Tag Archives: Dessert

Mexican Wedding Cookies

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2L classes have finally come to an end. It’s amazing how quickly this semester has flown by. In honor of the last day of class, I made some cookies for my clinic seminar on Monday. I made oatmeal chocolate chip cookies (I swear by the Williams-Sonoma recipe) and, one of my personal favorites, Mexican Wedding Cookies (also known as polvorones).

I’ve been making variations of these cookies since I was in high school. Personally, I like the traditional version, but know that you can easily switch things up and satisfy even the pickiest of eaters. By making some substitutions, these can be transformed into a nut-free and/or dairy-free treat. I’ve tried many a recipe, but these have definitely become my favorite. They are soft and easy to make, plus no fancy equipment required (alway a win in my book).

My fellow tastetester, Jocelyn!

Also, Happy Birthday to my dear friend Jocelyn who puts up with my crazy shenanigans, accompanies me on random restaurant outings, humors (and tastes) my cooking experiments, listens to my life rants, helped me fight mice in my last apartment, willingly subjects herself to appearances on this blog, and is just a lovely person all around. Happy Birthday, Joss!! <3s you!

Happy eating!

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Recipe Rescue: Sugar-Crusted Citrus Loaf

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Today’s recipe was borne from a lapse in thinking.

I had been craving lemon bars for the better part of a week when this loaf was made. I bought some Meyer lemons from Whole Foods and came home intent on making a tray to bring in to school. I juiced six lemons and a blood orange that I had lying around. The butter was perfectly softened, and I was ready to make some dessert.

Until I read the recipe wrong.

Somewhere between juicing those lemons and creaming that butter, I got it into my head that the recipe called for 1¾ cups of sugar in the crust.

It does not. That goes in the filling.

But of course that didn’t occur to me until I had successfully combined all of the butter with all of the sugar. So then I had to brainstorm ways to save those ingredients that I basically ruined. The end result was a sweet, dense pound cake, studded with lemon zest with the underlying tang of Meyer lemons and blood orange. The best part might actually be that the extra sugar crusted on top, making for a great crunch. Paired with a citrus-y glaze, this is one screw-up that didn’t turn out half bad!

I’m going to go ahead and call this recipe a success. Sure, I cannot read may be losing my mind, but at least I avoided a major baking flop!

Happy eating!

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Chocolate Panettone Bread Pudding

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Hi friends!

I haven’t forgotten about you. I swear. Things are a bit backed up here–partially because of my schedule and partially because my camera’s having uploading issues. Hopefully, all will be resolved this weekend. Til then, here’s a quick recipe for a chocolate-studded panettone bread pudding. Sorry for the lack of pictures–these are the only ones that would load!

Happy eating!

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Apple Tart

Well, there is nothing like a hurricane to give you an incentive to cook something. For those of you who have somehow not heard, the East Coast is experiencing a bit of bad weather. Many students across the Northeast are rejoicing tonight as schools and universities have announced closures for the second day in a row. Since most of my friends and I have strategically avoided Friday classes, this has given us a much-need five day weekend to catch up on sleep and homework–or, in my case, cooking. I just really hope this clears up so kids can go trick-or-treating on Halloween!

About a week ago, I went apple and pumpkin picking with my friends West and Amanda.

Surveying our options

I love pretty much everything about fall, but the one thing I love most is escaping the city for a day and going apple and/or pumpkin picking. This is incredibly ironic as the thought of camping gives me hives. But picking my own produce? Totally down with that. West grew up on a farm, and I like to think that Amanda and I amused him with our extreme excitement at all things nature-related. Like most city-folk who venture to a farm, Amanda and I came home with roughly 6½-lbs of apples each. I haven’t had a chance to make anything with them until now, however, as assignments have kept me out of the kitchen. Nothing like a hurricane to return one’s cooking-mojo.

This is my go-to apple galette/tart recipe. I’ve been making it for nearly eight years, and no other recipe has been able to trump it. The crust is flaky and quickly assembled. The filling is easily adaptable to what one has on hand. The tart itself is not very sweet–making it the perfect vehicle for some coffee or vanilla ice cream. So, if you still have power and are stuck indoors during a hurricane with a ton of apples, I suggest betaking your stir-crazy self to the kitchen. Happy eating, and I hope everyone in the Northeast stays safe and dry!

