Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Flourless Almond Butter Cookies

What are your simple joys in life? I was on this subject during dinner the other day with a friend. It had been a stressful day with everyone studying for finals, and I was tired, frustrated, and hungry. But then, I had a delicious stir-fry with a good chat, and instantly felt much better. A good meal and some nice company after a tough day is just one of the many simple joys in life.

Considering everything that goes through a college student’s mind every day, it’s so easy to overlook the little things in life. Too often, we only look towards greater goals, and don’t pick up on the small successes everyday that make us smile that little bit more.

Sure achieving a long term goal feels great, but so does popping bubble wrap for hours on end, taking boots off after a long day of skiing, finally using the toilet after holding on for too long, being outside under the sun, itching a mosquito bite, spending carefree time with friends, enjoying a refreshing smoothie after a long run outdoors … and the list goes on.

I really hope you give this almond butter cookie recipe a try. These cookies are definitely a simple joy. With only five ingredients, you’d really have to quite the kitchen klutz to mess these up.


1 cup almond butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp vanilla extract
Whole almonds (optional)


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Use a tablespoon to scoop balls of the dough, and use your hands to form balls. Place on a lined baking sheet. Press an almond on top if desired. Bake for 10 minutes, or until golden brown. They will be soft when first out of the oven. Cool completely.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Blueberry Scones with a Streusel Topping

Sometimes, my life is so boring (and my brain so dead) that I wonder, why do I even have a blog? I guess it’s so I can share the result of my cooking with the World Wide Web, but I also try to share a bit of my life too. Sorry I’ve got nothing else interesting to share today but this recipe and these photos. Hopefully, I’ll be in more of a writing mood tomorrow.


¾ cup dried blueberries
1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
2 ½ tsp baking powder
2 tbsp white sugar
¼ cup butter (1/2 stick)
2 large eggs, beaten
1/3 cup milk

Streusel Topping:
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp all purpose flour
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp butter, cut into small pieces


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Place dried blueberries in a small bowl and cover with hot water. Leave to soak for 5 minutes, then drain and pat dry with a paper towel.
3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and sugar. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter (or use your hands) until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
4. Stir in the blueberries. Add in the beaten eggs and milk, and stir until the dough comes together.
5. On a lightly floured surface pat out the dough until ¾ inch thick. Use a biscuit cutter to cut it into rounds (or into triangles with a knife). Place on a lined cookie sheet. Brush tops with milk and sprinkle with streusel topping.
6. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden.

To make the streusel topping: combine sugar, flour, and cinnamon in a small bowl. With a pastry cutter (or your hands), cut in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Peanut Butter Truffle Brownies

Peanut butter and chocolate just might be one of the greatest pairings ever. When I first encountered a Reese’s peanut butter cup three years ago, I thought it was such an interesting combination of ingredients. Whoever came up with the idea to combine peanut butter and chocolate was a pure genius.

I was reminded of my love for pb and choc by my friend Jenny, who made peanut butter and chocolate cupcakes during finals period last week. In fact, I got a personal delivery to the library! A link to her blog and to the recipe can be found here.

I’ve recently become a frequent user of Pinterest. It’s such a cute website, full of stunning photography, crafty ideas, and beautiful creations of all sorts. I came across a pin for these peanut butter truffle brownies while getting my daily dose of Pinterest a few weeks ago, and I knew I just had to make them.

With a new camera in hand, I had lots of fun taking plenty of photos. Maybe I went overboard a little. Somehow, I managed to take over 80 pictures, making choosing which ones to post a difficult decision. Oh well. I’ve no one to blame but myself. Or my camera…


Brownie layer:
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups white sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder

Peanut butter layer:
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp milk

Chocolate ganache layer:
¼ cup peanut butter
2 cups semisweet chocolate
¼ cup butter


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 13x9 inch baking pan.
2. First, make the brownie bottom. In a medium bowl, mix together oil, sugar, and vanilla. Beat in eggs. Combine flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder. Stir into the wet mixture until well blended. Spread batter into greased pan.
3. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Let the brownie cool.
4. While the brownie is cooling, make the peanut butter layer. Combine the peanut butter layer ingredients in a bowl and beat until smooth and creamy. Spread onto the cooled brownie. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, or until the filling is set.
5. To make the ganache layer, combine peanut butter, chocolate, and butter in a glass bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (or use a double boiler). Melt the ganache ingredients together and stir to combine.
6. Spread over the peanut butter layer. Place in the refrigerator to set, approximately 30 minutes. Cut into squares to serve.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Healthy Waffles with Fresh Strawberries

…And that’s a wrap! On winter term that is. A few snow showers, too many Collis smoothies, and numerous floor movie nights later, here I am again, back home relaxing and blogging. I can’t believe I’m already two-thirds into with my freshman year at Dartmouth. As clichĂ© as it sounds, it seems like it was just yesterday when I was welcomed to my home away from home.

Back in Philly with the pantry fully stocked, I’m eager to begin experimenting in the kitchen again. I no longer have to ask the entire dorm for an egg, or resort to using only vegan recipes when my baking supplies are low.

I’ve always been a big fan of breakfast, but it’s difficult to get a healthy one in college when waking up before 9 is a tremendous feat. Most days, my breakfast just ends up being a granola bar and a cup of coffee. Sometimes, I crawl to our campus cafĂ© for a nourishing bowl of oatmeal; I hardly ever make it to the dining hall. This morning, I made these lite waffles for my sister right before she left for school. Yes, I had to wake up at 7am to do so. No more sleeping at 2 and waking up at 9 for me. I’m determined to have a healthy sleep schedule this spring break.


1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup nonfat milk
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 egg, lightly beaten
Cooking spray
Icing sugar (optional)
Syrup, agave nectar, or honey (optional)


1. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda. Make a well in the center.
2. Combine milk, lemon juice, oil, and egg. Add to the flour mixture and stir until smooth.
3. Spray waffle iron with cooking spray and follow the manual directions
4. Decorate with fresh strawberries. Dust with icing sugar and serve with syrup (or for a healthier alternative, agave nectar or honey) if desired.