Lemon and White Chocolate Cookies

Cookie lovers like me would probably agree that nothing makes lazy summer afternoons more pleasant than relaxing on the couch with a plate of cookies and iced tea. Such afternoon cookie breaks are the essence of easy summertime living, especially in the record-breaking heat wave.

Being a natural baker at heart, I’m often compelled to pull out my mixer, toss sugar and butter in the bowl, and mix up a batch of chocolate chip-speckled treats. In the summer, I replaced the dark chocolates with a more refreshing combo- lemon and white chocolate. I used lemon three ways: extract, zest, and juice to create a more robust lemon flavor while the spoonful of honey helps keep the cookies moist.

End any summertime meal deliciously with these lemony babies!

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lemon cookies 2


Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup of granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon extract
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 2 teaspoons of cornstarch
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 cup of white chocolate

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 180 deg Celsius.
2. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Whip in honey, egg, lemon zest, extract and juice. Scrape sides and mix again.
3. Stir in all dry ingredients slowly until just combined. Scrape sides of bowl and mix again briefly.
4. Add in the white chocolate chunks
5. Form approximately 12 equal-sized mounds of dough by hand or using ice-cream scoop, roll into balls, and flatten slightly.
6. Place dough mounds on baking sheet, spaced at least 2 inches apart.
7. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until edges have set, don’t overbake as cookies firm up as they cool.
8. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for about 10 minutes before serving.


 

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Scallop Carpaccio with Mango and Dill

We all love carpaccio, don’t we? Delicious, traditional beef carpaccio is available in every single Italian restaurant and I am more than happy about this fact. The term carpaccio can also be used for any preparation made with thinly sliced raw meat, fish or vegetables. I have seen zillion combos of carpaccio over the years… octopus with tomato, zucchini with feta, beef with pomegranate… I guess the most important thing in creating your own version of carpaccio is to let your imagination run wild, and this is basically what cooking is all about.

Back to today’s recipe, last weekend was gorgeous and summery, so I prepared a lovely carpaccio of scallops for dinner, which I teamed up with some mango and a tangy lime dressing. It only took a few minutes to assemble the dish and the lime juice adds a tinge of crispy freshness to this fabulously simple starter.

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Ingredients (Serving for 2):

  • 8 scallops (sashimi quality)
  • 1/2 mango (ripe)
  • 2 limes
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Fresh dill

Directions

  1. Thinly slice the scallops, and arrange them nicely on a serving plate.
  2. For the marinade: squeeze the lime.
  3. Add an equal amount of olive oil to the juice.
  4. Season with salt and pepper. Stir with a fork.
  5. Cut the mango into dices. And add the diced mango into the marinade preparation.
  6. Add one tablespoon of finely chopped dill. Combine well.
  7. Coat the scallops with the marinade; make sure the mango dices are evenly spread.
  8. Finish by sprinkling a few sprigs of dill. The dish is best served cold!

S’mores Cookies

While there are so many beautiful, elegant options of desserts out there—delicate macarons, bright and cheery cupcakes, fluffly soufflé that melts on your tongue —which all seem to fit perfectly with the current trend of attractive, over-the-top looking desserts.

Call me old-fashioned, I’m still a huge fan of the homiest, rustic looking cookies (those you secretly wished your mother had made when you returned home from school as a kid!). Most of the cookies I make fall into this category.

If you love that perfect combination of warm, melted chocolate and gooey, toasted marshmallows of s’mores, then I have the perfect cookie recipe for you… Make these S’mores Cookies tonight, no campfire required!

s'more cookies

s'more cookies


Serves 10-12 large pieces of cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1⅓ cups flour
  • ¾ cup digestive biscuit crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup marshmallow bits

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius.
2. In a medium sized mixing bowl, cream together butter, brown sugar, and sugar until it is light and fluffy.
3. Add in the egg and vanilla and mix until incorporated.
4. Crush digestive biscuits by hands until they are fine crumbs.
5. In a separate bowl, mix the crumbs, sifted flour, baking powder, and salt.
6. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until it is combined.
7. Fold in the chocolate chips.
8. Form slightly larger than golf sized of dough.
9. Place balls of dough on baking sheet 2” apart. Bake for 8 minutes.
10. Remove and quickly press 3 marshmallows into cookies. Return to oven and cook until the marshmallows turn slightly golden, about 5 minutes.
11. Let the cookies cool on baking sheet for 5 min before transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


 

Steamed Clams with Chorizo

Summer has always been my favorite season since I was a kid. During the year, the slight thought of summer instantly has me imagining the beach, tan skin (more like a ghastly white complexion with a few more freckles for me), and having no cares in the world. I still love summer a lot even though I no longer have summer vacation as an adult. When I list all of the reasons I love about Summer- beach days, a gateway or two, a wardrobe full of colorful, breezy sundresses… there is one very important fact that I cannot skip: FOOD!!

Summer is so much more than sipping Rosé and binge eating on ice cream. It is the season when harvest is at its peak- the zucchinis are plentiful, berries are everywhere and peaches are starting to ripen. It’s at this moment that you should be running to the kitchen to take advantage of the most bountiful time of year.

Clams are a great summer treat. Sunshine and a glass of chilled white wine are great partners for their delicate flavor. While clams with herbed cream are the classic combo, I prefer them cooked the Spanish way. The spicy kick of chorizo always wakes up my slumbering taste buds in the hot summer weather.

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Ingredients (serving for 2):

  • 4tbs olive oil
  • 200 gram Spanish chorizo, sliced
  • Half an onion, sliced thin
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  • 1 dried hot chili, broken up
  • 3/4 cups white wine
  • 30 littleneck clams
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • Black pepper

Directions:

­1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chorizo, cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until the oil is colored.
2. Add the onions and cook until softened and fragrant, about 4 minutes.
3. Next, add the garlic, paprika and crushed chili, cook for 1 minute. Add the white wine and bring the mixture to a boil.
4. Add the clams into the broth. Cover and cook until the clams open up, 5 to 6 minutes.
5. Discard any clams that don’t open up.
6. Turn off the heat; add the lemon juice, chopped herbs and black pepper.
7. Serve with crusty bread to sop up all the delicious broth!