Chocolate Chip Cookie Remix: Chocolate Chip Cookie…Pie!!!

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I LOOOVE chocolate chip cookies, especially with a tall glass of milk when it’s chilly out. Is there anything better than a warm, goo-ey-full chocolate chip cookie waiting for you when you get home from work? Well, the only thing I can think of that could top a chocolate chip cookie would be one giant chocolate chip cookie, specifically, in the form of a pie. Yep, Chocolate. Chip. Cookie. Pie. This recipe is based on a decades-old Nestle Tollhouse classics recipe that I found when surfing the web for the perfect pie. The first time I ever tried a slice, I was sure I was teleported into a gooey, chocolate chip heaven. Make this alongside your pecan and pumpkin pies for something different this Thanksgiving, when you are trying to impress the in-laws or other side of the family, and you will be SURE to make an impression.

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Melomakarouna for the Decapentavgustos! (Greek Honey cookies for the August 15th Holiday!)

ImageImageHappy 15th of August to all of my Greek friends! For those of you who aren’t of the Hellenic persuasion, the 15th of August is a big religious summer holiday that celebrates the Ascention of the Virgin Mary or “Panayia”. She represents Mother Earth to the mainlanders, and Mother sea to all of the islanders. All Greeks named after the Virgin Mary with names ranging from Mary to Mario to Panayioti celebrate this special day along with her and are given many presents, asked advice, and considered closer to God on this day. This even includes the name Despina, or the ancient version of how they addressed the Panayia (woohoo it’s my name day too! So, if anyone wants to surprise me with a really nice, lavish present today, please, by all means, feel free! ) On this day, which is the third holiest aside from Christmas and Easter, the Virgin Mary, or Panayia, is asked to preform miracles on Earth, ranging rom solving family feuds to playing matchmaker. Whatever the miracle, Greeks can be sure of a couple of things: the day(s) off from work surrounding the Holiday (those Greeks and their excuses to take off work and party, right?), a Panigiri or festival will take place, and lots of good food, wine, and merriment. Maybe even a miracle or two. 

In commemorance of this special day, I decided to make one of my all-time favorite Greek desserts to share. Melomakarouna, or “Honey Cookies”, are a delicious treat that always reminds me of the holy holidays: Easter, Christmas, and hey, why not Decapentavgoustos as well? These are super easy to make, and the orange and cinnamon flavors really evoke the warm feeling of celebrating a holiday with friends. There is nothing better than enjoying a Melomakarouno cookie with a steaming cup of coffee or tea and chatting with friends and family. On a side note, yet another perk is that these are Vegan-friendly, as there is no egg or dairy in these cookies! I hope you enjoy, and add these to your holiday favorites as well, though they are delicious any time of year you want to feel that warm holiday feeling.

 

 For the Cookies:

-4 cups flour

-3/4 cup olive oil (regular, not extra virgin)

-1/4 cup vegetable oil

-1/3 cup sugar

-zest of 1 large orange

-1/2 cup orange juice

-5 tbs brandy

-1/2 tsp salt

-small pinch of freshly ground nutmeg

-1 tsp baking powder

-1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup chopped walnuts, for topping

– ½ tsp cinnamon

 

For the Syrup:

-1 cup honey

-1 cup water

-1/4 cup sugar

– 1 cinnamon stick

-3 whole cloves

-1 small 1” piece of lemon rind

-1 small  1” piece of orange rind

-1 tsp lemon juice

-cinnamon for sprinkling on top

 

In a medium sized bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.

In a small bowl, lightly press together the orange zest and sugar until they form an orange colored sugar, and the orange oils have coated the sugar well.

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Transfer to a large mixing bowl, and blend in the oils, brandy, and orange juice.

In the mixing bowl, slowly add in the dry ingredients, pulsing and mxing with every ½ cup or so of added dry ingredients until all is blended and a dough forms. The dough should be moist, but not sticky.

On an ungreased cookie sheet, place 1 tbs rounded dough balls, spacing evenly. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the cookies are a light golden brown.

While the cookies are baking, begin making the syrup immediately.

In a large saucepan, whisk together all of the syrup ingredients, and bring to a boil. Now reduce the pan to a simmer on medum low, and simmer for about 25 minutes.

ImageOnce the cookies are done, immediately submerge them in batches in the syrup, dunking them on all sides for about 30 seconds. Remove from the oil, and line on a serving platter. Sprinkle with walnuts, lightly pressing the walnuts into the tops of the cookies to stick.

Repeat this process with the rest of the cookies. To serve, serve warm with coffee. To store, keep them at room temperature, so that they stay soft.

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Hump Day Review of the Week: Emporium Pies | Dallas, TX

ImageImageImageImageIt was a warm and balmy night in Bishop Arts. We had just finished yet another satisfying meal at our beloved restaurant, Oddfellows (of which a proper review will be posted soon). In the distance, a lone saxophone pierced through the sounds of happy hipsters and fluttering families. The night was young and full of promise, so we decided to amble with the crowd and explore the sights and sounds of our new ‘hood. Continue reading

