Posts Tagged baking

Homemade Apple Toaster Strudels

Growing up, there were a lot of foods that weren’t allowed in our home: Sugar cereals. White bread. TV dinners. Soda. Regular peanut butter, such as Peter Pan or Jiff (we could only have the natural kind! It was hard as a rock and wasn’t sugary and creamy and delightful!). Tang. Kool-Aid. Pop Tarts. Toaster Strudels.

Of all the banned foods, I felt that the lack of Toaster Strudels was the greatest injustice. In my childhood mind, Toaster Strudels were the ultimate treat, and I was sorely disappointed that I was not allowed to indulge in these sugary and wonderful toaster pastries.

Homemade Apple Toaster Strudel | Rosemarried.com

Now that I’m an adult, I completely understand my mom’s food rules. I appreciate that she made us eat fruits and vegetables, and taught us how to make healthy choices. To this day, I don’t like white bread and I don’t drink soda (save for the occasional Mexi-Coke with tacos. Mmmm…).

But, that doesn’t mean that I don’t have my vices. I LOVE sugar. If I let myself, I would eat Salsa Verde Doritos every single day. And, I still have a weakness for Toaster Strudels. They’re warm and buttery pockets of sugary goodness, and they come with a packet of frosting so that you can slather icing all over the warm strudel. I’m sorry, it doesn’t get much better than that.

So, when I saw a recipe for homemade apple toaster strudels, I knew I had to make them. And, since they’re homemade they’re totally good for you right? That’s what I’m telling myself, anyway.

p.s. I made these toaster strudels weeks ago, before our little one was born. It’s just taken me this long to get around to editing photos and writing a post! 

p.p.s. Apparently I suck at frosting toaster strudels. The frosting tasted great, but looked pretty stupid. We all have our strengths, and apparently icing toaster strudels is not one of mine. 

Homemade Apple Toaster Strudel | Rosemarried.com

Homemade Apple Toaster Strudels with Cream Cheese Icing

Serving Size: 8

Ingredients

  • For the crust:
  • 2 sheets of puff pastry (1 box), thawed
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • For the filling:
  • 3 apples, peeled and cored
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • For the cream cheese icing:
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. To make the filling, first grate the apples using a cheese grater or food processor. In a skillet or saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. When the butter is melted, stir in the grated apples. Add the brown sugars, flour, lemon juice, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the mixture is thick and reduced (about 10-15 minutes). Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat.
  3. Working on a well-floured surface, roll out one sheet of puff pastry into a large, thin rectangle – about 10″x14″. (Note: puff pastry can be very sticky, so be sure to flour as necessary.) Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut into 8 rectangles (3.5″x5″).
  4. Using a spatula, transfer 4 of the rectangles to a prepared baking sheet. Place 2 tablespoons of the apple filling in the center of each rectangle and spread across the pastry, leaving about a 1/2″ of space along the edge. Brush the other 4 pastry rectangles with the egg wash. Next, place an egg-washed piece of pastry atop a filled rectangle (egg-side down). Using your fingers, or a fork, firmly seal all the edges. Continue with the rest of the rectangles. Prick each with a fork or knife several times. Brush the top of each strudel with a bit of egg wash. Repeat this step with the second sheet of puff pastry.
  5. Bake the strudels until puffy and golden brown, about 35 minutes. Cool for a few minutes before frosting and eating. Best served warm!
  6. To make the cream cheese icing: beat the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract together until mixture is fluffy and well-combined. Frost the strudels with a knife, piping bag, or a Ziploc bag with a small hole cut in one corner.

Notes

Adapted from The Kitchn

http://rosemarried.com/2014/11/14/homemade-apple-toaster-strudels/

 

 

Sweet Cream Biscuits with Roasted Plums and Chai Infused Whipped Cream

When it comes to making biscuits, there are two ways to go about it. There’s the classic Buttermilk Biscuit, and there’s the Sweet Cream Biscuit. Buttermilk biscuits are typically made with buttermilk, and lots (and lots) of butter. Sweet cream biscuits, on the other hand, opt for heavy cream instead of buttermilk and butter. Buttermilk biscuits tend to be a bit lighter and flakier, while sweet cream biscuits are slightly more scone-like. The real selling point of sweet cream biscuits is that they come together in minutes, and are incredibly easy to make. Each biscuit has their merits, and people tend to have very strong opinions when it comes to their preferred type of biscuit.

