Red Velvet “Kringle” Cookies

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12daysofcookies

Day 7: Red Velvet “Kringle” Cookies

Can you all believe it’s already half way through December?! Where has the time gone? I feel like it was only a few days ago when Hailey and I started our 12 Days of Cookies adventure. And look at us now … half way through. :)

I originally wanted to make something festive — evocative of all things “Santa.” So I thought, I love chocolate crinkle cookies. Why don’t I look for a way to transform this classic into a new holiday favorite? And thus, I started my search for the red velvet “Kringle” cookie. (Who doesn’t love a good pun while baking?)

That said, I’ve got a baking confession to make: these aren’t my favorite cookies in the world. To be fair, I’ve never really enjoyed red velvet and I prefer my chocolate as dark and bitter as it gets. But I recently brought these into work, and they were a hit. A few coworkers said that they reminded them of a Mexican bread cookie, which was totally unintentional but awesome. (Hey, I’ll take compliments where I can get them ;) ). Another plus: these are incredibly simple to make ahead and freeze. In fact, a little chill time is preferred.

A little slightly-random-but-also-related update: I started going to a new gym and working out with a trainer twice a week. And boy, can I tell you, he’s been whipping my poor (and very sore, may I add) booty into shape. I guess that’s a blessing in disguise though. If I continue to eating as many cookies as I’ve been baking, I’m sure to regret it come January 1st. Oh well. What’s 15 more days of sugary indulgence anyways? ;)

Cheers!

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Red Velvet “Kringle” Cookies (adapted from Cooking Classy)

3 Cups of Flour

1/4 Cup of Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

2 Tsp. of Baking Powder

3/4 Tsp. of Baking Soda

3/4 Tsp. of Salt

3/4 Cup of Butter, at room temperature

1 1/3 Cup of Sugar

3 Eggs

1 Tsp. of Almond Milk

1 1/2 Tsp. of Vanilla Extract

10-15 Drops of Red Food Coloring

1/4 Cup of White Chocolate Chips

1/2 Cup of Powdered Sugar

Directions:

In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt). Sift and set aside. Using a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar for around 2-3 minutes on a medium-high speed. Once the butter mixture is pale and fluffy, add one egg at a time, ensuring that each egg is completely mixed in. Add the almond milk, vanilla extract and red food coloring. *Note: start with only a couple drops of red food coloring and slowly add more as desired. I found that I needed more red food coloring (closer to 15 drops), but you may find that to be excessive.* Once the red food coloring is fully mixed in, reduce the speed to low and gradually add the dry ingredients. Hand stir in the white chocolate and set in the fridge to chill until dough is firm enough to form into balls.

After about 2 hours, form the dough into balls approximately 1.5 inches in diameter. Roll each red velvet ball in powdered sugar, making sure to cover the entire surface of the cookie. Place on a cookie sheet and slightly flatten the cookie using the back of a large spoon. Cook for 12-14 minutes at 350 degrees or until the cookies are lightly firm to the touch and cracked on top.

Makes around 30-40 cookies.

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Caramel Squares

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12daysofcookies

Day 6: Caramel Squares

Caramel squares have been served during the holidays in my family for as long as I can remember. This recipe was passed down several generations, stemming from my Scottish great grandmother. I’m pretty sure the name “caramel squares” was invented by my mom when we were kids, as she liked to simplify names of things for us into what they actually were. (This name change wasn’t as bad as soda being called “bad soda” and cereals other than Cheerio’s being called “sugar cereals” in my household. You can only imagine how kindergarten went when I asked if I could have a “bad soda” at a friend’s house. Thanks Mom, brainwashed).

The actual name for these cookie bars is Millionaire’s Shortbread, which I learned while in the UK when I found them at a bakery and excitedly called my mom to tell her that the UK sold her famous caramel squares. I always thought they were just a family recipe, but even Starbucks in London serves millionaire’s shortbread. Turns out the UK has been feasting on these treats all along. However, none I sampled were as good as our family recipe.

These have always been my mom’s signature dessert, requested for any pot luck, holiday party or gathering. Growing up, everyone knew about Mrs. D’s caramel squares. They make great finger food, and they’re very rich so all you need is one little bite. The layers include a shortbread base, homemade caramel center and dark chocolate topping. They will easily impress your guests, but aren’t terribly hard to make.

Bon Appétit!