Gorgeous & Delicious: Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

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I know, I know… it’s been waaay to long since I’ve blogged any recipes. The truth is, Andy and I had a magical, wonderful whirlwind wedding weekend. (Try saying that three times fast).  We had family and friends fly in from all over the world to celebrate. The whole weekend was brimming with such a positive, happy energy, it’s carried over to real life. Yay!! But now, it’s back to the blog, and this week, I wanted to post something special. After a week of literally eating giant slices of wedding cake multiple times a day, I knew it was time to put down the cake fork and get back on the healthy track. I’m not one to normally take notice of the negative effects of too much sugar and gluten, but after eating so much cake, my body has definitely revolted, leaving me feeling ill and craving all things nutritious and healthful. But who’s to say healthy can’t still be yummy and sweet-tooth satisfying? After doing quite a bit of research online, I came up with my own perfect recipe for a no-bake, gluten free, chocolate peanut butter dessert that’s so decadent you would NEVER guess that its-SURPRISE!!!- healthy!! The bananas work really well as a binding ingredient for the bottom “dough” base, and are a perfect, creamy swap to butter. I didn’t go the extra step and buy vegan chocolate, but if you substitute vegan chocolate for the chocolate here, you will have a delicious VEGAN dessert as well! Just make sure to refrigerate at least 6 hours, but preferably overnight, so that it will firm up. Store in the fridge in an airtight container.  You can cut them into large, desert-style pieces, or little tiny bite-sized snackable squares . However you slice them, I promise you will LUURVE them! Man it feels good to be back in the kitchen….

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Mini Pavlova Clouds with Blackberry Rose Sauce

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I remember biting into my first ever pavlova while vacationing in London. It was just as much sensory experience as delicious dessert. Cracking into the outer shell, it crumbles like feather light, powdery confetti on your plate and hands. You can smell the egg and sugar and vanilla, intoxicating and heady as you take that first bite. And  as soon as that merengue hits your mouth, the crunchy shell evaporates on your tongue, and the insides are soft and gooey and luxurious. Depending on the sauce, it adds another element of decadence all together. Ever since that first Pavlovian bite, I have wanted to make some of my own.  I guess the whole merengue aspect has been daunting to me, as if  merengue were the stuff clouds were made of. I felt like you had to be some sort of culinary goddess to create it from scratch. But yesterday, with nothing but time on my hands and courage in the kitchen, I decided to brave my first pavlovas. The merengue recipe itself is adapted from Ina Garten’s recipe. The sauce is my own rosewater blackberry creation, as is the orange blossom whipped cream, and taste truly heavenly with the merengue. After creating these gorgeous pavlovas, I do feel like I have graduated into another culinary realm of personal success, as my journey goes on in this culinary jam. Or maybe my head is still in the clouds after devouring two of these in one sitting.

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Parisian Breakfast: Orange Crepe Suzette? Oui!

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So I got this super cool crepe maker as a wedding shower gift the other week, and have been dying to bust it out. The “crepe maker” actually consists of a wide, flat pan and a long wooden spatula, so don’t feel like you need a “crepe maker” to make a crepe, a shallow frying pan and a spatula will do just fine. I finally decided to break it in the other day, but we soon realized we didn’t have any fruit or anything that would really work to fill the crepes. And then I remembered my favorite dessert ever of all time at Pastis in NYC, the Crepe Suzette! *As a side note, if you are ever in New York, go to Pastis and order the crepe suzette there immediately. It is out of control.* Anyways, we then realized we didn’t have lemons, but we did have oranges, so I thought, why not try an orange crepe suzette? Ummm… yeah. It came out amazing. The orange is perfect with the crepe batter. It’s still citrus-y and bright, but just a bit sweeter than the traditional lemon one. I balanced out the sweetness with a little sea salt. Soooo yummy! I am so happy with this recipe, I can’t wait to make it again THIS weekend for breakfast!

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Better-than-a-Campfire S’mores Brownies

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It’s TGIF everyone! Woo-hoo!! Today I’m posting a recipe I found on one of my favorite blogs, www.Bakerella.com. If you are on any kind of diet, (which, of course, I am on since our wedding is in two months), do NOT visit this website! After practically drooling all over my key board over page after page of sugary, chocolatey, decadent-looking concoctions, I found one that I was like “Alright, I’m heading over to the grocery store right NOW so I can make these ridiculously delicious-looking brownies!!” Then I realized it was 11 pm and I had been on her blog for well over an hour and a half, and the store was probably closed. SO I sadly went to bed with thoughts of marshmallows and graham crackers dancing in my head. But the next morning, I awoke with a purpose. I went to the store, sped home, and started baking!! Yay! What, might you ask, caused such a munchies attack? Well, actually, for those who know me, this isn’t quite as rare an occurrence as I’m making it out to be… But, anyways, THIS is what stopped me dead in my tracks:

 

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Chocolate Tart w/ Pretzel Crust: For the Not-so-Healthy days

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Here’s a recipe that’ll get you through the work week! For the days when you’d rather eat a slice of pie (or tart, if you wanna get technical about it), sip on a steaming mug of java, curl up on the couch and leaf through the latest copy of Food and Wine than go to the office. I always try and eat healthy when I can, but I don’t forget to enjoy the decadent part of life and indulge in my favorite comfort classics once in a while, either. And for that, this pie should do the trick… It’s the perfect balance of salty, sweet, chocolate-y goodness. Just don’t eat the whole thing (I know that CAN be tempting) and you’ll be golden.

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Greek Yogurt Blueberry Pancakes

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This is my version of a Greek yogurt pancake. After a whole lot of experimenting with diffent recipes, and clunking around the kitchen on Saturday mornings like a mad scientist, I came up with my OWN version that yields a tasty, hearty, and pretty healthy pancake. It’s also pretty, all dressed up in orange zest and honey. This version uses honey as a sweetener instead of sugar, and 2% Greek yogurt versus the traditional (and played-out) buttermilk. I wouldn’t do the 0%, just because this is where you are getting most of your fat from, and they may end up tasting too bland with a lower fat content yogurt…The sea salt, lemon zest, and cinnamon add a little flavor dimension that-HOPEFULLY- won’t have you missing the full-fat version. Also, bananas work great in this recipe if you have a berry allergy or just to mix things up…You could also do a whole wheat flour if you wanna be a super healthy nut.   Continue reading