Lavender Shortbread Sandwich Cookies with Honey Buttercream

Lavender Shortbread Sandwich Cookies with Honey Buttercream

Lavender and honey go so well together. Bees know it, fairies know it, princesses know it. The flavor combination is so delightful in these cookies, that I decided to share them with you. In addition to delicious, compatible flavors, these cookies have a divine texture combination. The shortbread cookies have a tender, melt-in-your-mouth texture. Together with the silky, smooth honey buttercream, they’ll make you feel fancy and regal. You’ll hold your head up higher, ring for your tea and declare that you do indeed deserve fine things!

Some people are nervous about baking with lavender because they don’t want their baked goods to taste like soap or perfume. That can be a concern if the lavender flavor is too pronounced. However, if you don’t use enough you won’t be able to taste it at all. There’s a fine balance. If you use the right amount, it will taste pleasant and have sweet undertones. I used two teaspoons of culinary lavender in these cookies, but you can adjust the amount to your tastes. You can start out with one teaspoon, bake a small sample of dough and taste it, to customize the flavor.

Speaking of tasting, my grandmother always said, “taste as you go.” This is also helpful when making the honey buttercream. Typically, when making other flavors of buttercream, you add more powdered sugar if your buttercream is too thin. In this case, adding more powdered sugar can make the buttercream too sweet. Once you have added the amount of honey that tastes good to you, you can add a little cornstarch if you need to stiffen it up a bit.

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Lavender Shortbread Sandwich Cookies with Honey Buttercream
Tender lavender scented cookies with silky honey buttercream filling
Keyword cookies
Servings
Ingredients
Lavender Shortbread Cookies
Honey Buttercream
Keyword cookies
Servings
Ingredients
Lavender Shortbread Cookies
Honey Buttercream
Instructions
Honey Buttercream
  1. In a medium bowl, beat butter and sugar together until smooth. Add honey, one tablespoon at a time until desired sweetness and consistency is reached.
  2. Mix in a pinch of salt to taste.
  3. Mix in cornstarch, if necessary, to firm up buttercream. *See notes below.
Recipe Notes

*The addition of cornstarch helps to firm up buttercream without adding additional sweetness.

To find culinary lavender, click here.

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Blackberry Oatmeal Cookies

Blackberry Oatmeal Cookies by Brownie Mischief

We’ve all heard our parents telling their childhood stories of walking miles to school and suffering worse hardships than we ever had to. My mom used to tell me stories like that, but she had a sense of humor, so her stories were always fun to listen to. She used to tell me about her friend’s mother, who would make big, delicious oatmeal cookies. My mom would trade her baloney sandwich nearly every day to get one of those cookies from her friend. She reminisced about those cookies so much, that I set out to make her some when I learned to bake. She and my grandmother would taste test batch after batch of my cookies over the years. I have probably baked enough oatmeal cookies to circle the earth. Okay that’s an exaggeration, but seriously I have baked quite a few. Of all the oatmeal cookies I’ve baked, these are one of my favorites!

Most of the time when you see fruit added to an oatmeal cookie, it’s dried fruit, like raisins or cranberries. That’s mostly because if you just dump fruit into your cookie dough, the fruit releases water, leaving soggy spots in your cookies. To solve that issue, for this recipe, I macerate the blackberries before baking. The purple blackberry juice that’s released from the berries is used to make a beautiful lilac icing to drizzle over the cookies.

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Blackberry Oatmeal Cookies
Course Dessert
Keyword cookies
Servings
cookies
Ingredients
Brown Butter
Macerated Berries
Oatmeal Cookies
Icing
Course Dessert
Keyword cookies
Servings
cookies
Ingredients
Brown Butter
Macerated Berries
Oatmeal Cookies
Icing
Instructions
  1. In a small, light colored saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until dark golden and fragrant. You will see brown particles sink to the bottom. Keep a close eye on it. It can go from toasted to burned very quickly.
  2. Remove from heat and immediately transfer brown butter, including the brown particles, to a small bowl. Refrigerate until solid, about one hour.
  3. Place blackberries in a medium bowl. Sprinkle with granulated sugar and toss to coat. Let sit for 30 minutes until berries release their juices.
  4. Drain blackberries and reserve the juice.
  5. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  6. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
  7. In a large bowl, beat brown butter, softened butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.
  8. Add eggs and vanilla extract in three separate additions and beat until well combined.
  9. Stir in flour mixture just until combined.
  10. Stir in oats until combined.
  11. Gently fold in blackberries.
  12. Scoop 1/4 cup sized portions of dough, about 2 inches apart, onto prepared cookie sheets. *I used a #16 2 ounce scoop.
  13. Bake until cookie tops are set and edges are golden brown, about 13-15 minutes.
  14. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  15. Pass reserved blackberry juice through a sieve to remove seeds.
  16. In a small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, heavy cream and one tablespoon reserved blackberry juice until smooth. Add more blackberry juice, a little at a time, until desired consistency is reached.
  17. Drizzle icing over cooled cookies.
Recipe Notes

*To find the portion scoop I used, click here.