As for me, I’ve always favored the buttermilk biscuit. They’re buttery, pillowy, flaky, and perfect. To be fair, however, I’d never really given the sweet cream biscuit a chance. I’ve always defaulted to making biscuits with butter, and I’d never even attempted to make sweet cream biscuits.

Until now, that is. 

sweet cream biscuits with roasted plums and chai whipped cream | rosemarried.com

A few weeks ago, I bought a whole bunch of Italian Prune Plums at the farmer’s market. (If you’ve not tried Italian Prune Plums, they are so incredibly delicious. And they are currently in season! Go get em!) Anyway, I got home with my giant bag of plums and realized I didn’t exactly know what to do with all my plums. So, I starting perusing the interwebs for ideas, and I stumbled upon my friend Michelle’s recipe for Sweet Cream Biscuits with Earl Grey Whipped Cream and Plum Jam. I was intrigued and delighted by the recipe, and knew I needed to make my own version.

So, I started by baking a batch of sweet cream biscuits. (I had to know what all the fuss was about, after all. Turns out, they’re totally awesome.) Since I was working with fresh plums (as opposed to plum jam), I had the idea to roast the plums with a bit of brown sugar and olive oil. Lastly, I didn’t have any Earl Grey tea, but I did have a tin of loose leaf Masala Chai Tea. Bingo. And that’s how this dessert was born.

Please note, this dessert is best eaten fresh! Biscuits are a type of quick bread, and they generally don’t keep well. Biscuits really are best the day they are baked, but they’re ok the next day if warmed or toasted.  In general, however, I recommend you make this recipe the day you plan on eating it. (The plums and whipped cream, however, keep nicely in the fridge and are delicious for breakfast the next day…)

sweet cream biscuits with roasted plums and chai whipped cream | rosemarried.com

Sweet Cream Biscuits with Roasted Plums and Chai Infused Whipped Cream

Serving Size: Makes 8-10 biscuits

Ingredients

  • For the Sweet Cream Biscuits:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream, chilled
  • For the Chai Spiced Whipped Cream:
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons loose-leaf Chai tea
  • 2 teaspoons powdered sugar
  • For the Roasted Plums:
  • Several ripe Italian prune plums (8-10)
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar

Instructions

  1. To make the Chai whipped cream: In a small bowl or jar, combine 1 cup of whipping cream with the loose leaf Chai tea. Gently stir together and cover the container, and allow to steep in the fridge for 1 hour or more.
  2. After the whipped cream has steeped for an hour, strain out the tea leaves (using a mesh sieve or cheesecloth). Pour the cream into a medium sized bowl (or the bowl of your stand mixer) and add the powdered sugar. Using an electric mixer (or stand mixer), beat the cream on medium-high speed until soft peaks form.
  3. To roast the plums: Preheat oven to 400 F. Wash and halve the plums, removing the pits. Toss plum halves with olive oil and brown sugar. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until plums are browning and releasing their juices. Remove from oven and set aside until use.
  4. To make the Sweet Cream Biscuits: Preheat the oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a Silpat.
  5. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt until well combined. Pour one cup of the cream over the dry ingredients, using a fork (or your hands) to gently mix the ingredients together. If the mixture is too dry, add more cream, one spoonful at a time, until the dough is soft and moist. Using your hands, gently knead the dough until it just comes together. (Be careful not to overknead!)
  6. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Lightly pat the dough into a disc with your hands, until it is 1/2″ thick. (Once again, be sure not overwork the dough!)
  7. Using a biscuit cutter (or juice glass!), cut out the biscuit circles. Be sure to cut the biscuits close together, and get as many as you can from this round. Transfer the biscuits to the prepared baking sheet. Gather the remaining scraps together and gently pat into another 1/2″ disc and cut out another batch of biscuits. (Note: only repeat this process once. Toss any remaining scraps, as dough will be too overworked at this point.)
  8. Once you’ve cut out all your biscuits and placed them on baking sheets, brush the tops of the biscuits with cream. (Optional: you can also sprinkle a bit of sugar atop each biscuit, which I think looks rather pretty.) Bake at 425 for 15-18 minutes, or until the biscuits are fluffy and golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool slightly before serving.

