Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Raspberry Almond Linzer Cookies

Happy Valentine's Day! 

Since I love you all so much for reading this crazy blog, I decided to bake you a Valentine's treat to make your heart happy (literally). 

These cookies are the oh-so-so-SO-good-melt-in-your-mouth kind. Seriously, a very reliable taste-testing source told me these were his "favorite cookies ever, hands down." I encourage you to find out for yourself... :)

With a hint of almond, smothered in raspberry jam and topped with a dusting of confectioners' sugar, these cookies are the perfect sweet treat to share with your loved ones this Valentine's Day. Pair them with a warm cup of tea or hot chocolate for an even fancier indulgence!

Have a heart (pun intended) and celebrate Valentine's Day with Raspberry Almond Linzer Cookies made with love. Enjoy!

Raspberry Almond Linzer Cookies

16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup plus 3 Tbsp. confectioners' sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract (if almond isn't your thing, you can sub this out for another extract or leave it out altogether for more vanilla-based cookie)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup seedless raspberry jam

Preheat oven to 325°F; line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Beat butter and 2/3 cup sugar until fluffy. 

Beat in egg yolk, vanilla and almond extract, then flour and salt. Shape dough into 2 disks; wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least two hours.

On a floured surface, roll out dough to about a 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut out cookies with a medium or large heart-shaped cutter. Use a smaller heart cutter to cut a window out of half of cookies. 

With a spatula, carefully transfer cookies to prepared baking sheets. Repeat with remaining dough. Gather scraps and roll out again to make more cookies.

Bake cookies in batches until edges of cookies are just golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes, then transfer cookies onto wire racks to let cool completely.

Spread 3/4 tsp. jam over flat side of each cookie that doesn't have a window. Sift 3 Tbsp. confectioners' sugar over each cookie with a window. Top cookies with jam with window-cookes flat side down, so that jam shows through windows. 

Enjoy! Makes about 6-8 cookies (I doubled the recipe).

Recipe adapted from My Recipes.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Simple Blueberry Cake with Lemon Mascarpone Frosting

There is something so uniquely special about cake. 

To me, cakes evoke wonderful (and delicious) memories of birthdays, weddings, holidays, congratulations... and in this case, a Confirmation! I love the idea that such a sweetly simple treat can quite literally be the frosting on top of a happy get together with loved ones. After all, what's better than breaking bread (I mean, cake...) with family and friends?

This cake should be a staple in every baker's cookbook. The recipe is super basic and hugely modifiable when it comes to incorporating your favorite ingredients. The cake is dense without being too rich and the fresh blueberries add the perfect burst of sweet, spring-inspired flavor. Depending on how you prepare it, I think this cake could even work as a breakfast treat!

Topped with a thin layer of tangy, whipped lemon mascarpone frosting and garnished with fresh blueberries, this cake is the perfect way to mix up your standard cake recipe queue. Chocolate and vanilla will always be classics, but don't be afraid to try something new at your next cake-worthy gathering. Something tells me you won't regret it... :)

Simple Blueberry Cake with Lemon Mascarpone Frosting


For the Blueberry Cake:
1 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
1/2-1 cup blueberries, extra for garnish
1-2 tablespoons sugar (optional)

For the Lemon Mascarpone Frosting:
3/4 cup mascarpone cheese
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
Half a lemon, zest of
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
Extra fresh blueberries for desired garnish


For the Blueberry Cake:
Preheat oven to 350°. Generously grease an 8-inch round cake pan.

Whisk flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter, sugar, and brown sugar until creamy. Add egg and vanilla, mixing well.

Add flour mixture in 3 portions, alternating with the milk. Mix just until combined.

Transfer batter to prepared pan. Scatter blueberries over the top of the batter and lightly press them into the batter. Sprinkle top with sugar.

Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325°. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until cake is golden brown and firm.

Cool in pan for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the cake. Transfer cake to wire rack to cool completely. (You'll need to flip the cake twice so it can cool right side up.)

Recipe adapted from Bake or Break.

For the Lemon Mascarpone Frosting:
Beat mascarpone cheese and whipping cream together until smooth and slight peaks begin to form.

Sift in the powdered sugar and zest. Beat until smooth.

Mix in the vanilla extract and spread on cooled cake.

Garnish with desired blueberries.

Recipe adapted from
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