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Cooking the Blogs

I’ve been cooking up a storm lately, and a lot of my new recipes are courtesy of amazing food blogs. Please go and check out these sites to get the recipes for the below dishes. They are all winners and have been big hits with my family & friends.

Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies
Picky Palate —> Very dangerous for anyone with a sweet tooth!

I mean, it just doesn’t get more ridiculous than these. They are over-the-top in every way! I made a batch for Brandon’s teachers on the first day of school, and they were a huge hit!

Southwestern Pasta Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing
Two Peas & Their Pod —> go visit Maria, Josh and Caleb (they are the cutest little family!)

Still hanging on to the last days of summer? Well this is the perfect side dish to any kind of grilled meat. I actually ate a huge bowl of this all by myself for dinner. It’s totally addicting!

Blackberry Cobbler
The Pioneer Woman —> Like you don’t know who she is!

You just can’t go wrong here. This is a surefire classic, and so easy to make you will find you don’t even need a recipe the second (or third, or fourth) time around.

What are some of you favorite food blogs? Cooking up anything amazing lately?

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Fig Tart with Mascarpone Cream

As promised, here is the beautiful fig tart recipe courtesy of one of my favorite cookbooks, The Winemaker Cooks. If you’ve never checked out this book, I would highly recommend it. It’s beautiful enough to be a coffee table winner, and the recipes themselves are fresh and delicious.

Now back to this lovely tart. Would you believe this was the first tart I’ve ever made?! Seriously, I had to go out and buy a tart pan and everything. Turns out it’s even easier than making a pie since you don’t have to do all that crimping and prettying up. You just lay the extra crust over the sides, then run your rolling pin over the top, et voila! I also love any reason to pull out my rolling pin – it just feels so retro chic, like I should be cooking in heels and pearls. So not only was this tart fun to make, but it also makes for a rather impressive dessert. The figs do all the real work since they just look beautiful on their own. And for some reason figs don’t seem to be the most popular fruit choice, which makes them seem all the more special. My brother-in-law had actually never eaten a raw fig before this! Get on board people, they are delicious!

I will admit that I had a bit of a snafu the first time I made this, as I think there might be a typo in the recipe. It calls for a full teaspoon of salt, and since I was making this with my toddler, I was concentrating more on keeping his little hands out of it, rather than tasting it before I spooned it into the crust. End result was seriously salty. So I did what any enterprising cook would do – I removed all the figs, scrapped out the old filling, and replaced it with my refashioned version. The day was saved. Try this one out while it’s still warm enough to have you craving a cool/refreshing/light dessert.

I’m off to New Orleans for a much deserved weekend with my college sorority sisters and some (hopefully) great Ole Miss football. Major thanks to my husband and in-laws who will be on kiddo duty!

Fig Tart with Mascarpone Cream

Adapted from The Winemaker Cooks

1 1/2 cups AP Flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
3 T ice water
8 oz. mascarpone cheese
1/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup honey, extra for drizzling
8 figs, quartered lengthwise

  • For Pastry: in a food processor, pulse flour and salt until combined, then add butter and process until it forms coarse crumbs.
  • Add the water, 1 T at a time, until mixture just comes together.
  • Remove dough and shape into a disk, then wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes (or up to 2 days).
  • Remove the dough from the fridge and allow to soften for a few minutes.
  • Roll into an 11-in. round, then place over a 9-in. fluted tart pan with removable bottom.
  • Press dough into the sides, then run rolling pin over the top to remove excess dough.
  • Place back in the fridge for 30 minutes (or up to 24 hours).
  • Preheat oven to 375ºF.
  • Remove pastry from fridge, prick all over with a fork, then line crust with parchment and fill with dried beans.
  • Bake for 20 minutes, then remove paper and beans and cook for another 5-10 minutes, or until just golden.
  • Transfer crust to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.
  • For Filling: in a medium bowl, whisk together the mascarpone, sour cream, and honey.
  • Spread into cooled crust, then arrange figs on top in concentric circles.
  • Remove from pan, and drizzle with additional honey before serving.

Mocha Chocolate Icebox Cake

This is my absolute favorite summer dessert right now. It’s totally over-the-top, with layers of chocolate chip cookies and coffee & chocolate flavored whipped cream. I guarantee you will be running back to the fridge to grab more! It’s so simple to make – just a little whipping and layering, then leave it in the fridge overnight to soften the cookies (this is by far the hardest part). I recently brought this to a bbq and everyone loved it, so I promised I would post the recipe here. I can’t say enough good things about this cake, it’s so delicious!

Although you can probably use any kind of chocolate chip cookie out there (including homemade if you felt so inclined), I would highly recommend you try it with Tate’s (I buy mine at Whole Foods or Fresh Direct) first. They are really crispy and thin and maintain the perfect texture in the cake. I’ve made this cake 4 or 5 times now, and every time I’ve used Tate’s, so I can’t be held responsible if another cookie doesn’t give you the same amazing outcome. 🙂

Mocha Chocolate Icebox Cake

Adapted from Barefoot Contessa

2 cups heavy cream
12 ounces Italian mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup coffee liqueur, like Kahlua
2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. instant espresso powder (I’ve also used instant coffee)
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 (8-ounce) packages Tate’s chocolate chip cookies (no snacking, you need them all!)
chocolate chips or shavings, for garnish

**You will also need an 8-inch springform pan.

  • Using an electric mixer with whisk attachment, slowly whisk together the cream, mascarpone, sugar, coffee liqueur, cocoa powder, espresso powder, and vanilla. Increase speed, and continue whisking until it forms firm peaks.
  • In an 8-inch springform pan, cover the bottom with chocolate chip cookies, even breaking them apart to fill in any big holes.
  • Spread a fifth of the whipped cream on top, then proceed with another layer of cookies.
  • Continue until there are 5 layers of each, ending with a layer of whipped cream.
  • Smooth the top, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the fridge overnight.
  • To remove the cake, run a knife around the outside and remove the sides.
  • Decorate with chocolate garnish in the center if desired.
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