almond butter blossoms

“Live in the moment!,” “Savor the moment!,”

“Yeah!” we all think to ourselves, “obviously that’s a great idea!” when we read these word in magazines and hear them from our friends.

Then we brush these words off and continue worrying about what’s for dinner, whether one of our friends might be mad at us, and the future in general, because, as humans that’s what we tend to do (I tend to do this a lot).

I recently read this article about a woman who is trying to sue her wedding videographer for a ridiculous amount of money because she hated her wedding video.  I watched the video and I couldn’t find anything offensive about it… but that’s totally beside the fact!  The fact is that she had a beautiful wedding and is now happily married.  Sweating the details of the video of it all totally killed the “happily ever after” vibe.  Instead of savoring the moments of her happy new life, she’s now preoccupied with a mega-lawsuit against her poor wedding videographer.

Speaking of weddings and such — today is Valentine’s Day, a totally perfect day to start living in the moment!  Personally, I think that the reason a lot of people hate Valentine’s Day is because they have totally unrealistic expectations.  The media has told us that today, we are going to get taken out to a fancy dinner,  someone will profess their love to us, we’ll receive heaps of cards in the mail, and eat buckets of chocolate and not feel sick.  Unrealistic? A little bit.  Unrealistic expectations are the antithesis of “savoring the moment.” If you keep waiting for what’s next, or keep wanting more, no matter how wonderful your day was, you will always feel dissatisfied and upset. 

Thus, instead of wondering why you didn’t receive two dozen roses today, why the cute guy who takes your bus route didn’t profess his love to you today, or why you feel sick after eating two heart shaped boxes of chocolate,  think about the love that you did experience today, no matter what it was.

Today, I felt lucky to be woken up by doggy-kisses from my dog Carly this morning. I was relieved that since today is Valentine’s Day, eating 20+ of those Dove chocolate hearts with the messages inside of them was totally acceptable.  I was really happy that I wore my rain boots today so I could stomp through puddles, instead of having to walk precariously around them like everyone else.  I savored the weather, as today was the first warm, sunny day in weeks.  I delighted in the serendipity of running into my dad on the street and joining him for a cookie on my way home. 

No stereotypical Valentine’s Day shenanigans going on here — just a really great day… with cookies!

melty chocolate… now that’s a moment I want to savor

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I made these almond butter blossoms with heart shaped chocolates instead of Hershey Kisses.  I know by now Valentine’s Day has come and gone, and you might think it’s silly of me to be posting a V-Day recipe this late.  But who said that heart shaped cookies are only for one day a year? Who said that today is the day to have a fancy dinner and send lots of cards to your friends and loved ones?  Who said today is the day you should be sent flowers?  This all seems super restrictive to me.  Today is just a day among many other days.  I think that sending flowers, eating heart-shaped chocolates, and telling those around you that you love them should not just be a once-a-year occasion. I’m for more flowers, more chocolate, more love, and more savoring the moment!  Who’s with me?

With love,
Erica

Ingredients 

  • 1/2 cup butter or shortening
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup white sugar (for rolling)
  • 1 9oz. bag Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Hearts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
In a large
bowl, cream together the butter, almond butter, brown sugar, and 1/2
cup white sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg and stir
in the milk and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; stir
into the almond butter mixture until well blended. Shape tablespoonfuls
of dough into balls, and roll in remaining white sugar. Place cookies 2
inches apart on the prepared cookie sheets.

Bake for 10
to12 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove from oven, and immediately
press a chocolate heart into each cookie. Allow to cool completely; the chocolate  will harden as it cools.

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

lemon crinkle cookies

I made these cookies over the summer, and I fell in love.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t do a post on them.  I tried to squeeze all of the cookies onto one baking sheet, and they all baked together into one, big, ugly lemon crinkle cookie.
Nonetheless, I enjoyed my big, mess-of-a-cookie wholeheartedly — and vowed to always use two baking sheets.

