Lemon sugar cookies with vanilla bean and sea salt

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These cookies are my childhood made better. A few months ago I wrote about the lemon-scented sugar cookies that I ate as a child and my quest to recreate them. I first tried these lemon, olive oil, thyme and black pepper sugar cookies knowing that they wouldn’t fulfill my nostalgic cravings but hoping that they would become the new lemon cookie in my life. They were excellent, but just not quite it. Then miraculously the cookies were swept out of my mind until a couple of weeks ago when I found this recipe and knew I had to have these cookies ASAP.

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Pear and apple crisp with vanilla bean-infused brown butter and cardamom cream

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Let me tell you about why I think I secretly buy fruit. I’m not really a fruit eater. I never have a sudden urge to bite into an apple, not to bake fruit pies (other than this incredible nectarine tart). I don’t go crazy when it’s strawberry or raspberry or whatever other season, with the exception of cherries, which I don’t even like that much, other than the excitement factor of them coming from my back yard. I buy fruit because I know it’s good for me and I should eat it. Unfortunately, it usually ends up staying in the bowl for so long that I suddenly have 6 ripe nectarines or 4 mushy almost-brown pears. And then what happens? Dessert-making damage control.

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Crème fraîche and vanilla bean ice cream

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I swear, this will be my last post about ice cream this year. Promise. But seriously, I think this one was my favorite yet, and that’s saying a lot after brown sugar and bitter caramel and dark chocolate mint. It also happened to be an ice cream made out of pure anger, and completely randomly. I know it sounds kind of odd, but I promise it’s delicious. I probably never would have found the recipe or tried it if I hadn’t had an unfortunate mishap with some lemon verbena ice cream that completely curdled. I thought I had tempering eggs down, but turns out, I didn’t. It was totally unusable, and after straining it twice without any good results, I had to throw it away. I had been preparing it since the day before, letting the verbena infuse in the milk and cream and I’d used up pretty much all of my eggs making what ended up being a verbena and cream omelette. Needless to say, I was mad.

Luckily, while whining about how I really wanted ice cream and how I really didn’t want to go to the store for more eggs, I magically came across this recipe on Epicurious. It’s definitely rich, but the genius part is that it requires no eggs whatsoever. There is no custard base to make, just tons of milk and crème fraîche or sour cream and heavy cream, which makes for a dreamy, creamy, melty texture. It also freezes in no time- definitely the quickest of all the ice cream recipes I’ve tried so far- and is basically ready to eat like soft serve in about 15 minutes in the ice cream maker. And all you have to do is combine all the ingredients and freeze away!

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Nectarine and lime curd tart with brown sugar crust

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What can I say, I’m inspired by nectarines! My last post was about sweet and spicy nectarine and tomato gazpacho, something I highly recommend. This particular post is all about the fruit, combining caramelized nectarines with a lime and nectarine curd on a brown sugar crust. And yes, it’s as good as it sounds, if not better. Oh, and A l’Américaine is officially one year old! Hurray! Let’s celebrate with this amazing fruit tart.  Continue reading

Raspberry and white chocolate bars with vanilla bean

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Who knew that raspberries and white chocolate went so well together? Probably many, many people knew this, but I didn’t not. I’m not usually a fan of fruit in desserts. I’m more of a chocolate, caramel, peanut butter kind of gal. I’m not bit on pies, tarts, what have you. I came across this recipe one day and decided to give it a try, as I’ve been trying to up my fruit intake lately. I’m glad I gave it a chance, because it was a nice, light, fruity alternative to the desserts that I usually make. Continue reading

Cinnamon, cranberry and vanilla bean blondies

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Here I am, cooking with cinnamon yet again. I was in the middle of spending a quiet, lazy Sunday at home when I suddenly got a craving to bake something. I knew that I was almost out of both flour and butter, not to mention chocolate. I could have made yet another batch of my new favorite spicy cinnamon and cocoa cookies, but I felt like I should try something new. I almost went for peanut butter, but something told me to look elsewhere. After a few minutes of scrolling through Evernote, I spotted a recipe for cinnamon blondies that luckily required very little flour and butter, very few ingredients overall, actually.

I set to work searching through my pantry, making sure I had all the right ingredients. That’s when I spotted the cranberries. Then my brain began to whir… Cranberries, vanilla bean, rich brown sugar. Yes, this what exactly what I needed.

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Brown butter chocolate chip cookies with vanilla bean-infused fleur de sel

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I know the holidays have been over for a while now, but I can’t stop making cookies. It’s safe to say that I spend a considerable amount of time pouring and salivating over food blogs. It’s also no secret that I bookmark a lot of recipes, most of which cater more to my sweet tooth than to, say, my physical need to eat in order to survive. I went overboard during the holidays, blaming winter and convincing myself that I actually needed the extra calories to get through the season. But I just can’t seem to stop myself. Finding a recipe for chocolate chip cookies with sea salt on the internet did not help matters.

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