Almond Fig Tart & Aspen Oat Bars

So, I came into some figs recently, thank you Jason!, and I found that figs are primarily eaten two ways. Either by themselves with honey and possibly some cheeses or as a tart. I love bread of any kind soooo I went with the tart.

This recipe comes from Giada De Laurentiis off of the Food Network website. I really liked this recipe and it wasn’t hard at all. Just a little messy….. I got flour all over me.

Almond Fig Tart

*makes about 8 to 11 servings I guess, but who really follows that anyway?*

Dough Ingredients:

– 1 & 1/2 cups of flour
– 2 TB sugar
– lemon zest (optional)
– 1/4 tsp salt
– 3 TBs cold water
– 10 TBs ( 1 & 1/4 sticks) of butter, chilled and cubed into 1/2 inch pieces

Combine all dry dough ingredients in a food processor. Then add the cubed butter and pulse until it resembles a course meal. Then add the water while the machine is running. When combined, form the dough into a disc, wrap with plastic wrap and chill for an hour or so.

Cheese / Almond Filling Ingredients:

– 1 TB sugar
– 3.5 ounces Almond paste, at room temp and cubed into 1/2 inch pieces
– 1/3 cup Mascarpone cheese at room temp
– 1 TSP vanilla extract
– 2 TBs honey

Combine all filling ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Set aside.

Topping Ingredients:

– 6 large or 12 small fresh figs, sliced, stems removed
– 1/4 cup apricot jam

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and position a rack in the center of the oven.

Roll out the dough to an 11 inch circle. Transfer the dough to the baking sheet. Spread the Almond filling over the dough, leaving a 2 inch border from the edge. Place the figs on top of the filling. Spoon the jam over the figs and then fold the edges over.

Bake for 40 minutes. Allow to cool and enjoy hot or cold. I prefer it chilled.

Enjoy!

Now onto the second recipe I made. Aspen Oat Bars!

Aspen Oat Bars

This recipe comes from the LA Times food section and makes about 12 – 16 servings.

Ingredients:

– 1 & 1/2 cups plus 2 TBs old-fashioned rolled oats
– 1/4 and 2 TBs light brown sugar
– heaping 1/2 cup coconut flakes
– 1/2 TSP salt
– 3/4 cup nuts or sunflower seeds – I used almonds and walnuts
– 3/4 cup powdered milk
– 1/2 cup raisins
– 1/2 cup dried cranberries – I used fresh figs, cubed.
– 3 TBs butter
– 1/4 cup honey
– 1/2 cup & 1 TB peanut butter
– 1 & 1/8 TSP vanilla extract
– 2 TBs plus 1 TSP raspberry jam

Heat oven to 400 degrees F and grease a 13-by-9 inch baking pan.

Mix oats, sugar, coconut, salt, nuts, powdered milk, raisins and cranberries.

In a saucepan, melt and combine the butter, honey, peanut butter, vanilla extract and jam.

Pour the mixture into the dry ingredients and combine. Press the mixture into the pan and bake for 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool and enjoy!

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Italian Chocolate Cookies

I found this recipe from the food blog, Spoonful of Sugar and the photos looked so good that I had to try them for myself. Now, I’ve never really been a big chocolate fan, but lately I’ve been really craving it so I gave it a try.

These cookies are cakey with a great cocoa flavor and the frosting makes it just sweet enough. The sprinkles were my touch since I’m pretty much obsessed with them and prefer them over my ice cream, on top of my cookies and within my cake (funfetti!).

*I halved this recipe and it made enough for one person… and for sharing.. If you want to.

The Chocolate Cookies:

2 sticks butter, melted and cooled
1 & 1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup milk
4 & 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup cocoa
4 & 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 & 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 & 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix cooled butter and sugar together to a gel-like consistency. Add the milks and eggs and mix until combined. Then add half of the flour and the rest of the dry ingredients and mix into the batter. Then mix in the rest of the flour.

Refrigerate for an hour or more. I just stuck it in the freezer for 20 or so minutes.

