CHEWY Nutella & Peanut Butter Cookies

Give the gift of…..

NUTELLAAA-ELLLAA -ELLAAA- ELLAAAA

For starters growing up, Nutella was basically a main food group in my household. Nutella became popular in the states more so around 10 years ago. Unless you had European parents who gave you this as a child, and introduced it to all your friends(ME), you didn’t know about it. Nutella was created in 1964, by a pastry chef who lived in Piedmont Italy. It was first created as a chocolate cream for patisseries to use. The inventor,  Pietro Ferrero had a son who perfected it into a chocolate spread that we eat today! My mom used to give it to us with BREAD, croissants, crepes, crackers, fruit, or the best way in my opinion…..ON THE SPOON! I have so many childhood memories with Nutella, and the tradition Has moved down with my niece.

You can use Nutella to bake with. In my opinion honey, and peanut butter are a match made in heaven with this spread!!! Considering mothers day is next week, I am giving the gift of Nutella! My mom personally loves peanut butter & nutella, so I decided to make a cookie for her!! These cookies are so rich, chewy, and moist.  They are perfect with a glass of milk, tea(my favorite), or in this case her favorite which is COFFEE! I tend to show my love through baking as a gift. Material objects are over rated! Of course I need my professional tester…… CARAMIA!

         Nutella & Peanut Butter Cookies

Yield:15-20 cookies
BAKE:350°F
INGREDIENTS:
2 Eggs
1/2 Cup NUTELLA
2 Tsp Baking Soda
1/8 Tsp Baking Powder
1/2 Cup Honey
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
2 3/4 Cup All Purpose Flour
1 Tsp Salt
1/2 Cup Sugar
2 Sticks of Butter 
2/3 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter

Directions:
1. Cream together the butter and sugar.
2. Add, and mix the peanut butter.
3. Add the eggs, vanilla, and honey.
4. Add the dry ingredients and mix: flour, salt, baking powder, 
and baking soda. 
5. Swirl in nutella with a fork.
6. Place the cookie batter in the fridge for 15 minutes before 
scooping to become more firm. 
7. Scoop golf ball size scoops “2” inches apart.*** 
8. Bake at 350°F for 8-12 minutes.
9. Let rest for 20 minutes, and ENJOY!!!!

**I like big CHEWY cookies. These will spread and baking to a thin   chewy cookie that are softball size. If you want to get a higher     quantity, and like smaller cookies, you can make them a smaller scoop size just watch the baking time. It might take 2-3 minutes shorter  in time since they are smaller. 
*** remember to bake just till the edges are golden brown, and a     little on the top if you want them this chewy!! They carry over and cookie 3-5 minutes after taking them out od the oven as well!!

PLEASE EMAIL ME IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS!!!!


Coconut Samoa Cake

 

This week I was craving coconut! Summer is here soon, and I am back home in south Florida….so why not? I was craving coconut, with a hint of chocolate. I did not want a full on German chocolate cake. So I thought to myself what If I inverted it? Then I remembered the best Girl Scout cookies growing up!! The chocolate coconut Samoas cookies, from the girl scouts!! I transformed the Samoas into my version of a Samoa bundt cake.

             Why does it have a hole in it?

Bundt cakes do not conform to any single recipe really, they are just considered that from their shape. The name derived from Europe. It came from a brioche/cake hybrid baked in a ring shape called Gugelhupf. It was used mostly for religious holidays amongst the Jewish community.


CoconutMilkDiptychPeople tend to skew from healthy hacks and habits because of price, and convenience. For this cake there is coconut milk in it. You can use the canned coconut milk if you would like, and just skip ahead to the recipe!!!! If you are a health nut; and love and appreciate organic tricks, please make it from scratch!! I always make extra to reserve for my shake in the mornings! Buy 1 bag of UNSWEETENED COCONUT FLAKES. Coconuts are a delicious and nutritious source of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. They have tons of calcium, potassium, and magnesium, as well as plenty of electrolytes. So the fresher the better!

                                   Coconut Milk:

  • 4 Cups warm water, 2 cups unsweetened Coconut Flakes
  • Blend and strain

                     Coconut Cake & Topping!!

