Month: January 2017

Lavender Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies and How To Gold-Splatter Sugar Cookies!

Lavender Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood and Abby Hollar of The Hollardays Blog. This is a simple recipe for homemade cutout sugar cookies flavored with dried lavender and vanilla bean paste. The icing is simple and dries quick and doesn't require a piping bag or tip like Royal icing. The gold lustre luster dust is mixed with alcohol to create a shiny metallic paint that you can splatter on your cookies with a basting brush. Find the tutorial and how to paint cookies on thewoodandspoon.com

This past week on “Real Housewives of Alabama,” Kate drove to the big city, hopped a plane to Orlando, and spent a kid-free weekend at the beach with her college girlfriends(!!!) Yes, it’s true- for a glorious 72 hours, there were no diapers to change, jobs to clock in to, dirty boxer-briefs to pick up off the floor. Just 4 gals, the crashing waves, and a super classy box of red wine. 

With no deadlines to meet or tiny humans to tend to, the hours of the day passed lazily with cozy blankets and rabbit trails of conversation that usually began with “Remember when…?” and ended in fits of laughter. Time away is good for the soul and helps me to dust off little bits of myself that ordinarily hide on the bookshelf. These girls have been around for over a decade now, and every time we see each other, I’m always reminded how good it feels to be known. What would we do without the people in our lives who love us without agenda and in spite of ourselves? Bless. Lavender Vanilla Bean Sugar CookiesLavender Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies

Lavender Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies
photos by jesse walsh dreamtown photo co

One of my little beach bunnies, Abby, recently started a lifestyle blog called The Hollar-Days where she shares DIYS, painting tutorials, and snippets from her life as wife and mama. Abby shares my love of delicious food and beverages, so when she suggested we plan a little beachside picnic for our girl’s trip, I was all in. A few cookies and cocktails later (you know, for “testing purposes”), we came up with a few treats that I’m thrilled to share with you.

Exhibit A: lavender vanilla bean sugar cookies. 

Lavender Vanilla Bean Sugar CookiesLavender Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies

These cookies are quite similar to my favorite cutout sugar cookies that I shared with you all a while ago, except they are speckled with bits of vanilla bean and dried lavender. I adapted my favorite icing recipe so that you can simply dip the face of the cookie in the glaze, and I have to say, it makes preparing these cookies easy breezy. While lavender vanilla bean sugar cookies are certainly special enough on their own, we decided to fancy them up a bit by splattering them with little gold speckles. I was inspired by a recent article in Martha Stewart Magazine and knew I needed an adaptation of my own. Maybe the girliest, most lovely little cookies of all time! 

Lavender Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies
photo by abby hollar

Abby, the super crafty lady that she is, came up with a coordinating champagne cocktail for us to enjoy and even hand-painted some tags to adorn the packaged cookies. With a vanilla bean simple syrup and super jazzy lavender bitters, champagne cocktails have never been so chic or Provencal (and you all know how I feel about the French).  Check out the her post for the cocktail recipe and watercolored tags as well as a few photos from our time at the beach. The rest of her blog is equally charming, and you may even catch a few snippets of her darling little Margot, who I’m certain is destined to be Aimee’s BFF someday. (Fingers crossed!!!)

Cookies are great, but sometimes, a little time away with your bests is just what the doctor ordered. Give these lavender vanilla bean sugar cookies a try, and share them with your favorite gals (or guys!) this coming Valentine’s Day. You can also find a few other delish cookie recipes to share with your besties here. Oh, and PS, I’m chomping at the bit to share ALL THE CHOCOLATE RECIPES with you guys throughout the month of February, so hold on to your hats, belts, and everything else, and prep your gullet for some melt in your mouth goodness. It’s going to be a delicious 28 days for us. Cheers to you!

Lavender Vanilla Bean Sugar CookiesLavender Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies

For a link to Abby’s cocktail recipe and Valentine’s gift tags, click here!

To check out the culinary lavender I purchased, click here!

To find lustre dust, click here!

 

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Lavender Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies

Lavender Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood and Abby Hollar of The Hollardays Blog. This is a simple recipe for homemade cutout sugar cookies flavored with dried lavender and vanilla bean paste. The icing is simple and dries quick and doesn't require a piping bag or tip like Royal icing. The gold lustre luster dust is mixed with alcohol to create a shiny metallic paint that you can splatter on your cookies with a basting brush. Find the tutorial and how to paint cookies on thewoodandspoon.com

The lavender vanilla bean sugar cookies are soft cutout cookies scented with dried lavender and vanilla bean. Decorated with a glaze and a gold splatter, the tutorial for these cookie is easy and fun!

