I haven’t lost all interest in baking and blogging over the past year (eek!), I promise I have had good reason for my hiatus!

Miss Sloane Elise Peterson entered our world on April 9th, 2016 and life has never been better or felt more complete.

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When OXO contacted me about participating in their Cookies For Kids’ Cancer campaign this year, I knew that it was the perfect opportunity to jump back in the saddle and share a fabulous recipe and cause with you all.  OXO has also teamed up with Dorie Greenspan for this project as the baking guru just launched her Dorie’s Cookies cookbook.  Anyone who knows me knows that I will choose a cookie as dessert over any other treat and since Dorie is one of my all-time favorite bakers and cookbook authors, I could hardly wait to try out one of her new cookie recipes.  The best part of the project is that OXO will donate $100 for this post to the leading pediatric cancer centers in the U.S. whose missions are to develop better treatments for children’s cancer.  In total, OXO will be donating up to $100,000 to this worthy cause just for this campaign alone.  CLICK HERE to learn about how you can contribute to Cookies For Kids’ Cancer by hosting your own event.

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Dorie’s Almond Crescent cookies are likable for many reasons.  First, the dough comes together so quickly and there is no need to chill it before baking.  Most importantly, the cookies are delicious thanks to the nutty flavor from the almond meal and crunchy texture of the crescent-shaped cookies.

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These cookies were also a joy for me to make because of the OXO Illuminating Digital Hand Mixer that literally lights your way to creating perfect baked goods.  The mixer is quiet and smoothly transitions between speeds, it sits flat on your countertop thanks to the wrap and secure cord and flat base to the mixer and best of all, it makes ensuring that your cookies are thoroughly mixed easy because a softly glowing LED light illuminates your batter as you mix.

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In addition to the mixer, I thought that I had a favorite baking sheet until that idea went out the window when I tried the OXO Non-Stick Pro Cookie Sheet!

6p8a7438 Dorie’s recipe advised using parchment paper to line your baking sheet prior to baking the Almond Crescents, but there was just no need to grease my cookie sheet or line it with anything because the OXO cookie sheet has this innovative grid-like micro-texture pattern that evenly bakes and ensures that cookies are easily removable.  Honestly, I think all of my other cookies sheets will be donated to the grill cookware pile and I will buy another OXO Non-Stick Pro Cookie Sheet and they will be the only cookie sheets that I use from now on!

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The Almond Crescents are finished with a dusting of powdered sugar and OXO’s Bakers’ Dusting Wand makes this final step fun and easy.

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Almond Crescent Cookies
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 30
 
Made with almond flour and flavored with vanilla these molded crescent cookies can be covered with a heavy layer of powdered or granulated sugar right after they come from the oven.
Ingredients
  • 2 sticks (8 ounces; 226 grams) unsalted butter, cut into chunks, at room temperature
  • ½ cup (100 grams) sugar
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon pure almond extract,
  • to taste (optional)
  • 1¾ cups (238 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1⅓ cups (133 grams) almond flour Granulated or confectioners’ sugar, for coating
Instructions
  1. Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat it to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  2. Working with a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the butter, sugar and salt together on medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla and the almond extract, if you’re using it, then scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. With the machine off, add the all-purpose flour all at once and then pulse the mixer to start blending. Mix on low speed until the flour is almost incorporated, then add the almond flour and mix only until it disappears into the mixture and the dough comes together.
  3. Using a medium cookie scoop, scoop out walnut-size nuggets of dough or use a tablespoon. Work each piece into a compact ball between your palms and then roll it on the counter into a rope about 4 inches long. Bend the rope into a crescent, pinch the ends lightly and place on the baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between the crescents.
  4. Bake for 19 to 21 minutes, rotating the sheets top to bottom and front to back after 10 minutes, or until the cookies are golden at their tips, pale everywhere else and set, but too fragile to lift without breaking. Transfer the baking sheets to racks and let the cookies rest for 5 minutes before you give them the sugar treatment.
  5. Put the sugar in a small bowl and, one by one, dredge the cookies in sugar to coat and place on racks to cool. (I dusted the cookies with powdered sugar using the OXO Bakers' Dusting Wand)
  6. Storing
  7. The dough can be kept, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, or wrapped airtight and frozen for up to 2 months. If you decide to freeze the dough, I think you’ll find it more convenient to shape it first and freeze the crescents; let the crescents come to cool room temperature before baking them. If you omit the sugar coating, the baked cookies can be wrapped and frozen for up to 2 months. The baked cookies will keep for about 3 days; give them a fresh dusting of confectioners’ sugar before serving.

