vanilla bean sandwich cookies

ok so remember how i said vanilla when done right is better than chocolate? well these little babies prove my point to a “t”!

these little gems are the like the opposite of an oreo except only a million times better. first of all… they’re soft, dense cookies. i think i’ve established like 5000 times that i like softer cookies v. hard cookies so point to the softness of these cookies. but unlike the peppermint sugar cookies i posted back in december, these babies are dense. almost like eating baked dough…

ok i know that that’s totally what you’re doing but you get it right? i can’t even explain.

back to the cookies. the original recipe i came across had a triple berry buttercream. which i’m sure is quite delicious if you like that kind of thing. me… i don’t like berries. well unless they’re blended into my margarita or flavoring my vodka… (sorry. not really.) but i do like chocolate ganache. in fact i like it so much that if i ever venture to that cookie place in the mall that shall remain nameless, i get one of those cookie sandwiches specially made with chocolate instead of that super sweet white icing they have. so when i saw the recipe, i figured i could play around with the filling. and i will play more each time i make these because i will be making them again.

the cookies themselves were awesome. amazing. astounding.

sorry, i was on a roll with “a” adjectives…

but seriously. the cookies were all those things and more. i was a little leary because let’s face it. vanilla cookies can be vanilla if not done well. but these my dear friends are done well. i’m not going to lie.. i definitely attribute some of that to good ingredients. i don’t use just any vanilla off the shelf of the store. i get real vanilla extract. oh and i used some vanilla bean paste and the vanilla bean seeds that the recipe called for.

yes.

i did use a lot of vanilla. more than the recipe called for in fact but i think that made all the difference.

trust me.

vanilla sandwich cookies.

  • 1 1/4 c (2 1/4 sticks) softened, unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 c sugar – if you had some vanilla sugar on the side, you could do 1/4 c of that with 1 c regular sugar… just saying.
  • 2 vanilla beans, split and seeds scraped
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tsp corn starch – weird i know but it worked out well so whatever…
  • 3 c flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • sanding sugar
  • 12 oz semisweet chocolate – you could really use any type of chocolate you’re exceptionally fond of, i think dark would be really good too
  • 12 oz (1 1/2 c) heavy cream
  1. preheat oven to 350F. line baking pans with parchment.
  2. beat together butter, sugar and salt until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. add the vanilla extract, vanilla bean paste and vanilla bean seeds and beat together for about 30 sec.
  3. add the egg and beat that in until well incorporated.
  4. sift together the flour and cornstarch in a bowl. add to the butter mixture on low speed. mix until just incorporated.
  5. using your handy dandy cookie scoop, scoop out the cookie dough onto your parchment lined cookie sheets. using the bottom of a drinking glass (and yes use a real glass and you might want to dip it in water to prevent sticking), press down on each cookie to make it slightly flat. sprinkle with your sanding sugar.
  6. bake 9-10 min until the cookies are just barely golden. move to a wire rack to completely cool.
  7. while cookies are cooling, add the heavy cream and chocolate to a double boiler and melt together while stirring frequently so the chocolate doesn’t burn.
  8. when the ganache is all melted together, remove from the heat and let cool until it is spreadable.
  9. spread some ganache on a cookie and sandwich it with another cookie.

ok… so i know that seems like a lot of steps but trust me on this one. TOTALLY WORTH IT. i brought these little nuggets of vanilla goodness to a parade party and they were a hit… like a hit in that everyone was asking for the recipe. like everyone. for real.

try them. with or without the ganache filling.

yum.

kisses.

recipe slightly adapted from: culinary concoctions by peabody

lemon honey mini bundt cakes

i have an affinity for honey. if i’m being really honest, i have an affinity for anything sweet but i do happen to really enjoy honey. it’s deliciousness. it sweetens while it lends a subtle flavor to whatever you’re cooking or baking. and seriously… have you ever gone to a honey vendor? they’ll tell you about every kind of variety they have and you get to taste each! it’s amazing how each variety have a slightly different taste from each other.

and then there’s vanilla. more specifically, vanilla beans. i mean they reference vanilla when they talk about something being “boring” but i happen to think if vanilla is done right, it’s better than chocolate.

