dessert

Melt-In-Your-Mouth Lemon Shortbread Cookies

lemon shortbread cookiesThese lemon shortbread cookies…oh my. They are SCRUMPTIOUS! They literally melt. in. your. mouth. They just might be my new favorite cookie. Since the recipe is just a combination of household pantry/fridge staples, I find it real hard not to make these cookies every day of my life. I kind of want to go make them now. But I won’t. Self-control…

lemon shortbread cookiesI made these little delicacies for a bridal shower for one of my bestest friends. Everyone loved them! I did something you’re never supposed to do though. I made these for the FIRST time for the shower. That’s risky business because you never know if they’ll turn out. I had faith though, and was well rewarded for my trust in these cookies. Whew! 

lemon shortbread cookiesI do have to be honest about these. They started out as a vanilla bean shortbread cookie that I had saved from another blog and I now I can’t find the blog! The link is broken or it doesn’t exist anymore or something. So whoever you are that inspired these cookies, THANK YOU! If you’re out there reading this, you changed my life for the better. 


lemon shortbread cookiesRandom note that you might find helpful is that when you start mixing the dough together it will look like a crumbly mess. You might curse my name or start panicking. Take a deep breath. And another. And maybe by that time you will realize that the dough just needed to be mixed a little longer. It should become a nice smooth dough to roll out and everything will be well again. You might need to slightly press it into a ball to roll out, but it shouldn’t take too much effort.

I keep these pretty small because they’re so rich. Also a good excuse to eat a couple. Definitely not like 10 though. That’s *way* too many…cough, cough. 

Melt-In-Your-Mouth Lemon Shortbread Cookies
Yields 48
Sweet and tart lemon shortbread cookies that will melt in your mouth
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
11 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
11 min
Total Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup softened butter
  2. 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  3. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  4. 2 cups flour
  5. 1/2 cup cornstarch
  6. 1/2 teaspoon salt
For the drizzle
  1. 1 1/3 cups powdered sugar
  2. 3-4 tablespoons lemon juice (or juice from about 1 large lemon)
  3. lemon zest from 1 lemon
  4. water (to thin, if needed)
Instructions
  1. Cream the butter, 3/4 cup powdered sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients (flour, cornstarch, salt) in a medium bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix on low until well-combined but still crumbly, about 1 minute. Turn mixer to medium and mix for an additional 2-3 minutes, until the dough comes together*.
  3. Roll the dough out into a 9"x12" rectangle between 2 pieces of parchment paper. It should end up being about 1/2"-3/8" thick.
  4. Transfer the parchment and dough to a baking sheet and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  6. After refrigeration, lift the dough from the baking sheet and cut it into 1 1/2" squares.
  7. Place the cold dough on parchment lined baking sheets. You don't need much room between them (about 1") because they don't spread much.
  8. Bake for 9-11 minutes, until pale golden brown on the edges.
  9. Let cool for 1 minute on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
  10. Mix together the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest for the drizzle in a small bowl. Add water, if needed, to create a consistency that is loose enough to drizzle. Use a spoon to drizzle the icing over the cooled shortbread cookies. Let the drizzle harden before storing in an airtight container.
Notes
  1. *When you start mixing, the dough will look crumbly. Continue to mix until the dough comes together...it will!
  2. Try not to overwork the dough once you roll it out or to reroll because it will get bumpy. However, if you must, the drizzle will cover some imperfections!
Flavor From Scratch http://www.flavorfromscratch.com/

Almond Orange Biscotti

Almond Orange BiscottiI keep a list of recipes I want to try and potentially post to the blog if they go well. I’ll be the first to admit that they don’t always go well. I burnt soup this weekend. One time I made mini pumpkin pies that turned into mini pumpkin blobs. I’ve made caramel filled rice cereal bars that were so chewy they could probably take out a filling. *Sigh*.

Almond Orange BiscottiAlmond Orange BiscottiI’ll end my pity party there because there are also those recipes that are SPOT ON the moment I try them and it makes my day. Sometimes my week…small victories, people. Small victories. Let’s talk almond orange biscotti. SPOT ON! I didn’t even really know I had any love of biscotti until I made these. Can I just say again how SPOT ON these are?! Okay, I think you all get it.