Usually coconut cake tends to be a little dry and dense because, the coconut flakes absorb a lot of moisture, but NOT this one! It is very rich, moist, light, and is great with a cup of milk, coffee, or my favorite tea! This recipe is so simple to make, it didn’t even need a video tutorial! I thought I should switch things up a bit as well! You may use just a whisk and bowl for this recipe, or a mixer of your choice.

  Recipe    
 Yield: 1 bundt 
                     
 Cake Ingredients:
 2 Cups Sugar
 2 Cups All-Purpose Flour 
 1 Cup Vegetable Oil                   
 1 1/2 Cup Coconut Milk  
 2 Tbs Baking Powder
 1/2 Cup Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
 1 Tsp Salt
 2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
 4 Eggs

 Topping Ingredients:
 1 Tbs Butter
 1 Tbs Coconut Oil
 3/4 Cup Sugar
 2 Tbs Cocoa Powder
 1 Cup Coconut Flakes
 1/4 Cup White Chocolate Chips
 1/4 Cup Pecans
 1 Tbs Honey or Corn syrup
 1 Tsp Cornstarch

Cake Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Grease a Bundt pan, and put aside.
  3. Whisk the coconut milk, oil, and sugar until its incorporated.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, and vanilla extract until incorporated.
  5. Add the rest of the dry ingredients, and whisk together until incorporated (Flour, salt, coconut flakes, and baking powder).
  6. Pour batter in the greased pan, and bake for 30-45 minutes. Place the cake on the middle rack! (Set a timer at 25 minutes, and check every 5 minutes after. It took my oven 35 minutes which is the average time). Check with a tooth pick, if it comes out dry its done! 
  7. Let the cake rest for 20 minutes before trying to remove from the cake pan (go around the edges with the back end of the knife to make sure the cake doesn’t rip, and stick to the pan!)

Topping Directions:

  1. Melt the coconut oil, butter, honey, sugar, cocoa powder in a sauté pan.
  2. Add the pecans, coconut flakes, and white chocolate chips until incorporated.
  3. Drizzle the cornstarch, and mix together until thick!
  4. Place the filling in the fridge for 20 minutes, until cooled down.
  5. Place the Coconut topping around the bundt cake like a ring on the top.
  6. ENJOY!!!!!!!!! EMAIL ME IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS OR ALTERATIONS YOU WOULD LIKE TO TRY!! IM HERE TO HELP!

Blueberry Cheesecake

Spring is in the Air!

A cheesecake is a perfect favor to bring to any event, or give as a gift! A cheesecake is a custard based dessert with a second layer. Usually the second layer is a crust or a crunchy layer of some sort.

Today is my Zia Ornellas birthday! One of her favorite desserts is a cheesecake. Traditionally I make cheesecake with cream cheese, and sour cream. Today I made it with ricotta and cream cheese because, there is always a reason to add a splash of Italian in a dessert, and my aunt likes it. As the crust, I used gluten free pretzels. Yes this dessert is GLUTEN FREE! The combination of salty pretzels, creamy cheesecake, and the citrus blueberry topping, will be heaven in your mouth! If there is only one thing people take from my blog, I hope its the versatility, and unimaginative things you can do with one single recipe.


     Other Renditions 

You can still use this recipe, and replace the ricotta with sour cream. If, you want a traditional graham cracker crust instead of glutenfree pretzels, that is fine as well. Finally, if you would like a different berry for the topping, like strawberries, be bold and do it! All you have to do is just swap out the ingredients, all the steps remain the same. BE CREATIVE!! LET ME JUST BE A GUIDELINE!


Since it is Spring time; and it is coming closer to summer, blueberries were the perfect choice for the topping! They come in season this time of year. If you look close to home; sometimes, there are farms you can pick them from scratch, and make a day out of it! Farm to table is always and interest for me!

Blueberry Cheesecake

Yield: 1 – ’10’ cheesecake pan
Ingredients:
Cheesecake base:
2 1/4 Lbs Philadelphia Cream Cheese
1 1/2 Cup Ricotta
2 Cup Sugar
1 Tsp Salt
1 Tbs Vanilla Extract
1 Tbs Cornstarch
5 eggs

Pretzel Crust:
2 1/2 Cup Pretzels (gluten free) 
1/4 Cup Sugar
3/4 Cup Melted Butter

Blueberry Compote:
2 Pints Blueberries
1 Cup Sugar
2 Lemon zest
1 Lemon Juice
1/3 Cup Cornstarch


