Irish Soda Bread with Salted Honey Butter

Happy St. Patrick's Day and Cheers to you all, my friends! I realize today is Thirsty Thursday, and you may think, what better day to share a cocktail recipe with you... but I stand behind my delicious Basil Cocktail from last week. And, I wanted to bake for you all today instead. I'm just full of surprises. As Nola says in the 2005 classic film Hustle & Flow, "Gotta keep the tricks guessing!" Or something like that.

I'll be the first to admit that Irish cuisine isn't at the top of my culinary repertoire, but any excuse to eat a carb is good enough for me. The real bonus here is that unlike most bread recipes, this is yeast-free, aka no rising time, aka you can make it and eat it in about an hour, aka watch out summer waistline, this bread is your nemesis. Whatever, you all still love me right? 

This recipe is inspired by my homegirl Jessica over at HowSweetEats - aka the food blog with the best photography this side of the Mississippi. I swear, everything she makes is drool-inducing and I find myself recreating her recipes at least twice a week. So head on over there for the full recipe. (Note: I made this my own by omitting the chocolate chips and cutting the sugar content in half, as I wanted a more savory finish. Feel free to ask me questions on how I did so in the comments below!)

Until then, I'll leave you with this:

Ah, heaven. Enjoy!

Heart-Shaped Chocolate Shortbread

Good morning, and happy chilly (read: frigid) V Day! Is everyone else as officially over this arctic weather as I am? Being from the east coast, I truly don't mind the cold. However, when it is painful to set foot outdoors, all of that goes out the window. And seeing that it is painful to endure today's single digit temps, it seems only right that I should stay in and bake something cozy. Enter, chocolate shortbread. The best part about these cookies? You probably have all of the ingredients in your pantry right now - they don't even require eggs! Plus, they're cute for Valentine's day, if you're into that sort of thing.

To make this oh-so-simple recipe, sift together 2 cups of flour with 2/3 cup of cocoa powder and set aside. In the bowl of a standing mixer, cream 2 sticks of softened butter with 1/2 cup of granulated sugar, a pinch of salt, and a splash of vanilla. (I literally never measure vanilla extract. I know, I like to live dangerously.) Slowly add in the dry ingredients and mix until combined, then roll out onto a sheet of wax paper until it is about 1/4" thick, and place in the fridge to chill.

After half an hour, remove from the fridge, and cut into heart shapes. Place on a baking sheet (you can fit lots on here, as they don't spread when baking) and bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Allow to cool fully and decorate (or not) as desired. I melted some chocolate and used pink and silver decorating sugars because I was feeling fancy. Though these are equally wonderful eaten sans decor.

Obviously, this recipe is not V Day specific, but those little hearts are just so damn cute. And being that you surely have all the ingredients on hand - you don't even need to run out for eggs! - there really is no excuse not to make these today. Go ahead, I'll wait. Oh, and if you have any left over, send them my way. XO

Chocolate Rugelach

So its #NationalCookieDay, and around here that means a couple of things. A- it gives me an excuse to make/eat cookies for breakfast. (Cause there's totally no other day of the year that I would do that. I definitely don't eat cookies for breakfast at least once a week. Not me.) And B- I get to try some new recipes out to share with all of you.

I figured with Hanukkah right around the corner, there's no time like the present to give a twist to the classic rugelach. See what I did there? Twist? Cause rugelach are spiral? No? Anyway, terrible sex-and-the-city-style puns aside, these cookies are the bomb.com - double chocolate, rich and indulgent, with pistachios and sea salt to balance it all out. I know these are making it to my Hanukkah menu this year. (Along with a couple other goodies that you'll have to stay tuned for!)

To get the drool worthy recipe, head over to BonAppetit and check it out for yourself. And if you're anything like me, try not to get lost in the dreamy food photography on your screen. Until next time, Chag Chanuka Sameach! x

Fall Fruit Galette

Hello friends! Happy Monday, or as I'm calling it, happy-three-day-week-leading-up-to-the-best-foodie-holiday-of-the-year. If you're anything like me, you love the T-givs classics, but are open to a sneaking a little something new and special into your menu every year. I thought it would be a perfect time to share with you this Fall Fruit Galette - a warm and comforting mixture of pink lady apples, cranberries and bosc pears, all wrapped up in a flaky, buttery crust. It's as easy as pie. Actually, it's easier than pie, and tastes just as good (or better). Read on for the recipe below. 

