Entries Tagged as 'dessert'

Matcha Almond Cookies

1

07.8.14

matcha almond cookies // sweetsonian

I am a creature of habit. If I force myself to do something over and over again, as annoying as it is at first, the task gets easier every day. Part of this process is repeating this statement over and over again, because if I train myself to become a creature of habit, well, perhaps one day it will be true.

On the one hand, I am and have been a creature of habit in the past, but on the other hand, I am incredibly stubborn… and sometimes lazy. Perhaps laziness happens as a result of being a creature of habit — because if I make being lazy a habit, well, then I’m back to square one, right?

When I was a kid, I would lose things. Coloring books and dolls at first, but as I got older, keys, sunglasses, and lip gloss would just get left behind, recklessly abandoned on a daily or a weekly basis. My dad, at one point, had an intervention. I remember his sigh of disgust, as in, are you kidding me, Sarah? You lost something again?

The trick, according to him, was to make sure everything had a place to go. I nodded, but also knew that this was also his way of trying to get me to keep my room clean (saw right through that, Dad). The solution that worked for me, however, was to essentially narrate my entire life in my head. Have you ever done that? Every time I put my keys down, I’d think to myself, I’m putting my keys down on my desk. Or, I’m leaving my sunglasses in my car tray.

It works for things. But there are still habits — like waking up early and eating well. I know that I should do both, but it’s hard to do when you stay up late and agree to go to happy hour four nights in a row. So this is my own personal intervention.

Now that it’s August, it almost seems like summer is wrapping up and we’re going to squeeze in every last drop of warm weather. But like every other summer, I find myself itching for fall. In fact, I replaced a pair of boots in July (re: they were on sale!). 

These cookies were a symbol of lack of control. I made them a couple of weekends ago, when I had a Monday off. So what was two boxes filled with cookies gradually dwindled to one, and by Tuesday, I had eaten an entire box, so I hid them in my purse and handed them over to the coworkers.

This week was the beginning of my detox. My conscious effort to make a habit of not eating half a batch of cookies, and of not spending half of my paycheck on expensive dinners and cocktails. Tomorrow is a new day. But it does feel good, to set a goal and actually get into the habit of sticking to your guns. But the matcha cookies (and a last brunch at one of my favorite spots in DC) were some damn good indulgences, and I do not regret them.

matcha almond cookies // sweetsonian

matcha almond cookies // sweetsonian

matcha almond cookies // sweetsonian

Matcha almond cookies  (more…)

Star-Spangled Cookies

1

30.6.14

star-spangled cookies // sweetsonian

Because America’s bests holiday is right around the corner.

I’m a little rusty on the icing skills, but these will have to do.

star-spangled cookies // sweetsonian

star-spangled cookies // sweetsonian

star-spangled cookies // sweetsonian

star-spangled cookies // sweetsonian

Star-Spangled Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing, recipe after the jump. (more…)

Popsicle Swap

0

19.6.14

I told you about my office’s soup swap before, which we copied from Shaeda’s office on the Hill. But since soup swap started, our little creative office decided that soup is just not enough. We evolved with cheese swaps, cookie swaps, and with the recent heat waves, have moved on to popsicle swaps.

But seriously, DC was the hottest spot in the nation yesterday at noon. Hotter than Death Valley. DEATH. VALLEY.

Meanwhile, I took a lunch break trip to Marshall’s, and when my coworkers asked me how it was outside, my response was “not bad.” Who am I?

Anyway, our popsicle swaps happen every Thursday afternoon for a few weeks. Each week, three members of our team bring in enough of one kind of popsicle for everyone to try. You have one (or two) on popsicle swap day, and the rest are stored in the freezer for you to munch on later in the week.

It’s a nice little break for our little muggy office. I meant to make my own popsicles for the swap, but with catsitting this little dude, freelance and AirBnb, I’ve just been a little too busy. In honor of popsicle swap, I’ve pulled together a few of the recipes that I’m just dying to try for this summer.

In the market for some popsicle molds? These are my fave.

margarita popsicles // sweetsonian

Margarita pops, because it’s 5 o’clock somewhere. Look at that pretty green hue!

blood orange popsicles // sweetsonian

Blood Orange Popsicles — my favorite citrus fruit, ever.

honey yogurt berry popsicles // sweetsonian

Honey yogurt berry pops — creamy and relatively healthy.

greek yogurt fudgesicles // sweetsonian

Greek yogurt fudgesicles — probably my favorite way to eat Greek yogurt. Ever.

