lemon almond cookies

fresh, tangy, aromatic grated lemon zest
rich, chewy, creamy almond paste

Chewy in the center
Crunchy on the outside edges

look closely at the cracks in the center
with a dusting of sweet powdered sugar 
Lemon Almond Cookies

(adapted from here)

Ingredients:

  • 1-7 oz box almond paste, grated
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 1 stick (4 oz) butter at room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • 1 T lemon zest
  • 2 t fresh lemon juice
  • 1 3/4 c all purpose flour
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1/4 t baking powder
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1 c powdered sugar
Mixing:
  1. Sift flour, soda, baking powder and salt; sit aside
  2. Combine grated almond paste, sugar, soft butter, egg, zest and lemon juice in bowl of mixer.  
  3. Mix 3-5 minutes until well combined, light and creamy
  4. Stir dry ingredients into almond paste mixture.
  5. Cover and refrigerate dough for 1 hour (or up to 5 days)
  6. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  7. Portion cookie dough (I used #100 scoop) into 1″ rounds
  8. Roll in powdered sugar to coat
  9. Place on parchment lined baking sheet
  10. Bake 12 minutes (don’t bake too long; the cracks in the cookies may appear moist, but the cookies are done)
  11. Cool on wire rack
Here are the preparation pictures:

I cut a portion of the dough using a 1 1/2″ cookie cutter (bake only 8 minutes)
click HERE for Gingerbread Spice Espresso Latte recipe (pictured above)

gingerbread

Do not underestimate this light and fluffy, spicy, gingery Gingerbread due to its simple appearance.
It looks plain and homey, you say. 
I say it needs nothing more than an accompanying cup of hot tea.
Notice the dark square within the larger square of the bread.  The top of the bread is crusty and chewy just removed from the oven.  After resting for a day, the top crust of the Gingerbread become soft and a bit sticky, yet equally as delicious as the chewy version.
Gingerbread Square
(adapted from here)
Ingredients:

  • 1 c butter
  • 1/2 c water
  • 3/4 c molasses (I had mild; use blackstrap if you want a stronger flavor)
  • 3/4 c honey
  • 1 c packed dark brown sugar
  • 3 c all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 2 t ground ginger
  • 2 t ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 t allspice
  • 1/8 t ground cloves
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 c whole milk
  • 1 T grated fresh ginger
Mixing:
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
  2. Place parchment in 9x9x2″ baking pan, allowing overhang on sides for easy removal of baked Gingerbread
  3. Combine first 5 ingredients in pan. Place over low heat; stir until butter is melted; remove from heat to cool
  4. Sift flour, soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon,allspice and cloves into a bowl; sit aside
  5. When butter mixture cools to warm, add eggs one at a time beating after each addition.
  6. Add the milk to the butter/egg mixture
  7. Fold dry ingredients into wet and pour mixture into prepared pan. (This is a very liquid batter and fills the 9×9 pan almost to the top.
  8. Bake for 60 – 70 minutes, until the gingerbread tests done in the center (toothpick inserted in center comes out clean; bread springs back when touched)
  9. Allow to cool in pan 15 minutes then turn out of pan and cool on wire rack
  10. Store at room temperature for 4 days or refrigerated for a week (I wrapped tightly and froze most of the bread; it’s delicious removed from freezer and thawed; serve at room temperature)
  11. Add whipped cream and a dusting of cinnamon to serve (or, as I did…serve the bread simply cut into squares)

honey corn muffins

Cornbread–
I’m from the South. Every day, Mama made cornbread (cornmeal mix, buttermilk, 1egg, drops of water). For years, I didn’t know cornbread other than Mama’s cornbread existed.  (I was devastated to find people adding sugar to cornbread!)

Those days are long past, and I seldom make cornbread (even though I DO have my cast iron skillet if needed.)  However,  taco soup needs cornbread for dippin’.

I’m glad I found the honey corn muffins in one of the Baked boys cookbooks, “Baked Explorations.”

These were made and consumed at My Friend A’s home; so, I only have an iPhone photo.

