Anginetti Cookies

anginetti-cookiesAnginetti Cookies (or Italian Lemon Drop Cookies), are a very popular holiday cookie in my native New York, but less known in other parts of the country. Like a lot of Italian cookies, they aren’t overly sweet, and they are perfect with a cup of coffee or tea. They are lemon-y, a little crumbly, and without a doubt, one of my favorites!

 

 

anginetti-cookies-2Ingredients (makes 24 cookies):
Cookies:
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
½ cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
Zest of 1 lemon (approx. 2 tsp.)
3 eggs
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder

anginetti-cookies-3Icing:
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Juice from ½ lemon (approx. 1 tbsp.)
3-4 tbsp. warm water

 

anginetti-cookies-4To make the cookies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter, sugar, vanilla and lemon zest. Add eggs, one at a time and beat for one minute until fluffy. Stir in flour and baking soda and mix well to fully incorporate. Roll cookie dough into 1” rounds and place on baking sheet 2 inches apart. Bake approximately 18 minutes until starting to turn golden around the edges. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before icing.

To make the icing: Melt butter in a microwave soft bowl. Wisk in sugar, vanilla, lemon juice and 3 tbsp. warm water. Microwave icing for 10-15 seconds. Add additional tbsp. warm water only if needed to brush on to cookies. Top with sprinkles if desired and transfer to a cooling rack. Enjoy!

Blueberry Scones

Blueberry Scones 3Saturday mornings are pretty relaxed in my house. Waking up without an alarm, and taking a nice long walk before coming home for a casual breakfast and cappuccinos from our new espresso maker. I haven’t learned how to use the new espresso maker yet, so I even have a cute barista (darling husband) to make my cup of Joe. These Blueberry Scones are perfect for our weekend breakfast. They take less than 5 minutes to whisk together and taste best fresh out of the oven. Paired with a hot cup of coffee or tea, and you have a breakfast that’s better than any coffee shop and a small fraction of the price too.

Side note – I love decorating sugar. Those big delicious sugar crystals give any mildly sweet pastry a little extra oomph. Many years ago, I worked in a coffee shop. One of the bakers would set aside a blueberry or chocolate chip muffin for me, always with extra sugar on top! I guess somethings never change, because I added just-a-pinch of extra sugar to one of the scones for me.

Blueberry Scones 2Ingredients (makes 4 scones):
1 ¼ cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tbsp. granulated sugar
Pinch salt
3 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 egg
⅓ cup heavy cream, plus 1 tbsp. for adding decorating sugar
1 ½ tsp. vanilla
¾ cup fresh or frozen blueberries
2 tbsp. decorating or sanding sugar

Blueberry SconesPreheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix dry ingredients with cold butter, and work mixture with fingers until the texture of wet sand. Whisk together egg, cream and vanilla and add to dry ingredients. Fold in blueberries and transfer dough to a floured surface. Work into 4 inch circle, cut into 4ths and transfer scones to a baking stone or cookie sheet lined with parchment, spaced about 1 inch apart. Brush top with remaining cream and sprinkle with decorating sugar. Bake 20-22 minutes until golden; if using frozen blueberries they will take a few minutes more. Enjoy!

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bars

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal BarsI was planning to bring some goodies over to a friend that was just coming home from the hospital with her new baby boy. These chewy Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bars are like a blend between a chewy cookie and a granola bar. They are a bit more substantial than a cookie or a brownie, and we all know that with a newborn, sometimes you only have a chance to grab a quick bite. These are perfect for one-handed, on-the-run snacking, and since they have a whole bunch of peanut butter, they are extra delicious.

 

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bars 2Ingredients:
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup brown sugar
¾ cup sugar
3 eggs
1 ½ cups peanut butter
1 tbsp. vanilla
2 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp salt
4 cups old fashioned oats
1 ½ cups chocolate chips

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bars 4Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 13×9 inch brownie pan with parchment paper. Using a paddle attachment, cream together softened butter, brown sugar and sugar on medium speed for about 2 minutes. Add eggs to bowl, and continue mixing on medium speed for 30 seconds before adding the peanut butter, vanilla, baking soda and salt. Once combined, fold in oatmeal and chocolate chips, and spread into lined brownie pan. Bake for 28-30 minutes, until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven, and let cool in pan for 20 minutes before removing.  Cool completely and cut into 24 squares.
Enjoy!

Chocolate Swirl Banana Walnut Bread

Chocolate Swirl Banana Walnut BreadBanana bread is one of those foods that can be eaten any time of the day. Dessert… sure! Breakfast… why not?  This classic recipe gets a sweet upgrade with the addition of a rich, velvety, chocolate swirl.  A good banana bread recipe really lets the bananas shine; there is only ¼ cup of sugar added, so most of the sweetness comes from the over-ripe bananas.  The key to making banana bread is to use bananas that are more brown on the outside than not, they are much sweeter and more mash-able than less ripe bananas. I like walnuts in my banana bread, but that can be easily substituted for any kind of chopped nuts, raisins, chocolate or even peanut butter chips.

Chocolate Swirl Banana Walnut Bread 2Ingredients:
3 over-ripe bananas
3 tbsp. melted butter
1 tsp. baking soda
Pinch of salt
¼ cup brown sugar
1½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 egg, beaten
200 grams all-purpose flour (approximately 1½ cups)
½ cup chopped walnuts
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 4×8 loaf pan with parchment paper. In a large bowl, mash over-ripe bananas with a fork until smooth. Stir in melted butter, baking soda, salt, sugar, vanilla and beaten egg until well combined. Fold in flour and walnuts with a stiff spatula, until walnuts are evenly distributed.