Almond Orange BiscottiA few of my favorite parts of these cookies are:

  1. They look super fancy and hard to make BUT they’re not. For reals.
  2. I’ve heard rumors that properly stored these guys can last like a few weeks or a month. I may never know if this is true.
  3. The almond orange biscotti are not overly sweet thanks to the nut and citrus flavors.
  4. Chocolate.
  5. Biscotti make it totally appropriate for adults to dunk their cookies. In fact, that’s what they’re made for!

This is a fairly traditional recipe for biscotti but let me tell you, I am psyched to try new combinations of flavors! Granted, most will probably involve dunking them in chocolate. I’m pretty sure most everyone will be okay with that.

Almond Orange BiscottiP.S. I don’t drink coffee because I’m weird like that. I dunked these in milk. YUM. 

Almond Orange Biscotti
Yields 24
A traditional biscotti, or twice baked cookie, that's perfect for dunking!
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
50 min
Total Time
1 hr 40 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
50 min
Total Time
1 hr 40 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 1 cup sugar
  3. 2 teaspoons baking powder
  4. 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  5. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  6. 4 eggs + 1 egg for egg wash
  7. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  8. 1 tablespoon orange zest (or zest from about 1 medium orange)
  9. 1 cup whole almonds, toasted*
  10. 1 tablespoon water
  11. chocolate chips, to dip biscotti (1-2 cups depending on how you dip them)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
  3. Beat in 4 eggs, vanilla, and orange zest until it forms a ball. It will start out looking rather crumbly so be patient!
  4. Stir in toasted almonds.
  5. With clean, damp hands form 2 logs on parchment-lined baking sheets. Each log should be about 4 inches wide and 3/4 inch tall.
  6. Whisk together remaining egg and water for egg wash. Brush each log with egg wash.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown on top, rotating pans at the halfway point.
  8. Transfer logs to a wire rack and let cool for about 20 minutes.
  9. Use a large serrated knife to cut 3/4 inch slices. I cut mine on the bias, or diagonal, but you can also cut straight across.
  10. Place the slices, standing up, on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  11. Bake for another 25 minutes.
  12. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  13. Melt the chocolate chips (I used a double boiler but you could also microwave them, checking and stirring every 30 seconds). Dip* biscotti in chocolate and let cool on parchment paper.
  14. Store in an airtight container.
Notes
  1. *To toast the almonds, I just put the whole almonds in a dry skillet over medium-low heat and toasted them until they started to become fragrant
  2. *I dipped my biscotti in chocolate along the bottom edge but you could also dunk them in the chocolate (like you would dunk it into a drink). I've even seen some with drizzle on them. I like the bottom coated because you get a little chocolate in every bite but it doesn't cover up the cookie so you can still dunk it in your drink!
Flavor From Scratch http://www.flavorfromscratch.com/

Peach and Blueberry Galette

Peach Blueberry GaletteOh, hey! I haven’t been around for awhile. Don’t worry, I still love my blog and my food. It’s just that we recently moved (need I continue?). The house is amazing. BUT, it needs lots of paint and love to become our dream home! So foodie Steph has temporarily become cleaning-unpacking-priming-paining-designer-handy woman Steph. And if that isn’t enough to keep me busy, I’m trying to keep my on-the-move son away from new fun things like brick fireplaces and steps to the basement. It’s a fun, crazy life!

The other day among all the house reno work, I told Travis I needed to make cookies. I’m pretty sure he knew I was serious. I needed a break. No joke. Baking and cooking are my go-to rejuvenation activities and luckily I have a husband who would never turn down a cookie. Never ever. So Travis and I spent time together baking, and it was just what I needed. And he got cookies. Win, win. We made chocolate chip cookies and they made everything better.

Peach Blueberry GaletteYou know what else would have made everything better? You guessed it…this peach and blueberry galette. Maybe you don’t know what a galette is and that’s perfectly fine. In fact, if you would have asked me a year ago what a galette is I probably couldn’t have told you. It’s just a super simple open pie. That’s it! You could impress any guest with the seemingly complex dessert that takes about 5 minutes to throw together. It’s such a beautiful dessert even though it looks, for lack of a better term, rustic. The homemade, rustic look is charming in this case…so use it to your advantage if you have difficulty making a typical pie look picture perfect!