oh and we know i’m in love with my little bundt cupcake pan. it’s awesomeness in a metal form.

these little cakes combines all of into a tasty little package.

lemon honey mini bundt cakes

  • 1 1/2 c flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 1 c sugar
  • 13 tbs (1 1/2 stick + 1 tbs) softened, unsalted butter
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 vanilla bean, split with seeds scraped (or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 1/2 c water
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1/4 c honey – if you can find a good local honey vendor, use them!
  • 2 tbs unsalted butter
  1. preheat oven to 325F. spray your mini bundt pan with cooking spray; or grease with butter and flour.
  2. sift together the flour and baking powder in a bowl.
  3. combine the lemon zest and sugar in a small bowl.
  4. beat the butter on medium speed until creamy and smooth. add lemon sugar mixture and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  5. scrape down the edge of the bowl and then add the eggs, beating well after each addition. reduce mixer speed and add the flour mixture in thirds until each each addition is just blended.
  6. spoon the batter into the prepared mini bundt pans. bake 17 – 20 mins.
  7. as the cakes are cooling, combine the vanilla bean, seeds, water, honey, and butter into a small saucepan. heat over low heat until the sugar is just dissolved and then raise the heat to medium to cook for 5 mins. remove from heat and let cool for 10 mins.
  8. while the cakes are still warm, brush each bundt with the honey syrup. after you’ve brushed each once, go ahead and really “gild the lily” and dip each into the honey syrup. let cool completely.

yay!

honey + vanilla + lemon… double yay!!

kisses.

recipe from: une gamine dans la cuisine

standing rib roast

so tomorrow is friday… can you believe it??! that’s what happens when you only work wednesday – friday in a week. thank goodness for mardi gras. now we all just have to make it through lent. which let’s face it…. when you live in south louisiana, no meat on fridays isn’t a bad day with all the great seafood here.

so why am i discussing all this great seafood and such when i’m getting ready to post a beef recipe? well because beef is delicious. and because i feel like it.

i’ve been wanting to attempt cooking a standing rib roast for a long time now… see, i’m a beef lover. like really. if i could eat steak every day i probably would. and that steak would still be mooing. i like my beef on the medium rare side. i mean there is nothing better than a good steak with a potato or something (like say roasted root veggies) on the side. so i finally got the opportunity to make this.

and it was delish.

i mean how could it not be? a hunk of meat, slathered in a roasted garlic (quite possibly one of my FAVORITE things EVER!) butter spread, and then perfectly roasted. C’MON!

standing rib roast

  • 1 5lb standing rib roast, frenched – you could go larger or smaller if you wanted.
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 heads roasted garlic – i know this seems like a lot but 2 things: 1) you’re using it to cover all the meat and 2) in case you were unaware, garlic isn’t as pungent when it’s roasted, it gets sweeter; you could use less if you wanted
  • roasted shallots – i roasted 4 medium  – large ones
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 3 tbs fresh herbs – use any mix you’re really fond of; i used chives, thyme and rosemary
  1. preheat oven to 500F.
  2. mix butter, roasted garlic, roasted shallots, herbs, salt and pepper.
  3. slather the butter mixture all over the rib roast including the bones.
  4. place rib roast on a roasting rack in a roasting pan. place in the preheated oven and roast for 25 min (or if you’re going larger / smaller, roast for 5 min per every 5 lbs). turn the oven off but don’t open the door. let the roast cook in the oven for an additional 1 hr 35 min (or until the total roasting time equals 2 hours). a thermometer should read 130F for the middle of the roast to be medium rare.
  5. slice and enjoy!

seriously.

standing rib roast sounds like a really daunting and challenging thing but it’s super simple. and delicious. and you should totally attempt it for your next big occasion. or little occasion. or really any occasion.

kisses.

recipe adapted from: john besh’s my new orleans and tom fitzmorris’s new orleans food

savory palmiers

happy lundi gras!!

you know what that means right…?

tomorrow is mardi gras!!

woohoo!

