cinnamon roll palmiers

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ah what loveliness can happen when you get distracted.
the other day i was supposed to be making a healthy, well-rounded meal for my good friend who just had a baby, but i was a bit distracted by cinnamon and sugar. palmiers had been on my mind for quite sometime and i was itching to play with an idea.

about a month ago, while nursing a sick little one on the couch, we were watching the barefoot contessa make these savory palmiers, which had goat cheese, pesto, and pine nuts in them. (SWOON) i jotted down a note to make them asap, but then i began to play with the palmier in my head… what if i made them sweet instead of savory? (i know this has actually been done before and i am not the first to come up with this genius idea, but up until recently i had not made a palmier… but ooohhhoo i have eaten my share though!) and what could i do with them?…

i finally got the chance to test out these palmiers i had been dreaming about and come up with a recipe for them. they were barely out of the oven before i was drooling and googly-eyed and talking to them and telling them how pretty they were. then the icing happened…

let’s just say there weren’t many left to take to my friend.

[frozen puff pastry generally comes in a box with 2 sheets – if you want to defrost & use the whole box, just simply double this recipe. *ALSO make sure you follow the box’s instructions to thaw the pastry.]

cinnamon roll palmiers
makes 12

ingredients

1 sheet (1/2 box) frozen puff pastry, thawed*

2 tbsp softened/room temp butter

3 tbsp granulated sugar

1 tbsp cinnamon

for icing:
2 cups powdered sugar

2 tbsp milk (plus a tsp or so, to thin the icing)

2 tbsp melted butter, slightly cooled

1 tbsp brewed coffee

1/2 tsp maple syrup

pinch of salt

directions:

1. preheat oven to 400. line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. on a clean work surface or a large cutting board, unfold and lay out the thawed puff pastry. gently spread the softened butter evenly over the entire pastry. in a small bowl, whisk together the sugar and cinnamon to combine, then sprinkle evenly over buttered pastry. use your fingers to spread out and press in just a tiny bit.

3. starting with the left side of the pastry, fold over 1/4 of the sheet. next fold over 1/4 of the right side. repeat, so that the left and right side are now just touching in the center. now, fold the left side over the right side, forming a roll. using a sharp knife, cut the roll into slices – you should get 12 slices out of one rolled pastry. lay flat on prepared baking sheet at least 2 inches apart (they will spread). bake for about 15 minutes, until the edges of each palmier are just beginning to golden. remove from oven and let cool 5-10 minutes.

4. while the palmiers are cooling, make the icing: combine all icing ingredients and stir with a small spatula to combine. add a little milk if the mixture is too thick. it should not be too runny – you want to be able to easily drizzle it. (use icing pretty soon after you make it. the top will harden up after a bit and you won’t get that perfect consistency for long.)

 

strawberry + mascarpone tartine with balsamic reduction

strawberry + mascarpone tartine with balsamic reduction
a few months ago, i took a little weekend trip to nashville with a dear friend of mine, to help her find a house. (kid-free, i might add. WOOT WOOT.) we viewed about 20 houses in two and a half days, and obviously worked up quite the appetite. being the good friend she is, she went along to all the foodie places i wanted to hit up while we were there. one of my favorite stops was marche artisan foods in historic east nashville. it’s this charming yet super cool spot to grab brunch or lunch, great coffee and pastries, and lovely atmosphere. my favorite thing we ordered was their tartine – a fancy toast – with ripe strawberries, sweet mascarpone cheese and a thick, tart balsamic reduction drizzled over the top. you can probably tell from the picture above how AHmazing it was. seriously, i could lick the screen.

when we got home, i set out to make it myself. and in may, for my little girl’s fifth birthday, i served this for brunch and was so happy with the reviews. people had fourths, i am pretty sure, because i ran out fast.

so if you get out to nashvegas, you must go to marche – you will love it. but if you can’t make it out there, this is the next best thing to their perfect strawberry toast.

