A Covey of Cookies

Chocolate Peppermint Shortbread | La Pêche Fraîche

“Today, me will live in the moment
unless it’s unpleasant, in which case
me will eat a cookie.”

—Cookie Monster

Russian Teacakes | La Pêche Fraîche5-Spice Snickerdoodles | La Pêche Fraîche

For me, baking Christmas cookies for all my loved ones is a necessity as much as a tradition.
As I said in my last post, I usually make quite a mélange so that in case someone doesn’t like {peppermint, crunchy cookies, soft cookies, spicy cookies, sweet and salty cookies, etc.} they can find at least a couple goodies in their box.

Cinnamon Crunch Toast Marshmallow Treats | La Pêche FraîcheChocolate Peppermint Shortbread | La Pêche Fraîche

Recap (same as last post):

Last year, I made honey spice and dark chocolate roll-out cookies, decorated in many different shapes.
I also made chocolate, sour cherry, and coconut cookies, grapefruit butter cookies, and dark chocolate pecan snowcaps.
All were a big hit, and they made for a very nice assortment in my cookie gifts.

The year before, I made pepparkakor, beautifully decorated Swedish gingerbread cookies, as well as
candy cane and chocolate macarons,
Nutella and various fruity jam Linzer cookies,
and maple, nutmeg, and rye roll-out cookies.

Russian Teacakes | La Pêche Fraîche

This year, I’m gifting Russian teacakes, 5-spice snickerdoodles, chocolate peppermint shortbread, cinnamon toast crunch marshmallow treats, and eggnog sugar cookies!

Today, I have 4 of those 5 recipes.

5-Spice Snickerdoodles | La Pêche Fraîche

Russian teacakes have just about a million and one alternative names.
You might know them as butterballs, snowballs, Mexican wedding cookies/cakes, polvorones, Italian wedding cookies.
No matter what you call them, they’re little powdery spheres of über rich butter cookie dough.
The dough contains no eggs and barely any sugar—the main flavor is really of the butter.
Flour acts as a binder to keep them from crumbling on the way to meet your mouth, but once on your tongue, they melt like so many snowflakes.
They are utterly delightful and seriously dangerous.
I make them extra small and poppable, but other than that, the recipe is consistent across generations, cultures, and nearly every food site on the internet.
Simple, delicious.

Chocolate Peppermint Shortbread | La Pêche Fraîche

I haven’t ever made snickerdoodles.
I rarely have even eaten them—for some reason, I fear biting into just one more dry, crumbly cookie with no flavor other than sugar and cinnamon would end my love of spiced cookies right then and there.
Snickerdoodles should be chewy and soft—not as soft as Lofthouse, but more like a chewier version of a chocolate chip.
Here, I’ve taken a very good base recipe, chewy and soft and spicy and made it a tad bit more interesting with a few pinches of 5-spice.
This ups the intrigue just a little, and makes you seem superfancy to boot.

Cinnamon Crunch Toast Marshmallow Treats | La Pêche Fraîche

The chocolate peppermint shortbread goes marvelously with a cup of tea or hot cocoa to dip; dark, fruity chocolate cookies that are crunchy around the edges and studded with many little pieces of peppermint bark.
(You can buy these as Andes peppermint chips to save yourself needing to chop up the bar.)

For a twist on rice krispies treats, I subbed out the puffed rice for Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal, which is way too sugary and addictive to keep in the house for any significant period of time.  I could eat a boxful without blinking (and then have a terrible stomachache, but whatevs).
The result is a cinnamon-y, chewy, soft, crunchy marshmallow treat that is comforting and cozy.
You can use a little less cereal if you want a more pillowesque treat; you can also use homemade marshmallows if you’re really going for the jugular.

Russian Teacakes | La Pêche Fraîche

But wait!  There’s more… I still have 2 cakes and 1 batch of cookies to share with you!
The crazy week of baking continues—I hope you’ll stick around to see what I have in store!

P.S. Shoutout to Courtney from the wonderful Fork to Belly, who made the absolute dreamiest variety of cookies for the holidays.  Sign me up for 2 of those boxes, plznthx.

Chocolate Peppermint Shortbread | La Pêche Fraîche

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Marshmallow Treats 
makes 1 9×9 inch pan

ingredients:
5 tablespoons butter
pinch salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
10 ounce bag marshmallows
6 cups Cinnamon Toast Crunch (or other type of cereal)

directions:
Lightly grease a 9×9 pan.
Place butter, cinnamon, and salt in a microwave safe bowl and microwave until fully melted.
Add the marshmallows and microwave until the marshmallows are melted.
Stir to combine the butter and marshmallows and then gently stir in  the cereal.
Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and press down to compress it slightly.
Allow to set completely (a few hours), then cut into squares.

Chocolate Peppermint Shortbread
makes 24-30 2 inch cookies
adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod

ingredients:
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, soft
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup peppermint bark pieces

directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Place butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on high for 3 minutes.
Add the sugars and beat for 3 minutes.
Add in the egg and salt and vanilla and beat for another 4 full minutes.
Stir together the flour, baking soda, and cocoa, and then stir into batter, increasing speed until homogenous.
Stir in the peppermint bark pieces, then portion out with a cookie scoop onto the baking pans.
Bake for 10 minutes, or until puffed and fragrant, then remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.

