I’ve pretty much never met a cookie that I haven’t liked (or really any sweet treat for that matter because, let’s be real, my sweet tooth is ginormous-with-a-capital-G). But when it comes to making cookies, I pretty much stick to one thing- chocolate chip. How boring and unoriginal of me. You see, my brain comes up with all these grand ideas for this cookie and that cookie, but then my tastebuds are all like “I just want chocolate chip.” Until my taste buds had one of these and then they were all like “watermelon + chocolate don’t mix on 90 degree days”. And now this is getting weird, because my tastebuds are talking (What? Yours don’t?!) and I’m not quite even sure what we’re talking about anymore. Oh yeah, cookies. So after making these, I wanted to eat the leftover granita for dessert, but I also wanted a little something to go along with it. I remembered these cookies that my Mom used to make that consisted of cornmeal and lime and had a light buttery, texture, which is perfect for summer and to go along side fruit-based desserts. Of course, growing up I only had eyes for my chocolate chip cookies, so I wasn’t always so keen on these cornmeal ones, but I didn’t mind them either. Armed with a bushel of limes (don’t even ask how we got that many), I set out to find a recipe to replicate these cookies for my now-reformed tastebuds. Mr. RC and I finished half the batch in about a day (what butter??!), so it’s safe to say that the chocolate chip cookies might not be so safe in their number one spot…
What’s your favorite type of cookie?
Rosemary Lime Cornmeal Cookies
A light and buttery cookie with just a hint of flavor that's perfect for summer
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal + extra cornmeal for rolling
1 teaspoon coarse salt
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and the sugar, on medium speed, until smooth. Add the lime juice, zest, and rosemary, and mix to combine, making sure to scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. With the speed turned down to low, add in the flour, cornmeal, and salt and mix just until combined.
Divide the dough in half, and shape each half into a log that's about 1 1/2" in diameter. Wrap each log in plastic wrap (I usually wrap mine in the empty butter wrappers first), and then refrigerate until cold (about one hour; you can speed up this process by placing the logs in the freezer).
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Sprinkle a cutting board with extra cornmeal and granulated sugar (I did about 2 tablespoons of each) and then roll the logs in the mixture to coat them. Slice the logs into approximately 1/4 inch rounds, and place them about 1 inch apart on a baking sheet lined with a silpat mat or parchment paper. Bake until the edges just start to brown and the cookies are golden, about 18-25 minutes (depending on your oven). Cool on sheet. Store in an airtight container for up to a week.
Rosemary can be omitted and other citrus flavors, such as orange or lemon, can be used in place of the lime.
Not all of the cookies have to be baked at once; you can keep an unbaked log in the fridge for up to a month or in the freezer for up to 2 months. Just make sure the logs stay tightly sealed in plastic wrap.
Last week I sent Mr. RC I text that read something like ” I can’t decide between a betty, a crisp, a crumble, a buckle, or a cobbler!”. He, of course, had no idea what I was talking about. And to be honest, I’m not so sure I had much of an idea either. I had made things with crumb toppings or biscuit topping before, but I never really knew the exact definitions of each. I just knew I wanted fruit with some kind of crunchy topping. I stumbled upon this article which helped me clarify the difference between a ‘betty’ and a ‘buckle’ and everything in between and ultimately decided biscuit topping was just what I was looking for (because then it totally counts as a breakfast food, too!). So on the one 90 degree day we’ve had all summer I got to work baking up this blueberry peach cobbler (because ovens, cast iron skillets and 90 degree days make total sense together). I think I sweated out every liquid ounce in my body, but that just meant I could justify eating half the pan of blueberry peach cobbler, obviously with lots of vanilla ice cream to cool me down!
Did you know the difference between all the different fruit desserts? If so, which is your favorite? Mine are definitely the cobbler and crumble!
Blueberry Peach Cobbler with Lime, Lavender, Cornmeal Biscuit Topping
A fresh summer fruit cobbler with crunchy biscuit topping, perfect for dessert or morning-after breakfast
5 tblsp cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1/3 cup plain greek yogurt
2 tablespoons of heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon of dried lavender
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
For the filling: Cut the peaches in half and remove the pits. Then cut each half into 4 slices. Spread the the peach slices evenly across the bottom of a 10-12 inch cast iron skillet.
Sprinkle on the blueberries, then the cornstarch, sugar, lime juice and salt. Gently toss to coat the fruit. Let stand for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, bake the fruit until it begins to bubble around the edges, about 10 minutes.
For the biscuit topping: While the fruit is baking, in a food processor pulse the flour, cornmeal, lime zest, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and lavender for a few seconds. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal (should need about ten 1-second pulses). Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl; add the yogurt and mix with a rubber spatula until a dough forms. (Don’t over mix the dough, or the biscuits will be tough).
To assemble the cobbler: After the fruit has baked for 10 minutes, remove from the oven and spoon on small mounds of the biscuit dough, spacing the mounds about 1/2 inch apart (they should not touch). I had a total of 9 biscuit mounds on my cobbler.
Bake until the biscuits are golden brown and the fruit is bubbling, about 16 to 18 minutes. Cool slightly before serving with ice cream or whipped cream. Store tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days and then simply reheat a serving for 30 seconds in the microwave before eating it.
