Cake and Pastry

Bruléed Orange Butter Cookies 1

Bruléed Orange Butter Cookies

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I knew that I needed to bring a knockout recipe to the food blogger cookie exchange that I attended last week, so I turned to these citrusy butter cookies. With a delicate crumb, a texture similar to soft shortbread, and a creme brulée-like smattering of burnt sugar that lightly shatters when you bite into it, Bruléed Orange Butter Cookies are a welcome contrast to the denser oatmeal and peanut butter cookies that are so prevalent this time of year. Although these cookies are a festive treat for the holidays, they make a delightful accompaniment to a cappuccino any time of the year.

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While the burnt sugar topping is what takes these cookies to the next level, I understand that a kitchen torch isn’t exactly something that everyone has on hand. My first recommendation is to use this recipe as an excuse to get one – they can be found for under $20 and are also great for toasting the cheese on French onion soup. Alternately, you can brown the sugar under the broiler for 45 seconds; however, taking this approach will also melt the glaze and the cookies won’t look quite as pretty. Of course, they are incredible without the crunchy topping – just be sure to let the glaze fully harden (about 2 hours) before stacking them.

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Click to get the recipe for Bruleed Orange Butter Cookies –>

Bruléed Orange Butter Cookies 2

Chewy Brown Butter-Espresso Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Psst! Hey… you! Over here. I have cookies.

Not just any cookies: soft, chewy chocolate chip cookies. With brown butter. Because what isn’t better with the addition of brown butter?

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a dessert. I’ve been trying to stick to the whole healthy thing. But these last few weeks? They’ve been very healthy; some might even say too healthy. And life is all about balance. No matter how delicious my healthy recipes are, if I don’t get a sweet treat every now and then I get very cranky.

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And these cookies are just what the doctor ordered if you’re in need of a treat! Their delicate crumb and deep, nutty, toffee-like flavor has driven me to distraction. I had originally planned to use them for ice cream sandwiches, but they were so good on their own that before I knew it, there were only two left! (There also may have been a very pathetic instance of me standing in front of the open freezer, eating dough that I had put in there to bake another day. Who had time for baking?) I decided I had better seize the opportunity while I still could, and sandwiched some vanilla bean ice cream between my last two cookies. I immediately set aside any doubt that I had harbored about the potential for the ice cream to ruin a thing that was already too good to be true. It was easily one of the best ice cream sandwiches I’ve ever eaten.

I’ve already made a mental list of events that I can make these cookies for. Because I clearly can’t be trusted with them sitting unclaimed in my kitchen. If you have more restraint than I do — or are generous enough to share them with coworkers or neighbors who will suddenly be your best friends – I highly recommend making these. ASAP.

Chewy cookies not your cup of tea? Try my recipe for Crispy Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies!

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Bruléed Orange Butter Cookies 3

Strawberry-Rhubarb Tart with Brown Sugar Shortcrust

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The other day I mentioned on twitter that I have never had rhubarb. The responses were fast and plentiful, and most fell into a rage from disbelief to pity. I never realized it was so popular – I don’t even think I knew it existed until a few years ago! I decided that since everyone seemed to love it so much, I should take the plunge and give it a try. I went with the traditional combination of rhubarb with strawberries, but I didn’t want to commit to a whole pie. So I made a tart. A tart with a brown sugar shortbread crust.

Ok, fine. Maybe I just didn’t feel like dealing with pie crust. But the shortbread crust was perfect. Strawberries and shortbread. Strawberries and brown sugar. How could you go wrong? Especially when you start out with strawberries that look like these:

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I mean, strawberries have been awesome this year as it is, but take a look at those beauties! They were every bit as juicy and sweet as they look. Which is good, since I paired them with rhubarb. Which, in case you’re like me and have never had it before, is extremely tart. Especially when it’s raw. I don’t recommend doing what I did and taking a nibble to test it out.

Despite the tartness of that nibble, I could tell that this was going to be a thing of beauty so I forged ahead. Let the berries and rhubarb macerate in sugar to release the juices. Scooped it into the partially bakes cookie crust. Baked it until the filling became luscious and jammy, almost like a grown up version of a linzer tarte. Where has this been all my life?

Click to continue reading Strawberry-Rhubarb Tart with Brown Sugar Shortcrust –>

(Merry Christmas) Cappuccino Fudge Cheesecake

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So here’s the deal… I wasn’t going to post this cake. First, because I didn’t come up with the recipe or change it enough to consider it my own and, second, because of that obnoxious little “healthy” part of Healthy. Delicious. But then I decided that it would be mean of me not to share because oh my goodness this cheesecake was beyond ridiculous and is 100% my new favorite indulgence. My mouth is watering just looking at the pictures.

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Three layers: a rich chocolate ganache spiked with kahluha, a fluffy, mousse-like layer of the most perfect cappuccino cheesecake ever, all topped with a cool, creamy layer of sweetened sour cream. It’s enough to turn even the staunchest of cheesecake and coffee haters into cappuccino cheesecake lovers. More than one person told me that it was the best cheesecake they’d ever had. It also got me a high-five.

The entire cake – all 16 slices – was devoured within about 5 minutes. I’m not even going to tell you how many calories was in each slice (believe me, you don’t want to know!) but it was worth every last one. It’s certainly not a cake to be baking on any old weekend, but for holidays? You can bet I’ll be making this one again! As should you! If you have any last minute holiday gatherings this week, I suggest running straight to the store to get what you nee to make this. It’ll be the hit of the night. And anyway, we all have another week before our diets start up again, right? 😉 [….]

Daring Bakers: Dobos Torte

chocolate dobos torta

The August 2009 Daring Bakers’ Challenge was hosted by Angela of A Spoonful of Sugar and Lorraine of Not Quite Nigella. they chose the spectacular Dobos Torte based on a recipe from Rick Rodgers’ cookbook Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Caffes of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague.
The torte is a five layer sponge cake filled with chocolate buttercream and topped with wedges of caramel. It’s also one of the most amazing things I have ever baked. We devoured this cake in two days (luckily I only made a mini cake, because I’m sure we would have eaten a full size one just as quickly!) and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since. [….]