monster cookie cake

I am officially 9 months pregnant and officially in major freakout nesting mode!!!!! I am of the textbook vibe: please-move-the-crib-there-no-please-move-it-there-or-maybe-this-wall-needs-to-be-painted-a-dark-mustard-color-ohmyguhhhhhh-we-don’t-have-enough-toys!!! *Sits in the gym parking lot and orders the playpen in the most frantic manner* *Can’t decide on any of the nursing bras so buys all of them* *Cries in the Old Navy baby department!!!!*

The good thing is that I’ve had the energy to get worked up about everything. Aside from the average two nights a week when I’m up all night long obsessing about things like rocking chairs versus gliders, I’ve been sleeping like a rock. I was totally bracing myself for the return of first trimester fatigue during my third trimester, as I’ve read is often the case, but I truly do not have the time to be tired right now. I have a list of meals to be prepped (I’ll blog about this soon!), a bunch of furniture to rearrange (or rather, direct Eggboy to rearrange), and a slew of recipes to edit for both Girl Meets Farm and blog posts that I’ll schedule to go live during my maternity leave. And I need to stay current on the Bachelor which is taking up so much time, gosh geez. Luckily I’ve been able to focus a lot of this energy into keeping up with my workouts which have consisted of lifting itty bitty weights and doing resistance stuff and also waddling quickly around the track (while listening to Unorthodox, obviously). Which I think has been key in not driving everyone around me too crazy. I think. They haven’t told me otherwise. But then again what monster calls a 9-month pregnant lady crazy to her face?

Speaking of monsters, I made a monster cookie cake! It was for Eggmom’s birthday! I didn’t know what a monster cookie was until I moved here and kept hearing about the gigantic gooey ones at the UND cafeteria. I’ve never actually had one because I’m afraid of getting caught sneaking onto campus but I’ve had others and they are sooo good: peanut butter, oatmeal, and M&M’s all folded into a soft chewy delicious cookie. It occurred to me that it needed to be turned into a cake when I was brainstorming cakes for Eggmom’s birthday earlier this year. She loves M&M’s. And has oatmeal every morning. And ate peanuts by the handful when she was pregnant with Eggboy. So a monster cookie cake seemed perfect!! The oats and peanut butter in the batter here make it extra dense and moist, and the chocolates (I went with Trader Joe’s naturally colored candy coated chocolates) add good textural excitement. This is a super heavy cake! It’s slathered with peanut butter cream cheese frosting which drives home the peanut flavor and also adds a hint of sourness that’s the perfect balance to the cake. This frosting is sooooo goooood, you might want to make extra so you can just eat it with a spoon. You can totally bake this batter into cupcakes (it’ll make a lot, like 40!) and if you’re really feeling the monster energy, I feel like a few marzipan monsters around the sides would be cute. Or you can just go the normcore rainbow route like I did!

I made this cake using Our Family ingredients, which was especially fitting since I made it for family!! <3


monster cookie cake

makes one 3-layer, 8-inch cake

Ingredients

Cake

2 c (472g) boiling water

1 1/3 c (106g) rolled oats

2 c (260g) all-purpose flour

1/2 c (64g) whole wheat flour, or more all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 c (200g) granulated sugar

1 c (200g) brown sugar

1/2 c (100g) flavorless oil, like canola

1 c (256g) creamy unsweetened peanut butter

2 large eggs

1 tb vanilla extract

1 c (240g) buttermilk 

2 c (320g) candy coated chocolates, plus more for decorating

Frosting

1/2 c (113g) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 c (226g) our family cream cheese, room temperature

1/4 c (64g) creamy unsweetened peanut butter

3 c (360g) powdered sugar

A pinch of kosher salt

1 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract

2 tb (30g) heavy cream

clues

Preheat the oven to 350ºf. Line the bottoms of three 8” round cake pans with parchment, grease the parchment and sides of the pans and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the boiling water and oats, cover, and let sit for 20 minutes.

In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the flours, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. 

In a large bowl, whisk together the sugars, oil, and peanut butter. Add the eggs one at a time, whisking after each. Whisk in the vanilla and buttermilk and then stir in the dry ingredients and then the oats. Fold in the candy chocolates (quickly, to prevent the colors from bleeding), and then transfer to the cake pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean; begin checking for doneness at 30 minutes.

Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting, beat together the butter, cream cheese, and peanut butter until smooth. Add the powdered sugar, salt, and vanilla and beat to combine. Beat in the heavy cream.

Stack up the cake layers with a layer of frosting between each and then frost all over. Decorate with candy coated chocolates. Enjoy!


