Flowery and Buttery Goodness

If you don’t like lavender or don’t have access to food grade lavender, omit it. 

Pulverize 2 teaspoons dried lavender (with a mortar and pestle, blender, or food processor). Cream this together with 1/2 cup butter and 1 cup granulated sugar. Mix in 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract and 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour. Shape this into a ball and let sit in the fridge for at least an hour. Chilling the dough keeps it from spreading when it bakes and makes this a great cookie to use a cookie cutter with.

After the dough has chilled, roll out to about 1/4″. Cut out your desired shapes. You don’t need to leave much room on a cookie sheet between them. Cook about 25 minutes at 350 degrees. Let cool so they get crunchy.

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Sparkling Cider Muffins

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For a variety of reasons, we open a bottle of Martinelli’s each holiday we host. The thing is, we never finish a bottle of it. This recipe uses up some of the leftover and some pureed pumpkin (for when I don’t use the whole can making puppy treats for Gibbs and Nugget).

Combine 1/2 cup oat flour, 1 cup all purpose flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons cardamom, 1 teaspoon ginger, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 1/2 cups sugar, 3/4 cup pumpkin puree, 2 eggs, 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 1/3 cup sparkling cider and 1/4 cup olive oil.

Pour into lined mini or full sized muffin tins. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes and check for doneness. The full-sized may take an extra minute or two.

When still hot, sprinkle with a 1:1 sugar:cinnamon mix.

If you’d like to eat them my favorite way, eat them while a bit warm still and reading a good book.

 

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Pudding Pie

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A word of caution: this is not a pie that you can throw together at the last minute. This is a pie that needs to be refrigerated for at least 24 hours. Sometimes longer. I recommend making this with the chocolate animal cracker pie crust, but the shortbread crust is a good option, too.

 

Combine 1 1/2 cups sugar, 1/4 cup cornstarch, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 3 cups whole milk, and 4 egg yolks in a medium saucepan. Whisk together. Whisk over medium heat until it just barely comes to a boil and starts to get thick. For me this takes about 15 minutes because I don’t want to curdle anything and I keep it over medium-low heat if we’re being honest. First you want it to coat the back of your spoon. This means that when you lift a spoon, you can wipe your finger in the sauce and leave your finger trail. Keep stirring until it’s thick like pudding.

Remove from heat. Add 6.5 ounces (1 bar) bittersweet baking chocolate, chopped roughly, and 1 tablespoon vanilla extract. Add a 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and a 1/4 teaspoon chili powder if you want it to have a bit more flair. Add 2 tablespoons unsalted butter. Stir until it’s all melted together. Pour into your pie crust. No need to bake it. Pour any excess into a pudding container of your choice.

Let your pie come to room temperature, then move it to your fridge to sit, uncovered, for at least 24 hours. 36 hours seems to be a sweet spot.

 

 

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Animal Cracker Pie Crust

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In a food processor, crush approximately 2 cups of chocolate animal crackers (or other wafer cookie) until it forms fine crumbs. Measure 1 1/2 cups of these crumbs into a mixing bowl. Slowly stream in 6 tablespoons of butter, melted and cooled.

Press into a pie plate and really smash it all together. The more compact you can make it, the easier it is to serve intact later.

Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes.

 

Let cool completely before filling with pie filling of your choice.

 

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Dutch Oven Pancakes: Pannekoeken

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This recipe comes from my husband’s family, and was relayed to me recently using non-measuring terms. Graham held up his hands about an inch and a half apart and told me we used that much sugar. Don’t worry, I have actual measurements for you.

Whisk together 3 eggs, 1 tablespoon sugar, a pinch of kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup almond milk. When thoroughly combined, spread a light layer in the bottom of two greased cast iron skillets or 9×9 glass pans. Or find a plethora of tiny cast iron skillets or spring form pans. Swirl around so the dough climbs the walls of your pans a bit, which will encourage it to grow when you bake it.

Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

When removed from the oven, spread a generous amount of Greek yogurt over the surface of the pancake, then mix in brown sugar until the sugar has dissolved into the yogurt. This ends up being pretty sweet, so you likely won’t need syrup. Top with fresh fruits of your choice and dig in!

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Orange, Earl Grey, and Matcha

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Madeleines are cookies that most folks find impressive but are secretly really easy to make. They are also among my favorite cookies. Of these three recipes, the orange are my favorite!

Preheat oven to 375.

With a mixer, beat together one egg, 2 teaspoons milk, 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon powdered sugar, and a pinch of salt.

Add 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon flour and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder. Combine thoroughly.

Add 4 tablespoons melted but cooled butter, and whip until thick ribbons are formed by your batter.

For orange: mix in the zest of one orange. For Earl Grey: mix in two teaspoons of Earl Grey tea and the zest of one lemon. For matcha: mix in two teaspoons of matcha powder.

Fill each madeleine mold 2/3 full. Bake approximately 11 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. When cooled, dust with powdered sugar if you feel so inclined. The matcha always end up more pillowy than the others for me, just fair warning.

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