Lemon Sugar Cookies

I have returned to the United States!! Greece was absolutely amazing. Again, if you want to read about it all, visit this blog for what I ate, bladder anecdotes, and everything in between. As much fun as I had, I really missed my kitchen when I was away. Specifically in regards to kitchen-related acts like cooking and baking, but sometimes kitchen is just a companion and we hang out. I figured the first thing I made should involve homage to where I spent the last 6 weeks! Also I was inspired by this adorable little flag that I once got as a cupcake topper a couple years ago and saved. So I made cookies.

Had to.

There are lemons in Greece so I decided between that and decorating them with the flag, they can be called Greek cookies. Although if I were really doing this Greek style I would have tried using olive oil instead of butter. Or maybe lamb grease (slightly kidding). But I thought of that as I was rolling out the dough so perhaps next time. Also they aren’t too lemony, so if you’re into that then up the dosage of lemon extract or add some lemon juice/lemon zest.

Fun fact is that this is actually just my favorite ever roll out Christmas cookie recipe but with lemon extract. So to make those, just subtract the lemon extract! And by subtract I mean just don’t add. It would be maybe painstaking to extract extract (ha!) from a ball of dough. When I was little this was always my favorite cookie because I loved decorating them. We have a GIANT bag of cookie cutters, because just one type of santa cookie cutter is frankly NOT enough, and it was always so much fun to go through them and pick out our favorite shapes. But I am not going to start waxing poetic on Christmas when it’s the beginning of August so I’ll leave it at that. Although while we have 4 different gingerbread men we do not have a plain rectangle cutter, so I just free handed it with a knife. You could probably also make a cookie cutter with tinfoil or something, but it’s not really necessary since it’s so easy to cut out! Even though straight lines are hard. It’s okay, flags generally wave in the wind anyways.

Lemon Sugar Cookies

adapted from Joy of Cooking (I think, but more so just a family recipe)

makes about 40 2″ cookies

For the cookies

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup butter or margarine

2 eggs

2 1/2 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 tsp lemon extract

For the glaze

2 Tbsp milk (I used almond milk)

3/4 cup confectioners sugar, plus some

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp lemon extract




In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs, flour, baking powder, and extracts. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours before rolling.

When ready, preheat the oven to 375°F. Roll out dough to around 1/8″ thickness, cut shapes, and place on greased cookie sheets. Bake for 7-12 minutes, until slightly golden on the edges. While they’re cooling, make the glaze- whisk together the milk and sugar, adding sugar until you have the desired consistency. Decorate and enjoy!

Not exactly the most beautiful paint job in the world BUT that’s okay. I think there’s probably a direct relationship between quantity made and straightness of lines. But I only have so much patience. These are Greek flag themed, and as exciting as rectangles are they can be cut into any shape your heart desires. Maybe we should all make Euro shaped cookies and mail them across the Atlantic! …sorry Greece, too soon.

Battenberg Cake: Daring Bakers Challenge

I would first like to say that this is probably the most 21st century thing I have ever done. I am blogging, using photo editing apps, and coding- all from an iPad. Not quite on Zenon’s level, but still. Next thing you know I’ll have little robots measuring out flour for me. But, the reason I am computer-less is that I have officially begun my summer in Greece!!! And thus after this will probably not post until I get back in August. Although follow my other blog, abbydoesgreece.wordpress.com, for all trip-related fun information! Anyway, this is my first post connected to Daring Bakers- a food blog forum where a featured blogger posts a monthly challenge recipe that everyone goes and attacks and then posts the results of on the 27th. Today is indeed the 27th, so it’s time to share my results for this month’s Battenberg cake challenge, posed by Mandy!


Cool chipped tray. Too pretty to give up on it though!

A Battenberg cake is a traditional English wedding cake in which two colors of cake, traditionally an almond flavored one, are alternately stacked using apricot jam as glue and covered in a marzipan coating. Otherwise known as the world’s smallest game of checkers. In edible form. Instead of the usual flavor, I switched it up just a bit by using lemon and peach cakes, bonded together (hot) using peach preserves, and still covered in marzipan. I figured I might as well ride the summer peach train for as long as possible. Also, fun fact, I had the WEIRDEST obsession with marzipan when I was younger. Not even for the taste part, I just thought it was so so so cool, and would beg my mom to buy it so I could build little animal friends out of it. That never ended up happening, and I am slightly glad for my emotional development that it didn’t.