Russian Teacakes
makes 36 1 inch cookies
adapted from Betty Crocker

ingredients:
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, soft
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 cup powdered sugar, for rolling

directions:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment.
Place powdered sugar, butter, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on high for 5 minutes, until extremely light and fluffy.
Add in the flour and almond meal and stir to combine.
Scoop out in 1 teaspoon portions, roll into little balls, then roll in a bowl of powdered sugar.
Bake for 8 minutes, then remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before re-rolling in the powdered sugar and allowing to cool completely.

5-Spice Snickerdoodles
makes 30 2 1/2 inch cookies
adapted from Averie Cooks

ingredients:
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, soft
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon 5-spice

1/4 cup sugar (for rolling)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (for rolling)
1/4 teaspoon 5-spice (for rolling)

directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Place butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat for 3 minutes.
Add in the sugars and beat for 3 more minutes.
Add in the egg and vanilla and beat for a full 5 minutes, until extremely light and fluffy.
Stir flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, salt, and spices together, then stir into the dough until homogenous.
Scoop out 2 teaspoon sized portions and roll into even balls.
Stir the sugar and spices for rolling together, then lightly coat each cookie by rolling it around.
Place on baking sheet.
Bake for 8-10 minutes, until puffed and golden.
Allow to cool on a wire rack.

 

Des Guimauves Tressées

Marshmallow Ropes | La Pêche Fraîche

I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way—
things I had no words for.

—Georgia O’Keeffe

Marshmallow Ropes | La Pêche Fraîche

I’m doing my best to unravel, slowly, and allow my brain to melt into a pool of relaxation.
I even took a hot bath last night.  Who am I?  The luxury!

Marshmallow Ropes | La Pêche Fraîche

Okay, and yes, I am SO behind on holiday posts!
But here is the first, and there are many yet to come as well.

Now that I’m home, I’m baking up a storm, trying to squeeze in all these ideas that I have.
(My idea of relaxation…)

BTW: I really wish I had gotten my life together to the point that I could make some sufganiyot for Hannukah, but alas, I was busy being too big of a nerd to take my head out of my books for a little while. Next year, I promise.

Marshmallow Ropes | La Pêche Fraîche

Today I’m sharing a confection that’s perfect for gifting and is really quite cute.
Vanilla marshmallow ropes, long candy cane-esque cables of fluffy mallow goodness!

I was inspired by Heather’s pastel marshmallow ropes, and I thought it would be sweet to make them red and white for Christmas season.
These are really easy to customize for an event—they can be any shade of any hue that you desire!
(Just have lots of food coloring on hand.)

Marshmallow Ropes | La Pêche Fraîche

Are you giving any edible gifts this holiday season?

I usually make a few little boxes of various cookies to gift to friends.
This year, I’m doing Russian tea cakes, 5-spice snickerdoodles, peppermint chocolate shortbread, and cinnamon cereal treats (and perhaps some eggnog roll-and-cut as well).

Last year, I made honey spice and dark chocolate roll-out cookies, decorated in many different shapes.
I also made chocolate, sour cherry, and coconut cookies, grapefruit butter cookies, and dark chocolate pecan snowcaps.
All were a big hit, and they made for a very nice assortment in my cookie gifts.

The year before, I made pepparkakor, beautifully decorated Swedish gingerbread cookies, as well as
candy cane and chocolate macarons,
Nutella and various fruity jam Linzer cookies,
and maple, nutmeg, and rye roll-out cookies.

As you can see, I like to make lots of different kinds of cookies to lend some variety to the gift boxes!

Marshmallow Ropes | La Pêche Fraîche

These marshmallows would make a perfect gift, especially if they came with a little jar of homemade cocoa mix on the side!
They keep very well and are definitely unexpected.

They’re quite simple to make—the twist comes from just piping and winding long cables of mallow together.
(Pun intended.)

They’re very fluffy and light; chewy enough to not dissolve straight-away in your mug, not to mention totally adorable, duh.

Marshmallow Ropes | La Pêche Fraîche

If you’ve made marshmallows before, these will be a real breeze—they’re only marginally more effort than square marshmallows due to the piping.

You’ll notice that I went ahead and divided the ingredients for the red and white marshmallows for you—this way, it’s less confusing because you don’t need to halve the batch and tint it, but rather, make two completely separate batches and tint one.
This decreases the likelihood of making silly measuring mistakes
(take it from me, who had to make 2 batches before getting it right…!).

Marshmallow Ropes | La Pêche Fraîche

Note: you’ll need about 1 standard packet of gelatin for these, as 1 packet contains ~2 1/4 teaspoons of gelatin.
That being said, I’d advise you to keep 2 on hand, in case you get a packet that has closer to 2 teaspoons in it!

