Nutella Butter Cookies Covered in Powdered Sugar

Baking, Dessert

Nutella Cookies by Tiny Chili Pepper

A conversation with a friend about Christmas season and baking:

Me: “So Lindsay, we always have good conversations about history, tradition, and culture. Question for you. Do you think there’s a traditional connection between Christmas season and baking, cookies especially? Seems like many people get into this intensified baking mode this time of year.”

Lindsay: “I have no idea if the two are traditionally linked, but they were in my family. My mother would often make sugar cookies and almond sugar cookies. Plus, I’ve always lived in a cold climate, so baking gives an excuse to turn on the oven! It’s also a cheerful, indoor activity that can lift your spirits when it gets dark so early. So those are my reasons.”

Fresh from the oven drop cookies

Hmm, makes sense to me. Linked or not linked, holiday or any day, baked treats sound good. But like Lindsay said, these short, cold, winter days do create a perfect and inviting atmosphere for fresh-from-the-oven cookies, or pastries, along with steaming hot coffee or hot chocolate, don’t they? That and for bundling up!

Nutella Cookies

All these talks about baking cookies with Lindsay made me want to do it too! Jeff nodded enthusiastically when I asked if he’d helped last night. I leafed through a cookbook and found a truly very easy cookie recipe: Chocolate Hazelnut Drop Cookies. The recipe called for: butter, flour, powdered sugar, pure vanilla extract, and Nutella. That’s it! All we had to do: beat butter and some sugar with a mixer, added the flour and vanilla extract, formed the dough into tiny balls, dropped them on baking sheets, baked for 12 minutes, and rolled the cookies (after cooling down for a few minutes) in the rest of the powdered sugar. Not too sweet or chocolaty and perfect with coffee! 

Chocolate Hazelnut Drop Cookies

Click here to see the full recipe

Happy baking and have a nice weekend to all!

Warm thoughts to all of us in winter wonderland.

Hazelnut Shortbread with Mascaporne and Blackberries – Venturing into the Baking World

Baking, Dessert

I found and tried another amazing cookie recipe recently. It’s called Hazelnut Shortbread with Mascaporne Frosting and it produces these pretty little cookies with a taste of harmony. The nutty and crumbly hazelnut shortbread is nicely joined by this soft and creamy mascaporne cheese with vanilla beans and sweet and tart blackberries. Simply marvelous.

Beautiful recipes, such as this one, inspire me to get to know baking much better. That and a cookie monster named Jeff.

Thank you, Vegetarian ‘Ventures.

Click here for more baking inspiration

Almond Blackberry Cookies – Venturing into the Baking World

Baking, Dessert

I search for great flavor combinations in meals and also in sweets. I appreciate the creativity of balancing tastes, color, and texture in cooking and baking. Though I still feel more passionate about cooking and savory things, I say, “Why not?” to learning the art of baking. The way I see it: I already cook a lot, I might as well be able to make a few great sweets too :). So here’s my latest baking recipe trial that resulted in another favorite for Jeff and I.

Recently, I found this Peanut Butter Cookies with Blackberry Jam recipe from Giada De Laurentiis. The recipe is also included in her latest book, Weeknights with Giada (pg. 215).

I did a few little tweaks to this recipe to fit my preference:

  1. Instead of using ¾ cup of peanut butter, as suggested on the ingredient list, I used ¾ cup of ground raw almonds (that I ran through the food processor with 1/8 cup of olive oil). I blended the raw almonds and olive oil in a food processor until it became as grainy as possible. The almonds mixture did not have the same consistency as peanut butter of course, but I actually liked the chunky and grainy texture better.
  2. I also opted out of the step of rolling the dough in ¼ cup of sugar and went directly to form the doughs into little balls ready for the blackberry filling in the middle. (I also made the dough balls smaller than the ones in the recipe.)
  3. I used blackberry preserves, which I already had in my fridge, instead of jam.

Such delightful little cookies! I love the soft crunch, the subtle nutty almonds, and the sweet and tangy tastes of the blackberry preserves. I see them disappear quickly from our cookie box 🙂

The Softest Lemon Cookies with Blueberries – Venturing Into the Baking World

Baking, Dessert

For a newcomer in the baking world, a successful recipe trial makes a positive reinforcement. It feels really good to open the oven, see the wonderful baking result, and take that first sweet bite. I’d always tell myself to bake more after that one great bite.

I found this wonderful recipe called Soft and Fluffy Blueberry Lemon Cookies by a fellow blogger, Baker Bettie. As the name suggest, the cookies come out soft, lemony, and blueberry sweet. I love the light and fruity taste of these cookies.

Another great recipe discovery. I hope to find more to try. Thanks, Baker Bettie!