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Brioche Cinnamon Buns

Brioche Cinnamon Buns

I can honestly say that cinnamon buns are one of my favorite foods ever!!! Yes, this statement required three exclamation points. Bring on the cinnamon buns, cinnamon rolls and cinnamon twists. I love them all. I’m especially fond of this recipe because it never disappoints. The brioche dough is soft, fluffy and easy to work with. I specifically chose this recipe to share with you because you’ll have a very high chance of success with it. Yeast can be moody, but she’s always in a good mood when I make these buns.

I topped these cinnamon buns with cream cheese icing, but you can top them with fruit, nuts, honey or a simple vanilla glaze instead. They’re amazing topped with peaches and cream too.

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Brioche Cinnamon Buns
Course Breakfast, Brunch
Servings
cinnamon buns
Ingredients
Brioche Dough
Filling
Cream Cheese Icing
Course Breakfast, Brunch
Servings
cinnamon buns
Ingredients
Brioche Dough
Filling
Cream Cheese Icing
Instructions
Brioche Dough
  1. In a small bowl, whisk warm milk and yeast together. Whisk in eggs until well combined.
  2. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix flour, cornstarch, sugar and salt on low speed until combined.
  3. Keeping mixer at low speed, gradually add milk mixture. Continue mixing on low until dough comes together.
  4. Increase speed to medium. Add butter, a few pieces at a time, making sure each addition is incorporated before adding more.
  5. Continue mixing on medium speed until dough is smooth and stretches easily, about 10 minutes.
  6. Shape dough into a ball and transfer to a large oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 2 hours.
Assembly and Baking
  1. Line a 9"x13" pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, cinnamon and salt.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 12"x 16" rectangle.
  4. Spread softened butter evenly onto dough to within 1/2 inch of the edges. Sprinkle brown sugar mixture over butter.
  5. Starting at a long end, roll dough tightly into a log. Trim off 1/2 inch of uneven ends.
  6. With seam side down, slice log into 12 equal sections or 9 equal sections for large buns. Place rolls in prepared baking pan.
  7. Cover with plastic wrap. Let rise again in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
  8. Heat oven to 350ºF. Remove plastic wrap. Bake until golden brown, about 25-30 minutes.
  9. Let cool 20 minutes. Top with cream cheese icing.
Cream Cheese Icing
  1. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese and butter together until smooth.
  2. Add vanilla bean paste and salt. Beat until combined.
  3. Gradually add powdered sugar and beat until well combined.
  4. Beat in milk, a little at a time, until desired consistency is reached.
Recipe Notes

*To find the yeast I used, click here.

**To find the cinnamon I used, click here.

***To find the vanilla bean paste I used, click here.

To find the baking pan I used, click here.

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Blueberry Donut Holes with Homemade Blueberry Sugar

Blueberry Donut Holes with Homemade Blueberry Sugar

If you landed here from one of my social media accounts, welcome! I’m really glad you’re here. I love to create fun, pretty and sweet treats like these delicious blueberry donut holes! The thing that really makes these special is the homemade blueberry sugar, which adds a burst of blueberry flavor. Freeze dried blueberries are combined with sugar to create a beautiful, flavorful sugar that you can use for many other things. It can also be used in tea, lattes, lemonade, cocktails or sprinkled on cookies or scones. Keep in mind that freeze dried blueberries are not the same as dried blueberries. Dried blueberries still contain some moisture, so they won’t work for this purpose.

The donut hole batter comes together quickly and easily. The most challenging part for me is frying them. I found that using a thermometer and testing one donut hole first, helps you determine the perfect oil temperature. Using a small ice scream scoop helps you get uniform donut holes. Make sure the outside of the scoop is clean between each donut to help them keep the round shape and avoid pointy tails.

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Blueberry Donut Holes with Homemade Blueberry Sugar
Course Breakfast, Dessert
Servings
donut holes
Ingredients
Blueberry Sugar
Blueberry Donut Holes
Course Breakfast, Dessert
Servings
donut holes
Ingredients
Blueberry Sugar
Blueberry Donut Holes
Instructions
Blueberry Sugar
  1. Process freeze dried blueberries and sugar in a food processor or a clean spice grinder until finely ground. Be careful not to over process or you may end up with powdered sugar.
Blueberry Donut Holes
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, nutmeg and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix sugar, eggs, melted butter, milk and vanilla extract until well combined.
  3. Stir in flour mixture just until combined. Do not over mix! A few lumps are okay.
  4. Fold in chopped blueberries.
  5. In a heavy saucepan, heat 1 1/2 inches of oil to 340ºF.
  6. Drop tablespoon size scoops or spoonfuls of batter into hot oil. I used a #60 ice cream scoop. Don't overcrowd the pan.
  7. Cook donut holes until golden brown on all sides, about 2-4 minutes, flipping halfway through. If donut holes cook too quickly on the outside, turn heat down.
  8. Briefly drain donut holes on paper towels, then toss warm donut holes in blueberry sugar. Serve immediately.
Recipe Notes

Success tip: Use a small ice cream scoop sprayed with nonstick spray to drop donut holes into oil. Make sure the outside of scoop is clean between each donut hole to keep the round shape and avoid tails on your donut holes.