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 45
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Category: Cookies
Scale

Ingredients

For the cookies

  • 1 teaspoon dried culinary lavender
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean extract

For the icing

  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 36 tablespoons of milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To decorate your cookies, you will need

  • Food grade gold lustre dust (see notes)
  • Clear extract or liquor (I use clear vanilla or vodka)
  • A silicone basting brush

Instructions

To prepare the cookies

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grind the lavender slightly using a food processor, coffee grinder, or mortar and pestle. Combine the lavender and remaining dry ingredients and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until smooth and well combined, about 2-3 minutes. Add the egg and extract and cream until combined. Add the dry ingredients and stir on low just until combined.
  4. Dump the dough crumbles out on to a lightly floured surface and work together into one ball with your hands. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to just over 1/4″ thicken and use a medium sized cookie cutter to cut shapes. If the dough ever gets too soft, refrigerate briefly.
  5. Place shapes on a baking sheet and freeze briefly for about 5 minutes.
  6. Once chilled, bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes and then cool on a cooling rack. Allow cookies to cool completely prior to icing.

For the icing

  1. Sift or whisk powdered sugar to remove lumps.
  2. Add 3 tablespoons of the milk and the extract, whisking until combined. Continue to add milk until it is the right viscosity. You will want thicker frosting for piping. To test viscosity, run your whisk or a knife through the bowl of frosting- your frosting should slowly move back together until you can’t see any trace of the whisk any longer. This process should take about 6-8 seconds. If the frosting is too thick, it will not pool back together, and if it is too thin, it will pool back together too quickly. Add more milk for a thinner icing and more powdered sugar if your icing becomes too thin.
  3. Cover tightly in a tupperware or with a wet paper towel if you are not using it immediately, as frosting will dry out and become clumpy. Whisk occasionally and add more milk if it becomes too thick.
  4. When ready to frost your cookies, cover your work space in wax paper. Set out some cookie racks to place your frosted cookies on. To frost, hold each cookie by its rim and dip the face of it directly into the icing. Allow any excess to drip off the sides. Add more milk or sugar, if desired, to modify the consistency of your icing.

To decorate your cookies

  1. Cover your workspace in parchment or wax paper. Lay dry, frosted cookies out on the paper.
  2. Scoop 1/4 teaspoon lustre dust into a small dish and add 1/8 teaspoon of extract or liquor. Stir until the lustre dust is all dissolved. You can add an additional 1/8 teaspoon of liquor, if needed, but take care to not add too much, as this can cause your sugar icing to dissolve and bubble up.
  3. Dip a silicone basting brush in the liquid gold, and dab any excess off on the side of the bowl. Do a test splatter on a paper towel or extra sheet of wax paper. To splatter, I hold my silicone brush parallel to the work surface, draw back slightly at the wrist, and then fling the brush downward, like you’re swatting a fly or hitting a drum. The size and shape of your silicone bristles can change the way your splatter looks, so do a few test splatters before you move to your cookies. Once ready to decorate your cookies, splatter then in the same manner you did your tester and allow to dry completely before packing or storing.

Notes

  • For a deeper, more concentrated gold color, use as little alcohol as you can. The more liquid in the splatter, the lighter it will be.
  • I tested this technique using a natural hair basting brush and it was not successful. I recommend a silicone brush for best effect.
  • If desired, you can pipe the icing on your cookies for a more polished, perfected look. There is a tutorial for this in the cookies archives of my blog. You will need you frosting to be a bit thicker.
  • Be sure to purchase food grade, edible lustre dust. I purchased mine on Amazon!

Adapted from: Bridget Edwards

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Cinnamon Swirl Bread Recipe by the Wood and Spoon blog by Kate Wood. This recipe makes two loaves of cinnamon babka or brioche style bread using butter and eggs. The bread is soft and sweet like Hawaiian bread but makes homemade bread similar to commercial breakfast bread. There is a tutorial on how to roll these fluffy loaves and how to get lots of swirls throughout. Find the recipe on thewoodandspoon.com

As a mom, one of the concepts I teach on repeat to my eldest is sharing. At two years old, my daughter already knows when she’s done wrong by refusing to share her toys, snacks, or even love and affection with others. I don’t expect her to master such a skill for quite some time, but I keep pushing her to do so, recognizing that learning to share from an early age will only benefit her.

We adults, though…. man, we really suck at sharing sometimes. We love to make things all about ourselves, and often withhold love, time, energy, and tangible items from those around us who want to share in it. I know that degree of selfishness is all over my life, so I’m thinking I can’t possibly be the only one, right?

This blog is intended to be a platform for sharing. Of course I want to give you recipes and ideas, tips and techniques, how-to’s and pretty photos to look at. But I also want to share thoughts. I want to give you encouragement and laughter and joy via words on these pages, and although I’m sure I’m not always successful in that, I wouldn’t dare quit trying. What use are your passions if you don’t share them with someone? What use are your gifts if you don’t give them away?