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Caramel Squares

Shortbread Base:
4 oz unsalted butter
2 T granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup unbleached flour
Directions:
Cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Mix in flour and salt, creaming until a soft dough forms.  Press dough into the bottom of a 9″ square pan.  Bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes.
Caramel Filling:
1 can sweetened condensed milk
4.5 oz unsalted butter
4 oz granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 T Lyle’s Golden Syrup
Directions:
Place all ingredients in a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat.  Bring to a soft bubbling boil, stirring constantly.  Reduce heat to low, and continue to stir while mixture is bubbling for 5 minutes. Pour over baked crust.  Let cool.
Topping:
6 oz good quality chocolate, melted.
Directions:
Pour over top of cooled caramel.  When set, score lines in top of chocolate to make 1″ squares. Cut and serve.

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Brownie Cookies

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Day 5: Brownie Cookies

My guilty pleasure is opening up my computer and looking at pictures of amazing food. My almost-on-a-daily-basis routine goes something like this: I sit down in front of my computer, type in “foodgawker.com,” and let the scrolling/food trolling begin. I don’t know how the photo curators over at the site do it, but they somehow manage to make me want to click on every recipe and food item they post. In fact, I usually end up getting hungry half way through my food picture stalking ritual that I get up and go grab a snack. Today’s snack? Leftover brownie cookies.

Though this was only my first time making these cookies, I can easily tell they will be one of my favorites. At first I was a little skeptical … I mean, how can a recipe so perfectly combine the crunch factor of the cookie with the density and moistness of the brownie? Easy. It essentially takes frozen brownie batter, plops it on a lightly greased baking sheet and bakes for 10-13 or so minutes.

Though this recipe is incredibly simple, here are a few tips I picked up along the way:

  • This looks (and tastes) like brownie batter, so do not skip freezing the dough. In fact, I found that I had to refreeze the dough while I was baking batches in order to ensure the cookie dough would be firm enough to roll into balls.
  • Do not under bake. Sure, if you under bake with other cookies, you’ll end up with a cookie with a crunchy exterior and a nice, gooey center. If you under bake with this recipe, you end up with one, goopy, hot (and delicious) mess.
  • Microwave your chocolate. Not only is it less of a hassle than using a double boiler, it’s a time saver. All you need to do is melt the chocolate with a few slabs of butter, remembering to stir occasionally. If you are afraid of causing the chocolate to seize by overheating, just add a few more slabs of butter.

Cheers!

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Brownie Cookies (recipe adapted from Food & Wine Magazine)

12 Oz of Semisweet Chocolate

4-6 Tbsp. of Butter

4 Eggs, room temperature

1 1/2 Cups of Sugar

1 Tsp. of Vanilla Extract

1/4 Tsp. of Salt

1/2 Cup of Flour

1/2 Tsp. of Baking Powder

2 Cups of Semisweet Chocolate Chips

Directions:

Melt 12 ounces of chocolate chips with the butter in 30 second spurts, remembering to stir the chocolate between each spurt. Melt until the chocolate is a liquid. Set aside briefly.

Using a stand mixer on a medium speed, combine eggs and sugar until pale and thick (around five minutes). Add the vanilla and salt. Lower the speed to a slow speed and fold in the melted chocolate. Then, add the flour, baking powder and remaining chocolate chips. Freeze for at least an hour, or until the batter is cold enough to form a ball in your palms.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Using your hands, form balls of brownie dough about the size of a golfball and place on a greased cookie pan. Bake for around 10-13 minutes, or until the cookies start to crack on top and look dry around the edges. If it looks like the cookies’ centers look moist, bake for another couple minutes, or until the cookies are fully baked.

Makes approximately 24-30 cookies.

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Yo-yo “Biscuits”

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Day 4: Yo-yo “Biscuits”

Yo-yo’s have become a staple in my Mom’s holiday cookie rotation since a summer spent in Australia way back in 1998 while my dad was working in Melbourne. We found them everywhere, and couldn’t get enough. One of our last days there my mom asked our favorite Melbourne bakery for the recipe, and they obliged. Miraculously, 16 years later, yo-yo cookies are still being baked at my parents home with the original recipe.

For years I have watched my mom bake her array of cookies during the holiday season, but only became seriously interested in cooking and baking myself a few years ago. I used to be tasked with the sole job of spreading the icing in-between the two sandwiched cookies. I took a stab at these cookies from start-to-finish for the first time this year, and they were surprisingly easy. I guess I had been paying attention all of these years after all!

