Maple Walnut Shortbread Cookies

maple walnut shortbread1

Maple Walnut Shortbread Cookies
Adapted from Allrecipes

These bars have a thin and gooey walnut-maple topping and a buttery crust. They’re an indulgence that’s not too rich.

Makes about: 1 8×8 tray
Prep time: 10-20 minutes.
Bake time: 10-15 minutes for crust, 8-12 minutes for the filling

1 cup flour
1/3 c brown sugar
½ cup butter
¼ cup toasted chopped walnuts
¼ tsp salt

1 egg
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 tbsp maple syrup
3/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts (can increase to 1 cup if desired)

Special equipment
8×8 baking pan

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare 8×8 baking pan by lining with parchment paper.
2. Mix together flour, brown sugar, salt, and butter until crumbly.
3. Mix in walnuts.
4. Press into prepared pan.
5. Bake crust for 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown.
6. Meanwhile, mix together the egg, brown sugar, maple syrup, and walnuts to make the filling.
7. Pour over finished crust.
8. Bake about 8-12 minutes, or until filling sets.

maple walnut shortbread2

Brownies from Tartine

tartine brownie 1

Brownies from Tartine
Source: Tartine

This recipe yields the richest, fudgiest brownies I’ve ever had. One note—the original recipe states that one cannot use a cake tester to judge the doneness of the brownies, since the high chocolate percentage means that the tester will still come out wet even if the brownies are done. However, I found that the brownies were still raw after using the original bake time and following this rule. Therefore, it might make sense to remove the brownies when there are a few wet crumbs on the knife/cake tester. I ended up baking for almost twice the indicated time.

Makes about: one 9×13 pan, or 24 pieces
Prep time: 15 minutes
Bake time: 25 minutes (I baked for almost twice this amount of time)

¾ cup unsalted butter
1 pound bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used chocolate chips)
5 large eggs
2 cups brown sugar
½ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
¾ cup + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 cups nuts (optional; for topping)

Special equipment
9×13 baking pan, hand mixer

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare a 9×13 baking pan by buttering it, or by lining with parchment paper.
2. Melt the butter over low heat. Remove from heat and mix in chocolate. If chocolate does not melt from the heat of the butter, add to stove and heat until melted. Let cool.
3. Beat together eggs, sugar, salt, and vanilla. Beat on high speed until the mixture thickens, becomes pale, and falls from the beater in a wide ribbon, and slowly dissolves back into the surface (about 4-5 minutes). Alternately, you can use a hand whisk and whisk forever (ok, maybe about 2x as long).
4. Fold cooled chocolate into the egg mixture.
5. Fold in flour into the chocolate+egg mixture.
6. Pour batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula.
7. Distribute nuts over the top if desired.
8. Bake about 25 minutes, or until the top looks slightly cracked and is soft to the touch. I’d recommend baking until the cake tester is more or less clean (i.e. not completely raw batter sticking to it).
9. Let cool and cut with a very sharp knife. Clean the knife between cuts.

tartine brownie 2

tartine brownie 3

Zucchini-Apricot Cake from Tartine

tartine zucchini 1

Zucchini-Apricot Cake from Tartine
Source: Tartine

The addition of apricot jam seemed a bit unusual, but this cake turned out to be very moist and delicious. The original recipe calls for marmalade, but indicates that apricot jam is also acceptable. It also notes that you should bake right away after preparing the batter, lest the zucchini macerate in the sugar (which would give you a watery batter). The zucchini and jam contribute to the moistness of the cake, but can also make it very soggy when you add a little too much zucchini. (Resist the urge to pack down the zucchini and add more of it…)

Makes about: 1 loaf or about 12 muffins
Prep time: 10 minutes
Bake time: 60-70 minutes for the loaf, 15-20 minutes for the muffins

2 eggs
½ cup + 2tbsp vegetable oil
¾ cup sugar
½ cup apricot jam or orange marmalade
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 ¾ cups+2tbsp all purpose flour
2 ½ cup grated zucchini
1 cup walnuts, toasted (optional)
2 tbsp sugar for topping (optional)

Special equipment
Loaf pan or muffin pan

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare a loaf pan by lining it with parchment paper or by greasing it. If making muffins, prepare muffin pan with paper liners, or by greasing the muffin cups.
2. Mix together the eggs, vegetable oil, sugar, and jam.
3. Add in the baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
4. Stir in the flour.
5. Add the grated zucchini and mix until just combined.
6. Stir in walnuts if desired.
7. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Sprinkle sugar over the top.
8. Bake for 60-70 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. If making muffins, bake for 15-20 minutes until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

tartine zucchini 2

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies from Tartine

tartine oatmeal 1

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies from Tartine
Source: Tartine

These are some of the best oatmeal chocolate-chip cookies I’ve had. I usually make them with olive oil, which changes the texture a little and makes them marginally healthier, but they’re still delicious. They’re also easy to make, since you only need one bowl to prepare everything.