Cheesecake & Crust Directions:
  1. In a bowl blend all ingredients together until smooth and creamy : cream cheese, ricotta, vanilla, eggs, sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Set Aside.
  2. Melt butter.
  3. Blend pretzels into a crumb.
  4. Mix melted butter, and ground pretzels into a crust crumble.
  5. Press into the bottom of the cheesecake pan and bake at 350° F for 10 minutes.
  6. Lower the oven to 250°F.
  7. Pour the cheesecake batter in the pan on top of the toasted crust.
  8. Make a bain marie with the cheesecake pan(fill an extra pan which is larger then the cheesecake pan half way up with water).
  9. Bake 1 hr 30 minutes – 1 hr 45 minutes. Just until the top springs back, and does not jiggle.
  10. Place in the cooler for 1 hr.
Blueberry Compote Directions:
  1. Bring to a boil the sugar, zest, juice, and blueberries.
  2. As soon as it boils and the sugar dissolves, turn off the heat.
  3. Make a slurry with the cornstarch, and blueberry liquid. Whisk together.
  4. Add the cornstarch mixture back to the pot. Bring it to a boil, until it becomes a thick compote.
  5. Let compote cool in the cooler for 1 hr.
  6. Un-mold cheesecake, and pour compote on top!
  7. Enjoy a thick slice!

 

I hope you guys like this cheesecake as much as Rachael & Chandler from friends like theirs!! I love this episode!

 

Happy Easter

                      Happy Easter!!

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Our families Easter tradition has always been to get together at my Zia Ornellas house. This year, since everyone is getting older, and having families of their own, I thought it would be a nice time, and change to do it at my place. I organized an Easter egg scavenger hunt for my niece and nephew, and hid their goody baskets for them to find.

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Most people do not know the story behind the Easter Bunny, eggs, and why we relate it to Easter. The rabbit is dedicated to the goddess of fertility, who is often categorized with a bunny. The term “to go at it like rabbits” suggests, the animals are often associated with fertility. The eggs are used as a symbol of rebirth, since Christ was reborn!

Three crosses on a hill
Three crosses on a hill

This week I choose my Carrot Cake recipe to share with everyone. It is a crowd favorite with fluffy cream cheese icing. My carrot cake is fully-loaded with textures, and flavors. I personally put coconut flakes, pineapples, walnuts, and raisins in my carrot cake. You may still use this recipe, and leave all extra additives out, if you like plain carrot cake. In life, I always say don’t knock it until you try it. So in this case, I hope you do the same!! To keep it festive, I bought a nest, mini birds, and chocolate candy eggs to put as a topper on the cake for a garnish. You can buy this for a total of $5.00 at your nearest arts & craft store.

Carrot Cake

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Carrot Cake
Yield: 2 layer 10 ” round
Cake Ingredients:

2 cups All-Purpose Flour

2 cups Sugar

4 tsp Cinnamon

2 tsp Baking Powder

1 tsp Salt

1 1/2 tsp Baking Soda

1 1/4 cup Vegetable Oil

1/4 cup Whole Milk

4 Eggs

3 cups Shredded Carrots


Optional:

1/4 cup diced pineapple

1/4 cup Shredded (unsweetened coconut)

1/2 cup Chopped Walnuts

1/4 cup Raisins

Cream Cheese Icing Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups Cream Cheese

2 cups Powder Sugar

1 qt Heavy Whipping Cream

1 Tbs Vanilla Extract

Cake Directions:
  1. Preheat oven 325 ° Fahrenheit, and spray grease a 10 ” round cake pan.
  2. In a large bowl with a whisk, whisk together the oil, milk, eggs, and sugar.
  3. Add the shredded carrots, raisins, walnuts, coconut flakes, and diced pineapple.
  4. Whisk in the dry ingredients( Flour, salt, cinnamon, baking powder, and baking soda).
  5. Pour the batter into the cake pan, and bake for 40-55 min at 325 ° Fahrenheit. Test with a tooth pick to see if it comes out dry. Rotate pan at 25 minutes.
  6. Wait 2 hours at room temperature before taking the cake out of the pan.
Cream Cheese Icing Directions:
  1. Cream together cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla extract.
  2. slowly stream in the heavy cream while mixer is on low.
  3. Mix until it turns into thick buttercream consistency.
  4. Place cream cheese icing in a piping bag with a star tip.
  5. Pipe spiral circles on each layer.
  6. Optional : Sprinkle with whatever garnish you would like on each layer.  I did coconut, and walnuts for Easter.