While you’re at it, check out some of my other Sweetsonian cold treats: 

almond ice cream // saltine brownie ice cream sammies // firecracker popsicles

mint chip ice cream // honey vanilla affogato // strawberries & cream icebox bars

And, if you’re not following along on social media, check out Sweetsonian here!

{ facebook // twitter // instagram // pinterest }

Hazelnut Lemon Cake with Roasted Blueberries

0

09.6.14

Hazelnut lemon bread & roasted blueberries // sweetsonian

Summer has arrived, swiftly warning me of its brutality.

Today is my day off — I didn’t have much planned except for yoga this evening, but Kristen invited me to speak to her 6th and 7th graders about having a career in art. While one class seemed more interested in knowing if I knew “how to hack” or not (I told them that Google knew every single thing they did on the internet, so it was in their best interest to not hack), some students were genuinely interested in learning more about art and design.

Hazelnut lemon bread & roasted blueberries // sweetsonian

Hazelnut lemon bread & roasted blueberries // sweetsonian

I sure wish I had someone to talk to about careers in creative when I was younger! My newspaper advisor in high school (now a client!) was always supportive of my want to pursue design as a career, but being part of a family who only cared about finance made art school impossible.

It’s weird, isn’t it? I have friends working in almost every industry that exists. Some whose parents are creatives and encouraged creative careers — some of that backfires and sometimes it works. There seems to be a delicate balance. My parents strongly (forcefully) encouraged me to pursue finance and accounting. Sophomore year of college, I took an accounting class, and was doing pretty well. I hated every minute of every econ class I ever took, and I went into that accounting class with an A. But halfway through the final, I thought to myself, why the hell am I here? I hate accounting. I refuse to ever take another accounting class again.

So I walked out of the final exam. I got a C.

My dad wanted to kill me, but I knew I had made the right decision. It was the decision to choose my own courses, and to finally stop letting my parents dictate what I wanted. Back then, I wanted to be a CIA operative. I started taking Arabic classes, and I excelled. My parents rolled their eyes.

And don’t get me wrong, I loved my college experience, and my Arabic wasn’t bad — I had a couple of job offers for career paths close to being a CIA operative (but not quite the real thing). And I liked it, but there’s just no comparison to how much I love what I do now. I don’t think time was wasted, per se, but man, twenty-seven year old Sarah would loooove to travel back to 2004 and whisper some advice to high school Sarah. It wouldn’t be to specifically go to art school, but it would have been to stop letting my parents scare me into a career that I didn’t want.

Instead of the year and a half of economics classes for the business major, I could have been taking illustration and design. I can take those classes now, but sometimes, I wish I had a better base.

Hazelnut lemon bread & roasted blueberries // sweetsonian

Of course, the grass is always greener. Who knows, if I went to art school when I was an undergrad, the recession could have killed any marketing budgets that could have funded a budding career — especially in Los Angeles.

It’s one of the many reasons why I love talking to kids about my job. I tell them about how I always loved art and creativity, and that I was somehow able to make it my full-time job, and that these days, it’s much easier to find work in creative than it was ten years ago. And half of the interesting stuff lies in the fact that I didn’t go to art school. I technically didn’t have to go to school at all. But it shows that you don’t need a degree in whatever the rest of your life will be spent doing.

And when the kids ask me how many hours I spend working, it’s always shocking to add it up and tell them sometimes up to 70 hours a week. I can see their eyes bug out, but I always supplement it with telling them: You know, if you’re lucky enough to really love your work, it won’t always feel like work. Which is true. Now, if I could just turn writing this blog and making yummy treats my full-time job. That would be a treat, wouldn’t it?

Hazelnut lemon bread & roasted blueberries // sweetsonian

Hazelnut Lemon Cake with Roasted Blueberries, adapted from Diana Rossen Worthington

Ingredients:

3/4 cup hazelnuts, finely ground
3/4 cup and 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
6 tablespoons Greek yogurt
Zest of half a lemon

1 pint fresh blueberries, cleaned and picked over
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Mint sprigs, for garnish

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan.

Combine the flour, walnut meal, salt, and baking soda in a mixing bowl. Stir with a fork, and set aside.

In an electric mixer, cream the butter and the granulated sugar until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, and then the sour cream and lemon zest. Slowly add the dry ingredients (I have this thing to keep my KitchenAid mixer from spraying flour all over the counter) and mix until just blended.

Pour the batter into your loaf pan, and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the pan comes out clean. Let cool completely.

Raise the oven temperature to 375 degrees F.

Pour the blueberries into a baking dish or cast iron skillet. Sprinkle with brown sugar and butter, and stir to combine. Roast them in the oven until the blueberries are about to burst — about 10 minutes.