To find freeze dried blueberries, click here.

To find the ice cream scoop I used, click here.

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Strawberries & Cream Tarts

Strawberries & Cream Tarts

May is when I get to pull out all of my summery recipes. These pretty little Strawberries & Cream Tarts remind me of a summer day. The kind of day when you’re outside enjoying the sunshine and you’re craving a cool, refreshing dessert. This strawberry cream filling alone is so delicious that I could just eat the entire bowl with a spoon. But since I’m extra, I had to create an aesthetic dessert with it.

I used my favorite tart shells for this recipe, but this would also be delicious with those little pre-made graham cracker pie crusts if you want to take a shortcut. The reason I love this tart crust recipe so much though, is that it actually tastes delicious. Once, a few years ago, I purchased a beautiful, small fruit tart from a famous bakery. The fruit was vibrant and glistening and the pastry cream filling was sweet and silky. Now we need the sound of a mic drop, because the tart crust was hard and flavorless, like cardboard! Ever since then, I knew I would settle for nothing less than a delicious tart crust.

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Strawberries & Cream Tarts
Course Dessert
Keyword strawberry, tarts
Servings
4-inch tarts
Ingredients
Tart Crust
Strawberry Cream Filling
Course Dessert
Keyword strawberry, tarts
Servings
4-inch tarts
Ingredients
Tart Crust
Strawberry Cream Filling
Instructions
Tart Crust
  1. In a bowl, whisk together flour, powdered sugar and salt. Set aside.
  2. Work in butter and egg yolk with a pastry blender or with your fingers, until pea size pieces are formed.
  3. Add ice water, one tablespoon at a time, until dough comes together.
  4. Form dough into a disc. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for one hour.
  5. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/8-inch thickness
  6. Cut dough into six 5-inch rounds. Press rounds into six 4-inch or 4 1/4-inch tart pans.*
  7. Dock the bottoms of pie crusts with a fork. Freeze for 30 minutes.
  8. Heat oven to 375ºF. Place tart pans on a large baking sheet.
  9. Line tart shells with six 6-inch parchment rounds. Fill with pie weights. (You can use dried beans or rice if you don't have pie weights.)
  10. Bake tart shells for 12 minutes. Remove parchment paper and pie weights. Continue baking until tart shells are light golden brown, about 4-6 more minutes.
  11. Transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.
Strawberry Cream Filling
  1. Purée strawberries in a blender or small food processor. Pass through a mesh sieve to remove large seeds.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat strawberry purée and sugar over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Transfer to a medium bowl.
  3. Meanwhile, place 3 tablespoons water into a small bowl. Sprinkle gelatin powder over the top of water. Let sit until water is absorbed, about 5 minutes.
  4. Pour gelatin mixture into warm strawberry purée mixture and stir until fully incorporated.
  5. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth.
  6. Add extracts and beat until combined.
  7. Add strawberry purée mixture a little at time and whisk until well combined
  8. In a medium bowl, beat heavy whipping cream with an electric mixer at high speed until stiff peaks form.
  9. Fold whipped cream into strawberry mixture.
  10. Spoon into cooled tart shells. Smooth tops with a small offset spatula. Refrigerate for two hours. Garnish with sliced, fresh strawberries.
Recipe Notes

*To find the tart pans I used, click here.

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Lemon Crinkle Cookies

Lemon Crinkle Cookies by Brownie Mischief
Click here to watch the video.

Crinkle cookies, also known as crackle cookies, have been around for a very long time. The pretty, crispy, cracked exterior and the soft, moist interior are what we love about them! There’s definitely no shortage of recipes for crinkles out there, everything from chocolate to red velvet. I noticed a new wave of interest in lemon crinkles on social media. I even saw an audacious cookie company selling lemon crinkles for twelve dollars each, more money than it will cost for this entire batch! So many of the recipes I tried were disappointing, especially the ones made with cake mix. So I created my own version and I’m sharing it with you. Here’s to making sure delicious lemon crinkle cookies are available for all to enjoy, not just a select few.

This recipe requires a bit of chilling, which I know many people don’t like because they’re impatient. I happen to be one of those people. Old fashioned crinkle cookies require about 3 hours of chilling. My recipe has the addition of cornstarch, which helps prevent spreading and allows for a shorter chilling time. As an added bonus, cornstarch makes the cookies more tender. Win win!