Now, I've made a galette on #MOGBLOG before, so feel free to make the failsafe crust recipe from my strawberry rhubarb summer galette here

For the filling, make sure to peel your apples and pears (about 2 of each), and slice on the thinner side (I'd say about 1/8th of an inch thick if you can) and toss them and your cranberries with 1/2 cup of sugar 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and 3 tablespoons of flour. 

To prepare, remove your chilled dough from the refrigerator, place on a floured surface and roll out quite thinly into the shape you'd like your finished galette to be. I made a rectangle today, though circular are just as easy to make, too! Then, lift your crust onto a baking sheet, and place your fruits inside, being sure to leave about an inch border all around. Fold the edges of the crust over and brush with melted butter or an egg wash for a golden finish and bake for around 40 minutes. (By the way, totally optional but fancy-looking step here is to add some slivered almonds about 10 minutes before the end of the baking time. I find they really add a welcome moment of texture to the finished product.)

I mean come on. Just look at this. So simple, so impressive looking, and just as tasty as a pie, only with way less effort. What I love about this one in particular is its not-too-sweet flavor. It makes a marvelous finish after a big meal without weighing yourself down with a teeth-hurting saccharine confection. (Though let's be real, there's a time and a place for that, too.)

Do give this one a try at your Thanksgiving table this year, I'm sure it'll be a real hit. And happy early Thanksgiving from me to all of you! Cheers. x

#NationalDonutDay

Happy #NationalDonutDay everyone! Being that the holiday also happens to fall on a #ThirstyThursday this year, I thought I'd celebrate with a recipe combining my two favorite things in life - sweets & libations. Hence, these Maple Bourbon Bacon Donuts were born.

Did I pique your interest yet? I sure hope so. I mean look at them. Golden brown and fluffy, covered in a scrumptious maple syrup and bourbon glaze, and sprinkled with salty, smoky bacon. I mean, I don't think I even need to say more. Except maybe give you the recipe. Cause I know you wanna try em. Read on below:

For the Donuts: Start by frying up 4 - 6 pieces of thick cut bacon. Yes, fry them. Now is not the time for one of those microwave tray things. You'll need the rendered fat. (I know.) Now, set aside your bacon and crumble for topping the donuts later... and maybe eat a slice or two while you're baking. Once your fat has cooled, combine it (about 1/4 cup) with 3/4 cup of milk. Then, activate 1 packed of yeast in 1/4 cup warm water in the bowl of your standing mixer. (You know the drill.) Once it's foamy, pour in your milk/fat mixture, one egg, and spices (2 1/2 tablespoons sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice). Give everything a good mix, and slowly add 2 1/2 - 3 cups of flour. Everyone's dough will be different here. I needed close to 3. Once that's kneaded, allow it to rise for about an hour before rolling it out and cutting out your circles. Then, set aside your donuts on a tray for another half hour to rise once more before frying.

To Fry: Add about an inch and a half of canola oil to a heavy bottomed pot (I used my dutch oven) and heat until the surface looks shiny and the end of a wooden spoon forms tiny bubbles when inserted. Then (carefully!) lower in 2-3 donuts at a time and cook for just about a minute per side. Remove and put on a wire rack to cool briefly before topping with your glaze.

For the Glaze: Combine 1 cup of powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon of maple syrup, 2 teaspoons milk and 1 teaspoon of good quality bourbon. Stir together with a whisk to form a thick glaze. If it's too think for you, add more milk (a drop at a time) to desired consistency. Dip the donuts and sprinkle with reserved bacon.

Eat immediately. And try not to eat the whole batch yourself. Or do it. I won't stop you. x

I'm Back! And I Brought Cookies!

HELLO my loves! Let's address the elephant in the room, shall we? I've neglected you. Left you high and dry. Honestly, how did you even get through the past couple of weeks without my sartorial advice and witty quips?? Full disclosure, it isn't because I don't love you. I've just been going through it lately. If "it" is the USA. Literally. I just drove across the country. Cause I moved. To the City of Brotherly Love. Goodbye LA LA Land. Hello Philly. There's a new blog in town.