Marshmallow Ropes | La Pêche Fraîche
Marshmallow Ropes
adapted from Shauna Sever
makes 40-50 1 inch marshmallows

ingredients:
for the coating:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch

for the white marshmallows:
1 1/8 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
2 tablespoons cool water
2 tablespoons corn syrup, divided in half
1 tablespoon water
pinch salt
3 tablespoons sugar

for the red marshmallows:
1 1/8 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
2 tablespoons cool water
2 tablespoons corn syrup, divided in half
1 tablespoon water
pinch salt
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
red food coloring

directions:
Sift the powdered sugar and cornstarch together; set aside.
Make the white marshmallows: sprinkle gelatin over 2 tablespoons cool water and set aside until bloomed, about 2 minutes.
Meanwhile, place 1 tablespoon of the corn syrup in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
Place the other tablespoon of corn syrup, 1 tablespoon water, the salt, and sugar into a small pot.
Place over medium heat and heat until temperature reaches 240 degrees F.
While the sugar mixture is heating, place the bloomed gelatin in the microwave for 20 seconds, until melted.
Place into the bowl with the first tablespoon of corn syrup and whip on low speed while the syrup heats up.
When the syrup reaches 240 degrees F, carefully pour into the whipping gelatin.
Increase speed to top speed and whip until tripled in size and opaque white; about 5 minutes.
While the marshmallow is whipping, prepare a pastry bag with a plain round tip and lay out a large piece of parchment.
Dust the parchment with a little of the coating mixture.
When the marshmallow is cooled and fluffy, place into the piping bag and pipe long ropes onto the parchment.
Dust with a little more of the coating, and make the red marshmallows.
Make the red marshmallows: sprinkle gelatin over 2 tablespoons cool water and set aside until bloomed, about 2 minutes.
Meanwhile, place 1 tablespoon of the corn syrup in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and add some red food coloring (about 1 teaspoon) and the vanilla extract.
Place the other tablespoon of corn syrup, 1 tablespoon water, the salt, and sugar into a small pot.
Place over medium heat and heat until temperature reaches 240 degrees F.
While the sugar mixture is heating, place the bloomed gelatin in the microwave for 20 seconds, until melted.
Place into the bowl with the first tablespoon of corn syrup, food coloring, and vanilla, and whip on low speed while the syrup heats up.
When the syrup reaches 240 degrees F, carefully pour into the whipping gelatin.
Increase speed to top speed and whip until tripled in size and opaque reddish pink; about 5 minutes.
While the marshmallow is whipping, prepare a pastry bag with a plain round tip and lay out a large piece of parchment.
Dust the parchment with a little of the coating mixture.
When the marshmallow is cooled and fluffy, place into the piping bag and pipe long ropes onto the parchment, about the same length as the white mallows.
Again dust with more coating, then allow to set completely, at least  2 hours.
To wind the ropes together, pin one of the red ropes and one of the white ropes together with a toothpick at one end.
Gently wind the ropes together, pinning with another toothpick at the other side.
Repeat until all of the ropes have been twisted.
Allow to set for 24 full hours (this will ensure the ropes are bound together and won’t come apart) before clipping the ends off and cutting the marshmallows into small pieces that will fit into a mug!
Marshmallows will keep for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container.

Cric! Crac!

Reese's Pieces Cocoa Krispie Treats | La Pêche Fraîche

Where are the songs of spring? Ay, Where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

—John Keats, from To Autumn

Reese's Pieces Cocoa Krispie Treats | La Pêche Fraîche

If given my choice of candy, with all calories nullified, I would always choose something milk chocolaty and, preferably, somewhat salty or, at the very least, not purely chocolate.
I do like truffles, but they rarely have enough salt for me—and with those, I have a very strong preference for milk and white chocolate, even though I know dark chocolate is technically better for you…
Among cheap candy, KitKats, Reese’s peanut butter cups, Whoppers, Junior Mints, M&Ms reign supreme.
It’s always so baffling to me when someone I know prefers fruity candy to chocolate candy.

Nati has an affinity for Sourpatch, which I can stomach and will even absentmindedly munch on, but there’s no way those are better than Goobers or M&Ms.
No wayyyy!  No how.
BUT celebrating Halloween with someone with opposite taste is lucrative, as I’m sure we all know.

I have so many memories of getting home after a long night of trick-or-treating (at, say, 9pm…!) and sorting through all my candy in my little plastic pumpkin to see which ones were best.

Perversely, and tellingly, I would always save the best for last, forcing myself to eat the “bad” candies first.
I still do this today—save the best bite for last!
I am a two marshmallow kid to the bone, people.
To the bone.

Reese's Pieces Cocoa Krispie Treats | La Pêche Fraîche

Today, I have some double chocolate cocoa krispie treats loaded with white chocolate chips and Reese’s pieces, because duh, PB+chocolate forever.

They’re as easy to make as regular rice krispies.
Melt, stir stir stir, press, eat.

Here, we use cocoa krispies and add an extra pinch of salt, with a hunk of dark chocolate to up our cocoa game.
White chocolate chips, milky and sweet, contrast the dark chocolate, and Reese’s pieces are salty, sweet, and crunchy.
The mix-ins totally make these rice krispie treats.  They add just the right amount of surprise to every bite!