Peach Blueberry GalettePeach Blueberry GaletteYou know what takes this dessert to the next level? You guessed it again (you’re on fire today!)…ice cream. You take this gorgeous peach and blueberry galette out of the oven and serve it warm with cold vanilla ice cream piled on top. The fruit is juicy and sweet. The crust is crisp. The ice cream melts into the crevices. Stop. Just stop. I can’t even handle it. 

Peach Blueberry GaletteI just have to say that, like those chocolate chip cookies, this galette is a guaranteed pick-me-up. So take that much-needed break, find some ice cream to top this pile of deliciousness with, and you eat it like you deserve it. Maybe even find someone to share it with. Because, you know what they say…the only thing better than eating a galette is eating a galette with a friend. That’s not a real saying. I really just made that up right now. BUT, so much truth to it. So find a friend and eat a galette!

Peach and Blueberry Galette
Serves 6
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
50 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
50 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup finely sliced peaches (1-2 peaches)
  2. 1 cup blueberries
  3. 1/4 cup + 1/2 tablespoon sugar (divided)
  4. 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  5. 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  6. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  7. 9-inch pie crust, unbaked
  8. 1 egg, beaten
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Mix sliced peaches, blueberries, 1/4 cup sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, and vanilla in a bowl. Set aside.
  3. Place rolled out pie crust on parchment-lined baking sheet (or silicon mat).
  4. Arrange the fruit mixture in the center of the pie crust, leaving about 1 1/2 inches around the outside rim of the crust without fruit.
  5. Fold the extra pie crust towards the center. Don't worry about being too perfect!
  6. Brush the crust with the beaten egg and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 tablespoon sugar.
  7. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the crust is light golden brown.
  8. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream.
Flavor From Scratch http://www.flavorfromscratch.com/

Christmas Morning Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon RollsOh. Man. I CANNOT wait to tell you about these Christmas morning cinnamon rolls! I am so excited that we will, in fact, be having these Christmas morning! It’s like a present to me. I’ll have to remember to write myself a thank you card…

Cinnamon RollsThis is our first Christmas as a family of 3 and Travis and I decided this year we needed to start some traditions of our own. First of all, we are traveling A LOT over the holidays. Or at least it feels like that. I’m pretty sure it just seems like we’re traveling more than we are because we need to pack a truckload of stuff with us now that we have a little one. Either way, we made it a point to actually be at HOME for Christmas day. I don’t think we’ve ever actually been home for Christmas day as a couple so this will be fun!

Another new tradition is apparently shopping online because we have no time to shop anymore. I’m starting to feel old because I know I’m totally late to this online shopping thing. BUT, with a baby, online shopping is the best thing since sliced bread.


Cinnamon RollsHowever, as Travis and I discussed traditions we pretty much focused most of our attention on food. Doesn’t it always go that direction?? Isn’t it wonderful?? As I thought about past family holidays, I remember the decorations and presents and snow and fun that we had. None of that was lost to me, but what I remember most is gathering around the table with family and enjoying a meal full of love and traditions. So this was like a BIG deal to come up with our own family traditions.

Cinnamon RollsSome of my most cherished holiday memories come back to baking with my grandmas, mom, and sister. Luckily, my family will be doing a little baking when we visit them so that tradition lives on! I still needed to do a little baking of my own though! That’s where these rolls come in. These cinnamon rolls are actually my grandma’s yeast dough recipe (passed down to her from her mom) that we usually would use to make bobalki (another amazing concoction for another day) and poppy seed rolls (like cinnamon rolls, but with poppy seed filling).

All you Slovak or Polish folks know what I’m talking about when I refer to poppy seed in terms of sweet treats. Most people think of the gross dry poppy seeds they find on bagels. No. Just no. This poppy seed filling I refer to is sticky and sweet and delicious. I think they take the poppy seed and engulf it in a tub of sugar and corn syrup and it comes out magical. So when you make these cinnamon rolls, I dare you to replace the filling with just a can of Solo poppy seed filling. I’m salivating thinking about it. *Warning, it may take some time to fully enjoy the amazing goodness of poppy seed filling if you haven’t grown up with it. Travis is not quite there yet…My brother-in-law is finally in love with it, but he has a few years on Travis in the poppy seed tradition.

