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.)

 

carrot almond cake

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so i have to admit, i don’t go bonkers over the traditional carrot cake. i know i know, sorry, i’m totally un-american. the one with pineapple in it and all the rich, thick cream cheese frosting – it’s way too much for me. i much prefer something simpler, not too much topping, and if it just happens to be healthy, well then i am IN.

last week for a gathering of friends, i chose to bring this for our dessert. it’s lightly adapted from one of alice medrich’s cookbooks and i think it IS DIVINE. i made some fresh whipped cream to go on top and it was the perfect thing – light and cool and not too sweet. it is made with almond meal, so this lovely just happens to be gluten free, if you are cooking for someone who doesn’t eat gluten. and let’s be serious – this could totally double as breakfast if you were so inclined..

carrot almond cake

ingredients

1 1/4 cup almond meal

3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar

2 cups cleaned & finely grated carrots, lightly packed (about 3 medium-large carrots)

1 orange

4 large eggs, separated (at room temperature)

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon (slightly heaping)

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/8 tsp cream of tartar

fresh whipped cream, for serving

directions

  1. position a rack in the lower third of the oven. preheat to 325. butter or grease the bottom and sides of an 8″ springform pan.
  2. whisk together the almond meal and 2 tbsp of the sugar; set aside.
  3. lay out about 4 paper towels on the counter. grate carrots onto paper towels in 2 batches. for each batch, gather up the towel corners and squeeze as much of the carrot juice as you can out of the grated carrots into a cup or small bowl. (drink or discard the juice.) set aside.
  4. zest the orange into a separate large bowl. add egg yolks, salt, cinnamon, vanilla, and 1/2 cup plus tbsp sugar and mix with a spatula until all are incorporated. sprinkle grated carrots on top and then set aside.
  5. in a cold metal mixing bowl with a mixer (hand or standing) beat the egg whites and cream of tartar at medium-high speed until the mixture holds a soft shape. slowly sprinkle in the 2 remaining tbsp of sugar, beating at high speed until the egg whites are stiff.
  6. scrape 1/4 of the egg whites on top of the grated carrots and fold in with a spatula. add the remaining egg whites to the bowl, pour in the almond meal mixture, and fold them in.
  7. pour batter evenly into prepared springform pan. bake for 30-35 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the sides are beginning to separate from the pan. cool completely on a rack. (to remove from the springform pan: slide a thin knife around the sides of the cake and underneath and transfer onto a serving platter.) serve with fresh whipped cream. will keep for about 4-5 days in a sealed container or tight plastic wrap.

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popcorn cookies with chocolate chips

popcorn + chocolate chip cookies

ok, so imma be real with you.
i burn popcorn.

like pretty much every time i make it.
no matter how closely i listen to the microwave as it’s popping, i still burn it.
i follow the directions – i swear – and then stand patiently by the microwave as it pops, listening for the break in the popping… i pull it out as soon as i AM SURE i got it at just the right moment and without fail, i open the door to a slightly burnt smell. and see the little black flecks inside the popped kernels. poor things…
then i deliver the sad attempt to my husband, head hung low. every friggin time.
he can vouch for this. and yet he continues to ask me to make it for him. #smh #sorryhoney

so until i can learn to pop popcorn correctly – and this is not a paid ad – i will remain a HUGE fan of angie’s boom chicka pop. a friend and a client introduced me to it a couple years ago and i have kept it stocked in our pantry ever since. naturally when i came across the idea to put popcorn into a cookie – and it called for popping your own in the microwave for the recipe – i was all, SHYAH RIGHT, i got this.

i adapted a recipe from my favorite design magazine, canada’s house and home (like these maple pudding cakes) and these have quickly become a favorite in my house. the savory, salty element in these cookies is awesome.. and the combination of it with the melty chocolate chips is THE JAM.

popcorn cookies with chocolate chips
makes 28 cookies

ingredients

5 cups popcorn (pick through + remove any unpopped kernels)

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp coarse sea salt

1 stick butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

1 egg

2 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 cup chocolate chips

directions

  1. preheat oven to 325. place top rack in lower third of the oven. line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. in a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. in a separate large bowl, beat butter and sugars together with an electric mixer until smooth. add egg and vanilla, and mix until combined. with a spatula, stir in dry ingredients. then mix in the popcorn, and then the chocolate chips, until evenly distributed.
  3. with a 2-tbsp cookie scoop or large spoon, drop cookies about 2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheets. with clean fingers or a fork, smash them down a bit. bake for 12-13 minutes, until cookies are browning around the edges.

the el grande chewy chocolate chip cookie

grande chewy chocolate chip cookies | via she likes to eat
once, i thought you should look for and keep only one chocolate chip cookie recipe. pretty sure my beliefs have changed and i now agree that life is too short to only make one recipe.

these cookies are the result of lots of advice, tips from others, and searching the depths of my soul. one friend of mine has always said a good chocolate chip cookie (CCC) is BIG, definitely not on the small side (although sometimes i am fine with a small cookie because i feel ok about eating more of them). another wise source, claims that CCCs come out best when baked at 360, and not 350. i personally love a little espresso powder in mine, but i added only a little in this recipe. it truly lends so much depth to the batter. lastly, there is a little “secret ingredient” that i have added, after just playing around with different ideas: ground pecans (these are the things i think about before i fall asleep at night). FOR REALS it makes these cookies crazy good, giving them this chewy but thick puffy texture and SO much flavor. (of course, if you’re allergic, you can omit the pecans.)

these cookies have a special place in my heart, as do these of course, for they are classic and perfect and ohmygoodness i have a hard time eating just one.
so maybe i should say they have a special place on my thighs in my smile!

the EL GRANDE chewy chocolate chip cookie
makes about 14 cookies

ingredients

2 sticks butter, at room temperature

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp espresso powder

1/2 cup white sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar (packed)

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs

1/3 cup pecans, ground

1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (semi-sweet or dark)

directions

1. preheat oven to 360. line 2 large cookie sheets with parchment paper. put pecans into a small food processor and ground until fine. set aside.

