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Almond Sugar Cookie Cut-Outs

Almond Sugar Cookie Cut-Outs

Helllllooo my people! I know we’re a little after the [Valentine’s Day] fact here, but these cookies were too good not to share. And, let’s be honest, it is ALWAYS a good time to have a no-fail sugar cookie recipe.

I have a confession to make. I have kind of a love/hate relationship with decorated sugar cookies. On the one hand, they are SO cute, and they make every person smile. On the one hand, they CAN be a little tedious, and I get impatient with overly elaborate piping, so I tend to keep it simple. Basically, when I make cut-out sugar cookies, I need them to be delicious, adorable, and almost perfect.

Almond Sugar Cookie Cut-outs

When I worked at the bakery, we made millions of decorated cookies, year-round, and my piping skills got pretty serious. You don’t need to be a professional to make really great-looking sugar cookies though. You only need to know one small trick: the OUTLINE. The trick is to make your icing, then place about 1/4 of it in a small bowl, and add more powdered sugar to it to thicken it up. You pipe the outline around the perimeter of the cookie using the thick royal icing, and let it dry for about 20 minutes. This creates a wall, and you fill in the outline with the thinner icing, and it makes a seamless, smooth finish.

When I found Molly Yeh’s recipe for Soft Almond Sugar Cookie Cut-outs, I fell in love before I even made them because they had almond flour and lemon zest, and I just knew they were going to be next-level amazing. I adapted the dough and icing recipes just slightly, and this is definitely going to be my go-to Sugar Cookie recipe from now on. This really goes without saying, but Koby and the kids are pretty obsessed with these cookies, so you’ll definitely be seeing more iterations and shapes on my Insta coming up!

Almond Sugar Cookie Cut-outs

Almond Sugar Cookie Cut-outs

Almond Sugar Cookie Cut-outs

Almond Sugar Cookie Cut-Outs

February 19, 2018
: about 30-35 3
: 35 min
: 10 min
: 1 hr
: Easy

adorable soft-baked almond sugar cookie cut-outs with almond icing and all the sprinkles

By:

Ingredients
  • 3 1/2 c all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 1/3 c almond flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 c salted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 c granulated sugar
  • 2/3 c powdered sugar
  • zest from 1/2 of a lemon
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Royal Icing:
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 c light corn syrup
  • 1/3 C whole milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • food coloring (optional)
Directions
  • Step 1 In a medium bowl, combine the flour, almond flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and the sugars until pale and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Add in the lemon zest and eggs, one at a time, beating after each. Then add the almond and vanilla extracts.
  • Step 2 Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, mixing until blended. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, so that all of the ingredients are thoroughly combined. Refrigerate dough for about 20 minutes, while you preheat the oven and make the icing.
  • Step 3 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or a silicone mat and set aside. working with half of the dough at a time, roll it out on a lightly floured surface to 1/2” thick. Cut out your shapes and then transfer to a baking sheet, 1″ apart. Re-roll scraps and dust with a bit more flour to prevent sticking. Bake until just barely golden brown on the bottom, about 10-11 minutes. Allow to cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes and then carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Step 4 Icing: Whisk together the powdered sugar, corn syrup, 1/3 C milk, vanilla, almond extract, salt, and a few drops of food coloring until smooth. The icing should be just thin enough that when you lift up your spoon it falls off in smooth ribbons. Remove 1/4 of the icing in a smaller bowl and add 1/3-1/2 c more powdered sugar, so that the mixture is thickened up. Place the thickened icing in a piping bag and snip off 1/4″ tip. Pipe around the perimeter of your cookies to make an outline. Let dry for 15-20 minutes (while you pipe the rest of the outlines). Use the remaining thinner icing to fill in the outlines with a spoon, knife or offset spatula, and top with sprinkles immediately before the glaze dries. Let dry completely, and store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

*Recipe adapted from Molly Yeh’s Soft Almond Sugar Cookie Cut-outs

 

 

 

Chocolate Creme Cups

Chocolate Creme Cups

Rich chocolate pudding-like dessert topped with sweetened vanilla cream clouds

Happy early Valentine’s Day!!

