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Almond Cookies with Blood Orange Frosting

*I received products from Limoneira and Nielsen Massey to create this post however, as always, all opinions are my own.

All it takes is one out-of-the-ordinary ingredient to get my kitchen creativity stirring (and mixing, whisking… you get the picture.) So when a box of the most beautiful blood oranges I’ve ever come across landed into my hands, I knew I had to make something worthy of them.

Limoneira prides itself in creating the most gorgeous fruit on the market, and from personal experience I can attest that this is not an exaggeration. Plus, their fruit tastes as good as they look – meaning, really lip smacking mouthwatering good.

Putting this recipe together gave me reinstated faith in my culinary skills. I’ve been SO busy the last month and a half (working my day job(s), trying to finish college, trying to find the perfect full time post-graduate job, you know the drill) that I’ve barely managed to cook for myself, let alone bake. Gaining a few moments in the kitchen over spring break reminded me that this is what I love to do, and it’s a great stress reliever too.

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I try to use the most natural and organic ingredients I can find when creating my recipes (and I link to the products I love in the ingredient list below!). Whether it is food or beauty products, my goal is to come in contact with all that is natural, non-toxic and not doused with chemicals, preservatives and all of the bad-for-you things that the FDA shouldn’t allow in our food… sigh.

This is pretty difficult at times, but hey, at least for this recipe (and all of the recipes on my site!) I did the hard work for you – all you have to do is click and buy via Amazon and the ingredients will be at your doorstep in 2-3 days. Voila, sometimes the Internet is magical.

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These cookies bring out the citrusy nutty flavors that remind me how great it is to be Italian. The combination of blood orange, almond and sugar will have you reaching for another and another with a big hot cup of herbal tea (no caffeine FTW!) They come out soft and almost fluffy, making them fun to frost and even more fun to eat. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did. x

Keep reading to see the full recipe for my Almond Cookies with Limoneira Blood Orange Frosting.

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Almond Cookies with Limoneira Blood Orange Frosting (Yield: 25 cookies)

Prep Time: 20 Minutes  Cook Time: 3 Hrs 10 Minutes  Total Time: 3 Hrs 30 Minutes 

Let’s Get Started:

for the cookies

1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp cornstarch
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp blood orange zest
1/2 cup sugar (you can sub this out for monkfruit for a healthier option!)
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 Tbsp blood orange juice
1/2 tsp pure almond extract
1 large egg

for the frosting

1 cup plus 2 Tbsp powdered sugar, sifted
pinch of salt
1 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 1/2 Tbsp blood orange juice
1/8 tsp pure almond extract

Let’s Get Cooking:

Whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Place blood orange zest and white sugar in a food processor (a blender works similarly well) and pulse for 1 minute. Beat blood orange sugar, brown sugar, and butter in a large mixer bowl until creamy. Add blood orange juice, almond extract and egg; beat until just combined. Gradually add flour mixture; beat just until combined.

Transfer dough to an airtight container and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350°F. (If cookie dough has chilled overnight, let stand for 20 minutes before baking.) Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Form 1 1/4 inch balls of dough and place a few inches apart on baking sheets, flatten mounds slightly. Bake for 10 minutes, or until golden.

For the frosting: whisk together powdered sugar, salt, melted butter, blood orange juice, and almond extract in a small bowl until smooth and spreadable. Frost cookies and let set before serving. Enjoy!
Let’s Get Creative:

You can play around with the amounts of blood orange juice that go into the frosting mixture to change the color of the frosting! Some blood oranges are more purple than pink, and that translates to frosting colors as well.

In a baking mood? These Cinnamon Crackle Cookies are great to make (and eat) for any season. And this buzzy service will send you gourmet ingredients and recipes to bake up easy and delicious desserts.

Enjoy & Stay Classy! xx

Chocolate Coconut Oatmeal Nest Cookies

Nothing gets me in the mood to bake more than a combination of stress (baking is definitely one of my biggest stress relievers!) and an upcoming holiday. I grew up in a house where we bake for every holiday and these nest cookies are just the beginning of the dessert menu this year! I am blessed to spend the week visiting with my family and decided to surprise them by making Oatmeal Crème Pies with Homemade Whipped Crème.