Easter weekend!!

 

Banana Pancakes

 Banana Pancakes Starter Kit

Whenever I make breakfast on Sundays, I honestly make a starter kit/playlist depending on what I’m doing/making. This Sunday I made Banana Pancakes. Breakfast is my favorite food, and meal surprisingly. I can have it anytime of the day. I actually kind of despise the person that invented breakfast. I mean why is it designated to a particular time?

“Make you banana pancakes..and pretend like its the weekend now”…

                                                                Jack Johnson

I know you know the words…haha

I honestly never had banana pancakes before Jack Johnson wrote a song about it. In my opinion, it is the little things in life that matter. People have their bucket lists, and I have one as well. It has all the extreme desires that everyone has like, sky diving, see the seven wonders of the world, watch the sunrise & sunset in the same day…etc. I also have a small things matter bucket list(more practical) like, learn how to use chopsticks, learn to say the alphabet backwards, make banana pancakes, while the song banana pancakes is playing by Jack Johnson…etc. I know its cheesy; but, it is completely valid, and a great way to put a smile on your face, and in your belly.

These would be great for easter weekend, breakfast/brunch, or like me, just to eat at whatever time of day!! Also it is a great way to sneak in something a bit more nutritious for yourself, or even your kids. Pancakes are also a great way to interact with your kids in the kitchen!! I use baking in the kitchen as my excuse with my niece all the time! She loves it!!

Pancake Renditions

I always try to have a healthy life style, and healthy eating habits. Every chance I get I like to implement healthier options, without loosing the great flavor of the traditional cravings we have! In this recipe, if you would like to substitute the sugar with honey completely you may(Just use 1/4-1/2 cup milk since honey is in a liquid form, you do not want the batter to be too loose). If you would like to substitute the All-purpose Flour, for Whole Wheat Flour, or a Gluten free option (almond flour, bean flour, etc..) you may as well. I personally do not like milk, so I make it with almond milk. Almond milk is healthier then regular milk, but you may use regular milk as well. People do not know this, but the way to make your pancakes fluffy is melted butter in the batter. I left it out, because I wanted a healthier substitute. If you would like to add 2 tbs melted butter to the recipe you may for a fluffier outcome.

Fluffy Banana Pancakes

Yield: 2 soft ball sized pancakes (4 sand dollar size)

Ingredients:

1 cup All-Purpose Flour

1 Tsp Baking powder

1/4 Tsp Cinnamon

1/2 Tsp Salt

1/4 cup Sugar

1/4 cup Oats

1/2 cup Almond Milk (or Regular Milk)

1 Egg

1 Tsp Honey

1 Tsp Vanilla Extract

1 Sliced Banana


Optional:

2 Tbs Melted Butter

Garnish:

1 Sliced Banana

1/4 cup Chopped Toasted Pecans

Maple Syrup

Directions:

  1. Scale all the ingredients in a bowl, but the milk and sliced banana(flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, egg, oats, vanilla, honey).
  2. Stream in milk (and melted butter if you choose to do this option) and whisk together. It should be a thick batter but not to thick. It should be something between a cake batter, and brownie batter consistency. Fold in the sliced banana.
  3. Grease a pan with a napkin dipped in oil or melted butter(you may use a spray can of oil like pam). You just want enough to not let the pancakes stick. If you put too much oil you will end up frying the pancake. That is not the texture you want, look, or color you want on your pancake. Cook on medium heat.
  4. Stack them up with a smile!! Pour some maple syrup, and the garnish of your choice all over it!!!!!

                          Eat. Sing. Dance. Smile while eating these pancakes!!!

Italian Crostata

An Italian crostata is probably one of my favorite desserts of ALL TIME! It is an Italian baked tart with fruit jam. You can change the filling to your preference. My personal favorite fillings are, apricot and blackberry preserves(with fresh sliced fruit). Since apricots are closer to their season, I decided to go with apricot preserves.  A fan favorite for sure, it is the perfect combination between something buttery & salty, and something sweet.

The traditional crostata has a rustic look, if you would like to present it with a lace top (like a pie) you may as well. Here are different ways, it can be executed. Please email me if you have any questions about making any rendition of a crostata.