Notice the course, open texture of the muffins.  I used part medium grind cornmeal and part course grind cornmeal to make the honey corn muffins.  The muffins boast both texture and flavor.
Warm out of the oven, the honey corn muffins had a slight sweetness; yet, broken and dipped into the soup, they held their shape and soaked in all the flavorful juices.
Thanksgiving is just days away.  You need to make these to serve with your leftover turkey – turkey soup.
Honey Corn Muffins
(Adaped from Baked Explorations page 41)
Ingredients:
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 c buttermilk
  • 1/4 c honey
  • 4 T butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 c medium grind cornmeal
  • 1/4 c course grind cornmeal
  • 3/4 c all purpose flour
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1/4 c light brown sugar
  • 2 T granulated sugar
  • 1 t salt

Mixing:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
  2. Grease 12 c muffin pan (these stick to the sides) I didn’t use muffin liners because I wanted a crisp edge all around the muffin.
  3. In bowl, whisk eggs to break up
  4. Add buttermilk, honey, and butter to eggs.
  5. In separate bowl, stir together remaining ingredients
  6. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir only to combine well. Don’t over mix.
  7. Pour into muffin wells, about 2/3 full
  8. Bake approximately 15 minutes, until they test done.
  9. Remove from pan and enjoy!
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butternut squash baked oatmeal

I’m enjoying a vacation day today – in the middle of the week-
The air is brisk – the sun is shining-
Later, I have to make the icing for the Thanksgiving cake – stress, stress, stress….later

But, just now, all I have to do is (remembering Paris) sip my Grand Earl Grey from Comptoirs Richard a Paris, listen to the Food Network folks discuss Thanksgiving -
And Enjoy my Butternut Squash Baked Oatmeal, dotted with butter and blueberries, and topped with pecan-brown sugar-butter crumble.

Butternut Squash Baked Oatmeal
(adapted from here)

Ingredients:

  • 3 oz oats (not quick cook)
  • 1 T ground flax
  • 2 1/2 T dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1/4 t allspice
  • 1/8 t nutmeg
  • 1/2 t lemon zest
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/2 t vanilla
  • 3/4 c roasted butternut squash puree
  • 3/4 c whole milk
  • 1 T butter, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1/4 c blueberries
  • 1/4 c pecans chopped
  • 2 t melted butter
  • 1 T dark brown sugar
Mixing:
  1. Combine first 8 ingredients in bowl
  2. Combine vanilla, squash puree, and milk in a separate bowl and mix together well
  3. Add wet ingredients to oat mixture and stir together
  4. Pour into baking dish (my dish is about 1 quart; you could use 4 small fruit jars or 4 ramekins)
  5. Sprinkle blueberries over the top
  6. Toss the 1T (4 pieces) butter over the top
  7. Bake in preheated oven at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes
  8. While baking, combine pecans, 2 t melted butter and 1 T brown sugar.
  9. After the first 15 minutes, remove baking oatmeal from oven and sprinkle pecan mixture over top
  10. Return to oven and bake additional 10 minutes
  11. Remove from oven and cool a few minutes before serving
…looks like fall – tastes like fall…

chai latte

Make this just for the aroma…even if you never take the first drink of the chai latte.

 But…look what you will miss if you never taste!!!

  • Tazo Earl Grey tea
  • Market Spice Tea – Cinnamon Orange
  • freshly grated nutmeg
  • vanilla bean
  • fresh ginger
  • cardamom fancy white pods
  • Indonesia cinnamon sticks (cassia) {saving the real cinnamon for Baklava!}
  • Chinese star anise
  • Ceylon whole cloves
  • black peppercorns
    • honey
    • water
    • raw sugar
    • whole milk

Individually, some of the spices may be on your ‘I don’t really like that’ list; however, combined they each contribute to the wonderful flavor of the whole.

simmering (this s m e l l s  so  good…)

20 minutes later and strained
The post-simmered spices maintain their beauty.

equal parts warm frothed milk and chai concentrate
dusted with ground cinnamon
oh…and, use that left over cinnamon stick!
D E L I C I O U S!

Chai Concentrate
(adapted from here)
Ingredients:
  • 4 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup raw sugar
  • 4 Earl Grey tea bags (black tea)
  • 4 cinnamon orange tea bags (or use total of 8 bags of black tea)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 3″ section of raw ginger (I didn’t peel mine)
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 8 cardamom pods
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 2 whole star anise pods
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest (I didn’t use this; cinnamon orange tea is very orange)
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • whole milk
Mixing:
  1. Bring water and sugar to boil, dissolving sugar
  2. Add tea bags, all spices, vanilla bean, and zest
  3. Simmer 20 minutes
  4. Remove from heat and strain into container 
  5. Stir in honey; allow to cool; store in refrigerator for a week
Chai Latte
  1. Heat whole milk to simmer
  2. Froth milk (I used my hand mixer)
  3. Add equal parts chai concentrate and frothed milk to your mug
  4. Dust top with cinnamon
  5. Stir with left over cinnamon stick
  6. Enjoy
cliche, but ‘good to the last drop’
Update:  Don’t!! throw the spices away after straining them from the liquid.  My spices have been sitting on the counter for a week; they add a whiff of fragrance to the fall air.
Update/Update:  My chai concentrate did get cloudy after a day; I have read that the cloudiness is due to oil extractions from quality tea leaves.  Adding boiling water will reduce the cloudiness.  Equal parts chai concentrate and boiling water yields an enjoyable spicy hot tea.