(Plus this is a way to use up any ~extra~ Reese’s pieces that you might just have lying around post-Halloween.
Although if you do, who even are you?)

Reese's Pieces Cocoa Krispie Treats | La Pêche Fraîche

Reese’s Pieces Cocoa Krispie Treats
makes 16 bars

ingredients:
20 grams (3/4 ounce, 1.5 tablespoons) butter
30 grams (1 ounce) dark chocolate
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
150 grams (5 ounces) marshmallows, mini or otherwise
4 cups cocoa krispies
1/2 cup Reese’s pieces
1/2 cup white chocolate chips

directions:
Line an 8×8 inch pan with parchment or wax paper.
Place butter, marshmallows, salt and chocolate into a bowl and microwave until all ingredients are melted.
Mix well until fairly homogeneous.
Stir in the cocoa krispies gently, followed by the Reese’s pieces and white chocolate chips.
Firmly press krispies into prepared pan and allow to set for at least 2 hours.
Cut into squares and serve.
Bars will keep in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

More Better

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 Hello, hello, hello!  Long time no post, I know, I know.

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I was in Chicago visiting N since last Friday–it was a lovely, restorative, relaxing, and much needed weekend with him.
Today, it’s back to the real world.
Oh, just kidding, because today marks the beginning of Grassroots!
(I know, I’m leading quite the lazy, cushy life over here.  Don’t judge me too much; it’s Summer, after all.)

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I am working, albeit at a turtle’s pace, on furnishing and decorating my apartment in Chicago. (À la IKEA.)
I put together a sweet little white wicker chair and painted a TARVA dresser a beautiful pale celadon-y grey.
It needs some gold knobs and it will be done.

I’m totally excited to build a little home with my best friends.
Feelin’ all grown-up and shit, ya know.
I will undoubtedly share photos here. (Exciting, I know: a college student’s apartment!  Don’t hold your breath!!!!!!)

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Anyways, it’s Summer full-swing in the Northern Hemisphere.
Summer = fresh fruit, BBQ, red white and blue, yadda yadda yadda.
Summer really = S’MORES.

Today, I have a flat s’mores tart for you.
It’s got a relatively even ratio of crust:filling, making it super rich and decadent.

All the flavors and textures are here: lovely graham crust made from real graham crackers, with a hint of cinnamon and a slight crunch, sweet, creamy milk chocolate ganache with a hint of deep cocoa, and puffy, browned marshmallows to round it out.

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This tart is like a giant s’more, upgraded a bit with some extra butter and cream (of course).

Okay, I am late and S is waiting for me in the driveway to head to Trumansburg to start the grassroots festivities, so I’m signing off.

I’ll be back soon with a no-bake treat and another tart.
Xx

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{Happy Grassroots to all my Ithacan readers!
Have a safe, fun, and enjoyable weekend!}

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Flat S’mores Tart
makes 1 9-inch tart

ingredients:
for the crust:
2 sleeves (18 whole) graham crackers
1/2 cup flour
10 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 egg yolk
scant teaspoon kosher salt
pinch cinnamon

for the milk chocolate ganache:
5 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
pinch of kosher salt
1 tablespoon corn syrup, optional
1 cup heavy cream

to finish:
mini marshmallows, or large marshmallows torn into pieces, or meringue, etc. etc.

directions:
Make the crust: preheat oven to 350 degrees F and ready a 9- or 10- inch springform pan.
Blitz the graham crackers into fine crumbs in a food processor; they should be the texture of fine flour (this may take a while).
Place butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat with the paddle attachment for 3 minutes to soften.
While beating on high speed, slowly stream in the sugar; beat for 4 minutes.
Scrape the bowl and add the egg yolk, kosher salt, and cinnamon.
Beat for 3 more minutes, then scrape the bowl once more.
Add in the flour and stir until combined; scrape the bowl.
Start adding the graham cracker flour 1/2 cup at a time, while mixing on low speed.
You will likely need all of the graham crackers, but keep an eye on the dough; when finished, it should clump together easily but not be so dry that it cracks when you press it together.
Press the dough into the bottom of your springform, keeping it mostly flat with a small rim to prevent the ganache from leaking out.
Prick all over with a fork and bake for 20 minutes, until firm and golden–the crust should be very fragrant.
Remove from oven and let cool while you prepare the ganache.
Place the chopped chocolate, kosher salt, and corn syrup in a bowl and heat gently until 1/3 of the chocolate is melted—do this in short bursts in a microwave or over a double boiler.
Remove the chocolate from heat.
Heat up the cream until boiling; pour over chocolate and let sit for 3 minutes, undisturbed.
Begin to whisk the chocolate mixture slowly at first, then speeding up until the ganache comes together and is shiny and smooth.
Pour over the cooling crust and place in the fridge until set, about 4 hours (you can leave it in there overnight).
To assemble, place marshmallows all over the tart and place under a broiler for 2 minutes, keeping a careful eye to ensure that the marshmallows don’t burn.
Enjoy in fat wedges on a summer night!

So Question

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Much wonder.
Such searches.
Wow.

“my olive oil bottle had some slimy things”
Eeew.