Roll into balls and bake for 10 – 12 minutes.

The Icing

3 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons vanilla

Stir the 3 ingredients together. It should be thick, but still fluid enough to coat the cookies and dry as a stiff shell.

Enjoy! I definitely did.

Spanglish Sandwich

This has to be my favorite sandwich of a ALL TIME. Yep, I used caps, I’m serious.

If any of you have seen the film, Spanglish (2004) and you’re completely obsessed with food, you noticed the amazing looking sandwich Adam Sandler’s character made. You are definitely a foodie if you know what I’m talking about.

Now the true to heart Spanglish Sandwich recipe goes like this:

*Photo & Recipe taken from here*

Now, I typically make my shortcut version because I don’t always have that particular cheese, lettuce or bacon in the house. So mine goes like this:

My Spanglish Sandwich

Ingredients:

2 slices of sourdough bread

1 egg

fresh spinach leaves

slices of turkey lunch meat

sliced tomatoes

slices of avocado

Mayo, Dijon mustard, salt & pepper

Toast the bread in a toaster or in a skillet with butter . Set aside. Then cook the egg until firm, but the yoke is still gooey (that’s just my personal preference). Spread mayo and mustard on the bread slices and place  spinach on one slice and pile the turkey on top of that. Then, place the cooked egg on top of that and add the slices of tomato. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the tomatoes. Finish off with slices of avocado, which is a necessity in all of my sandwiches.

My version is similar to the original spanglish sandwich, but not quite the real thing. Believe me, the real thing is worth the crazy calorie content… I believe the article above says 1,145 calories!! Ehh maybe like a once in a year kind of thing. So I guess mine’s a low-cal / convenient version of the real thing.

Regardless of labels, it’s just plain yummy to me. Enjoy the noms!

Pinwheel Cookies.. well kind of

Apparently I do not possess the patience to make decent looking pinwheel cookies. Instead, they came out like the one on the top right…

pinwheelcookies01

So, I decided to scrap the whole spiral idea and just roll the dough into balls and flatten it. I think they turned out pretty cool looking.

Pinwheel Cookies

recipe from Disgruntled Julie

~ 3 cups all-purpose flour
~ 1/2 tsp baking powder
~ 1/2 tsp salt
~ 1 cup butter, softened
~ 1 1/3 cups sugar
~ 2 large eggs
~ 2 tsp vanilla extract
~ 2 ounces chocolate, finely chopped (I used chocolate chips)

Sift the dry ingredients together and set aside. Mix the sofetened butter and sugar together until creamed and add the eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla then add the dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated.

Divide the dough in half, wrapping half in saran wrap and place it in the fridge. Return the other half to the mixer and bring a pot of water to boil on the stove. Place a bowl over the water level making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water (or use a double boiler) and add the chocolate. Mix until completely melted and smooth. Add the chocolate to the dough in the mixer and mix until incorporated. Place this dough in saran wrap and in the fridge to cool. Refrigerate both halves for at least 30 minutes.

Roll both halves out into thin sheets and place one on top of the other. Roll the two sheets of dough into a log and refrigerate for an hour or freeze for a couple hours making sure the log remains round and doesn’t flatten on the bottom. Cut into 1/2 inch to 1 inch thick circles and bake at 350 degrees F for 9 to 11 minutes.

**** so this is where my lack of patience kicked in. I thought screw the 3 hour freezing period so I grabbed both kinds of dough and rolled them in my hands to form a ball. I then flattened it and placed it on the cooking sheet to bake.

pinwheelcookies02

THE BEST Oatmeal Cookies

oatmealcookies2

Photo by Lovin' From the Oven

Oatmeal cookies are my favorite and this is the absolute best recipe I’ve tried. So, I found this recipe online from a food blog that I love and follow, called Lovin’ From the Oven. I did adjust the recipe a tinsy bit. The original calls for cocoa and toffee bits which I didn’t have regardless they turned out great. I have not been able to stop eating them all week.