So, as a consolation for abandoning you, I made cookies. And these cookies are GOOD. Like hopefully good enough for you to forgive me for leaving you high and dry. Honestly, even if you don't forgive me, do yourself a favor and make these. They are truly the sweetest way to celebrate #NationalPumpkinDay. Check the recipe below:

In a medium bowl combine 1 and 2/3 cups of flour, 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and 1/4 teaspoon salt. In a large bowl, cream together 1 stick of softened butter, 3/4 cup brown sugar, and 1/4 cup sugar. Then, add 1 egg, 3 Tablespoons of pumpkin puree and splash of vanilla. (I never measure. Live dangerously, you know?) Slowly add your dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Fold in 1 cup of chocolate chips and drop by rounded tablespoons onto a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes or until edges are browned and centers are set. Let them cool on the tray about 5 minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. If you can. Or just eat them off the tray. No judgement.

So there it is. Can we be friends again now? Actually, make sure you eat a cookie and then get back to me about that. X

Round Challah for Rosh Hashanah

L'Shanah Tovah! Happy New Year to all - in honor of the Jewish New Year, beginning tonight at sundown, I'm sharing with you perhaps the tastiest (and most versatile) of bread recipes. That's right, the legendary Challah.

Many people, Jews and non-Jews alike, are familiar with its delicious fluffy texture, and gorgeous braided appearance; but perhaps are unfamiliar with its significance to this holiday. Its shape - round at this time of year, rather than its usual loaf-shape, is symbolic of the cyclical nature of a year. Another thing about Challah that many people may not be aware of is how truly easy it is to make. Check out the oh-so-simple recipe below:

To begin, simply mix a packet (about 2 teaspoons) of instant yeast in a cup of lukewarm water, with a pinch of sugar. While that is activating, whisk together 4 1/2 cups of flour, 1/4 cup of sugar, and 2 teaspoons of salt in a large bowl. Form a well in the middle and pour into it 1/4 cup of vegetable oil and 2 large eggs, plus one yolk (save the white for the egg wash... that comes later.) Start slowly mixing them together, using a fork, and as the flour starts to combine, pour your (now foamy) yeast mixture into the mix. Combine until a shaggy, tacky dough forms, and dump out onto a floured surface to knead for a few minutes. Once it is a smooth ball, place it in an oiled bowl to rise for a couple hours. When doubled in size, punch the dough down and dump out onto a floured surface. Cut the dough in half, and set one half aside - did I mention this recipe makes 2 loaves?? To braid into a circular shape - follow along in the infographic below:

(In other words: cut into 4 even pieces, roll those pieces into long ropes, make a tic-tac-toe shape with them - overlapping as shown, and then cross one over another clockwise, then one over another counterclockwise, and vice versa until the ends are too short... at which point, tuck them underneath, and transfer your beautiful braided loaf to a parchment-lined baking sheet.) 

Then, brush your reserved egg white over the tops of your loaves, and sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds if desired. Pop them into a 330 degree oven for about 25-30 minutes, rotating the trays halfway through.

Once they're cooled (if you can wait that long) slice and top with whatever your heart desires. Truly. Challah is so versatile. I'm eating mine toasted with cream cheese, pomegranate seeds and a drizzle of honey (pomegranate and honey are also significant to the holiday, FYI). It makes phenomenal french toast, grilled cheeses, even BLTs - sacrilege, I know. But seriously. Get to baking. You still have a couple days to celebrate. Go for it - and happy new year! x

Late Summer Tomato Pie

Hey y'all! I hope you're enjoying your Labor Day Weekend so far. I know I am. I hope you've got big plans for yourselves. And I hope they involve giving this Tomato Pie a try. Now, I know today is technically National Cheese Pizza Day, and this is kind of a pizza... though it isn't super cheesy. But humor me. You won't even miss it.