“is little debbie oatmeal cream pies good for chakras”
Probably not?

“lets make marscarpone ourselves for once”
Yes, let’s.  God.

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“dumb jokes”
“dysfunctional family funny”
“dumb shit jokes”
I think you’re in the right place, my friend.

“homogeneous motor for milk and mango juice”
“gothic baking dishes”
“fairy hand cream mango butter switzerland”
“brass triangle fruit ripener”
“picture of willy wonka marshmallow pillow”
“ready to bake cheese marscapone croissants wholesale”
“kids throwing cookie dough on ceiling”
“plate with some fruits two toothbrush one small pot drawing in pencil”
“lime green fat baby boots with white fluffy stitching on the toe”
What?  No.  How did you manage to end up here?

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“comfy belly pumpkin roll”
“christina tosi maple”
“nigella frangelico tiramisu grams”
“michael laiskonis silpat”
“dorie greenspan is too soft and crumbly cheesecake”
Nope nope nope not me.  Wrong person.

“why is my mississippi mud pie still runny in the middle”
“2c heavy cream 4 tsp matcha 3/4 c sugar 6 egg yolk 1 c milk where is it books”
“how to bake cake in a 5 burner gas cooktop candy”
“660grams of chocolate buttons = cups?”
“should a pumpkin roll cake be wet still when you take it out of the oven”
“why do my meringue cookies always end up with a syrup like crust on the bottom???”
“can u use buttercream piping for a dummy cake or will it rot? cake central”
“creme brulee didn’t set congeal can i freeze it”
“3cups cocoa powder 4sticks butter layer cake”
“why gateau cake didn’t rise”
“do they have pumpkin butter in sweden”
“why does creaming butter and sugar in more than one direction, get curds”
“260 grams flour and sugar and butter cake making how many eggs i use”
“i like to make it my own pomelo powder tall me how”
“i am looking for a recipe that used nutter butter cookies and butter as a crust, and then you melt marshmallows then make a layer of candy using cornsyrup and peanut butter chips”
I wish I could tell you the answers to all these existential questions, but…

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“best ice cream scoopers activated by body heat”
“brown butter cookie nutella fill kitchen dink w/ 2″ of cold water”
“waterproof nut pie crust”
“she made a graham with childish decorated toppings”
“pressure ulcers cooker de leche condensed milk”
“glitter sprinkle french macaron vanipla”
“whot. can. you yes. hef. coleur perpar”
“no egg no milk no butter cookiesh ki,o.lpo.ol”
“cheese lava guna kracker magic”
“like golden ray butter”
“drama psheat”
“pepar fool ke banana”
What?!?

“la peche fraiche”
“lapechefraiche”
“lapechce fraiche”
“la pache frasche”
“la pilche frache”
“peche freche”
“lapechefraige”
“la peche peach”
“rachel sally pastry blogs”
“rachel sally blog”
“ithaca rachel sally”
Lol hai.  Welcome.

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You guys search such silly things and manage to end up here, at my doorstep.
I can only begin to understand my readership through searches like “cheese lava guna kracker magic.”
Conclusion: you guys are weird.  And poor typists.  And are therefore in good company.

These cookies are delicious, fat, bakery-sized peanut butter sandwiches, filled with fluffy marshmallow and rolled in honey roasted peanuts, in honor of whoever searched
“i am looking for a recipe that used nutter butter cookies and butter as a crust, and then you melt marshmallows then make a layer of candy using cornsyrup and peanut butter chips”
Sadly, this is the best I can do for you.  I hope you enjoy them, mystery googler.
(I have a feeling they’re more delicious than this suspect nutter butter-corn syrup pie…)

The cookie base has edges that are crispy and crunchy, like a nutter butter, but a thick, soft center.  Perfect for sandwiching, and not too brittle or crumbly, like most PB cookies.
A cookie with bite.
Even better, they can be frozen for later!  Only use what you need, and stick the rest in the freezer for emergencies.
The marshmallowy filling is a billowy Italian meringue, whipped to sticky perfection.
Annnnnd this cookie sandwich is then rolled in
salted honey roasted peanuts.

These are like fluffernutters, only made with cookies.
Fluffernutter cookies.  Do I need to say more?

Perhaps just this: make these, you weirdos.  Ok.  That is all.

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Fluffernutter Cookies
makes 6 very large cookie sandwiches, or 12 cookies
cookie portion adapted from Miette

ingredients:
for the cookies:
113 grams (8 tablespoons) butter
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
100 grams (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
70 grams (1/3 cup packed) brown sugar
1 egg
160 grams (1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons) smooth peanut butter
1 teaspoon baking soda
180 grams (1 2/3 cups) flour

for the Italian meringue:
1 egg white
50 grams (1/4 cup) granulated sugar
pinch of salt
15 grams (1 tablespoon) water

to assemble:
about 3/4 cup honey roasted peanuts, chopped
pinch or two kosher salt

