Date Pinwheel Cookies

Date Pinwheel Cookies || Runway Chef I wanted to write something totally profound and mind blowing to entice you into making these cookies, but the only thing that keeps coming to my mind is, wait for it, it’s totally epic…. “Roll Out”….as in the Ludacris song, not as in “rolling out the dough”. I think it came into my head as I was rolling out the dough for these pinwheel cookies, and it hasn’t left my head since. That was 2 days ago. Also, it should be noted that the only lyrics in my head are “Roll out! Roll out! Roll out!” because I don’t actually know any of the lyrics to the song, nor can I rap. So besides those two little words, the only thing that’s stuck in a blog post that has now been written and rewritten 4 times is that I love these cookies….like a lot….a lot, a lot, a lot. But I bet you already figured that out, because weird, I only put things I love on here (funny concept, I know). Like many of the recipes I share, these date pinwheel cookies are a recipe that my family has been making for years. And for all those years they’ve stayed firmly planted at the top of my list of favorite Christmas cookies, right between Russian Tea Cakes and Rum Balls. With a buttery dough that becomes crunchy while it bakes and a filling that is sticky sweet, it’s hard not to put these at the top of a favorites list. Go on. I dare you. 

Date Pinwheel Cookies || Runway Chef Date Pinwheel Cookies || Runway Chef Date Pinwheel Cookies || Runway Chef Date Pinwheel Cookies || Runway Chef Date Pinwheel Cookies || Runway Chef

Date Pinwheel Cookies
Yields 36
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
FILLING
  1. 1 pound dates, pitted and chopped
  2. 1/2 cup water
  3. 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  4. 1 cup finely chopped walnuts
DOUGH
  1. 1/2 cup butter
  2. 1/4 cup brown sugar
  3. 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  4. 1 egg
  5. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  6. 2 cups all-purpose flour
  7. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  8. 1/2 teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Start by making the filling. Combine the dates, water, and 1/2 cup of granulated sugar in a medium-sized saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has thickened and the water has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the nuts, and set aside to cool (you can put the mixture in the fridge to speed up the cooling).
  2. To make the dough, cream the butter and sugars together in the bowl of a stand mixer, on medium speed.
  3. Beat in the egg and vanilla until well combined.
  4. In a separate smaller bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Then mix the dry ingredients into the butter mixture and keep mixing on medium speed until everything is well-combined and the dough is smooth.
  5. Divide the dough in half. Wrap each half in plastic wrap, then allow the dough to refrigerate for about 10 minutes.
  6. Remove the dough from the fridge. On a floured surface roll one half of the dough out into a rough rectangular shape that is about 1/4 inch thick. Spread half of the date mixture over the entire surface of the dough, then roll up, lengthwise, like a jelly roll. Set aside and repeat the process with the other half of the dough. Wrap both dough logs in plastic wrap and allow them to chill in the refrigerator until firm, at least 30 minutes.
  7. When you are ready to bake the cookies, turn the oven on to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat mat (I prefer the parchment paper for these as the filling can get a bit sticky).
  8. Remove the cookie logs from the fridge and, using a sharp knife, cut the dough into 1/4 inch slices. Place the slices about an inch apart on the cookie sheet, then bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the dough turns golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a cookie rack.
  9. Store the cookies in an airtight container.
Notes
  1. I used Medjool dates to make these but I recommend using whatever is cheapest as you'll be chopping them up and cooking them down.
  2. These cookies taste best within the first two days of baking so I usually like to only slice of a few at a time and keep the rest of the dough tightly wrapped in plastic wrap in the fridge until I'm ready to use it. The uncooked dough will last about 2 weeks in the fridge and about 1 month in the freezer, as long as it is well wrapped in plastic wrap.
Runway Chef http://www.runwaychef.com/
 

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3 Easy Christmas Appetizers

3 Easy Christmas Appetizers || Runway Chef #appetizers After Thanksgiving, I usually try to see if I can survive the rest of the year on cookies and party appetizers (I can’t). They’re two of my favorite food groups, and since the season is overflowing with an abundance of both, it only made sense to try to survive on these delicious little treats alone. My waistline called an intervention and quickly put an end to the “all cookies and appetizers from Thanksgiving to New Years” party. Hey waistline, why you got to be so mean? Just because my all-day, every day app party has stopped, doesn’t mean it has on the blog. Here to help you with your winter layer, or holiday parties/get-togethers/celebrations, whichever you prefer, are 3 easy Christmas appetizers (similar to my 3 easy Thanksgiving appetizers from last year). All three can be made in less than an hour, which means you’ll be on your way to one app happy party in no time.

