Holiday

Carrot Cake Nest Cookies

Carrot Cake Nest Cookies  |  Lemon & Mocha

How cute are these Easter jelly bean cookies?! These Carrot Cake Nest Cookies are the Food Network Magazine’s April cookies, which is perfectly fitting because they just scream springtime. After last month’s complicated Rainbow Slice-and-Bake Cookies I was very excited to see a classic drop cookie – with a twist of course.

Carrot Cake Nest Cookies  |  Lemon & Mocha

The cookie batter is filled with all the carrot cake staples: grated carrots, chopped toasted walnuts, and the warming spices of cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Using brown sugar and an egg yolk gives the cookies that ideal chewy texture, which are similar tips I use in my Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies. Before being baked, the cookie dough balls are rolled in shredded sweetened coconut. In addition to the chewiness, I love the crunch and texture you get in each bite from the chopped walnuts and shredded coconut.

Carrot Cake Nest Cookies  |  Lemon & Mocha

If it stopped there I would still gladly chow down on these carrot cake cookies any day of the week. But there’s more! Piped onto each cooled cookie is a pocket of sweet and buttery cream cheese frosting and some pretty jelly beans. Carrot cake is not complete without cream cheese frosting so it only makes sense for us to frost these cookies to make them truly carrot cake cookies! The little dollop in the middle of the cookie gives just the right balance of cookie to frosting.

Carrot Cake Nest Cookies  |  Lemon & Mocha

Even though they’re so cute, I thought I was going to end up picking off the jelly beans and eating them separately, but I actually really loved a bite of everything all together! Something about the added texture and sweetness of the jelly bean was a nice touch. I also used some of my favorite Jelly Belly jelly bean flavors so that might have been part of it!

Carrot Cake Nest Cookies  |  Lemon & Mocha

The recipe calls for blue and white jelly beans, but if you don’t have enough feel free to branch out into other fun Easter pastel colors. I used the blue and white combo ones for the photos, but I had other cookies in this batch topped with pink and purple jelly beans as well. I hope you all enjoy these Carrot Cake Nest Cookies – they were one of my favorites so far!

Carrot Cake Nest Cookies  |  Lemon & Mocha

Carrot Cake Nest Cookies
 
Yield: about 22 cookies
Ingredients
for the cookies
  • 1⅓ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), at room temperature
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup finely grated carrots (about 2 carrots)
  • ¼ cup finely chopped toasted walnuts
  • 1¾ cups shredded sweetened coconut
for the frosting
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ⅛ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • Blue and white jelly beans, for topping
Directions
for the cookies
  1. Place oven racks in the upper and lower thirds. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar on medium-high until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolk and the vanilla then beat again until well combined. Add the carrots and walnuts then beat again. Slowly add the flour mixture while on low speed and beat until just combined.
  3. Scoop tablespoons of dough then roll the balls into the shredded coconut. I used my medium Oxo cookie scoop. Place 1-inch apart on the prepared baking sheets. Use the handle of a wooden spoon or something round similar in size to make a deep indentation into the centers of the cookies. Bake the cookies, switching the baking pans halfway through from top to bottom, for 22-24 minutes, or until the cookies are set and the coconut is golden brown. Let cool completely on the pans placed on wire cooling racks.
for the frosting
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a medium bowl with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla with the whisk attachment until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and beat until fluffy. Transfer to a resealable plastic bag with the corner snipped or a pastry bag fitting with a round tip. If you aren’t ready to use right away, keep refrigerated. Pipe the frosting into the indentation if each cooled cookie then top each cookie with 3 jelly beans.

 Recipe from January/February 2019 issue of Food Network Magazine.

Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission for my referral. This does not affect the retail cost of the item. Thank you for supporting Lemon & Mocha!

Balsamic Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Gorgonzola and Walnuts

Balsamic Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Gorgonzola and Walnuts  |  Lemon & Mocha

We made it to Friday! Woo hoo! Time to celebrate with these Balsamic Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Gorgonzola and Walnuts.

Balsamic Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Gorgonzola and Walnuts  |  Lemon & Mocha

I’ve written about my large quantity of cookbook recipes I have yet to try, but I can’t remember if I’ve ever mentioned all my recipe binders here before. I have four enormous binders that are filled to the brim with recipes. Most of them contain recipes from magazines although one of them is devoted to recipes I’ve printed out. And you guessed it – most of them are waiting for me to try them!