directions:
Make the cookies: beat butter on high speed until softened, about 2 minutes.
Add in the salt and sugars and beat for 3 minutes, scraping the bowl halfway through.
Add the egg and beat for 3 more minutes.
Scrape the bowl and add the peanut butter; beat for 1 more minute.
Scrape the bowl and add in the flour and baking soda all at once.
Mix on low speed until homogeneous.
Scoop out generous (1/3 cup) portions, then roll into smooth balls.
Press a cross-hatch pattern onto the cookies with a fork (or gently press them with a meat tenderizer) to flatten them slightly.
Place on a baking sheet and freeze for at least 15 minutes, and up to a month, wrapped very tightly in plastic and aluminum foil.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Bake cookies for 12 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through.
Allow to cool completely, then assemble the sandwiches.
Make the Italian meringue: place egg white in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk.
Place the salt, sugar, and water in a small sauce pot.
Begin to whip your egg white while heating the syrup on medium heat.
When your syrup reaches 200 degrees F, the egg white should be all foam; at 240, it should be at soft peaks.
Carefully pour the hot syrup into the egg white; beat the meringue until cooled to body temperature, about 5 minutes.
Spread onto one cookie and sandwich with another.
Mix the honey roasted peanuts with the extra salt, then roll the edges of each cookie in the mixture.
Enjoy with milk!

Between Two Lungs

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“I’m so glad I live in a world with Octobers.”

-L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

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Happy Halloween, y’all!

Have some cake.

Go ahead; dig right in.

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This cake won first place in a “study break”  competition in my residence hall!
Meaning it won my house points in the house cup (yes, just like the Harry Potter house cup!)!
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(DGH fo’ lyfe.)

I was so nervous/excited.
Now I’m excited/proud/tired.
Writing this at 2 am 3 am 4 am 10 am. FML.

(Yes, I actually tried to write this at all those times… I don’t want to talk about it.  I want to whine about it.)

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Guyyyyzzzzzz I was supposed to be doing a 12 problem calculus p-set last night, but I was at the study break celebration/competition (study break is a tradition at uChicago: it’s any treat that someone volunteers to make on Wednesday for the house to enjoy and take a break with) until 11, so I didn’t start the problem set until around then.

I did 6 problems in about an hour…

and then realized

that I did them

in the wrong section.

like WHAT I am taking calc at uChicago you would think I could tell the difference between

12.2 and 12.3 but NOPE no way so

I was up until 4am last night finishing this damn p-set for my 9am class this morning.

Moral of the story: I am a zombie and more so than ever, I want to eat this bloody heart cake.

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Let me give you a brief overview of this cake: (don’t be overwhelmed!)

it is a 12 inch, 5 layer cake

3 layers of tangy red velvet
2 layers of rich chocolate
enrobed in fluffy, silky Italian meringue buttercream
topped with a bleeding heart sculpted from rice krispies treats and covered in homemade marshmallow fondant.

It’s over the top, and somewhat grotesque.
But isn’t that what Halloween is all about?
I mean, c’mon.

Creepy bloody hearts are prime Halloween subjects.
Grab a fork and knife and tuck in!

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Bleeding Heart Cake

You’ll need:
3 batches red velvet cake (recipe below), baked in a 12×2 inch pan
2 batches chocolate cake (recipe below), baked in a 12×2 inch pan
2 batches Italian meringue buttercream (recipe below)
1 1/2 batches classic rice krispie treats (recipe from the Rice Krispie website, here) (I recommend only using a total of 2 tablespoons butter, instead of 4.5, to firm up your krispie treats)
1/2 batch royal icing (Bridget is the queen of royal icing… Go forth and prosper with her amazing and fail-proof recipe)
1/2 recipe marshmallow fondant, tinted red with a touch of green and purple (Annie’s directions are AWESOME and you should check them out… As well as the rest of her blog… It makes me swoon.  Love!)
Raspberry jam mixed with corn syrup and red food coloring to create a purple-red, thick fake blood (you have to eyeball this to your best ability)

directions:
While your krispie treats are warm, crunch them up a bit with oiled hands.
Begin to work the treats firmly, packing tightly, into an egg shape.
Mold a small, rectangular lump on the upper right “corner” of the heart; this will be your pulmonary artery and vein.
Make a slight indent that cuts from the upper right side to the middle/lower left side (refer to pictures!!!).
Freeze until hard; meanwhile, roll your fondant out to 1/4 inch thickness.
Cover the krispies with royal icing to smooth out any lumps, then cover in fondant, making sure there are no gaps where royal icing may seep through.
Seal the edges with a little bit of water and the dull side of a butter knife.
Begin to add on fondant on either sides of the diagonal indent to create slightly raised ventricles; adhere 3 balls at the top left “corner” and smooth them into cylinders to create your aorta- stick a dowel or pinky finger into the center to create the interior.
Do the same ball technique for the pulmonary vein and artery on the right upper corner.
Continue to smooth with water and a knife.
Once you are content with the shape (again, refer to pictures!), use the remaining fondant to roll tiny little veins, arteries, and capillaries.
Use a little bit of water to adhere the blood vessels to the outside of the heart, mapping them out so that all of the smaller vessels stem from a larger, central artery or vein.
Drape with plastic wrap and allow to dry slightly- I recommend overnight, but make sure it is covered in plastic lightly so that it doesn’t crack and dry out too much.
For the cake itself, layer a red velvet, then 1/3 cup frosting (the filling is very thin between the layers- they are moist enough that it is unnecessary, and too much filling will compromise the structure, so beware.), then a chocolate layer, then red velvet, and so on and so forth.
For red velvet and chocolate, a crumb coat is key.
Apply a thin layer of frosting to trap the crumbs, then refrigerate until completely set- about 30-45 minutes.
Ice the cake with the remaining buttercream, piping on details if you wish.
Place the heart in the center of the cake and stab it with a fork or knife, if desired.
Strategically drip some of your fake blood on the cake to give the illusion of a bleeding heart.
Go scare people!

