Peach Jam

How can we let Summer pass us by without celebrating one of it's many gifts: peaches? Seems like an opportunity that just can't be missed if you ask me. Now, there are many different directions that we could go in with our little round friends that are only in season for a hot (really hot, like 90-degree-weather kind of hot) second. Ice cream, shortcake, scone, sangria. But I decided to do what my heart was telling me to do; make jam. And what baby wants, baby gets. My heart is the baby in this scenario...Or maybe it's my stomach?

Let's move on.

Some people prefer to make their jam with granulated sugar, but I tend to prefer light brown. To me, it brings a warmth and more nuanced flavor than just white sugar. It helps to sweeten whatever berry or stone fruit that you've decided to make into a jam, while also giving more of a depth of flavor. This go-round, I also decided to add a little splash of vanilla. But, you should only do this if you're truly a die-hard vanilla fan as it is a flavor that refuses to stay subtle. I happen to love it, but the choice is yours and yours alone.

Of course, one very vital ingredient when making jam, whatever kind you choose, must be lemon. Not lemon extract, but fresh lemon juice, plus the zest. What lemon does is not only brighten the other flavors in your delectable compote, but also cuts through some of the sweetness with a little kick of acidity. Without lemon, your jam could become cloyingly sweet, and no matter how big of a sweet tooth you have, there is actually such a thing as something being too sweet. I learned that the hard way.

Processed with VSCO with s2 preset

I've said it before, and I will say it forever: I am at my utter best when making jam. Perhaps it's that it fills the home with such warm and sweet aromas that linger for hours. Or maybe it's because it's the closest I ever feel to my ancestors, the ones who lived in the real country in Tennessee, who knew the value of hard work, who foraged and canned not because it was on trend, but because it's just what was done. I feel like my great-grandmother is with me somehow when I'm standing over a bubbling pot, guiding me along, and introducing me to the Tennessee side of me. I call her Country Sydney, and I only get to see her when the sun's out and I'm frolicking outside in a field in a pair of wellies. I like Country Sydney  And I think my great-grandmother would, too.

Great Granny Tiny, this peach jam is for you.

 

PEACH JAM 

What You'll Need:

  • 6 peaches, peeled, pitted, diced
  • 1 cup (at least) brown sugar
  • Zest of 1 lemon, plus juice of (AT LEAST) half
  • Splash of vanilla, optional
  • Pinch of salt

DIRECTIONS

Add peaches, brown sugar, lemon zest, juice of half of a lemon, vanilla (if using), and pinch of salt to a medium sauce pan. Stir to combine.

Cook the pan over medium-high heat, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon so that the sugar starts to dissolve, and the peaches begin to release their juices. Occasionally, mash the peaches with the back of your spoon to flatten them.  As the mixture starts to heat up, it will start bubbling rather vigorously, and maybe even spit up at your arm while you're stirring. Do not be alarmed. This is par for the course when you are creating delicious magic. DO NOT leave your jam at any time during this stage as it can go from fruit to burnt-beyond-belief in very, very little time.

Along the way, make sure to taste test. If the mixture is too sweet, add the other half of the lemon juice. If it's not sweet enough, add sugar by the teaspoon until it's sweet enough to your liking. (I tend to think that it's better to start off with less and add a little more, rather than start off with too much and not be able to fix it.)

Cooking time should be around 30-50 minutes depending on your stove. What to look for when seeing if your jam is done is whether or not it coats the back of the spoon. CAREFULLY draw a vertical line down the back. Has it left a defined line while the rest of your spoon is still coated with a thick jam? Yes? Congratulations, you've just passed the "line" test. Also, YOU HAVE PEACH JAM.

It's important to note that I prefer my jams on the "chunkier" side  because I like the differences in texture. If you are the same way, make sure that while there are still some little chunks of peaches, those chunks are completely soft. If you just want straight-up smooth jam, you can run it through a fine mesh sieve when it has cooled.

Once your jam has reached it's final stage, take it off the heat and let it cool in the saucepan before transferring to a clean mason jar. Store in the refrigerator.

The jam should keep in the refrigerator for several weeks.

Vanilla Chai Chocolate Truffles

On this episode of "Sydney Makes Easy Things That Impress Her Friends," we're talkin' 'bout chocolate truffles. But not just any regular chocolate truffles, oh no, we're throwing vanilla chai into the mix. Essentially, they're chocolate balls, but doesn't the word "truffle" just make it sound much fancier? Ya, I agree.