The secret ingredient in these cookies is Bird’s custard powder. It gives the cookie a very unique taste that is hard to put your finger on, but is a necessity for the recipe and cannot be substituted. I imagine this powder is easy to find in Australia, but you may need to go to a larger supermarket or specialty store if you’re in the U.S. At home we have a higher end gourmet supermarket that carries it, as do some large supermarkets. Online stores like Amazon may work as well.  Enjoy these delicious sandwich “biscuits” from Australia. (Fun fact: Australians call cookies “biscuits”)

Bon Appétit!

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Yo-yo Biscuits

Cookie:

¾ Pound Butter, Room temperature

3 Cups Unbleached Flour

½ Cup Icing Sugar

1 Tsp Vanilla Extract

½ Cup Birds Custard Powder

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 Deg F. Cream butter and icing sugar together until light and fluffy. Add vanilla. Soft flour and custard powder together, and mix sifted ingredients into the creamed mixture. Roll teaspoons of mixture into balls and place on a cookie sheet. Flatted each ball by pressing down the dough with a fork. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a rack.

Icing:

½ Pound Butter, softened

1 Cup Icing Sugar, sifted

4 Tbsp Bird’s Custard Powder

Directions:

Beat all ingredients together until well combined. Spread a generous portion of icing between two cooled biscuits and sandwich together.

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Gluten-Free Coconut Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Welcome to Day3: Gluten-Free Coconut Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies. Though Hailey might not approve of these cookies (as you could probably tell by her aversion to coconut macaroons versus her love of macarons in yesterday’s post), this has to be one of my favorite cookie recipes this year. In fact, every time I’ve made these cookies, they’ve been a hit.

The last time I made these cookies was for a movie night hosted by one of my coworkers. There were suppose to be around eight or ten of us attending, so I decided to double the batch (to 24 cookies), just to be on the safe side. That said, I still thought I would have a couple leftover for a snack breakfast the next day. Boy, was I surprised. The cookies were gone in a snap. In fact, people raved about them days after the movie night. I still sometimes get asked for the recipe.

Here’s why I love these cookies so much: 1) They are incredibly easy to make, and only take about 20 minutes from prep time to finished product. Whenever I’m craving something sweet but don’t want to put in the work, I turn to this recipe. 2) For being a member of the dessert category, these cookies are moderately healthy. 3) These cookies are bite-sized (read portion control!), making these the perfect accessory for the holiday season.

Cheers!

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Gluten-Free Coconut Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies (Recipe adapted from The Detoxinista)

1/3 Cup of Coconut flour

1/4 Cup of Coconut Oil, Melted

1/4 Cup of Maple Syrup

1 Tsp. of Vanilla

1/4 Tsp. of Salt

2 Eggs

1/3 Cups of Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

3-4 Pinches of Toasted Coconut Flakes

Directions:

Mix together the flour, oil, maple syrup, vanilla, salt and eggs until the batter starts to come together. *Note: the batter will appear to be very wet.* Mix in the chocolate chips and coconut flakes. Using two spoons, shape the cookie dough roughly into a ball and drop onto a cookie sheet. Use one of the spoons to gently flatten the cookie. **Note: as these are gluten-free, the cookies won’t spread on their own. Keep that in mind while shaping and flattening the cookies.** Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 10-12 minutes or until the bottom edges turn golden.

Makes 12 cookies.

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Vanilla Bean Macarons

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I have a confession: I am a Francophile. The name of our blog was no accident– I have a bad addiction to everything French, from wine to cheese to fashion to language to…pastries. It’s no wonder that I call the macaron my favorite cookie. I have a strong aversion to coconut, and I previously stayed clear of French macarons because I confused them with American macaroons, which are quite coconut-y. (Notice: the French version has one “O,” and the two are quite different). The first time I remember trying a true French macaron was 4 years ago when I was studying abroad during college in Bordeaux, France. They were literally everywhere I turned, in every bakery and patisserie. (It’s ironic that by the time I came back to the US the trend had suddenly caught on and I was able to find macarons all over LA, too). I finally tried a salted caramel one from Baillardan, a sweet shop famous for caneles de Bordeaux, but also makes great macarons. One bite and I was hooked.

