An Ironic Salty Double Nut Olive Oil Shortbread

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Bringing Minnesota cookies to a potluck at which Jeremy Messersmith was playing. Oh, the irony. Also on the table: tater tot hot dish. How appropriate.

Even though cookies are MN-shaped (made possible by my friend Hannah, who left her cookie cutter in my possession for months before I could steel myself to take on the detailed, laborious process that is cut out cookies. Can I get an amen?), I worked out a shortbread recipe that is distinctly un-Minnesotan. Un-American even. Something had to offset.

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Never mind the chocolate ones. They are just dark chocolate ginger sugar cookies for effect (recipe linked below). The real interesting ones are the lighter-colored shortbreads, made with hazelnuts, almonds and olive oil. It’s practically Italian.

I used a few salted almonds in the almond meal, and the resulting cookies were distinctly salty. Still a sweet cookie, but almost a little too much on the salt. I think it would pair fabulously with ice cream. I saved the leftover cookie crumbles and have visions of olive oil grilled peaches topped with ice cream/honey/cookie crumbles like a deconstructed fruit crisp. Is it September already? Am I too late to the game on the summer fruit crisp?

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My only suggestion based on experience (the recipe is correct): you really ought to let the cookies cool on the sheet after you bake them/cut them. I found the warm cookies to be a little fragile, so unless you want Wisconsin-shaped eats…let cool completely before storing.

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Ironically yours,

L

Salty Double Nut Olive Oil Shortbread

Adapted from The Kitchn

makes 18 to 24 small cookie slices

1 1/4 cup hazelnut/almond meal (I ground up hazlenuts and almonds in a food processor until fine)
1/2 cup flour + 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup extra-virgin light olive oil

Heat the oven to 375°F. Whisk together the nut meal, flour, brown sugar, 1/4 cup powdered sugar, salt and lemon zest. Whisk in the vanilla and olive oil. The dough will be sandy and quite crumbly.

Press the dough firmly into a 8×8-inch (or 9×9-inch) dish. Bake for 20 minutes or until just lightly browned around the edges. Immediately cut the shortbread into shapes. Let cool completely before lifting them out of the pan, however.

Frost as desired with royal icing.

For the chocolate cookies, I used this recipe, adding a teaspoon or two of powdered ginger, which I couldn’t taste in the end.

Favorite Shots: Specialty Hugs

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If you suffer from the generosity of your dear neighbors, who insist you take more raspberries than you might be able to consume from their overflowing raspberry brambles, I have a wonderful solution for you. Simply dig out your specialty raspberry ice cube tray and put those berries to good use at a later time.

In water. In cocktails. In an iced latte. I’m sorry, just imagine those coffee/raspberry ice cubes peeping out of the top of some creamy iced coffee. Just imagine.

My roommate said, “It’s like the raspberries are getting a little hug.” All nestled in.

Nesting,

Lauren

Pipe Dream #289: To Double Time It – White Chocolate Nectarine Streusel Muffins

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Welp, it’s that time again. Time for another crumb recipe. Time for another muffin recipe. Double time.

Too much. I’m now going to write this post in double time.

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2/2

Girl likes fruit en ripe.

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2/2

Girl likes crumb en masse (will include more next time).

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4/4

Girl baked the batch on the right at a lower temperature, the batch on the left at a higher temperature, and guess which one had a better rise? BUT, the one was STILL not correct technique. For best results, bake for five minutes at 425 degrees, then reduce the oven temp to 350 degrees. Your muffins will puff up like peacocks with something to prove.

I will actually do this the next time I make muffins. And there will be a next time. Me making muffins is like Jesus coming back again or Beyonce posting a photo of herself. IT WILL HAPPEN  AGAIN AND SOON.

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2/2

Bye,

L

White Chocolate Nectarine Streusel Muffins

Adapted from The Kitchn

This recipes makes 12 regular-size muffins. I split the batter in half and put it into mini muffin tins instead–made about 36. Reduce the baking time if you do this.

For the muffins:
2 cups (9 ounces) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
8 ounces greek yogurt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and still warm
1 nectarine, diced + quality white chocolate chunks

For the streusel:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 cup (2 ounces) unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease a muffin tin with cooking spray.

Whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, ginger, and nutmeg. In another bowl, combine eggs, brown sugar, greek yogurt, and vanilla. Add the melted butter, pouring in a slow and steady stream, while whisking vigorously to emulsify the mixture.

Add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients and gently fold until the liquid is just barely combined, being careful not to over-mix. (A few lumps are okay.) Stir in the chopped nectarines and white chocolate. Fill each muffin well all the way to the top with batter; set aside while preparing the streusel.

For the streusel, add the flour, brown sugar, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Pour in the melted butter and gently stir with a fork until well combined and small pebble-sized pieces remain throughout.

Top each filled well with a heaping tablespoon of streusel, lightly pressing it into the batter. (A round cookie cutter placed over the cup helps keep the mess to a minimum.) Bake muffins for 18 to 22 minutes, until tops are golden and a toothpick comes out clean. Leave the muffins in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to continue cooling.

