Category: Desserts

Turkish Coffee Cake

Turkish Coffee Cake

I remember the first time I ever tried Turkish coffee. I don’t remember how old I was, but I remember being in the living room of our old townhouse. Both my parents were drinking Turkish coffee on a sunny afternoon and I wanted to get in on the action. After much begging, my mom let me have a sip. I’m pretty sure she regretted it instantly because it was so awful to my immature taste buds that I spit it out all over her and the couch. Many, many years later, I gave Turkish coffee another chance.  My tastes must have matured because now I enjoy medium Turkish coffee with a side of something sweet.

My favorite afternoons are Saturday and Sunday afternoons sipping sweet Turkish coffee while watching the latest Turkish soap operas with my Tayta. As she gets older, I realize that time is fleeting and I have to savor these moments with her. It’s a weekly tradition to stop by and spend some time with her. I’m so lucky that I live close enough to make it a weekly visit.

Turkish Coffee Cake

 

The beauty of Turkish coffee is in its bitter flavor, the way it’s boiled, and its ability to tell you about your future.

Tayta taught me a no-fail recipe for Turkish coffee which includes spoonfuls of sugar and ground coffee in silverware-sized tablespoons, boiling the coffee, stirring, then boiling again to create a thick film on top. She warned me never to walk away from a pot of Turkish coffee on the stove because it will boil over the second you take your eyes off it– side note, it’s also a nightmare to wipe up off the stovetop. When serving, each coffee cup gets a little bit of film. Once done with your cup, it’s customary to swirl around the remaining coffee grounds, cover with the saucer then flip upside down.

This is where the fortune-telling comes in. It’s my favorite part. While there really are fortune tellers who are gifted with being able to read the coffee grounds plastered to the inside of your cup, I think for the most part my Tayta used to humor me by reading mine. There was always a long road, a bird with news from someone far away, a long stretch of white space (that’s a good thing) and a “celebration” (read as: wedding) in the near future. It didn’t matter to me whether or not she really could see the future in my cup, the important thing was that I got to spend that time with her, listening, laughing, and asking about her life.

That’s the beauty of Turkish coffee.

Turkish Coffee Cake

 

Turkish Coffee Cake

Turkish Coffee Cake

Yield: 6-8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 stick Unsalted Butter, cut into pieces
  • Additional Butter to grease pan
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1 cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1 cup chopped semi-sweet chocolate (or chocolate chips)
  • 2 Tablespoons Turkish coffee powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease a 9” cast iron skillet, or baking pan.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together sugar and butter until creamed
  4. Add in eggs one at a time
  5. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl 30 seconds at a time (for a total of 1 minute), stir until smooth
  6. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, Turkish coffee, cardamom, flour, and salt
  7. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients
  8. Continue beating until combined
  9. Add the melted chocolate
  10. Beat until combined
  11. Pour into a greased cast iron skillet or baking pan
  12. The batter will be sticky and may not pour evenly, use a rubber spatula to smooth out into an even layer
  13. Bake for 25-30 minutes
  14. Flip upside down onto a serving plate and top with powdered sugar
  15. Serve warm

Notes

Pro Tip: For day-old cake, heat in the microwave for 15 seconds and serve warm.

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No Added Sugar Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

I have this love/hate relationship with the beginning of every year. It’s new, it’s a fresh start, it’s 300-some days of opportunities. And it’s also the dead of winter, with no holidays to look forward to. On the bright side, that means we can all focus on our forever resolutions to lose weight. I don’t even consider it a New Year’s Resolution anymore, because I wish for it all the time. For everyone else who’s in the same boat, I have a fun, delicious solution for your dieting sweet tooth! Healthy Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies are a game changer. The cookies are packed with everything good for you like bananas, oatmeal and peanut butter. You likely have most of these ingredients in your pantry anyway. Best part? No added sugar (except honey, which is a natural sweetener anyway). So it’s vegan, sugar free and gluten free. It’s a win-win situation. What I really like about these cookies is they take almost no time to make. The baking time only 15 minutes.

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I will say, this is my first time baking with honey. After experimenting, I have some pro tips. First off, the dough is super sticky, so be ready to get your hands dirty. Second, once you’ve shaped the cookies, they don’t change shape. I suggest rolling the dough between the palms of your hands until you form a Ping-Pong shape. Place the dough on the baking sheet and then press down with the tips of your fingers to create a flat cookie shape. For a lazy solution, just pour the batter into a parchment paper-lined baking tray, bake as a whole sheet and then cut into squares once it’s out of the oven.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies_2

 

No Added Sugar Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

Yield: 20 Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 banana
  • 1 1/2 cups Quaker Oats raw Oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup Peanut Butter
  • 4 Tablespoons Honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F
  2. Grind your oatmeal into a powder in the food processor
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl and hand mixer), beat together the banana, peanut butter, ground oatmeal and honey
  4. Roll dough into a Ping-Pong sized ball between the palms of your hands
  5. Place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, and press down with your fingertips to make a flat cookie shape
  6. Bake on a middle rack for 15 minutes
  7. Allow to cool before serving
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Cardamom Cookies

Cardamom Cookie

It’s been a lazy Sunday. So lazy, in fact, that I’m still in my PJs and rocking my top bun and glasses at approximately 3:48pm. It’s only a matter of minutes before the sun sets and I enter pre-Monday mode.

