Peanut Butter and Jelly Hand Pies

One of the most classic on-the-go eats, the peanut butter and jelly sandwich, gets a dessert makeover in this recipe for Peanut Butter & Jelly Hand Pies.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Hand Pies

Stuffed with crunchy peanut butter cream and tangy grape jelly, these golden brown beauties would be a perfect addition to any picnic or afternoon at the beach.  And given that it’s going to be 80+ in San Diego this week, and I’ve got the next 4 days off, I see an afternoon or two at the beach in my very near future.

Luckily, these hand pies are super simple to prepare, so I can easily whip up as needed.  The key?  Store-bought puff pastry!  Start by swirling together some cream cheese, chunky peanut butter, honey, sugar and milk until fully mixed.  If you can manage to not eat the entire filling with just a spoon, spread some on cut discs of thawed puff pastry.  Ideally, the puff pastry would be made with just butter (Dufour brand), but I’ve also made this recipe with cheaper types of puff pastry (Pepperidge Farm, I’m looking at you), and it turns out just as well.  Next, top each swath of peanut butter filling with a spoonful of grape jelly, then seal the pie closed with another puff pastry disc.  Be sure to crimp the edges all pretty with a fork.  After a quick bake in the oven and a brief rest, you’ll be enjoying these warm, flaky pockets of goodness.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Maple Bacon Cookies

Maple Bacon Cookies Candied Bacon Cookie Ingredients Cookie Dough Maple Bacon Cookies start with a brown sugar-sweetened dough spiked with pure maple syrup, vanilla extract and maple extract. Tiny bits of maple-caramelized bacon are then folded in, providing a salty counter to the sweet dough.  These cookies are like a warm blanket wrapped around you on a cool autumn evening.  So so comforting.

Although bacon desserts are fairly widespread nowadays, I still encounter people who raise a skeptical eye at the idea.  If you are one of those people, just think of these cookies as a plate of pancakes and bacon, but in cookie-form.  They are so damn tasty, and completely addicting.

Be sure to use good quality maple syrup here (not maple-flavored syrup).  Maple extract can be found at any regular grocery store.  Finally, this dough requires a 1-hour chill, so plan accordingly.

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Brown Butter Snacking Cake

This cake is my secret weapon.

Brown Butter Snacking Cake That’s right, it’s a secret weapon against any sweet cravings that may come along when I’ve got practically nothing in my refrigerator.  Made with the most basic ingredients, this Brown Butter Snacking Cake is a shining example of how, with a little technique, you can make something incredibly satisfying from just pantry and fridge staples.  Let’s talk ingredients: butter, brown sugar, vanilla, flour, salt, baking powder, eggs, milk, sour cream, and turbinado sugar.  Simple, right?  The magic is the pairing of brown butter and brown sugar.

When you cook butter over a medium flame, the water in the butter evaporates, and the milk solids eventually caramelize, turning the liquid golden brown.  The resulting brown butter has a seductive, warm, nutty flavor and aroma that perfectly compliments the molasses notes of brown sugar.  Flour, baking powder, and eggs are added to the mix for structure; salt and vanilla to amp up flavor; and milk and sour cream for moisture.  A final sprinkling of turbinado sugar provides a crunchy contrast.

My Brown Butter Snacking Cake is not only tasty, it’s also easy to prepare and super versatile.  After you brown the butter, this cake batter can be made in just one bowl.  No stand or hand mixers required.  I usually cook this cake in a 10″ cast iron skillet, but any baking dish would work.  I like to call this a “snacking cake,” because I find myself snacking on it all day long.  A little slice with jam for breakfast, or a big slice with honey-sweetened ricotta and sliced peaches for dessert.  I’ve even layered it with vanilla ice cream and bourbon caramel sauce!  It pairs well with just about anything in your fridge/freezer.  Continue reading for the recipe.  I’ve also announced the winner of the WestRidge Beef Big Steaks package below.

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Strawberry Buttermilk Doughnuts

Strawberries + Doughnuts.  Two loves of mine combined.

Strawberry Buttermilk Doughnuts This recipe for Strawberry Buttermilk Doughnuts is a variation on my simple Sparkling Lemon Doughnuts.  Sweet-tart strawberries are blitzed into a chunky puree, then split between the doughnut batter and the glaze.  The batter is also flavored with lemon, vanilla and buttermilk, three flavors that work perfectly with strawberry.  Each doughnut is finished with a thin glaze made with buttermilk, confectioners’ sugar and strawberry.  Fruit-flecked and gleaming, my Strawberry Buttermilk Doughnuts are a perfect dessert for your next summer soiree.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Rye Pecan Pie

Did you know that tomorrow is Pi Day?

Rye Pecan Pie with Plate For those of you who are not fully dialed into the geek world, Pi Day is an annual celebration of the never-ending number, π.  This special occasion falls on March 14 each year, because this date represents the first 3 digits of π (3.14).  In celebration of Pi Day this year, I’ve prepared a tasty Rye Pecan Pie.  Sweet and smokey with just a hint of spice, this Rye Pecan Pie is to. die. for.  Let me explain.