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Yet after a glass of wine and quick trip to grocery store, I realized that Oatmeal Crème Pies weren’t going to cut it with my creativity. So I melted some chocolate, broke out the coconut and Cadbury Crème Eggs and turned my would-have-been oatmeal crème pies into some adorable little Easter nests. They were a hit with my boyfriend and I know my family will love them as well! Of course, I saved a few cookies to make the oatmeal crème pies that I had originally intended to create, so this recipe includes the decorating ideas for those as well! xx


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Let’s Get Started:

For the cookies:

1 cup butter (about 16 Tablespoons), softened
¾ cup light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda (or 3 teaspoons baking powder)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
3 cups oats

For the whipped crème:
1 cup whipping crème
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar

For decorating:
Baking Chocolate
Shredded Coconut
Sprinkles
Cadbury Crème Eggs

Let’s Get Cookin’:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line cookie sheets with non-stick parchment paper. Cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until combined. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, mixing until combined. Add in oats and mix until incorporated in the batter. Bake larger cookies in oven for 13-15 minutes and smaller cookies for 7-10 minutes or until golden brown (my oven tends to get quite hot so 7 minutes was plenty of time).

For the homemade whipped crème, pour whipping crème into a medium size bowl with granulated sugar. Whip until fluffy and peaks begin to form.

Let’s Get Creative:

To decorate the Chocolate Coconut Easter Nest Cookies I melted pieces of baking chocolate and drizzled it on top of the cookies. Then I used desiccated coconut to create the base for the nests. On some cookies I placed a dollop of whipped crème atop the coconut and set the eggs in that for a fluffier and sweeter creation. Then I sprinkled small pink sugar crystals. You can totally play with the coconut strands and use food coloring to dye them fun colors as well!

For the Oatmeal Crème Pies, I selected cookies around the same size and filled them with homemade whipped crème. I then put the remaining crème into a plastic bag, cutting a small hole out of one corner and scalloped the crème around the edges of the crème pies. I then sprinkled the pink sugar crystals around this crème and voila!

Enjoy & Happy Easter!

Stay Classy! xx

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Tie Dye Unicorn Popsicles

Unicorn food is the food trend right now. In fact, all things unicorn are the new thing. Whether you’re trekking down to Brooklyn to get your $9 unicorn latte fix or walking into a Forever 21 during your lunch break to check out the new unicorn athleisure wear and bathing suits and unicorn pool floats – unicorns are everywhere!

Thanks to a combination of the weather *~finally~* warming up and my obsession with all things fruit, (I have a natural sugar sweet tooth to the extreme) I knew that I needed to create an easy-to-make recipe that could satisfy my cravings for healthy dessert and fresh fruit… unicorn popsicles seemed like the only logical answer! 😉

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For something that comes out looking so beautiful and delicious, these ice pops really take no time at all to make – you just need enough patience to wait a day for them to freeze properly. I used the fruits I had in my house and next time I’ll definitely be adding more. More fruit = more flavor, more color and more nutrients! If you’re looking for a simple summer treat that is refreshing, hydrating and totally natural you’re going to want to try the recipe below! x

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Let’s Get Started:

1 cup organic coconut water (I used the one from Trader Joe’s below and loved it)
1 peach, peeled and sliced
1 kiwi, peeled and sliced
2 strawberries, sliced
Fresh watermelon, cubed and sliced

Popsicle mold

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Let’s Get Cooking:

Place fruit into the molds – use a toothpick to arrange the fruits the way you want them to look. Pour in coconut water and place the cover or Popsicle stick into the mixture. Freeze overnight.

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Let’s Get Creative:

Increasing the amount of various fruits in your pops will also increase their colors! I used what I had on hand, but virtually any fruit should work with these ice pops.

