Vanilla Cardamom Shortbread Cookies for The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap

Vanilla Cardamom Shortbread Cookies

This year I decided to partake in The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap! In order to participate you just have to donate $4 to Cookies for Kid’s Cancer and you’ll be paired up with 3 other food bloggers. You send each blogger a dozen homemade cookies and you receive a dozen homemade cookies from 3 other bloggers! How amazing is that! This year we raised a little over $12,00o with the help of our sponsors OXO, Dixie Crystals, California Olive Ranch, and Brownie Brittle who matched our donations.

I decided to make these yummy aromatic cardamom shortbread cookies for my matches, Taste Cook Sip, Crackers on the Couch, and Let’s Give Peas a Chance. I received yummy chocolate chip mandelbrot from Take a Bit out of Boca (so good with my coffee!!), peanut butter oreos from The Crafting Foodie and wild hibiscus salted dulce de leche cookie tarts from Flamingo Musings (life changing). Check out their website today for their recipes!

Cardamom has to be my favorite baking spice, it’s sweet, subtly spicy, and smells amazing. These cookies are very easy to make and only require just a few ingredients. You can dip them in melted milk or white chocolate like I did or eat them on their own. They go perfectly with a nice cup of tea (preferably chai) or hot cocoa. They are buttery, nutty and smell amazing. Try the for yourself!

Vanilla Cardamom Shortbread Cookies

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 40 cookies

Vanilla Cardamom Shortbread Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup blanched almonds
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 14 tbsp soft butter
  • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp ground cardamom

Instructions

  1. In a blender, pulse almonds until fine.
  2. Mix sugar, butter, all-purpose flour and almond flour until well combined. Mix in the egg.
  3. Take dough and shape into a fat disc and cover with saran wrap. Freeze for 1 hour.
  4. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin until 1/4 inch thick. Cut out circles with a cookie cutter (or whatever shape you want!) and place on a non-greased baking sheet about 1-2 inches apart since they will spread.
  5. Bake at 400 F for 8 minutes or until the bottoms JUST start turning brown. Cool on a rack. You can then eat them plain or dip them in melted chocolate and add some festive sprinkles. Enjoy!

Notes

- If you plan on using cookie cutters then you might want to freeze the dough for 5 minutes in between rolling out the dough to help the cookies keep their shape

- You can also just squish the dough down in a 9x13 sheet pan and poke with a fork and bake for 10-13 minutes. Let it cool and then cut into bars!

http://www.prettypolymath.com/2014/12/15/vanilla-cardamom-shortbread-cookies-for-the-great-food-blogger-cookie-swap/

Vanila Cookies (3)

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Cheesy Mexican Polenta Bowl (15 min meal)

cheesy mexican polenta bowl

I didn’t really discover the beauty of polenta until I was in grad school when I went down to visit my friend in NC and had grits for the first time. OMG it was amazing! They really know what they’re doing down there. After doing a little research I quickly realized the closest thing I was going to get to grits in Philly was polenta. Thus started the Great Polenta Obsession of 2011. I had polenta almost every other day for lunch or dinner. It was the perfect broke grad student meal because it was cheap and you could flavor it to match any mood. I could make it Indian, Italian or Mexican just with a few changes. It also helped that it took literally 15 minutes to make. This meal is perfect for a rainy (or snowy) cold night in. Creamy, cheesy polenta is the ideal comfort food. Plus this recipe  is great for families since each person can add their choice of toppings to their bowl. Everyone’s happy, fed, and warm in less than 15 minutes! Give it a try!

Cheesy Mexican Polenta

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 4 bowls

Serving Size: 4

Cheesy Mexican Polenta

Ingredients

  • 1 cup instant polenta or cornmeal
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp taco seasoning
  • 3/4 cup cheddar cheese
  • 1 avocado,diced
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 1 14-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 small red onion, diced
  • 2 scallions, sliced
  • 4 tbsp cilantro
  • salsa or hot sauce to your taste

Instructions

  1. In a saucepan, bring stock and polenta/cornmeal to a boil. Stir frequently to get rid of any lumps. Lower heat to a simmer and cook 10 minutes, stirring regularly, until it thickens.
  2. Stir in cheese, taco seasoning, salt and pepper to taste into polenta. Give the polenta good stir and make sure there are no lumps!
  3. Spoon polenta equally into 4 bowls and top with avocado, tomato, black beans,scallions, cilantro and salsa/hot sauce. Enjoy!

Notes

P.S You can make this vegan by using vegan cheese!

http://www.prettypolymath.com/2014/12/12/cheesy-mexican-polenta-bowl-15-min-meal/

 

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Gift Guide: Book Nerd

Gift Guide-Book Nerd (1)

1. Great First Lines of Literature Mug – $12.95
Covered with the first lines of famous novels, it’s a great stocking stuffer!