So, a challenge to you: share with someone today. Spend yourself on someone else. Volunteer, give a compliment, go the extra mile. Share a coffee, a lunch table, or ANYTHING. Whatever it looks like, just share. I don’t think you’ll regret it.

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

And speaking of sharing, let’s talk about this cinnamon swirl bread. I have to tell you that my message on sharing comes with the most selfish of motives. A long time favorite of mine is the cinnamon swirl bread from Edgar’s Bakery here in Alabama. It’s perfect, and if you’ve had it, you know why I’m raving about it. A girlfriend of mine asked them for the recipe, and I have questioned them for tidbits on the bread on countless occasions, but CAN YOU BELIEVE THEY DIDN’T SHARE IT WITH ME?? Ok, that’s sarcasm. If I had that recipe and was willing to bake and sell to the masses, I would retire early and spend the rest of my days baking those sweet baby angel loaves for anyone who would buy them from me.

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

I have spent months trying to get the filling on this bread right. MONTHS. I’m talking at least 15-20 test bakes. The end result is worth it. This cinnamon swirl bread is filled with butter, sugar, eggs, and probably even a few handfuls of pixie dust, because it is straight up magical. Similar to a babka, the dough for this bread is moist, buttery, and a bit stringy while being mixed up. After an initial rise, we roll it out super thin and spread it with a cinnamon sugar schmear that, if it weren’t entirely weird, I would consider scrubbing all over my bod. A few rolls, twists, and a rise later, the bread is popped in the oven until it’s dark, golden and fragrant enough to scent your entire home. 

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

This cinnamon swirl bread is the most delicious thing that I know how to make. It’s not the easiest thing I know how to make, but you can bet every bag of sugar at the grocery store that it’s the tastiest. If you have free time this week, I really think you should make this bread. Read through the instructions carefully, set out enough time for the rising of the bread, and plan on being patient with the process. The end result is life changing delicious, and you’ll be glad you have an extra loaf to stick in the freezer. You can do the extra kind thing and share your second loaf with a friend… but even I might be selfish enough to save it for myself. No judgement. 

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Happy Tuesday, Happy Baking, and Happy Sharing! Cheers to you!

 

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Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Cinnamon Swirl Bread Recipe by the Wood and Spoon blog by Kate Wood. This recipe makes two loaves of cinnamon babka or brioche style bread using butter and eggs. The bread is soft and sweet like Hawaiian bread but makes homemade bread similar to commercial breakfast bread. There is a tutorial on how to roll these fluffy loaves and how to get lots of swirls throughout. Find the recipe on thewoodandspoon.com

This cinnamon swirl bread recipe makes two loaves of fluffy, buttery bread that is spiced with cinnamon and swirled with brown sugar.

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 90
  • Cook Time: 60
  • Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 2 1x
  • Category: Bread
Scale

Ingredients

For the dough

  • 3/4 cup warm milk (not hot or cold)
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 3 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 3 1/4 cups (about 1 lb) all-purpose flour, with more for flouring surfaces
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk, white reserved
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

For the filling

  • 8 tablespoons melted butter, slightly cooled
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 egg white

For the loaves

  • 1 egg, lightly beaten with two teaspoons of water
  • parchment paper

Instructions

To prepare the dough

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together the warm milk and 2 teaspoons of sugar. Evenly sprinkle the yeast over top of the milk and allow the yeast to activate, about 5 minutes. The mixture should froth and foam slightly. You can stir it gently to make sure all the yeast has been moistened, but if the yeast does not foam, dump it out and start over. Once yeast has been activated, beat 1/2 cup of the flour in to the milk mixture using the paddle attachment. Once combined, add the remaining sugar, eggs, egg yolk, vanilla, and salt, and beat the mixture on medium speed until combined. On low speed, add the remainder of the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Once evenly combined, increase the speed to medium (I use speed number 4 on my Kitchen Aid stand mixer) and add the softened butter 1 tablespoon at a time. Scrape the sides of the bowl and then continue to beat on medium speed for an additional 4 minutes. The dough will be quite moist and sticky, and will hold together in long strands when you attempt to scoop it from the bowl.
  2. Lightly grease a large bowl and place the dough inside, covering it tightly with a piece of plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rest until it has approximately doubled in size, about 1-1/2-2 hours. Once the dough has nearly doubled in size, prepare the filling.

To prepare the filling

  1. Combine the cooled, melted butter, sugars, cinnamon, flour, and salt, stirring until combined. Add the egg white, stirring just until combined. You will use approximately ½ cup of filling for each loaf.