Before you roll your eyes and skip ahead to food-porny pics, I want to tell you why Valentine’s Day is easily one of my favorite holidays.

  • First, I love LOVE! Growing up my Mom always made Valentine’s super special for us. Everything was heart shaped, she would buy the most delicious chocolates from See’s Candy for us, and write the sweetest cards.
  • Second, I am obsessed with hearts. All of my birthday cakes were hearts, even my childhood bed had this great heart-shaped wrought iron headboard.
  • Third, it’s not about a Hallmark making tons of dough, or societal pressure to buy stuffed animals + chocolate. It’s about celebrating the LOVE! Is it so terrible to go out of your actual way to make the people in your life feel special and loved? No it is not. It is amazing. Yes you should do that every day, but if you don’t, once a year is a great reminder.

Chocolate Creme Cups

I wanted to make a grown-up version of “Milky,” which is this delicious Israeli snack-pack type treat: chocolate pudding topped with whipped cream. I still have mad love for Milky, but these Chocolate Creme Cups really do it for me.

So, if you want to make someone feel very special, and go the extra mile, make these Chocolate Creme Cups. The rich, dark chocolate pudding is topped with pillowy vanilla infused cream, that’s been whipped just until it holds it’s shape.

Make these, and share a little extra love, we all need it!

Chocolate Creme Cups

Chocolate Creme Cups

 

Chocolate Creme Cups

February 9, 2018
: 4-5
: 5 min
: 20 min
: 25 min
: Easy

Rich chocolate pudding-like dessert topped with sweetened vanilla cream clouds

By:

Ingredients
  • 2 c organic whole milk
  • 1/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 T cornstarch
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 T butter
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 oz. chopped semi-sweet chocolate
  • Whipped Cream:
  • 1 c cold heavy cream
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 T sugar
Directions
  • Step 1 In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, cornstarch, and salt, and whisk together. Add the milk and whisk until totally combined.
  • Step 2 Heat over medium heat until boiling, whisking constantly. Once the mixture reaches a boil (this should take about 7-8 minutes) whisk for another 2 minutes, then remove from the heat.
  • Step 3 Add the butter, chopped chocolate, vanilla, and salt, and whisk until really smooth. Transfer to heat-proof individual cups, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1.5 hours.
  • Step 4 In a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand-mixer), combine the heavy cream, vanilla extract and sugar. With the whisk attachment, beat on medium speed for about 3-4 minutes until the mixture starts to thicken and form very soft peaks (it should just barely hold its shape).
  • Step 5 Before serving, generously spoon the whipped cream on top of the chocolate creme, and add shaved chocolate, berries, or roasted chopped nuts (literally anything would be amazing). Enjoy with someone you love!
Meyer Lemon Tart with Shortbread Crust

Meyer Lemon Tart with Shortbread Crust

Tart and Rich – this Meyer Lemon Tart is pure citrus LOVE!

Honest to Gd, this is one of my all-time favorite desserts! I love to use Meyer lemons when they’re in season in the winter time, because they are sweeter and more fragrant than regular lemons, and have a hint of tangerine. The lemon curd is super silky, tangy, and rich at the same time. Then there’s the shortbread crust that just melts in your mouth, and could probably stand on its own.

This is a Lemon Tart for people that LOVE lemon-y desserts. It’s also a Lemon Tart for people who think they don’t like lemon at all. A funny thing to say? Yes, but it’s true. I’ve been making this Meyer Lemon Tart with Shortbread Crust for a lot of years, and at almost every dinner party, there is someone who thinks they don’t like lemon desserts…until they try this!

First you’re going to make the shortbread crust, which is super easy, no stand-mixer required! The butter has to be at room temperature, and you’re going to mix it very well with the sugar. Once you add the flour to the bowl, stir it until just combined, and press it into the removable bottom 9-inch tart pan with your clean hands (hi! you don’t even have to roll it out! You’re welcome.). Then you blind-bake the crust by lining the dough with buttered aluminum foil and using some pie weights or dried beans to keep the crust in place. I let it cool while I move on to the lemon curd.