 

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Just in time for the long holiday weekend, I have the perfect dip for all of your barbecues and picnics!  When my husband and I were in Seattle recently we ate at a restaurant recommended to us called Señor Moose.  This quirky restaurant was small in size but huge on flavor.  I wanted to order just about everything on the menu.  To whet our palates, we started our meal with handmade margaritas (I had one with muddled cucumber and lime and it was so refreshingly delicious!) and Esquites which was fresh corn cut off of the cob and mixed with cream, herbs and other unknown ingredients!  That appetizer was the inspiration for this Mexican Street Corn Dip because it reminded me of the corn slathered with mayo, herbs and seasoning that you find on the streets in Mexico.

Mexican Street Corn Dip {satisfymysweettooth.com}

I brought this dip to a party and everyone gobbled it up and was asking for the recipe.  I used frozen corn because it was early for fresh, but fresh corn cut off the cob would work great too now that it is in season.  If you go for fresh, aim for about 3 cups of fresh corn kernels.

Mexican Street Corn Dip {satisfymysweettooth.com}

Mexican Street Corn Dip could not be much easier to make and is quick enough to whip up at the last minute if you need something to bring to a party.  You can tweak the recipe to make it more spicy by adding more chili powder and could even add chopped fresh jalapeño if you have a crowd that really loves heat.

Mexican Street Corn Dip {satisfymysweettooth.com}

Have a lovely 4th of July weekend!!

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Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 8 minutes

Total Time: 23 minutes

Yield: ~3 cups of dip

Sweet corn, creamy cheese and mayo together with fresh and dried spices will make this dip the first thing to disappear from your summer party

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 (10 ounce) bags frozen corn kernels
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 4 ounces cream cheese (room temperature, I used 1/3 less fat cream cheese)
  • 1/3 cup mayo (I used light)
  • 1 (5 ounce) container of plain Greek yogurt (I used nonfat)
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4-1/3 cup cotija cheese (if you can't find this crumbly Mexican cheese, you could substitute feta or leave it out)
  • 1/4 cup diced red pepper
  • salt and pepper
  • sliced baguette or tortilla chips for serving

Instructions

  1. Heat a large sauce pan over medium heat and add 1 tsp of olive oil. Once pan and oil are hot, add frozen corn and cook for about 2 minutes until warmed through. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and the chili powder. Add garlic and saute for about 5 more minutes or until corn and garlic are cooked and slightly browned. Remove pan from heat and pour the corn onto a plate or baking sheet to help it cool more quickly.
  2. While the corn and garlic cook, in another medium bowl, combine the cream cheese, mayo, yogurt and cilantro using a whisk or electric mixer until it is well combined and smooth.
  3. Add cooled corn to the cream cheese mixture and mix until well combined.
  4. Place corn dip into a serving bowl and garnish with extra cilantro leaves, the cotija cheese and red pepper. Serve with sliced baguette or tortilla chips.
  5. Recipe inspired by A Nutritionist Eats|anutritionisteats.com

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Do you like brownies?  Do you like truffles?  Oh you do?  Great, then you will go crazy for these Chocolate Truffle Cookies!

Chocolate Truffle Cookies {satisfymysweettooth.com}

These cookies truly are a hybrid between a slightly crispy-on-the-outside cookie, a gooey brownie and a rich luscious, velvety truffle.  Chocolate lovers like me will go nuts for them.  They are on the smaller side as far as cookies go and that is perfect in this case because just one or two of these little fudgey wonders and even your most intense chocolate craving will be satisfied.