2. Alice in Wonderland Infinity Scarf – $42.00
Keep your favorite book worm warm and cozy with this cotton infinity scarf printed with the original illustrations from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.

3.Louisa May Alcott Quote Cuff - $33.00
Cute statement piece that any book nerd would love. It’s made of brass and is etched with tiny books with titles such as Jane Eyre.

4. Novel Teas – $12.50
English Breakfast tea with cute little tags with literary quotes. Great stocking stuffer or gift paired up with a cute mug!

5. Pride and Prejudice Novel Sweatshirt – $44.99
Make curling up with a book even more comfy for your loved one with this literary sweatshirt from Modcloth! Add this to your list if you have an Austenophile in your life.

6. Oxford Library- Book Lovers’ Scented Soy Candle – $15.00
This awesome Etsy maker created this antique library scented candle that anyone would love. They also make literary inspired candles such as the Pemberley Rose and Sherlock’s Study.

 

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Gift Guide: Kitchen Diva

Gift Guide- Kitchen Diva

1. 7-Piece Mixing and Prep Bowl Set from Cake Boss – $34.99
This adorable and colorful melamine set is the perfect gift for the budding baker. Plus their super easy to clean and nothing sticks to these bowls which means more cookies and less dough stuck to the bowl!

2. Baking Tools Kitchen Towel Set – $18.00
Handmade kitchen towels that are made with earth-friendly ink and fabric. For the green cook in your life.

 3. AeroPress Espresso/Coffee Maker – $29.99
This is the perfect gift for the coffee freak in your life. The AeroPress makes coffee or espresso in 1 minute getting your family or friend caffeinated quickly.

4. Joseph Joseph Baking Set – $19.00
I personally want this set. The rolling pin comes with rubber bands that help you roll out dough  to the perfect thickness without having to guestimate or bring out a ruler. Perfect for an OCD baker like me. 

5. Owl Accounted for Measuring Cup Set – $29.99
How cute are these!? I have been obsessed with unique measuring cups lately and these are cute enough to leave on the counter and fun to use.

6. Ina Garten- Make it Ahead Cookbook – $21.00
Great for the cook who loves to host parties. This cookbook has tons of make ahead recipes for the hostess with the mostess.

7.  5-piece Silicone Spatula Set – $24.95
Every great baker/cook needs a good set of spatulas to help scrap, fold, mix, and spread their creations. I would love to get this in my stocking!

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Coconut Ginger Molasses Cookies

Coconut Ginger Molasses Cookies

Oh it’s holiday time! This means it’s officially cookie season! Last weekend for Thanksgiving I made these yummy ginger molasses cookies with coconut for my mom’s side of the family. My mom’s side of the family always thinks everything I make is too sweet ( I think it’s an Indian thing ). So this time I went with a mildly sweet cookies slightly drizzled with sweet milk chocolate. You can be lazy and just substitute the drizzled chocolate with 1 cup of chocolate chips if you want. I switched up a recipe from Art and Kitchen to make the perfect chewy holiday cookie. I love the traditional flavor of molasses and ginger cookies. Spicy, sweet, nutty, yummm. They were a hit! Everyone gobbled them right up.

These cookies are perfect for dinner parties,cookie exchanges, gifts and of course for Santa. Hope you enjoy them!

Coconut Ginger Molasses Cookies

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 3 dozen cookies

Coconut Ginger Molasses Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 oz milk chocolate

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 F
  2. Cream butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar together until nice and fluffy. Add egg,vanilla extract and molasses and mix well
  3. In separate bowl mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt.
  4. Add dry ingredients to molasses mixture in additions and mix well in between. Add coconut and
  5. mix well. Freeze the dough for 20 minutes.
  6. Scoop or hand roll cookie dough into 1.5 inch balls (1 tbsp) and place on a parchment paper covered baking sheet 1-2 inches apart. They will spread! Bake for 10-15 minutes or until slightly brown.
  7. Cool the cookies on a rack. Melt the chocolate in the microwave in 15 second increments mixing well in between. Spoon the melted chocolate into a sandwich bag. Cut a small corner off the bag and drizzle the chocolate on top of the cookies. Let the cookies sit for 10-15 minutes so the chocolate sets. Enjoy!