 Apricot Crostata

INGREDIENTS:

CRUST:

 3 cups All-purpose flour

1 Tsp Salt

1/2 cup Sugar

1/2 Tsp Baking powder

2 Sticks Butter (cold & cubed)

4 Egg yolks

2 Tsp Water

1 Tsp Vanilla extract


Egg wash:

1 Egg + 1 Tsp water


Filling:

1 jar Apricot jam

(optional: 1-2 fresh apricots to slice on top)

Directions:

  1. Pre heat oven to 375° F.
  2. Creaming method: Place butter and sugar in a mixing bowl with a paddle attachment. Cream together and scape the sides of the bowl.
  3. Add the yolks and vanilla. Cream together until smooth (scrape the sides again).
  4. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix until incorporated.
  5. Add 2 Tsp of water (you may have to add an additional sprinkle of water, if the dough needs a little more help to incorporate).
  6. Incorporate into a dough, and roll it into a log in parchment paper.
  7. Put the dough in the freezer for 5 minutes.
  8. Grease a tart pan (you may use a sheet pan if you are doing a rustic version)
  9. Roll the dough to 1/2 – 1 centimeter thick.
  10. Fill the center with the apricot jam filling, and sliced apricots on top.
  11. Fold the outside towards the center.
  12. Brush the tart with the egg wash.
  13. Place on the middle rack and bake for 25 minutes. Rotate pan and bake for 10 minutes (for a darker golden-brown color, put the tart on the top rack for the last 10 minutes).
  14. Let the tart rest for 20 minutes before cutting into it. Enjoy!!!

The crostata can be served either warm or cold, with a cup of tea or coffee. You can always bring it as a great favor/gift to a dinner, or any event! If you want to make the jam from scratch as well, please email me, and I can walk you through that as well!!!

BAKE SOMEONES DAY!



Flaxseed & Honey Oat Banana Bread

    Orange you glad I didn’t say BANANA

Everyone constantly has extra bananas around the house, or ones that have spotted a little too far to eat. DO NOT THROW THEM AWAY! I end up making either a shake or this delicious and MOIST BANANA BREAD. I wanted to make a healthier version of my regular banana bread, but without sacrificing the great moist texture, and great flavor you get when eating banana bread. This is the recipe I came up with. It is not a complete paleo health nut option (which if interested I can make please just message me), but it meets somewhere in the middle. It is the most simple, not time consuming, and convenient recipe to make. This recipe will all be done in a blender, yes I said blender( if you don’t have one, you can hand mix as well).

The changes I made to it were:

  • Substituting some Honey for some of the sugar (helps with moisture as well),
  • I added old- fashion oats, and & flaxseeds.
  • I Substituted some All- purpose flour for Whole Wheat Flour(If you would like to try a gluten free option with almond flour, it is possible! Just message me and ill walk you through it!)

Benefits of Healthier Alternatives

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FLAXSEED BENEFITS: Healthier skin & hair, high in fiber but, low in carbs, full of antioxidants, they are gluten free, lower cholesterol and are full of omega 3 fatty acids.
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BENEFITS OF HONEY: Most important it is great with your cup of tea!!! Helps with allergies, it is an energy & memory booster, and it helps with sleeping,
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BENEFITS OF WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR: Higher in vitamins then white flour, it is higher in fiber, and helps with the digestion process for blood sugar.
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BENEFITS OF BANANAS: Of course they have potassium, help with heart burn, ulcers, anemia, constipation, high blood pressure, and depression.

BANANA BREAD 

YIELD: 1 Loaf pan

INGREDIENTS:

