rugelach!


A favorite cookie of friends and family. Cream cheese cookie dough makes my heart sing. I made these recently at the tail end of a marathon of Christmas cookie baking and they were my favorite out of all. These cute curly cookies take a little more time and love than your average cookie but they are SO worth it. Feel free to play around with the flavor of jelly you use, maybe even throw in some chocolate chips instead of raisins!  There are tons of rugelach recipes out there but my mom and I always stick to the Barefoot Contessa's version

cookie dough:

8oz cream cheese @room temp

2 sticks unsalted butter @room temp

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups all purpose flour

filling:

6 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/4 lightly packed brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup each of apricot and seedless raspberry preserves (OR 1/2 cup of one flavor), stirred very well or run through a food processor.

3/4 cup raisins

1 cup of finely chopped walnuts

topping:

1 egg beaten with a tablespoon of milk (for egg wash)

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon 

to make dough: Beat cream cheese and butter in bowl till light and fluffy. Add granulated sugar, salt and vanilla. Scraping the bowl to mix everything evenly together. Turn speed to low and slowly add flour, mix till just combined. Turn dough out on to a well floured surface and cut into 4 equal rounds. Wrap in plastic wrap and let chill in fridge for 1 hour.

for filling: In a medium bowl mix white sugar, brown sugar and cinnamon together. Stir in raisins and walnuts. Set aside. 

for topping: In small bowl stir together sugar and cinnamon. Set aside!

Preheat oven to 350, line 2 or 4 cookie sheets with parchment. Now it's time to make the cookie. Working with one round at a time, roll out into a 9'' circle. I try really hard to make it a perfect circle, but usually it's a rough interpretation of a circle. Be sure to use flour while rolling it out to keep the dough from sticking. Using the preserve of your choice, spread about 2 tablespoons evenly on the round, keeping a small boarder around the edge. Next sprinkle 1/2 cup of the filling, gently pressing it in to the preserves to keep it in place. Cut the circle into 12 triangles. Time to roll! Working from the wide end of the triangle roll up to the small and slightly pinch the tip into the bottom to secure it. Place on baking sheet. If you wanted to, you could now put the cookies back in the fridge to chill a little, at this point in my day I was baking for roughly 8 hours..so I did indeed skip that step and my cookies turned out cute and delicious. Brush them with the egg wash and sprinkle cinnamon sugar topping evenly over each cookie. Repeat with 3 remaining dough rounds.

Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes. Be sure to check them after 15, I tend to like these under-done.

delightful and simple pecan pie

 

GUYS! PIIIEEEE! I've had a pretty big fear of pie dough for a long time, I'd pretty much just avoid it all together.  Leaving them for Mama Rubes, or my grandmother..or just paying more attention to cake.  I am happy to announce I am over my fear of dough annnnnnnd that this pie is where it's AT.  This is a sweet, crunchy, nutty beautiful pie.  It also came together incredibly quickly and was so easy!

This past weekend we went up north to deep fry a turkey and hang in the woods.  Naturally, we needed pie to finish off the deep fried turkey.  It was a great little early Thanksgiving for us.  Maybe we should all make an effort to have Thanksgiving once a month...bad idea?  Too much pie?  No..silly Lauren..too much pie is not a thing.  So for this pie, I made the cold butter crust from the new Joy The Baker book (it's an awesome book!), and the filling from Martha Stewart's Pies & Tarts book. Go ahead and try it, I know you can do it!

 

delightful pecan pie

cold butter crust (makes enough for two-single crusts, or one double crusted pie)

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

2 sticks cold unsalted butter; cut into cubes

5 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons cold water

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

In a medium bowl, whisk flour, sugar and salt together.  Dump in cold butter and using a pastry cutter or your fingers work the butter into the flour. You want some of the butter to be the size of oat flakes and some the size of peas . Work quickly, you don't the butter to get warm! Now form a well in the middle of the mix and stir in water and vinegar using a fork. It should become moist and shaggy, if you need to add more water to get there, do so 1 teaspoon at a time.

Once together dump onto a floured counter and cut into two halves. Gently knead each half into a disk and wrap plastic, let chill for 1 hour in fridge. Once the dough is chilly, take one disk and place onto a well floured counter. Roll dough out to fit your pie shell. I used a 9'' round and rolled it to roughly 12''. Place dough in pie shell and pinch edges to your liking. After you finish this part, stick the dough in the freezer while you prepare the filling so it doesn't get soft! 

pecan filling

4 cups pecan halves; toasted (*see note*)

4 eggs; lightly beaten

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 cup light corn syrup

1//2 cup unsalted butter; melted and cooled

2 tablespoons vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

For Filling:

Preheat oven to 325. Set aside 1 1/4 cups of pecan halves and coarsely chop up the rest.  In a medium bowl mix together eggs, sugar, corn syrup, butter, vanilla and salt till well combined.  Fold in chopped pecan pieces.  Pour mixture into prepared pie crust. Place the remaining 1 1/4 cup of remaining nuts on top, in whatever kind of pattern you'd like.  Place pie on a baking sheet and bake for about 90 minutes or till the middle is just set. If top begins to brown too quickly, loosely cover with foil.  Let cool completely.