Balsamic Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Gorgonzola and Walnuts  |  Lemon & Mocha

I have a somewhat decent system where once I try one of the recipes if I like it then the recipe will usually end up on Lemon & Mocha so I can recycle the original. Of course, if I don’t like it then it immediately gets recycled. This way if I’m able to try some new recipes from the binder every once in a while I’m able to make room for all the new recipes I’m continually trying to shove in them. I figured I was long overdue in turning to my binders for some dinner inspiration. These roasted sweet potatoes from Cuisine at Home immediately caught my eye.

Balsamic Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Gorgonzola and Walnuts  |  Lemon & Mocha

I love sweet potatoes, but I tend to simply roast them as wedges or bake them whole, which can get really boring. This recipe is just as easy, but adds an extra depth of flavor and richness to the potatoes. The sweet potato wedges are tossed in a mixture of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar and salt and pepper. The brown sugar creates a subtle sweetness and caramelization, while the balsamic vinegar provides the right amount of acidity.

Balsamic Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Gorgonzola and Walnuts  |  Lemon & Mocha

Crunchy toasted walnuts and creamy gorgonzola crumbles get tossed on top as soon as the roasted wedges are out of the oven. I decided to toss half the cheese crumbles on top of the potatoes during the last minute of cooking so that some of them got nicely melted while the others I sprinkled on top after they were out of the oven held their shape more to add an additional textural element to the dish. This works well with blue cheese crumbles as well, which is what I used since that’s what was in my fridge. I hope you enjoy this simple and delicious sweet potato recipe!

Balsamic Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Gorgonzola and Walnuts  |  Lemon & Mocha

Balsamic Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Gorgonzola and Walnuts
 
Yield: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1½ tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 sweet potatoes, about 16 ounces total
  • Salt and pepper
  • Toasted walnuts, for topping (see note)
  • Gorgonzola crumbles, for topping
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with nonstick aluminum foil and set aside.
  2. Whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and brown sugar in large bowl. Set aside.
  3. Cut each sweet potatoes into 16 wedges. First, cut the sweet potato lengthwise. Then cut the sweet potato half into 4 long wedges. Cut each wedge in half to create 8 shorter wedges. Repeat for the other half of the sweet potato then repeat completely for the second sweet potato. Toss the sweet potato wedges in the bowl with the balsamic mixture. Place the wedges in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet then season with salt and pepper.
  4. Bake the sweet potato wedges for 30 minutes, turning halfway through, until they are slightly caramelized and tender. Remove from the oven and immediately top with the toasted walnuts and gorgonzola crumbles before serving.
Notes
To toast walnuts, lay them on a single layer baking sheet and bake for about 5 minutes at 350 degrees F. Watch them carefully as you do not want them to burn and it doesn’t take long for them to get toasted.

 Recipe from December 2011 issue of Cuisine at Home.

Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission for my referral. This does not affect the retail cost of the item. Thank you for supporting Lemon & Mocha!

Brie-Stuffed Mushrooms

Brie-Stuffed Mushrooms  |  Lemon & Mocha

Do you cook from cookbooks often? I have a few cookbooks that I’ve made countless recipes from and have shared on here: Rachael Ray’s Look + Cook, The Perfect Scoop, Cook This, Not That! and Pati’s Mexican Table. Then I have a whole bunch of cookbooks that I’ve drooled over the pages of many, many times, but that I have yet, years later, to make any of the recipes. Every year I say that this will be the year I cook from all the cookbooks I’ve never used before, but this year I mean it and I’m already off to a great start! In addition to a few recipes I have picked out for the blog, like these epic Brie-Stuffed Mushrooms, I thought maybe I would be more motivated if I turned over some of the selection power to Matt.

Brie-Stuffed Mushrooms  |  Lemon & Mocha

Last month Matt picked a cookbook I haven’t cooked anything from yet along with a recipe from that book and then we cooked it together. It wasn’t for the blog so there was no pressure for it to look good or to be made during daylight hours for photograph reasons. January’s pick was an Eight-Hour Skirt Steak with Balsamic Mushrooms from Sous Vide at Home, which he had gotten me last year. Matt cooked most of the dish himself and it was incredible! This month, Matt picked the Half Baked Harvest Cookbook, who is one one of my favorite food bloggers, and we’re going to be making her Farmhouse Cheddar and Angel Hair Frittata next week. Yum – I can’t wait to try it! I’m liking this new monthly tradition, although if any of the recipes become new favorites then I of course will have to re-make them to share with you all!