To prepare the loaves

  1. Once the dough has doubled in size, line 2 loaf pans (8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ x 2 3/4″) with parchment paper. Cut two sheets of parchment paper- one to fit the pan lengthwise and one to fit widthwise- with some extra paper to hang over the sides.
  2. Generously flour your work surface and rolling pin. Prepare your egg wash by whisking together the egg and water. Set aside.
  3. Gently punch the dough down into the bowl once and divide the dough in half. Take one half of the dough and lay it on your floured surface. Generously dust the top of the dough with flour as well. Using your rolling pin, roll your first piece of dough as evenly as possible into a 22″x10″ rectangle. (I even use a ruler!) You may need to re-flour your work surface if the dough begins to stick. Using a pastry brush, lightly paint the outside 1/2″ edges of your dough with your egg wash. Spread half of the filling (about ½ cup) evenly inside the egg wash border.
  4. Standing with one of the long edges closest to you, begin to tightly roll your dough away from you, forming a 22″ long roll of dough. Gently pinch the dough together at the seam to seal the filling inside the roll.
  5. Spread about 1-2 tablespoons of filling on the top of the roll of dough and then fold it on top of itself, forming an 11” long folded roll of dough. Shape the loaf, by pulling the ends of the dough roll together to form a “U” shape. Twist the two ends over each other twice to form a figure 8 shape and tuck the end pieces under the dough. Place your rolled loaf in one of the prepared pans and repeat the entire process with the remaining half of dough. Once both loaves have been formed, cover again with plastic wrap and allow to rise again for about 1-1/2-2 hours. The dough should rise about 1/2-1″ over the top of the pans. Do not let them over-rise.
  6. When the dough is nearly risen, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and brush the remaining egg wash over the tops of the loaves. Bake in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes, or until the tops are a dark golden brown and no longer squishy or underbaked looking. Look especially for underbaked parts in the creases of the twists on top of the loaves. Allow to cool in the pans on a cooling rack for about 20 minutes and then remove from the pan to cool completely.

Recipe Adapted From: NYT

Cheddar Cornmeal Chicken Pot Pie

Cheddar Cornmeal Chicken Pot Pie recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate wood. Adapted from ina garten's recipe, this pot pie is made in a skillet or dutch oven and it super simple. The pie crust has cheddar cheese and corn Meal, thyme, rosemary, and other herbs and is flaky from butter and shortening- it ends up tasting like a cheese straw! The filling has peas, pearl onions, and carrots and is thickened by a roux made of flour and butter. Find this comfort food recipe to serve for a cold weather family dinner on thewoodandspoo.com . pastry, pie.

Full disclosure- it’s 65 degrees outside. I can almost promise that there’s not a single person in the state of Alabama that is actually interested in eating this cheddar cornmeal chicken pot pie right now. But sometimes we do weird stuff on this blog, so let’s not shy away from it. Let’s just go for it.

Growing up, I can remember eating those personal pot pies that came frozen in a tiny foil pie pan. I’d pick out the peas and hide them under the rim of my bowl until the dog got close enough to eat them out of the palm of my sticky little paw. Now, as an adult, I appreciate pot pie for its comfort. A thick and buttery stew, bubbling with chunks of chicken and diced veggies, all topped with a flaky pie crust, somehow feels cozier than a cable knit sweater. Pot pie dinners feel like home.

Cheddar Cornmeal Chicken Pot PieCheddar Cornmeal Chicken Pot Pie

This, my friends, it not your average pot pie. This cheddar cornmeal chicken pot pie is the sexy, Southern cousin of the regular ole’ pot pie that swoops in from out of town, steals your boyfriend, and sends everyone running to the store for cheddar cheese so that they can be cool like the new kid. 

The filling, adapted from Ina Garten’s famous recipe, is unassumingly delicious. Carrots, peas, chicken, onions, and enough butter to grease up Danny Zuko and the rest of the T-Birds, comes together in one pot to make a thick and creamy filling. The surprising part of this dish- the part that would make you slap yo mama and sing the Hallelujah Chorus- is the crust. Cornmeal and sharp cheddar cheese are the stars of this show, providing a crunch and creamy tang with every bite. Spiced with black pepper, garlic, and a few savory herbs, the crust on this cheddar cornmeal pot pie is like a pie crust meets Southern cheese straw. If that doesn’t shoot this dish to the top of your dinner menu, then I don’t know anything, apparently. 

Cheddar Cornmeal Chicken Pot Pie

Since coming up with this dish, my somewhat critical eater of a husband has said that this is the single best dish in active rotation at our house, so I tend to make it quite a bit. Thankfully, this is a dish that requires little active cooking time, and the cheddar cornmeal crust can be made (or even frozen!) ahead of time. I haven’t tried freezing and reheating a whole pot pie yet, but I have high hopes that there’s potential there. If anyone tries this out, please, do inform. 