P.S. To make these all under an hour, here’s the game plan- Tarts first, prep the dates while the tarts are cooking, toast the bread rounds for the pizza immediately after the tarts come out of the oven, turn the oven down and bake the dates, assemble mini pizzas while dates are baking. Proceed to feast.

P.S.S. These all make really great breakfast treats, too, (holiday appetizer brunch bar anyone??), in case you have any leftovers, though that is highly unlikely!

3 Easy Christmas Appetizers {Orange Ricotta Fig Tarts} || Runway Chef

Mini Orange Ricotta, Pistachio + Fig Tarts
Yields 12
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 tablespoons of ricotta
  2. 1 tablespoon of orange juice
  3. 1 teaspoon honey (if you prefer a sweeter taste, feel free to add more)
  4. 3 large figs, quartered (see notes)
  5. 1 sheet of puff pastry
  6. Pistachio nuts, chopped
  7. Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, whip together the ricotta orange juice, and honey.
  3. To assemble the tarts, cut a square of puff pastry about 3"x3". In the center dab a small amount of the ricotta mixture (about 1 teaspoon). Place a quarter of the fig on top. Fold the sides up and over to form an edge around the filling, leaving the center exposed. Place on the baking sheet and sprinkle with a few pistachio pieces. Continue on until you have used up all of the ingredients.
  4. Baked the tarts for about 18-20 minutes, or until the dough has turned golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a cooling rack.
  5. When you are ready to serve, place on a dish and dust them with powder sugar.
Notes
  1. For the figs, you can use fresh or frozen. I happened to use the frozen ones from Trader Joe's. Just make sure to fully defrost them and drain off the liquid first.
  2. These can be made 4-5 hour in advance.
  3. Store any remaining tarts in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
Runway Chef http://www.runwaychef.com/
3 Easy Christmas Appetizers {Orange Ricotta Fig Tarts} || Runway Chef 3 Easy Christmas Appetizers {Orange Ricotta Fig Tarts} || Runway Chef 3 Easy Christmas Appetizers {Orange Ricotta Fig Tarts} || Runway Chef 3 Easy Christmas Appetizers {Orange Ricotta Fig Tarts} || Runway Chef 3 Easy Christmas Appetizers {Orange Ricotta Fig Tarts} || Runway Chef 3 Easy Christmas Appetizers {Bacon Wrapped & Cream Cheese Stuffed Dates} || Runway Chef

Cream Cheese Stuffed Bacon Wrapped Dates
Yields 18
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 16-18 dates, pitted
  2. 4 pieces of bacon, cut into 3" strips
  3. 1/4 block of cream cheese (I use neufchâtel)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with non-stick foil and set aside.
  2. Split the dates in half (but don't cut completely through). Stuff a small amount (about 1/2 a teaspoon) of cream cheese in the middle, then fold the date back together. Wrap tightly with a piece of bacon, then place the date on the baking sheet. Continue on until you have used up all of your ingredients.
  3. Bake the dates for 15 minutes, then flip them over using tongs, and baking another 2-5 minutes, or until they are crispy and the bacon has fully cooked on all sides.
  4. Allow to cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.
Notes
  1. Store any leftovers in an airtight container or ziplock bag for up to 2 days in the fridge.
Runway Chef http://www.runwaychef.com/
3 Easy Christmas Appetizers {Bacon Wrapped & Cream Cheese Stuffed Dates} || Runway Chef 3 Easy Christmas Appetizers {Bacon Wrapped & Cream Cheese Stuffed Dates} || Runway Chef 3 Easy Christmas Appetizers {Bacon Wrapped & Cream Cheese Stuffed Dates} || Runway Chef 3 Easy Christmas Appetizers {Mini Festive Fruit Pizzas} || Runway Chef