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adult Hot Chocolate

or…the Baked boy’s version of  Carette’s le chocolat chaud. I speak from experience and from my table at Carette Paris.

This hot chocolate is for the chocolate lover.  The red-brown color confirms that this is not the water-thin, pre-packaged powder we Americans know as hot chocolate. The velvet smooth texture, and the slow, molten flow of the liquid across the thin china cup and onto the taste buds assures one that this cup of hot chocolate was made with premium ingredients resulting in premium satisfaction.
The original recipe yield states two servings.  I divided the recipe in half, expecting to make one serving.  I suggest that half the original recipe is a ‘three-moderate serving portion’ or a ‘two extravagant serving portion.’  After storing the left-over hot chocolate in a glass jar in the refrigerator overnight,  I reheated it in the microwave stirring after 20 seconds; three 20 second cycles heated the hot chocolate nicely. 
Do not skimp on quality ingredients.  You will be rewarded.  Do not shy away after reading the ingredient list and amaretto.  Though not prominent in flavor, the amaretto seems to bind the overall flavor combination. 
Adult Hot Chocolate
(adapted from the Baked cookbook)
Ingredients:
  • 1 oz milk chocolate (I used 34% cacao)
  • 2 1/2 oz dark chocolate (I used 70% cacao)
  • 2 fl oz boiling water
  • 3 1/8 fl oz whole milk
  • 1 1/8 fl oz heavy whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 1 T Amaretto liqueur
  • whipped cream and crushed amaretti cookies if desired
Mixing:
  1. Chop both chocolates and place in shallow bowl
  2. Pour boiling water over chocolate and let sit for 1 minute
  3. Gently stir chocolate/water until chocolate melts; sit aside
  4. Combine milk, cream, and syrup in pan and heat to simmer on top of stove.
  5. Add melted chocolate and whisk constantly until the mixture is almost ready to boil.  ( I didn’t allow my mixture to boil.)
  6. Remove from heat;  add amaretto and stir lightly to combine
  7. Pour into mugs or dainty tea cups or short mason jars
  8. Top with whipped cream and crushed amaretti cookies if desired
  9. ENJOY!!!!  Savor each sip…
…and don’t leave any chocolate in the cup!

fall spice coffee

Let me begin by saying I am not a coffee drinker.  Coffee, with it’s many roasts and blends can be as intoxicating (or confusing) as chocolate, wine or cheese.  They all offer varied colors, tastes, textures and aromas.

During a class at CIA, I did taste a wonderful French Press coffee along with a rich, buttery, chocolate croissant.  At that point, I decided that maybe I do like coffee…

Crisp morning air, cloudy days, and leaves falling – who could resist a drink named ‘fall spice coffee?’

I wasn’t sure about the coffee, but the spices and zest……yes!

stir dry ingredients and add zest

waiting for 200 degree water
dripping for 6 minutes

 waiting for the 6 minutes to pass
(The coffee mug belonged to my Grandfather; remembering him on Veteran’s day weekend.)

reflecting the morning sunlight

 cream or sugar?

cream

The spices added depth to the warm morning mug of fall spice coffee.  I think the water dripped to quickly, leaving behind some of the flavorful oils of the coffee bean.  Also, even though the water boiled in the tea kettle, it only registered about 170 degrees on the instant read thermometer.  And, since the mug is not heated, the coffee cooled somewhat quickly.

Thus…opportunities to improve upon the drink when I brew my next cup of fall spice coffee.

Fall Spice Coffee
(adapted from Dessert First)

Ingredients:
(yield: one 6 oz cup of coffee)

  • 2T ground coffee
  • 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 6 ounces boiling water
  • sugar and cream as desired (or sweetened whipped cream topped with a dusting of cinnamon and a spiral of orange rind-how festive that sounds!)

Mixing:

  1. I used the unscientific/’what I had in the kitchen’ method of brewing this cup of coffee.
  2. I doubled the coffee filter, hoping to slow the drip
  3. My antique funnel had too large of an opening; a smaller opening would have slowed the drip.
  4. Stir together all ingredients except water
  5. Pour into coffee filter
  6. Add boiling water and allow to drip brew.
  7. I added 1 teaspoon of cream and no sugar. (For variation/research, next time, I’ll skip the cream and add raw sugar-smokey, brown crystals of sweetness.)
I found a funnel with a smaller opening that I will use in the future.
The picture below is simply comparing the variety of funnels….really….

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