What makes this recipe so spectacular is the quality and simplicity of the few ingredients. If you're anything like me, you have an abundance of tomatoes at this time of year - or if not, they are super easy to find at the market. For this, I use heirloom tomatoes in a bunch of different sizes, some seedless tomato sauce, dried oregano, fresh basil, and garlic. And of course, pizza dough. Check out this oh so simple recipe below:

Use a 1 lb ball of pizza dough (which most grocery stores carry these days) or you can make it from scratch. There's a ton of great pizza dough recipes out there, but you can give my homegirl Laura Vitale's recipe a try here if you've got some time and wanna make your own. Let it sit on a floured surface at room temp about 30 minutes until its nice and pliable while preheating your oven to 450 degrees. Once its easy to work with, stretch it out a bit and place it into a well seasoned cast iron pan. Pop it in the oven while it finishes preheating (maybe 5 minutes) to let the crust soften a bit more, and take it out.

Top with a generous spread of seedless tomato sauce, arrange slices of tomatoes, and thinly sliced garlic, a hearty pinch of oregano, drizzle of olive oil and bake it in the oven about 20-25 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. You know what pizza is supposed to look like. When it comes out of the oven, top with some freshly chopped basil, and freshly shredded parmesan (the good stuff). Oh my Gwyneth is this ever good.

Give this a try. It's so easy. You won't regret it. Be sure to comment if you give it a try, and let me know how much you loved it. And I know you will. x

#NationalLemonMeringuePieDay

Happy #NationalLemonMeringuePieDay y'all! What, you didn't know it was today? No worries, now you do! And being the weekend, it's the perfect time to get some baking in! Soak up the last of summer with this deliciously tart and sweet lemon pie, with a fluffy meringue topping.

Now, I won't pretend I dreamed up this recipe myself, so credit to the domestic doyenne herself - Martha Stewart. I tried out my version of this recipe  to make today's Lemon Pie visions come true. And if you've got a little time, oh my gosh is it worth it. Truly. I know I always say that, but have I ever let you down? Nevermind, don't answer that. Just look at this picture and take my word for it:

I mean, just LOOK at those stiff peaks. YUM.

Bastille Day Brioche

Happy Bastille Day, everyone! Oh, you didn't know it was Bastille Day? Aka "the french fourth of july"?? Now you do. Perhaps I've always been acutely aware of the holiday because my dad told me that growing up, he and his friends would light their leftover 4th of july fireworks - a common bastille day practice. Not the leftovers. The fireworks. My dad was a nerd.

Anyway. As you may or may not know, Bastille Day represents the day the people of France stormed the Bastille in response to their economic crisis, brought on in part by the lavish lifestyles of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. Famously, when asked what the starving people of France should eat because they had run out of bread, the queen said "Qu'ils mangent de la brioche." or, "Let them eat cake."

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Except she wasn't talking about cake. She was talking about brioche. Aka, the rich, buttery, decadent, slightly-sweet, you-would-never-be-able-to-afford-something-so-luxurious bread. Clearly that didn't go over well for her. (See, public decapitation shortly thereafter.) However, in honor of today's holiday, and that famous quote - today we try Bon Apetit's recipe for Brioche.

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Full disclaimer. This recipe is not for the faint of heart. And probably not for those without an electric mixer. I, for the record, do not own one, and to that end, my forearms now resemble Popeye's from the amount of mixing that goes into it. (After each pat of butter is added to the dough, it must be mixed to smoothness for 4 minutes. There's 12 pats of butter. Mixed by hand. You do the math.) It is a LOT of work, and time and effort. But that's what makes it so good. 

Once you have the dough, you can make them into rolls, like in the BA recipe, or you can make it into any other pastry you like. I used some stone fruit and berries I had on hand to make this tart. Delicious. Do give this recipe a try. When you have some time. Maybe this weekend. Go ahead, celebrate bastille day late. I won't tell. 

Blueberry Cast Iron Coffee Cake

Oh, Sunday. Is there anything dreamier than thou?? I'm convinced that Sundays were created for the sole purpose of lounging about in head to toe jersey knitwear, beverage in one hand, snacks in the other.

What better way to celebrate the best day of the week than with this delicious cast-iron skillet coffee cake. Some version of this recipe has been floating around in my family for some time now, and it's a personal fave of mine. I mean, it's cake. For breakfast. (Ain't it swell that if you call it a coffee cake, it's socially acceptable to eat in the morning??)

The best part is, the recipe is super simple, super tasty, and just begging for you to give it a try. Seriously. You could probably make it right now with stuff you already have in your kitchen. (don't have blueberries?? try blackberries, raspberries, dried cranberries, or even raisins!)