Fresh lemon zest and lemon juice in these cookies is crucial to the best lemon flavor. A bit of pure lemon extract is added to enhance that flavor. Don’t be tempted to use imitation extracts. The flavor will disappoint you. I added two drops of lemon yellow food color, which made them so pretty they look like pure sunshine!

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Lemon Crinkle Cookies
Lemon cookies with a crackled, crispy exterior and a soft, tender interior
Course Dessert
Servings
cookies
Ingredients
Course Dessert
Servings
cookies
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter, sugar and lemon zest together until light and fluffy.
  3. Mix in egg until well combined.
  4. Mix in lemon juice and extracts until well combined.
  5. Add dry ingredients and mix just until combined.
  6. Add food color, if using, and stir to combine.
  7. Refrigerate cookie dough for 30 minutes to one hour.
  8. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  9. Roll cookies into balls, about 2 tablespoons each. **I used a #30 cookie scoop.
  10. Roll balls dough balls generously in powdered sugar.
  11. Place two inches apart onto prepared baking sheets.
  12. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Let cool on cookie sheet for one minute then transfer to cooling rack.
Recipe Notes

*To find Americolor lemon yellow gel food color, click here.

**To find a #30 cookie scoop, click here.

To find the striped wax paper pictured above, click here.

 

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Lilac Vanilla Mini Cakes

Lilac Vanilla Mini Cakes

Once upon a time, there was a little black bear who woke up from a long nap. As she stretched, she felt her tummy growl. She ventured into the morning sunshine and smelled something sweet. She sniffed the air, following the sweet fragrance until she came upon a beautiful purple tree. She climbed up to a comfy branch and ate the tender, purple blossoms to her heart’s content.

Bears, butterflies and bees know something good when they see it. We humans can also enjoy lilacs. I knew lilacs were edible, but I hadn’t tasted them until recently. The flavor reminds me of beets, slightly sweet with a vegetable aftertaste. I really wanted to try lilac syrup after seeing so many photos of pretty purple syrup online. I discovered that lilac syrup is not purple. It’s more of a dull, brownish blue-green. Many people use food coloring or blueberries to color their syrup. I decided to skip that step since I would be using my lilac syrup inside of cake layers. I made a simple syrup with lilac blossoms and let them steep for a couple of hours. It was just long enough to give a subtle lilac flavor without being too floral. If you want a stronger lilac flavor, I suggest using more lilac blossoms rather than steeping longer to avoid bitterness.

I paired the lilac syrup with this soft, fluffy vanilla cake and silky Swiss meringue buttercream. If you aren’t a fan of lilac syrup, feel free to use vanilla simple syrup instead and just use the lilac blossoms to decorate your cakes. They look stunning on any cake or cupcakes.

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Lilac Vanilla Mini Cakes
Soft, fluffy mini white vanilla cakes with lilac syrup and vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream, topped with lilac blossoms
Course Dessert
Servings
mini cakes
Ingredients
Lilac Syrup
White Vanilla Cake
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Course Dessert
Servings
mini cakes
Ingredients
Lilac Syrup
White Vanilla Cake
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Instructions
Lilac Syrup
  1. Combine lilac blossoms, sugar and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring gently to dissolve sugar.
  2. Turn down heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and allow lilac blossoms to steep for 2 hours. Pass lilac syrup through a mesh sieve.
White Vanilla Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together cake flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar, oil and vanilla bean paste with an electric mixer at medium speed, until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  4. On medium speed, beat in egg whites in two additions, then beat in egg until well combined.
  5. On low speed, beat in one third of the flour mixture, then beat in sour cream just until combined.
  6. Beat in the remaining flour in two additions, alternating with milk. Beat just until combined.
  7. Transfer batter to prepared cake pans. Bake for 28-33 minutes, or until top is light golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Do not over bake.
  8. Allow cakes to cool in pans for 10 minutes, then remove from pans and continue cooling on a wire rack.
  9. Cut cakes into twelve 2 3/4-inch rounds using a cookie or biscuit cutter.
  10. Using a pastry brush, brush mini cakes generously with lilac syrup or vanilla simple syrup.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
  1. Combine egg whites and sugar in a large heatproof bowl. Set over a pan of simmering water.
  2. Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and temperature of 160ºF is reached.
  3. Transfer mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment. Whisk on low speed, gradually increasing to medium-high speed. Whisk until glossy, stiff peaks form and mixture reaches room temperature.
  4. Turn mixer to medium-low speed. Add butter, a few pieces at a time, allowing butter to fully incorporate before adding more. If mixture looks curdled, keep mixing and it will correct itself.
  5. Switch to a paddle attachment. On low speed, mix in vanilla bean paste and salt. Continue mixing on low speed for a few minutes until smooth.
  6. Remove about 3/4 cup of frosting and transfer to a small bowl. Using a toothpick, place two tiny drops of lilac gel food color and one tiny drop of violet gel food color into the bowl. Mix with a spatula until well combined.
Assembly
  1. Smear a bit of frosting on each mini cake board. Top with a cake round, frosting, then a second cake round. Frost with a crumb coat if desired. Refrigerate 15 minutes. Frost mini cakes with white Swiss meringue buttercream, then smear small amounts of lilac Swiss meringue buttercream around the sides and top. Smooth frosting with a bench scraper and smooth the tops with a small offset spatula. Decorate with lilac blossoms.
Vanilla Simple Syrup (optional)
  1. Combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. When sugar has dissolved, remove from heat and stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract.
Recipe Notes