ok so if i’m being completely honest, i don’t LOVE mardi gras itself but i do love carnival time!! i don’t know what it is but i love seeing south louisiana decked out in its finest purple, green and gold. some people have so much fun with their decorations and to tell you the truth, i think it’s prettier than christmastime. maybe it’s because it is strictly a south louisiana thing – i know i know that other places have mardi gras such as mississippi and alabama but let’s face it, no one does it like we do. i don’t love going to the parades and catching beads but it’s still a great time of year.

and if you’re looking for a little something to bring to your mardi gras shindig you can bring some gumbo, s’mores bars or these palmiers. these savory little morsels are guaranteed to be a hit with all your friends. i mean what’s not to like… there’s some butter and roasted garlic, proscuitto and cheese… all rolled on some puff pastry. i mean these little babies won’t last too long on the table.

savory palmiers

  • 1 box puff pastry, thawed
  • 14 slices proscuitto
  • 2 c cheese – you can use gruyere, swiss, provolone, any kind you’re feeling or have in your fridge to be used up; i used 1 c smoked swiss, 1/2 c smoked gouda and some butterkase.
  • 1/2 stick butter, softened
  • 3 tbs honey
  • 1 head roasted garlic
  1. preheat oven to 415F.
  2. mix together the softened butter, honey and roasted garlic. add some salt and pepper to taste but go a smidge lighter on the salt than you think. proscuitto and cheese can be quite salty.
  3. roll out the puff pastry on a floured surface until you have a decent size rectangle.
  4. spread 1/4 of your butter mixture on the puff pastry and then lay the proscuitto on top. spread another 1/4 of your butter mixture on top of the proscuitto. layer on the cheese.
  5. roll the right side of the puff pastry to the middle and repeat with the left. they should be kissing in the middle.
  6. with a sharp knife, cut 1/2″ slices and lay on a parchment lined baking sheet. bake 15-20 min until they are golden brown. remove to a baking rack to cool.

these are a great way to bring something savory without bringing your standard chips and dip.

what are you bringing to your mardi gras parties?!

kisses.

recipe adapted from: joy the baker

 

baked potato dip

ok so since we started with super bowl dessert first, let’s go with a dip now.

what’s that you’re saying?

the super bowl was ages ago and you can’t believe it’s taken me this long to post this…

well it has. i don’t know what to tell you other than it’s taken this long to post it. but i don’t care. it’s relevant. you can bring it to your mardi gras party next week. it’s great to put out among the spread of other things. or you could start to attempt to make potato salad only to realize you are out of everything that you need and use this instead of the mayo, mustard, relish, etc. just saying.

oh did i mention how SUPER easy this dip is??

i didn’t?

well now i am. it’s SUPER easy. like it has 5 ingredients and one of those is chips (if you don’t use it for your potato salad mix-in!

baked potato dip

  • 16 oz sour cream
  • 16 slices or 1 lb bacon – depending on how you want to buy your bacon… if you buy it in a package, just use one package; if you buy it by the slice, get 16 slices
  • 8 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 5 green onions, sliced
  1. cook and slice your bacon
  2. put it in a bowl
  3. throw everything else in a bowl and stir together and put in the fridge so all the flavors can get to know each other for at least an hour, but they would really like all night to mingle.
  4. enjoy.

see… i told you it was super easy.

and totally awesome.

and addictive.

like needs to be hidden so i don’t eat an entire bowl in one sitting. which i could totally do.

kisses.

recipe from: brown eyed baker 

chocolate stout cookies

holy crap.

some people must really love them some lemon sugar cookies like i do! apparently that blog was a hit… so in honor of that blog, i’m moving up this one…

you see i was going to blog the stuff i made for the super bowl and i like to do things in the order that you eat them. just makes sense to me… oh and i’m a little ocd. like i have my dvd collection in alphabetical order. but i decided we could start with dessert first and have dip later. i mean we’re all adults right? well we should be for this one..

chocolate stout cookies with a salted caramel frosting topped with pretzels.

amazing.