Oatmeal Cookies – (click for link)

Ingredients

  • 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder – i’m not a big chocolate fan, so I always leave this out.
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup toffee bits
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Whisk together oatmeal, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

In the bowl of stand mixer cream butter and sugars until pale and fluffy (5 mins) and add eggs and vanilla until just combined. Add oat mixture and mix until just combined. Stir in walnuts and toffee.

Scoop onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 10-13 minutes, depending on the size of your cookies. Let cookies cool on sheet for five minutes and transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Pumpkin Cupcakes / Muffins

I found this recipe off of my regular haunt of tastespotting and since I love anything that contains pumpkin and cinnamon I had to try it. The Author of the recipe is Cynthia Furey, she had this recipe recently published in OC Register. Anyways, I made them today and thought they were delicious (especially the cinnamon cream cheese frosting mmmmm) and really easy. I like them both as muffins and as cupcakes.. Oh and I cut the frosting recipe in half, and it still covered 3/4 of the cakes. I recommend them to any pumpkin lover like me!

Cynthia Furey's Pumpkin Cupcakes

My photos did not compare to Furey's so I'm using her amazing photo instead.

Pumpkin Cupcakes (OR muffins) with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield: 16 to 18 muffins

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 1/2 cups light brown or golden brown sugar
4 eggs, room temperature
1 cup vegetable oil
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 cup (or more) walnuts or chocolate chips (optional)

For frosting:
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch cloves
5 cups powdered sugar

Optional garnish for cupcakes: ground nutmeg

Procedure:
NOTE: If making cupcakes, start with frosting. If making muffins, skip to step 3.

1. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, unsalted butter and brown sugar until mixture is light and fluffy, about three to five minutes.
2. Add vanilla, cinnamon and cloves, and slowly beat in powdered sugar one cup at a time, until incorporated. Cover and chill while you make and cool cupcakes.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place muffin cups in muffin tins and set aside.
4. In a medium bowl, combine or sift dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground ginger and cloves.
5. In a large mixing bowl, mix together brown sugar and eggs. Add vegetable oil, pumpkin puree, sour cream, vanilla and zest. Mix until all ingredients are combined.
6. Add half of flour mixture to wet ingredients and mix on low speed until just combined. Repeat with second half of flour mixture. Mix in nuts or chocolate chips if using.
7. Spoon or pour batter into prepared muffin cups, a little over 3/4 full. Bake muffins for 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in muffins comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.
8. Using a spoon or knife, spread frosting on the top of each muffin to make cupcakes (You can also use a pastry bag to pipe frosting). Sprinkle tops of cupcakes lightly with nutmeg. Serve.

Pumpkin Cream Cakes

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Pumpkin Cream Cakes

I originally found this recipe off a food blog called Baked Perfection , and they looked amazing so I decided to make them for Thanksgiving. Not only are they really freaking good and make for a cute presentation but my family raved about them all night. So I figured I’d share the recipe:

Pumpkin Cream Cakes (aka Pumpkin Whoopie Pie)
Adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 TBSP cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground fresh nutmeg
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup canola oil
3 cups chilled pumpkin puree
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare to baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and spices. Set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk the sugars and oil together. Add the pumpkin puree and whisk to combine thoroughly. Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk until combined. Sprinkle the flour mixture over the pumpkin mixture and whisk until completely combined.
Drop heaping tablespoons of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, about 1 inch apart.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the cookies are just starting to crack on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of a cookie comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool completely on the pan while you make the filling. They will look more like mini cakes then cookies.

Cream Cheese Filling

3 cups powdered sugar
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or with hand mixer, beat the butter until smooth with no visible lumps. Add the cream cheese an beat until combined.
Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth. Be careful not to overbeat the filling, or it will lose structure.

To assemble:
Turn half the cooled cookies upside down. Drop spoonfuls of filling (about a tablespoon) onto that half. Place another cookie, flat side down, on top of the filling. Press down slightly so that the filling spread to the edges of the cookie. Repeat until all the cookies are used. Put the cakes in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to firm before serving. Makes about 2.5 dozen.