3-4 Ripe Bananas

1 Cup Sugar

1/4 Cup Honey

1 1/4 Sticks Butter

2 tsp Baking Soda

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

1/2 Tsp Salt

1/2 Tsp Cinnamon

2 Eggs

1/2 cup All-purpose Flour

1/2 cup Whole Wheat Flour

3 Tbs Flaxseed (in the batter) & 1 Tbs Flaxseed (to sprinkle on top)

1 Tbs Old- Fashion Oats (to sprinkle on top)

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350° F.
  2. Grease and flour your loaf pan, and put it aside.
  3. In your blender add all your wet ingredients: sugar, honey, bananas, eggs and melted butter(if you do not have a blender, you can still do the same process in a bowl, with a whisk or hand mixer don’t worry!!).
  4. Blend until it is incorporated and smooth ( you might need to scrape the sides down to help the blender).
  5. Add the dry ingredients: Both Flours, cinnamon, baking soda, salt.
  6. Blend on high until well incorporated (You may need to scrape the sides down again to help the blender).
  7. Hand fold in the flaxseeds (I like the texture of the whole seed in the batter, if you prefer them blended you may do that too).
  8. Pour the batter in the load pan.
  9. Sprinkle the flaxseeds and oats on top of the batter.
  10. Bake on the middle rack at 350° F for 30-40 minutes. Rotate the pan at 20 minutes of baking(If your oven is really strong and your bread is darkening to quick, lower your oven to 325°F for the last 10-15 minutes). Test with a toothpick, when it comes out clean it is ready!
  11. Let banana bread sit for 30 minutes before cutting and serving.

Enjoy your your moist Banana Bread as a snack or as a gift!!

Macarons & Caramia

Happy 5th Birthday Caramia

             I always like to bring tasty treats to our family events. For my nieces birthday she had a Rapunzel themed party! I made Pink Raspberry Jam filled Macarons that were a hit! People tend to shy away from Macarons, because of how complex of a cookie they are. But don’t feel over-whelmed, I will walk you through it!

               You can change the color, and filling to your desire or occasion! This is also a great gluten free option dessert! The shell (cookie) of the macaron stays the same. The filling and color are what distinguish the type of macaron. They can be filled with different kinds of fillings like: ganache, buttercream or jam. A macaron is a sweet meringue-based cookie made with egg white, powder sugar, granulated sugar, almond Flour, and food coloring.  The name actually derives from the Italian word macarone; it means, “the meringue”.

Raspberry Macarons

Yield: 30 (quarter size) Macarons

Ingredients:

1 cup + 1 tbs Almond Flour

1 cup + 1 tbs powder sugar

1/3 cup + 1 tbs egg whites

__________________________________

1/4 tsp red food coloring

1 cup + 1 tbs granulated sugar

1/4 cup water

__________________________________

1/2 cup + 1 tbs of egg whites

__________________________________

1 jar raspberry preserves

Directions:

       Note: hand mixer, or stationary mixer both work great.

  1. Pre heat oven to 255 ° F.
  2. Scale the almond flour, powder sugar, and the egg whites together to form a paste in a large bowl.
  3. In a separate mixing bowl, scale the second amount of egg whites.
  4. Put the red food coloring, granulated sugar, and water into a pot, and boil to 220 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. When the temperature almost gets to 220° F, start to whip the egg whites to a soft peak.
  6. When the sugar gets to 220° F , turn the mixer on low, and stream in the hot liquid. Stream the syurp slow and steady on the outer edge of the bowl (this will prevent the sugar from splashing anywhere).
  7. After all the syrup is streamed in and incorporated, put the mixer on high. Mix on high until the bottom of the bowl is cool (This will take about 5-7 minutes on high speed).
  8. Fold the meringue mixture in with the almond paste mixture we made first.
  9. Fold together until the batter separates when trailing a spatula through it, but make sure it comes back together and flat. This is the part that needs a lot of attention to detail. Be careful not to over mix, you do not want the macarons to spread too much, and loose the air we whipped in it with the egg whites. You also want to watch on under mixing them. If the batter is too thick, it will crack when baking them.
  10. Place in a piping bag with a round tip, and pipe quarter size circles (they can be piped 1 cm apart from each other. They do not spread as much.)
  11. After all the batter is piped, bang the sheet tray flat on the counter to get any air bubbles out, and to get the spreading of the cookie out of the way.
  12. LEAVE TRAYS OUT FOR 10 MINUTES IN A NON HUMID AREA. The macaroons need to form a skin and dry out. The batter should not stick to your finger when you touch the top of the cookie (leave the cookie 5 more minutes if still wet).
  13. Bake for 11 minutes, rotate pan bake 4 more minutes. (Gently shake the tops of the cookie; if they shake, add an addition 2-3 minutes. Check after every additional minute). You want the cookie to just be completely dry on the outside, so when they cool down you can pick them up from the tray without ruining the bottom layer.
  14. Let cool for 20 minutes.
  15. Fill cookies with delicious filling! (They have a shelf life when filled for about a day or two without getting soggy. You can save the shells in the freezer, and just fill them for each gathering or event you go to!!)