First, this is a deep dish pie.  That means each slice has almost double the amount of crust and filling compared to a regular slice of pecan pie.  And as we all know, more is better.  Second, the filling is spiked with several tablespoons of rye whisky.  This alcoholic addition balances out the cloying sweetness typically associated with pecan pies.  Finally, beneath that beautiful array of pecan halves lies a thin layer of finely chopped pecans.  This delicious duo of pecans provides a wonderful contrast in both texture and flavor.

So today I’m letting my geeky side (I studied Math and Economics in college. Whaaat?) fly free, wishing that, like π, this Rye Pecan Pie was never-ending.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Roasted Garlic Focaccia with Rosemary

Who wouldn’t want a slice of this?

Roasted Garlic Focaccia Herb-flecked and golden, this airy Italian bread is flavored with roasted garlic-infused olive oil.  Its dimpled, burnished surface dotted with nubs of caramelized garlic.  Each bite of my Roasted Garlic Focaccia with Rosemary is pure heaven for garlic-lovers.

For me, focaccia is one of the simplest breads to make.  I actually prepared my first focaccia ever when I was in high school!  In its most basic form, focaccia is made with olive oil, water, yeast, flour and salt.  The dough is then stretched into a wide, flat shape, and dimpled across the surface.  These dimples allow olive oil to reach the center of the bread, creating a moist texture.  After baking, the surface of the bread gets hard and golden, while the interior remains soft and light.

This focaccia recipe is made with olive oil that’s been infused with an entire head of roasted garlic.  The aromatic oil is added directly to the dough, and is also used to brush across the top once the dough has been formed.  Nuggets of caramelized garlic are scattered across the surface of the bread, reinforcing flavor, and adding a satisfying textural element.  A sprinkling of fresh rosemary and crunchy sea salt to finish.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Top 10 Recipes from 2013

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Before I dive into a fresh batch of recipes for 2014, I wanted to take a moment to share the most popular Kitchen Konfidence posts in 2013.  The list below is ranked based on view counts from Google Analytics.  I always love taking these delicious trips down memory lane :)  So many tasty moments.  Did your favorites make the Top 10?

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Sparkling Lemon Doughnuts [Giveaway]

Sparkling Lemon Doughnuts If you follow me on Instagram, you have probably noticed that I’ve been going doughnut crazy for the past month.  Two weeks ago I went to Donut Bar, our local hotspot, three times in one week.  Obscene… ly delicious!  But after that third trip, I thought to myself, “I should try making some doughnuts at home.”  I’m not one for deep frying, so I went out, and purchased one of those doughnut pans.  And not just any doughnut pan.  A mini doughnut pan.  One that can produce adorable little rings of doughnuty delight.  And after several rounds of recipe testing, I came up with these Sparkling Lemon Doughnuts.

Flavored with tangy buttermilk and bright lemon zest, Sparkling Lemon Doughnuts are light, tender, and packed with fresh lemon flavor.  Each sweet morsel is topped with a lemon-buttermilk glaze and crunchy sanding sugar.  It’s so easy to eat 3, 4, 5 of these doughnuts in one sitting.

I’m also participating in the Rainbow Sprinkles Blog Tour in celebration of Jackie Alper’s new book, Sprinkles!: Recipes and Ideas of Rainbowlicious Desserts.  I was tasked with featuring a recipe using yellow sprinkles.  Let me also say that this book is so. much. fun.  There’s over 100 pages filled with colorful, sprinkle-centric recipes.  Metallic glitter in sangria??  Yes please!!  Check out my recipe below for Sparkling Lemon Doughnuts plus a cookbook giveaway!!

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Peach Brown Butter Buckle

Peach Brown Butter Buckle Stone fruit season is almost over, but I just had to squeeze in one last recipe.  Especially one as tasty as this Peach Brown Butter Buckle.  Now you may be wondering, “What the heck is a Buckle?”  Part of the cobbler family, a buckle cake is made by placing sliced fruit or berries on top of (or mixed into) a layer of cake batter.  The cake is then finished with a streusel topping.  As the cake cooks, the batter will rise up around the fruit, giving the top a buckled appearance.  I’ll have to say that this is actually the first buckle I’ve ever made, and the results?  A. Mazing.  This cake is simple to prepare, full of flavor and wonderfully rustic (aka not fussy).

My Peach Brown Butter Buckle starts with a layer of moist yellow cake made with aromatic brown butter, and just a hint of allspice.  Next, a layer of lemon-kissed peaches that melts to a jam consistency after cooking in the oven.  Finally, a streusel topping made with browned butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and chopped pecans, adding satisfying notes of sweet, salt, and crunch.  When eaten together, these layers form the perfect bite.  So perfect that I literally ate 2/3 of this cake by myself over the span of several days.  You need to make this.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Caramelized Garlic Tart

Caramelized 40 Clove Garlic Tart

A golden round of puff pastry is filled with a tangy goat cheese custard and 40 cloves of garlic caramelized in a mixture of balsamic vinegar, thyme and rosemary.  In other words, heaven.  Several weeks ago, I was on quite the tart binge, and too be honest, this one is my favorite.  Well, my favorite savory tart at least.

The filling for this tart is a bit involved, but you can certainly make the caramelized garlic mixture in advance.  You can actually make this entire tart in advance and rewarm when needed.  Packed with bold flavor, this Caramelized Garlic Tart would fit perfectly in any brunch spread, or could be eaten for dinner with a light, acidic salad.  If you love garlic as much as I do, then you will surely go crazy for this tart.  So yum.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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