birthday | checkerboard pâte sablée

checkerboard pâte sablée

it snowed for the first time on saturday.
we finally turned on our heat,
over-bundling of winter layers wasn’t cutting it.
life has been specially sweet lately,
and i am grateful.
forty looks good,
and i am reminded,
often,
that though the days blur sometimes,
that there’s more disappointment than
enough fingers to count them,
it can be balanced with kindness,
thoughtful friends,
mindfulness,
and
cookies.

thanks for visiting, friends. ❤

checkerboard pâte sablée

Checkerboard Pâte Sablée
adapted from baking obsession, sadly now defunct, with slight improvement from previous attempts at assembly and photography

Makes about 8 dozens

5 1/3 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
4 sticks of butter, at room temperature (i use green valley organics)
2 cups sugar
1 TBL vanilla extract
2 large eggs
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

sift dried ingredients in bowl. set aside.

in a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light + fluffy. beat in eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla extract. add in the flour mixture and combine.

divide the dough in half.

in the mixing bowl mix the cocoa powder in.

last, divide both halves into half again. you’re going to end up with 4 quarters: 2 vanillas and 2 chocolates. wrap individually in plastic and fridge for up to a day.

when ready, take 2 quarters of different flavors out & allow to soften for about 15-20 minutes. btwn parchment papers roll out a quarter dough into 1/2″ thick rectangles, measuring 12×5″. repeat for other quarter.

using some sharp object, knife, dough scraper (preferred tool) or pizza cutter, cut out a nine 1/2″ wide stripes.

being gentle, but not precious about it, form two checkerboard logs switching btwn the chocolate and vanilla strips. press gently so that the strips will adhere to each other, try not to smooch them. you’re aiming for cubed logs, roll the logs from side to size for sharp, right angle quarters. good luck with that. wrap in plastic wrap and fridge, until firm. (*note: logs can be frozen at this point, as long as well wrapped).

repeat with remaining two quarter doughs.

when ready, preheat oven 350F.

prepare baking sheet with parchment paper (very important!)

using a sharp knife, slice the logs into 1/4″ thick slices. place on prepared baking sheet, but leave about an inch space btwn cookies.

bake for about 12 minutes, don’t go more than that though, cus you want the color contrasts to be pronounced. as the cookie cools, it will firm up. cool on baking sheet for about 10 minutes then transfer on wire rack. if you don’t parchment your baking sheet, don’t let the cookies cool directly on the pan, cus you’ll be scraping that shit off.

will keep, well wrapped, in fridge for awhiles. in fact, i had it on the counter, not so very well wrapped for a week and they were fine.

BAM!

checkerboard pâte sablée

4 years ago: peppermint chocolate ice cream
3 years ago: gingerbread cake
2 years ago: chocolate espresso dacquoise
1 year ago: kefir biscuits

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mint chocolate chip cookies – NY Times style

Homemade Mint Chocolate Chips

similar to banana bread,
we all have our go-to favorite recipe,
(this is mine, in case you were wondering)
chocolate chip cookies have different iterations,
most of which i’m willing to try,
(tahini based, with soy sauce, with ginger & molasses, & gluten free.)
but i always fall back to the famous NY Times one.
dw requested it this year for his birthday,
and because i always add mint to his bday treats,
i made the chocolate chips minty.

his birthday is early in the month,
but i am incapable of not celebrating him everyday.
happy birthday sweet dw,
i am your Ride or Die,
forevermore.

Mint-Chocolate Chip Cookies

mint chocolate chip cookies – NY Times style
adapted from the NY Times

refer to the link for the method of the cookies themselves, i didn’t alter that part. my changes are that i used bread flour & spelt flour, as well green valley’s lactose free butter.

for the minty chocolate chips:

1 1/4 lb chocolate, if in bar form rough chop, or use chips
1 very generous TBL mint extract

using the double boiler method, melt the chocolate over boiling water. stir continuously, you’re aiming for a glossy sheen. add in the tablespoon of mint extract, i may have added a little over. mix to incorporate thoroughly.

remove from heat.

at this point, you can either spread the chocolate out on a piece of parchment paper and allow to cool. when completely cooled, break into small pieces.

or you can be fancy and make chips. allow the mixture to cool a little before handling. carefully pour into piping bag. i let it cool in order to be able to handle the piping without burning my hand. when ready, snip the end of the bag and carefully dollop a small chip amount on parchment paper, continuing until you’ve used up all the chocolate or you get annoyed and make the bar form.

allow to cool through before handling.

use as you would any other chips.