Brie-Stuffed Mushrooms  |  Lemon & Mocha

Today I’m sharing these cheesy, garlicky and buttery Brie-Stuffed Mushrooms from The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food from My Frontier, which is Ree Drummond’s second cookbook. Button mushroom caps are lightly sautéed in butter before being stuffed with chunks of creamy brie cheese and baking in the oven. The best part is the sautéed parsley, garlic and green onions that get poured overtop the mushrooms.

Brie-Stuffed Mushrooms  |  Lemon & Mocha

This party appetizer is so simple, but looks really fancy, making it perfect for the holidays or even an Oscar party! According to Ree, “Guests will kiss you and demand to be invited back next time” so make sure you make these mushrooms for company you like!

Brie-Stuffed Mushrooms  |  Lemon & Mocha

Are you excited for the Oscars? Matt and I missed all the best picture nominees in theaters except for Black Panther, so we’re going to be streaming some of them this weekend to try to catch up. This article shares where to watch all the best picture nominees if you’re interested. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Brie-Stuffed Mushrooms  |  Lemon & Mocha

Brie-Stuffed Mushrooms
 
Yield: 15-18 mushrooms
Ingredients
  • 12 ounces white button mushrooms, washed and stems removed
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 scallions, ends removed and sliced
  • Splash of white wine (optional)
  • 8 ounces Brie cheese, cut into bite-size chunks
  • Salt and pepper
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter then add the mushroom caps. Toss the mushroom caps in the melted butter. Lightly season with salt and pepper then let sauté for a minute. Remove from the mushrooms from the skillet. Add the parsley, garlic and scallions to the skillet. If you’re using the white wine, add it now. Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently, then remove from the heat.
  3. Place the mushroom caps, stem-side up, in a baking dish. A square baking pan or pie dish works well. Add a chunk of brie to the opening of each mushroom cap then pour the parsley mixture over the top. Bake until the cheese has melted, about 15 minutes. Serve them after they’ve cooled slightly.

Recipe from The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food from My Frontier.
Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission for my referral. This does not affect the retail cost of the item. Thank you for supporting Lemon & Mocha!

Funfetti Peanut Butter White Chocolate Waffle Snack Mix

Funfetti Peanut Butter White Chocolate Waffle Snack Mix  |  Lemon & Mocha

Funfetti Peanut Butter White Chocolate Waffle Snack Mix! Just writing the name of this post is getting me excited! Sometimes you want a dessert that’s easy and doesn’t require any baking. Sometimes you want a dessert that’s called a snack so you can eat it whenever you want. And sometimes you just want something you can cover in rainbow sprinkles. All of these scenarios are perfect reasons to make this sweet and salty treat.

Funfetti Peanut Butter White Chocolate Waffle Snack Mix  |  Lemon & Mocha

This snack mix is a slight twist on normal muddy buddies. Muddy buddies, or puppy chow, is rice cereal that’s been tossed in a peanut butter chocolate mixture before being coated in powdered sugar. Today we’re swapping the chocolate for white chocolate and there’s no rice cereal in sight. That’s because instead we’re using pretzel sticks, popcorn and buttered Belgian waffles! Yes, I said waffles. Pretzel sticks help bring in a little saltiness to the snack, which is great since white chocolate is pretty sweet. You could always use mini pretzels instead of pretzel sticks, but I still had some in our snack drawer from the Game Day Cookies.

Funfetti Peanut Butter White Chocolate Waffle Snack Mix  |  Lemon & Mocha

Have you ever had chocolate coated popcorn? It’s one of my favorite treats so I love having the popcorn in this snack mix. There are three ways you can make the popcorn in the microwave and I have them all listed in the recipe. My ideal method is to use this collapsible silicone popcorn microwave popper. I got it for Matt as part of his Christmas gift a few years ago and it has been a big hit in our house. Since it collapses it takes up minimal space (kitchen cabinet space is precious!) and you can pop popcorn kernels in it without any oil. Sur La Table doesn’t sell the one I bought anymore, but I found it on Amazon. If you don’t want to go that route, you can always use a paper lunch bag or a microwave safe bowl with a microwave safe plate fit on top. I haven’t tried that last method, but I’ve seen a lot of people mentioning it as a way to microwave popcorn without a bag.

Funfetti Peanut Butter White Chocolate Waffle Snack Mix  |  Lemon & Mocha

Anyways, moving on to the star of this snack mix – the buttered waffle pieces! I think every snack mix in my future needs to include chunks of Belgian waffle covered in powdered sugar because it is seriously addictive. I used frozen cinnamon Belgian waffles from Wegmans and that extra cinnamon flavor sent them over the top.

