will be so pleasantly surprised. They are lightly spiced, crisp, and buttery with a little kick of rum, because Christmas. I also added a sprinkle of crushed freeze dried raspberries - you know - for flair. Bonus: they also stay fresh for quite awhile and the flavors get even better after a day or two.

The recipe comes from Sister Pie, a cookbook that came out this Fall, which is filled with so many incredible sounding recipes. I admit, I haven’t made a Sister Pie yet, but I’m sure the flavors are as spot on as these cookies!

Sister Pie’s Buttered Rum Shortbread

Makes 36 cookies

From Sister Pie by Lisa Ludwinski

I made a few small changes to Lisa’s recipe - I used browned butter in the icing instead of coconut oil and added sprinkle of dehydrated raspberries after I glazed the cookies, I also added 1/2 teaspoon more salt to the shortbread dough. The recipe that follows is straight from the book without my mods.

Shortbread

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon cloves

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

3/4 cup powdered sugar

2 Tablespoons dark or spiced rum

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract  

Rum Icing

3/4 cup powdered sugar plus more as needed

2 teaspoons coconut oil, melted

2 teaspoons dark or spiced rum

2 tablespoons heavy cream, plus more as needed

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon cloves

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt. Set aside.

Place the butter and powdered sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until very smooth with no visible chunks of butter.

Use a silicone spatula to scrape down the bowl, then add the rum and vanilla and mix until just incorporated. Add the flour mixture all at once and mix on low speed until completely incorporated. Remove the dough from the bowl and shpate into a cylindrical log approximately 1 1/2-inches in diameter. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 40 minutes. You can mix and e the dough up to 2 days in advance and store it in the refrigerator until 1 hour before you intend to roll out the dough. Alternately, you may freeze the dough for up to 3 months, then let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight before proceeding with the recipe.

Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator, unwrap it, and place on a cutting board. Using a sharp chef’s knife, slice the cookies about 1/4-inch thick. Carefully transfer them to the parchment-lined baking sheets.

Place the baking sheets in the oven and bake for 14 to 16 minutes, until the edges are just slightly golden.

Remove the baking sheets from the oven and transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool.

Make the Icing. While the cookies are cooling, in a medium bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, coconut oil, rum, cream, salt, and cloves until very smooth. The texture should remind you of Elmer’s glue. Yum! If the icing seems a little dry, whisk in a bit more heavy cream, If it seems a little too wet, whisk in the powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time.

Once the cookies have fully cooled, use a small offset spatula or knife to spread a very thin, even layer of icing across the tops of the cookies. It should be carefully smoothed, not gloppy. Return the cookies to the baking sheets to hive the icing a chance to set up before serving. Store the iced cookies in an airtight container for up to 1 week.


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Linzer cookies are a holiday classic - usually made with almonds and raspberry jam as a nod to the Austrian Torte which they are named after. I took a few liberties here - swapping deeply toasted walnuts for the almonds and fig and currant jams for the raspberry so this is definitely a cookie where you can have some fun. Don’t have walnuts and fig jam? Try pecans or pistachios with strawberry or cranberry jam. If you are a home canner, I bet you have a few jars open in your fridge already. Feel free to use what you have. I used a round cookie cutter, and a couple of different sized round cutters for the centers of my cookies, but you could certainly use something a little more decorative. I also liked the look of cutting the centers purposely off-center, but it made the cookies tricky to move and the shifted in the oven a bit so I can’t say that I’d recommend it.

Walnut Linzer Cookies

Makes about 30 sandwich cookies

Slightly adapted from Holiday Cookies by Elisabet der Nederlanden

This nut-filled dough is delicious and delicate. Make sure to use enough bench flour that it doesn’t stick to your surface and handle it carefully when you are transfering the cookies to the baking sheets. I found a small offset spatula to be helpful with this task. These will loose their crispness after the first day, but are still delicious after a few days on the counter. Store them in an airtight container and redust with confectioner’s sugar if necessary.

1 1/4 cups (105g) chopped, deeply toasted walnuts

3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1 cup (225g) cold, unsalted butter cut into cubes

1 egg plus 1 egg yolk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/3 cup jam

Confectioner’s sugar for dusting

In a food processor, combine the walnuts, sugar, lemon zest, and salt and pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Add the flour and pulse until well combined. Scatter the butter over the top and pulse until a few small pieces of butter remain. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla. Pulse until the dough just starts to come together.

Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap, pat it into a square about 1-inch thick. Refrigerate for at least one hour and up to 2 days.