these cookies were perfect for the super bowl. i mean first of all the cookie itself was light, fluffy and cakey. everything a good cookie should be. then you have the salted caramel frosting…. i mean what’s not to like about salted caramel frosting? then you top these babies off with some crushed pretzels? c’mon. it brings the salty/sweet harmony that we all love. oh and did i mention there’s beer in these cookies? i mean any time you add alcohol, how can it not be good. in fact, i was at my mom’s for the super bowl and she managed to eat 3 cookies. you can put down 3 cookies too? well you probably like sweets like the rest of the world… my mom, not such a huge sweets fan.

chocolate stout cookies with salted caramel frosting

  • 1 1/2 c flour
  • 1/4 c + 1 tbs unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 stick softened, unsalted butter
  • 1/2 c dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 6 ounces stout beer – i used young’s chocolate stout but you could use guiness or another stout beer you really enjoy
  • 1 1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips, optional – oddly enough this was about the one thing i didn’t really care for in these cookies; next time i’ll either leave them out or use dark or milk chocolate instead of bittersweet.
  • 1 batch salted caramel frosting – after recipe for cookies
  • 1 bag of salted pretzels, crushed
  1. preheat oven to 350F. line your cookie sheets with parchment paper or a silpat.
  2. beat butter with sugars until light and fluffy. add vanilla and egg and beat to combine. lower the mixer speed and add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the beer. beat until just combined and add the chocolate chips, if you’re using.
  3. chill dough in the fridge until it’s firm enough to scoop using your handy dandy cookie scoop.
  4. scoop dough onto a prepared baking sheet about 2 inches apart. bake at 350F for 15-17 mins or until tops spring back lightly when touched. cool on pan while you scoop the next batch onto the next baking sheet, then transfer to a wire wrack to cool completely.
  5. after the cookies are completely cooled, frost them with the salted caramel frosting and dip it into the crushed pretzels.

salted caramel frosting.

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 c packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 c heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 c + up to 4 tbs powdered sugar
  1. in a medium saucepan, melt butter, salt and brown sugar over medium heat, stirring to combine. bring mixture to a boil, stirring frequently and then boil unstirred for 1 min.
  2. remove from heat and immediately whisk in cream then vanilla. be super careful when you do this because the caramel may bubble up and hot caramel maims. cool 5 min, then stir in 1 cup powdered sugar. whisk briskly to smooth out any lumps. if needed, add powdered sugar 1 tbs at a time until the frosting is to a spreadable consistency. you don’t want to add too much powdered sugar so err on the side of too little.

now i know i probably should have posted these before the super bowl but whatever. there’s still mardi gras next week and even if you don’t live in south louisiana, you can still celebrate it with us.

oh and a word of note… if you manage to not eat all of these cookies the day you make them, the pretzels will go soft from sitting on top of the frosting. just an fyi.

kisses.

recipe from: the craving chronicles

lemon sugar cookies

so we’ve established that i really like cookies (see here, here, and here). they are seriously one of the best type of desserts like ever. i mean they are easily portable and they’re finger foods. is there anything more classic than a chocolate chip or sugar cookie? i think not.

what else do i really like?

lemon.

lemon cake. lemon cookies. lemon bars. lemon chicken. lemon water.

i like lemon.

want more proof? there are some nights i’m too lazy to pull out much more than a pot of boiling water and some pasta for dinner… i put lemon juice in there with my butter, salt and pepper. it’s fantastic. you should try it.

what else do you need to try?

these lemon sugar cookies. for real. they’re like lemon sugar cookie crack. and they’re simple. and they stay soft which i like.

lemon sugar cookies

  • 2 3/4 c flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • zest of 2 large lemons
  • 1 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 c (2 sticks) softened, unsalted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 c sugar (for rolling the cookies in)
  1. preheat your oven to 350F. line cookie sheets with parchment paper or silpats.
  2. mix together flour, baking soda, and baking powder.
  3. beat together butter, sugar, and salt until fluffy. add lemon zest, egg, vanilla and lemon juice and beat that until fluffy. slowly add your flour mixture.
  4. scoop out your cookies (using your handy dandy cookie scoop) into the extra sugar and roll it around. place on your baking sheet about 1 1/2in apart.
  5. bake 8-10 minutes until lightly browned. transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

that’s it.

see easy. and yummy

kisses.

recipe from: two peas & their pod