Stay Classy! xx

Elegant Éclairs with Homemade Whipped Cream & Wine-Infused Strawberries

Indulge yourself, you know you want to. This easy to make and extravagantly delicious dessert will not only make your stresses go away (OK, maybe just for a few minutes) but will also impress the lucky people you share it with. This is my take on Masterchef Season 4 winner Chef Luca Manfè’s “Strawberry Shortcake with Bauli Mini Croissants & Whipped Cream.”

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the-classy-cook

Elegant Eclairs with Homemade Whipped Cream and Wine-Infused Strawberries

Total Time: 15 Minutes        Serves: 4

Let’s Get Started:

2 Packages (6 per package) of Bauli Mini Croissants, halved11094334_647196081983517_2420268203236458509_n
1 c heavy whipping cream
¼ c powdered sugar
1 t vanilla extract
1 c fresh strawberries
2 T fresh lemon juice
1 T white wine (or more, who’s counting 😉 )
1 T granulated sugar
Fresh Mint, finely chopped (optional)

               Let’s Get Cookin’:

11870719_647196131983512_7246038042515738072_nToss the strawberries with white wine, lemon juice, granulated sugar and chopped mint. Let sit in bowl.
Bring the heavy cream, powdered sugar and vanilla to a whipped volume with a stand mixer or a whisk.
Fill halved mini croissants with strawberries and whipped cream.

Let’s Get Creative:

I found the mint in the recipe to be delicious but some people may be opposed to it, in which case feel free to leave it out!
Mid-August is when strawberries are the most “in-season” fruit, which is why I chose them for this dessert! However the recipe will be just as yummy with other fruits such as peaches or raspberries (or raspberries infused with champagne… hmm next time!). If you’re looking for easier ways to whip up some homemade whipped cream, you’ll want to check out this post from My King Cook! 🙂

Enjoy! Stay Classy! xx

Candy Cane Sugar Cookies

One of the best parts about the holiday season is that it gives you an excuse to bake treats that you’d otherwise try to avoid. Yup, even during finals! I made the biggest batch of cookies in the history of my solo baking career (a very short span of a year from the time I had my first kitchen away from home). After trying out a few different tricks playing around with the dough I finally perfected it. These cookies are the perfect balance of sweet and minty!

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I had never used this kind of cookie cutter before – you push it onto the dough and press down on the knob on top and when you want to release the shape onto the tray you pull it up again. Yeah, it’s not as easy as that. I definitely still prefer the traditional cookie cutters but love the little details that you get with these. The snowmen and the trees came out the best, the candy canes had so many different little details that the dough kept getting stuck in the cookie cutters, and I was only able to manage getting a few semi-decent looking reindeer (which my family politely laughed at and called buffalos…)

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But all in all, these cookies were so easy to make (and even easier to devour) that they didn’t even make it until Christmas. Yup, over 100 cookies have already been eaten between me, my friends and family… Oops!

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Do yourself a favor and make this recipe. All you need is a box of candy canes and ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry!

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Just be sure to share, because this recipe does yield literally 100 cookies (if you make them as small as I did.) Of course, this would vary based on the size of your cookie cutters!

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Candy Cane Sugar Cookies

Prep Time: 20 Minutes        Cook Time: 1 hour + 7-8 Minutes per batch        Total Time: 2 hours

Let’s Get Started:

1 1/2 cups butter, softened
2 cups white sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
10 candy canes, crushed

Let’s Get Cookin:

In a large bowl cream butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder and salt. Cover and chill dough for at least an hour (or overnight).

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Roll out dough with a rolling pin on a floured surgace 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes with cookie cutters. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookies sheets. Bake about 7 minutes in oven. Cool and enjoy.

Let’s Get Creative:

White chocolate chips would be delicious in this recipe! As would other colorful sprinkles, of course. 🙂

Stay Classy & Happy Holidays! xx

Golden & Delicious Apple Pie

There are so many reasons why fall is such a great season (yes, half of them are food). In addition to sweater weather and gorgeous walks in red and orange transformed parks, fall spices up your menu with some of your favorite seasonal fruits and veggies.