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Macarons are basically two dense meringue cookies sandwiched with some sort of flavored filling like raspberry buttercream or salted caramel. One great benefit is that they are naturally gluten-free. I was a little nervous to tackle these on my own for quite some time, since they look super fancy and hard to make. Plus they sell at around $3-$4 a pop (pretty much one bite…), so I thought they must be very difficult to make, right? Sort of right. Cathy and I ended up taking a macaron making class in Santa Monica last year at the Gourmandise School of Sweets and Savory, which is a fantastic cooking and baking school. Macarons would be fairly easy for someone familiar with meringue (like my Mom, for instance) and following a recipe would be sufficient, but I personally was not. The class we took was worth-while for me to see the subtle techniques like folding the egg whites slowly without mixing, etc. However, I would say after taking this one class, I don’t blink twice.

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The ingredients and recipe are actually quite simple, and once you’ve made them one time, it’s easy to become an expert and begin experimenting with flavors and colors. As much as I like experimenting, plain vanilla bean macarons remain my favorite flavor. I also haven’t perfected adding food dye, so the vanilla bean macaron cookies end up having the best texture. So here they are, plain and simple vanilla bean macarons. Put them in a cute box and it makes a great holiday gift!

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Vanilla Bean Macarons (Recipe from The Gourmandise School)

Cookies:

4 Egg Whites

1/2 Tsp Cream of Tartar

2 Scant Cups Almond Flour

2 Cups Powdered (Icing) Sugar

A pinch of Salt

6 Tbsp Sugar

1 Vanilla Bean (you will use half for the cookie and half for the filling)

Directions:

Place almond flour, powdered sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse several times. Set aside. Measure the sugar into a small bowl and add 1/2 of the vanilla bean (cut bean lengthwise and in half, and scrape the insides). Mix together and set aside.

In a stand mixer, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Slowly add the vanilla sugar remaining on medium-high speed until stiff peaks are formed. Remove from the mixer. Sift 1/3 of the almond flour mixture into the bowl and carefully fold the mixture until just combined. (Note: use a spatula and scrape the bowl in circular movements, occasionally cutting through the center). Add the two remaining thirds one at a time through the sifter, and repeat the same slow combining motion until a ribbon forms.

Spoon batter into a piping bag (or corner of a ziplock bag with the corner cut off), and pipe even circles onto a parchment paper lined tray. (Place piping bag end close to parchment, squeeze and lift). Let set for about an hour.

Pre-heat oven to 300 deg. F and cook for about 12-15 minutes.

Italian Meringue Butter Cream:

5 Egg Whites

1 Cup Sugar

Pinch of Salt

1 Tsp Vanilla Extract

1/2 Vanilla Bean

1 Pound of Butter at room temperature, cut into pieces

Directions:

Fill a medium saucepan 1/3 with water and bring to a simmer. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk egg whites, sugar and salt over the saucepan until mixture is warm to the touch. Remove from heat and place on the stand mixer. Whisk until stiff peaks form and the bowl is completely cool to the touch (*This is very important for the butter not to curdle). Continue to whip on medium-high speed and add the butter, one chunk at a time until combined. Add the vanilla extract and vanilla bean, and whip until smooth.

Assembly: 

Once macaron cookies have completely cooled, pipe a dollop of the butter cream in the center of a cookie. Add another cookie on top, gently pressing down to spread the buttercream. Macarons keep great in the freezer (remove 5-7 minutes before eating).

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Copycat Levain Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookies

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It’s truly been a great year. We traveled to Europe, had an awesome summer (Los Angeles Summer 2014), Hailey moved to New York, and — oh yeah — started a food blog! Almost exactly a year ago, Hailey and I sat at my dining room table and, over a cocktail, decided to start a food blog together. Now, to celebrate the best year yet, we’ve decided to do something sweet. Welcome to the 12 Days of Cookies!

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Day 1: Copycat Levain Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookies

When Hailey was in town the other week, we put our baking expertise to the test with a copycat chocolate chip cookie recipe for one of our favorite bakeries in New York City: Levain Bakery.

The first time I had a Levain Bakery cookie was when my friends and I traveled to New York City in February 2013. While the rest of us suffered from pretty severe jetlag (read sleeping till the afternoon), my roommate Marta did not and decided to explore the city on foot. And, boy am I glad she did. On the Sunday before we were to leave the city, Marta (the heavenly cookie-bringing angel she is) brought us back four Levain cookies.

