Gluten-Free Vegan Walnut-Pecan Thumbprints

Gluten-Free Vegan Walnut-Pecan Thumbprints

If you guys are anything like me then you might have gone a wee bit overboard on the sweets and drinking over the holiday season. And if you’re like me, that holiday season dragged on and lasted til way past the New Year (aka up until a few days ago). Now this isn’t something I say often, but my body needs a serious break from all that sugar. So while I’m all about trying to eat a little healthier this week, I still need some kind of treat. Cause let’s face it……this girl needs her cookies and going completely cold turkey from desserts is just not realistic.

When it comes to food, I’m a firm believer in moderation and not labeling things as “good” or “bad.” A healthy relationship with food is far more important than sticking to some crazy strict diet. So instead of feeling guilty about all the delicious, amazing desserts I ate over the past few weeks, I’m going to look at the holiday season for what it was. A fun time to indulge in baked goods and share them with loved ones. But now it’s time to get that balance back…..and still get my cookie fix.

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Figgy Toffee Cookies

Figgy Toffee Cookies

It’s full on cookie season and I, for one, am digging it. I mean who doesn’t love cookies?? And the holidays are the perfect excuse to bust out in the kitchen and bake allllllll of the cookies. Seriously, no one will judge you this time of year if you decide to bake like 100 or 200 cookies. In December, that’s a totally reasonable thing to do.

I’m on a bit of a cookie kick right now and have been working on a couple awesome recipes to share with you guys. First up are these Figgy Toffee Cookies. Made with dark muscovado sugar, dried figs, and crushed up bits of toffee (either store bought or homemade….totally your call) – they are the perfect holiday cookie. These ingredients play beautifully off each other with the  sweet, jammy figs complementing the subtle smokiness of the toffee and muscovado sugar. If you can’t find dark muscovado sugar, you can use dark brown sugar instead (if you do that – increase the molasses from 2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon) but I highly recommend seeking out the muscovado sugar. It makes a big difference!

Hope you guys are getting your cookie on…..and, if you are, I hope you’ll add these to your rotation!

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S’mores Cookie Cups

S'mores Cookie Cup

So I might be way too excited to share this post. How excited, you ask. Well, so excited that I’m legit typing this on my phone while camping. Thank goodness for 4Gs and awesome cell service….because you guys NEED these for your Labor Day weekend.

Every once in a while I come up with a seriously over the top idea. Something so decadent and indulgent that it makes even me pause….and that’s saying a lot. These S’mores Cookie Cups are one of those recipes. The general idea come about in a rather simple way. I love cookie cups (anyone else remember getting the frosted ones from Mrs. Field’s at the mall??) and wanted to create a summery twist on them. And, to me, nothing says summer more than s’mores.

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Salted Oatmeal Tahini Cookies with Boozy Cherries and White Chocolate

Tahini Oatmeal Cookies

Okay, since I promised to have this recipe up last week and then totally dropped the ball (I’m the worst…..I know) – I’m going to keep today’s post short and simple. These Salted Oatmeal Tahini Cookies are quite possibly my new favorite cookie. First of all, they help fuel my out of control tahini addiction (I seriously cannot get enough of it!) and second of all, the flavor combo is AMAZING. There’s just something magical about the combination of tahini and cherries. They play off each other beautifully with the tart, sweetness of the cherries being the perfect balance to the nuttiness and earthiness of the tahini. And the white chocolate just adds a little extra sweetness to bring everything together.

There are a couple keys to this recipe. One is the bourbon soaked cherries. It takes a little extra forethought to soak them ahead of time, but trust me – it is sooooo worth it. It plumps up the cherries and adds a nice depth to the cookie. And you’re left over with some cherry infused bourbon, which is never a bad thing! The second key is using the best tahini you can find. It’s the star and base ingredient in this recipe, so please do not skimp. I’m partial to Soom and highly recommend seeking a jar out. It’s by far the best tahini I’ve ever had and is like 99.99% responsible for my newfound tahini addiction…..most of the time you can find me eating it straight out of the jar with a spoon (don’t judge me til you’ve tried it).

Alright, I promised a short post – so let’s get on to the recipe. Make them, love them, and PLEASE tell me all about it so I can eat vicariously through you…..cause I can’t have sugar or barley for another week and that makes me sad.

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Cowboy Cookies with Bourbon and Smoked Sea Salt

Cowboy Cookies with Bourbon and Smoked Sea Salt

Sharing is caring or at least that’s what they say. In most cases, I’m all about sharing – especially when it comes to food I’ve made. However, there are a couple areas in my life where sharing is a little harder. The first is french fries (there’s never enough!)…..and the second is recipes. Let’s be honest here, every baker or chef has at least one recipe they don’t want to share. That one recipe they’ll protect fiercely and keep to themselves. The recipe they’re most proud of and the thought of sharing it physically pains them. This one is mine……..

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Homemade Samoas

Homamade Samoas

We all have our favorite Girl Scout cookie. That one cookie we dream about all year long until cookie season finally arrives. For some it’s Thin Mints. For others it’s Tagalongs or Do-si-dos. But for me, it will always be Samoas. There’s just something about their caramelly, coconutty, chocolatey goodness that I can’t get enough of and I don’t know why. Now I’m sure there’s some sort of article or quiz that can tell me “What Your Favorite Girl Scout Cookie Says About You!”….and, actually, if there is one – can someone please send it to me?? Cause I legit want to know. Like is one cookie personality better than the other? And what does it mean if you’re Team Samoas and your husband is Team Thin Mints??? Oh man, this is going down a seriously strange tangent. I should probably get back on track……and obviously Google all these things later.

