Open Face S'mores Sandwiches

Open Face S'mores Sandwiches

Earlier in the summer I received a box of Ghirardelli Milk and Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramels in the mail, and thus the desire to make something s’mores-related was inspired.

The classic s’mores combination of graham crackers, puffy store-bought marshmallows and Hershey’s chocolate have always been too over-the-top sweet for me. I will crave s’mores after not having them for a while, but then after having one I am satisfied until the next time. Based off of this experience, I knew that I wanted to develop something s’mores related but more than just sweet on top of a kind of, let’s be honest, dry cracker.

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Neapolitan Checkered Cake

Neapolitan Checkered Cake

I’ve always wondered what Neapolitan Ice Cream was named after and on further research, I found out that it relates to culture, food and people from Naples.

Neapolitan ice cream reminds me of my visits with Popo as a child. This was not an ice cream flavor my parents usually had in the freezer, but it was always something I could expect at her house. I loved the three flavors combined together. One could not be without the other and I would always try to scoop out the perfect proportion of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry ice cream. She always had Breyers, and the elongated shape of the container was ideal for even scooping. I haven’t eaten this flavor of ice cream since I was a kid but those three flavors have always stuck with me. Whether it was the flavor, colors or company I was eating it with, I can almost taste it if I think about those warm memories.

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Yin Yang Cookies

Yin Yang Cookies

My Hapkido friends and I have a lot of fun devising intriguing treats that complement our martial arts practice.

Once the inspiration of these Yin Yang cookies came about, it was hard to resist creating them. There had to be a way to make this symbol come to life—and here is how you can do it! If you do not have a friend who has access to a 3D printer, yin yang cookie cutters are available on the Internet via a quick Google search. We used cutters that did not include the dots and pressed in the dots on top by ourselves by hand. I imagine this was a less frustrating process than cutting them out individually or having to get the dots out of the cutter each time. It was loads of fun putting the two halves together and adding in the dots of the yin yang symbol. They don’t spread out too much while baking, so you needn’t worry about wonky-looking yin-yang symbols.

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Alison Roman’s Salted Butter and Chocolate Chunk Shortbread

Alison Roman’s Salted Butter and Chocolate Chunk Shortbread

When it comes to food trends, fads and things that are "breaking the Internet", I tend to raise my eyebrows and, keep an eye out but not participate until I'm really ready to.

Often times, this is after the hype is over. I didn't try kale until years after it started being a big thing. 

In general, I am not a quick decision maker. I mull, I overthink and convince myself in the opposite direction in as many ways as I can before coming to a final, final, final decision. It took me a while to decide to try these cookies and even longer to write about them.

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Chocolate Strawberry Cupcakes

Chocolate Strawberry Cupcakes

I'm continuing my newfound appreciation of cake with some cupcakes!

After making this Mint Chocolate Chip Checkered Cake a few weeks ago, it lead me to think about making a Neapolitan Checkered Cake which lead me to wonder how to make a strawberry flavored cake. Sometimes the paths that lead me to things of inspiration are very, very random. 

To celebrate strawberry season even more, I did some research and stumbled upon Sally's recipe which seemed to encompass all of the baking ideals I hold dear. This means no artificial flavored anything. All of the strawberry flavor comes purely from the fruit itself. The cake batter contains a strawberry puree and the frosting incorporates freeze dried strawberries. 

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Mint Chocolate Chip Checkered Cake

Mint Chocolate Chip Checkered Cake

This is the cake of my mint chocolate chip dreams. 

If you are a newcomer around here, mint chocolate chip is one of my favorite flavors and has been since I was a kid. It's always and absolutely mint chocolate chip ice cream, especially if it's the green kind. You might also not know that I'm very, very much a big fan of #teampie. Generally, cakes are for special occasions and I am very picky when it comes to cake texture, frosting, the combination of flavors... so basically everything. Cakes don't show their face around here too much and the last cake I baked was for my birthday in October.

So is this a special occasion? In a way, yes. I had intentions of making this cake to celebrate this blog's 3rd year of existence but then it turned into making a cake for the joy of making a cake and that felt more appropriate. 

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Butterscotch Blondies

Butterscotch Blondies

Deciding what to bake can be either a ridiculously easy task or one that makes me change my mind a hundred times up until the last minute I am about to bake. 

Or sometimes, I don't even bake at all. Shocker! It happened this past weekend. 

Often times, I am trying to use up something that I already have—some fruit that is reaching its prime, some special ingredient that I used in something else or often something out of my freezer. Instead of baking this past weekend, I made a freezer inventory list. It probably has over 50 items on it which is kind of amazing considering how small my freezer is. But, I was happy about that. It's now the most organized I have seen it in a long time. After several frozen fingers and some cursing, it will hopefully make it easier for me to finish little bits of this and that that I tend to accumulate so I can go forth and make new things!

Speaking of new things, I love it when I already have everything I need to bake. It's basically validation that the recipe was meant to be. When it came to this recipe, it sat on the back burner for quite a lot less time than usual. I stumbled upon it reading Molly Wizenberg's blog, Orangette which I go back to when I can. She has some of the most thought-provoking and beautiful writing. I aspire to write as well as she does. The recipes she shares are often simple but flavorful like these Butterscotch Blondies she shared from The Violet Bakery Cookbook

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Chocolate Linzer Cookies

Chocolate Linzer Cookies

For this year's annual V-Day treat, I decided to go back to the basics with heart-shaped cookies. 

Not just any heart-shaped cookies, but chocolate Linzer cookies. If you have been around here for a while, this is the third type of Linzer cookie I have made although none of them have been particularly traditional. Maybe someday, but for now, I am perfectly happy making untraditional renditions of this Austrian favorite. 

These came about because I was trying to use up some leftover jam I canned and made last year. If I recall correctly, it was a mix of strawberry and rhubarb on the crux of spring turning into summer. I was afraid the texture would be all wrong but it was actually perfect for these cookies. Jams that are too loose or wet make these cookies messier and more difficult to handle and assemble. I found that using a jam that is more firm and thicker is easier for Linzer cookies. The jam acts as a kind of glue that binds the top and bottom cookie together.

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