Funfetti Peanut Butter White Chocolate Waffle Snack Mix  |  Lemon & Mocha

Also, I don’t know how I’ve gone this whole post so far without drooling over the peanut butter in this since I’m peanut butter obsessed. The peanut butter flavor mixed with the white chocolate is absolute perfection. I hope you enjoy this tasty treat and happy early Valentine’s Day to you all!

Funfetti Peanut Butter White Chocolate Waffle Snack Mix  |  Lemon & Mocha

Funfetti Peanut Butter White Chocolate Waffle Snack Mix
 
Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons popcorn kernels
  • 2 frozen Belgian waffles
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1½ cups broken in half pretzel sticks
  • 6 ounces white chocolate
  • ¼ cup creamy peanut butter
  • ½ cup sprinkles
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar, plus more if needed
Directions
  1. Place the popcorn kernels in either a brown paper bag with the top folded closed a couple times, a silicone microwave popper with the lid on, or in a medium microwave safe bowl with a microwave safe plate snugly fitted on top. Heat the kernels starting with 3 minutes and stopping the microwave as soon as the popping becomes infrequent. Carefully remove from the microwave and place in a large mixing bowl. If there are any un-popped kernels save them for the next time you make popcorn.
  2. Toast the Belgian waffles in your toaster or toaster oven. When they’re toasted, divide the butter between the waffles and it on both sides. Cut the waffles into bite-sized pieces. Add the waffle pieces and broken pretzel sticks to the mixing bowl with the popcorn.
  3. Melt the white chocolate in a small microwave safe bowl. Start with 30 seconds, carefully remove and stir, then continue in 15 second increments, stirring after each increment, until it is melted. White chocolate seizes up easily so be sure not to over-heat. Add the peanut butter and stir until smooth. Pour the peanut butter white chocolate mixture over the bowl of snack mix. Gently toss to coat completely. Add the sprinkles and toss to coat. Sprinkle on the powdered sugar and toss to coat. Add more if needed. Snack mix can be stored in an airtight container, but tastes best eaten right away.
Notes
These recipe can easily be halved or doubled.

Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission for my referral if you purchase something. This does not affect the retail cost of the item. Thank you for supporting Lemon & Mocha!

Recipe slightly adapted from Averie Cooks.

Chocolate Raspberry Heart Cookie Pops

Chocolate Raspberry Heart Cookie Pops  |  Lemon & Mocha

I’m posting the February cookies early so you have plenty of time to make them for Valentine’s Day next week. Which you will definitely want to do because how cute are these heart cookie pops? They are also game-changer cookies, but I’ll get into that in a bit. I have to admit that I was a little nervous about making these cookies because the recipe called for two things I’ve never done before; making cookie pops and making royal icing. I am happy to report that both were easier than I anticipated and there is no reason to be intimidated about making these Chocolate Raspberry Heart Cookie Pops!

Chocolate Raspberry Heart Cookie Pops  |  Lemon & Mocha

The dough could not be easier to make since you whip it up in a food processor. I know not everyone has a food processor (if you are thinking of getting one I highly recommend the 14-cup Cuisinart I have), but I imagine you could use a stand mixer instead. The butter gets cubed up and added into the dough while it’s cold, just like when making a pastry crust, so there’s no waiting around for your butter to come to room temperature. Since the dough is cold from the chilled butter, it’s very easy to roll out without any stickiness.

Chocolate Raspberry Heart Cookie Pops  |  Lemon & Mocha

I had to re-roll my dough because I initially rolled it too thin. You need the dough to be about 3/8-inch to 1/2-inch thick in order to insert the lollipop stick, which is thicker than you would think so break out that measuring tape! Since the dough was so thick, inserting the lollipop sticks was easy – first challenge complete! When I was cutting out the circles of dough I cut them tightly together so I was able to get all twelve circles from the initial rolled dough. The recipe says to gather, refrigerate and re-roll the scraps to cut out more cookies. Twelve cookie pops was already plenty for me so instead I just baked the scraps as is after I was done baking the cookie pops. They looked like funny bat winged cookies, but they still tasted delicious!

Chocolate Raspberry Heart Cookie Pops  |  Lemon & Mocha

Next up was the royal icing. Basically, the recipe has you make an icing that’s pretty stiff, which you pipe around the edge of the cookie. You then thin the icing and fill in the rest of the cookie within the piped line. I found it a little difficult to pipe a smooth line around the edge of the cookies, but after a few wonky lines I had it down. I don’t think I’ll become a cookier anytime soon, but they look so nice when they’re done. I went with a little heart on top instead of the swirl rose design on the original Food Network Magazine recipe.