Red Velvet Cake
adapted from the Food Network
makes 1 12×2 inch layer
ingredients:
150 grams (1 1/4 cups) flour
150 grams (3/4 cup) sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt
5 grams (1 tablespoon) cocoa powder
150 grams (1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons) oil
120 grams (1/2 cup) milk, plus 1 tablespoon vinegar
1 egg
14 grams (1/2 ounce) red food coloring (the liquid kind)
directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease and flour a 12×2 inch pan.
Whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder together.
Whisk the oil, milk, vinegar, egg, and food coloring together.
Whisk the wet into the dry ingredients and whisk well to combine.
Pour into pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, until a tester comes out clean.

Chocolate Cake
adapted from the Kitchn
makes 1 12×2 inch layer
ingredients:
200 grams (1 cup) sugar
105 grams (3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) flour
30 grams (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
big pinch salt
1 egg
60 grams (1/4 cup) oil
120 grams (1/2 cup) hot water
directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease and flour a 12×2 inch pan.
Whisk the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together.
Whisk the egg and oil into the dry ingredients.
Whisk the hot water into the batter; it will be very, very thin.
Pour into prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, until a tester comes out clean.

Italian Meringue Buttercream
more in-depth directions here
ingredients:
5 egg whites
200 grams (1 cup) sugar, plus 20 grams (scant 2 tablespoons) (divided)
56 grams (scant 1/4 cup) water
500 grams (4 1/2 sticks) butter, cut into chunks and softened but still quite cool
directions:
Whisk the egg whites with 20 grams of sugar.
Meanwhile, heat the rest of the sugar with the water in a saucepan until it reaches 240 degrees F.
At this point, the meringue should be at softly stiff peaks.
Drizzle the hot syrup over the meringue and beat until cooled to body temperature.
Beat in the butter 1 tablespoon at a time; keep beating until frosting is light and silky.

More, More, More

All the s’mores!
I am so greedy.
Today, I said goodbye “see you later” to one of my best friends, S.
Yes, the S for whose birthday I made a s’mores cake.
What are the chances that this post would be about s’mores?
I didn’t engineer it this way, it just happened to be so.
It was meant to be.
I’m greedy because now is not enough.
The years I have spent with my friends, growing and fighting and partying and loving, are not enough.
I want more.  I want more time.
More chances to show them how much I love them,
how much I appreciate them and all they do and all their quirks.
I want more, more, more.
I want to drink up all of their love, all of my love, all of the times we have spent together, to soak in it and revel in it and I’m worried I haven’t done enough of that.
It is so bittersweet, this time in our lives.
We are both leaving and being left.
We are starting a new part of our lives.  It’s terrifying.
I’m not ready.
I don’t want to be ready.
I’m scared.
I took these s’mores to a farewell BBQ with just a few of my closest friends.
The marshmallows were soggy because it rained all day.  I was pissed.
But whatever, that’s not what matters.
I love these people.  That’s something I’ll never lose, and something I’ll never get enough of.
I don’t have many words today, so I will share pictures.
 
Marshmallows here.
Graham crackers here.
Love below.

Brace Yo’self

Treat Brace yo’self.
 
Forgive me.  This one is a mouthful, in all senses of the word.
I guess I might as well start out by telling you what you’re looking at, because otherwise I fear you may feel unsure of my sanity.
Gird your loins.
This is a vanilla bean marshmallow, Greek yogurt cheesecake with a peanut butter base, torched marshmallows, and homemade potato chips.
 