The lemon curd is going to require your undivided attention. Because you’re slowly heating egg yolks, you have to be whisking the lemon mixture consistently, or else the yolks will turn into scrambled eggs v quickly. It’s cool though, just don’t multi task for like 15 minutes of your life. Sometimes it’s kind of meditative to just focus on one thing, and it also happens to be delicious.

One more teensy note, but it is IMPORTANT. Let the tart cool at room temperature, and DO NOT cover it with plastic wrap (cling film if you’re in the UK), because it will cling to the lemon curd and ruin the beautiful top. Also, serve the tart at room temp if you can, the flavors are so much richer. I usually serve the tart with some stewed blackberries that I cook with a couple of tablespoons of sugar and some lemon zest until the berries get saucy. If I’m feeling fancy then I like to pipe some swiss meringue on top, then torch it so it’s like a toasted marshmallow…either way you can’t go wrong!

Meyer Lemon Tart with Shortbread Crust

Here’s the recipe for the Swiss Meringue should you choose to go that route:

3/4 c egg whites
1.5 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

In the bowl of an electric mixture, or a medium size bowl, combine all of the above ingredients and mix (using the whisk attachment) on medium speed for 2 minutes. In a small saucepan, bring 2 inches of water to a simmer, and place the egg white + sugar mixture on top, stirring constantly until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is warm. Then take the bowl off the double boiler, and whisk on high until stiff peaks form. Pipe away!

Meyer Lemon Tart with Shortbread Crust

Meyer Lemon Tart with Shortbread Crust

Did you make the recipe?? Remember to tag your Instagram pics with #lionsbread so I can see what you’re making, and repost my favs!

Meyer Lemon Tart with Shortbread Crust

February 2, 2018
: 8-10
: 1 hr 30 min
: Medium

Tart and Rich - this Meyer Lemon Tart is pure citrus LOVE

By:

Ingredients
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup fresh Meyer lemon juice (about 2-3 lemons)
  • 1 generous T grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter (1 stick butter), cut into 8 slices
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Shortbread Crust:
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) salted butter, plus more for greasing, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
Directions
  • Step 1 For the tart shell: Mix the butter and sugar together in a medium bowl, until the mixture pale in color and somewhat fluffy. Add the vanilla and stir. Add the flour and salt to the butter-and-sugar mixture, and mix gently until the dough starts to come together, but still really shaggy looking. Dump onto a surface dusted with flour and shape into a flat disk. Press the dough into a 10-inch-round or 9-inch-square false-bottom tart pan, making sure that the finished edge is flat. Chill until firm.
  • Step 2 Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 1 side of a square of aluminum foil to fit inside the chilled tart dough, and place it, buttered side down, on the pastry. Fill with beans or rice. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and beans, prick the tart all over with the tines of a fork, and bake again for 10-12 minutes more. The edges should be golden brown, and the center should be lighter in color, like a blonde color. Allow to cool to room temperature.
  • Step 3 Lemon Curd: (when making the lemon curd, do not leave the stove, make sure you have 15 mins of undivided attention, otherwise you’ll have lemony scrambled eggs)
  • Step 4 Add 1-inch of water to a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat. In a medium metal bowl whisk the egg yolks and sugar for about 1 minute until smooth. Whisk in the lemon juice and zest until combined.
  • Step 5 Place the mixing bowl on top of saucepan (the bowl should be wide enough to fit on top of the saucepan, but shouldn’t be touching the simmering water). Stir the mixture constantly with a rubber spatula scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl as you stir, until it begins to thicken, and will coat the back of a spoon. This will take approximately 10 minutes. Turn the heat off, and leave the bowl on top of the saucepan. Whisk in the butter, one slice at a time. Wait until each piece almost disappears before adding the next.
  • Step 6 Pour the warm lemon curd into the tart shell, and allow to cool at room temperature. Serve at room temperature. DO NOT cover the tart with plastic wrap. Serve with stewed berries or top with toasted vanilla swiss meringue.