Cardamom Spiced Sugar Cookies

A quick post just to peek at what I’ve been up to. Also, to document a delicious and super easy spiced sugar cookie recipe, perfect for the holidays. I usually find rolling and cutting out cookies quite a tedious chore, but this one proved to be of minimal hassle. Note that I did not say hassle-free…I still really only make these for the fun of decorating them (which then makes it well worth it!)

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“We’re free” is in reference to the end of classes. Rest assured, I am not being held captive in some cookie dungeon.
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Why yes, that is a poop emoji. Only for my classiest of friends.

Cardamom Spiced Sugar Cookies
This recipe makes about 5 dozen, depending on size, and can easily be halved or otherwise scaled.

6 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp cardamom
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp cloves
2 cups butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla bean paste, or extract

Sift the flour, salt, and spices, and set aside. Cream the butter and sugar until light and pale, about 5 minutes in a stand mixer. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl, until well incorporated. Mix in the vanilla. Add the dry ingredients and mix just to combine. Form into 2 discs and chill in the fridge at least 45 minutes, or chuck it in the freezer to save for future use.

Take out one disc and roll it out to about a 1/4 inch thick, then slide it on a board and place it back in the fridge for 15 minutes. Take out the sheet, and cut out your desired shapes. Place the cut out cookies in the freezer for 15 minutes before baking.

Bake at 325 F for 12-15 minutes, or until the edges start to see some colour and the undersides turn golden brown. If you like particularly crispy or soft cookies, go by colour and adjust baking times accordingly.

Note: Leave cookies to cool to room temperature before storing or decorating. Some suggest waiting a day before decorating, but I haven’t run into any problems doing them on the same day. Also, these were so delicious with the pretzels on top, so if you can incorporate some salty crunch into your decorations, I would highly recommend it. That said, I have also eaten many of these cookies naked and they taste fantastic as is.

Apple and Goat’s Cheese Tartlets with Thyme Honey

There’s nothing better than procrasti-baking, as it leads to wonderful things like these adorable little savoury tartlets. I made the recipe as found on this seven spoons post, only I forgot to turn on my timer so who knows how long it took in the oven (possibly the duration of one TV episode on Netflix, but how would I know such a thing…).

These are made with a frozen puff pastry so all you need to do is make the goat’s cheese mixture, heat up some honey with butter and thyme, and slice up some apples. Easy as pie, but only because “easy as tart” is not a thing. I suppose you could make your own pastry, but that’s beyond the level of procrasti-baking, especially when the frozen stuff was on sale anyway.

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I forgot to add the shaved cheese on my first one, so naturally I had to eat a second to right my wrongs. And don’t be fooled by the fork in the first photo, this is definitely finger food, though I would accept any method that will get them into your mouth the quickest.

Pumpkin Pie for (Canadian) Thanksgiving

I found this brilliantly simple pumpkin pie recipe on food52 a few weeks ago and couldn’t wait to pull it out for thanksgiving, and boy am I glad I did. It’s made with caramelized pumpkin puree – a small step requiring minimal effort that yields amazing results. Especially when paired with this perfectly salty pie crust. Do it. Do it now. You’ll thank me later.

The braided edge was something I had pinned years ago and never got around to trying, as I always thought it looked too finicky and pie crusts scared me. But it turns out it isn’t so difficult after all, though it does require some patience. I’ve read elsewhere to use an egg wash as glue, but I just used some water and that seemed to do the trick. I put the whole crust (with the braid) in the freezer before baking.

Note: I first blind baked the crust at 350F for about 20 minutes until dry and just starting to take on some colour. The pumpkin custard also seemed too thin to me when I first mixed it, so I took the remainder of my oven’s pre-heating time to cook the custard a little on the stove top before filling the crust and going into the oven. Though this did result in a quicker bake time, I think it would have been just fine had I followed the listed instructions.

