Dec 22 2012

chocolate nutella cookies

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Who doesn’t love nutella? I mean really, is there anyone out there that doesn’t love this rich hazelnut and chocolate spread? Hazelnuts and chocolate make for a perfect combo and that’s no exception in this drool-worthy cookie from America’s Test Kitchen.

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I love baking with hazelnuts, but I have to be honest – I am less fond of going through the process of removing the skins. It’s not that roasting them and cleaning them off with kitchen towels is that hard, it’s that the perfectionist in me comes out and I get frustrated when I can’t remove every bit of skin. That’s why I was so thrilled to get these roasted unsalted hazelnuts from Oh Nuts that have all of the skin completely removed! It saves a whole step and I can completely get behind that, especially in the busy holiday cookie time of year!

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Dec 19 2012

chocolate fluff cookies

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I’ve got a few different cookie recipes to share with you for the holiday season, and I figured I may as well start with my favorite so that you don’t have any excuse not to make them. These chocolate fluff cookies come from the same recipe booklet from America’s Test Kitchen as the much-loved chocolate turtle cookies from last year. I’ve been wanting desperately to make them ever since I got the booklet a year ago. How I’ve resisted that gooey, fluffy chocolate covered center this long is a mystery.

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And you would never guess it, but these are actually ridiculously easy to make. The most complicated part of the entire process was clearing out enough space in my freezer to lay a cookie tray in there that would lay perfectly flat. Who has that kind of room in their freezer? Are we the only ones that keep our freezer stocked with everything from leftovers, frozen peas and corn, veggie burgers, the remains of a can of chipotle peppers, nuts, coffee, and backup frozen meals from Trader Joe’s for those days when we only have 15 minutes to prepare and eat a meal before heading out the door? Surely we’re not the only ones. We had to load our cooler up in order to make room, but there was never a doubt in my mind that it would be worth it.

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Nov 19 2012

the ultimate pumpkin pie

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Dare I say it? I don’t like pumpkin pie. So un-American, right? People who know me are always shocked. I love all things pumpkin! I love chocolate chip pumpkin cookies, pumpkin bundt cake, and especially pumpkin cinnamon roll pancakes. But pumpkin pie? Not so much. That is, not so much until I had my first bite of pumpkin pie from this Cook’s Illustrated recipe at last year’s Thanksgiving.

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I guess what I don’t like about most pumpkin pie is that it just comes across as mushy and kind of bland. There’s just not enough going on for me. This pumpkin pie, on the other hand, has all the right things going on. The flavor is deep, warm, and full of pumpkin and the texture more silky than mushy. And it’s not just for the pumpkin pie averse. My sister – a huge pumpkin pie fan – loves this recipe as much as I do. What makes it so superior from other recipes? Well, it starts with cooking the canned pumpkin. But I’ve done that before and it didn’t really do that much for me. The real secret to this recipe lies in a can of candied yams. Yup, there’s not only a full can of pumpkin puree in this recipe, there’s a whole can of candied yams! No wonder it’s so spectacular!

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Oct 30 2012

apple cinnamon bread

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 It’s that time of year: apple season. One of my all-time favorite times of the year. I’ve talked before about my love of apple season and even Apple Day, a day devoted entirely to devouring tasty meals made from apples. This apple bread was my first foray into apple cooking this fall and it is worthy of repeat performances. Many repeat performances.

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I was frankly shocked at how quickly we devoured this loaf of apple cinnamon bread. It’s one of those quick breads that you make for breakfast and then decide to have some for dessert. After every meal.

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