When you are ready to bake position 2 racks, evenly spaced, as close to the center of the oven as possible and heat the oven to 350ºF. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Cut the dough in half and keep half of the dough in the refrigerator while you work. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to about 1/8-inch thick. Use a 2 1/2- inch round cookie cutter to cut as many circles as possible. Carefully transfer the rounds to the prepared baking sheets. Use a small circle or decorative cutter to cut the centers out of half of the cookies on the sheets. Gather up the scraps and repeat. Repeat with the other half of the dough. Chill the cut cookies for 10 minutes before baking.

Bake the cookies 17-19 minutes or until barely golden. Rotate the sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking. Transfer the sheets to cooling racks and let the cookies cool for 5 minutes then transfer the cookies to racks to cool completely.

Use a fine mesh sieve to dust the cooled cookies with a cutout with confectioner’s sugar. Spoon about 1/2 teaspoon of the jam on each of the other cookies. Top the jammed cookie with the sugared cookie and serve.

Snuk Foods sent me the incredible fig jam I used in these cookies - you can find it on their site (alongside tons of amazing International pantry items!) HERE.

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Last year I fell in love with stamped gingerbread cookies so this year I was primed and ready for another stampable cookie for my holiday packages. I find that darker doughs - like chocolate or gingerbread are the most dramatic when glazed, so I went for deep rich chocolate with both Dutch process and black cocoas. You can stamp just about any cut out cookie dough that holds it’s shape while baking though, so if you’ve invested in stamps try out a few doughs. And alternately, these cookies are absolutely gorgeous when stamped and glazed, but also work well as cut out cookies without a stamp. Happy Baking! I’ll be back soon with more cookies!

Stamped Brownie Cookies

makes about 3 dozen cookies, depending on the size

Slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s Brownie Roll-Out Cookies

These soft and chewy chocolate cookies are gorgeous when stamped, but also work well as cut out cookies if you don’t have a stamp. Flavor the glaze however you like, but a little peppermint and vanilla is nice for the holidays. I bet a little bit of espresso powder instead would be just delicious. Make sure to not over bake the cookies, they’ll lose their chew and will be more of a standard sugar cookie. I found 7 minutes in my oven was just right, but keep an eye on yours as all ovens vary. I like to brush the glaze on with a pastry brush. Use a thin layer to see lots of the cookie peeking through or a thicker layer for a more opaque look.

Brownie Cookies

3 cups (384g) all purpose flour

1/2 cup (50g) dutch process cocoa powder

1/2 cup (50g) black cocoa powder (or dutch process)

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

1 cup (225g) unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 cups (330g) light brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Glaze

1 cup confectioners sugar

3 tablespoons cream

seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste

1 teaspoon peppermint extract

pinch salt

Whisk the flour, cocoas, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the butter and sugar. Cream until light and fluffy then add the eggs one at a time. Mix until well combined then add the vanilla.

Add the dry ingredients all at once and mix until combined. Make sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl to ensure the dough is evenly mixed.

Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap and wrap tightly. Refrigerate the dough for at least one hour and up to 2 days.

When you are ready to bake, arrange two racks as close to the center of the oven as possible and heat the oven to 350ºF. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Work with half of the dough at a time and roll out the dough so it’s about 1/4-inch thick. Dip the cookie stamps in a bowl of cocoa powder or flour, shake off any excess and then press them firmly into the dough, one at a time, to create a deep imprint. Use a round cutter to cut the cookies.

Transfer the cookies to the lined baking sheets about 1-inch apart. Re-roll the dough scraps and continue to stamp and cut until all the dough is used up. Bake the cookies until they are just firm to the touch and puffed, 7-10 minutes. Rotate the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking.

Prepare the glaze while the cookies are baking as it is best brushed on while they are still warm. Whisk all of the ingredients together in a small bowl. It should be the texture of Elmer’s Glue. If it seems a little thin, add a tablespoon or two of confectioners sugar. If its thin, add a little more cream.

Remove the cookies from the oven, let them rest for 5 mins, then brush or dab the glaze all over with a pastry brush. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Cookies will keep for a few days in an airtight container at room temperature.

I used hand carved cookie stamps for these cookies. Zozo Baking sells similar ones.

You can also find cookie stamps in most kitchenware shops or online.

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I’m so excited to announce that I will returning to Greece to be the guest chef for a Cooking Workshop and Retreat with Allegra Pomilio at Mèlisses in Andros, Greece August 30-September 4, 2019. We will cook communal meals, relax by the pool, and discover some of Andros' most beautiful beaches.

There are a few different styles of rooms available at a few different price points and registration is open now! Click through to learn more about this beautiful place, our workshop, and to reserve your spot. Allegra can answer all of your questions about the house. See you in Greece!

Click Here to Reserve Your Spot!

photos of Mèlisses and Andros by Renee Kemps

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