I made these for my lemon-loving friend Emilia.  She is sensible, cheerful, and full of sunshine — just like these lemon cookies.  She has always been there to accompany me on runs and she shares my love of wrapping presents.  On Friday, we spent about two and a half hours sitting on the floor of my bedroom wrapping presents and making little gift tags.  She’s also super sweet and gives the best advice (hello, these cookies are rolled generously in powdered sugar).

Even the biggest chocoholics out there will fall head-over-heels for these mouth-watering, refreshing lemon cookies.  Winter is the perfect time to take advantage of all of the citrus that is in season — not to mention that these cookies can put a good dose of sunshine into even the most blustery winter days. Oh, and if that’s not enough reason for you to get off of your computer and bake these now — your hands will smell heavenly after zesting all those lemons.

With love,
Erica

Ingredients:
½ cups butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 whole egg
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
¼ teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoons baking powder
⅛ teaspoons baking soda
1-½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line light colored baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and
fluffy. Whip in vanilla, egg, lemon zest, and juice. Scrape sides and
mix again. Stir in all dry ingredients slowly until just combined,
excluding the powdered sugar. Scrape sides of bowl and mix again
briefly. Pour powdered sugar onto a large plate. Roll a heaping teaspoon
of dough into a ball and roll in powdered sugar. Place on baking sheet
and repeat with remaining dough.
Bake for 9-11 minutes or until bottoms begin to barely brown and
cookies look matte {not melty or shiny}. Remove from oven and cool
cookies about 3 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

From Wit & Whistle

everyday vita: cookie boxes

Last Christmas, I made little boxes of assorted holiday
cookies to give to my teachers.   This
year, I wanted to do something similar for my friends. But instead of making
generic holiday cookie assortments, I decided to do something sappy and
sentimental (because that’s what the holidays are for right?).  Each cookie in the box represents one of my
friends.  I chose the cookie based on
that friend’s personality and various memories that I have with them.  I then typed up a little sheet explaining who
was which cookie and why they reminded me of that cookie.  Most of my explanations were quite cheesy –
but it was really fun to watch everyone read about and sample each other’s cookies. Over the next few days, I will be posting the recipes for each of the cookies that I made — maybe they’ll remind you of some of your friends!

If you were a cookie, what would you be?
With love, 
Erica

compost cookies

I recently made white chocolate macadamia nut cookies (recipe soon!), and the recipe called for 2 cups of chocolate chips.  I carefully measured 2 cups of white chocolate chips… and was left with a sad little quarter cup left in the bag. 
My pantry is overflowing with similar crumbled bags with just a smidgen of their contents left. 

  1. Just under a 1/2 cup of butterscotch chips (a.k.a. not enough to make butterscotch bars)
  2. A rolled up bag of potato chips from my dad’s lunch at Subway. 
  3. The bottom half of a roll of Ritz crackers (no longer crunchy).
  4. A handful of craisins leftover from my cranberry bliss bars.
  5. A half eaten box of animal crackers

The list goes on and on… and my kitchen cabinet seems to get smaller and smaller.  There’s nothing I hate more than wasting perfectly good ingredients… but I’ve also never experienced frustration quite like having no room to put the sugar away when my hands are covered in butter. Behold the compost cookie. 

Throw all of your potato chips, corn chips, cereals, candies, crackers, and all other snack scraps  into this cookie.   Sounds gross perhaps… but trust me on this one, these are delicious!  The serendipitously sweet and salty combination is both sophisticated and snacky.  My friend Emelia and I happily munched on these before a concert a few weeks ago — it sure beat Chex-Mix. (and that’s saying a lot, because I adore Chex-Mix…)

Plus the word “compost” makes me feel so good about myself, like I’m saving the world, one cookie at a time. So raid your kitchen cabinet and save the world today!

With love,
Erica

Ingredients
 

Ingredients:

1 cup butter (that’s two sticks, unsalted)

1 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

2 large eggs

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour

2 tsps baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsps Kosher salt

1 1/2 cups your favorite baking ingredients (options: chocolate chips, Raisenettes, Rollos, Cocoa Krispies)

1 1/2 cups your favorite snack foods (chips, pretzels, etc.)