Cheddar Cornmeal Chicken Pot PieCheddar Cornmeal Chicken Pot Pie

If you’re somewhere cold or in need of a dose of comfort food, you should definitely give this cheddar cornmeal chicken pot pie a try. Although, if you’re reading this from Alabama, maybe just wait until we’re back to the regularly scheduled January weather. Or not. No one is judging, so if you make it now, I won’t care. Cheers to you and Happy Tuesday!
Cheddar Cornmeal Chicken Pot Pie
 
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Cheddar Cornmeal Chicken Pot Pie

Cheddar Cornmeal Chicken Pot Pie recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate wood. Adapted from ina garten's recipe, this pot pie is made in a skillet or dutch oven and it super simple. The pie crust has cheddar cheese and corn Meal, thyme, rosemary, and other herbs and is flaky from butter and shortening- it ends up tasting like a cheese straw! The filling has peas, pearl onions, and carrots and is thickened by a roux made of flour and butter. Find this comfort food recipe to serve for a cold weather family dinner on thewoodandspoo.com . pastry, pie.

This cheddar cornmeal chicken pot pie is a traditional chicken pot pie, filled with chicken, carrots, peas, and buttery onions, all topped with a cheddar, cornmeal, black pepper, and herb crust.

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Cook Time: 120
  • Total Time: 120
Scale

Ingredients

For the cheddar cornmeal crust

  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder (optional)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • 1/3 cup shortening, cold and cubed
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I prefer sharp cheddar)
  • 24 tablespoons ice water, more if needed

For the pot pie filling (adapted from Ina Garten)

  • 21/4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 11/2 cups chopped yellow onion
  • 6 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 31/2 cups of diced cooked chicken (I use cooked breast meat)
  • 1 cups small diced carrots
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley leaves (you can substitute a reduced amount of dried parsley)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 egg

Instructions

To prepare the cheddar cornmeal crust

  1. In the bowl of a food processor, whiz together the cornmeal, flour, salt, sugar, pepper, and dried herbs and seasonings for about 30 seconds. Add the butter and shortening and pulse in the processor until marble sized clumps form. Add the cheese and pulse a few more times until well combined and the pea sized clumps forms. Add 2 tablespoons of the ice water and pulse until the dough begins to come together, adding an additional tablespoon of water or two if needed. Do no over-process.
  2. Dump the dough crumbles out on to the counter and form into a round, flat disk. Cover in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least an hour, or up to three days.

To prepare the pot pie

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a small saucepan, warm the chicken stock and bouillon cube over medium heat, but do not boil. In a large dutch oven or pot, add the butter and onions, cooking over medium heat and stirring frequently until the onions are translucent (about 10 minutes). Add the flour and cook for 2 minutes, stirring all the while. Add the chicken stock mixture and continue to cook while stirring for an additional minute. Once the sauce has thickened, add the chicken, carrots, peas, parsley, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Mix well and turn the heat off.
  3. Pour the pot pie filling into a 10″ cast iron skillet, or another glass/ceramic baking dish that the pot pie can nearly fill to capacity. Whisk the egg with a tablespoon of water and brush the mixture on the lip of the pan. This will help the pot pie crust to stick to the pan, but is optional and may not be necessary depending on your pan.
  4. On a floured surface, roll your crust out until it is 2 inches wider on all sides than the size of your pan. Be sure to keep your surface and pin well floured to keep from sticking. Transfer the crust to the skillet (I roll the dough loosely back on to the rolling pin and then gently roll it back out on top of the pan), trimming the edges, and crimping them as desired. Brush the top of the pie with the egg wash and cut a few vent slits on the top of the pie. Place in the oven and bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling underneath. If the crust or edges are golden or burning before the filling is bubbling, cover loosely with a piece of foil. Allow to set for about 20-30 minutes before serving.

Notes

Notes

  • The herbs and seasonings in the dough are optional but highly recommended as they add tremendous flavor!
  • I have tested many variations of this dough, and this is the one I was most pleased with. I have attempted using all butter, and while the taste is terrific, the texture is not as preferable to me. It’s quite delicate and may be somewhat crumbly crye shaping it for the pot pie lid, but the taste is worth the effort.

Trail Mix Cookies

Trail Mix Cookies recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. Fun cookies to make with kids! These trail mix cookies have raisins, chocolate candies (m&M's), peanuts and oats! The cookies have crisp edges and chewy centers and are simple and easy to make. Requires short time and one bowl to make. Trail mix cookies are good summer camp recipe, school recipe, craft idea to bake with kids. Find the recipe on thewoodandspoon.com

There’s a few things I need to get off my chest today. So if you were in need of another inappropriate post about my breasts- here it is. (!!!)

