Toffee Cookies

Well, I’ve made another batch of flat cookies… 

It seems like I’ll be making flat cookies forever, but yet, I keep trying! I’ve been wanting to make these toffee cookies for over a week now but things have been popping up left and right. I haven’t had time to bake at all!

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To be quite honest with you, I used the recipe on the back of the bag of toffee. I only had 30 minutes and wanted to get something easy and tasty out.

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I mixed the sugars, vanilla, butter, and eventually the eggs together in the stand mixer. I realized halfway through that I should have switched the paddle attachment but it worked well enough.

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I then combined the flour and other dry ingredients together and slowly added them to the sugar mixture. The toffee bits were added last and stirred together.

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I scooped the dough onto the cookie sheet and put them into the oven for 10 minutes.

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The most anticipated moment for me with cookies is taken them out of the oven. I would say, “you never know what you’re gunna get”, but I generally do know what I’m going to get. Flatness… and that is indeed what I got.

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Straight out of the oven they were actually puffy but as soon as the tray touched the counter they went POOF and collapsed.

Nevertheless, the cookies tasted really good. Once they had cooled they were crispy around the edges and chewy in the center, which was great, so maybe my thing is chewy, thin cookies!

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Hope everyone has a great start to their week!

Sweetly,

Simona

Blackberry Blondies

I did some weekend baking!

On Saturday night we had plans to go “all the way” to Oakland for our friend’s birthday. This meant leaving the pooch for probably too many hours than is good for her so we asked Ward’s parents if they could stop by and give her some love. In return, I baked blackberry blondies!

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I started by mixing the melted butter with sugar and then added the flour to that to create the batter.

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I carefully mixed in the whole blackberries and then placed the berry batter into the greased pan. I still don’t have an 8×8 pan which so many of these recipes call for so I made these in a cake tin.

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I placed it in the oven for 35 minutes and waited for it to brown.

It smelled really good and when I took it out of the oven, it had risen and turned to a nice, golden brown and was perfectly cooked after 35 minutes!

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I let it cool (for a long time this time – I’m getting better at this patience thing) and then cut into it. I really liked how full of blackberries they were. They were juicy, sweet and had a nice crunch at the top. They did, however, remind me a lot of the Berry Butter Bars that I make. That’s not a bad thing, but I might try to change this recipe up if I made it again or add something like cinnamon to make them more different.

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Sweetly,

Simona

Raspberry Angel Food Cake

Ahh, raspberries!

Ward gave me the nice surprise of filling our fridge with all kinds of fruits recently with the sole request that I bake something good. Wanting to again use my new stand mixer, I decided to try my hand at angel food cake.

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I have always loved how light angel food cake is and that was my main worry in making my own.

The recipe required that I sift the flour and powdered sugar three times. Of course, during this process, I got distracted and mixed the granulated sugar with the flour instead of powdered sugar (ahg!) so I had to start the process over.

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When that was done, I made the egg mixture in the stand mixer. This part basically entailed making a sort of meringue. I mixed it (with such ease, now that I have the KitchenAid) until it formed stiff peaks.

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I then added the powdered sugar and flour mix to this in batches and mixed it together with a spatula.

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I let the batter mixture sit and smashed a cup of the raspberries through a sieve to make sure no seeds went through. The recipe only called for 1/4 a cup of raspberry juice but that felt like way too little so I made as much as I could before getting bored of smashing.

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I began to (messily) add the batter to the  pan. The recipe said to add the raspberry on top of the first layer of batter and to only put it towards the center. It was so little raspberry that I decided to add more and use up all the raspberry “juice” I had.

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I popped it in the oven and hoped for the best!

Much to my pleasant surprise, it came out golden brown and was bouncy to the touch!

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The one thing I would change next time would be to make WAY more raspberry sauce and to keep adding it as I built the layers in the cake. You could only see and taste a tiny bit of raspberry at the very bottom and not every slice had it. I’m not sure why the recipe said that it had to stay towards the center. Next time: more, more more!

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It tasted just like any angel food cake you’d buy at the store or bakery and I was so proud of it! I will definitely be making more variations of this in the future!

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Sweetly,

Simona

Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie

We celebrated multiple birthdays this weekend!

So, I made a strawberry-rhubarb pie for the occasion. I made the dough a night in advance and the filling and baking the morning of the party. My main goal in making this pie (other than making it delicious) was to have a thin and flaky crust.

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I rolled out the bottom dough and made the filling with rhubarb, strawberries, brown and white sugar, cinnamon, and cornstarch.

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I could tell at this point already that my crust was thin – yay!

I rolled out the second dough to make the lattice top strips.

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My lattice strips were also thin, which was a good thing, but some of them broke apart. I still have to work on the aesthetics of my pies that have lattice tops. It’s hard!

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I put a milk wash on the pie and popped it into the oven. The kitchen started to smell sooo good and an hour and a half later, the pie was ready!

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It was a great addition to the other beautiful cakes we had for the party.

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I was so happy to hear from everyone at the party that the pie was delicious! My mom and Gino (who have tried many of my other pies) even said it was my best one yet! The crust was very thin and flaky and the filling was perfect! Frances, who’s favorite pie is strawberry-rhubarb, said that the strawberry/rhubarb ratio was just right as well. Woohoo!

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Happy Birthday to the summer babies!

Sweetly,

Simona

NY Style Raspberry Cheesecake

Love is in the air!

Over the weekend, Ward & I celebrated our 6 year anniversary! Six years!

We had discussed potential gifts and gave each other a few options to choose from. Ward had settled on getting me a new pair of sunglasses and so I went to try different pairs on at the store. To my huge surprise, on our anniversary I was handed a big box and when I unwrapped it I saw…. a KitchenAid Stand Mixer!!! He completely surprised me and I was so, so happy!

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Isn’t she beauuuutifuuulll? Love it SO much!

Anyway, I chose a recipe that required a stand mixer to try out right away. It also happened to be a recipe that my stepdad, Gino, had sent me a while ago.

I prepped the crust ingredients and placed it into the pie pan. By the way, did you know how many different kinds of graham crackers they sell now? Honey, vanilla, chocolate… wow!

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I placed the cake crust in the oven for 15 minutes. In the meantime, I mixed the cream cheese, sour cream, eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla beans in the stand mixer.

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When the cream cheese filling was done, I cooked up the raspberry sauce.

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I poured the cream cheese mixture into the partially baked cake crust. It turned out that the recipe made way too much so I had a lot left over. I then poured the raspberry sauce in and mixed it around with a knife to create a nice swirl.

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The recipe required that I place the pie pan in a bigger baking pan and to fill the baking pan with water so that it reached halfway up the pie pan. I HATE doing this in baking. The water always spills, it’s always so heavy, and it’s just plain stressful.

I didn’t have a baking pan wide enough for this so I ended up placing it into a large casserole pan.

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It baked for an hour and then I covered it loosely with tin foil to bake for another 45 minutes. By the time it came out of the oven, it was dark out, so excuse the poorly lit photo.

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It had to sit overnight in the fridge so, even though I wanted to take a bite, I left it alone.

The next morning when I pulled it out of the fridge, it had completely set. I was a little bummed to see that it had cracked in a couple spots but it still looked pretty good.

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When I finally cut into it, it was pretty crumbly but it tasted really good! The graham cracker bottom was sweet and a perfect compliment to the berry and lemon cheesecake mixture. I usually think cheesecakes are very rich but this one seemed light and refreshing to me and all in all was pretty easy to make!

Sweetly,

Simona