*If you can't find ultra fine granulated sugar, it's ok to substitute with regular granulated sugar.

**To find the lilac gel food color I used, click here.

***To find the violet gel food color I used, click here.

****To find 3-inch mini cake boards, click here.

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Raspberry Rose Shortbread Cookies

I don’t think I’ve ever created a recipe that delighted all of my senses as much as these cookies. If you decide to embark on this journey, you’ll start with your sense of smell. Whether you purchase dried rose petals or make them yourself, they’re pleasantly fragrant. I used dried rosebuds, but you can also use dried rose petals. To find dried rose petals, click here. To find dried rosebuds, click here. I pinched the calyx and stem off of the rosebuds to avoid large crunchy bits in the cookies, then I crushed the roses with a mortar and pestle. You can also place them in a plastic bag and roll over them gently with a rolling pin. Your sense of hearing will be satisfied with the crunching of the delicate, dried rose petals. Next, you’ll use your sense of touch to experience the fun rolling cookie dough into balls and maybe even trigger some childhood memories.

The finished cookies have a rustic, almost shabby chic look with their cracks, rose-speckled dough and beautifully imperfect dried roses. You’ll gaze at your beautiful handiwork. And of course, you’ll sample a warm cookie, before you’re supposed to. The cookies will taste tender and slightly sweet with a hint of rose. I like a more subtle rose flavor in my baked goods. But if you prefer a stronger rose flavor, feel free to add a small amount of rose water to your dough. Start with 1/8 teaspoon or 1/4 teaspoon, because a little goes a long way.

If you’re like me, you’ll taste a spoonful of the raspberry ganache because you can and should. Speaking of the raspberry ganache, please use a good quality white chocolate! In some recipes, it’s fine to use white chocolate chips or candy melts if you prefer, but NOT this one. In my humble, yet educated opinion, you should never use chocolate chips to make ganache. I studied chocolate in culinary school with a master chocolatier. I never use chocolate chips for ganache because they contain stabilizers that keep them from melting completely, which prevents you from having the smoothest ganache possible. They also contain less cocoa butter and tend to have a waxy mouth feel.

For this recipe, when it comes to butter, you should also be a little bit picky for successful baking. Low quality butter tends to contain more water and your cookies may spread too much. So make sure to use good butter. Your butter should be room temperature, but not warm. If the butter is shiny, it’s too warm. Don’t try to speed up the softening of butter with your microwave. That’s not a hack, in spite of what you may hear on the internet. Microwaves heat unevenly and will potentially melt your butter. The best way to speed up the softening of your butter is to simply cut it into cubes. By the time you get the rest of your ingredients ready, the butter should be soft enough to use. My last, but most important success tip, is to weigh your ingredients. U.S. Imperial weights are shown in parenthesis on the recipe.

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Raspberry Rose Shortbread Cookies
Rose petal shortbread cookies filled with white chocolate raspberry ganache
Course Dessert
Servings
cookies
Ingredients
Cookies
Filling
Course Dessert
Servings
cookies
Ingredients
Cookies
Filling
Instructions
Cookies
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper
  2. In a large bowl, beat butter until smooth, with an electric mixer.
  3. Add crushed rose petals and beat on low speed until combined.
  4. Add powdered sugar, vanilla extract and salt. Beat until well combined, about 1-2 minutes.
  5. Beat in flour in two additions, on low speed, just until combined.
  6. Roll dough into 1 1/4 inch balls. Place on prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart.
  7. Bake for 7 minutes, then remove from oven. Press indentations into each cookie with the flat top of a 1-inch diameter bottle cap, to form wells.
  8. Return cookies to oven and continue baking until edges are light golden brown, about 5-7 more minutes.
  9. If the wells in the cookies lose definition, press again with bottle cap while cookies are still hot on the baking sheet.
  10. Transfer cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Filling
  1. Purée raspberries in a blender or small food processor. Pass through a mesh sieve to strain out the seeds.
  2. Place raspberry purée in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Turn down heat and simmer until purée is reduced by half, about 5-7 minutes.
  3. Transfer purée to a small bowl and set aside.
  4. Place chopped white chocolate in a medium microwave safe bowl.
  5. In a small saucepan, heat heavy cream over medium heat to a simmer, just until bubbles form around the edges of the pan. Stir in raspberry purée and heat just to a simmer again. Do not boil.
  6. Pour cream mixture over white chocolate. Let sit for 2 minutes, then stir with a spatula until smooth.
  7. Let ganache cool until slightly thickened. Spoon about 1/2 teaspoon into the well of each cookie. Ganache will continue to firm up as it sits.
  8. When ganache in cookies has firmed up, decorate with dried rosebud or rose petals, if desired.
Recipe Notes