Bite-Sized Pomegranate Fruit Pizzas
Yields 16
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Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 tablespoons mascarpone
  2. 2 tablespoons cream cheese (I used neufchâtel)
  3. 1 teaspoon of an orange liquor
  4. 1 tablespoon of orange juice
  5. 3 teaspoons honey
  6. 8 small bread rounds, cut in half (see notes)
  7. Pomegranate seeds
Instructions
  1. Place the bread rounds on a baking sheet, cut side up, and toast them for 5 minutes at 400 degrees.
  2. While they bread is toasting, in a small bowl whip together the mascarpone, cream cheese, liquor, honey and orange juice until well combined.
  3. After the bread has finished toasting, allow the rounds to cool for about 2-5 minutes. Once cool, spread each half with a little of the mascarpone mixture (I used about 1 teaspoon per half). Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and place on a serving tray. Serve immediately.
Notes
  1. Feel free to adjust the honey and liquor deepening on your taste preferences.
  2. For the bread rounds, you can use any of the mini buns found in the bread aisle at your local grocery store. For these I used, Ozery Bakery's Cranberry Orange Snacking Rounds (I'll add a link below).
  3. You can make the mascarpone mixture a day in advance and store it in an airtight container in the fridge.
Runway Chef http://www.runwaychef.com/

Recipe Notes- I used the Ozery Bakery Cranberry Orange Snacking Rounds which you can buy online or at one of these stores (Mr. RC and I are obsessed with these and have been eating the various flavors for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks; the flavors of the cranberry orange ones, however, are perfect for these little fruit pizzas), but feel free to use any mini buns or bread rounds.

3 Easy Christmas Appetizers {Mini Festive Fruit Pizzas} || Runway Chef 3 Easy Christmas Appetizers {Mini Festive Fruit Pizzas} || Runway Chef

DIY Gift – Mulled Wine Kit {Two Ways}

DIY Gift- Mulled Wine Kit || Runway Chef #diygifts The trees are up, the halls are decked, it’s time to start spreading the holiday cheer! And what better way to do that than with something that smells like Christmas, looks like Christmas, and tastes like Christmas. A mulled wine kit is not only a delicious, festive gift to receive, but it’s also fairly easy one for the giver to assemble. I’ve included two mulled wine kit options, the first one for a simpler, more affordable option (think party host/hostess, grab bag, or co-worker gift), and the second one, a bit more complex option that’s perfect for someone who loves wine, a boss, or a host/hostess gift if you’re staying at their house during the holidays (this one is also easy to put together, it just requires a few more pieces). Read on to find out more details and scroll all the way to the bottom to shop the supplies.

DIY Gift- Mulled Wine Kit || Runway Chef #diygifts DIY Gift- Mulled Wine Kit || Runway Chef #diygifts Option 1- A Bottle of Wine + Mulling Spices// A bottle of red wine (like a Pinot Noir or Cabernet Sauvignon), a bag of mulling spices (use cheesecloth to wrap up the spices on the recipe here), and a gift tag. Use baker’s twine or jute twine to tie them around the neck of the bottle and add a festive touch with a sprig of berries or evergreen.

DIY Gift- Mulled Wine Kit || Runway Chef #diygifts DIY Gift- Mulled Wine Kit || Runway Chef #diygifts DIY Gift- Mulled Wine Kit || Runway Chef #diygifts Option 2- A Mulled Wine Gift Box// Line a wooden box or basket with evergreen, burlap, or plaid fabric/towel (or a combination of the three). Add in a bottle of red wine (pinot noir or cabernet sauvignon) tied with a gift tag, a small bottle of brandy/cognac/orange liquor, a mini jar of honey, an orange, a lemon, a bag of mulling spices (use cheesecloth to wrap up the spices in the recipe here), mugs (I like copper mugs), some festive napkins, a wooden spoon (I tied mine with a red bow), a few extra cinnamon sticks for decoration, and (completely optional) a festive dish towel, spoons, a bag of dried fruit, and a holiday scented candle. Don’t forget a copy of the recipe (handwritten adds a nice personal touch or you can print out the recipe here).