oh, and cook’s note: don’t get too amorous while you are simmering your balsamic reduction. if you lean over the saucepan and dreamily inhale the steam, you’ll get a wicked burn all the way to the back of your nose. trust. (i speak from experience.)

strawberry + mascarpone tartine with balsamic reduction

ingredients

1 loaf sourdough bread

2 16-oz containers fresh strawberries

2 8-oz containers mascarpone cheese

2 tbsp honey

1 cup balsamic vinegar

butter, to spread

directions

1. make the reduction: put balsamic into a small saucepan over medium-high heat. bring to a boil (watch it – it will boil pretty quick) then reduce heat to medium. let simmer for about 10 minutes, until it has reduced to close to 1/3 cup (gently tilt the saucepan towards you to see how much.) remove from heat and let cool – it will thicken up as it cools. (you can store this in an airtight container and it will keep for a couple months. it will probably congeal, but that’s ok. just warm it up a bit with a teensy splash of water when you are ready to use it again.)

2. wash and rinse the strawberries, then slice off the tops and dice them up. put in a bowl and let macerate in their own juices for a bit.

3. put mascarpone cheese into a medium bowl. squeeze in honey and stir to combine completely.

4. when you are ready to serve, cut long sourdough slices in half and toast the bread. (i toast it pretty well so it really stands up to all the toppings.) spread with a light schmear of butter. now generously spread on the mascarpone – i like it really thick. top with diced strawberries and then drizzle with balsamic reduction. repeat for remaining slices of toast.

*leftover mascarpone with honey will keep for a week or two in the fridge.

**this recipe is enough for a decent sized brunch party – maybe 10-12 people. if it’s just a few people, or a small family –  just use 8 oz mascarpone cheese and 1 tbsp honey, and one container of strawberries – instead of making the big batch.

kanakuk’s famous coffee cake

kanakuk's famous coffee cake via she likes to eat
as some of you may know, i grew up going to a camp called kanakuk. in the summers as a kid, worked there every summer while i was in college, and now my husband directs one of the camps full-time. crazy the places you never think you’ll end up..

if you know kanakuk, you know that this wonderful little camp is famous for many things, but one thing they are especially famous for is their coffee cake. i dreamed about it during the school year as a kid and constantly begged my mom to make it all year. and when i got to camp? you know i made it MY JOB to eat that coffee cake every sunday when they served it.

the recipe that was given to me years ago by a camp cook was for massive quantities and i was not really sure how to cut it down so much.. (insert nervous face). so i got a new recipe in the last 5 years or so that made a much smaller batch. this is that original recipe from the camp cook, but i have increased the topping portion to make it a little bit thicker (i am sure there are no objections there). also, i initially had some trouble with the topping sinking into the cake (because it is so deliciously heavy) so i now bake the cake for a bit before taking it out, adding the streusel topping, and then finish baking it.

i have only tweaked it a little, but this is the honest, true kanakuk coffee cake recipe. if you have never had kanakuk’s coffee cake, just take my word for it. go make it.

i promise you’ll quickly understand why it’s so famous.

kanakuk’s coffee cake

ingredients for the topping

1 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp all purpose flour

4 tsp cinnamon

6 tbsp cold butter, cut into small pieces

ingredients for the cake

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1 3/4 cups granulated sugar

4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp coarse sea salt

3 eggs

1 tbsp vanilla

1 1/2 sticks butter

3/4 cups water

1/2 cup (4 oz) evaporated milk (like milnot)

directions

1. preheat the oven to 350. spray a 9×13 baking dish with coconut oil or cooking spray.

2. in a medium bowl combine topping ingredients. work cold butter in with your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs and all of the butter chunks have been worked in. put in a ziploc bag, seal it, and place in the fridge.

3. in a large bowl, combine flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt – whisk to incorporate. in a separate large bowl, beat the eggs a minute or two, until foamy + fluffy. add in vanilla and evaporated milk.