BAM!

Mint-Chocolate Chip Cookies

previous dw chocolate + mint confections:
minty milano cookies – 2016
peppermint kisses – 2015 (not officially blogged  but use this recipe for reference)
coconut peppermint patties – 2014
homemade thin mints – 2013
mint chocolate cake – 2012

where the wild things are smash cake

Where the Wild Things Are Cake

following in the same thread
as last post’s boxed confection,
i recently created a small cake
for a small bae
with a wild streak.
a smash cake was reqested
and since i figured it was going to be,
well, smashed to smithereens,
i went boxed, again.
but since it’s for a most beloved child,
we did go organic.
i still have standards y’all.

the theme was
Where the Wild Things Are,
a book i vaguely remember.
i doubt NT will recall this occasion,
though there were plenty of pictures that captured it.
in any case,
it was so easy to put together,
though you’da thunk i slaved over it
by the reactions of everyone in attendance of the party.
that’s winning at adulting,
if there were such a thing.

Where the Wild Things Are Cake

Where the Wild Things Are Smash Cake
makes 1 2 layered 6″ cake

1 box of cake mix, i used Immaculate Yellow Cake Mix
1 can of frosting, i used Wholesome Chocolate frosting
half bag of chocolate chips, a brand i like is enjoy life
1 tube of pre-made pie crust, i used immaculate ready to bake pie crust

bake the cake as per box instructions. for 6″ i baked for 35 minutes. it did dome a smidge, so it had to be leveled.

for the crown: on a lightly floured counter top, lay out the crust layer. with the mind set of an heir and a spare, i made 2 crowns. i measured out 2 10″ wide rectangles. i’m bad at math and space, so one of the crowns was taller, while the other was stubby. just make a chevron/jagged crown. using either the upside of a muffin or popover tin, wrap the crown around the base. for shininess and some color, do an egg wash. bake for 12 minutes, until gold brown. hopefully 1 of the 2 will come out. in my case, the heir died and i had to use the stubby spare. set aside, be careful, try not to break it.

for the textured bark: you can either melt the chocolate in the microwave or double boiler style. when the chocolate is fully melted, spread it into a rectangle on parchment paper, you want it as thin as possible, so use an off-set spatula. carefully fold the parchment paper into a roll and fridge it until set.

to assemble: lay the first cake layer on a plate or whatever you’re gonna serve the cake on. pipe in a layer of frosting, spread and then top with 2nd layer of cake. crumb coat it. it does not need to be perfect. you do want to make the top be as smooth as possible though, the sides can be bare minimum though. when ready, take the role of schmeared chocolate out and crack it. unroll the paper, you should have varied sized shards of chocolate. adhere them to the sides of the cake, you may need to dab on some frosting to get it to stick. again, it does not need to be perfect, just think of what a tree stump looks like. when the sides are sufficiently covered, re-melt the remaining chocolate shards and with a pastry brush, dab on the chocolate to the the cracks and fill in blank spots. you’re aiming for something rustic.

fridge it. take out about 30 minutes prior to smashing. top with the crown.

BAM!

Where the Wild Things Are Cake

3 years ago: tofu gyoza – vegan
2 years ago: peach ginger scones – vegan
1 year ago: summer salsa – vegan

nile + smash cake

minty milano cookies

Minty Milano Cookies

i woke up super early saturday morning,
mainly in part in preparation of Daylight Savings Time
but also because i was playing catch up.
the weeks have been quick to pass,
soon the tulips will make an appearance,
if they haven’t already,
and spring will be here.
march is a good month,
a month i overlooked in favor
of warmer times.
but now i see that it’s worthy,
if not for the noted arrival of printemps
then for the special marked day of dw’s birthday.
as per usual i combined his favorite flavors:
chocolate + mint.
eventually i would like to make them
vegan,
or at the very least dairy free.
for now though,
he has been enjoying them happily,
well worth the early rising.

happy birthday sweet dw,
i love you dearly.

