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Red Velvet Cookie Sandwiches

IMG_5203 I’m kind of obsessed with these red velvet cookie sandwiches. This is probably because I love red velvet anything. Red velvet is the perfect chocolate-ish combination. There’s just a hint of chocolate—far less than you’d use for a chocolate cookie. Plus, the cream cheese icing complements the cookie perfectly.

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Red velvet is festive. It reminds me of Christmas and celebrations. So, I knew these cookies would be perfect for Valentine’s Day. Plus, they’re super easy to make. I’ve certainly had my hands full since the start of the year. I’ve been planning a trip to Trinidad and Tobago for Carnival, as well as physically preparing for Carnival—smoothie bowls and cardio circuit training. I’ve also been busier than usual by becoming more active in my community. So, I haven’t had much time for baking, and I easily whipped these cookies up one evening. Enjoy!

Red Velvet Cookie Sandwiches

Makes 24 cookies, 12 cookie sandwiches

For Cookies:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick), softened
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ teaspoon red liquid food coloring
  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For Icing:

  • 6 ounces cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  • ½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick), softened
  • 1 and ¼ cup powdered sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Beat softened butter and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy, about three minutes. Add egg and food coloring; beat 30 seconds.
  2. Sift flour with next 2 ingredients in a small bowl. Add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating at low speed until combined. Stir in vanilla.
  3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls 2 inches apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Press each ball down into a round disc. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  4. Bake at 325°F for 10 to 15 minutes or until cookies are fragrant and dry. Cool cookies completely on a wire rack.
  5. Beat softened cream cheese, butter and powdered sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, until smooth and creamy.
  6. Place the icing in a piping bag. Pipe icing on half of the cookies. Place a second cookie on top to make a sandwich. Store in the refrigerator in an air-tight container for up to three days. Serve at room temperature.

French 75's to Toast the New Year!

img_4203 Ok, I know we're already a week into 2017, but I'm still reflecting on 2016 and mapping out goals for the new year!  I think writing down goals is powerful because it creates a paper trail. Plus, by putting them out into the universe, I'm forcing myself to be accountable.  I won't bore you with my many, many  goals for the year--many of which are related to this blog and many of which are not, but I will share a few!

 

  1. Bake (and cook!) more savory dishes. Ok, I'm sure you're probably thinking that I already bake enough, and I probably do. But, I love challenging myself and going outside of my comfort zone, so I'd like to bake even more  this year. Especially things I've never made!
  2. Host more dinner parties. Yes, I live in Manhattan in a microstudio, but I really love having people over to fill their bellies with a homecooked meal. I just happen to live in a one-room apartment that's probably the size of many people's bedrooms. In 2016, I managed to cook dinner for friends a total of one time. Which is pretty tragic. So, I will not let the fact that I have photo props, camera tripods, and multiple move-able pantries that occupy most available space prevent me from having people over.
  3. Share more travel content. Many of you may not know this blog was "Foodie in France" before it was "Foodie In New York." It started as a food + travel blog to document the year I spent eating my way around France and Europe. I have some really exciting trips planned for 2017, spanning multiple continents, holidays and celebrations.  I want to share those experiences in a way that's fun and even a little informative. My goal isn't to write comprehensive-type guides, but just to share hidden gems and highlights that might inspire you to visit.

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And now to that beautiful cocktail I made New Year's Eve... This cocktail was inspired by my recent trip to Louisiana for Christmas.  One of our neighbors in Baton Rouge has a lemon tree. They put a sign out, "Free Lemons," so of course I helped myself. These lemons are large and beautiful, and best of all, aren't waxed! I basically ended up bringing more lemons than I could carry back with me to New York.  When you buy lemons from the supermarket, they often have a layer of wax on them. This is to preserve them so that they have a longer shelf-life, but it also ruins the best part of a lemon--the lemon zest. So, stay tuned for some lemon-y recipes!

New Year's Eve French 75 Cocktail:

Makes 2.

Ingredients:

2 lemon slices 1 shot of gin 1 shot of lemon juice 1 shot of simple syrup sparkling wien

Method:

Add a slice of lemon to each glass.  Combine the gin, lemon juice and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake, shake, shake! Pour half in one champagne flute and half in the other. Fill the remainder of the glass with sparkling wine.

Pictured: Champagne Flutes 

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte

img_0036 Leaves changing colors, colorful gourds and sweaters all remind me that it's finally fall. This colder weather has me craving warm drinks. I'm not the biggest coffee person, but I'm a huge pumpkin person. So I decided to make a homemade pumpkin spice latte to see what all the rage is about!

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I love baking and cooking with pumpkins,  butternut squash, acorn squash & sweet potatoes. Canned pumpkin works great in making the latte part of this drink. I added pumpkin purée to a saucepan over low heat. I stirred in cinnamon and freshly-grated nutmeg. I then added coconut milk, maple syrup and vanilla extract. And voila, that's the "pumpkin spice latte" part that can be added to espresso or just strong coffee. I then added a dollop of whipped cream and garnished it with a cinnamon stick and freshly-grated nutmeg.

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte
Author: Vallery
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 2 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 cups espresso or strong coffee (warm)
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin purée
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk or whole milk
  • Whipped cream
  • Cinnamon sticks, for garnish
Instructions
  1. Prepare espresso or coffee and keep warm.
  2. Add the pumpkin purée, cinnamon and nutmeg to a small pot over low heat. Stir for about one minute. Add the maple syrup and vanilla extract. Stir for another minute. Stir in the milk and increase the heat to medium. Heat until the milk just starts to simmer.
  3. Remove from heat and whisk or blend until the mixture becomes frothy (I used a hand mixer).
  4. Pour one cup of espresso or coffee into each latte or cappuccino cup. Divide the pumpkin-milk mixture evenly between the two cups.
  5. Garnish with a dollop of whipped cream, a sprinkle of cinnamon and a cinnamon stick. Serve immediately.

This recipe was adapted from half baked harvest.