The bond that a woman of color has with her hairdresser is one that is sacred, and must be fostered and nurtured. I do this by surprising mine with edible treats at least once a month. And since the hot cross buns that I made a few weeks back were given to family and church members, I decided that my beloved beautician should get something specifically made JUST for her. And like many, many women that I know, she looooooooooves  chocolate. So, I thought, what better treat than just straight-up homemade truffles?

During the holiday season my television basically stays on Food Network and Cooking Channel, and I watched a special episode of Giada at Home in which she made chocolate truffles for some "guests" (more likely the production crew, but ya know, TV magic and all that) who were stopping by for a holiday party. She stepped it up by brewing a bunch of bags chai  in heavy cream, then taking it off the heat and pouring it over chocolate to melt it. Then she stirred it all together until it turned into chocolate ganache, refrigerated it for a few hours until it set, then scooped out the mixture by the tablespoon, rolled it into a ball, coated it in cocoa powder, and then wrapped a little gold leaf around each for a classy touch. They were so cute and elegant, so I logged the recipe away for an occasion when I would really, really want to make them. But when it came time to make these truffles, wouldn't you know it, I didn't have any gold leaf on hand (I'm not workin' with a Food Network budget here), and instead of brewing with classic chai, I decided to switch it up with my favorite bundling of vanilla chai tea bags. Was it a success? Oh yeah. She loved them!

These truffles are perfect for anyone who has a semi-sweet tooth. They've got a bit of an edge to them, with just the hint of sweetness to balance everything out. Basically, you get this intensely rich, deep chocolatey flavor, mixed with the warmth of spices that you find in classic chai, and finished off with the subtle hint of vanilla. The vanilla may just be a gentle whisper, but it definitely won't let you ever forget that it's there.

Best of all, they can be made wayyyy in advance, which works perfectly for me because I can enjoy leftover truffles that didn't fit in the gifted container for weeks to come.

Vanilla Chai Chocolate Truffles: Good for friendship, good for random chocolate cravings.

 

VANILLA CHAI CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES 

What You'll Need:

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 7 bags vanilla chai tea (I like Bigelow)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 9 oz dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder

 

DIRECTIONS

Before you begin, tie all of your tea bag strings together in a knot. This makes it much easier to fish them out when you've finished with them.

Pour the heavy cream into a small saucepan, then add your tea bags. Place the pan over medium-low heat, warming the cream slowly; stir occasionally. You'll know when your mixture is heated through when you see little bubbles start to form around the edges of the cream, about 5-7 minutes. Simmer for 3 minutes more, then remove from heat.

Remove the tea bags from the sauce pan. Place the finely chopped chocolate and salt in a medium bowl, then strain the cream mixture over it using a fine-mesh strainer. Let sit for 3 minutes so that the chocolate begins to melt on its own. Slowly whisk the melted chocolate into the cream starting in the center of the bowl, then slowly making your way outwards. Remember to do this slowly and carefully so that the chocolate doesn't seize up! Continue whisking until the mixture is smooth and completely blended. Place a piece of plastic wrap DIRECTLY on top of the ganache, and press down gently to make sure the surface is completely covered.  Let set in the  refrigerator for AT LEAST 3 hours, but the best is overnight. The mixture should be firm by that time, but still easy to work it.

Measure your coca powder, then place in a small, shallow bowl. With a tablespoon cookie scoop (or just a tablespoon measuring spoon), scoop even rounds of ganache into your palm, then very quickly but gently roll into a ball.  Next. roll the ball in the coca powder to coat; gently shake off any excess.. Repeat this process until you've run out of ganache. Place your truffles in an airtight container and refrigerate until you are ready to serve.

Make Ahead: The truffles can be made several weeks ahead of time, kept refrigerated in an airtight container. On the day of serving, roll each in the cocoa powder.

 

 

SOURCE: Very, very slightly adapted from Giada De Laurentis 

 

 

Heart-Shaped Jammy Sammy Cookies

I know February 14th is long-gone, but I subscribe to Valentine's Day-cutesienss 365 days out of the year.