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Cookies and Cream Cookies

Random fact about me……I’m not the biggest fan of Oreo cookies. I’m not sure why, but Oreos just don’t do it for me. Here’s where it gets a little weird though – even though I don’t really like Oreos, I loooooove anything Cookies and Cream! It makes no sense, I know!! But man, if you put Oreos in just about anything (ice cream, donuts, cake….) I’m all over it. These cookies were inspired by my love for all things Cookies and Cream. They have both crushed and chopped Oreos in them and a little white chocolate and milk chocolate to balance out the flavor. The end result tastes like the perfect bowl of Cookies and Cream Ice Cream…..but in cookie form! Hope you guys like them as much as I do!

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Best Ever Butterscotch Cookies for My Pops

Today is kind of a big day.  Today is what I like to (jokingly) call my Dad’s “Old Man Birthday.”  That’s right….today my Dad is turning 70 and Fiancé and I are in town to help him celebrate.  And yes, Boyfriend is now Fiancé and since I feel so weird and even a little pretentious typing out the word fiancé all the time – he will now be referred to as “Dude” (per his request).  So as I was saying, Dude and I made a special effort to make sure we were able to spend my Dad’s birthday with him.  For me, it was especially important to be there.  I mean this is the man who taught me how to bake and has in so many ways shaped the person I am today.  While most girls like to say, “I’m turning into my Mother” – the phrase you’re more likely to hear out of my mouth is, “Holy crap, I’ve turned into my Dad.”  I usually say this about once every couple of months to Dude, who whole heartedly agrees with my statement.

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Oatmeal Raisin Biscoff Cookies

Oatmeal Raisin Biscoff Cookies

I had a few requests for the Biscoff Cookie recipe I mentioned in Monday’s post, so I figured I would go ahead and share it with you guys.  The original cookie I made was a Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Biscoff, but after tasting them I decided I wanted to make them into a more classic Oatmeal Raisin Cookie.  I thought it would be a better flavor combination and, personally, I prefer raisins over chocolate chips in my oatmeal cookies.  I didn’t have any raisins on Monday hence the chocolate chips.  I tweaked the original recipe ever so slightly by adding in more Biscoff (because in my world you can never have too much Biscoff) and replaced the chocolate chips with rum soaked raisins and toasted walnuts.  After tasting the newly revamped cookie, I can tell you it’s even better than the original.  This one will definitely be going on The Earnest Baker menu.

A couple notes about the recipe.  Soaking the raisins in rum is an optional step, but if you have the time I highly suggest doing this.  It plumps up the raisins and makes them juicy and boozy and delicious.  Don’t worry, the cookies won’t taste like rum, but it will add a really lovely subtle note to the raisins and guarantees you won’t have dried out raisins in your cookies.  Toasting the walnuts is also an optional step, but I’m a firm believer in toasting nuts.  It brings out their flavor and it’s an easy touch that makes people feel like you went that extra mile (even though it’s ridiculously simple).  If you want to see the difference toasting makes, try toasting some nuts and comparing them to raw ones.  It will make you a believer.

My technique to make cookies is a little different.  In fact, I do some things that some people will specificially tell you not to do.  I’ve always made my cookies this way though and it’s how I get the exact texture and chewiness I like.  Oddly enough, when I got the Milk Bar cookbook I discovered Christina Tosi makes her cookies the same way.  I’ll go into detail about the technique in the recipe and have provided lots of pictures this time (yaay!).  Hope you guys enjoy the cookies as much as I do! I’ve already eaten two while writing this and am eyeing up a third……I’m writing them off as fuel for my 5 miler today (that makes it okay – right???).

I’m trying a new recipe style that goes into more details and provides more helpful tips and tricks.  Let me know what you guys think about it!

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Balancing the Fun with the Not So Fun

Choc Chip Cookies

Starting your own business requires a lot of focus and self-motivation, especially when you’re working out of your home.  I try to maintain a relatively normal work schedule Monday through Friday.  My goal is to be as productive as possible those days.  I can get a wee bit distracted and if I don’t have a schedule my days might look a little something like this: “Oh wow it’s actually warm outside? I should get a quick 4 mile run in.” Followed by, “I wonder what’s on TV……holy crap a Boy Meets World marathon?! I should probably watch that.” Which would inevitably lead to, “I wonder how production is going on the Boy Meets World spin-off…….I should Google that!”  As you can see, it’s really best for everyone if I keep myself on track.

At this point, I spend most of my days testing and researching recipes.  Unfortunately, today I was waiting on an ingredient to arrive from Amazon and didn’t have anything to test.  This meant I had to figure out another way to be productive.  There is something I have been putting off, but knew I had to do……the dreaded kitchen inventory.  Rooting around my cupboards is not my definition of a fun morning, but it was definitely necessary.  I have a ton of random baking supplies and have been meaning to do an inventory so I can see exactly what I have and exactly what I need to buy.  The upside of doing this means I’m totally justified in buying more baking supplies (yaaaaaay).  The downside is that I realized I HAVE to buy more baking supplies (stupid lack of income).  Turns out, I have some incredibly random supplies and am lacking some very basic ones.  For example, I have a deep dish tart pan, but no pie pan. How this happened, I have no idea.

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