-yeh!

This recipe was developed in partnership with Our Family!

photos by chantell and brett quernemoen

chocolate sea salt rugelach

Even though it’s already Hanukkah, I feel like we never fully debriefed from Thanksgiving! How was yours? Did the stuffing taste good? Was there family drama?? Our beachside situation was as strong as possible. We hung out with all of our little cousins (who are not so little anymore), played card games by the pool, and ate a deeeelicious feast. I lived in my maternity bathing suit!! And Eggboy became BFFs with my uncle, I couldn’t believe the bromance forming before my very eyes. By far one of my very favorite parts of our trip, however, was when my mom strolled down to the pool with a gigantic container of her homemade rugelach. It was the best thing ever. They were so tangy from the cream cheese and soft on the inside (my mom bakes them at a cool 350ºf and the insides stay delightfully soft this way), and the Florida sun warmed them just the teensiest bit, which made them even softer and melted the chocolate just perfectly. 

It occurred to me that I haven’t had rugelach that much since my college days when my mom would send me huge care packages of it. I’d walk around to my friends’ practice rooms and pass them out and we’d eat them together in the hallway. The arrival of “Jody’s Arugula” became the perfect occasion to just sit and commiserate about how hard playing the xylophone can be. 

Our poolside Thanksgiving rugelach was so similar to my college care package rugelach because in both cases it had been sitting in a container for a couple of days, which emphasizes that certain special homemade quality. You know what I’m talking about right?? Where the texture isn’t perfectly crisp and they’re a little bit crumbly but that’s 100% ok because you can taste all the love and coziness in them?? What I’m getting at is that I feel like rugelach is a perfect holiday cookie because it stays great for a good few days, so you can send it in the mail or bring it with you on your travels this season. 

Speaking of travels, Eggboy and I are making the miniature trek to Fargo this week for the annual sugar beet farmers’ meeting. It’s called a meeting, but it’s actually more of a party because the farming season is dunzo and school’s out for the summer (errr, well, you know what I mean). So we’ll get dressed up and mingle with other farmers and eat cute hors d’oeuvres… one of our favorite parts about the meeting though is that it’s held *right* next to a Barnes & Noble. We don’t have a very big bookstore in Grand Forks, so having this in Fargo is theee best. I don’t think Eggboy has ever in his life been able to walk by a Barnes & Noble without going in for hours. So I mean, do we ever sneak out of the sugar beet party early to go sit in the aisles in our fancy clothes and read and put together a stack of books for presents for ourselves and our family until the store closes? Yes, yes it happens every single year. It’s the best place to get our holiday shopping done. So it’s perfect timing that I’m partnering with Barnes & Noble on this week’s blog post to help spread the word about their #MyCookieStory contest which starts today! It is a super fun contest because the winner will have a version of their cookie sold at Barnes & Noble in the 2019 holiday season! (So I’ll be able to eat it during next year’s sugar beet meeting :). Scroll to the bottom of this post for details for the contest!

Here is the recipe for this sea salty chocolate rugelach, inspired by my mom’s. I love rugelach because the dough isn’t too sweet, and it’s just like a pie dough that’s been enriched with cream cheese. To help get those pie dough-like flakes, you want the ingredients to stay cold and you don’t want to over-mix the dough (some clumps of butter and cream cheese are a good thing). Also, the refrigerator is your friend while you’re making these, so clear some space. Since the dough is not too sweet, you can control the sweetness based on the kind of chocolate you use. I love using milk chocolate, but for a less sweet option, go with semisweet or darker. You can also choose to sprinkle the tops with sanding sugar, turbinado sugar, any kind of sprinkle (duh), or do what my mom does and simply dust them with powdered sugar after they’ve been baked. I know I said that my mom bakes at 350º but lately I’ve been bumping that up to 375º to get a bit more golden color. I dunno, it depends on my mood. Either way works. Oh and one more thing and then I’ll shut up: grating marzipan or almond paste over the melted chocolate is a welcome addition. Just a thought!


chocolate sea salt rugelach

makes 24 cookies

ingredients

2 1/2 c (325g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1/4 c (50g) sugar

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 c (226g) unsalted butter, cold and cubed

8 oz (226g) cream cheese, straight from the fridge

2 large egg yolks

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp almond extract, optional

1 1/2 c (260g) chocolate chips or chopped chocolate, I prefer milk but any type will do!