By the way, how was your Valentine's Day? Mine was surprisingly fun this year, which has freed me from the cycle of weird/awkward/disastrous scenes of Valentine's Day past. I volunteered at the an annual Sweetheart Dinner (last year I made this French Silk Pie), and had a BLAST. There were several courses involved, and no time to take a breath as we were each cooking over our respective dishes (I was on dessert duty but got roped into making seafood Alfredo once we got there). Lots of "behind"-s, and "this is ready to go out!"-s, and "We need more ginger ale for the punch!"-s were thrown out, and it reminded me of how much I love being in a busy kitchen. I live for that hustle and bustle sometimes. I mean, I've never dried so many dishes, or continuously scrubbed the same countertops so many times in my entire life, but MAN was it worth it. It was a really classy affair.

Would you like to know the best bit? These cookies were a BIG HIT!

"Jammy Sammie Cookies" is just the name that I wrote to be cute/slightly annoying. You're probably more familiar with the name "Linzer," because of the filling and shape cut out of the center. I generally see Linzer cookies the most during the Holiday Season, but if you ask me, the cookie cutout + filling pairing should be a yearlong affair. And what goes better with a heart shape on Valentine's Day than fresh strawberry jam? Red is like the official unofficial color of V-Day, so the filling of these cookies were required to match accordingly.

Quick question: how do you feel about homemade jam? Me? I'm all about it. I feel like there's nothing that makes me feel cozier than when I'm making jam from scratch. Sure, it takes way less time to just pick a jar off the shelf at your local grocery store, but when you make it yourself you: A) Know exactly what has gone into it, and B) MADE. IT. YOURSELF. Helloooooooo! It's (relatively) fast, (totally) easy, (unbelievably) fresh, and you know it's always made with love.

Now pair that sweet, sweet jam with some deliciously soft shortbread plus a liberal sprinkling of powdered sugar for good measure, and you've got the stuff of dreams, kids. What could be better?

Since you'll definitely have jam left over after filling the cookies, might I make a few suggestions as to what to use it on?

  1. Biscuits
  2. Scones
  3. Toast
  4. Fingers dipped in
  5. By the spoonful
  6. etc. etc.

And let's just quickly talk about the versatility of these cookies, shall we? Yes, they were made for February 14th, but they can go wayyy beyond that. We're talkin' tea parties, birthday parties, bridal showers, picnics, breakfasts, coffee breaks, dates, etc. etc. Cookie hearts filled with homemade jam never go out of season.

It's a beautiful thing.

 

 

HEART-SHAPED JAMMY SAMMY COOKIES

What You’ll Need:

For the shortbread:

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk, room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Powdered sugar for sprinkling

For the jam:

32 oz (two 16 oz containers) strawberries

1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon  brown sugar

Pinch of salt

Zest of 1 whole lemon + juice of half a lemon

 

DIRECTIONS:

First, let’s make the shortbread cookie dough:

 In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a hand mixer, or a wooden spoon), add the butter, sugar, and salt and beat until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Add the egg and egg yolk one at a time, making sure each addition is well combined. Next, add the vanilla extract. Add the flour in three batches, making sure each addition is well combined (but don’t over-mix), before adding more flour. When necessary, scrape down the sides of the bowl using a rubber spatula.

Once your dough has just come together, lay your dough out on a plastic sheet, then divide it in half. Wrap each half tightly in plastic wrap, then shape to form discs. Refrigerate the discs for at least one hour, but best is overnight.

Ok, dough’s done, now let’s make the jam:

Rinse strawberries before using, and let drain completely before getting started.

Once your strawberries have been washed, hull each strawberry, then cut into quarters. Place all of your cut up strawberries in a medium sauce pan. Next, add your brown sugar, pinch of salt, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Using a potato masher (or the back of a wooden spoon), muddle all of your ingredients together, making sure that the berries’ juices are starting to release, and your sugar and salt have started to dissolve.

Cook your fruit compote, stirring frequently, over medium-high heat until your jam has thickened, and it passes the line test (a line can be drawn down the center of the spoon without the juices running); On my stove, that takes about 30-35 minutes. Along the way, make sure to give your jam a few taste tests, and adjust the flavors to your liking. The mixture will bubble quite a bit and juice may jump out of the pan occasionally, so watch out for that!

When your jam has come together, take it off the heat and let it cool completely before transferring it to a mason jar or tupperware container.