Enjoy!!!! People are always happiest around food and family…

Tea Time

“Sereni·tea “

“n. The absence of stress while drinking tea”

I have never been a coffee drinker; so I guess me and tea, were just meant to be! I love baking a variety of cookies that are perfect for tea time, or to bring as a favor to any event. The shortbread cookie with jam is a traditional tea cookie. Tea Biscuits were developed in the 17th century in Yorkshire, England for the upper classes as a light snack between full-course meals.

Lets spruce it up a bit, shall we? I tried to create a cookie that would be a great balance between a traditional tea biscuit, and something that would still fulfill all my sweet and yummy cravings! You can change the filling to your particular craving or preference if you would like. I have done this same cookie dough and concept with any toasted nut & cinnamon sugar, nutella, vanilla custard, or any marmalade/jam filling.

This buttery and flakey shortbread cookie, with fig marmalade & toasted almonds will hit the spot! The combination is perfect with a warm cup of tea, and a great book!

Shortbread Cookies with Fig Marmalade & Toasted Almonds

DIRECTIONS:

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Enjoy, If you have any questions please feel free to ask. Thank you, see you next week..

Baker Vibes – Weekly Vibes

For my first post, I would like to take it back to the very beginning… #throwback #Italian

For as long as I can remember, I have been in the kitchen. My family you can say was very traditional, and old-fashioned. The women stayed home , and men were the bread winners type thing (no point intended ha-ha). I am grateful for this, because it is what first started my love and passion for Baking. My heritage is Italian so naturally, when baking with my mother and grandmother, all the recipes were from their hometowns in Italy. A very popular bread My Nonna (grandmother in Italian) made was focaccia. All my family members and neighbors lined up at the door when she made this. Learning how to actually  make it was a surprise to me, because my grandmother never measured anything.  When I got old enough to make it with her; she would walk me through each step, and I would interpret my own measurements with what I saw her doing by eye. Today I can now call it a Pietrantonio Original.

Nonna’s Focaccia

Yield: 1/2 sheet pan

Prep time: 4 hrs

Cook time:45 minutes

Ingredients:

Dough: 8 cups All-purpose flour

2 Tbs salt

2 Tbs instant yeast

1 Tbs sugar

3-4 cups Warm potato water

1 Tbs oil

1/2 potato

Tuscan Topping: 1 Pint Cherry Tomatoes

I tsp Salt

1 tsp Black pepper

1 tsp fresh Copped Thyme

1 Tbs fresh Chopped Parsley

1 Tbs Fresh Chopped Rosemary

1 Tbs Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup Olive Oil

Directions:  Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty, this one will be kneaded by hand until all the ingredients are well incorporated.

  1.  Boil 1 Idaho potato in 5 cups of water (leaving the skin on the potato will help prevent it from getting water locked). Boil the potato on high for approximately  12-15 min, or until you can stick a fork inside, and it slides right out. Let the potato cool down for 1 hr, and reserve potato water in the fridge.
  2. Mix the flour, yeast, salt, sugar, and mashed potato together till well incorporated.
  3. Slowly stream 1 cup of water at a time, and mix it untill its incorporated (the dough should be very wet).

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Dough should be wet and sticky.
4. Drizzle 1 Tbs of olive oil on top. Cover with plastic untill it doubles in size (approximately 3 hours).

5. Grease a half sheet tray with oil, and line it with parchment paper. Place and spread the dough in the Half sheet tray. With your fingertips, poke and jab the dough a couple times sporadically. Let proof for 45min-1 hour.

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Dont over poke it, you do not want to deflate it.
6. Place Tuscan blend on top of the dough. Make sure not to weigh the focaccia down with too much topping. Just put enough to cover it evenly, and sprinkle one last pinch of salt (If you have maldon salt to sprinkle on top thats a great addition).

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Make sure there is enough oil to make it golden brown! Also you can change the topping for different events and seasons!! I have even done it with caramilzed onions and sliced potatoes!!
7. Bake at 375 degrees for 40-55 minutes. Rotate pan at 25 mintes.

8.  Let the focaccia rest for 20 minutes before cutting into it! Congratulations you did it!!

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Nonnas Focaccia. Great alone, or as Sandwich bread!