Egg wash: 1 large egg beaten with a splash of water

Flaky salt

Sprinkles, sanding sugar, or turbinado sugar

Clues

To make the dough, combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle. Add the cubed butter, distributing it all over the top of the dry ingredients, and dollop in the cream cheese (1” dollops should do it, but it doesn’t need to be perfect). Turn the mixer on low and stir until the mixture is mostly mealy and there are still some larger clumps of butter and cream cheese in tact. Continue mixing and add the yolks, vanilla, and almond extract, if using, and then continue mixing until the dough comes together. Divide the dough in half and shape into discs. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour or up to two days.

To form the rugelach, melt the chocolate in a double boiler while stirring or in a microwaveable bowl in 30-second increments, stirring after each. Set aside to cool briefly while you roll out the dough. Working with one dough disc at a time, roll it out on a lightly floured surface, dusting with flour as needed to prevent it from sticking, until it is a wide rectangle, 18” by 9”. Use an offset spatula to spread on half of the chocolate in a thin even layer, leaving a 1” border along the long edge that’s furthest from you. (Try to work kinda quickly so the chocolate doesn’t harden.) Brush the 1” border with a thin layer of egg wash and then start on the end closest to you and roll the dough into a long tight log, placing it seam side down. Transfer to a cutting board or baking sheet and refrigerate for at least an hour or up to two days (depending on fridge space, you might want to cut the log in half so you’re dealing with four shorter logs as opposed to two really long ones). If you’re only refrigerating for an hour or two, no need to cover the logs. If longer than that, cover with plastic wrap. 

To bake, preheat the oven to 375ºf and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Brush the logs with a thin layer of egg wash, sprinkle with a few pinches of flaky salt, and a ton of sprinkles or sugar. Cut into 1 1/2” slices and transfer to the baking sheets, 1” apart. Bake until golden brown on top; begin checking for doneness at 24 minutes. (You might notice that the cookies seem to sweat and leak out some fat while in the oven, this is completely normal.) Let cool on the pans for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Or enjoy them warm! Leftovers can be stored at room temp for several days.


-yeh!

Thank you, Barnes & Noble, for sponsoring this post! Barnes & Noble is full of stories, and this year they’re asking you to share the story of your favorite holiday cookie along with the recipe for their #MyCookieStory contest. The winner will receive $5,000 and their cookie will be sold at Barnes & Noble during the 2019 holiday season! The contest runs from December 4-17 and you can enter here!

photos by chantell and brett quernemoen

matcha, red bean, and almond rainbow cookies

I was a total blob this weekend as I came down off of this month of filming! I made snickerdoodles and then ate snickerdoodles, watched the UND hockey team score a million goals against Wisconsin, baked an extra buttery loaf of Alexandra’s bread, and discovered the brilliance that is Cynthia’s ginger chicken and dumplings. If you need proof that magic exists, just boil some chicken with tons of scallions and ginger, that’s it. Omg, it’s the best thing in my chicken life since Melissa Clark’s salt and pepper chicken. And then add a double batch of chewy dumplings and eat it while binging Three Wives, One Husband, and when those episodes run out (there were only four?!), embark on the holiday spirit.

I really can’t say that I’m glad that filming is over, because having the crew in my house and cooking all of my favorite winter foods rocked, but I can say that sitting on the couch and not thinking about anything except for snickerdoods and dumplings for a good few hours was deeply clutch.

Now that that’s out of my system though I’m beginning to think about Chrismukkah cookies and all of the cute boxes of them that I’m going to assemble over the coming season for various reasons (parties and gifts) and non-reasons (they look cute and are fun to make). Rainbow cookies are always a hit because they’re not only fiercely almondy and tasty but they also have a nice shelf life because of how moist they are. And I especially love them because, well, they’re actually cake.

I’m starting to exhaust variations on them (cake, gelato sandwiches), but wanted to drop these into the Chrismukkah lineup because they’re extra special! The green layer is actually matcha (an a+ pairing with the almond base), and the red layer has red bean paste (nutty and slightly fruity, also great with almond). I worked these up when I was developing a Chinese Jewish menu for an event next week in Baltimore. While matcha is typically thought of as a Japanese tea, it actually originated in China! And red bean paste is something that I grew up eating at dim sum in the center of Jian Dui, or fried sesame balls. I was afraid of it until Stoop told me that it tasted like peanut butter, so then I liked it. Classic rainbow cookies have Italian roots, but Jews love em. They end up on lots of our holiday dessert tables and I’m totally obsessed with their colorful, soft almondiness. This version doesn’t look too far off from the traditional but the added matcha and red bean paste add unexpected dimension and beautiful natural color. They are a perfect addition to any holiday cookie box!