Notes

Adapted from Hummingbird High

http://rosemarried.com/2014/10/07/sweet-cream-biscuits-roasted-plums-chai-infused-whipped-cream/

Peach Cornmeal Skillet Cake with Lavender

I’ve made this recipe a couple of times now, and finally took the time to stop and snap a couple of photos. That’s the problem with delicious desserts, you see. They disappear far too quickly to take photos.

Truth be told, however, this isn’t the most photogenic of cakes. Granted, this recipe is an adaptation of a Martha Stewart recipe. Of course, her version looks absolutely stunning. The peach slices are arranged with care, each one placed perfectly in line. The cake is baked in a skillet, but then is turned out onto a gorgeous serving board. It’s a Martha masterpiece.

peach and cornmeal skillet cake | rosemarried.com

My version isn’t nearly as pretty as Martha’s. And my baby bump accidentally made an appearance in most of the photos. Oops.

 

But, let’s be honest. Who has the time or the energy for that? I certainly don’t.

You know what I did? I sauteed the peach slices in a lot of butter (and sugar!) and left them in the bottom of the skillet. I didn’t arrange them whatsoever. I poured batter on top of the peaches and baked the cake. Then, I ate the cake straight out of the skillet. And you know what? It was damn near perfect. The cake was buttery and moist, and just bursting with juicy summer peaches. The lavender was subtle, yet present, and added a unique and surprising flavor to the cake. It was fantastic.

Sure, it might not be as pretty as Martha’s version, but that’s fine by me. I want to cook attainable food that tastes good. The reality is that most of us are busy people with jobs, kids, pets, sports, mortgages, and all sorts of other responsibilities. We simply don’t have the time to arrange peach slices in concentric circles. And that’s ok.

There’s a time and a place for pretty cakes with pretty peach slices. But there’s also a time for peach cornmeal skillet cakes that are simple, easy, and totally delicious. This is one of those times.

peach and cornmeal skillet cake with lavender | rosemarried.com

Peach Cornmeal Skillet Cake with Lavender

Serving Size: 8

Ingredients

  • 1 stick (plus 3 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 3-4 ripe peaches (skins on), sliced into 3/4″ wedges
  • 1 cup coarse yellow cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried lavender
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a 9″ or 10″ cast iron skillet, melt 3 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. When butter is bubbling and melted, add in peach slices, nutmeg, and 1/4 cup of the brown sugar, and stir to coat. Reduce heat to low, and allow peaches to cook until most of the juice has boiled off and peaches are beginning to caramelize, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, lavender, and salt. In another bowl, beat the remaining butter with 3/4 cup of brown sugar on high speed. Beat until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium, and add in the eggs, one at a time. Scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally, and add in vanilla and cream.
  4. Next, pour in the the cornmeal mixture, stirring just to combine. Pour batter over peach slices, using a spatula to spread the batter evenly.
  5. Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove skillet from the oven, and allow cake to cool at least slightly before serving. (I highly recommend serving this cake with a heaping dollop of homemade whipped cream. It’s downright dreamy.)

Notes

Adapted from Martha Stewart

http://rosemarried.com/2014/09/15/peach-cornmeal-skillet-cake-lavender/

 

 

Rhubarb Coffee Cake

I feel like I’ve been living under a rock for a few months. Pregnancy doesn’t seem to be terribly conducive to productivity, and it certainly isn’t conducive to food blogging. I just feel so tired all the time. I’ve had zero energy and cooking has lost some of it’s appeal. Honestly, for awhile there, I didn’t want to eat anything except for cereal, grapes, and toast. Such is life during the first trimester.

