Autumn Spice Snickerdoodles

It is officially autumn.

Autumn Spice Snickerdoodles

I’m living in giant sweaters and boots, and just got a new coat.

Autumn Spice Snickerdoodles

I painted my nails red this weekend and settled in for a Gilmore Girls marathon (that burgundy pre-Instagram filter on the opening credits just instantly puts you in the fall mood).

Autumn Spice Snickerdoodles

And I’ve had my favorite Christmas-y smelling candle lit all weekend.

Autumn Spice Snickerdoodles

So obviously this weekend when I settled in for some baking, I knew I needed cinnamon and browned butter involved, and it seemed the logical next step to throw in some other winter/autumn spices: cardamom, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, and ginger. They are crisp on the outside and cakey on the inside–the perfect snickerdoodle.

Autumn Spice Snickerdoodles

The real reason I baked was because I have a friend coming over for a visit, but even though I normally have pretty good self-control over leaving my baking be after a taste test, I just cannot stop eating these things. (Cleverly, I made them bite-size so even though I’ve had at least half a dozen already, it looks like I’ve barely made a dent. Pro baking tip from me to you!)

Autumn Spice Snickerdoodles

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Browned Butter Snickerdoodles

Browned Butter Snickerdoodles

There’s nothing like a snickerdoodle, is there?

Browned Butter Snickerdoodles

So sweet, super cinnamony, and using browned butter in your dough adds a depth and nutty flavor that makes these feel a bit more grown-up and special.

Browned Butter Snickerdoodles

My favorite part of this recipe is the texture. These are fluffy, caky, and chewy, with a crisp exterior. Definitely a new staple recipe for me!

Browned Butter Snickerdoodles

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Brown Sugar Pound Cupcakes with Browned Butter Glaze

I can’t believe I haven’t posted this recipe yet: these are my favorite cupcakes!

Brown Sugar Pound Cupcakes with Browned Butter Glaze

After baking them in college from the legendary Martha Stewart Living February 2009 cupcakes issue, they have been my go-to easy but impressive cupcake recipe. As long as your oven isn’t too temperamental (because they’re such a dense cake, I have had them fall easily) these are a breeze. And the glaze is well known around this blog as my favorite quick frosting.

Brown Sugar Pound Cupcakes with Browned Butter Glaze

Be forewarned, though: These are sweet. SO sweet. So sweet they will put you into a sugar coma. I had one yesterday and promptly took an accidental 2-hour nap. But they have nuttiness and hints of caramel and molasses in them… Which makes them perfect for the fall, which will hopefully be here soon!

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Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

This post will be short and sweet.

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I have one question for you.

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Why would ANYONE go through the painful trouble of making caramel

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…When they could just brown butter and put its nutty, caramel-y wonderfulness in every baked good known to man, instantly making it five million times better?

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Chew on that. And on these lovely Joy the Baker cookies. Continue reading

Tasting Tuesdays: Honey Drop Cookies

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Can I toot my own horn for a second?

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Let’s ignore how silly that phrase is, and talk instead about how ah-mazing these cookies are.

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Okay, okay. I can’t take the credit. It’s all Donna Hay. Donna Hay, my new Australian buddy. Mate. Whatever you’d prefer, Miss Donna. I’ll call you whatever you like. Because your recipes are insane.

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Insane in a good way. A great way. Let me list the reasons why they are so insane.

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They are so super duper easy. These lovely cookies (biscuits if you’re Aussie) are made of ingredients I guarantee you have in your kitchen right now. So you can go make them at this very moment if you wanted. Which you should probably go and do. These pictures are nice, but they’re nothing compared to how lovely they taste.

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Which, speaking of, is another reason why they are so insane. Who knew that these simplest of ingredients could create such a pleasing little cookie? They are soft but not too sweet, with almost an almond extract flavor–despite the fact that they have no almond in them. Aussie magic.