2. in a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and espresso powder. set aside.

3. in a separate large bowl, beat softened butter and sugars on medium speed, until light and fluffy. add in vanilla and eggs. with a spatula, mix in ground pecans. add half of flour mixture and mix. add the rest and mix by hand until *almost* completely incorporated. add in chocolate chips and stir to combine.

4. scoop batter with a large cookie scoop, or spoon into balls about 1/4 cup in size, onto a cookie sheet. keep about 2 inches apart – you should get about 4-6 cookies per cookie sheet. bake for 11-13 minutes – they should be just beginning to brown along the bottom edge. bang sheet lightly on the counter after removing from the oven (this gives them the pretty lines on top that i just love). allow to cool a bit on a cookie rack – but not too long if you want them all melty & gooey 🙂

dark chocolate mexican brownies

mexican dark chocolate brownies via she likes to eat

these might be the perfect brownie.
yes yes, the oreo brownies ROCK MY WORLD and the chocolate-ginger brownies are unexpected and lovely, but for a classic brownie, these are just awesome. they are just the right amount of fudgy and they have that perfect shiny, thinly crisp top. my mom (aka “mahm”) sent me her recipe for spicy mexican brownies a while back and i played with it a bit to get the shiny top (fave) and then added the dark chocolate because IT’S AWESOME. and i am pretty sure she approves, since she is the one who passed on to me the love of dark chocolate. (of course you can use bittersweet or milk chocolate if you’re not a fan of the dark.. and you can come to me for counseling, if so.)

if you aren’t into spicy things like i am or have little ones, you can omit the cayenne pepper. but instead of omitting it altogether, i have come up with a solution. i have 2 little girls who love chocolate mayyybe more than i do so i make it like this: i mix everything but the cayenne, pour half the batter into an 8×8 dish, then whisk in 1/4 tsp cayenne to the last half of the batter (mix well) and then pour it into the other baking dish. then you have one spicy/adult dish’o’brownies, and one for the kiddies.

inexplicably, my little half-texans are not fans of spicy. yet.
maybe these brownies will be the thing to get them to come over to the dark side…

mahm’s dark chocolate mexican brownies

ingredients

2 sticks butter, cut into tablespoons

6 oz. (1 cup) dark chocolate, coarsely chopped (or you can use morsels)

2 cups granulated sugar

4 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/3 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup special dark cocoa powder, unsweetened

1/2 tsp coarse sea salt

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

directions

1. preheat the oven to 325. grease a 9 x 13 (or two 8-inch square) baking dish generously with coconut oil or baking spray.

2. melt butter and chocolate together in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring until smooth. remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes.

3. while you’re waiting for the chocolate to cool, in a large bowl, combine eggs, vanilla, and sugar – whisk well.  stir in remaining ingredients. add in melted chocolate and butter. stir to combine.

3. pour batter into prepared baking dish(es). bake 25-35 minutes. (25 minutes will get you really fudgy brownies and 30-35 minutes will bake them through a little bit more.) let the brownies cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then cut into squares and enjoy! (store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.)

maple brown sugar oatmeal cookies

maple brown sugar oatmeal cookies | via she likes to eat

i was blazing through target a few weeks ago – the way one does when accompanied by a 4-year old and a 2-year old who are not into shopping the way you are and goldfish snacks are no longer cutting it – and i barely glanced at a display of packaged cookie mixes, all in autumn-inspired flavors. only later did this register and i began to dream of a similar cookie that i had seen, with maple syrup and brown sugar… i thought i would maybe mix in some oats… my wheels were turning.

so i looked in my trusty recipe box – the one you are looking at right now – and went to my oatmeal biscoff cookies with vanilla-soaked raisins recipe, figuring i could edit it to make this cookie recipe i was working on in my head. although i thought it would take a few tries to get it just right – since cooking with maple syrup can be tricky..well, baking PERIOD can be tricky when experimenting – but the first batch, really, was MONEY.

i done it all by mine-self, y’all. (insert ozarks backwoods accent here.)

these babies are a comforting, classic fall cookie. the oats give them texture and they are perfectly crispy on the outer edges and yet gloriously chewy in the center. they are the cookie i crave on a cold fall day, when i don’t want anything fancy, just simple, with a glass of cold milk.

maple brown sugar oatmeal cookies
makes about 34 cookies

ingredients

2 1/2 cups flour

1 cup plain quaker oats

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 1/2 sticks butter, at room temp

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 cup packed brown sugar

2 tsp vanilla

2 eggs

1/3 cup pure maple syrup (not imitation syrup)

directions

1. preheat the oven to 350. line 2-3 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

2. in a large bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, baking soda, and salt – set aside. in another bowl, cream together butter and both sugars with a mixer (handheld or standing), at medium speed until light and fluffy. add in vanilla, then add in eggs one at a time and mix until fully incorporated. add in maple syrup. continue mixing on low to medium speed for another 1-2 minutes.

3. add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix together with a spatula until just combined. using a cookie scoop or a spoon, place balls of cookie dough an inch or more apart (they will spread a bit during baking) onto prepared cookie sheets. bake each sheet separately, baking for about 13-14 minutes each, until the cookies begin to darken around the edges and are set in the center. allow cookies to cool on a wire rack before removing from cookie sheets.

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.