But, I’m finally starting to feel like my old self again. Real food (meaning: something other than grapes and toast) actually sounds good. I’ve started cooking again. It feels good to be back.

In my opinion, a good piece of coffee cake is one of life’s simple pleasures. Coffee cake isn’t particularly pretty or inventive, but it’s just so good. I’ve made this recipe a number of times, and it never fails. The cake is so moist and flavorful, layered with chunks of tangy rhubarb on the bottom and giant spiced buttery crumbs on top.

If there was anything that was going to lure me back into the kitchen, it was this recipe. It’s just that good.

rhubarb coffee cake | rosemarried.com

RHUBARB COFFEE CAKE
(Adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

For the cake:
1/2 pound rhubarb, cut into 1/4″ chunks
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/3 cup plain yogurt (or sour cream)
1 large egg, plus one large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter (room temperature), cut into 8 pieces.

For the crumb topping:
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick or 4 ounces) butter, melted
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease an 8×8 baking pan.

2. In a small bowl, toss chopped rhubarb with 1/4 cup of sugar, corn starch, lemon zest, and 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger. Set aside.

3. To make the crumb topping, whisk together the sugars, spices, salt, and melted butter in a large bowl. Mix until smooth. Next, stir in the flour with a spatula or wooden spoon. (The mixture will resemble a solid dough.) Press the dough firmly in the bottom of the bowl, and set aside.

4. To make the cake filling, stir together the yogurt (or sour cream), egg, egg yolk, and vanilla in a small bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, mix together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add the butter pieces and a spoonful of yogurt into the mixture, and mix on medium speed until moistened. Increase the speed and beat for 30 seconds. Add the rest of the yogurt in two batches, beating for 30 seconds after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.

5. Scrape most of the batter into the prepared pan (reserving about 1/2 a cup). Spoon the rhubarb over the batter. Spoon the remaining batter over the rhubarb. (Don’t worry if it doesn’t evenly cover the rhubarb, it can just be scattered dollops of batter!)

6. Using your fingers, break the topping mixture into big crumbs. Sprinkle the crumbs over the cake. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool before serving.

Apple & Thyme Custard Tart

A couple of weeks ago, I went apple picking in Hood River with my friend Adriana.

Long before we picked our buckets apples, we had grand plans for them. Adriana wanted to try her hand at apple butter for the first time. I was determined to make a simple and unsweetened rustic applesauce. There would be cakes and pies and galettes galore.

apples

When I got home, I realized that I had picked a never-ending supply of apples. I successfully made (and canned) a batch of unsweetened chunky applesauce (and it was delicious). I made rosemary apple butter. I made butternut squash and apple soup (twice!).

After all of that, I still had apples.

I knew what I had to do with the rest of the apples — they needed to be baked into delicious treats — but I was a little hesitant. Truth be told, I’m a little terrified of baking desserts. It’s not that I don’t like dessert. On the contrary, I really, really like dessert. I just didn’t do a whole lot of baking in my younger years. You see, my sisters are the bakers in my family. I’m the cook. (I make Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner and they make all the pies. It’s tradition.)

All of that to say, I’m a little bit rusty in the baking department. It had been awhile since I’d made a proper tart dough, and I was a little bit nervous for how it would turn out. Thankfully, it turned out beautifully. It’s such a simple tart, and it really highlights the beauty of perfectly ripe apples. It’s simple, seasonal, and it might be my new favorite dessert. I’m not so sure what I was afraid of, but I’m glad I rolled up my sleeves and dove into a little seasonal baking.

I should do this more often.