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Donna (we’re on a first name basis at this point in the blog post) calls for creamed honey, which sounds just delicious, but unfortunately is not readily available in Milwaukee. So make yourself some brown butter honey glaze–my icing secret weapon–and fill these little guys up. The icing is heavy and creamy and dense and has a lingering honey aftertaste that goes perfectly with the subtler vanilla cookie.

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So there you have it. Easy, simple, tasty cookies… perfect for the first day of spring! Which I didn’t even realize until I got to Anthropologie this morning and saw Kim’s adorable sign. Not to mention the bright tulips and the bee plate (also insane: insanely cute).

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Have you noticed, by the way, that I’m a fan of this Donna Hay cookbook? I might just buy it for myself because everything I’ve made from it has been a total hit. Plus the photos are beautiful. And the headers are handwritten. Lovely.

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I know I said last month’s display was my favorite yet, but this one might have taken its place in my heart… so a big thanks to the super talented Kim for her work putting this together, as well as Shannon, Lynn, and the entire Milwaukee Anthropologie team, as always, for welcoming me into the store again this month! Hope you can join us next month on April 17!

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Browned Butter Lime Madeleines

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I went food shopping in a tired daze this week and came back to my apartment with limes instead of cucumbers. I recall standing in front of the meyer lemons and limes, thinking, “Aha! I really need to hydrate myself more. I’ll get some cucumber and have cucumber water like in fancy restaurants. I’ll just grab these limes here.”

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The next day I pulled out a pitcher to make myself some cucumber water. All I saw in the fridge were limes. And I paused. Limes do not equal cucumbers. I guess that’s what you get for grocery shopping sleepily.

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Happily, this story does not end with me sad and confused at my kitchen table drinking plain old water. It ends with me contentedly eating some untraditional madeleines (with a side of plain old water).

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Limes are a perfect addition to my favorite easy cake-slash-cookie recipe. And when I glanced at my madeleine recipe and remembered it called for melted butter, I thought to myself (in a considerably more logical fashion than I had been thinking to myself in the grocery store), “Why not brown this butter instead of merely melting it and see what happens?”

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What happens, friends, is good. It’s very good. It is so good that even my resident furry sous chefs tried to get in on the action.

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These are just as delicious in tiny miniature madeleine form as they are in relatively giant normal-sized madeleine form. The lightness of the lime, not nearly as harsh a citrus flavor as lemons, my usual summer stand-by, give the sweetness of the madeleines a little punch. The browned butter is a quiet, subtle backdrop.

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So in the end, I have 22 madeleines and no cucumber water. Which gets me thinking, I wonder what cucumber madeleines would be like? (Would that even be possible?) I’ll be sure to report the next time I go to the grocery store with limes on my shopping list and return with cucumbers. Continue reading

Homemade Poptarts

Here’s an epic one. POPTARTS.

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All caps are definitely necessary. I am indeed internet-shouting about POPTARTS. POPTARTS!

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If I’m being honest, I actually like the artificial, goodness-only-knows-what’s-in-them poptarts you buy at the grocery store. But these guys are a whole different breed. They probably shouldn’t even be called poptarts. More like handheld pies. Or little pockets of heaven. Either way.

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First you make a pie dough–super simple, very easy, as long as you keep the butter cold. (By the way, might I suggest splurging on butter for this one? Go for the fancy European kind, like Kerrygold. It is such a joy to bake with. OK, unintentional advertising done.)

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Then you fill the pie dough with whatever you want. Like raspberry preserves, mixed with a bit of flour to thicken things up. Or cinnamon sugar, which turns gooey and delicious when baked. Or if you’re Norwegian like me, you make a little Scandinavian spice mix just for kicks and put it in a couple. You could even put nutella inside if you’re feeling really adventurous.

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Then you bake them. Let them cool (good luck not eating one hot out of the oven and burning yourself). The non-fruit-filled ones need a little something on top, so make yourself some killer browned butter glaze, which happens to be my favorite thing to put on cupcakes, cookies, on a spoon… and decorate!

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Seriously, the recipe below might be long, but it is actually super easy. And the payoff is great. (You just may want to double the batch though: a dozen is not enough.) Continue reading