Chocolate Raspberry Heart Cookie Pops  |  Lemon & Mocha

Okay, now back to that game-changer comment I made earlier. These Chocolate Raspberry Heart Cookie Pops taste so good! As in, both Matt and I called them dangerous and tried to hide them. Matt hit the flavor spot on – they taste like a buttery version of that Sheila G’s Brownie Brittle. I couldn’t find cherry extract in my grocery store, which the original recipe calls for, so I went with raspberry extract and I’m happy I did because the flavor was subtle, fruity and complements the chocolate cookie perfectly. There’s also something really satisfying about eating a cookie off a lollipop stick. This chocolate cookie base is definitely going to be a new regular in my cookie rotation. Next time I’m going to try chilling it in a log to make slice and bake cookies. And I might even slice them thick enough to stick lollipop sticks in them again. Yum!

Chocolate Raspberry Heart Cookie Pops  |  Lemon & Mocha

Chocolate Raspberry Heart Cookie Pops
 
Yield: 12 cookie pops
Ingredients
for the cookies
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • ⅓ cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder)
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2½ sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
for the icing
  • 2½ cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons meringue powder
  • ¼ cup water, plus more as needed
  • ½ teaspoon raspberry extract
  • Red gel food coloring
Directions
for the cookies
  1. Prepare two sheets of parchment paper that are sized to line a baking sheet. Set aside. In a food processor, pulse together the flour, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, granulated sugar and salt. Once combined, add the cold butter cubes and the vanilla extract. Pulse until the mixture looks like it has larger crumbs and will hold together when pinched. Transfer the dough to a large bowl or clean work surface and press the dough into a ball. Knead the dough a few times. Place the dough ball on one of the pieces of parchment paper then top with the other sheet. Press the dough to flatten then roll out the dough until it’s ⅜-inch to ½-inch thick. Refrigerate the dough slab for about 1 hour, or until firm.
  2. Make sure oven racks are positioned in the lower and upper thirds of the oven. Preheat to 325 degrees F. Using a 3-inch round cookie cutter or biscuit cutter, cut out 12 cookies and arrange 2 inches apart on 2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Carefully insert a 6-inch lollipop stick about ¾ of the way into each round cookie. If needed, form the scraps into a ball, refrigerate and re-roll to cut out more cookies. Or, refrigerate the scraps as is to bake as odd shaped scrap cookies once the other cookies are done baking.
  3. Bake the cookies until they are set for 25-30 minutes, switching the pans from top to bottom and front to back halfway through. Mine took closer to 30 minutes. Let cookies cool for 10 minutes on the pan on a wire cooling rack then transfer cookies to the wire cooling rack to cool completely.
for the icing
  1. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the powdered sugar and the meringue powder. Add the water and raspberry extract then beat with a hand mixer or in a stand mixer on medium speed for about 3 minutes, or until there are soft glossy peaks. Tint the icing with the red food coloring. I found that I needed a lot of gel food coloring to achieve a red color (almost half a tube). The icing should be able to be piped without being runny. If the icing is too thick add up to 1 more tablespoon of water. I needed to add about 2 teaspoons more water.
  2. Put ½ cup of icing into a pastry bag or resealable plastic bag and snip a corner. If you wanted to be more precise you could use a small round pastry tip (I didn’t do this, but I would probably do it next time). Apply firm and even pressure to pipe the icing around the edge of each cookie. I found it piped cleaner when I made sure I didn’t have the tip of the bag too close to the cookie. Set the piping bag aside for decorating the heart detail later.
  3. Add 1 teaspoon of water at a time to thin the remaining icing in the bowl until it is the consistency of runny yogurt. Put the icing into a new pastry bag or resealable plastic bag (no need for a pastry tip) and pipe a bunch of icing within the outline of 6 of the cookies. Use an offset spatula or the back of a spoon to smooth out the icing and bring it all the way to the piped edge. You want to pipe enough icing that it’s easy to smooth, but not so much that it is spilling over the piped outline. Repeat with the remaining 6 cookies then let set at room temperature for about 1 hour. Use the reserved original piping bag of icing to pipe the heart details onto the cookies.
Notes
The cookies have a nice crispy texture to them. I stored them without the icing in a plastic container and they stayed that way. However, probably because of the icing, after storing them with the icing on, they became soft. They tasted really good both ways. I’m not sure if there is a way to avoid them from becoming softer because of the icing.

 

Recipe from January/February 2019 issue of Food Network Magazine.

Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission for my referral. This does not affect the retail cost of the item. Thank you for supporting Lemon & Mocha!