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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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 🙂

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.

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.)

buttermilk cinnamon chip scones with cinnamon glaze

buttermilk cinnamon chip scones

this past week was A WEEK. you know?
it feels like we had been snowed in for ages and i had some crazy cabin fever kickin’.
so we have been baking a lot. the little she and me. and it’s so good for me: i have been slowly working through my stress over the mess in the kitchen while working with a preciously clumsy three-year-old tornado.

there is always a stack of recipes i am wanting to try, sitting in a drawer in my kitchen, and we whittled down that stack quite a bit last week.
i ended up making 3 batches of these, messing with them here and there, adding my own ideas to the original scone recipe (from how sweet it is). the final product, i do have to say, is awesome. (they are also delicious without the glaze, so that part is totally optional.)

i have finally given away the last of the RIDICULOUS amount of these that i had in my house, thank goodness. i truly was going to be good this january and lay off so many sweets after some crazy holiday eating, but well… i blame the snow.

*updated march 2016*

buttermilk cinnamon chip scones
makes roughly 25-30 scones

ingredients

3 1/4 cups flour

2 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp coarse sea salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) cold butter, cut into small cubes

1 cup buttermilk (or whole milk)

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon extract

3/4 cup cinnamon chips

about 1/8 cup milk, for brushing

for the (optional) glaze:
1 heaping cup powdered sugar

2 tbsp half and half

1 tsp cinnamon extract

directions

1. preheat the oven to 425. in a medium bowl, combine buttermilk, brown sugar, and cinnamon extract. whisk until well incorporated. set to the side. in a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder and baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. whisk to combine. cut in butter with a pastry cutter or a large fork (or your fingers) until coarse crumbs are formed. pour liquid ingredients and cinnamon chips into dry ingredients and stir to combine.

2. lightly flour a work surface and turn out dough onto it. roll out until about 1/2 inch thick. using a 2″ round or square cookie cutter, cut into scones. place about 1 inch apart on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet (you’ll need about 2 large sheets).

3. brush the tops of the scones with milk. bake for 10-12 minutes, until the scones have just begun to golden on top.

4. while scones are baking, make the glaze: put all glaze ingredients into a small bowl and whisk until smooth. once scones have cooled about 5 minutes or so, drizzle glaze over the tops.

enjoy!

pear & granola crisp muffins

pear & granola crisp muffins via she likes to eat

i love a good muffin. especially this week, when we have been waking up late and rushing about, trying to get out of the house quickly. i haven’t been much in the mood to scramble the eggs, toast the bread, and butter it. and jelly it. and cut it into quarters for the precious, picky three year old living in my house. i am all about giving my kiddo a healthy meal first thing in the morning, but in real life, THIS WEEK, i simply could care less. as long as we get out the door in time for mommy to drive through starbucks and get her latte.

these muffins are packed with chopped up pears; they don’t have as much of the “muffin” as most muffins do. i like this. maybe because it makes me feel like they’re a health food. maybe it’s because IT MAKES THEM DELICIOUS. then they have this glorious little crumble of granola and brown sugar on top. it browns nicely in the oven and gets just a bit crispy thanks to the supporting cast, butter.

happy fall, y’all.

pear and granola crisp muffins

ingredients

for the muffins:

1 cup all purpose flour

3/4 cup whole wheat flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

2 eggs

3/4 cup brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup plain greek yogurt

2 tbsp butter, melted

2 pears, peeled and diced (about 1/4 inch dice), about 2 cups

1/2 cup granola or oats

for the granola crisp topping:

1/2 cup granola

1/4 cup all purpose flour

1/4 cup brown sugar, packed

1/4 tsp salt

2 1/2 tbsp butter, chilled & cut into small pieces

directions

1. preheat the oven to 400. line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners, or spray with oil (i like to use coconut oil spray).

2. to make the topping, whisk dry topping ingredients (granola, flour, brown sugar, and salt) together. cut in, or using your fingers, the cold butter until clumps form. set aside.

3. in a large bowl, whisk the eggs, brown sugar, yogurt, and melted butter. in another large bowl, whisk the flours, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.  add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. fold in the granola (or oats) and pears.

4. divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, filling about 3/4 full. sprinkle generously with granola topping. bake about 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. cool 5 minutes or so before taking the muffins out of the tin. serve warm with butter.

enjoy!