Chocolate Swirl Banana Walnut Bread 3In a microwave safe bowl, melt chocolate chips for 20 second increments, stirring in between, until fully melted.  Add 1 cup of banana batter to the bowl of melted chocolate, mixing thoroughly. Add half of the plain batter to the prepared loaf pan, then half of the chocolate batter, running a fork through the pan to lightly swirl the two together. Repeat with the second half of plain and chocolate batter, and bake for 45-55 minutes at 350 degrees, until toothpick tested in center comes out clean. Transfer from pan to cooling rack and let cool completely before slicing.
Enjoy!

Quick and Easy Homemade Fudge

Fudge 2I recently made a combo of these two recipes with my Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge, but I made them on a larger scale for a holiday party, and was getting tons of questions about the recipes individually. So, without further ado, here are the recipes for Dark Chocolate Fudge and Peanut Butter Fudge. These are the basic recipes, but make them with your favorites and add chopped nuts, sprinkles, marshmallows, coconut, or swirl them together for my favorite combo!

 

 

Making fudge traditionally can be a bit of a daunting task, involving precise temperatures, candy thermometers, and a bit of culinary finesse. These recipes are only a few ingredients and can be prepped in less than 5 minutes (plus time to set). It’s no wonder why these easy recipes are my go-to for quick and easy desserts and holiday gifts!

Dark Chocolate Fudge

Ingredients:
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
14 oz. can condensed milk
Pinch sea salt
1 tsp. vanilla

Peanut Butter Fudge

Ingredients:
12 oz. white chocolate chips
14 oz. can condensed milk
⅔ cup peanut butter
Pinch sea salt
1 tsp. vanilla

Fudge 1For both recipes, place ingredients except for vanilla in microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 20 second increments, until chips are melted and no lumps remain, stirring in between each heating. Stir in vanilla and spread into cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Add toppings and let set in refrigerator, about one hour for dark chocolate fudge, a bit longer for fudge made with white chocolate. Once set, cut into squares and store at room temperature in an airtight container.

Enjoy!

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter FudgeIs there a better combination than chocolate and peanut butter? I don’t think so. One of my favorite treats to make during the holidays is fudge. This recipe is extremely easy, takes less than 5 minutes to prepare, but tastes like you’ve been slaving away for hours. Your friends and family will be impressed!

Ingredients:
14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk, divided equally
6 oz. dark chocolate chips
6 oz. white chocolate chips
⅓ cup peanut butter
Pinch salt
1 tsp. vanilla (divided ½ tsp. in each)

In microwave safe bowls, put half condensed milk and dark chocolate in one bowl and the other half condensed milk, white chocolate and peanut butter in a second bowl. Put a pinch of salt in each bowl. Microwave for 20 second increments, until chips are melted and no lumps remain, stirring each time. Stir 1/2 tsp. vanilla in each bowl and spread into 9×9 container lined with parchment paper, using a toothpick to make swirls in top.  Let set in the refrigerator for 3 hours, then cut into pieces and store at room temperature.

It doesn’t get any easier than that. This recipe can easily be changed to make all chocolate or all peanut butter fudge. Play around with different ingredients like walnuts, pecans, marshmallows, sprinkles… The options are endless!

Enjoy!

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

Dark Chocolate CupcakeI think desserts should be indulgent, with the perfect balance of rich and sweetness coming together.  I love making these cupcakes, because it’s a rich, dark chocolate cupcake with a light, fluffy, sweet Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting. The balance of the two together work perfectly.

Dry Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 ¾ cups granulated sugar
1 ¼ cups cocoa
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt

Wet Ingredients:
1 cup milk
½ cup brewed coffee
½ cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 ½ tsp. vanilla
½ cup boiling water
Find the recipe for the Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting here.

dark chocolate cupcakes 2Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Add dry ingredients to bowl of stand mixer.  Add wet ingredients, except for boiling water and mix on medium speed to combine thoroughly.  Reduce speed to low and add the boiling water.  Turn mixer up to medium-high for 2 minutes.  You want it to whip thoroughly but not splash out of the bowl!  Adding boiling water to chocolate cake recipes allows the flavor of the cocoa to blend out of the cocoa powder and reach its full flavor.   Place cupcake liners in cupcake tin.  Distribute batter evenly, there will be enough for 24 cupcakes with each liner about ¾ full.

Bake on center rack of oven for 15-18 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.  Top with Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting or other frosting that you love.

Enjoy!

Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting

Dark Chocolate CupcakeThis frosting is a lighter and fluffy alternative to a traditional buttercream.  It’s somewhat less sweet, and definitely less dense, thanks to the substitution of marshmallow creme (fluff) for some of the butter and sugar that is found in a traditional buttercream recipe.   It is a great frosting for my Dark Chocolate Cupcakes.

 

 

Ingredients:
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
1 ½ tsp. vanilla
1 tbsp. milk
1 container (7 oz.) marshmallow crememarshmallow buttercream frosting

Let butter come to room temperature until very soft, about two hours.  Using the paddle attachment in a stand mixer, mix butter, vanilla, milk and ½ sugar on low, until combined.  Mix on high for 2 minutes.  Turn mixer off and scrape frosting down off sides with a spatula and add another cup of sugar.  Stir on low to combine and then mix on high for 2 minutes.   Scrape down and repeat with remaining ½ cup sugar.  Whip on high for approximately 5 minutes on until fluffy.  Add marshmallow creme and combine on low for one minute.   Frosting will be light, fluffy and sweet.  I like to pipe frosting onto cupcakes but this can easily be spread with spatula.

Have fun with colors and piping patterns!frosted cupcakes

Enjoy!