Let me start with a shout out to all the baby mamas out there that manage to nurse their children for extended periods of time. Ladies, how do you do it? Is there some sort of magic cream or ancient metal nipple shields that I need to know about? When the kid starts teething, do you play through the pain? Because over here, it is just NOT HAPPENING. 

 

George is 8 months old today (Why?! How?! When?! Didn’t this just happen yesterday?), and although he is still nursing, I can promise you that his days of voyaging on the Maidens of the Milk (my boobs, obviously) are numbered. Teeth, dwindling supply, and a vivacious 2 year old sister that is highly distracting every time George saddles up to the bar (again, my boobs) has got me counting down the days till we’re done.

I know that a lot of moms really love nursing, and I know that it’s a special bonding experience for mama and her baby. Yes, breast milk has all of the vitamins, and it’s so much less expensive, and the convenience of having a vending machine strapped inside your bra is just a ridiculous benefit to pass up. But George and I have bonded. He’s growing and healthy, I’ve got some milk stored in the freezer, and to be honest, I’d probably empty out all of the money in my purse right now if it meant never having to hear the mechanical “whee-woo, whee-woo, whee-woo” of my Medela breast pump ever again. There’s so many wonderful benefits to breastfeeding, but what I’m trying to say is, I think we’re almost done.

Trail Mix CookiesTrail Mix CookiesThe most selfish gain I’ve had from getting to nurse my babies is the snacks- those extra calories I get to indulge in each day. At our house, there’s never any shortage of snacks, and recently, we added trail mix cookies to the list of favorites. These trail mix cookies are pretty much always my next snack waiting to happen. Peanuts, chocolate candies, raisins, and oats, all stuffed into a delicious cookie dough that bakes up golden and delicious. A combination of my loaded oatmeal cookie dough and candied walnut chocolate chip cookies, these trail mix cookies are packed with all the trail mix fixin’s and are adaptable to include any other toppings you may have a hankering for. Cashews? Yup. Toffee? Sure. Reese’s Pieces? Do ya thang. 

Trail Mix CookiesTrail Mix Cookies

We tried some trail mix cookies while visiting Blackberry Farm a few weeks ago, and I spent my first few days home making test batches of the cookies to get them just right. The dough starts by creaming butter and sugar until it’s light and fluffy. After adding eggs, vanilla, and a sprinkling of dry ingredients, you dump in all the trail mix goodies you can find. Give the dough a quick chill (or a long one, if you want puffier, chewy cookies), and just try not to eat it all straight from the bowl. It’s that good. These trail mix cookies have crisp edges and chewy centers, but if you’re anything like me, you may opt to bake them until they’re golden brown, with little crunchy bits throughout.

Unless you’re an 8 month old on an all-milk diet, you need trail mix cookies in your repertoire. Sweet, salty, or whatever your craving is, these trail mix cookies are sure to satisfy the urge to snack. Give them a try and let me know what you think! There’s loads of other cookie recipes on the cookie recipe page of my site, so give that a check too. Oh, and enjoy this happy little video that I made for you all! Happy Wednesday and cheers to you!

Trail Mix Cookies

 

 

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Trail Mix Cookies

Trail Mix Cookies recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. Fun cookies to make with kids! These trail mix cookies have raisins, chocolate candies (m&M's), peanuts and oats! The cookies have crisp edges and chewy centers and are simple and easy to make. Requires short time and one bowl to make. Trail mix cookies are good summer camp recipe, school recipe, craft idea to bake with kids. Find the recipe on thewoodandspoon.com

With chopped peanuts, raisins, chocolate candy, and oats, these trail mix cookies are sweet, salty, and simple cookies that are sure to please a crowd.

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 30 1x
Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 21/4 cups flour
  • 1 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon corn starch
  • 1 cup candy coated chocolate (like M&Ms)
  • 3/4 cups unsalted peanuts, chopped
  • 3/4 cups raisins

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugars. Start on low until incorporated and then increase to medium, beating until smooth, creamy, and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat on low just until incorporated, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. In a small bowl, combine the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and corn starch. Add the bowl of dry ingredients to the butter mixture and beat on low just until the mixture is combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed and add the chocolate, peanuts, and raisins, stirring on low just until combined.
  3. Scoop 3 tablespoon sized balls of dough (I use a large cookie scoop) about 3 inches apart on to a cookie sheet prepared with a silicone baking sheet or parchment paper. These cookies are large and in charge and they need room on the baking sheet. If the dough is not cool to the touch and slightly firm, place the baking sheet with dough balls in the fridge for about 5-10 minutes to allow the dough to set up- this keeps the cookies from spreading too much. Once ready, place the pan in the oven and bake until the edges and top of the cookie are beginning to turn golden and have set up, about 9 minutes. The centers will still appear underdone. Cool on a cooling rack, or just dive right in and enjoy.