Chocolate Truffle Cookies {satisfymysweettooth.com}

A disclaimer about the dough for these Chocolate Truffle Cookies:  it is sticky and you do need to refrigerate it for a good couple of hours or you can even leave the dough in the refrigerator over night.  If you didn’t do this, the dough would just be a frustrating, sticky mess.  It really is like a pre-rolled truffle consistency and so you want the dough to be cold so that it is easier to roll.  Once the dough is formed into balls, each one gets a good toss around in a bowl of sugar.  I just love any cookies that are dipped in granulated sugar before they are baked because I love that sandy, sparkly appearance that the top of the cookies have.  The best part about these Chocolate Truffle Cookies is that the middle of the cookies stays perpetually soft and chewy which is my number one favorite cookie quality.

Chocolate Truffle Cookies {satisfymysweettooth.com}

Chocolate Truffle Cookies (Gluten-free)

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours, 40 minutes

Yield: ~3 dozen cookies

Rich truffle-like cookies that will satisfy even the most intense chocolate craving

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa powder (I used Dutch-processed)
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, using a mixer, beat the eggs, 1/4 cup of the sugar and honey together for 3-5 minutes until the mixture is thick and glossy.
  2. Place the chocolate chips and butter into a separate small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 1 minute increments until the chocolate is melted. Stir together until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.
  3. In a third large bowl, mix together the almond flour, cocoa powder and salt. Using the mixer, mix in the slightly cooled chocolate. Finally, mix in the egg mixture just until everything is well blended.
  4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight (until mixture is very firm).
  5. Place remaining 1/2 cup of sugar in to a shallow bowl.
  6. Use a small cookie scoop, melon baller or spoon to scoop tablespoon-sized balls of dough. Roll the dough in your hands to shape into perfect balls. Toss each ball to coat in the sugar and place onto a cookie sheet spaced 1-inch apart. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour before baking.
  7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 10 minutes. (If you are baking in multiple sheets, keep the unbaked dough balls in the refrigerator until it is their turn in the oven.)
  8. Recipe adapted from Let Them Eat Cake by Gesine Bullock-Prado

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If there is anything that will get you out of bed in the morning, it has got to be the thought of enjoying one of these Peanut Butter and Jelly Crumb Muffins for breakfast.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Crumb Muffins {satisfymysweettooth.com}

Moist, slightly dense peanut butter muffin batter with sweet a sweet jelly center is all topped with the perfect crumb topping made with crushed honey roasted peanuts.  Your childhood favorite sandwich is reinvented with these Peanut Butter and Jelly Crumb Muffins.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Crumb Muffins {satisfymysweettooth.com}

Peanut Butter & Jelly Crumb Muffins {satisfymysweettooth.com}

These muffins do require a couple of steps but none of them is difficult.  The first thing you will do is mix up that perfect peanut butter muffin batter.  Next you’ll scoop a small amount of that batter into muffin liners.  Top with a small dollop of your favorite flavor of jelly and more batter and then you’re ready to sprinkle on the crumb topping.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Crumb Muffins {satisfymysweettooth.com}

Peanut Butter & Jelly Crumb Muffins {satisfymysweettooth.com}

To make the topping, you simply pulverize some honey roasted peanuts and a couple of other ingredients in a food processor, drizzle in some melted butter and then scoop a generous amount of the delightfully crunchy topping onto the unbaked muffins.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Crumb Muffins {satisfymysweettooth.com}

Less than 20 minutes in the oven is all of the time you will have to wait until you are tearing a Peanut Butter and Jelly Crumb Muffin open to reveal the sweet sticky jelly filling.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Crumb Muffins {satisfymysweettooth.com}

I think that kids would LOVE these muffins equally as much as the adults that I served them to.  What a fun addition to any breakfast menu.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Crumb Muffins {satisfymysweettooth.com}

This recipe is one of the irresistible recipes from the Baked boys, Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito from their newest addition to the Baked cookbook collection, Baked Occasions.  I have shared reviews of Matt and Renato’s other books Baked Explorations, Baked Elements and Baked:  New Frontiers in Baking.  I guess you could say I am sort of a Baked Groupie.  These two just know how to put twists on classics and also completely invent new baked treats in a way that not many others do.