The muffins can be stored in an airtight container for up to three days. The batter can be made in advance and held in the refrigerator for up to two days, or frozen for two weeks.

Favorite Shots: Curlicue, Cherry, Pectoral

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This U-Pick orchard was run by the sweetest Indian family, all of whom were very beautiful, from wrinkled date patriarch to the wide-eyed curlicue baby.

Also, cherries.

Also, pectoral.

Lauren

Stone Fruit//Okanagan Valley

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Thus follow the pics from my favorite day of family vacation, wherein the boys talked shop, and I ate endless handfuls the biggest, burstiest, organic-est, hippie blueberries you ever did see. There was also more that happened on this day, but I’ve limited this post to stone fruit. Enjoy, and please git the last of the stone fruit at your local grocer before the season is out!

L

P.S. Stayed tuned for tomorrow, which is my favorite pic of the whole day/vacation.

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Pipe Dream #288: To Do The Don’ts – Raspberry Quick Bread with Dark Chocolate

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Do not eat this bread warm from the oven with butter.

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Do not open this bag. Ever. Not for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up, and definitely not to chuck a few pieces into your raspberry bread.

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Do not use up a bounty of fresh raspberries in every way you can think of, including this recipe.

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On the real, actually: Do not overmix the batter. Mix the wet and dry ingredients, leaving some flour bits, then add the chocolate and raspberries, gently stirring them in. The rest of the flour will be incorporated without making your bread tough from overmixing.

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Ok, back to the regularly scheduled programming of this post: Do not undertake this mix-plop-bake process, which will take you all of 30 minutes and will provide you with a moist breakfast, brunch and dessert.

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And above all, please do not share, gift or otherwise bestow this easily freezable quick loaf with your friends and neighbors. It just wouldn’t be right.

Dazed and confused,

L

Raspberry Quick Bread with Dark Chocolate

Adapted from A Baker’s House

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup greek yogurt
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup olive oil
2 large eggs
6 ounces fresh raspberries + 1 handful dark chocolate covered fruit

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a loaf pan with baking spray.

Mix 2 cups of flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt in one bowl. In a separate bowl combine the greek yogurt, milk, oil and eggs. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Mix until halfway combined, then drop in the berries and chocolate, mixing VERY gently so you don’t crush the raspberries until most of the flour streaks are gone. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 55 minutes.

Pipe Dream #287: To Be Your Everyday Average – Peach Crisp Cheesecake Bars

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In this second edition of “I didn’t make any fruit crisps this summer, but here’s what I did make,” I present to you: Peach Crisp Cheesecake Bars.

First of all, there is still time for me to make a fruit crisp. It’s August. It could happen. I luf them so.

Second of all, in honor of this occasion, I would like to bring up the best peach dessert, and possibly the best dessert I have ever made: Peach Cobbler + Maple Bourbon Cream Sauce. I actually can’t even bear to think about that right now, as I’m behind a computer and don’t currently possess any peaches. Go forth and make it.

Or these bars.

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I used white peaches for interest.

Ok, so they are not that interesting.

Ok, so this scenario: you’re chatting with someone, and they ask you what you do or where you grew up or some average question, and you tell them (or even worse, they didn’t ask, and you’re just telling them things), and then they say, “Interesting.”

Like, it’s just habit, but people pretend that the fact that you grew up in a suburb or that you spend two hours a day responding to emails is super fascinating. Just riveting.

That is a scenario that happens to me fairly often, possibly because I talk about myself too much or possibly because this is just how polite people exchange conversation. One time, I caught it and actually said out loud, “No, it’s actually not interesting,” and watched my new acquaintance’s face. This is not the way polite people exchange conversation, but it just struck me, and I couldn’t help it. Haha, I’m laughing even remembering that.

Anyway, I’m not blameless. I sometimes tell people they are interesting when they are not, but I try to be more creative and truthful with my responses now that I’ve noticed this tendency.

The white peaches were not so much different then yellow peaches. However, they were slightly more annoying because they weren’t free stone peaches, so I had to cut around the pit.

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This is just your everyday average cheesecake batter.

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And this is what normal looks like.

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Sew average,

L

Peach Crisp Cheesecake Bars

An LH Original

For the cookie crust:

1 stick (8 tablespoons or 1/2 cup) butter

I cup light brown sugar, packed

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

3/4 cups quick oats

1 cup white chocolate chips

1 white peach, diced

For the cream cheese filling:

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease an 8 x 8 inch pan.

Beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy, then stir in the egg and vanilla until well-blended. Dump in the dry ingredients through the salt and stir until almost combined, then add the oats and chocolate chips, mixing until well-combined. Press 2/3 of the dough into the bottom of the pan and bake for 8 minutes. Reserve the other 1/3 of the dough.

Beat together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth, then beat in the egg and vanilla until combined. Pour over the baked cookie crust. Sprinkle the died peach evenly over the surface, then drop on the reserved cookie dough in clumps. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the top just starts to turn golden. Let cool, then slice into bars. Store in the refrigerator.

 

 


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