DIY Gift- Mulled Wine Kit || Runway Chef #diygifts DIY Gift- Mulled Wine Kit || Runway Chef #diygifts Mulled Wine Bottle or Box Supplies

 

Triple Truffle Mac and Cheese

Triple Truffle Mac and Cheese || Runway Chef Please don’t hate me for what I am about to do. I know you just got done inhaling enough turkey, mashed potatoes, and gravy to feed a small country….but I couldn’t resist sharing this recipe for triple truffle mac and cheese. Yes, you read that correctly. Triple truffle. As in three types of truffle seasonings. As in three times the deliciousness. As in the best darn truffle mac and cheese to ever grace the face of the earth (a bit presumptuous of a statement, I know, but as they say, if the noodle fits…..Wait. They don’t say noodle?! They say shoe? Well, toe-mate-ohs, toe-mah-toes. Noodles, shoes. You know what I mean.). Mac and cheese in itself is the ultimate comfort food. But when you go ahead and add in all of the truffle things (I blame Trader Joe’s for this!) and the creamiest of cheeses, well, that’s just a recipe for heaven in a pan (and possibly a heart attack, but we’ll pretend we don’t know that). I must warn you, you might not be able to fit into your pants after eating this, your heart may have some trouble beating from all the cream and cheese, but I promise, it will be worth it. Just keep repeating after me “It will all be worth it….it will all be worth it…” Picture it with me for a minute and I think you’ll understand why. Cheesy, creamy, goodness embracing each piece of pasta like silk draping over skin, warmed to buttery perfection, topped with the crunchiest of toppings, and finished with a feathering of truffle essences in not one, not two, but three forms. Don’t even try to fool yourself…you know you want some….

Triple Truffle Mac and Cheese || Runway Chef Triple Truffle Mac and Cheese || Runway Chef Triple Truffle Mac and Cheese || Runway Chef Triple Truffle Mac and Cheese || Runway Chef Triple Truffle Mac and Cheese || Runway Chef

Triple Truffle Mac and Cheese
A creamy, decadent truffle infused mac 'n cheese, perfect for a cozy dinner in on a cold winter night
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
55 min
Total Time
1 hr 10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
55 min
Total Time
1 hr 10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 pound of pasta
  2. 4 tablespoon of butter (unsalted)
  3. 5 ounces mushrooms, sliced (should equal about 1 1/2 cups; I used baby bella mushrooms)
  4. 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
  5. 3 tablespoons flour
  6. 1 1/4 cups heavy cream (see notes)
  7. 1 cup water
  8. 1/2 cup mushroom brie, cut into small pieces (found at Trader Joe's; can also use regular brie)
  9. 1 1/2 cups grated truffle cheese (I get mine at Trader Joe's)
  10. 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  11. 1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese (I used a sharp white cheddar)
  12. 4-5 tablespoons of truffle oil (Again, I found mine at Trader Joe's, but I linked another one below)
  13. 1 teaspoon of truffle salt (You guessed it...I found mine at Trader Joe's, but I linked some below)
  14. Fresh ground pepper
  15. 3/4 cups of Italian or regular breadcrumbs
Instructions
  1. Bring a large oven-safe pot of water to boil. Toss in the pasta and cook until al dente, about 8-9 minutes. Drain, rinse under colder water, and set aside.
  2. Back in the pan, melt 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Sauté the mushrooms until they are golden brown, about 8-10 minutes. Remove the mushrooms and set them aside.
  3. In the same pan, melt the remaining butter (should be 3 tablespoons) at medium heat, then toss in the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Use a whisk to stir in the flour, then slowly start adding the cream and water, a little at a time. Make sure to whisk after each addition to avoid any lumps. Continue mixing until all of the liquid has been added. Allow the sauce to cook for about 5-7 more minutes, or until it has thickened slightly, making sure to continue the stirring.
  4. Once the sauce has thickened and it begins to bubble, add in the cheeses. Stir until they are melted, then add in the mushrooms, as well as 2-3 tablespoons of the truffle oil (more or less depending on your tastes) and the truffle salt (again, you can adjust the amount based on your tastes preferences). Mix until everything is well combined then fold in the pasta. Season to taste with fresh ground pepper as well as any additional salt or oil.
  5. In a small bowl combine the breadcrumbs and the remaining truffle oil (about 2 tablespoons). Sprinkle this mixture on top of the pasta, then bake the mac n' cheese for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown, at 375 degrees. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 5 minutes before serving.
Notes
  1. To balance out this heavy dish, I like to pair it with a light and fresh salad.
  2. For the pasta, I like to use a fun shape like campanelle, but you can use any type of pasta that you want.
  3. I prefer to make this in an oven-safe pan like my Le Creuset as it make this a one-dish meal with easy cleanup. If you don't have an oven-safe pan, feel free to use a pot or skillet for the stovetop steps then transfer the pasta to a baking dish before sprinkling it with the breadcrumb mixture. If you do use a baking dish, just be sure to bake the pasta for only about 15 minutes.
  4. For the heavy cream and water, you can also just use 2 1/4 cups of milk (I'd use 2%), or less cream and more water (i.e. 1 1/2 cups of water and 3/4 cups cream), or even half-and-half in place of the heavy cream. Whatever combination you settle on, just make sure to use 2 1/4 cups of total liquid.
Runway Chef http://www.runwaychef.com/
Recipe Links
Truffle Oil
Truffle Salt