4. melt butter in a small bowl in the microwave, about 1 minute. add water to melted butter, gently stir to make sure all the butter has completely melted. add melted butter & water to egg mixture and whisk well to incorporate. add half of dry ingredients into the egg mixture and whisk. add second half of dry ingredients and mix until combined and no longer lumpy. pour batter into prepared baking dish. bake for 20 minutes.

5. remove cake from oven. sprinkle chilled streusel topping evenly over the top of the batter, making sure to cover well and get the edges too. bake for 20-25 minutes more, until center is no longer jiggly and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. let cool for about 8-10 minutes, then serve warm or at room temperature.

mrs watson’s pumpkin bread

mrs. watson's perfect pumpkin bread | via she likes to eat

in the fall, i sometimes get a little too excited about christmas being so close. i confess, i begin to listen to christmas music and bake things that remind me of the holidays. all because the temperature has dropped, like, 15 degrees.

when we were traveling a few weeks back, we spent some time in oklahoma city with a few close friends. one of those dear friends had just moved into a new house and i was seriously drooling over her new kitchen. (white + marble + gold fixtures make me a little giddy.) THEN she had me drooling yet again over this homemade pumpkin bread she had made from scratch. literally the day we got home, i immediately gathered the ingredients and made it for my family.. well, for myself, let’s be honest.  i only made a few small changes and, after a few batches, truly it’s the best i’ve made. or ever had. it is super moist (i ain’t afraid to say it); light & fluffy yet superbly dense, while not being overly sweet. it has a ton of flavor from all the spices and, well, yeah. it’s the perfect pumpkin bread.

mrs. watson’s perfect pumpkin bread
makes 2 loaves

ingredients

2 1/2 cups flour

2 cups sugar

2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp nutmeg

2 tsp ground cloves

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp coarse sea salt

1 16-oz can pumpkin (not pie filling)

4 eggs

1 cup vegetable oil

2/3 cup water

2 tsp vanilla

directions

1. preheat oven to 350. spray 2 large loaf pans (or 6 small) with cooking spray – i use coconut or grapeseed oil spray. set aside.

2. in a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients. in a separate bowl, whisk the eggs. then add pumpkin, oil, water, and vanilla. mix the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until incorporated. pour into the prepared loaf pans.

3. bake for 50-60 minutes, until a toothpick or knife inserted fully into the center of the bread comes out clean.

vanilla cream scones

vanilla cream scones | via she likes to eat
one of my favorite memories is my first trip to london with my mom and grandma. my maternal grandparents lived there and my grandma took me there as a gift for my 16th birthday, to share with me a place she loved so much. it was on this trip that i discovered my innate love for rain, a ploughman’s lunch, and the perfect scone. i fell head over heels, to say the least (with the city and the baked good). as the rain would randomly begin to fall, we would quickly duck into the closest cafe and have ourselves warm cups of english tea with milk and platefuls of scones with jam and clotted cream. over the years and several trips, london remains one of my favorite places on earth and a good scone always reminds me of the times i have had there.

scones can have so many wonderful additions like blueberries or strawberries, or made with different spices or glazes. but i am a purist first, and love a basic vanilla scone – one that has just the right amount of sweetness. these are not overly sweet, so you can serve them on their own or with jam. i make them different ways each time, but i love topping them with different kinds of specialty sugars. in the picture above, i used plain turbinado sugar and also espresso sugar. (in that batch i also used strawberry sugar and clove sugar.) if you can find them they are the perfect flavoring, but i think they are just perfect with plain, unflavored turbinado.

vanilla cream scones
adapted via king arthur flour
(makes 13 large scones or about 40 small scones – depending on what size cutter you use)

ingredients

3 cups all purpose flour

1 tbsp baking powder

1 tsp sea salt

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 tbsp vanilla

1 1/3 – 1 1/2 cups heavy cream (plus more for brushing)

directions

1. place a rack in the upper third of the oven. preheat to 425. line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper (if you are making larger scones, you will only need one baking sheet. for small 2 to 3-inch sized scones, you will need at least 2 sheets.)