I chose not to peel the peaches to save time and effort and also because I don't mind the skins, but feel free to peel them if you choose.
You can also store this, tightly covered, on the countertop for 2 days, but the biscuits will get soggier more quickly and beware of fruit flies want to enjoy your dessert as well!
I’ve always prided myself on my Italian heritage. While I may not speak Italian and I’ve never set foot in Italy (why oh why didn’t I study abroad there when I had the chance?!), I can cook a mean Bolognese, tiramisu and cannolis are my weakness, and wine is my version of water. So anytime I stumble upon an Italian recipe I’ve never heard of, the Italian part of me cringes for not knowing it. Boccone dolce is one such dish. Except this dish caused a double cringe as it originates from the same region as my family (northern Italy). However, it wasn’t until just 2 weeks ago, when my father-in-law ordered a piece at our pre-Broadway show dinner, that I even heard the name ‘boccone dolce’ (or at least that I can remember). Eager to make up for lost time, I immediately began researching recipes and buying ingredients so that I could whip up my own boccone dolce at home. It’s not the healthiest of desserts (I promise there is fruit somewhere in all that cream!), but the airy consistency makes for a perfect summertime dessert. Oh, and bonus, it’s gluten-free! Mr. RC thinks it should be a requirement to make this dessert at least once a month, and since I have a lot of years sans boccone dolce to make up for, this Italian kind of has to agree!
P.S. This would also look really pretty topped off with a few of these!
A traditional Italian dessert that is light and fluffy. Perfect for summer, easy to adapt, and gluten-free.
Begin by preheating your oven to 250 degrees. Then, line 2 baking sheets (or 1 large sheet and 1 small sheet) with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl, begin beating the egg whites on medium-high speed. Once they begin to stiffen up, add the salt and granulated sugar. Continue beating for several more minutes, until stiff peaks form.
On the baking sheet spread the egg whites out evenly into 3 circles. Each circle will be about 1/4 inch thick and about 8" in diameter, give or take. Once you have the circles spread out, place them in the oven for 45-60 minutes. They should turn a nice golden brown color and be slightly sticky yet crunchy to the touch. Remove the pan from the oven and set aside to cool.
Back in your mixing bowl (which should be nice and clean again), begin whipping the cream. Once soft peaks begin to form, add in the sugar and Grand Marnier. Beat for just a few seconds longer, until everything is incorporated.
Once the egg white roundss have cooled, begin assembling your "cake". On a serving dish place your first round. Add on a layer of whipped cream (about 1 cup), then sprinkle with almonds and finish with a layer of sliced strawberries. Repeat with the next layer. Frost the entire cake with whipped cream.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. Wrap leftovers in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.
The original recipe does not call for Grand Marnier, so feel free to leave it out.
Although I have not tried it, I think it would be delicious to do this with Ameretto liquor in the whipped cream with peaches for the fruit, or lavender whipped cream and raspberries, and, for the Fourth of July, a mix of strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries.
This can also be made sans nuts (for those with nut allergies).
Both my Mother and I have been making this hot fudge recipe for as long as I can remember. What I don’t remember is what cookbook the recipe is from. But with only three ingredients and three minutes standing between me and decadent, delicious hot fudge sauce, can you really blame me for forgetting?
I know what you’re thinking. Prunes? Is this lady nuts? I mean, who eats prunes?! (Besides 80 year-old ladies, of course.) And that’s just what you were thinking based off the title, I’m sure. But don’t hate it til you’ve ate it (or at least until you’ve read through the entire story). You see, growing up, my Mom would make a variation of these stewed prunes and would then force us to eat it on things like yogurt and oatmeal. I was all too happy to leave stewed prunes in the past. And then just like that, the prunes stewed their way back into my life…when we were out to dinner recently what should the server recommend as their most popular dessert, but stewed prunes? Because it was topped with marscapone (and only because), I couldn’t say no (heck, if someone topped paper shreds with marscapone, I probably wouldn’t say no….I love the stuff!). Much to my surprise, it was delicious (the Mr. and I were even fighting over the last bite). So I immediately did something that only old ladies do….I went and bought prunes. And then I stewed them. And I ate them on everything. Where were these 80 year-old taste buds when I was 12?
Italian Stewed Prunes
A healthy dessert that's a little spicy and a little sweet
In a medium saucepan combine the prunes, citrus fruit, cinnamon stick, and wine. Add enough water to cover everything.
Place the pan on medium-low heat and allow to simmer, stirring every once in a while. Cook until the prunes are soft, at least 30 minutes. You can also continue cooking this for up to 2 hours (make sure to continue adding water), allowing the prunes to become even softer.
Serve warm, topped with mascarpone. Refrigerate the leftovers in an airtight container for up to a month.
Because I prefer this to be as healthy as possible, I don't add any sugar. However, feel free to add some to suit your tastebuds.
This can easily be reheated in the microwave and it tastes great in yogurt, oatmeal, cereal, on ice-cream, with whipped cream, in pudding, on toast/pancakes/waffles and even on pavlova.