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Pumpkin Morning Glory Muffins

Pumpkin Morning Glory Muffins || Runway Chef #muffins #breakfast As much as we’d all like to, we all can’t live on turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie alone come Thanksgiving day (believe me, I’ve tried). Like any other day, it’s important to make sure you eat a hearty and healthy breakfast. Besides, I don’t know about you, but I’ve attempted the whole skip-eating-in-the-morning-to-save-for-dinner thing, and the verdict is, I love food too darn much to EVER skip eating. So I decided to remedy the Thanksgiving day breakfast woes with these pumpkin morning glory muffins (a fall take on my all-time favorite muffins). They are equal parts delicious, festive (they have pumpkin and tons of spices), and healthy (thanks to some sneaky veggies!). Not only will these muffins satisfy the morning hunger pains, they’ll also leave you feeling guilt-free enough to indulge in that second piece of pie later in the day (because obviously eating veggies for breakfast deserves a reward). Bring it turkey day, I’m armed with muffins and ready for you!

Pumpkin Morning Glory Muffins || Runway Chef #muffins #breakfast Pumpkin Morning Glory Muffins || Runway Chef #muffins #breakfast Pumpkin Morning Glory Muffins || Runway Chef #muffins #breakfast

Pumpkin Morning Glory Muffins || Runway Chef #muffins #breakfast Pumpkin Morning Glory Muffins || Runway Chef #muffins #breakfast

Pumpkin Morning Glory Muffins
Yields 18
A seasonal twist on the popular morning glory muffins with pumpkin, parsnips and cranberries
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 2 teaspoons baking soda
  3. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  4. 2 tablespoons chia seeds (optional)
  5. 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  6. 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  7. 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  8. 10 grates of fresh nutmeg
  9. 1/4 cup honey
  10. 1/4 cup brown sugar
  11. 2 tablespoons molasses
  12. 1/3 cup oil (vegetable or coconut)
  13. 2 eggs
  14. 2 teaspoons vanilla
  15. 1 cup pure pumpkin puree
  16. 1 large carrot, grated (should equal about 1 cup grated)
  17. 1 large parsnip, grated (should equal about 1 cup grated)
  18. 1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
  19. 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
  20. 1/2 cup dried cranberries (you could also use raisins or chopped dates)
  21. 1 apple, cut into small cubes
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, chia seeds (if you are using them), and spices. Whisk to combine.
  3. Next, mix in the sugar, honey, molasses, oil, eggs, and pumpkin puree, stirring just until everything is mixed.
  4. Lastly, fold in the fruits and vegetables, making sure not to over mix.
  5. Grease or line a muffin pan. Then use a 1/3 scoop to fill each tin up. Bake the muffins for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a middle muffin comes out clean. Remove the pan and allow the muffins to cool for a couple minutes before removing them from the pan.
Notes
  1. Store leftover muffins in a tightly sealed ziplock bag. I usually keep the bag on the counter for 2 days and then, if there are still muffins left, I keep the rest in the fridge for up to a week.
  2. The fruits and vegetables are all fairly interchangeable. Feel free to use the nuts or dried fruit of your choosing and if you don't have parsnips you can simply do a totally of 2 carrots.
Runway Chef http://www.runwaychef.com/
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