I can’t say enough about these cookies. They are dense yet slightly cakey, rich but not too rich, and one cookie will leave you satisfyingly full yet always craving more. (Last September when we went to NYC to visit Hailey, I asked Marta to buy me $20 worth of Levain cookies. If that’s not enough proof to how good these cookies actually are, then I don’t know what is).

The copycat recipe that Hailey and I found tastes pretty close to the original, but misses slightly. I can’t really put my finger on it … it doesn’t really capture the “dense but cakey” texture. Don’t let that deter you from this recipe. It’s a great cookie, and I’ll admit that Hailey and I ate our share right out of the oven.

I’ll leave you with this video.

Cheers!
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Copycat Levain Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookies (adapted from the Brown Eyed Baker)

3 Cups of Bread Flour

1 Tsp. of Baking Powder

¼ Tsp. of Baking Soda

¾ Tsp. of Salt

1 Cup of Cold Butter, cut into cubes

¾ Cups and 4 Tsp. of Brown Sugar

½ Cup of Sugar

2 Eggs, cold and beaten

1 Tsp. of Vanilla Extract

1 ½ Cups of Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Directions:

Mix together the bread flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, and set aside.

In another bowl, using an electric mixer or stand mixer, mix the cold butter together until it comes together as one lump. Add the brown and granulated sugars and continue to mix for another couple minutes, or until the sugars are completely mixed into the butter. Slowly add the beaten eggs and vanilla extract, beating at a medium speed until the dough appears lumpy. Reduce the electric mixer speed and slowly add the flour mixture. *Note: the dough will be thick.* Add the chocolate chips and  refrigerate the cookie dough for a half an hour. **Note: we ended up skipping the refrigeration time, but it’s important as it helps refreeze the butter (fat) keeping the cookie dough stiff as you place it in the oven.**

After the cookie dough has time to set, heat your oven to 375 degrees. Roughly divide the cookie dough into 12 balls. ***Note: they shouldn’t be perfectly smooth and will be quite large — between the size of a golf ball and a tennis ball.*** Bake for approximately 18-20 minutes or until golden on the top. Do not over bake!

Makes 12 servings.

**Note: Hailey and I received some suggestions via email to correct the cookie texture. Try substituting the bread flour for 2 cups of all-purpose flour and 1 cup of cake flour. Further, rather than 3/4 cup and 4 teaspoons of brown sugar, use 1 cup of brown sugar. Thanks for the suggestions!

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A Taste of NYC: Casa Mono

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Chef Mario Batali has captured my palate again with the small Gramercy tapas joint, Casa Mono. (Batali’s Greenwich Village Italian restaurant Otto is currently my favorite pizza in all of NYC). After a trip to Spain earlier this year with my girlfriends, I’ve been all about tapas, and you don’t have to stray far in NYC to find some incredible Spanish tapas- many even better than those I had in Spain. Casa Mono is extremely intimate with seating for maybe 25 people, and it does not take reservations—prepare for a 2 hour wait on a Saturday night. Luckily my friend and I went on a Thursday rainy night around 7, and we only had to wait about 30 minutes. Bear in mind it was also raining :/.

The menu is not one for the unadventurous; items like sea urchin and sweetbreads are sandwiched between more typical iberico ham and patatas bravas.  The interesting combinations of flavors is what really captured my attention as I stumbled with what to order—half of the items I had no idea what they were, but most sounded intriguing.

The Buffalo’s milk burrata with saffron oranges was the perfect combination of creamy, tangy and sweet. I definitely don’t think I’ve ever had burrata with orange, but it was a fantastic twist. The simple pan con tomate was done flawlessly, on a toasted baguette with juicy tomato preserves. I would say it was a bit pricey for what you get, but worth the splurge at least once. I could easily see myself returning to tapas places like Macando or Pata Negra, but Casa Mono might be a one-time dining experience for me; given the unconventional menu items and steeper prices, I can’t see it becoming a regular stop, but man was it worth it for a unique dining experience.