This jam will last for several weeks refrigerated.

VERY IMPORTANT: DO NOT leave the stove whilst you’re making your jam. One minute it can still be too runny, then the next you’re cleaning burnt strawberry syrup out of the pan until your arms fall off. Trust me. Stay put. Keep stirring.

Ok, my dough has rested. Time to make some cookies!

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F, and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

Remove the first disc of dough and let sit on a counter for ten minutes; this allows it to come to room temperature, thus making it much easier to roll out.

Liberally flour a rolling pin and work surface.

Roll the cookie dough out to a 1/8 inch thickness, then, using a floured heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut out shapes. Transfer the hearts to the cookie sheets lined with parchment paper, about 1-inch apart. Stamp a hole out of the center of half the cookies using the tip of a circle piping tip. Repeat the process with any remaining scraps, and with the second disc of dough.

Bake the cookies one sheet at a time for 7-10 minutes (depending on your oven),  or until the cookies have started to lightly brown around the edges. Allow the cookies to cool for five minutes on the baking sheet before transferring them to wire racks to cool completely.

Transfer the cookies with the holes cut out of the center to one of the cool baking sheets (keep the parchment paper on). Sprinkle a generous amount of powdered sugar over them using a sifter, mesh strainer, or powdered sugar shaker. (Aren’t you glad you have the parchment paper now to catch the excess sugar?) Flip the bottom cookies (no holes in them) over so that the underside is facing you, then apply about a teaspoon of jam right in the center of each. Place the tops on, then lightly press down so that you create a sandwich. The jam should spread evenly to the edges and through the center hole without overflowing. Enjoy!

To Store: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to a week.

 

 

SOURCE: Adapted from A Cozy Kitchen

How to Make Chicken Stock Without a Recipe (But There's a Recipe!)

Remember that time, just a month ago, when everyone was in awe of the warm weather outside and we thought, "Aw, man. I kind of miss the snow, and that delicious nip of cold in the air..." HOW WRONG WE WERE! I haven't seen the ground in two weeks, and I have an industrial-sized bottle of lotion by my side practically 24/7. But I suppose it could be worse. It could be 2 degrees F outside. OH WAIT. ALSO HAPPENING. Someone wake me when Spring gets here.

I will say this: when I have nowhere to go, there is nothing prettier or more serene than the wintery wonderland I see out my window. It's so peaceful, and so beautiful. It makes the cold almost worth. Almost.

But Midwestern winters aren't all bad; freezing temperatures give me the chance to catch up on all the domestic projects that I keep writing down on my never-ending list. One big one? Making homemade chicken stock!

It's 2016, people. Let's start making our own.

I go through a lot of chicken stock at my house. I use it for burrito bowls and soups, mostly, and I definitely get tired of running to the store all the time to pick up multiple containers. It's so incredibly easy to make at home, PLUS, you're not wasting a thing! All you need is a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store (you can use the meat in sandwiches, salads, on nachos, in soups, etc. etc.) and some of your favorite vegetables and herb seasonings. It's so simple, so economical, and VERY TASTY.

The fun part about making your own chicken stock is that you get to modify it to your particular tastes. If you like things a little spicier, kick it up a notch with a teensy bit of cayenne (a lot goes a long way). If you hate celery, leave it out! And homemade stock is an especially fun thing to make when you have a ton of leftover veggies and nothing to put them in. Waste not, want not.

Your main ingredients are: a chicken carcass cut into pieces, water, salt, and pepper. After that, it's up to you! Once you've put the ingredients you like into the pot, fill it with water so that everything is covered by about 1-2 inches, bring it to a boil, then let it simmer for three hours. If at any point you start to see the water level get a little low, simply add more! And that's it. Once your stock is done, skim off any film that's reached the top with a slotted spoon, strain the stock into a large bowl, and discard all the solids. (Here's a tip: When I'm using fresh herbs, I like to tie them all together with a little kitchen twine. That way, once it's time to strain, I can easily fish them out. ) Make sure your stock is completely cool, then separate it evenly into Mason or Weck jars. If you have plans to use it within a week, pop some stock in the fridge. If you've got future plans, pop your jars in the freezer. It lasts indefinitely. Just make sure to defrost it in the refrigerator overnight before you use it!