Pre-Monday is my least favorite time of the week. It’s the time after the sun sets before Monday morning when you realize you’ve wasted an entire day doing nothing. Or maybe you had a productive Sunday, or a fun Sunday filled with adventure. In any case, Pre-Monday is when you start thinking about everything you need to accomplish by the time your dreaded alarm rings and wakes you out of slumber.

I really did intend to leave the house. I planned shower, get dressed and spend the afternoon sipping Turkish coffee with my Tayta. Then I would hear the wind gusts against the sides of the house, and watch the trees sway back and forth with furry and change my mind.

It wasn’t a total waste, though. Besides watching Toy Story 2, Cat in the Hat and The Pacifier (all on TBS, in case you were wondering), I also baked a batch of Cardamom Cookies.

Cardamom Cookies

When I read spiced cookie recipes, I find that people aren’t very generous with the spices they add in. ½ teaspoon of anything really isn’t going to add the flavor your looking for. For these cardamom cookies, I altered my Ghraybeh recipe and added a lot more cardamom. I’m talking 1-2 teaspoons ground Cardamom. It might seem like a lot, but I promise you will thank me when the house smells great and your cookies taste perfectly spiced.

To the think about this cookie recipe is that the cookies only slightly expand. Leave enough room for the expansion, but know that generally the size and shape you place on the baking tray is what you’re going to get. Enjoy!

Cardamom Cookies

 

Cardamom Cookies

Yield: About 20 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 1 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 2 cups Flour
  • 1 sprinkle of Salt
  • 1-2 teaspoons Ground Cardamom

Instructions

  1. Place the baking rack in the middle of the oven and Preheat oven to 300 F
  2. In a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed for 5 minutes (or until the color of the mixture is a light yellow)
  3. Add Salt
  4. Slowly add the flour and Cardamom and blend on medium speed until smooth
  5. Form the cookie dough into rounds (or your favorite shape)
  6. Place cookies on a baking sheet and bake on the top or middle rack for 20-25 minutes. Do Not Brown.
  7. Allow to cool before serving
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Salted Pistachio Cookies

salted-pistachio-cookies

Last week, I tried a 3-day juice cleanse. It was the hardest 8 hours of my life. I made it through the workday without coffee (because really, who drinks coffee without flavored creamer?) Half asleep for most of the day is not a way to live, or be productive. I downed 3 pre-packaged Blue Print juices before I couldn’t take it anymore. The green juice stank. It really made me mentally break down the process of inhaling before drinking out of a bottle because for the life of me I could not figure out how to drink it without wanting to vom. I still had the beet juice to look forward to [insert sick emoji here]. I made it through the entire workday before I got home and tore through the fridge and cupboards. Needless to say, that was the end of my juice cleansing days.

I partook in the juice cleanse on the premise that it would rid my body of toxins, fill me up on all the good-for-me stuff and help kick-start healthy living. Then I read the nutrition label and found that the green juice — the healthiest and stinkiest of the bunch — had 24 grams of sugar! Are you serious? Why wouldn’t I use those sugars on something much more worthy like … a Salted Pistachio Cookie. It would have been so much more fulfilling.

If you’re into juicing, I give you all the credit in the world. I’ve heard that juicing at home is more cost-effective and a little easier on the taste buds because you can pick and choose what you want in your green juice. Not all the Blue Print juices are bad. I will say that the Pineapple, Apple, Mint is my favorite and I’d happily drink that all day long. But that’s not really how it works.  

So about that much deserved Salted Pistachio Cookie…

Salted Pistachio Cookies

Salted Pistachio Cookies

Yield: About 20 cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 box pistachio pudding mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup chopped pistachios
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. In a standing mixer, beat together the butter and sweetened condensed milk until fluffy
  2. Add eggs, pudding mix and vanilla extract
  3. Beat until smooth
  4. Add flour, baking powder and salt and beat until smooth
  5. Stir in the white chocolate chips and chopped pistachios
  6. Spoon cookie mix onto a parchment lined baking sheet
  7. Bake for 12 minutes, it's okay if the bottom of the cookies are a little browned
  8. Remove from oven and allow to cool

Notes

Substitute 1 teaspoons rosewater for vanilla extract for a soft fragrant flavor

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Sweetened Condensed Milk Pound Cake

Pound Cake_3

We’ve all noticed the latest feature Instagram rolled out with. In case you missed it, I’m talking about Stories. Stories make the Instagram experience more personable — for better or for worse. You can follow your favorite bloggers (or friends) and hear their voices, follow them around the world and experience a day in the life of … whoever. 

