I’ve been on a chocolate and caramel kick recently so I jumped at the opportunity to make Emily’s, of Life on Food, Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars for this month’s Secret Recipe Club reveal. I had a huge block of chocolate and an extra jar of fleur de sel caramel sauce that was itching to be used up so it was just meant to be.
The hardest part about these bars is pressing the cookie dough-like filling into all of the crevices of the pan. I found that if I took balls of dough and didn’t press too hard, I was able to fill most of the spots in one round. That being said, this was a super easy and great recipe. Everyone in my office loved them, marketed as Salted Caramel Blondies.
I like St. Patrick’s day because it gives me an excuse to make and eat green food. Other than that, I don’t really celebrate it — in fact I’ve never even seen a green beer! These cookies are naturally colored with some beautiful sencha green tea powder gifted to me by Sugimoto America. This sencha powder had a nice strong earthy taste that paired naturally with the honey cream cheese filling.
The recipe for these cookies came from my co-worker who had brought them into the office but I never got to try them. I usually avoid making sandwich cookies since they’re twice the amount of work for one cookie, but these just might be worth it. Not as much work as linzer cookies, but a little more work than whoopie pies. I also got to try out my new rolling pin so that I could make sure the dough was uniform in thickness.
If you’re in the mood for a seasonal treat that isn’t tooth-achingly sweet, these are right up your alley. I’ve stuck a few in the freezer to give to my friend this weekend when we meet up for the NYC Coffee & Tea Festival; I’ll report back on how they fared.
This recipe is very easy and has a limited number of ingredients. I added heaping tablespoons of green tea powder because I had only a little left in my container (total amount = 227 grams). The cookie is a little dense, but lighter than shortbread. When eaten fresh, the filling will ooze out a bit. I stuck them in the fridge overnight and the filling firmed up for easier chomping.
Each year during the holiday season, I prefer to give comestibles. These edible gifts have the bonus of not only not arriving with a price tag, but it’s a reflection of time and effort instead of just checking someone off of a gift list.
Hot chocolate and s’mores are some of my favorite things to consume. Nothing like sitting by a fire (or a video of a fireplace) and sipping cocoa or chomping on a burnt marshmallow. This recipe is incredibly easy and customize-able. I like to use higher-quality, locally made marshmallows, but you can also drink with mini-marshmallows. I filled each jar with 5 servings (180g) and the larger with 8 servings. Some have peppermint marshmallows from Bread Furst and some have vanilla marshmallows from Fleurir.
Here are some different packaging styles I’m gifting:
For this month’s Secret Recipe Club, I was paired up with Sally from Bewitching Kitchen. Sally is a super smart and fit biochemist transplant from Brazil by way of California, Paris, and now Manhattan. There are many recipes on Sally’s site, including Carrot Orzo, Farfalle with Kale Pesto, Biscoff Oatmeal Cookies, Speculaas, Pumpkin Espresso Loaf, Nutella Drop Cookies, Snickerdoodles with a Twist, Butterscotch Brownies, Pumpkin Shrimp Curry, Sabu’s Spicy Coconut Chicken, Lemony Chicken Curry, Bon Bon Chicken, and Clay Pot Pork. I could tell through my recipe selection that I was really in the mood for curry, so I chose Green Curry Pork Tenderloin. Instead of buying green curry paste for this recipe I used the yellow curry paste I had in the pantry.
This was a very good recipe that tasted great. It did take a little while to get all of the recipe components prepared and we still needed to make a supplemental side to go with the protein. The pork was cooked perfectly and went great with the sauce. The marinade was easy to make, though we substituted the reduced sodium soy sauce with regular soy sauce diluted with water. We don’t have a grill in our building so we roasted it in the oven and finished with the broiler. I must admit that I was intimidated when it came time to make our own curry sauce, but it came together pretty easily. The sauce was quite mild so we would up the heat next time, especially since this recipe made tons of extra sauce.
The best thing about this dish were the candied nuts on top. We couldn’t find pumpkin seeds so replaced them with shelled pistachios. The nuts were quite addictive and we used the leftovers to top a salad the next day.
I’ll be honest — soft pretzels are a guilty pleasure of mine. I have very fond memories of going shopping with my family and being rewarded at the end with a hot pretzel and lemonade. I also like getting the pretzel rolls to make mini-sandwiches with, but they’re a bit hard to find nearby me.
Making pretzels seemed daunting to me. They’re like bread and bagels mixed together, some mystery that makes them magically chewy yet snappy and soft.
It turns out that they’re not that hard to make! I was inspired by my Secret Recipe Club partner for this month, Nicole from Collie’s Kitchen. Nicole is a half-country/half-city girl that is a full-time college student and mother. I can’t even imagine how she does everything, including making these great soft pretzels!
I didn’t have milk powder or a bread machine, so I had to use a little improvisation with these pretzels. These turned out way better than I expected and I imagine that there will be more pretzels in my future (gotta use up that bread flour!). We might even make these pretzels a Memorial Day tradition; they taste great when smooshed around a local sausage, coleslaw, and grilled onions.