And there you have it. You can totally make homemade stock without a recipe! But if you're looking for a little guidance, scroll down for what I put in mine.

Everything's better homemade.

 

HOMEMADE CHICKEN STOCK

What You'll Need:

  • 1 chicken carcass, broken into pieces
  • 2 whole onions, quartered
  • 8+ baby carrots, chopped
  • 5 celery sticks, chopped
  • 3 whole garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4+ sprigs of fresh thyme, tied together with kitchen twine
  • Pinch of salt

DIRECTIONS

In the bottom of a pot that is at least 4 quarts, place the broken-up chicken carcass, onions, baby carrots, celery sticks, garlic cloves, peppercorns, bay leaves, thyme, and salt. Make sure that everything is evenly distributed.

Fill the pot with water until all of the contents are covered by at least 1-2 inches of water.Place the pot over medium-high heat, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, then let simmer for 3 hours. The stock will occasionally bubble, and the contents may shift a little bit. If the water starts to reduce, add more. You want to make sure that everything is fully submersed in water at all times.

Using a slotted spoon, collect and discard any foam or film on the top of  the stock, then strain the stock into a large bowl. Throw away all of the solid pieces that have landed in the strainer. Let the stock cool completely before transferring it evenly into Mason or Weck jars. If you're planning to use the stock within a week, store it in the refrigerator. If not, it will freeze indefinitely. Once you're ready to use it, simply let the frozen stock defrost in the refrigerator overnight.

Hey, you just made chicken stock. 'Grats.

 

SOURCE: Adapted from The Kitchn Cookbook

Homemade Oreos

oreo5 I've been missing Boston lately. More specifically, I've been missing my local eateries; and there were many. I miss reading about new restaurants opening, and just hopping on the train, hopping in line, and experiencing something first-hand instead of reading about it later. And when I get into a mood like this, I turn to my cookbooks, for they always know how to cheer a girl up. Do you know what also cheers a girl up? Chocolate. Chocolate cookies. Buttercream frosting. Buttercream frosting sandwiched between two chocolate cookies. Oreos. I'm talking about Oreos.

The first time I ever visited Flour Bakery I was amazed by the selection of truly beautiful foods. How could they fit so much loveliness into such limited space? But more importantly, I was amazed by the sheer unpretentiousness of what Flour had to offer. Some of the biggest bakeries in the city try to dazzle you with sophisticated names, bright lights, fancy decorations, and anything else they can think of to draw you in. Don't get me wrong, I like to be dazzled by complicated creations as much as the next food lover, but sometimes I want a no-frills, just great taste, bakery experience. And while Flour did have cases filled to the brim with impressive pastries and sandwiches, it also stayed true to the neighborhood bakery feel with classic cakes and cookies that I grew up eating. I loved that Flour could take a childhood classic, like an Oreo, and make it completely rustic and completely their own. It was that sort of approachability to the classics that made me come back every time.

So, on days when that feeling of missing something just won't go away, I have to slip on the apron, and make it at home. Oreos, here we come.

oreos 1I think the only thing that I was truly worried about when making these cookies was rolling up the dough. I'd never done slice-and-bake cookies before, and perhaps this was unnecessary, but I felt that the task might be a little daunting. What if I didn't roll the log into a smooth enough shape? What if, when I went to slice them, I would slice too thinly or too thickly? What if, in an especially clumsy state, I went to cut the log and the whole thing went rolling to the floor? Two out of three scenarios actually happened. I'll let you guess which ones.

oreo2In all honesty, I probably shouldn't have been so nervous. Though it wasn't the smoothest log that it could've been, it still had a nice shape, and I was able to get great cookies out of it. Yes, I did slice a few too thinly, and also a few slightly thicker than the rest, but the trick is to make sure every cookie has a mate. These are sandwich cookies after all! And as good as these cookies taste on their own, trust me, you'll want that buttercream frosting on every single one. No buttercream shall go to waste!

oreo3

It's almost scary how good these cookies are. They're partially crunchy, partially fudgey, partially creamy, and wholly delicious. And also sooo unbelievably tasty paired with a nice glass of whole milk. They're a little too big for dunking in the average-sized glass, but you can always break them up into pieces should the need for dunking arise.

Boy, am I going to miss these cookies when they're gone.