I love zesting/grating things. It’s weirdly gratifying. However, procuring the peach juice was…comical. I needed juice; the logical thing to do would have been to use a juicer on it or something. But I’m not always logical so I decided to peel it, squeeze the peach with my hands over a colander over a plate. SO SQUISHY! It got to the point of pressing the peach against the colander, smushing it with my fist, etc. etc. and I’m pretty sure I only yielded a total amount of juice from peach and a half or something. Not pretty, but actually so much fun, so if you don’t mind being inefficient- do this method!


This is a “flower”- aka the marzipan was splitting from the heat, so I patched it up.

The lemon and peach tastes were pretty understated, so if I made it again I would perhaps add lemon juice and more peach. I erred on the side of too little, because lemon extract can be super overpowering. This cake is also probably the epitome of everything that my sister dislikes (peach and lemon are basically the two flavors she doesn’t like) (sorry Jenny) but after much begging, I got her to take a bite. Maybe it was because I was leaving for 6 weeks the next day, but still. She of course didn’t like it, but! Aesthetic powers. That’s what this Battenburg is all about.

Battenberg Cake

adapted from Mary Berry’s “Baking Bible”

serves 6-8 people

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes

3/4 cup caster sugar (aka superfine sugar, but normal should work too)

1 1/4 cups self rising flour (1 cup self rising= 1 cup AP flour + 1 1/2 tsp baking powder + 1/4 tsp salt)

3 large eggs, room temperature

1/2 cup ground almonds (I used almond flour because it’s conveniently ground for you)

3/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp almond extract

1/2 tsp lemon extract

juice from 3 peaches

zest of one lemon

1/2 cup peach preserves

1 cup (8 oz) marzipan

drop of red and yellow food coloring

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease an 8 inch pan with butter. If you have a Battenberg pan, cool, use that, but if not, use this awesome method to divide one pan in half- fold a piece of tin foil over itself a lot of times, fold a piece of parchment over it, and lay the flaps of parchment on the pan, using the butter as glue. Make sure the foil blockade guy is in the middle of the pan.

Whisk together the dry ingredients. Combine wet ingredients in a large mixing bowl, slightly beat together, and then add the dry ingredient mixture, beating until just combined and the batter is smooth. Divide the batter into two separate bowls- a food scale is super handy if you have one, but if not just eyeball it.

To lemon-ize half the batter, add the zest and lemon extract to one bowl and stir in. To peach-ize the other half, add the peach juice. I found the colors of the batter to be slightly too similar, so I added just a bit of food coloring to each one just for aesthetic reasons, but there’s no super need to if you stay away from food coloring. Pour each batter into half of the prepared pan.


Bake for 25-30 min, until it’s springy when you poke it and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pan for a few minutes, and then turn over the cake on a wire rack.

Once it’s cool, you’re ready to construct the cake! (in my not-21st century sheet of notes I wrote “Battenberg-ize me cap’n.” why.) It’s most helpful to use one of those long, serrated bread knives. Stack the two layers on top of each other and trim off the sides. Then, cut them in half the long way (hot dog style) to get four long rectangles. The recipe said to warm the jam and pass it through a sieve, but the whole sieve thing wasn’t quite working for me so I just warmed it to make it a bit more liquidy and used a marinade brush to apply. Assemble in the alternating pattern (as you see in the pictures) using the warmed-up jam/preserves.


At this point, I stuck it in the fridge for a few minutes to harden up, since it was so so so hot out. I see two geckos having a conversation. Not pertinent to cake, but a fun fact. You might want to chill the marzipan for a little bit too, so it doesn’t get very sticky. When you’re ready to use it, roll it out using confectioners sugar as you would use flour when making dough, to make it less sticky. Place the cake to one side of it and wrap it up! This takes a bit of maneuvering (especially in 95 degree weather) and you’re technically supposed to coat the sides with jam when you roll it, but I forgot to do that. Just work slowly and you should be fine! If you want, score the top of the cake with a knife in a pretty pattern, or decorate with anything you want. Slice and watch people be surprised. Enjoy!

That was an epic set of instructions. But it’s really not that difficult, I promise. The cake bakes really easily, and the end result is super pretty. It tasted a lot better than I expected, too! Because no offense to any English readers, but I’ve never really had a cake from English that blew my mind or anything. The plain almond cake would be great as well, I imagine. This cake is great, because if the ends look ugly with a lot of extra marzipan when you’re making it, you can just chop it off and wow people with the internal design.