 

Note: Toast your nuts! Heat oven to 350, place nuts on a baking sheet and put in the oven for 6-9 minutes. Check them after 6 minutes and they should be fragrant and a little toasty in color. Remove and let cool on the sheet pan.

smoky chicken chili


I love chili! Do you love chili!? Fall is perfect chili weather. Typically I'll make a big batch on Sunday so we can eat it through out the whole week, untill we are sick of chili. I really love pumpkin chili- but I love pumpkin on anything.  Sadly, there's no pumpkin involved today. 

This chili is great, it gets a little smoky from the bacon and the rotisserie chicken makes it super easy to make. Crunch some tortilla chips and a nice pile of cheese on top and it is just the perfect fall-ish dinner!

smoky chicken chili

4 slices of bacon, diced

1 onion; chopped

5 garlic cloves, chopped

1 rotisserie chicken,  meat removed and shredded

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 tablespoon cumin

1 teaspoon salt

a 12oz bottle of beer (we used a Number 9)

28oz can fire roasted tomatoes

2 chipotle peppers in adobo; diced (add more if you are into the crazy spicy deal)

1 can pinto beans; drained and rinsed 

2 cans black beans; drained and rinsed

1/4 cup corn meal

For Topping; grated Manchego, cilantro, avocado + tortilla chips

In a large pot add a small glug of olive oil over medium heat. Add bacon and cook till crispy. Remove and place on a plate lined with a paper towel. Eat as a snack, you deserve it. Drain all but 1 tablespoon of oil in the pot and return to burner. Add onions let cook till softened, about 5 to 7 minutes next add garlic and let cook for a few more minutes. Dump in chicken and spices. Stir together so everything is happy and toasting, let cook for two minutes. Pour about 3/4 of the beer into the pot and stir, making sure to get all the bits off the bottom of the pot. 

Next add tomatoes, chipotle peppers and beans. Stir, put a lid on it and let simmer on low for 1 hour. Checking on it a few times throughout. Now- take that last quater of beer and mix it with the corn meal to make a slurry. Pour into chili and stir. This thickens the chili and adds a really nice flavor to the chili. Cook for 10 more minutes and then serve with all your favorite chili toppings!

Adapted from here!

NOM NOM NOM

NOM NOM NOM


iced coffee hermits with espresso icing

 

Hermits were never my idea, but now we are pretty good friends. I'm happy we met. Conor typically never ever request sweets ('cause he is sweet enough...AMIRIGHT!? **insert punchline drum kick here**). So if ever the occasion comes where he says I'd really love cookies or cake or fried things I am right on it. This is where I meet the hermit. I had never really had a run-in with a hermit cookie and didn't know what they were all about. Conor's dad makes a nice one with molasses and a dusting of sugar on top, and this piqued my interest. After consulting with Mama Rubes and her magical vintage Boston Globe Cookbook from.....a wicked long time ago I stumbled upon a hermit from back in the day. I played with it a little and ended up throwing a glaze on them, which we both really loved. Add some raisins and pecans and this really is a great little cookie. Not too sweet, but just enough. You should really meet this hermit.

iced coffee hermit (makes about 6 dozen)

1 1/2 cups butter @ room temp

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

2 eggs

1/2 cold coffee

3 1/2 cups a.p flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon cinnamon 

2 cups raisins

1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

In the bowl of a standing mixer with a paddle attachment beat butter, sugar and eggs till fluffy. Add coffee and mix together (it might look a little broken and strange..but do not worry, it's natural). In a separate bowl whisk together flour, soda, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon. Mix dry into your butter sugar mix till evenly combined. Stir in raisins and nuts. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and stick in the fridge to chill for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 400. On cookie sheets lined with parchment drop rounded teaspoons (or use your smallest cookie scoop) two inches apart. Bake for 8-10 minutes or till they are just firm on the top. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

espresso icing!

2 teaspoon espresso powder

2 tablespoon water

3/4 cup confectionary sugar; sifted


In a medium sized bowl dissolve powder into water. Gradually whisk in sugar. Drizzle over hermits. Be friends with the hermit.