Serve each slice of cake with a spoonful of roasted blueberries, and garnish with mint (optional) if you like.

Matcha & Mint Ice Cream

0

03.6.14

match & mint ice cream // sweetsonian

Swamped! Too much work. Not enough ice cream.

Hope you all enjoy the mild summer weather we’re having here in DC. And… make this ice cream. You won’t regret it.

match & mint ice cream // sweetsonian

match & mint ice cream // sweetsonian

match & mint ice cream // sweetsonian

match & mint ice cream // sweetsonian

Matcha Green Tea & Mint Ice Cream

Ingredients:

2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
5 egg yolks
2 tablespoons ground matcha powder 

 Instructions:

Combine the milk, cream, and matcha powder in a medium-sized saucepan. Bring to a boil for just a moment, and reduce the heat to low. Add the mint leaves into the saucepan, stir and muddle with a large spoon, and turn off the heat entirely. Let the cream steep with the mint leaves for 30 minutes to one hour — the longer it steeps, the stronger the mint flavor.

In a separate bowl, combine the egg yolks and the sugar, mixing with a fork. When you’re done steeping the cream, run the mixture through a sieve to remove the mint leaves. Then, turn the heat back on, and bring the mixture to a boil once more, again, immediately removing the heat once the boil starts.

Using a smaller measuring cup (I used a 1/4 cup), slowly pour the hot mixture into the bowl with one hand as your vigorously stir the mixture with a fork in your other hand. Gradually add one or two cups until the custard is fully incorporated, and then combine the custard with the remaining cream in the saucepan. Run the mixture through a sieve one more time to filter out any egg scrambles. Let chill completely in the fridge, and run the mixture through an ice cream maker according to its manufacturer’s instructions.

Red Velvet Crinkles

2

26.11.13

DSC_2621

It’s cookie season. The bane of my fitness’s existence (or lack thereof). I’ve probably eaten my weight in these crinkle cookies.

It’s also about that time of year when DC starts freaking ouuuuut about weather. It’s not raining too hard outside, but all of the paranoia has me worried about holiday travel.

I’ve been down that road too many times. After so many missed flight connections between last Christmas and this summer, I’ve already purchased all non-stop flights for the holidays. I refuse to let weather in Cleveland and Chicago and Dallas obstruct my travels.

In the meantime, I’ve been spending a lot of time inside. This weekend, Shaeda and I took an impromptu trip to Winchester, Virginia to visit our favorite thrift shop, as recommended by Sydney Lianne over at the Daybook — we even Tweeted at her and she tweeted back! It tied for the highlight of my day, along with the purchase of a 1970s automatic typewriter ($18) and a vintage mink stole ($65).

DSC_2609

Side note, self portrait. See what I did there?

DSC_2611

Anyway, after a day of driving and thrifting, I spent a glorious Saturday night in a bubble bath with some badly needed episodes of Dexter — my latest Netflix obsession. I also taught myself how to knit. That’s been fun. I desperately need a snood for these frigid bike rides to work.

Clearly, nothing that new has been happening here in DC. If you’re traveling this week, best of luck with the weather! Hope y’all have a lovely Thankgiving with your friends and families.

sidebyside

Red Velvet Crinkles, derived from Cooking Classy

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 & 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon milk (I use soy)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Lots of red food coloring… I used a few squeezes of red gel
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • ~1 cup powdered sugar for rolling

Helpful tools (with links to the ones I use):

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and line two baking sheets with parchment paper (or silpats).
  2. In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt until evenly mixed. Set aside.
  3. Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or an electric mixer, cream the butter and the sugar until it’s light and fluffy — maybe a 3-4 minutes. Add in the eggs, one at a time, and then mix in the vanilla, milk, and food coloring.
  4. I usually switch to the dough hook attachment when I mix flour in — because flour literally gets everywhere when I don’t — and then slowly add the flour to the batter. Once it’s combined, add in your white chocolate chips.
  5. Refrigerate the dough until it’s just slightly firm (I threw the bowl into the freezer for 5 minutes).
  6. Using a 1-tablespoon-ish scoop, spoon dough balls from the bowl into a cup of powdered sugar, coating evenly. Arrange on your baking sheets, a couple of inches apart.
  7. Bake for 13-14 minutes. This made about 30 cookies for me.

Snickerdoodle Remix

2

18.11.13

snickerdoodles // sweetsonian

When I think of snickerdoodles, I think back to the DLG.