Rainbow Cookies

Makes 16 cookies

ingredients

3 large eggs, separated

2 tb (13g) sugar + 1/2 c (100g) sugar

1 c (226g) unsalted butter, softened

6 oz (173g) almond paste, chopped

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 1/2 tsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp almond extract

1 1/3 c (174g) all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp matcha powder

1/4 c (68g) fine red bean paste

Red food coloring

3 tb (64g) apricot or raspberry jam

4 oz (114g) dark chocolate

clues

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease three 8” by 4” loaf pans and line them with parchment paper that comes at least 2” up the sides of the pan (these little wings will help you lift the cookie out of the pan). If you don’t have 3 loaf pans, you can bake the layers in batches. 

In a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites to soft peaks, and then with the mixer running on medium, gradually add the 2 tablespoons sugar. Increase the speed to medium high and beat to stiff peaks. Set them aside.

In a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter, almond paste, salt, and remaining 1/2 cup sugar on medium high speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium and add the yolks, one at a time, beating well after each. Beat in the lemon juice and almond extract, and then reduce the speed to medium low and gradually add the flour. Mix to combine. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the whites. Transfer a third of the mixture to one of the loaf pans and use a small offset spatula to spread it out evenly. Transfer another third of the mixture to a separate bowl and fold in the matcha powder. Fold the red bean paste and a couple of drops of red food coloring into the remaining third. Transfer these into the remaining 2 loaf pans, spread them out evenly and then bake until the tops are just set and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Begin checking for doneness at 12 minutes. Let cool in the pans for 5 minutes and then lift them out and place on a wire rack to cool completely. 

Stack them up with 1 1/2 tablespoons jam between the layers. Wrap the loaf firmly in plastic wrap, weight it down with a couple of heavy cookbooks, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. 

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or by microwaving it for 30 second increments, stirring after each, until it’s smooth. Remove it from heat and stir continuously until it is no longer hot. Spread it over the top and sides of the cookie cake loaf and stick it in the refrigerator to firm up for about 15 minutes. Cut width-wise into 1” slices and then cut each of those slices in half to make 16 cookies.

Store at room temperature in an airtight container. 


-yeh!

p.s. Watch the season premiere of Girl Meets Farm this Sunday at 11am/10 central!!! We’re making goulash, chocolate hazelnut donuts, hawaij apple pie, and brussels sprouts!!

Cookies N Cream Cupcakes

Here is my new blog column called “Bait n Switch” where I draw you in with cupcakes and then only talk about ice skating for an hour. From here on out if you see cookies n cream just know that it’s a post about ice skating, cookies n cream is the code word. It’s the beginning of what will probably, by Beijing 2022, be a full blown figure skating blog. I am deeply excited about this career transition, and if you are Nike and would like to sponsor my six-part mini series on Ashley Wagner’s smoldering hot off-ice warm-up looks, the answer is yes. And can I get a team USA podium outfit set.

Here were my top four moments of this weekend’s U.S. championships:

Gold: When Mirai landed her final jump, the triple loop, and did booya arms. 4:35, here, and then at 4:41 you can see her coach in the background jumping up and down and cheering. It was the sight of her gliding onto the olympic team and now I’m crying and completely verklempt.

Silver: When the vocals came in during Adam Rippon’s free program. It’s the most beautiful free program and the long build up to the vocals is so effective. Of course I was very sad when he didn’t skate his best, of course I kept waking up that night wondering is he going to make the olympic team? Now he’s made it and we get to see him skate that program again in Pyeongchang, yay!

Bronze: There’s a little hop that Nathan Chen does after the second quad in his short program that is the best tiny morsel of choreography. It was more pronounced at Skate America (2:09, here) but it’s details like that in his choreography that are the perfectly placed sprinkles on the cake. See also: the exit move out of his first jump. And his overall controlled savageness. And his new vera wang looks!!! This program has everything.

Pewter: Tie between Ashley Wagner’s La la land Dress, Ashley Wagner’s Nike looks, and when Mrs. Maisel won the Golden Globe. What? That wasn’t part of the championships. It was, however, a crucial part in getting over US champs withdrawal.

Oh! And honorable mentions: Jean-Luc Baker and Kaitlin Hawayek’s free program because I love them and they are the future, and also Mariah Bell’s short program because I also love her and she is also the future. 