Notes

Adapted from Art and the Kitchen

You can add 1 cup of chocolate chips if you don't want to drizzle the chocolate on top to quicken up the recipe!

http://www.prettypolymath.com/2014/12/02/coconut-ginger-molasses-cookies/

Ginger  molasses cookies

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Citrus Ricotta Cake

LAYOUT DESIGNER (1)

Last weekend my friend Dimple introduced me to the Alemany Farmers Market. This is officially my new go-to spot for produce. How did I not know about this place!? While we were walking around and checking out all the stalls I decided to try a fruit I’ve never seen before called sweet limes. It looks like a lime, but taste super sweet and floral. It was like a mind screw. I quickly called Dimple over and told her to try it. She looked just as surprised as I was at the taste. We expected something super sour, but instead  got a sweet sugary treat. Turn out they are common in India and are called mousambi over there. I’ve heard my mom talk about them before to the point where my mouth would water. Yum! I’m so excited I found these and I plan on bringing a few over to my mom when I visit NJ for Thanksgiving!

I decided to make a ricotta cake from Foodologie and replace the lemon with orange and sweet limes. The cake ended up tasting like Froot Loops cereal, no joke. I actually had two slices for breakfast. The lemon glaze adds just enough tartness to the sweet cake and makes it feel like summer again. (What’s a polar vortex?).  Try it for yourself!

Citrus Ricotta Cake

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: one 9 inch cake

Serving Size: 12

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 small orange, zested and juiced
  • 1 small sweet lime, zested and juiced
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup ricotta
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • For the Glaze
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2-3 tsp lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together oil, sugar, orange zest and sweet lime zest.
  3. Add eggs one at a time and whisk together until well incorporated. Add ricotta and 3 tbsp of orange juice and 1 tbsp sweet lime juice. Whisk well.
  4. Add flour, baking powder and salt. Give it a quick whisk and pour in a parchment lined 9 inch cake pan.
  5. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out nice and clean. Cool until cold.
  6. While the cake is cooling, make the glaze. In a small bowl add the powdered sugar. Add the lemon juice 1 tsp at a time and mix well. You want a thick glaze. You might have to add more lemon juice depending on the brand of powdered sugar you have. Make sure to whisk/mix well so you don't have any lumps. Drizzle the glaze on top of the cake and top with a a little lemon zest. Enjoy!

Notes

Recipe adapted from Foodologie

http://www.prettypolymath.com/2014/11/24/citrus-ricotta-cake/

LAYOUT DESIGNER (2)

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Reese’s Spread Chocolate Truffles

reese's spread chocolate truffles

My husband shared a link on my Facebook last week about Hershey’s newest product, Reese’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Spread. I was in love. Way back in the day, my best friend , Marlene, and I would have Nutella and peanut butter waffle sandwiches for breakfast. We’d take turns making them  for each other and bringing them to class. I’d love to say it was one of my genius creations but it wasn’t. It was all Marlene. The moment that very first waffle sandwich hit my lips I knew we’d be biffles forever. So when I saw this spread that was literally a mixture of my regular college breakfast, I knew I had to have it!

Well, this weekend I went bat shit insane at my local Safeway when I stumbled upon this beautiful jar of everything that is good in the world. They had it! I bought a jar and hid it to make sure my husband didn’t get his grubby hands all over it before I was done with it. I kept it simple and made easy truffles with them. If you decide to make these, please don’t skip out on the crushed peanuts, it just makes it THAT much better. I used an ice cube tray with a silicone bottom as a mold and Ghirardelli Melting Chocolate for the shell. In addition, this is one of those time where I suggest buying all the ingredients (even the ice cube tray) from your local grocery store if it’s available because it’s a lot cheaper than on Amazon. This is a guilt-free dessert- because you will have zero regrets after trying them. 

Reese’s Spread Chocolate Truffles

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 4 truffles

Serving Size: as many as you're heart desires ;-)

Reese’s Spread Chocolate Truffles

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Melt chocolate in the microwave in a small bowl, stirring every 15 seconds. Make sure not to burn the chocolate! Pour 1/2 tsp of chocolate into each mold and use a spoon or brush to coat the walls and edges of each mold. Turn the mold upside down and tap out any excess chocolate back into your bowl of melted chocolate. Freeze for 2 minutes and repeat to create a second layer of chocolate for the shell. Freeze for another 2 minutes or until the shell has completely hardened.
  2. Fill each chocolate shell with Reese's spread, leaving a little room at the top for chocolate to seal in the filling. Spoon in melted chocolate over the spread and use a spatula or back of a knife to remove any excess chocolate and get a flat bottom. Freeze for 5 minutes.
  3. Gently release the chocolate truffles from the mold. Drizzle excess chocolate on top and sprinkle with crushed peanuts. Freeze for another 2 minutes and you're done!
http://www.prettypolymath.com/2014/11/21/reeses-spread-chocolate-truffles/

Reeses

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