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Sea Salt & Lavender Shortbread Cookies with Lemon Glaze

I love lavender, but it can be problematic. Just the right amount of lavender adds a fragrant, floral, and almost herby hit; too much, and you’re tasting soap. Or worse, potpourri.

This recipe, from Le Petit Chef, is the perfect marriage of rich, buttery shortbread, tinted with lavender and just the barest touch of sea salt, topped with a simple sweet-tarte lemon glaze. No soap!

I varied from the recipe as written a little (as usual), as follows:

  • I bought this organic, food-grade lavender flowers from Amazon. It’s quite a big bag, considering you only use 1/2 tsp for this recipe. I think I need to learn to make sachets or something.
  • I don’t have a mortar and pestle or a spare coffee grinder to grind the lavender flowers into the sugar, so I improvised and used the round end of a wooden lemon reamer in a small bowl.
  • I added about half a teaspoon of lemon zest to the shortbread dough before mixing.
  • I followed the recipe for her glaze, but used lemon instead of grapefruit juice. For the record, I think grapefruit juice with a touch of flaky sea salt to finish would make a killer glaze on this cookie. I will try that next!
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breakfast

Small Batch Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

I found it, you guys. The holy grail. A cinnamon roll recipe that produces perfectly soft and gooey cinnamon rolls in a small batch!

Baking Mischief’s Overnight Cinnamon Rolls for Two are a major find.

I didn’t have a 6-7″ pan, so I cut the rolls into 6 pieces and divided them into 3″ springform pans (3 pieces per pan). It was the perfect amount for me and my son. They only needed 15 minutes to bake and they made the most glorious crispy tops crowning a soft roll filled with spirals of warm, brown sugar and cinnamon. Nirvana.

The best thing about this recipe is that you make the rolls AND the frosting the night before, stick them in the fridge and then pop them in the oven in the morning. And I didn’t even use my mixer. Just a whisk and two bowls. I am in love.

cheesecake

Small Batch Lemon Swirl Cheesecake

Sometimes, you don’t need a whole cheesecake. I mean you might WANT a whole cheesecake, but you really don’t NEED it. Know what I mean?

When my better angels concede to SOME cheesecake, I make this Creamy Small Batch Cheesecake by Sally’s Baking Addiction. It’s a great basic cheesecake that you could totally serve with your favorite sauce or compote, chocolate sauce or fresh fruit.

This time, I decided to go the lemon route, so this is what I added:

  • more lemon juice than stated in the recipe (closer to 2 tablespoons)
  • about a tablespoon of lemon zest
  • about 2 tablespoons of lemon curd
    Note: I used Trader Joe’s version, because that’s what I had in my fridge and I didn’t feel like making it from scratch, but you totally could if you were feeling inspired. Then, I dropped it in 4 or 5 blobs on top of the batter and ran a knife through them to swirl it in. And, voila: lemon swirl cheesecake.
bars · cookies

“Bronzies” : blondies with toasted cashews, marzipan, and white and dark chocolate.

This is an unusual recipe from the food folks over at Food 52. If you can tear yourself away from the shop, filled with gorgeous cookware and other fun stuff for the kitchen, I’d suggest looking through their recipes. They are consistently great and different from the usual fare.

These blondies are rich and chewy with more than a hint of white chocolate, which you melt right in with the butter to make the batter. Then, you add chopped marzipan, toasted cashews, dark chocolate chips, and more white chocolate. They would make an excellent addition to any Christmas cookie tray. They will travel, ship, and freeze well.

Notes for the next time I make them:

  • I will be sure to use dark brown sugar. Light brown worked fine but I think the added layer of the molasses-rich dark brown sugar would make it even better.
  • I might also use already toasted and salted cashews. I toasted raw, unsalted cashews myself. They were good, but you know how I love the salty/sweet combo.
cookies

Chewy Toffee Crunch Cookies

It’s beginning to feel like fall around Central Oregon. In the span of two weeks, the kids have gone back to school, the days have gotten noticeably shorter, and it’s been downright chilly in the mornings. This is all extra fine by me. I love fall. Sweaters, roasts, scarves, fireplaces, and steamy lattes. And richer flavors, like toffee. I will pick toffee 100 times over pumpkin spice, I’m just saying.

This week, Shelly over at Cookies and Cups, posted a recipe to her Butter Crunch Cookies, and with autumn rushing back in, I knew I had to make them.

I made the toffee, per the recipe. It’s easy, even if you have to dig out your candy thermometer. You could use a bag of toffee bits, or crush up Skor or Heath bars if you don’t mind a little chocolate. But, if you like to control what goes in your food, making the toffee yourself isn’t a bad option.

Savory

Skillet Pizza Rolls

Well what have we here…a dinner recipe? Savory?!?

Yeah. Well, it’s not all buttercream and salted caramel in my world. I mean…it MOSTLY is, but I do have a kid to feed. And that kid loves pizza. Who doesn’t, right?

This recipe, from my go-to gal, Shelly over at Cookies and Cups.

Skillet Pizza Rolls

I used Italian sausage and mozzarella cheese, per the recipe, but you could easily make this much fancier. I was thinking of all kinds of combinations:

  • Caramelized onions and goat cheese
  • Sautéed portabella mushrooms and bleu cheese
  • Roasted red peppers and artichokes
  • Roasted chicken, thinly sliced shallots, and barbecue sauce

The sky’s the limit. Whatever you put on your pizza could easily go inside these rolls.

I bought ready-made dough from the deli, but you could use the kind in a can, or make your own. Next time, I won’t roll it out so thin, because I want to have more of the crust flavor running throughout the roll.

Try it and let me know what you think!

bars · cookies

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

If there is one thing I don’t love about baking, it’s the clean up afterwards. I’ve figured out a system that works for me – basically, filling the sink with hot, soapy water when I start, tossing dirty dishes in while I work, and washing them while whatever I’m baking is in the oven. It’s not brain surgery but it accomplishes my goal of having a clean kitchen by the time whatever I’m making comes out of the oven.

Here’s what I made today. Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars.

The recipe comes from a new (to me) blog, South Your Mouth.

I love this recipe as much for the outcome – wonderfully classic cookie bars that have a chocolate punch and a chewy texture – as for the relatively small mess they make. I used a hand mixer, one big bowl to mix the ingredients, and lined the pan with foil, so all I had to was was the bowl, the beaters, measuring cups/spoons, and a spatula.

The chewy texture and perfect bar consistency come from using “mostly melted” butter, equal parts brown and white sugars, and..the kicker, self-rising flour. I didn’t have any, so I used her tip of converting AP flour by adding salt and baking powder. Genius.

These cookie bars travel well, keep well, and freeze well. I already stashed half the batch in my freezer for a rainy day. Now that’s thinking ahead.