Notes

  • For crunchy, textured cookies, refrigerate for less time and bake a minute or two longer, or until the cookies is golden all over the top. For a chewy, softer cookie, refrigerate the dough for an hour and then bake for recommended length of time.

Meyer Lemon Cheesecake

Blackberry Farm for Meyer Lemon Cheesecake Post Recipe by the wood and spoon blog by kate wood blogger. this is a simple citrus cheesecake with a chocolate black bottom and homemade chocolate cookie crust made without Oreo's. Follow the instructions perfectly to get a cheesecake with a flat, smooth top without cracks every time. Drizzle with extra chocolate sauce or top with Meyer lemon slices for decoration. This is what to do with you Meyer lemons! Find the recipe for this easy cheesecake prepared with a water bath in a springform pan on thewoodandspoon.com

New Year’s Eve is slowly inching its way up my list of favorite holidays. Birthdays, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, yes… but New Year’s Eve? There’s never any shortage of party.

For the second year in a row, we earned our New Year’s Day hangovers in the hills of the Smoky Mountains at Blackberry Farm in Walland, TN. A luxury hotel boasting strong culinary offerings and a James Beard Award winning wine and dining program, Blackberry Farm is a cozy, Southern retreat for those in need of a good meal and R&R. We visited Blackberry Farm this time last year (you may remember this post about it), and enjoyed it so much that we made reservations to visit again only a week or two after returning home. The resort, just as I recalled, was nothing short of magnificent, and we had a terrific time ringing in the New Year.

2017-01-04_0011Blackberry Farm for Meyer Lemon Cheesecake PostBlackberry Farm for Meyer Lemon Cheesecake Post

Much like last year, Brett and I made the trip north with our friends Rayne and James. Leading up to the trip, Rayne and I spent an obnoxious amount of time preparing our packing lists, which included shopping for glamorous outfits to wear to the New Year’s Eve party. After searching everywhere for the perfect cocktail dress, I ended up raiding my sister’s closet, borrowing her black lace dress from last year’s homecoming. 

All of the trip preparation ended up being totally worth it because the New Year’s Eve party did not disappoint. I spent the evening fangirling some country music stars that were at the party (*cough* Little Big Town and Rascal Flatts *cough*), tripping over the dance floor with Brett, and eating my feelings at the dessert bar (see below for exhibit A). The party was rad, but honestly, who wouldn’t feel like a million bucks dancing the night away with their man-friend and sipping champagne cocktails with their BFF. Also, let’s not forget that I had managed to shimmy myself into my teenage sister’s LBD- a little fact that made me fist pump every time I thought about it. 

Blackberry Farm for Meyer Lemon Cheesecake PostThe weekend was incredibly relaxing, complete with some walks around the property, morning yoga, a trip to the spa, and a few hours each day spent cuddled around the fire. The only downside was the two (or seven) pounds I gained while there from day drinking consuming so much food. WORTH IT. Blackberry Farm boasts some of the best food and dining I’ve ever experienced in my life, so I spared no calorie, sip, or bite in making sure that I got the best of what the resort had to offer. I meant to bring my camera to share some images of the trip, but I saved my luggage space for all the pairs of Spanx I needed, so you’ll have to settle for these iPhone shots instead. Even so, there’s no denying the beauty of Blackberry Farm and the fun that we tucked under our belts there. If you ever get the opportunity to visit, I urge you to do so- it’s fab. 

So are you ready to hear about this Meyer lemon cheesecake yet? 

Meyer Lemon Cheesecake

Meyer lemons are the sweeter, more floral tasting sister fruit to the regular old lemons you might commonly buy. They usually pop up in the grocery stores throughout the winter, so if you see them, GET THEM. They are a prize to be honored in your kitchens, and add wonderful flavor to sweet and savory dishes alike. 

This Meyer lemon cheesecake features a rich chocolate crust and a thin layer of chocolate cheesecake on the bottom. We start by preparing the crust which zips together quickly before being pressed into the bottom of a springform pan. The recipe for the cheesecake filling is no fail, in my opinion, because it never cracks, is always creamy, and is the perfect balance of sweet and tart. With a bit of cream cheese, eggs, and sugar, the filling beats together to create a thick and luscious filling that is so tasty, you may find yourself licking the bowl. Take care while preparing the cheesecake filling to follow the instructions closely, because there’s nothing worse than pulling your cheesecake out of the oven only to find that it’s burned, cracked, runny, or soggy crusted from a leaky waterbath. #beenthere #donethatBlackberry Farm for Meyer Lemon Cheesecake Post

Meyer lemon cheesecake, with its fancy citrus, black bottom, and rich, decadent taste, feels like a fancy dessert fit for celebrating the new year. Maybe throw on your little sister’s dress, eat some cheesecake, and feel like a rockstar for a minute. Maybe make this Meyer lemon cheesecake and dream about all the good stuff this coming year has for you. My prayer is you’ll find lots of joy, love, and cake in 2017. Happy New Year!