Ok

Ok

 

Ok

Thank you for listening, now we can talk about these cupcakes. Do you ever think that cookies n cream is a little bit bitter that he was on track to winning gold until funfetti® came along out of nowhere and stole everyone’s hearts? I would be. I had completely forgotten about cookies n cream until like two weeks ago when I was sitting on the couch being a blob and brainstorming new recipes to make. Pretty much out of nowhere all of these old memories of eating cookies n cream blizzards from the dairy queen and occasionally making a cookies n cream boxed cake instead of a funfetti® boxed cake rushed back to me and made me really happy. And also made me go down a google hole. It turns out that the other Dakota, to the south, has laid claim to inventing it! That’s fun. 

Cookies n cream cake is tasty because you get all the good flavor of Oreos but all of the soft texture of cake. It’s like jeggings, you get the good fit of leggings but the nicer look of jeans. It’s not rocket science, you crush up oreos and add them to cake batter. I’m using the same batter as my sprinkle cake, which gets even moister and richer thanks to those little pockets of Oreo filling scattered within, and yes I’m using homemade oreos!! It adds one extra step, 30-40 minutes, tops, since the cupcake frosting and Oreo frosting can be combined into the same step, and obviously the cookies are so much better. Which makes the whole thing so much better. But if you really just want to go the store-bought cookie route here, that is fine, adjustments are below for that! 

And p.s. these would totally be good with tahini oreos or matcha oreos or marzipan oreos, right???? Right. 


cookies n cream cupcakes

makes 14 cupcakes

ingredients

for the chocolate cookies:

1 c (128g) all-purpose flour

1/2 c (40g) unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for dusting

A pinch of kosher salt

1/2 c + 2 tb (141g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

6 tb (75g) sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

powdered sugar, for dusting

 

for the frosting:

14 tb (196g) unsalted butter, softened

4 oz (113g) cream cheese, softened

3 c (360g) powdered sugar

a pinch of kosher salt

2 tsp vanilla extract

 

for the cupcakes:

1 1/4 c (160g) all-purpose flour

2 tb constarch

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 c (113g) unsalted butter, softened

3/4 c (150g) sugar

2 large egg whites

2 tb flavorless oil

1/2 tb vanilla extract

1/4 tsp almond extract

6 tb (90g) whole milk

 

sprinkles, for decorating

 

NOTE: If using store-bought oreos, use 12  cookies in the cupcake batter and 6 in the frosting. and then decrease the frosting ingredient measurements to the following: 1/2 c (113g) butter, 2 oz (56g) cream cheese, 2 1/4 c (270g) powdered sugar, a small pinch salt, 1 1/2 tsp vanilla

clues

to make the cookies:

preheat the oven to 325ºf. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

in a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt. in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. mix in the vanilla extract. with the mixer running on low speed, add the flour mixture and beat until combined. it will still be a bit crumbly. pour the mixture onto a work surface and give it a few kneads to bring it all together.

lightly dust your surface and the top of the dough with a 1:1 mixture of cocoa powder and powdered sugar. working swiftly and carefully, roll out the dough to 1/4-to-1/2-inch thickness and cut out 1 1/2-inch rounds. transfer them to baking sheets, 1 inch apart (using a small offset spatula helps with this step). Re-roll the scraps and cut out more rounds. 

bake the cookies until the tops are no longer shiny, about 15 minutes. cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

to make the frosting: 

in a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat all of the ingredients together until smooth.

scoop about 1 cup frosting into a piping bag and pipe 8 cookies with a nice big blob. Top those with 8 more cookies and then stick them in the fridge to firm up. Squeeze out any remaining frosting from the piping bag back into your frosting bowl, crush up 8 more cookies to a fine crumb (I do this in a large ziploc bag with a rolling pin) and mix them into the remaining frosting. Set aside remaining chocolate cookies for decorating. And set the frosting aside, covered, at room temperature. You'll need your stand mixer bowl to make the cake batter, so it's easiest to scoop out your frosting really well with a rubber spatula and then there's no need to wash it out, you can just go straight to the cake batter step.

for the cupcakes:

preheat the oven to 350ºf. line two cupcake pans with 14 cupcake liners, spacing them out evenly between the two pans.

in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking powder.

in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. add the egg whites, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. add the oil and the extracts.

with the mixer running on low speed, add the dry mixture and the milk in two or three alternating batches and mix until just barely combined.

retrieve the 8 sandwich cookies from the fridge, chop them coarsely or break them up with your hands, and use a rubber spatula to fold them into the batter.

distribute the batter among the cupcake cups and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. begin checking for doneness at 20 minutes.

let cool in the pans for 10 minutes and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

to assemble:

Scoop the frosting onto the tops of your cupcakes and decorate with sprinkles and/or remaining chocolate cookies!

enjoy!


-yeh!