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One of my favorite weekend activities in the fall is apple picking, and I’ve already gone once this season so far! This may or may not have something to do with my favorite fall dessert… But if you are thinking of taking a trip down to a nearby apple orchard this season, plan to go soon – the apple crop was pretty low this year and you don’t want to miss out!

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Anyway, the recipe below is FLAWLESS and the pie came out so delicious that I just had to share. It’s never too early to start celebrating the changing of the seasons and CATC will be enjoying the benefits all week with an apple recipe series – sorry bananas, but we’ve moved on! x

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Note: This pie tastes incredible room temp. or warmed, or with a scoop of delicious San Bernardo ice cream (I ate it with Italian Cheesecake flavor and let’s just say between two people, the entire pint disappeared so quickly… YUM).

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Golden & Delicious Apple Pie

Prep Time: 25 Minutes     Cook Time: 45 Minutes     Total Time: 1 Hour 10 Minutes

Let’s Get Started:

6 cups thinly sliced apples, about 6 medium apples
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp Apple Pie Spice (Nutmeg, Cinnamon, All-Spice)
1 Tbsp lemon juice (I used juice from a Limoneira Lemon, and the fresh taste is so different from grocery store quality!)
2 Pillsbury pie crusts (I’m all for making as much of a recipe from scratch as possible, but time restrains kept me from doing so this time… plus this crust is delicious!)

Let’s Get Cooking:

Preheat oven to 425*. Place 1 pie crust in an un-greased 9-inch pie plate, pressing firmly against sides and bottom. In a large bowl, mix filling ingredients and spoon into crust. Top with second crust. Cut a few slits in top of crust before baking.Bake 40-45 minutes, or until crust turns golden brown. Cover edge of crust with tin foil for the first 15 minutes of baking, so that it doesn’t burn! Let cool for 2 hours before serving. Enjoy! 🙂

Let’s Get Creative:

I prefer a more traditional apple pie, but you could of course add more ingredients to the filling (maybe some nuts?) and get more creative with your toppings. San Bernardo offers so many amazing ice cream flavors, my other favorites Cannoli and Italian Biscotti could be delicious pie toppers as well. 😉

Stay Classy! xx

Sea Salt Caramel Banana Muffins

And so the banana baking trend continues on CATC! Since the banana bread was such a big hit last week, I stocked up on the ingredients again and was all ready to make a repeat. THEN I remembered that I had delicious hand-made sea salt caramel sugar from a boutique spice shop in Ocean City, Maryland… let the recipe transformation begin!

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It makes sense that the bigger the variety of ingredients in my cabinets directly relates to the creativity of my recipes. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with plain banana bread or banana muffins – but adding in something a little different can definitely give your yield something extra special. You can definitely find that in this recipe!

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Sea Salt Caramel Banana Muffins

Prep Time: 10 Minutes     Cook Time: 30 Minutes     Total Time: 40 Minutes

Let’s Get Started:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 egg
3 very ripe bananas, mashed
1/3 cup butter
3/4 cup white sugar
Sea salt caramel sugar

Let’s Get Cooking:

Preheat oven to 350*. Fill cupcake tins with liners. Sift dry ingredients together, except the sugars. In a large bowl mix together egg, white sugar, bananas and butter. Combine ingredients until smooth. Scoop into muffin pans and then add sea salt caramel sugar to the top (to taste – add as much as you want). Bake for 25-30 minutes. Enjoy!

Let’s Get Creative:

If I’m being totally real with you, these muffins are delicious just the way they are. If you’re looking to add more ingredients however, walnuts would be a yummy addition!

Stay Classy! xx

Brava Banana Bread

 

It takes me by surprise each time, but bananas go bad so quickly. The day before heading back to school I bought a bunch and have been eating one every other day. (The Peanut Butter & Banana Overnight Oats use 1 banana for 2-servings!) The best option for those way too ripe bananas is to toss them in a bowl, mash them up and make this loaf of delicious goodness that doubles as both breakfast and a snack! x

 

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Brava Banana Bread

Prep Time: 10 Minutes     Cook Time: 50 Minutes     Total Time: 1 Hour

Let’s Get Started:

2-3 very ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 cups flour
1 egg, beaten
Pinch of salt
3/4 cups sugar (1/2 cup if you want it less sweet!)