Minty Milano Cookies

minty milano cookies
adapted from pure wow
makes 20-22 cookies

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
4 egg whites, at room temp
1½ cups AP flour
a generous pinch of salt

minty chocolate ganache
1 cup chocolate (chips or chopped)
scant ½ cup lactose free half/half
3-4 tsp peppermint extract, to taste
up to 5 TBL powdered sugar, possibly optional

preheat the oven to 350°F. prepare parchment paper that fits 2 cookies sheets. fold in half ONCE, long-wise. with the parchment paper still folded over, fold again and then again, and then again. open paper and you should have 14 rectangles. use those folded lines as a guide when piping the cookies, so you’ll end up with 7 cookies/row. alternatively, you could trace the general shape of the cookies in pencil, flipping the paper over so that you’re not piping the batter pencil side up.

in a kitchen aid mixer with paddle attachment, cream butter with powdered sugar until fluffy. add in the vanilla and mix.

in a small bowl, have your egg whites on the ready. gradually add them in and fully mix until incorporated. add in the flour and mix through.

transfer batter to piping bag, snipping the bottom. pipe the batter along the folded lines of the parchment paper (or trace along with pen/pencil lines) into an oval shape and somewhat filling it, you’re aiming for about 1½ inches long, leaving about 2 inches between as the cookies do spread. they do not need to perfect. i sorta followed this video tutorial.

bake for 9-12 minutes, the edges will start to brown and crisp up. remove from oven and cool completely.

to make ganache, in a small saucepan heat up the half/half gently. in a small bowl have the chocolate chips ready. gently pour the hot half/half into the bowl and ignore for about a minute. with a spoon or spatula carefully mix the chocolate mixture until fully incorporated and shiny. add in the peppermint extract, amount to taste. remember if you add more liquid the ganache will be runny, so either add in powdered sugar (1 tablespoon at a time) or add in less half/half, you’re aiming for a thick consistency.

assemble cookies by smearing about a tablespoons worth of the minty chocolate onto center of upside down cookie. sandwich with another cookie, and press gently until filling runs just to the edge.

cookies will keep at room temp in airtight container for 2-3 days.

BAM!

Minty Milano Cookies

previous dw chocolate + mint confections:
peppermint kisses – 2015 (not officially blogged  but use this recipe for reference)
coconut peppermint patties – 2014
homemade thin mints – 2013
mint chocolate cake – 2012

NY Style Cheesecake

NY Style Cheesecake

because a birthday should always be celebrated
happy birthday, ridiculous nuria,
who always manages to make me
laugh
swear
blush
you are exactly the annoying
kid sister i always imagined
other people having
but never thought i’d hafta experience.

NY Style Cheesecake

new york style cheesecake
adapted from america’s test kitchen family baking cookbook

crust:
8 graham crackers, crumbled
6 TBL butter, melted and cooled
3 TBL sugar

filling:
2 1/2 lbs cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
pinch of salt
1/3 cup kefir yogurt (or plain yogurt, or sour cream)
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large egg yolks
6 large eggs

preheat oven to 325°

in a food processor, blitz the crackers until they’re fine crumbles. pour in the melted butter and sugar and pulse until incorporated. dump the mixture into a 9″ springfoam pan. press the crumbs into an even layer. bake crust about 10-15 minutes, i aimed for the middle and took it out at 12:30, because i’m obnoxious. remove from oven, allow to cool, about 30 minutes.

increase oven heat to 500°.

put a pot or a kettle of water to boil. (optional)

meanwhile, make the filling. in a mixer beat the cream cheese until smooth, constantly scraping down the side of the bowl and beaters.

mix in the yogurt (or sour cream), lemon juice and vanilla. add in the yolks and the eggs, 2 at a time until well incorporated.

very carefully pour the mix into the pan.

in the oven, at the bottom level, pour the hot water into the pan. (optional step)

bake the cheesecake for 10 minutes.

without opening the oven door, lower the heat to 200° and continue to bake for 1 1/2 hours.

don’t open the oven door, turn off the oven and ignore the cheesecake until cooled, about 2-3 hours.

when you’re feeling brave, take out the cheesecake and carefully run a knife around the edge.

chill in fridge, ideally overnight.

serve as is or if you’re felling fancy, drizzle a bit of chocolate ganache.

BAM!

NY Style Cheesecake

previous nuria bday concoctions:
vegan pb cups
the angry birds project
suisse mocha cheesecake
coffee cheesecake

2 years ago: ultimate white cake
1 year ago: overnight steel cut oats