Makes about: 70 1-inch cookies
Prep time: 10 minutes
Bake time: 8-12 minutes.

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (I used olive oil)
1 ¾ cups sugar
4 tsp dark molasses
2 large eggs
2 tbsp whole milk (I use soy milk)
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
12 oz chocolate chips
1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

Baking pans

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare baking pans by greasing them or by lining with parchment papers.
2. If using butter, cream together butter in sugar. Otherwise, mix together oil and sugar.
3. Mix in molasses, eggs, milk, and vanilla.
4. Stir in baking soda, baking powder, salt, and flour.
5. Mix in oats.
6. Mix in chocolate chips.
7. Using a teaspoon, scoop cookie dough onto prepared pan. Leave at least 1cm between cookies, since they do spread a bit.
8. Bake about 8-12 minutes, or until tops of cookie are a bit dull. The longer you bake, the crispier the cookie. If you like soft and chewy cookies, bake for elss time.
9. Let cool before attempting to remove from pan. Enjoy!

tartine oatmeal2

Mrs. Hockmeyer’s Banana Bread

mrs. h banana bread 2

Mrs. Hockmeyer’s Banana Bread
Source: Simply Recipes via Smitten Kitchen

This super moist banana loaf was almost completely devoured by the time I came to check back on it after letting it cool. I’ve been making banana bread for a long time, but this delicious loaf is definitely one of my new favorites. I added some cinnamon, but it should also be delicious without it. Plus, it’s super easy to make.

Makes about: 1 loaf
Prep time: 5-10 minutes
Bake time: 60 minutes

4 ripe bananas, mashed
1/3 cup olive oil (or melted butter)
¾ cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 ½ cups flour

Special equipment
1 loaf pan

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare loaf pan by greasing, or by lining with parchment paper.
2. Mash bananas. (Use your hands, a potato masher, or a blender).
3. Mix in oil, sugar, and egg.
4. Stir in vanilla, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and flour. Mix until just combined.
5. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for about 50-60 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

mrs. h banana bread 1

Fat Free Ginger Cookies


Fat Free Ginger Cookies
Source: David Lebovitz

These chewy cookies are soft and spicy. They’re amazing for being fat free, although I personally prefer the normal butter-packed ones. Also, even though they are fat free, I don’t think you can really call them healthy.

Makes about: 20 cookies
Prep time: 10 minutes
Bake time: 10-13 minutes

1 cup brown sugar
¼ cup applesauce
1/3 cup molasses
2 large egg whites, room temperature
2 ¼ cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 ½ tsp ground dried ginger
¼ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp salt
½ cup finely-chopped candied ginger (optional)
~½ cup additional sugar for rolling the cookies

Baking pans

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare baking pans with parchment paper, or grease them well.
2. Mix together brown sugar, applesauce, molasses, and egg whites.
3. Stir in baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, pepper, and salt.
4. Mix in flour until completely combined.
5. Stir in candied ginger if desired.
6. Chill cookie dough until firm enough to roll into balls. (Chilling helps the dough not be too sticky). Sticking it in the freezer for about 30 minutes should be enough.
7. Scoop the dough out using a spoon and roll into balls. Roll cookies in the sugar.
8. Place on prepared baking pan with some space (the cookies spread a little). Bake for 10-13 minutes, or until cookies look like they are barely set in the center.
9. Let cool and enjoy!


Simple Apple Tart


Simple Apple Tart
Source: Smitten Kitchen via Alice Waters

This lovely tart is super simple to make. Unlike other tarts, it’s not too sweet or heavy. There’s an apple glaze made out of the peels and cores, which I didn’t find to be quite necessary, since the tart alone was delicious enough.