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Let’s Get Cooking:

Preheat oven to 350* and lightly coat a loaf pan with butter or vegetable cooking spray. Mash bananas in a medium sized bowl and add butter. Mix in egg, vanilla extract, baking soda and sugar. When fully mixed, add flour in increments. Bake for 50 minutes to an hour, and enjoy! x

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Let’s Get Creative:

This recipe would be particularly delicious with some added chocolate chips or chopped nuts!

Stay Classy! xx

Lovely Lavender Loaf with Lemon Glaze

If you love lavender as much as I do, this loaf cake is a dream come true. Lavender is my absolute favorite smell and surprisingly, this was my first time cooking with it! Essential lavender oil is known to be a relaxer and stress-reliever. Enjoying a piece of this loaf last night definitely helped me with both of those things!

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The loaf came out fluffy and moist and full of a delicious and delicately balanced flavor combination. It is perfect for any season and I will be sure to bake it again in the very near future. My mother said this was the best loaf cake she’s ever eaten and the rest of my family enjoyed it as well. By the time I woke up this morning (7 a.m.) there were only crumbs left in the pan…

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Lovely Lavender Loaf with Lemon Glaze

Prep Time: 15 Minutes    *    Cook Time: 45 Minutes    *    Total Time: 1 Hour

Let’s Get Started:

For The Loaf:

1 cup sugar
½ cup butter, softened
2 eggs
2 ½ T Sonoma Syrup Co. Lavender Syrup
1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup milk

For The Glaze:

¼ cup powdered sugar
5t fresh squeezed lemon juice

Let’s Get Cookin’:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. (You don’t really need a mixer for this recipe as long as you don’t mind putting your arm muscles to work!)

Add in eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the lavender syrup.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt.

Alternate adding the milk and the flour mixture into the creamed mixture until fully incorporated.

Pour into a greased 4 x 8 loaf pan. Bake 45-50 minutes.

Stir together the powdered sugar and lemon juice. Drizzle on the warm loaf and let soak into a top coating.

Let’s Get Creative:

For this recipe, I believe that keeping it simple is best. The way the lavender mixes with the lemon glaze is so gentle and inviting that I would not recommend adding additional ingredients or flavors that could potentially ruin the magic of the loaf.

The next time I make this loaf, however, I will definitely be adding some real fresh lavender for garnish and perhaps a few pieces to bake within the loaf.

Stay Classy & ENJOY! xx

Guilt-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

It’s sometimes the simplest cravings that come up out of nowhere and won’t go away until you’ve satisfied them! The fun part is tricking those cravings into accepting the healthier version of what they’re really looking for. These Guilt-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies replace unhealthy ingredients with their better counterparts and still taste just as delicious!

 

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Let’s Get Started:

1 ½ cups flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup room temperature organic virgin coconut oil (I love the one from Trader Joe’s!)
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
½ cup packed light brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips

Let’s Get Cookin’:

Preheat the oven to 375*F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

In a large bowl, beat the coconut oil, applesauce, brown sugar and granulated sugar until fully combined. Beat in the egg and vanilla on low speed. Gradually beat flour into the mixture.

Stir in chocolate chips by hand.

Drop rounded tablespoons onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for 15 minutes before eating.

Let’s Get Creative:

  • I didn’t have whole wheat flour handy, but you could totally swap it for regular flour for an even healthier recipe.
  • If you’re not into adding all of the sugar this recipe calls for, swap in half a banana instead of the granulated sugar called for above.
  • Swap chocolate chips for a chopped bar of dark chocolate with 65% cacao or higher
  • Desiccated coconut and chopped would be delicious in these as well.

Enjoy & Stay Classy! xx