Sweet & Spicy Mixed Nuts

Roasted, mixed nuts are one of my favorite, favorite homemade snacks.  Reason being is that they are completely customizable, free from preservatives or any unnatural ingredients and a great substitute for the chips we normally have lingering in our pantry.

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White Chocolate Peppermint Cookies with Vanilla Salt

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If you’re looking for a Christmas cookie, this one is it.  Seriously.  Once I discovered this recipe, there was no going back.  Everyone was going to receive this cookie as a gift and they were going to like it.  Which is why I’ve made it my staple cookie once December rolls around.  Just within the past few days, I have made two batches and still have one more to go.  No joke.  Reason being was that we ended up slowly snacking on the first batch, sneaking a cookie (or two) for breakfast until I realized there weren’t enough left to actually give out as gifts. Oops!

So, the cookie itself includes both peppermint and white chocolate (if you couldn’t tell from the title) and are perfect complements to the intense caramel notes the dough develops while resting in your refrigerator overnight.  Just prior to baking, the unbaked cookies are then garnished with vanilla salt which just takes their deliciousness to the next level.  It’s a killer secret ingredient and not one to leave out–I’ve included the how-to at the end of the page.

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Meyer Lemon Curd

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Many people associate lemons as being part of the summer produce rotation but oddly enough they are a winter fruit, with their brightness punctuating the dreary, rainy season here in Northern California.  It’s really quite wonderful to see our local farmers markets now showcasing an abundance of citrus fruit such as mandarins, grapefruits and Meyer lemons alongside the heavy root vegetables that define the winter season.

If you’re not familiar with the fruit, Meyer lemons are a cross between a lemon and an orange or mandarin with much of the tartness giving way to a light, floral sweetness.  Therefore their bright flavor is a natural, welcome swap in a traditional lemon curd.

It’s rich, silky texture is perfect as a spread on toast, scones and muffins or swirled into yogurt.  So, grab some lemons and get cooking!  You really can’t go wrong!

Meyer Lemon Curd

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Hawaij-Coffee Snickerdoodles

 

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If you’ve never heard of Hawaij (“huh-why-edge”), that’s ok because I certainly hadn’t either until I stumbled across it on Molly Yeh’s blog where she presented us with some hawaij-coffee donuts.  What?  Needless to say, I was intrigued!  I’m all for incorporating new spices into my dishes and this one sounded like a winner, mostly because it’s used with coffee.  Because right now coffee is everything.  It turns out there are two versions of hawaij, a Yemeni spice blend, that are used in both coffee and soups.  Here we use the coffee blend where ground cardamom and ginger are the stars of the show, followed by a mixture of nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon.  Sometimes anise and fennel seeds are included but I opted to skip them.  Add a pinch or two of the spice to your coffee grounds and boom…you have a better-than-Starbucks holiday brew.  Not only can you add Hawaij to your coffee, but now you can also add your Hawaij-spiced coffee to cookies!  Double win!

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Salted Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

So, sometimes you just need some chocolate.  I’m not talking about the one square of dark chocolate that’s typical for an after-dinner treat, but a super-decadent, double chocolate chip cookie.  These past couple of weeks have schooled me in what it takes to care for a sick baby and to see your child not feeling his best only makes you wish you could take all his ailments away yourself.  We’ve seen fevers, coughs, colds, stuffy noses and a number of other bodily functions and fluids that probably shouldn’t be mentioned on a food blog.  I don’t want to ruin your appetite.  However, during those times where the babe was able to nap I indulged myself a bit by making these cookies.  Not only did being in the kitchen soothe my frayed nerves, but I knew I couldn’t go wrong with chocolate.  It tends to make everything better.

Double Chocolate Chip 5

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