2. in a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. in a small bowl, combine and whisk the cream and vanilla, then slowly add to the dry ingredients, while mixing to form a cohesive dough – but not a sticky dough.

3. lightly flour a clean work surface. place the ball of dough onto it and roll it out to 3/4″ thickness. using a biscuit cutter (depends on what size you desire) cut scones from the dough and place on prepared baking sheets, about 1 inch apart. brush each scone with heavy cream or whole milk and sprinkle generously with sugar.

4. bake for about 14 minutes for larger scones, and 10-11 minutes for the small scones, until just beginning to golden on the edges. remove from the oven and serve warm.

enjoy!

banana, date, and almond butter smoothies

banana date almond butter smoothies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
i seriously have no clue where march went.
we have been traveling a lot and have had so much on our plates during the last several weeks, i feel like it came and went before we knew it. because of all of the traveling i confess i haven’t cooked much at all lately, making me miss time in the kitchen both on my own and with the little she.

during those months when we are stuck inside so much because of the cold outside, we often find ourselves making smoothies to go with nearly every lunch, the kind that are super thick and creamy. this one was our favorite of all our new concoctions this year, and pretty good for you too. dates have high levels of folate and vitamin A, while almond butter is rich in antioxidants and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.

if you have a high-speed blender, like a blend-tec or vitamix, A} i am super jealous of you, and B} they’re perfect for this smoothie because of the chopped dates. if you are able to completely puree them, all the better. if you don’t have a high-speed blender, you’ll have little bits of dates in the bottom of your smoothie, which i still kind of love.

banana, date, and almond butter smoothie
makes 2 smoothies

ingredients

1.5 cups milk (whole, 2%, almond, or soy)

1 frozen banana, halved

3 tbsp almond butter

2 pitted dates, chopped

1/4 tsp vanilla

1 cup ice

directions

1. blend all ingredients completely in a blender, until ice and dates are completely blended.

enjoy!

goat cheese & thyme quiche with hashbrown crust

goat cheese thyme quiche with hash brown crust

seems like i’m kind of stacking up the goat cheese recipes lately – like with these biscuits and this queso fundido. i would probably entertain the idea of dedicating my entire blog to the love of goat cheese, if i didn’t love chocolate so much.. and baking.. and bread.. and cookies.. and mexican food.

when i see a recipe with goat cheese in it, i immediately put it in my “to-make stack” (well, unless it has loads of tomatoes or mushrooms – sorry folks, can’t do it). this recipe is inspired by/adapted from a martha stewart dish – i added a few things and cut the recipe down in size a little, for ease. seriously y’all, the end result was awesome. the warm, gooey goat cheese and the crunchy hashbrown crust turned out to be such a great match. the thyme really adds a lot of flavor and the sour cream makes it super creamy. it’s the perfect dish for a brunch or even lunch, next to a bowl of warm tomato soup.

goat cheese & thyme quiche with hashbrown crust

ingredients

2 tbsp butter, melted

1/2 package frozen shredded hash browns, thawed (about 4 cups)

9 eggs

1 cup sour cream

4-5 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

1/4 tsp dried thyme

2 whole green onions, chopped

sea salt & freshly ground pepper

directions

1. preheat the oven to 375. coat an 8 inch pie dish evenly with olive oil cooking spray.

2. in a large bowl, combine thawed hashbrowns, melted butter, 1 egg, 1/4 tsp sea salt, and 1/8 tsp pepper. mix well with a spatula. press into prepared pie dish (also up the sides) with the spatula. place on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until set, about 15 minutes.

3. in another large bowl, whisk 8 remaining eggs. add sour cream, goat cheese, 1 tsp sea salt, thyme, and pepper – mix well. pour into pre-baked crust and sprinkle the chopped green onions evenly over the top. bake until set (gently tap the side of the pie dish -the filling should jiggle slightly in the middle but not on the sides), about 30-35 minutes. serve while still warm.

enjoy!

goat cheese & thyme quiche with hashbrown crust