The DLG — De la Guerra Dining Commons, was one of the main dining halls at UCSB. It’s a gorgeous building, really — super modern, mostly-white design, with giant glass windows that we used to watch the sunset from over books or family dinners with friends.

The DLG. That place had fantastic snickerdoodles. They didn’t have the healthiest of foods all the time, and there were rumors of them spraying sugar water on the salad bar (because of the beach school’s eating disorder problem), but we used to smuggle juices and fruits and snickerdoodles out as often as we could.

Oh, the days of freshman year, when going to a cafeteria was the norm. It was weird, and wonderful — and felt like going out to eat with your friends, every single day.

I’d never want to go back to those days after having lived on my own (and thankfully, with a kitchen), but it’s nice to reminisce.

These cookies are an ode to the DLG, and a rehash of one of my earlier recipes on Sweetsonian. The blog birthday is this week, so I’ve been trying to rephotograph some of my older recipes — from before the DSLR!

snickerdoodles // sweetsonian

The last two weeks have been a little weird, honestly. Fun, exhilarating, and weird. Between the finnicky freelance world, too many mediocre dates, and a couple of job offers (that I did not go hunting for), November really has thrown me for a whirl with decision making. I know I always said that I’d never move back to California, but an opportunity in San Francisco presented itself so freely and perfectly for where I envisioned my career going, that it only took an hour of thinking over for me to actually picture myself not hating my life there.

You know how I feel about the East Coast. I would never want to leave it, but I guess, like everyone, if you’re given the perfect job, you’d probably take it.

Anyway, that one came and went. That firm brought in a freelance director for the next year or so — so for now, I’ll keep designing for them. But who knows? I guess I would go anywhere for the perfect job and the opportunity to build a team of fantastic designers.

I had a fantastic trip to New York, experiencing the city from a different lens. Up until that point, I had only experienced the hipster city — raging parties and bars in the village, meeting handsome strangers left and right, and snuggling up in a friend’s bed or couch. This time was a totally different feel, visiting the friends who married last August, and now live on the Upper East Side. It was so lovely. And I mailed them a box of these cookies as a thank you.

Side note, a discovery from my colleagues: dipping these snickerdoodles in coffee will change your life.

Anyway, apologies for the absence! With travel and freelance and impromptu job prospects and craziness at work (and Tesla vs. Edison week), it’s been hard to find room for creativity. If it makes up for the lack of posting, I really do miss being on here! Xo.

snickerdoodles // sweetsonian

Snickerdoodles

Ingredients

  • WHAT YOU NEED
  • 1cup butter (2 sticks)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 medium-sized eggs
  • 2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup tablespoons coarse, white sugar
  • 1/4 cup teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon cardamom

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In your stand mixer, beat the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until light and fluffy (4-6 minutes). Add each egg, letting one fully incorporate into the batter before adding the next. Then add in the vanilla extract.
  3. In a separate, large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients — flour, salt, cream of tartar and baking soda — whisking together to mix evenly.
  4. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the batter, and mix thoroughly.
  5. In a small bowl, combine the coarse sugar, cinnamon and cardamom. Use a scoop or a spoon to roll approximately one-inch sized cookies, and then roll in the sugar-cinnamon mixture.
  6. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. I like my snickerdoodles a little chewy.

Preparation time: 15 minute(s)

Cooking time: 10 minute(s)

Pumpkin Tea Cake

2

29.10.13

pumpkin tea cake // sweetsonian

There’s a somberness that comes with the end of summer and beginning of fall. The air is drier, there sun is lower, and the sky feels a little bluer. Maybe it’s because the wind is a little colder.

But with every changing season, I reflect on the past few months — for me, summer was exhilarating. I was jet setting between California and New York and spotted through Europe (can I go back please?). The day job and the freelance clients have all been pretty amazing lately, so it’s safe to say I’m in a good spot.

I spent a couple of hours on Kristen’s floor with Winston last night, drinking wine and catching up after a busy day of work and biking all over DC. I’ve actually had a couple of anxiety filled days, mostly coping with the realization that no one is happy all of the time. It’s painful, to see people you care about struggling. Whether you’ve been in their shoes or not, it hurts. We meowed with Winston, told stories about how we’re too old to be drinking as much as we do, and chatted about the ups and downs, the balancing act of good times and bad times in our circles of friends.

A few of our close friends are going through some rough transitions in life, and I’ve been trying to figure out how the best ways to help them. Most of the time, I just want to rescue the people I love, take a few days off work and sit them down in my living room while I blast music and bake up a storm. Or fly to wherever they are and do the same in their own kitchen. It’s the company that matters; the location is usually meaningless.