Meyer Lemon Cheesecake

 

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Meyer Lemon Cheesecake

Blackberry Farm for Meyer Lemon Cheesecake Post Recipe by the wood and spoon blog by kate wood blogger. this is a simple citrus cheesecake with a chocolate black bottom and homemade chocolate cookie crust made without Oreo's. Follow the instructions perfectly to get a cheesecake with a flat, smooth top without cracks every time. Drizzle with extra chocolate sauce or top with Meyer lemon slices for decoration. This is what to do with you Meyer lemons! Find the recipe for this easy cheesecake prepared with a water bath in a springform pan on thewoodandspoon.com

This meyer lemon cheesecake is a black bottom cheesecake with a chocolate crust. Tart and creamy, this cheesecake is a great make ahead dessert option, and is a rich and lemony treat, perfect for the chocolate and fruit lovers in your life!

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 90
  • Total Time: 2 hours
Scale

Ingredients

For the chocolate crust

  • 1 cup (130 gm) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 3/4 cup (65 gm) cocoa powder, sifted
  • 2/3 (80 gm) cup flour, sifted
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup (115 gm) butter, melted

For the cheesecake

  • 6 ounces (170 gm) semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 11/2 pounds/ 3 blocks (680 gm) of cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (155 gm) sugar
  • 3 large eggs (170 gm), room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons (90 ml) heavy cream, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 41/4 tablespoons (65 ml) of meyer lemon juice (about the juice of 11/2 large meyer lemons)
  • 1 tablespoon of packed meyer lemon zest (about the zest of 2 large meyer lemons- avoid the white pith)

Instructions

To prepare the chocolate crust

  1. Prepare a 9″ springform pan by wrapping it in sheets of aluminum foil. I use 3 layers of extra wide foil wrapped to the top lip of the pan. Spray the inside walls and bottom of the pan with cooking spray.
  2. Stir together the dry ingredients until combined. Add the melted butter and stir just until combined. Gently pat out your chocolate mixture evenly into the bottom of the pan. Set aside while you prepare the cheesecake filling.

To prepare the cheesecake

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and get some water boiling in a kettle or saucepan for your water bath.
  2. Set a glass bowl over a pot of simmering water and melt chocolate. Set aside to cool slightly.
  3. Beat cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer at medium speed (I use 4 on my Kitchen Aid Mixer) for 2 minutes to remove all clumps. Do not overbeat, but scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. If many clumps remain, ensure that your cream cheese has softened to room temp.
  4. Add the sugar and beat on medium for an additional 1 minute. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat to combine an additional 1 minute. Scrape the sides of the bowl and then add the heavy cream, vanilla, and lemon juice. Beat to combine.
  5. Strain the cheesecake batter through a mesh strainer into a reserved bowl and then fold in the lemon zest. Remove 3/4 cup of the cheesecake batter and stir it into the melted chocolate. Spread the chocolate cheesecake over the top of the chocolate crust. Next, pour the remaining cheesecake batter over top of the chocolate layer. Gently rap the pan on the counter to help any air bubbles escape.
  6. Place your springform pan into a slightly larger baking dish/pan and fill the larger pan with the boiling water you prepared for the water bath until the water reaches about halfway up the sides of the springform pan.
  7. Carefully place both pans in the preheated oven and bake for 1 hour. After an hour of baking, the edges and top of the cheesecake should be set but still slightly jiggle in the center. Turn the oven off and allow the cheesecake to bake for an additional 30 minutes in the oven. Prop the door of the oven open slightly with a wooden spoon and continue to cool the cheesecake for another 30 minutes in the cooling oven.
  8. Discard the water bath, remove the foil and then place the cheesecake in the fridge to chill for several hours or overnight. The cheesecake can be stored in the fridge for several days.

Notes

Notes

  • I wrap my springform pan with three layers of heavy duty aluminum foil. This is to protect your crust from any water leakage of your springform pan. Many pans will claim to be waterproof but your crust will get soggy and inedible if water leakage happens. Don’t take any chances!
  • I use a 11″ round cake pan for my water bath but you can use any oven-safe dish that you have. Once of my readers used a roasting pan and that works just fine!
  • The cooling process seems lengthy and unnecessary, but it helps to prevent drastic temperature changes that can cause structural issues with your cake.