Their most recent book, Baked Occasions:  Desserts for Leisure Activities, Holidays and Informal Celebrations is chock full of sweet treat ideas for any occasion throughout the year.  The book is organized by month and recipes include things like Caramel-y Banana, Peanut Butter and Chocolate Bread Pudding in January for Elvis’ birthday,

Rainbow Icebox Cake with Homemade Chocolate Cookies for Gay Pride Day in June, Baked Ultimate Birthday Cake for any month,

and Individual Baked Alaskas for Alaska Day in June (what, you don’t celebrate Alaska Day??).

There are witty stories to accompany each recipe and even a section a fun section titles “A leisurely conversation about holidays, occasions, and childhood trauma with Matt and Renato”.  Oh what I wouldn’t do to hang out in the bakery with those two for a day!  This book is pages and pages of make-you-drool photos and desserts that you will be finding yourself all of a sudden celebrating Dolly Parton’s birthday just for an excuse to make Dolly’s Doughnut.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Crumb Muffins

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 16 minutes

Total Time: 36 minutes

Yield: 15 muffins

Your favorite childhood sandwich transformed into an irresistible muffin.

Ingredients

    For the crumb topping
  • 1/3 cup honey roasted peanuts
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • For the muffins
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (you can use natural if you want)
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • about 1/2 cup strawberry jelly (or your favorite flavor of jelly or jam)

Instructions

    For the crumb topping
  1. Place the peanuts into a food processor and process until finely chopped (not as fine as flour). Place into a small bowl and add the flour and melted butter. Mix to combine and set aside.
  2. For the muffins
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a muffin pan with paper liners.
  4. In a large bowl, combine flour, both sugars, baking powder and soda and salt.
  5. To the bowl of dry ingredients, add the milk, sour cream, peanut butter, oil, egg and vanilla and mix together until blended (do not overmix).
  6. Fill the bottom 1/3 of the paper liners in the prepared pan with batter.
  7. Top each with a heaping teaspoon of jelly, then top jelly by filling liners up to about 3/4 full with remaining batter.
  8. Top the unbaked muffins with about 1Tbsp each of the crumb mixture pressing gently so that the crumb adheres to the muffin.
  9. Bake 16 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the muffin (not into the jelly) comes out clean.
  10. Cool completely in the pan.
  11. Recipe adapted from Baked Occasions

*Stewart, Tabori & Chang Publishing sent me a review copy of Baked Occasions, but all opinions are, as always, my own.

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I visited San Francisco for the first time last month and left my heart as they say.  I knew that it would be a fabulous place to visit, but between the perfect weather with only sunshine days, incredible food and ease of getting around, I cannot wait to return in June.

Here are some food highlights from the city:

Gnochetti at SPQR in Pacific Heights, because baby-sized food is always better

SPQR

I always say that it is my due diligence to do a bakery tour in any city that I visit and San Francisco did not disappoint.  Sift Dessert Bar offered up the classics like cookies, macarons and cupcakes and one unique offering, the Cruffle.  The Cruffle  was not totally unlike a cake pop, I was told it was crushed up cupcake mixed with frosting and coated in chocolate, but even for this sweet tooth, one bite was more than I ever need of that sugar bomb.  My Samoa cupcake was perfection though and their glittery cakes made me want to have a party immediately.

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Once my husband joined me in San Francisco, we were on a coffee mission.  He is a huge fan of Blue Bottle Coffee and he had to sample their siphon-brewed coffee.  It was quite a process and fun to watch, but I am not a coffee connoisseur enough to know if the taste is truly superior.

We enjoyed a fantastic lunch at Kuleto’s which has been in Union Square for many years and offers lovely Northern Italian cuisine including this fig, burrata, balsamic onion and prosciutto bruschetta, roasted beet and arugula salad and rosemary flatbread with roasted garlic and triple cream blue brie.  Our entire lunch was delicious and our cheese cravings were surely satisfied.