Cinnamon RollsTravis agreed that we can make poppy seed rolls as part of our usual tradition on Christmas. However, since we were just figuring things out we landed on the cinnamon roll version for this year. And it’s hard to complain when you land on something so delicious. So I’ll share some of my poppy seed creations later. But for now, enjoy these cinnamon rolls! They will surely help make my Christmas morning so, so wonderful!

Christmas Morning Cinnamon Rolls
Yields 24
Gooey and sweet cinnamon roll treat perfect for special occasions!
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Prep Time
3 hr 20 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
3 hr 40 min
Prep Time
3 hr 20 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
3 hr 40 min
Yeast Dough
  1. 1 1/2 cups milk
  2. 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  3. 2/3 cup white sugar
  4. 2 teaspoons salt
  5. 2 packets regular yeast (4 1/2 teaspoons)
  6. 1/2 cup lukewarm water
  7. 2 eggs
  8. 6 1/2 cups flour
Filling
  1. 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  2. 1/4 cup cinnamon (4 tablespoons)
  3. 1/4 cup butter, melted
Icing
  1. 1 cup powdered sugar
  2. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  3. 2-3 tablespoons water
Instructions
  1. Scald the milk in a sauce pan over medium heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the vegetable shortening until melted. Stir in the sugar and salt. Set aside to cool to lukewarm (about 10 minutes).
  2. While the milk mixture is cooling, dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water in a large bowl. Let the yeast sit about 5-10 minutes (until the milk mixture is cooled).
  3. Add the milk mixture and eggs to the yeast mixture. Add in 3 1/2 cups of the flour and mix well. Add the remaining 3 cups of flour and knead until the mixture is smooth, about 5 minutes.
  4. Cover the dough with a towel or plastic wrap and let rise 1-2 hours, until doubled in size.
  5. Grease two 9" round cake pans.
  6. Combine brown sugar and cinnamon for the filling.
  7. Divide the dough into 2 and roll one of the halves out on a well floured surface until it is 12x18 inches. Brush a thin layer of melted butter over the dough and sprinkle on half of the filling.
  8. Roll the dough, so you end up with a log 18 inches long. Cut into 12 pieces. Place pieces in cake pan, with a little space around each roll so it can rise again.
  9. Repeat with the second batch.
  10. Let the rolls rise about another hour.
  11. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  12. Bake rolls for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.
  13. Combine icing ingredients. Once the rolls are slightly cooled (about 15 minutes), you can drizzle the icing on the rolls.
Notes
  1. To help the dough rise (especially when it's cold), I turn my oven on to the lowest temperature for about 5 minutes then turn the oven off. Then I put my dough in the oven to rise. Make sure to take it out before you preheat the oven to bake!!
  2. You can freeze the rolls once they are cooled but before you put the icing on. To do this, remove the rolls from the pan after they are cooled and wrap in plastic wrap (I also wrap with aluminum foil after the plastic). To serve, defrost in the refrigerator and top with icing. If you want them warm, you can reheat them in the microwave or in the oven prior to topping with icing.
  3. Rolls are best eaten fresh, but can last a couple of days (but they really won't make it that long!).
Flavor From Scratch http://www.flavorfromscratch.com/

Fruit Pizza Cookies

Fruit Pizza CookiesThese fruit pizza cookies have been a long time coming. And when I say a “long time,” I mean a LONG time. I actually made these beauties LAST summer and they have been waiting to be posted ever since. Mostly because by the time I got around to posting them last year I realized it was practically fall and *way* too late to post a recipe featuring fruit and berries. I’m cutting it close this time but I’m going to declare that it’s still summer and I’m not late this time! I did just make them again recently, which helped prompt me to post them. Plus, I certainly cannot let another year go by without posting these because that would be depriving you of fruit pizza goodness. And I’m not a mean person like that.