Casa Mono $$$$

52 Irving Place New York, NY 10003

What to Order:

Tapas: Pan con Tomate, Buffalo’s Milk Burrata with Saffron Oranges, Chorizo Meatballs, Casa Pareja Marinated Goat Cheese

 

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Casa Pareja Marinated Goat Cheese

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Patatas Bravas

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Chorizo Meatballs

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Pork Croqueta

 

 

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Happy Thanksgiving! It’s been a while my friends. I wish I could say I’ve been gone on some type of adventure where cell service was limited and there’s no outlet to plug in my trusty mac book. But alas, that would be a lie. As an editor, I’m never more than 10 feet and a back pocket away from my laptop and phone. I have no excuse for this blogendous (horrendous blog faux pas) occurrence. I can only offer you a story and these cookies and hope you will accept my post.

Thanksgiving: the time to give thanks and appreciate those around you. And, let me tell you, I’m feeling pretty darn thankful y’all. I have a great family, amazing friends, crazy/cute cats and an awesome job. I get to travel when I want (I just recently got back from a trip to Washington, D.C. and Indianapolis to visit my friend Sami and my brother respectively). I eat what I like (look for new restaurant reviews from me and Hailey in the coming weeks). And to top it off, I spent last weekend catching up with Hailey and our close friends. What can I say; I live the life.

I made these cookies a few weeks ago when I was going through my “let’s put pumpkin in everything” phase. I love these cookies because they are extremely soft and moist without being too cake. Plus, give me something that combines chocolate and pumpkin and I’m happy. So stir things up this year at your Thanksgiving feast by switching out the boring old pumpkin pie for some of these pumpkin chocolate chip cookies!

Cheers!

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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies (adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction)

1/2 Cups of Butter

1/4 Cup of Brown Sugar

1/2 Cup of Sugar

1 Tsp. of Vanilla Extract

10 Tbsp. of Pumpkin Puree

1 and 1/2 Cups of Flour

1/4 Tsp. of Salt

1/4 Tsp. of Baking Powder

1/4 Tsp of Baking Soda

2 and 1/2 Tsp. of Cinnamon

1/4 Tsp. of Nutmeg

1/4 Tsp. of Cloves

2/3 Cups of Chocolate Chips

Directions:

Melt butter and combine with both sugars in a medium-sized bowl until fully combined. Stir in vanilla extract and pumpkin puree and whisk until smooth. Set the wet mixture aside.

In a larger bowl, mix the dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves). Stir in the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and mix until fully combined. Add the chocolate chips and fold into the cookie batter. If the dough is soft, refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes or until the dough begins to firm up.

Once the dough is firm, roll the batter into balls and place on a cookie baking sheet. Flatten each cookie dough ball slightly to help the cookies spread. Cook at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until the edges look slightly firm. Don’t worry if the cookie is still soft; it will continue to cook and firm up as the cookies cool.

Makes approximately 20 cookies.

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Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Muffins

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Greetings from sunny Los Angeles and Happy Thanksgiving Week! I was fortunate enough to get to spend a long weekend in LA before heading to northern California for Thanksgiving with my family, and I can’t get enough of it. I left a frigid 30 degrees New York City for sunshine, kale, beach and 80 degree weather for a few days and it feels fantastic! Not only was I reunited with my blog partner, but we got to see UCLA kill USC at the Rose Bowl! In honor of being in LA for the weekend, I took a staple Thanksgiving ingredient, sweet potatoes, and made a typically LA muffin: gluten-free and no refined sugar. Oh LA, you care about trendy healthy foods way more than NYC.

While gluten-free and healthy, these muffins actually taste fantastic, and they make a great start to your morning as you are running out the door. The sweet potato and greek yogurt keep them exceptionally moist, and the almond meal base gives them a delicious nutty flavor. Most importantly, these muffins are a great easy fix to your problem of having way to many leftover sweet potatoes after Thanksgiving dinner. So fear not; when life gives your sweet potatoes, make gluten-free muffins.

Bon Appétit!

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Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Muffins

1 Large Sweet Potato

2 Cups Almond Meal (I crushed whole almonds in a food processor until meal consistency)

1 Tsp Baking Soda

1 Tsp Cinnamon

2 Eggs

1/4 Cup Non-fat Greek Yogurt

1/4 Cup Pure Maple Syrup

1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Bake sweet potato on a baking sheet for about 40 minutes. Take sweet potato out of the oven and remove the skin. Mash the sweet potato until no lumps remain. In a large bowl, combine almond meal, baking soda and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs. Add sweet potato, greek yogurt, maple syrup and vegetable oil. Whisk until smooth. Stir wet ingredients into the almond meal mixture. Batter should be fairly thick. Spoon batter into a greased muffin tin. Bake for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees.

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