 

What You'll Need:

For the Cookies:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon fine kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

For the Buttercream Frosting:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened and at room temperature
  • 1 2/3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon whole milk
  • dash of kosher salt

Directions:

In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter and granulated sugar until well combined. Next, whisk in the vanilla extract and melted chocolate. Add the egg and whisk until well combined.

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda until well combined. With a wooden spoon, slowly add the flour mixture into the bowl with the chocolate mixture. As you’re mixing, the dough might seem to get a little tougher to work with; don’t worry, that’s normal. Once it comes together, it should have a play dough-like consistency. Let the dough rest at room temperature for one hour to firm up.

Cut out a 15-inch sheet of either parchment or wax paper (I used wax paper), and carefully transfer the dough onto it. With your hands, roughly shape the dough into a log about 10 inches long. Place the log on the end of the sheet of wax or parchment paper, and roll the paper around the log. With the paper fully around the log, roll it into a smoother log shape. (I cut into an old paper towel roll, and used that to roll the log into a smoother shape.) Refrigerate for at least two hours, or overnight.) It may lose its shape while resting in the fridge, so make sure to check on it once in a while and take it out for a re-roll.

When it’s time to bake:

With a rack positioned in the center of the oven, heat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper. (Depending on how many cookies you slice, you may end up lining several baking sheets.)

Take your log out of the refrigerator, and let sit for a a minute or two to soften a little bit. Cut the log into 1/4 inch thick slices. (It should be noted that I tried to do this, and only managed to slice 1/4 inch slices some of the time. If you end up in the same boat as I was remember this: just try to keep your slices evenly sized, whatever you do.)

Place your slices about 1 inch apart on the baking sheet, as they tend to spread a little bit while baking.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the cookies are firm to the touch. Make sure to keep a close eye on them, and after about 17 minutes, gently poke them in the middle to see if they’re firm. As soon as they’re firm to the touch, take them out of the oven. (Determining how long to keep them in will depend on your oven. For me, they weren’t firm until they’d been in for 21 minutes, so make sure to test your cookies for yourself!)

Let your cookies rest on the baking sheet(s) until they’ve come to room temperature. (It’s important that your cookies have cooled properly. If they’re too warm, the delicious buttercream will melt and slide right off of them. No one wants that.)

While your cookies are cooling, let’s make the filling!

Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or using a hand mixer), beat the butter on low until it’s completely smooth. Add the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla, and beat on low until the mixture is smooth and well combined. Next, add the milk and a dash of kosher salt, and beat until smooth. (Should have a putty-like consistency.)

Scoop about a tablespoon’s worth of filling onto the bottom side of one cookie. Top it with another cookie, bottom side down. CAREFULLY press the cookies together, allowing the filling to spread evenly toward the edges. Repeat until all the sandwich cookies have been made.

*Store in an air-tight container to retain freshness.*

 

SOURCE: Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston's Flour Bakery + Cafe 

Let's Make: Homemade Whipped Cream

photo-12 There are some people who will tell you that making your own basics is a waste of money because you can just as easily pick up anything at your local supermarket in no time flat. Those people, I can assure you, have never been dazzled by the home-made.

Sure, it's easy to pick up a tub of Cool-Whip (with all those delicious chemicals added in!), but you know what? It's also just as easy to bypass the frozen section entirely and grab yourself a pint of heavy whipping cream. Now go get some vanilla extract and some sugar...good. Now go to checkout and get outta there!

Just three simple ingredients are all you need to have the best whipped cream you've ever tasted in your life. I guarantee it. Oh, and did I mention that it's crazy easy and takes 2 minutes? But keep a watchful eye; whip too much and you're on your way to butter. If you don't whip enough, you've got soup. It's sweet-tasting soup, but not what we're going for.

Basically, this kitchen basic is best homemade.

 

Crazy Easy Whipped Cream

What You'll Need:

-1 pint cold heavy whipping cream

-4 tablespoons sugar

-1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Directions:

1. Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer, or a medium-sized bowl.

2. With the mixer set to high speed, beat until stiff peaks form (should take about a minute if you're using a stand mixer; may take a tad longer with a hand mixer). Try not to over beat.

3. Go forth with the knowledge that life-changing whipped cream can be made in the comforts of your own home. In other words: enjoy!

This will keep for about three days well-covered and refrigerated.