Fruit Pizza CookiesWhat is a fruit pizza cookie? Simple…you take a fruit pizza (you all know what that is, I hope) and shrink it into a cookie size. Did I seriously have to explain that? Probably not, but I like to make myself clear. Best part is that you feel like you get to eat your own entire fruit pizza without having to share. WIN! You might even feel obligated to eat a couple, or few “pizzas” once you take into account that the fruit practically makes up for the heaps of butter, making them basically healthy…in a way. I would NEVER eat more than one though. Nope. Never…The baby wanted one too though so I may have eaten one for him. It totally counts.

Fruit Pizza CookiesThese are great for parties because they can be easily picked up on the go! No cutting required! Even better, leave the cookies, frosting, and fruit out for a decoration station AT the party. First, you have less work to do to frost and decorate them and second, you just became every child’s best friend. Or mine, if I’m at the party. If you do make them ahead, I would suggest that you frost and put the fruit on not much more than a couple of hours before you serve them or else they will get a little limp. I found that they mostly will get a little soft when they have strawberries on them, which makes sense since strawberries have a lot of water in them. Also, make sure you get the fruit as dry as you can prior to decorating for this exact reason.


Fruit Pizza CookiesOnce the fruit pizza cookies are frosted and decorated, I keep them refrigerated until serving to keep the fruit pretty and the cream cheese frosting chilled. I found that if I put parchment paper between the layers of cookies, it helps keep everything from becoming a sloppy mess. If it did become a sloppy mess though I’m sure someone would still be willing to eat them. If you can’t find anyone, you can always call me and I’ll find someone to take care of eating them…yeah.

Fruit Pizza Cookies
Yields 36
Mini fruit pizzas! Delicious sugar cookies with cream cheese frosting, topped with fresh fruit and berries.
Print
Prep Time
40 min
Cook Time
11 min
Prep Time
40 min
Cook Time
11 min
Ingredients for the cookies
  1. 1 cup butter, room temperature
  2. 1 1/2 cups sugar
  3. 2 eggs
  4. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  5. 3 cups flour
  6. 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  7. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  8. 1/2 teaspoon salt
Ingredients for the frosting
  1. 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  2. 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  3. 2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  4. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  5. 1/8 teaspoon salt
  6. 1 tablespoon milk
  7. Fruit and berries of your choice (I used kiwi, blueberries, and strawberries)
Directions for the cookies
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cream 1 cup butter and sugar in a large bowl using a mixer. Mix in the eggs, one at a time, and 1 teaspoon vanilla until well combined.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and combine (I used the mixer but you can do this by hand).
  5. Cover and chill the cookie dough in the refrigerator for at least 20-30 minutes.
  6. Once chilled, roll out the dough to 1/4" thickness on a well floured surface and use a cookie cutter (or a mason jar works!) to cut out circles. I made about 36 cookies using a 2.5" diameter cookie cutter and about 28 using a 3" cutter. Keep in mind they will spread, so they will end up slightly bigger than what you cut out.
  7. Place cookies on a parchment lined baking sheet with plenty of space between the cookies (I only put 5 per sheet for the 3" cookies).
  8. Bake for 8-11 minutes (smaller cookies require the low baking time and large require the longer time) or until the edges are just starting to get golden brown.
  9. Remove from the oven and let cool on tray for 1-2 minutes before moving them to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
Directions for the frosting
  1. To prepare the fruit, cut into desired sizes/shapes and place on a paper towel. Pat dry using paper towels. Let them sit on the paper towel until ready to use to make sure they are very dry.
  2. Combine cream cheese, 1/2 cup butter, confectioners sugar, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon vanilla with a mixer starting on low and moving to medium speed. Once combined, add the milk and mix on medium-high for 1-2 minutes.
To prepare the cookies
  1. Frost the cookies with the cream cheese frosting and decorate with the fruit.
Notes
  1. I use parchment paper between layers when storing the cookies to keep them separated. I would recommend frosting them and adding the fruit not much more than a couple of hours before serving for the best result, as they can become a little soft if they sit for too long.
Flavor From Scratch http://www.flavorfromscratch.com/