These flavors called to me as I stared at a big ole pile of homemade vanilla bean marshmallows and graham crackers that I had leftover from a picnic yesterday (I’ll share some pictures etc. in the next few days.).
I keep a running note of minute-to-minute, day-to-day, random inspirations on my phone.
It includes eclectic and esoteric things like “honey nut” and “coconut kumquat” to, lo and behold, “homemade potato chips with peanut butter- cupcakes?
So obviously, this is not cupcakes.  But those two flavors are featured in this cake.
Victory!
Savory, fatty peanut butter combines with silky cheesecake and soft, puffy marshmallows, only to be highlighted with über crispy, salty chips.
This cheesecake is a no-bake deal.  You can whip it together in 20 minutes.
It has to chill for a while, but that’s down time.
You could run errands or walk your dog or clean your kitchen (none of which I did), or drink milky green tea while watching the last two episodes of Food Network Star (cue glazed eyes), and feign sleep when someone discovers you, which I may or may not have done.
Anyways, you have some time.  A minimum of 2 hours.  So plan ahead.
The nice thing about this is that you can make this way ahead and let it hang out in the fridge before unmolding and decorating it.
I would say a full day ahead would be totally fine.
You don’t want to put the chips on too early, you little eager beaver you, because they will get soggy and limp.
Soggy and limp are not two of the adjectives I ever want to hear describing any cheesecake.
Ever.
So chill with the chips until you’re ready to serve.
This thang is not so rich as one might think: there is no butter, only a smidgen of cream, it’s made with 0% Greek yogurt, light sour cream, and neufchâtel.
It slices very well and is light and creamy.
The textures are out of this world… I can only think of adjectives to describe this cheesecake.
I have trouble forming full, coherent sentences.
Crispy, salty, fatty, soft, creamy, silky, sweet, savory, and just a touch bitter (torched mallows).
One last thing: let’s be honest,  you don’t have to make your own marshmallows and potato chips to make this cake.
(I garnished with regular mini marshmallows!)
Go out and buy a package of mini mallows and some Cape Cod potato chips and go to town.
You’ll thank me later.
(You can add in vanilla bean or extract if you use regular marshmallows.)
Also, I realize this post was all about food and kind of one note.
Never fear, I’ll be back before you even want me to be, bitchin’ and whinin’ about my life as per usual.

Crazed Cheesecake
(Vanilla Bean Marshmallow Greek Yogurt Cheesecake with Potato Chips and PB Crust)
makes one 6×3 inch cheesecake or one 9×2 inch cheesecake
ingredients:
3 ounces graham crackers (I used homemade, you could easily sub more Nutter Butters)
3 ounces (about 6 cookies) Nutter Butter or other peanut butter sandwich cookies (leave the filling in)
2 ounces (heaping 2 tablespoons) peanut butter
16 ounces cream cheese (I used half neufchâtel)
150 grams (3/4 cup) sugar
8 ounces (1 cup) 0% Greek yogurt
3 ounces (1/3 cup) light or full-fat sour cream
2 ounces (1/4 cup) cream
2 teaspoons gelatin
7 ounces marshmallows, melted and still warm (about 1 cup when melted)
Garnish: toasted marshmallows, potato chips
directions:
Lightly grease your springform pan (either a 6×3 or 9×2).
In the bowl of a food processor, process your cookies and crackers, leaving the filling in the peanut butter cookies.
Meanwhile, melt the peanut butter in a microwave or over a stove.
Pour the still-fluid PB into the food processor and pulse until the mixture sticks together when pressed.
Press into the bottom of your pan and place in the fridge to chill while you make the filling.
Whip the cream cheese with a stand or hand mixer until it is light and fluffy.
Add in the sugar and whip for 3 minutes.
Meanwhile, sprinkle the gelatin over the top of 2 tablespoons of cold water and set aside for 5 minutes.
To the cream cheese, add the yogurt and sour cream and beat until combined; scrape the sides of the bowl.
After the gelatin has softened for 5 minutes, add it to the cream and microwave on high until it melts, about 20 seconds.
Add the cream mixture to the cream cheese mixture and beat on high.
Scrape in the still-warm marshmallows (you may need to reheat them a bit to get them nice and liquidy) and beat on high until everything comes together.
The batter will seem a little liquidy; this is fine.
Pour the mixture into the prepared crust/pan and place in the refrigerator to set, about 2 hours.
Once the cake is set, garnish how you like.
It cuts best with a clean knife, so wipe in between cuts.

Pitter Pater

Happy Father’s Day!
Especially to my wonderful father, who is currently in London. 
(I know.  He missed out on father’s day.  I shouldn’t be baking him anything!!)
Shout out to you, Pops!
Father’s day seems to be about doing classic flavors in a new way… 
Last year was an Elvis cake, based on the famous friend banana and peanut butter sandwiches that the King loved.
This year, I made knockoff Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pies.  You know, the ones you remember from your childhood.  Soft, squidgy, filled with marshmallow and only slightly spicy.
My dad loves soft, chewy oatmeal cookies, and I know he likes OCPs.
When I found Stella of BraveTart’s recipe, I knew I had to make them.
The cookies aren’t exactly intuitive in the making, but once you bite into one, you know exactly what they’re supposed to be.  They taste amazingly similar to the store-bought, factory-processed cookies, but fresher and better, and slightly more complex as well.
I had to ship these internationally to my dad, and I’m just hoping that they get to him on time, before he leaves to come back to America.
If they don’t, it’s his loss, right?  That’s what you get for ditching your kid on Father’s Day.
Just kidding.  I love you, Daddy, and miss you even more.  
I hope you like the cookies.
Head here for the full Oatmeal Creme Pie recipe: these are dead ringers for the real deal OCPs.
The ingredients list is a little strange and involved, but it’s totally worth it.
Also, be sure to take your cookies out after exactly 8 minutes: they should be completely puffy and really soft- practically not baked at all, just warmed.  Once you take them out of the oven, they will fall and become very chewy and soft, just the way they should be.