Long story short, if you’re reading this, you know who you are. I love you, and this pumpkin tea cake is for you.

pumpkin tea cake // sweetsonian

pumpkin tea cake // sweetsonian

pumpkin tea cake // sweetsonian

pumpkin tea cake // sweetsonian

pumpkin tea cake // sweetsonian

pumpkin tea cake // sweetsonian

pumpkin tea cake // sweetsonian

Pumpkin Tea Cake, derived from the Tartine Cookbook

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup + 2 tbsp pumpkin puree
1 cup vegetable oil
1 1/3 cup sugar
3/4 tsp salt
3 large eggs

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Line one 9-by-5-inch loaf pan (or three mini loaf pans) with parchment paper, and brush with oil or rub with butter.

In a mixing bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves together. Set aside.

In your stand mixer, beat together the pumpkin puree, oil, sugar, and salt on medium speed, until well-mixed. Add each egg, one at a time, fully incorporating before adding the next. Slowly add the dry ingredients with the mixer on low speed, beating until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a silicone spatula, and then beat on medium speed for 10 seconds to make a smooth batter.

Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan (or pans) and smooth the surface with your spatula. Bake until the centers are set and a toothpick comes out clean — the time will depend on your oven, but it should take about 1 hour.

Serve the cake at room temperature. It keeps well if wrapped in saran wrap, but it won’t last long.

Roasted Vanilla Pears with Espresso Marscapone Cream

2

21.9.13

Vanilla Roasted Pears with Espresso Mascarpone Cream

Five months. It’s been five months since I moved into my new apartment.

It hardly feels that way.

Only in the past few weeks have I actually begun feeling settled — I guess it’s a result of a summer filled with travels and work and temporary roommates. I’ve learned more about myself as a roommate this summer than I have in the past eight years of living with people who aren’t my parents.

I know I have my quirks. I roller coaster between kitchen nazi and someone who’s so all over the place that I can’t tell left from right. I struggle between pleasing people and being selfish. We all do.

But after a summer of travel in basically every direction that exists, filled with weddings and sailing and rope swings — it’s a rainy Saturday afternoon, and I finally feel settled enough to sit down and write.

Vanilla Roasted Pears with Espresso Mascarpone Cream

Vanilla Roasted Pears with Espresso Mascarpone Cream

Vanilla Roasted Pears with Espresso Mascarpone Cream

I just bought a new Apple display screen for my home office, but there’s something comforting about writing my posts from the laptop in bed. It’s how I’ve written almost every sentence for the past eight years. Four of which, as of last Tuesday, have been written in DC. I considered leaving the apartment and being productive when I woke up this morning, but after seeing the forecast and by the time I got to the bottom of my French press, I gave up. I snuggled into bed with a sweater from Bergen and a few episodes of Breaking Bad.

For today, that’s all I need. The weather is cooling down, which makes me just absolutely smitten with this city. And, if you’re on the hunt for a good fall transition food, these pears make an impressive dessert (or breakfast, if you happen to share an apartment with me).

Vanilla Roasted Pears with Espresso Mascarpone Cream

Vanilla Roasted Pears with Espresso Mascarpone Cream

Vanilla Roasted Pears with Espresso Mascarpone Cream

Roasted Pears with Coffee Marscapone, Serves 3 or 6, depending on how much dessert you want

Roasted pears:
¼ cups light brown sugar
½ vanilla bean
3 Bosc pears, peeled, halved lengthwise and cored (or whatever you can get your hands on)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons butter
Bourbon or rum to drizzle before serving

Espresso marscapone cream:
2 teaspoons espresso powder
1 teaspoon water
1/2 cup chilled heavy cream
1/4 cup marsacpone cheese
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Stir espresso powder and water in a large bowl until dissolved. Add cream, mascarpone, and sugar. Beat in a stand mixer until the cream is thick and smooth. Transfer into a jar or serving dish, and store in the freezer while you roast the pears (you can even make this a day or two ahead).

In a small bowl, combine your sugar and vanilla bean seeds — I store my vanilla beans in a jar filled with vodka (vanilla extract at home!) but this makes it extra easy to extract the beans. Just snip off the end of a bean and squeeze out the contents like it’s a stick of honey. Whisk with a fork.

Arrange your pears, core up, in a baking dish (a pie plate would fit them perfectly). Brush the pears with lemon juice, and put a cube of butter in each core. Sprinkle the pears with your sugar, and pour the water into the baking dish.

Serve each pear with a scoop of cream and a drizzle of bourbon or rum.

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