*To find dried rose petals, click here.

**To find dried rosebuds, click here.

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Strawberries and Cream Profiteroles

Strawberries & Cream Profiteroles

Hear me out. Imagine you’re in a beautiful room, reclining on a plush velvet chaise lounge. There’s a dainty table nearby. On the table is a cake pedestal with a little pyramid of small, perfectly plump, pink pastries. They’re filled with sweet, luscious strawberry cream. And they’re all yours. This Strawberries & Cream Profiteroles recipe can make that dream come true. Maybe not the velvet chaise lounge, but really any comfortable chair will do while you indulge in these delicious little gems. Profiteroles have a way of making you feel regal and indulgent. I think princesses and princes snack on them. Most of us don’t have a personal pastry chef or the budget to order from French bakeries every day, but we can certainly follow a recipe and make one of the easiest pastry doughs there is. Choux pastry or pate à choux is used to make profiteroles, cream puffs, eclairs, churros and other pastries. Once you get the hang of it, the possibilities are endless.

This recipe features fresh strawberries, but frozen strawberries will work too. You can also substitute raspberries or peaches. To find the recipe for Peaches & Cream Profiteroles, click here. The strawberry purée can be made a day or two ahead and stored in the refrigerator. To make it easy on myself, I like to make the strawberry purée on day one, the pastry cream on day two, then make the profiteroles and strawberry icing and assemble on day three. It’s also helpful to practice the French culinary style of prep, mise en place, which means to have all of your ingredients and equipment in place before you begin. Everything will go much smoother and prevent you from feeling overwhelmed.

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Strawberries and Cream Profiteroles
Bite sized choux pastry puffs filled with fresh strawberries and cream filling and topped with fresh strawberry icing
Course Dessert
Servings
profiteroles
Ingredients
Strawberry Pureé
Strawberries and Cream Filling
Profiteroles
Strawberry Icing
Course Dessert
Servings
profiteroles
Ingredients
Strawberry Pureé
Strawberries and Cream Filling
Profiteroles
Strawberry Icing
Instructions
Strawberry Purée
  1. Purée strawberries in a blender or food processor. Strain puréed strawberries through a sieve.
  2. Transfer strawberry purée to a small saucepan. Stir in lemon juice.
  3. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer until strawberry purée is reduced by half.
  4. Remove from heat. Stir in strawberry extract. Set aside to cool completey.
Strawberries and Cream Filling
  1. Bring milk to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk sugar, cornstarch and salt together in a medium bowl. Add the egg and whisk until smooth.
  3. When milk starts to boil, remove from heat and pour 1/3 of the hot milk into the egg mixture and whisk to combine.
  4. Pour the egg mixture back into the remaining hot milk and cook over medium heat, whisking continuously, until the mixture comes to a boil and thickens.
  5. Remove from heat. Stir in butter and vanilla extract.
  6. Pour mixture through a sieve placed over a bowl. Cover the surface with plastic wrap and let cool completely.
  7. Set aside 2 tablespoons of strawberry purée. Add remaining strawberry purée to cooled pastry cream and stir to combine. Cover strawberry pastry cream and chill in refrigerator.
  8. In a medium bowl, whip heavy cream to stiff peaks with an electric mixer at high speed. Fold whipped cream into cooled strawberry pastry cream. Set aside in refrigerator.
Profiteroles
  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper,
  2. Combine water, butter and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat.
  3. Reduce heat. Add flour and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until mixture pulls away from sides of pan and forms a ball.
  4. Transfer mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on low speed until steam dissipates and mixture cools to lukewarm.
  5. Add eggs one at a time and beat on medium speed until smooth, stopping to scrape down bowl.
  6. Transfer mixture to a piping bag fitted with a large round tip. (I used *Ateco tip 808)
  7. Pipe 1 1/4-inch mounds, about 2 inches apart, on prepared baking sheets. Smooth tops with a wet finger.
  8. Bake 15 minutes, then turn down the oven heat to 350ºF and continue baking until golden brown, about 8-10 more minutes. Using a toothpick or skewer, prick a small hole in each profiterole to allow steam to escape. Place on a wire rack to cool completely.
  9. Use the tip of a paring knife to make a pilot hole in the bottom of each profiterole.
  10. Place strawberries and cream filling into a piping bag fitted with a medium round piping tip. (I used **Wilton tip 12)
  11. Place tip into the pilot holes and fill each profiterole with filling.
Strawberry Icing
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk all icing ingredients together until smooth. Spoon over filled profiteroles. Refrigerate profiteroles until ready to serve.
Recipe Notes

*To find Ateco tip 808 click here.