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Cinnamon Apple Banana Bread

They say necessity is the mother of invention, and this recipe is proof of that statement’s veracity. I always have fruit, and I most definitely always have bananas. It’s one of those habits that I picked up from my mother. Actually, that last bit is more the result of my father’s insistence on making sure we all got our “daily dose of potassium,” but the point is that I always have fruit. One person can only eat so much fruit, however, and I constantly wind up with a couple of pieces that I cannot consume before they get too ripe to eat.

Having too much fruit, however, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It gives me ample excuse to make fruit-filled pancakes, smoothies, and desserts. My favorite way to use up ripe fruit, however, is by making banana bread. I use my mother’s recipe and have wonderful memories of making loaves of banana bread with her when my dad bought way too many bananas.

When I realized that I had two very ripe bananas earlier this week, my instinct was to make some banana bread. Here’s the problem: my mom’s recipe calls for three bananas. Solution? Add an apple. I didn’t want to lose the banana flavor, however, so I decided to roast my bananas to intensify it. I also cooked the apple pieces for a few minutes so that they wouldn’t release too much water while baking and create a soggy loaf. Working off of my mother’s recipe, I noticed that the substitution of the apple for a banana made the batter a bit too thick. Solution? Add Greek yogurt. The result was an incredibly moist (Horrid word. I know. Apologies) treat that made for a pretty awesome breakfast solution this week.

Maybe it’s not such a bad thing to lack ingredients after all. Happy eating!

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Cherry Pie Crumble Bars

It’s often said that when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Well, here’s a new one for you: when the grocery store offers you cherries at $1.99/lb, buy a LOT of cherries. If you are part of my family, this means roughly 7 lbs of cherries. We’re in cherry heaven over here. Between Rainier cherries (my favorites) to the more common Bing variety, we’ve been eating cherries pretty much nonstop for the past few weeks.

Which means that, ultimately, one needs to come up with a way to use some of these cherries–especially when one has plans for a picnic on Roosevelt Island. Having never been much of a jam/preserve person, I quickly crossed that possibility off my list. What I really wanted to make was a pie. Pies, however, are difficult to transport, especially on the unforgiving and overcrowded D.C. Metro. Solution? Pie bars! I’ve been eying this recipe for a couple of weeks and, with my sudden bounty of cherries, the time was right to take a crack at this recipe.

The bars come together pretty quickly. I’m sure they’d come together even more quickly if you’ve been blessed with a cherry pitter. I, however, am not so fortunate (yay law student budget!). It’s pretty simple to halve the cherries and gently squeeze out the pit, but it is time-consuming, so leave yourself ample time to do that. The result, however, is well worth the cherry-stained fingers (and shirts and aprons). You get incredibly juicy cherries, sandwiched between two layers of flaky shortbread with just a hint of cinnamon and (in my version) of Chambord. Drooling yet? I thought so.

So here’s to cherry season and to picnics! Now go forth and make some pie. Happy eating!

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Chai-Spiced Sugar Cookies

When I moved home for the summer, I brought back a ton of pantry staples. Spices, vinegars, baking supplies, tea–it was as though a mini mart moved into my mother’s house. One of the things that came back with me was my supply of Trader Joe’s Spicy Chai Latte Powder. Being Indian, I naturally have a thing for chai. It’s in my blood. So when I was looking for a new, non-chocolately (is that a word?) baked good to try, I thought it might be nice to find a way to use some of my stock.

I came across this recipe for  chai-spiced cookies and had to give it a try. The result is a soft cookie, reminiscent of snickerdoodles but with a stronger spicy kick. The original recipe calls for a few traditional spices and flavors, but I took the easy route and used ¼ cup of the chai latte powder. These were a big hit at the office and, according to my colleagues, taste great dunked in coffee. Happy eating!

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Lemon Curd Marbled Cheesecake

Cheesecake has always been one of my favorite desserts.  Growing up, instead of brightly-colored frosted birthday cakes, I asked my mom for cheesecake.  I typically requested a chocolate marbled one I found beautifully depicted in a tiny Hershey magazine.  Each March, we would eat grilled chicken, artichokes, and cheesecake.  Yes, I was a strange child.