Makes about: 1 9-inch tart
Prep time: 30-45 minutes (b/c chopping apples takes forever, plus you need to chill the dough)
Bake time: 30-45 minutes

1 cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp sugar
1/8 tsp salt
6 tbsp unsalted butter, slightly soft, cut into ½ inch pieces
3 ½ tsp chilled water

2 pounds apples, peeled, cored, and sliced (keep the cores and skins)
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
3-5 tbsp sugar

½ cup sugar
peels and cores from the apples

Special equipment
Tart pan, rolling pin

1. Preheat oven to 400F.
2. To prepare dough: combine the flour, sugar, and salt.
3. Cut in the butter with two knives (this actually works!) or with your fingers, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs and the largest pieces appear to be large peas.
4. Dribble in water until dough. Keep working the dough until it forms a ball, and flatten into a disk.
5. Chill dough for about 30 minutes, or until the dough is cold, but still malleable. (Chilling helps firm up the butter and makes it a bit easier to roll. Also, this is a great time to peel and chop the apples!)
6. Roll dough into a circle about 14 inches in diameter. (Roll between two sheets of plastic wrap or parchment paper for easy cleanup, or use a lightly floured surface).
7. Place dough in a 9-inch tart pan and press the dough along the bottom and sides. The dough will overhang, but that’s okay ☺
8. To prepare filling: Overlap apples in the tart pan in a ring starting from the outside edge and move toward the center.
9. Fold any overhanging dough over the fruit and crimp at 1 inch intervals.
10. Brush the 2 tbsp melted butter over the apples and onto the dough.
11. Sprinkle 2 tbsp of the sugar over the dough and about 3 tbsp over the apples. You can use less if desired for a less sweet tart.
12. Bake for about 30-45 minutes, or until apples are soft with browned edges, and crust has caramelized.
13. To make glaze: Put peels and cores in a saucepan with sugar. Pour in just enough water to cover and simmer for 25 minutes. Strain syrup and brush over cooled tart.
14. Let tart cool before serving. Enjoy!



Subtly Spicy Brownies

subtly spicy brownies 1

Subtly Spicy Brownies
Source: Smitten Kitchen

Makes about: 9×13 pan
Prep time: 10 minutes
Bake time: 30-40 mins

These delicious brownies are dense and very rich. The spicy flavors didn’t really come through, but perhaps that’s part of the subtlety? I’d never heard of Baked (the bakery from which this recipe originates), so sadly, there’s no interesting story about the source, except to say that I like browsing Smitten Kitchen when I’m procrastinating ☺

11 oz dark chocolate (60 to 72% cacao), chopped
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ½ tsp smoked paprika (or chipotle powder)
¾ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp cardamom (I left this out)
1 tsp instant espresso powder
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
½ cup brown sugar
5 large eggs, room temperature
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

Special equipment
9×13 baking pan

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare baking pan by lining with parchment paper or by greasing very well.
2. Melt together the dark chocolate and butter over low heat.
3. To the chocolate mixture, add the salt, cocoa powder, paprika, cinnamon, cardamom (if using), espresso powder, and vanilla. Mix until well blended.
4. Mix in sugar.
5. Beat in eggs one at a time.
6. Add flour and mix until just combined.
7. Pour into prepared pan and bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

subtly spicy brownies 2

Lemon Bars from Smitten Kitchen

lemon bars-sk 1

Lemon Bars from Smitten Kitchen
Source: Smitten Kitchen

These bars were packed with lemony goodness. I used the thinner filling suggestion from Smitten Kitchen instead of the 6 egg full-thickness filling. Unlike some other recipes, this one uses flour to thicken the lemon filling, so it’s got a bit less stickiness.

Makes about: One 9×3 pan (about 24 bars)
Prep time: 20 minutes (b/c juicing and zesting takes forever)
Bake time: 15-20 minutes (crust)+30-35 mins (filling)

1 cup (2 sticks) butter
½ cup sugar
2 cups flour
1/8 tsp salt
bake 15-20 minus

Lemon filling
4 eggs
1 2/3 cups sugar
4 tsp zest
2/3 cup lemon juice
2/3 cup flour

Special equipment
9×13 pan, lined with parchment

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Prepare a 9×13 baking pan by lining with parchment paper (easy cleanup!) or by greasing.
2. To make the crust: cream together butter and sugar. Mix in flour and salt until just combined (it might be crumbly).
3. Dump dough into pan and press into the bottom of the prepared pan with your hands. Build up a ½ inch edge on all sides. Chill if desired.
4. Bake crust for 15-20 minutes, or until lightly browned.
5. While the crust is baking, prepare the filling. Whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour until combined.
6. Pour lemon mixture over the crust.
7. Bake 30-35 minutes, or about 5minutes after the filling is set. (Note: telling whether the filling is set is a bit difficult. Maybe one easy way of telling is that the filling is no longer liquid and the filling no longer really jiggles when you move the pan. When in doubt, though, you can always bake longer. If you insert a knife into the custard, though, it won’t come out clean.)
8. Let cool and dust with confectioner’s sugar if desired.
lemon bars-sk 2