**To find Wilton tip 12 click here.

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Blueberry Earl Grey Tarts

Blueberry Earl Grey Tarts

These Blueberry Earl Grey Tarts have the nickname, The Fantastic Three, around my house. That’s because I experimented with each separate component of this recipe until I perfected them individually. Then when I combined them together they were unstoppable. The tart crust is flaky and tender, yet sturdy enough to hold the filling. The filling is just sweet enough for my sweet tooth and the whipped cream has just enough Earl Grey flavor.

This recipe makes enough whipped cream to cover the entire tops of the tarts or you can be like me and try to be artistic and avant-garde with your whipped cream. To make the Earl Grey infused whipped cream, use your favorite Earl Grey tea, whether it’s loose leaf tea or a teabag. We don’t discriminate here. All forms of tea are welcome! I do have a favorite Earl Grey tea. If you want to check it out, click here. The tea will make your whipped cream a dull pale yellow. This issue is purely aesthetic. I added a tiny bit of violet gel food color which brightens the whipped cream. You can add more if you want a lavender shade.

Print Recipe
Blueberry Earl Grey Tarts
Course Dessert
Keyword blueberries, tarts
Servings
4-inch tarts
Ingredients
Tart Crust
Blueberry Filling
Earl Grey Whipped Cream
Course Dessert
Keyword blueberries, tarts
Servings
4-inch tarts
Ingredients
Tart Crust
Blueberry Filling
Earl Grey Whipped Cream
Instructions
Tart Crust
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, powdered sugar and salt.
  2. Work in butter and egg yolk, with a pastry blender or with your fingers, until pea sized pieces are formed.
  3. Add ice water one tablespoon at a time until dough comes together.
  4. Form dough into a disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour.
  5. Roll dough to 1/8-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface.
  6. Cut dough into six 5-inch rounds. Press rounds into six 4-inch or 4 1/4-inch tart pans
  7. Dock the bottoms of tart crusts with a fork. Freeze for 30 minutes.
  8. Heat oven to 375ºF. Place tart pans on a large baking sheet.
  9. Line tart shells with 6-inch parchment rounds. Fill with pie weights. (You can use dried beans or rice if you don't have pie weights)
  10. Bake tart shells for 12 minutes. Remove parchment paper and pie weights. Continue baking until tart shells are light golden brown, about 4-6 more minutes.
Blueberry Filling
  1. Set aside 1/2 cup blueberries. Combine the remaining 3 cups blueberries, sugar, corn starch and lemon juice in a medium saucepan.
  2. Simmer over low heat until blueberries are softened and sauce is thickened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the reserved 1/2 cup of blueberries during the last minute of cooking.
  4. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
Earl Grey Whipped Cream
  1. Combine heavy cream and tea in a small saucepan.
  2. Heat just until bubbles form around the edges.
  3. Transfer to a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let cool.
  4. Pass through a sieve to strain out tea leaves or remove tea bag if using.
  5. Cover surface with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator to chill.
  6. Transfer chilled cream to a large bowl. Whip with an electric mixer until thickened.
  7. Add powdered sugar and food color in separate additions and continue whipping at high speed until stiff peaks are formed.
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Mini Orange Olive Oil Cakes

mini orange olive oil cakes

Ever since a certain celebrity cut a hole from the middle of her favorite olive oil cake back in 2020, the internet has been obsessed with olive oil cakes. I must confess that I was a fan of olive oil cakes long before that! I first tasted one at a restaurant years ago and fell in love. The flavor and texture was so delightful, that all it needed was a dusting of powdered sugar on top. Now that the dust has settled, I’m sharing my favorite orange olive oil cake recipe. Not because it was ever trendy, but because it’s a really delicious recipe that tastes like spring.

I made cute little orange scented, personal cakes that are really just elegant cupcakes. The recipe is easily adapted to your tastes. You can switch up the orange flavor and substitute with lemon or any citrus of your choice. Even if you don’t like olive oil, you’ll still like these little cakes. I use light olive oil, rather than extra virgin olive oil, for a more subtle olive oil flavor. Feel free to use your favorite olive oil or replace it with the oil you prefer. Grape seed, avocado and canola oil are some examples of oil you can use as a replacement.