Many have expressed their love/hate/frustration with the new feature, stating that Instagram basically stole Snapchat’s thunder. I would have been okay with Snapchat, but for the blog it was missing one key feature that really deterred me from using it for the blog, or at least not as often as I would have liked to. And that is, the ability to seamlessly switch between accounts without having to log in and out. 

I like to keep my personal life separate from my blog life. That’s not to say I don’t share some of my personal experiences on the blog anyway. But there are things I share on my personal snap chat account that wouldn’t necessarily be interesting to my blog followers. That being said, there are also some things that are better shared on the blog account, and not so much on my personal account. For that, I am happy Instagram incorporated this feature. Although, there definitely need to be some updates/changes. For starters:

  • I need a way to filter out who I want to follow and who I don’t. It’s super overwhelming to go through all the stories without knowing who’s next. I’d still like to see their photos, just not necessarily their stories.
  • There has got to be a better way to see your views. I don’t always want my oldest story to show up. 
  • The Type A in me has to clear notifications…which means I have hundreds of stories to tap through. I’m talking a good 1-2 hour chunk of my day watching and clearing stories.

In conclusion — oh man, this is starting to sound like a term paper — I’m sticking with Instagram stories for MCO. I can’t completely break up with Snapchat. So, friends, you can still follow my random stories on there! 

See you on Instagram … 

Pound Cake_4

 

Pound Cake

 

Sweetened Condensed Milk Pound Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 cup All Purpose Flour
  • 1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 4 Eggs
  • 4 tablespoons Melted Butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon Almond extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt, pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. In a stand mixer or hand-held mixer, beat butter, condensed milk, eggs, vanilla and almond extracts
  2. In a separate bowl, mix the flour and baking powder
  3. Add the flour mix to the wet ingredients
  4. Beat until smooth
  5. Pour into a loaf pan
  6. Bake at 325 for 1 hour, 15 mins
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Pistachio Skillet Cake

Pistachio Skillet Cake

Every so often I get so distracted by everything else going on in my life, that I completely slack off and procrastinate posting on the blog… and for that I’m sorry! That’s not to say I haven’t been busy cooking/baking and working on numerous DIY projects. I just haven’t had the discipline to sit down and write about them.

If you want to keep up, please follow the blog on Instagram I promise I post all my experiments on there.

There really has been a lot going on over the last two months. Lots of work, tons of social time with friends and family, and, most notably, I celebrated my birthday (my last year before the big 3-0)! Let me share a few fun things that have happened over the last two months (I’ll work my way back from April):

I find Birthdays to be the best time of year! It’s not about your birth DAY, per se. It’s about celebrating the few days before and the few days after with the people you love the most.

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Did a little DIY—two months in the making, because the roses had to dry, and mostly because of procrastination.

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I went to Philly for a couple days, and basically ate my weight in food. Philly cheese steaks, cannoli’s, rose-shaped crepes … the list goes on. But I sprinkled in some tourist attractions.

 

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I baked some mad dulce de leche cupcakes stuffed with caramel for a friend’s birthday. They were incredible. There was a little DIY sprinkled in there. 

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Brunch season was upon us. And I started off this year’s season with a waffle bar brunch and these adorable pineapple fruit bowls.

 

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DC at Cherry Blossom Season. That is all. Well, let me just say that the last time I braved the crowds was about two years ago with Nonzi. 

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I experimented with salad. Probably one of the best salads I’ve made. Roasted Cauliflower and crunchy chickpea salad over mixed greens with tahini dressing.

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Adventure is almost my middle name. Okay fine, adventure within the limitations of comfort (I support glamping). Not that this was very adventurous, but I spent a couple days up in Baltimore where I indulged in brunch and visited the aquarium. I haven’t been to the Baltimore aquarium since I was probably 10 years old. It’s still amazing.

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February 14 is not special because it’s Valentine’s Day. It’s special because it’s my Tayta’s birthday. And this year, the love of my life celebrated another year with us… and it was as fabulous as ever!

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And this brings us back to where I abruptly left off…

 

Pistachio Skillet Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 box Pistachio Pudding Mix
  • ½ tsp Almond Extract
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 cup Flour
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 stick Unsalted Butter, softened
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • Chopped Pistachios

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Grease a 9” cast iron skillet or baking pan
  3. Cream together sugar and butter
  4. Add pistachio pudding mix and beat
  5. Add eggs one at a time and continue beating
  6. Add salt, vanilla and almond extracts, beat
  7. Add sugar and flour
  8. Beat until smooth (it’ll be really thick and hard to spread, but that’s okay)
  9. Spoon into your greased pan and use a rubber spatula to flatten the cake
  10. Sprinkle with pistachios
  11. Bake for 25-30 minutes
  12. Allow to cool – top with powdered sugar or rose petals
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