Apple Custard Tart | Rosemarried

Apple & Thyme Custard Tart

Serving Size: 8

Ingredients

  • TART FILLING:
  • 4 crisp apples (peeled, cored, and thinly sliced)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • ***********************************************
  • TART DOUGH:
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup salted butter (1 stick), room temperature
  • 1 egg

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, sift together the powdered sugar, flour, and salt.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Add the egg and dry ingredients, and beat until the mixture comes together as an evenly formed mass. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. (Dough can be made one day ahead of time.)
  3. Once the dough is chilled, roll dough into a thin circle (slightly larger than your tart pan). Working quickly, line the tart pan with the dough. Trim off any excess dough that hangs over the edges. Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork a few times.
  4. Toss apple slices with lemon juice, nutmeg, and half of the thyme. Working from the outside toward the center, lay the apple slices in the tart shell in a circular pattern, overlapping them slightly.
  5. Gently whisk together the eggs, sugar, cream, and vanilla, until just combined. Pour the custard mixture over the apple slices. Sprinkle the rest of the thyme over the custard and apples.
  6. Bake tart at 375 F until the crust is golden and center is set, 30 to 40 minutes. (Note: if you find your crust is browning too quickly, cover the tart with aluminum foil for the duration of baking.) Allow the tart to cool before serving.

Notes

Adapted from Joanne Chen’s recipe on Gothamist.com

http://rosemarried.com/2013/10/25/apple-thyme-custard-tart/

Black Pepper Biscuit Sandwiches with Spicy Tomato Jam

There are three things I want you to know about this recipe. (Maybe four.)

1. I made tomato jam for the express purpose of slathering it on a biscuit sandwich.
A few months ago I had brunch with my friend Kelly at a little spot in Portland called Bakery Bar. I don’t recall all of the specifics of the biscuit sandwich we ate, but I do remember that it was ridiculously tasty. I do know that there was tomato jam on the biscuit sandwich and it was magical. I’ve been wanting to recreate it ever since. So that’s exactly what I did.

2. I went on a canning frenzy in the past couple of weeks. Summer is ending, and thus I’ve felt the urge to preserve and can. It’s my way of making the season last. (If you’re curious, I canned tomato sauce, tomato jam, bourbon peach butter, bourbon pickled peaches, and my “famous” 24 hour dill pickles.)

3. I adapted this black pepper biscuit recipe from Bobby Flay, which makes me feel like an ass. I’m not one to call names, but I loathe Bobby Flay. I don’t like his restaurants and I don’t like his “southwest” brand of cooking, and I certainly can’t stand that he tries to put jalapeno peppers in everything. I’m just not a fan of him. However, his recipe for black pepper biscuits happens to be great. I may not like the guy, but I’ll give credit where credit is due.

4. Biscuit sandwiches are practically impossible to photograph. I’m a big fan of runny yolks, and I am totally unwilling to cook my eggs “over hard” just for the sake of a pretty photo. So, I attempted to photograph this biscuit sandwich and it quickly dissolved into a yolky mess. A delicious, wonderful, yolky mess. So I snapped one photo (which turned out okay) and then gave up on trying to take photos and ate the sandwich instead.

In any case, the following is a recipe for black pepper biscuits, tomato jam, and brief instructions on how to assemble these tasty breakfast sandwiches. Enjoy!

BLACK PEPPER BISCUITS
(Slightly adapted from Bobby Flay)
Makes 8 biscuits

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small cubes
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper, plus a little more for the tops of the biscuits

Method:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a Silpat.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, pepper, and salt. Pulse a couple of times to ensure the ingredients are combined. Sprinkle the butter pieces over the flour mixture, and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Slowly pour in the buttermilk and pulse until the dough just barely comes together.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Pat the dough into a circle, until it is 3/4 of an inch thick. Using a 3″ biscuit cutter (or juice glass!), cut out the biscuits and place them on a lined baking sheet. Combine the remaining scraps of biscuit dough into a 3/4 thickness and repeat the process until all the dough is used. Brush the tops of the raw biscuits with cream, and sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the biscuits are golden brown and fluffy. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Heirloom Tomato Jam from Rosemarried

SPICY (HEIRLOOM) TOMATO JAM
(Adapted from Sassy Radish)
Makes 4+ pints

Ingredients:
5 pounds heirloom tomatoes*, roughly chopped
2 small yellow onions, diced
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
Juice of 2 lemons
1 green apple, finely diced
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
3/4 teaspoon cumin
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

*Note: I used a mix of heirloom tomatoes from my garden (including cherry tomatoes). Really, any tomato will do!