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The highlight of our trip was the time we spent in Yountville in Napa Valley.  I am in love.  I was unaware that there were places so quaint, relaxing and beautiful so relatively close to home.  The trip was so lovely that I couldn’t wait to get back and share where and what we ate and the vineyards that we visited.

Our drive to Napa Valley began with a stop by the Golden Gate Bridge because after all, we were tourists.

We then stopped at the San Rafael Farmers’ Market for lunch and I was loving all of the fresh produce that is months ahead of our local farmers’ markets.

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We stayed in Yountville and I loved how many restaurants were within walking distance since Yountville is quite small and all of the shops and eateries on within a few blocks of each other.  I am not a person who likes to stay in hotels, but I guess I can’t claim that anymore because I never wanted to leave the Hotel Yountville where we stayed.   IMG_0060 IMG_0063 IMG_0065 IMG_0104

I especially loved being within walking distance of Bouchon Bakery.  I did a review of the insanely gorgeous Bouchon Bakery Cookbook awhile ago and visiting the bakery each morning we were there was definitely worth each ounce of butter that I consumed.  In fact, the visit made me love my favorite cookbook and Thomas Keller even more.  My favorite bakery splurge is an almond croissant and Bouchon Bakery’s almond croissant is the best croissant I have ever had.  Big surprise, Thomas Keller knows what’s up.

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Speaking of Thomas Keller, the most exciting surprise place that we had the pleasure of dining at was his pop-up restaurant Ad Lib.  I’m sure you know about Thomas Keller’s famous, fancy restaurant The French Laundry which basically gave such prestige to “the tasting menu” as we know it.  We would have loved to have eaten there during our trip, but the restaurant had been closed for renovation since January.  While the restaurant was closed for renovation, Chef Keller was looking out for his staff and elected to open Ad Lib in the Royal Oak at the Silverado Country Club so that they would have a place to work while the Laundry was closed.  So all of the chefs and servers migrated down the road for the brief 10 month lifespan of the restaurant (it will close in October).  It was such a treat to get to experience Chef Keller’s magic in such an intimate setting and everything they put before us was incredibly beautiful and undoubtedly delicious.  We started with the table side Caesar salad, I had the Salmon with dill beurre blanc and my husband had the Chicken Schnitzel (imagine the best chicken piccata you’ve ever tasted and yes that is a normally-sized dinner plate that it is on) and we shared the spring pea and mushroom gnocchi.

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Oh yeah, how could I forget the vineyards, aka the reason people visit wine country!   Enough about food for now.  We visited several vineyards including Domain Chandon, Hess (they have the most incredible art collection that is worth the trip alone not to mention how many wines I loved there), Pine Ridge (I already loved their Chenin Blanc Viognier blend that you can get anywhere) where we did a unique tasting in their wine cave,

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Rombauer (one of my family’s favorite winemakers:  we LOVE their zinfandel and chardonnay and they just came out with their first sauvignon blanc which was nice),

Duckhorn (my new absolute favorite white is their sauvignon blanc) wine labels are the wines that have been served more at White House events than any other American label.  They had menus hanging on the wall from various presidential events that the wines have been served at which I totally ate up.

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A couple of our other favorite stops were Frank Family vineyard

 And Mumm Napa, which is now one of my favorite bubbles to drink.

We fueled up during our big day of tasting at a place called Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch in St. Helena and I wish I would have known in advance about the experience that they offer that includes a walking tour of their garden with their chef followed by a tasting menu lunch at the chef’s table.  Next time.  I got their homemade cookies to go for dessert, I’m sure you’re shocked about that one.

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Last stop was a visit to The French Laundry gardens which were so perfect and lovely to walk through.  The chickens were plenty friendly too.  It was so amazing to see the actual garden right across the street from the restaurant.  It doesn’t get any more “farm to table” than that.

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I can hardly wait to return to Napa Valley someday and I would love to hear about any of your favorite places to visit when you’ve travelled to wine country.

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