White Chocolate Creme Brulee

When I think of fancy desserts I think of crème brulee. It’s creamy, crunchy, hot and cold all at the same time! Crème brulee is really simple to make; I think most people get scared by the idea of torching sugar but with a little practice and some practical know how you can be wowing family and guests in no time! I have included a video of how to do it, the key is rotating the crème brulee in your hand and always keeping the torch moving around the sugar, don’t linger to long in one spot or you will burn the sugar.  Just remember practice makes perfect and once you master this you will feel like a pro!

The thing that sets this recipe apart from most crème burlee is the fresh vanilla. You can get it online for pretty cheap or at most grocery stores. To remove the seeds from the bean take a sharp knife and cut the bean in half, using the back of your knife and starting at one end, scrape the seeds from the bean.  For this recipe I also used the bean steeping it in with my cream mixture. After you remove the bean from your heated cream mixture DON’T THROW IT AWAY! It can be steeped again in liquid to make ice cream or more crème brulee, another thing you can do to reuse your vanilla beans is make vanilla sugar: in a plastic container add about 2 cups or so of white sugar and toss in your dried off vanilla beans, push them down into the sugar and then just shake and mix it every now and then. You can add as many beans as you can fit and the sugar can be used in anything for a little extra vanilla flavor!

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Another tip:  don’t worry about buying fancy crème brulee dishes! As you can see I used whatever I could find! Tea cups, bowls, ramekins, whatever works! This is a larger recipe and depending of the size of your dishes it will make anywhere from 6 to 8 crème brulee. You can always cut the recipe in half if that’s too much.

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White Chocolate Crème Brulee

  •    10 Egg Yolks
  •    ¾ Cup Sugar
  •    5 Cups Cream
  •    10 oz White Chocolate
  •    1 Vanilla bean (or 1 ¼ teaspoon Extract)

In a pot add ½ cup of the sugar, cream, white chocolate and the vanilla bean (seeds removed with bean). Bring to a simmer and stir often. (Do not boil!) Once chocolate is melted, remove from heat and remove the bean, (if using extract add it now). In a bowl combine egg yolks with remaining ¼ cup sugar, whisk to combine.  Temper the egg yolks by adding about 1 cup of the hot cream mixture to the eggs whisk together and pour back into the hot cream while whisking to combine. Pour mixture into dishes and bake at 325 degrees for 35 min.  You want them to still be jiggley in the center because they will continue to set as they cool. Refrigerate 4-5 hours or overnight before torching them.  To torch them sprinkle evenly approximately 1 tablespoon of sugar on the top; holding the crème brulee in your hand and the lit torch in the other, quickly turn the crème brulee under the flame and as the sugar begins to melt keep rotating till all the sugar is melted. Wait a few minutes before cracking into it. makes about 6 to 8 crème brulees

Cardamom Spiced Shortbread Cookies with Dark Chocolate

If you were to back me against a wall and force me to choose a favorite spice I might say something silly like, “one could no sooner choose a star among the heavens” (name that movie lol) But if you really pushed the matter I would probably choose cardamom. Cardamom is such a beautiful spice; it has a sweet minty aroma with a mild black pepper finish, its nutty, floral, and just plain delicious! Cardamom works in both sweet and savory preparations, it comes in two ways: the whole pod or the ground up black seeds inside the pod. The whole pods can be used in marinades and steeping but the outside husk is not really edible, so use it kind of like a bay leaf.  Ground cardamom can be used in really anything, keep in mind that a little goes a long way.

If you really want to experience the full flavor of cardamom these short bread cookies are a perfect choice. The toasty buttery flavor goes so well with the floral sweetness of cardamom.  The recipe is really simple and kind of self explanatory, the only thing I will say is the longer you refrigerate the dough (up to 2 days) the better the flavor, the flour has a chance to soak up the butter fat and when baked makes for a delicious toasty flavor that is irresistible.  For an extra special touch, dip the cookies in melted dark chocolate and sprinkle with sea salt!