When I got married, I wanted to continue the traditional, so for Brandon’s and my birthdays—they are three days apart—I tried my own hand at the marbled chocolate cheesecake, and while it was delicious, it cracked.  I tried again using a new recipe a few years later, and, again, it cracked.

A cracked cheesecake is still a tasty cheesecake, but for a perfectionist like me, that dang crack drove me crazy.  I tried baking the cake at a lower temperature.  Crack.  I tried leaving the cake in the oven with the door ajar to cool.  Crack.  Every stinking time.

Recently, I had the hankering for cheesecake, but this time, I chose to substitute my dear chocolate with a tangy lemon curd.  The tart lemon somehow made the rich, ultra-creamy cheesecake refreshing, and now, I have a new favorite cheesecake.

And in the end, this cheesecake was beautiful.  White with vibrant streaks of yellow and . . . a deep crack in the middle . . . oh well.  I’ve learned, if this happens, just cover any “flaws” with blueberries.  They become even tastier. Continue reading


New York-Style Cheesecake

First of all, I’m sorry for not posting lately. I’m finally finished with residency selection, and, now that my nerves have calmed and my current rotation is a bit easier, I can focus once more on the blog. You should be hearing more from me in the next few months.

And now, on to the food!

Who doesn’t love cheesecake?

Well… actually, I don’t. In fact, I can’t stand it.

…But my sister does!! This thanksgiving, we were discussing what desserts to make for dinner, and I asked if we could do something other than pumpkin pie. Why, you may ask, would I not want serve this staple of the American Thanksgiving table?

Not gonna lie, I don’t like pumpkin pie either.  I know, sacrilege.

I convinced my sister to let me try making something different, and she, ahem, kindly agreed to give me a shot at making a different dessert. I picked pumpkin cheesecake, because 1) as stated above, my sister loves cheesecake, and 2) there is no better dessert repellent for me than the aforementioned item.  Talk about killing two birds with one stone! Well, four packages of cream cheese, one can of pumpkin and a box of graham crackers later, I was staring into a gaping crack that could have been the grand canyon of cheesecakes. On the plus side, no one could tell once I covered it in marshmallow sour cream topping (most delicious topping ever- recipe to come later.)

Two days later, I made another cheesecake for a family event, and this one turned out wonderfully! Not a single crack whatsoever. I think the reason behind the success of this cake may have been that it was baked at a lower temperature and allowed to cool in the water bath for a few minutes once outside the oven. I figured since I put in the effort I might as well try a bite, and I have to say that for a cheesecake, it tasted really good!

Lessons learned:

  1. Baking cheesecake at a lower temperature (325 degrees) results in less cracking in the center.
  2. When the cheesecake is in the oven, don’t open the door and allow it to bake for the recommended time (you can even let it go 5 minutes less.)
  3. Making cheesecake isn’t difficult at all, and you should definitely try it out over holidays for the cheesecake lover in your life.
  4. Heating up a microwave with nothing in it will cause it to light on fire and then you will owe someone a new microwave. I kid you not.

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Peanut Butter Blossoms

I hope that everyone had a very happy Thanksgiving! From roasted turkey to goat cheese mashed potatoes to a delicious pumpkin cheesecake, I was a pretty happy (and ridiculously full) camper. That being said, I did come away with a few second degree burns on account of a (literal) run-in with sweet potatoes. As a result, my right hand is slightly out of commission as it recovers from my cooking misadventures.

Now that one holiday is over, I think I’ll take the approach followed by department stores and marketing agents everywhere and turn my attention to the next holiday: Christmas. Every year, I make a wide variety of cookies to distribute to our family and friends. Sugar cookies, chocolate ganache thumbprints, birds in a nest, rugelach, coconut macaroons–the list goes on and on. This year, I plan on incorporating  peanut butter blossoms into the mix.

I first had these cookies in the first grade when one of my peers brought them in as her birthday treat (this was before peanut allergies made this impossible). I had a hard time finding a recipe I liked, however, until the spring of my junior year when studying abroad. Peanut butter is a bit difficult to find in Florence, and my friends and I found ourselves missing it (even though none of us eat it normally…it’s funny what being away from home does to your tastebuds). Sam’s mom emailed her their family recipe, her dad brought us peanut butter and a giant bag of Hershey Kisses when he visited, and we spent an afternoon happily making cookies.

Here’s hoping you enjoy these as much as my friends and I do. Happy eating!

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