This recipe contains almond flour. It helps with texture and flavor, so it’s a necessary ingredient. Almond flour can be pricey, but it’s good to have on hand. Adding it to your baked goods will make them more moist and tender. To find almond flour click here,

Print Recipe
Mini Orange Olive Oil Cakes
Course Dessert
Keyword cake, olive oil, orange
Servings
mini cakes
Ingredients
Mini Orange Olive Oil Cakes
Orange Simple Syrup
Course Dessert
Keyword cake, olive oil, orange
Servings
mini cakes
Ingredients
Mini Orange Olive Oil Cakes
Orange Simple Syrup
Instructions
Mini Orange Olive Oil Cakes
  1. Heat oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour a 12 serving muffin pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together cake flour, almond flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat sugar, eggs, orange zest and vanilla extract together until smooth.
  4. Gradually mix in olive oil and beat until well combined.
  5. Stir in dry ingredients in two additions, alternating with milk and orange juice. Stir just until combined. Do not over mix.
  6. Fill wells of muffin pan 2/3 full with batter. Do not overfill or cakes will be more difficult to remove.
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until tops look light golden, but still moist and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. They bake very quickly, so check them a few minutes before to avoid over baking.
  8. Cool cakes in pan for 5 minutes. Remove from pan and transfer to a wire rack.
  9. Brush warm cakes with orange simple syrup and allow to cool completely.
  10. When cakes have cooled, dust with powdered sugar.
Orange Simple Syrup
  1. In a small saucepan, stir together sugar, orange juice, lemon juice, and orange zest.
  2. Heat over low heat, stirring occasionally, just until sugar is dissolved.
  3. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
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Vintage Chocolate Cake with the Best Chocolate Frosting

Dark Chocolate Cake with the Best Chocolate Frosting

If you love chocolate cake, this is the post for you! Chocolate cake is one of the best comfort foods there is. I’ve tasted many over the years, but my all time favorite was one I had growing up. I’ve spent years trying to duplicate it. Most cookbook recipes were either too dry, too dense or too spongey. Some books have some velvety, butter based recipes that use the reverse creaming method, but they don’t have the moist, nostalgic texture I was looking for. I noticed that nearly every chocolate cake recipe on the internet is a variation of the century-old recipe from the Hershey’s Cocoa tin. I think many people have passed it down as a family recipe, each grandmother adding her own personal touch. Even some celebrity chefs have claimed it as their own. It’s an easy, delicious, moist recipe and its popularity is well deserved. You can tweak the flavor additions a bit to make it your own too. It’s a recipe that’s hard to mess up.

The recipe I’m sharing here is my version of the vintage original, adapted over time by my family. I like to use dark or black cocoa powder in this recipe, which makes a rich, dark chocolate cake. The chocolate frosting recipe is one I developed, mostly because I couldn’t find a chocolate frosting recipe that didn’t taste gritty and/or look speckled from the cocoa powder. Swiss meringue buttercream with melted chocolate added is one alternative, but, while it is smooth, silky and perfect for piping, it’s missing that deep chocolate richness. Another option is chocolate ganache. It looks rich and creamy in those viral videos, but it’s a little too rich and overpowering to use as frosting in my opinion.

I think this frosting recipe is the one! it has the best of both worlds and is perfect for a classic chocolate cake. You’ll notice this frosting contains maple syrup. It gives a subtle maple note in the background, but mostly, it helps make the frosting silky and gives it shine.

Print Recipe
Vintage Chocolate Cake with the Best Chocolate Frosting
Course Dessert
Keyword cake, chocolate
Servings
2 layer 6-inch cake
Ingredients
Chocolate Cake
Chocolate Frosting
Course Dessert
Keyword cake, chocolate
Servings
2 layer 6-inch cake
Ingredients
Chocolate Cake
Chocolate Frosting
Instructions
Chocolate Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease two 6-inch cake pans and dust with cocoa powder. Line the bottoms with parchment paper.
  2. Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a medium bowl. Add sugar and stir to combine.
  3. Combine egg, egg yolk, buttermilk, vegetable oil and vanilla extract in a small bowl. Whisk lightly to combine.
  4. Add egg mixture to dry ingredients and mix on low speed with a handheld electric mixer, until combined. Stop mixer. Scrape sides of bowl with spatula. Turn mixer up to medium speed and beat for 1 minute.
  5. Add hot coffee and stir to combine.
  6. Pour batter into prepared cake pans, dividing batter evenly between the pans. Bake for 25-28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Chocolate Frosting
  1. In a small saucepan over low heat, whisk together maple syrup, water, cocoa powder and espresso powder until smooth. Set aside to cool.
  2. In a large bowl, beat butter, powdered sugar and salt until smooth with an electric mixer
  3. Gradually add cooled maple syrup mixture and beat until combined.
  4. Stir in melted chocolate until well combined.
Recipe Notes

*For smoothest results, use chopped bar chocolate and make sure chocolate is completely melted.  Do not use chocolate chips

 

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