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Cardamom Spiced Short Bread Cookies

  •      ¾ Cup AP Flour
  •      1 Tablespoon Cardamom
  •      ¼ Teaspoon salt
  •      ½ Cup butter (room temp)
  •      ¼ Cup + 1 Tablespoon Powdered Sugar
  •      ½ Teaspoon Vanilla

In a bowl whisk together the flour, cardamom and salt. In a separate bowl beat together room temp. butter and sugar till smooth. Add the flour mixture and beat on low till fully combined. Shape dough into log, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours. Pre-heat oven to 375˚ line baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice refrigerated dough into ¼” slices and place on baking sheet, spacing evenly. Bake cookies for 20 min. till golden brown around the edges. Makes 24 cookies.

*chocolate dipped option: melt one cup dark chocolate with 1 Teaspoon coconut oil in the microwave for 12 min. at a time being careful not to overheat. Once cookies have cooled dip half the cookie into the chocolate and place on parchment paper to cool, sprinkle with sea salt. ENJOY!!!   

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Chocolate Chip Cookies With Walnuts And Sea Salt

Cookies are basically the perfect dessert! Crunchy, gooey, chocolaty, salty, toasty, nutty and sweet! Everyone has their favorite variation. Our house is divided when it comes to the perfect cookie, some family members like them salty and gooey, “so gooey they fall through your fingers” others like them crisp and sweet, “crunchy enough that when you dip it in milk it soaks it up like a sponge”. Others still like them with raisins (yuk).  I like them crisp, salty and with lots of dark chocolate! I really like this cookie recipe because it somehow pleases everyone, (with the exception of the crazy raisin lovers), it’s all of the above in one cookie.

I have made this recipe so many time I have it memorized, however I never seem to make it the same way twice. Sometimes I’ll use pecans and milk chocolate, cocoa nibs and dark chocolate chunks, white chocolate and hazelnuts, one time I added fresh vanilla from the bean on top of the vanilla it calls for it was amazing! The sky is the limit!

Here is a few of my sure fire cookie tips.

Make sure you don’t over cream the butter and sugar, adding lots of air like that can make your cookie fluffy and cake like, so unless that’s what you are going for cream the butter and sugar till the butter looks like pea sized chunk.

The bigger the cookie the more gooey the center. I like to make them bigger, when I do I turn the oven up to 375, it makes for a toasty outside and a gooey inside.

If you love a crisp and toasty cookie refrigerate the dough over night or 24 hours before baking. This allows the flour to really soak up the fat form the butter which makes the cookie have a toasty, rich, butter flavor.

Sprinkle cookies with salt! Salt really sets off the sweetness of cookies.  Salt is a sweet enhancer, you can actually add less sugar to things if you add salt. For example if you are making a smoothie and it’s just not sweet enough but you don’t want to add any sugar try adding a pinch of salt, you might be surprised at how well it works. I never make a cookie without a sprinkle of salt on the top! It just makes it better! 

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Chocolate Chip Cokkies

  •       2 cups white sugar
  •       2 cups brown sugar
  •       1lb butter (cubed)
  •       4 eggs
  •       6 cups AP flour
  •       4 cups chocolate chips
  •       2 cups chopped walnuts
  •       1 tablespoon vanilla
  •       1 teaspoon baking powder
  •       ½ teaspoon baking soda
  •       1 teaspoon salt
  •       Flaked sea salt for sprinkling

In a stand mixer or large bowl cream butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla until butter is roughly the size of peas.  Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt then add to mixer. Mix to form a dough. Add chocolate chips and walnuts, mix to combine.  Spoon out dough (about 2 tablespoon sized balls) onto sheet pan bake at 350 or 375 (based on desired crispness) for 15 min. sprinkle with sea salt and let cool on sheet pan for 2 min. before removing them to a cooling rack. Enjoy!

What variations of this recipe would you make?

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