Recipe
2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1.5 teaspoons Baking Powder
.5 teaspoons Baking Soda 
.5 teaspoons Salt
1 stick of Butter, melted
2 eggs
1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Milk
1.5 cups Blueberries

Preheat oven to 350°, place cast iron skillet in the oven while preheating. In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, mix melted butter, eggs, sugar, and milk. Then, add dry ingredients slowly, mixing well to incorporate. Fold in blueberries. Pour into greased preheated skillet and bake for 45-50 minutes. When finished, dust with powdered sugar and allow to cool slightly before serving.

So... Give this a try. If not this morning, how about this afternoon - that way you can enjoy it in the upcoming week. It makes a great cut-a-slice-and-take-to-work-in-the-morning snack. And seriously, tag me on social media if you make this. I wanna see your creations! Good luck, weekend warriors, can't wait to hear how they turned out. xx

The Most Delicious Bread You'll Ever Eat.

Good morning, all! I hope you had a fun kick off to your weekend, boy have I got something to share with you. Maybe you're laying in bed after a Friday night bender and are thinking about the perfect recovery meal. Or maybe you're up bright eyed and bushy tailed looking for a project to do while your S/O is sleeping in (ahem...I know this blogger is.)

Regardless of your situation, if you find yourself with a couple free hours this weekend and want to challenge yourself with a new endeavor, this is it. Actually, even if you don't have a couple hours to spare, I bet you'll find a way to free some up after you check out this recipe below.

Scary bread-making disclaimer here: I know that at first glance, this seems complicated and maybe a little daunting, but I promise if you follow the directions (I mean REALLY follow them) You will end up with the most delicious homemade bread you will ever eat. (I know - shame on a fashion blogger to write about eating carbs...We all have our vices, okay?)

I'll be happy to answer any questions you may have in the comments below. I can't wait for you to try this and to tell me how it goes! And as always, SUBSCRIBE to #MOGBLOG for your chance to win our giveaway this week! 

Half-Wheat Sandwich Bread

Ingredients

1 cup warm water (110-115 degrees F)
1 tablespoon milk
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons instant active dry yeast

Instructions

1. Start by combining your flours in a medium bowl. (Note: when filling your measuring cups, spoon the flour into them, then level them off. This will keep them from being packed too dense.)
2. Next, in a small bowl, prep your milk, oil, honey, brown sugar and salt. I like to give them a stir with a fork to help them combine.
3. After that - and THIS IS IMPORTANT: In a large bowl, pour in your warm water (if you have a food thermometer, use it to check the temperature. 110-115F is Perfect.) THEN, pour in your small bowl of liquids/sugar. Give it a good stir so the sugars dissolve.
4. Once you have done that, sprinkle your yeast over the warm beige liquid, give it a little stir, and begin slowly adding your flours.
5. While you're adding your flours, keep stirring (again, I like to use a fork here) until it starts to come together, and a dough begins to form.
6. Once it starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl, its time to get your hands dirty and KNEAD. Spend a solid 10 minutes just folding and pressing the dough on a floured surface, or until you are able to form it into a smooth ball.
7. Place the ball of dough in a bowl sprayed with nonstick spray, and put it somewhere warm to rise for an hour (I like to put it in my oven with the door closed - heat off.)
8. After its about doubled in size, punch the dough down, and really show it who's boss. (I always thought kneading it so much would make it tough and chewy, but its actually the opposite. Who knew?)
9. When you have flattened it down to where it looks like pizza dough, gently roll it into a loaf shape, tucking the ends under. Place the loaf in a sprayed nonstick 9 x 5 pan. Allow it to rise one more time (This time should be shorter - maybe 45 minutes or so.) Now's a good time to preheat your oven to 350.
10. Once its done rising a second time, coat the top of the loaf with a bit of olive oil, using a pastry brush and place it in the oven to bake for 30 - 35 minutes. The loaf will be done when it sounds hollow to tap on the bottom of the pan.

Let it cool about 5 minutes in its pan, then turn the loaf out onto a wire rack to cool the rest of the way. After that - Slice and enjoy THE MOST DELICIOUS BREAD YOU'LL EVER EAT.