In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment,
beat the butter and sugars together for 3 minutes, until light and
fluffy. Add in the honey and mix to combine. Add in the egg and
vanilla, mix and scrape down the bowl as necessary just until combined.
In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and
salt together. Add dry ingredients mix to the butter mix. Mix in the
sweet and salty add-ins of your choice.
DO NOT BAKE your cookies from room temperature or they will not hold their shape.  Pop in the fridge for at least an hour.  Heat the oven to 400 F. Roll cookies into large, tablespoon-sized balls and place on a baking sheet. Bake
9 to 11 minutes. While in the oven, the cookies will puff, crackle and
spread. At 9 minutes, the cookies should be browned on the edges and just
beginning to brown towards the center. Leave the cookies in the oven for
the additional minutes if these colors don’t match up and your cookies
still seem pale and doughy on the surface.
 Cool the cookies completely on the sheet pan before
transferring to a plate or an airtight container or tin for storage. At
room temp, they’ll keep five days

cookie craze

Hello everyone!
I apologize for disappering for so long!

I still can’t quite get my head around the fact that we are already in the middle of September. The air is cool and crisp, the days are getting shorter, and I have having a strange craving for anything pumpkin…

Anyhow, I wanted to give you all an update on what’s to come in the near future. I am one of the co-heads of the baking club at my school. Yesterday was the Club Fair — where we set up a booth to encourage people to sign up for our club. We set out blondies, cappuccino cupcakes, nutella cookies, doubletree chocolate chip cookies, and some of the fudgiest brownies I have ever tasted. Everyone who signed up got to take whatever they wanted, for free (who wouldn’t want to sign up for free baked goods?). The Baking Club now has 74 members. 

Were/are you involved in school clubs?
With love, 
Erica
P.S. Recipes will be posted soon!

cookies n' creme cupcakes

Milk’s favorite cookie, in cupcake form. These cupcakes are the best chocolate cupcake recipe I’ve ever made, with a whole oreo cookie baked into the bottom, all topped off with a swirl of buttercream frosting that tastes just like my favorite cookies n’ creme ice cream. The frosting was so delicious (my go-to buttercream recipe with cookie crumbs in it), I did  could have eaten half of it with a spoon! Plus, the oreo surprise in the bottom is so much fun (because who doesn’t love oreos?). The cookie stays firm and crunchy, which makes it interesting to eat against the soft, moist cake, but it gives the whole thing a really lovely crunch.
With love,
Erica

Isn’t that cool? An oreo surprise baked into the bottom!
Cookies N’ Creme Cupcakes

 Makes 15 cupcakes.

 Ingredients
Cupcakes 
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
3/4 cup hot, strong-brewed coffee
3/4 cup bread flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
15 Oreo halves, with cream filling attached

Oreo Buttercream

1 stick unsalted butter (room temperature)
1/2 cup I Can’t Belive It’s Not Butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 Tablespoons milk or heavy cream
4 cups powdered sugar
16 Oreos, finely crushed (I used my food processor)

  • Preheat oven to 350°F and line a muffin pan with cupcake liners. Twist Oreos in half and set aside the extra cookies for later. Place the side with cream filling in the bottom of each cupcake liner, cream-side facing up.
  • Place chocolate and cocoa in a medium bowl and pour the hot coffee over the mixture. Whisk until smooth and transfer to the refrigerator to cool completely, 20-30 minutes.
  • Whisk flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda together in a medium bowl; set aside. 
  • Whisk oil, eggs, vanilla, and vinegar into the cooled chocolate mixture until smooth. Add flour mixture and whisk until batter is smooth.
  • Divide batter evenly among muffin pan cups, filling each 3/4 full. Bake until cupcakes are set and firm to the touch, 17-20 minutes. Allow to cool in pans 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting. 
  • For the frosting, cream butter, vanilla and milk. Slowly add in powdered sugar until creamy and fluffy. Mix in crushed oreos until well combined. Frost cupcakes! (I garnished mine with fun sized mini oreos!)

Adapted from BakerGirl