Method:
Place all ingredients in a large pot or Dutch oven and stir to combine. Over medium heart, bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and allow mixture to simmer, uncovered, for 2-3 hours, or until the jam is dark and thick. Stir occasionally.

Transfer jam to clean, sterilized jars. If canning, boil jars in a hot-water bath for 20 minutes. If storing in the refrigerator, the jam will keep for 2 weeks (or more).


TO ASSEMBLE THE BISCUIT SANDWICHES:

Ingredients:
2 black pepper biscuits
Sharp cheddar cheese
Tomato jam
4 slices of bacon
2 eggs

Cook the eggs and bacon to your liking. I prefer a sunny side up egg and crispy (almost burnt!) bacon. But, really, this is your biscuit sandwich and you get to make it the way you want.

Split the biscuits in half, and slather a good amount of tomato jam on one half of the biscuit. On the other half, place a hearty slice of sharp cheddar cheese. If you want your cheese extra melty, place under the broiler for a few minutes.

Place a fried egg atop each biscuit, and adorn with bacon slices. Add a bit more tomato jam if you desire. Serve immediately and enjoy immensely!

Chai Snickerdoodles

We made it through the holidays! High fives all around.

Granted, my house is in shambles and my pants feel like they are two sizes too small. But that’s what the holidays are all about, right? In all seriousness, I had a wonderful Christmas. I spent a lot of quality time with my family (and adorable nieces), I ate a lot good food, and played a lot of Just Dance 3. (In case you were wondering, I’m absolutely horrible at Just Dance 3.)

However, the holidays aren’t technically over yet. We still have to ring in the new year! I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions – namely, I don’t like making promises I can’t keep – but I do plan on making a few dietary changes on January 1st. No, I am not going on a diet. I’m just going back to the way I normally eat. I like eating fruits, veggies, and whole grains. I feel better when I eat healthy and exercise (call me crazy, but I actually like feeling good). So, I’m going to listen to my body and I’m going to cut back on sugar, carbs, alcohol, etc.

But, that starts on January 1st. Meaning: I’ve got a few more days to eat cookies. And so do you!

So make these cookies now and gobble them up before your New Year’s resolutions begin. ;)

P.S. I’m aware that these cookies may appear to be sprinkled with black pepper, but I can assure you that they are sprinkled with Chai tea leaves (and cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, etc). And I can assure you that they are really, really delicious.

CHAI SNICKERDOODLES
Adapted from The Novice Chef

2 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cream of tartar**
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), room temperature
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs

**If you do not have cream of tartar, you can substitute a 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice.

For the Chai sugar:
5 tablespoons white sugar
2 teaspoons Masala chai tea leaves (Use loose leaf, or empty the contents of a couple of tea bags)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

Method:
Using a food processor or mortar & pestle, grind the Chai tea until it is fine. Combine chai with the sugar and other spices in a small bowl. Set aside.

In another (medium) bowl, combine dry ingredients.

Using a stand mixer (or hand mixer), cream together butter until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time. Add in vanilla (and lemon juice, if substituting for cream of tartar).

Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, and mix until combined. Place dough in refrigerator to chill for a half hour.

Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper (or a Silpat).

Once the dough has chilled, remove from fridge. Using your hands, form dough into large balls (about 1″). Roll each ball in the chai sugar mix, and place on a baking sheet (leave space, as the cookies will expand during baking). Bake for 12-14 minutes, until edges are just barely beginning to turn golden brown. Allow cookies to rest for 5 minutes on cookie sheet before transferring to a cooling rack.