I searched and searched for fun uses for leftover pie dough, and settled on what was probably just the easiest: cut out little circles and sprinkle on some cinnamon sugar. Bake at 350 until poofed up and golden.

Rosemary Roasted Peaches

peachesI came across this beautiful spread of Niagara peaches at the market this weekend, took home a few too many, and roasted em up with some rosemary sugar as inspired by this food52 post. I decided to forgo the salted caramel in the original recipe (I’m not a big can of caramels) and served them with a scoop of ice cream instead. Delicious. And so so simple.

Potatoes

I also picked up these colourful fingerling potatoes, and roasted them with some oregano picked from an organic farm I visited earlier this week. Also another incredibly simple dish made with great produce.

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Summer Baking – Tarts, Cakes, Macs, and More

It’s time to revive the blog! My last post may have been a year ago, but rest assured I haven’t burned down my kitchen just yet. I have, however, been spending an unhealthy amount of time watching Masterchef Australia, which has naturally led to spending a lot of time in the kitchen making all sorts of unhealthy (and on occasion, somewhat healthy) food. With that said, here’s a mishmash of some of the things I’ve been up to:

Nectarine, Mascarpone, and Gingersnap Tart

Nectarine, Mascarpone, and Gingersnap Tart
I
 had this one bookmarked for ages and finally got around to making it. It’s absolutely delicious as written, and a great summer dessert, but I may go for a slightly lighter filling next time, maybe even just a whipped version of this one.


Pistachio Sponge with White Choco Mousse and Yuzu Curd
Pistachio Sponge with White Choco Mousse and Lemon Curd
Taken straight off the Masterchef AU website. Except I made a lemon curd instead of a yuzu curd, because I’m not fancy enough for that yet. And I also don’t own an ice cream machine, but I do have a freezer and a whisk which did an admirable job. David Lebovitz has a great post here about making ice cream at home without an ice cream machine.


Lemon TartLemon Tart
This project started out as an attempt to make the Lemon Sabayon Tart with Pine Nut Crust from Thomas Keller’s French Laundry Cookbook, but although the pine nut crust was delicious, I undercooked the sabayon and ended up with a runny (but still delicious) goopy mess. There’s also a recipe alongside the tart for a honeyed mascarpone cream which is heavenly, and which I gladly ate by the spoonful while watching my lemon sabayon slowly ooze out of the pan. I found myself with some leftover lemon curd a few days later and decided to bake up a simple french tart crust to house a more stable filling, which thankfully resulted in a tasty treat (though I unfortunately ran out of ingredients to make that honeyed mascarpone cream I still dream about).

 

Mushroom Leek Risotto

Mushroom Leek Risotto
There’s a million and one recipes out there for risotto, but I ended up reading too many and having them all become a muddled mess in my brain, so I ended up forgoing a recipe altogether and stuck with a flavour combination I know and love. I did admittedly forget to check the salt levels of my broth until I was nearly finished cooking the dish, so I finished it off with water instead of broth and sprinkled in some toasted (and crucially unsalted) almond slivers. The light crunch and nuttiness of the almonds paired surprisingly well with the creamy risotto and rounded it out very nicely.


Warm Beet Orzo Sa

Warm Orzo Beet Salad with Feta and Arugula
I
 don’t know how it’s taken me so long to find out about Food52.com but so far everything I’ve seen has been fantastic. I’ve only recently gotten into beets, and although I prefer them raw, they’re great in this warm salad. The orzo is cooked in the beet-boiling water and together with the creaminess of the feta and bitterness of the arugula, it all makes for a great earthy salad that I’ll likely soon be making again.


Macarons

Cardamom Coffee Pistachio Macarons
and
Hazelnut Chocolate Macarons

And lastly, in classic ovenloven style, I’ll wrap up with some macarons. The pistachios and hazelnuts are mixed into both the shells and the whipped ganache fillings. I made a lot of unmeasured adjustments to these, but they turned out to be quite good so a recipe will (hopefully) be coming soon!