Plus, using marzipan allowed me to make Homestar references at every possible second.

Strawberry Ginger Muffins

I am about to tell you a beautiful love story. There once were two kindred souls coexisting in one kitchen their whole lives unbeknownst to one another. Their names were strawberries and ginger snaps. One night last week, I was having a snack, and the two met on my plate. Shortly after, they ended up together in one bite and it was magical. They realized how good they tasted together and knew it was their fate to meet this way. The end.

Thus concludes the love story, and begins the story of these muffins. I don’t know if this is actually a thing, like peaches and cream or blueberries and lemon. So maybe I’m not actually being that original but as far as my existence goes I have never had these two things in my mouth at once and my life is a different place now that I have. I started of how else I could combine these two flavors besides literally just stuffing my mouth simultaneously with ginger snaps and strawberries. Muffins came to mind first, but I’m definitely going to try pancakes/waffles/cupcakes in the future.

Look how happy they look together!! Both in their whole form and all chopped/mushed up. Oh, and in muffin form.

These muffins were RIDICULOUSLY moist inside, packed with juicy strawberries, and had an amazing crumb and airy texture. I’m not usually the kind of person to freak out over muffins, but these are so wonderful. I’m both a little bit shocked and a lot gastronomically pleased.

In order to make this recipe, I looked through a bunch of favorite muffin recipes to try and get the ratio of wet/dry ingredients right. The baking method is similar to the muffin info found in Joy of Cooking, otherwise known as the Don Corleone of cookbooks. It miraculously worked super well on the first time- if I were to do it again though, I would maybe add more of a ginger flavor, since the strawberries were being a bit of a dominatrix. Although when I was eating them I no longer cared about anything except for how yummy they were. Also, when I made the recipe I meant to make only 12 muffins, but I somehow had enough batter for 16. Apologies for the awkward second pan. But if you feel like calculating them for 12 and measuring out 3/4 of an egg…be my guest. Make sure you fill the extra muffin spots with a bit of water when you put them in the oven to keep the muffins moist and not hurt your pan. Mmmm, water muffins. My fave.

Strawberry Ginger Muffins

Makes 16 muffins

1 3/4 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup crushed ginger snaps (I used the brand Mrs. Pure, but feel free to use whatever you want/make your own!)

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup milk (I used almond milk, but regular would be fine too)

1/4 cup canola oil

1 1/2 cups chopped strawberries

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg

1/2 tsp ground ginger

Preheat oven to 400°F and line a muffin tin with baking cups.

In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients with a fork until well blended. Toss the strawberries in the flour mixture until they’re all coated. In a separate, smaller bowl, beat the wet ingredients with a fork. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mixed until just combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, filling each muffin cup 2/3 full. If you want to (I did and it was yummy!), sprinkle brown sugar on top before baking. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Let them cool in the pan for a lil bit before taking them out and eating them/letting them cool more. Enjoy!

Now they are living happily ever after together in my tummy. I like to think of myself as a matchmaker.

Best Brownies Ever

The other day, my mom had a library board meeting (she’s quite the town activist) and asked me to bake something, since it was their celebratory end-of-year meeting. Since her other friends were making cookies, she wanted some kind of brownies. At first she was thinking of going big and doing something with pecans (this is a lamer definition of going big than I would have hoped) but that was an idea that lasted probably all of 4 minutes. Because lately, making brownies has been a one-way street with a dead end at this recipe.

These have been my go-to recipe for over 3 years, when my older sister first emailed the recipe over to me. Her good friend Kate at Cornell had made these brownies for her and she was obsessed. The recipe was originally from Kate’s mom’s college roommate Jill at Cornell back in the 70’s. So now they’re just known to us as “Jill’s Brownies.” Also apparently, her last name was Baker. Very appropriate. This is practically a one-bowl recipe and is super easy to make- and all you need is a hand mixer. You start off with the white ingredients (so..everything that isn’t the chocolate. Fair.) and then fold in the chocolate, resulting in a super fun bowl of swirled happiness.

When it comes to texture, these brownies go hard in the paint- they are super fudgy, but aren’t overwhelmingly sweet. It’s completely acceptable (and quite encouraged) to put a scoop of vanilla ice cream on a warm, gooey, fresh from the oven brownie. However, they’re still amazing on their own- not the kind of brownie where you’re like “oh I guess this is good but is it only good because I’m drowning it in ice cream oh but it doesn’t matter oh I’ll guess I’ll have 3 more just to make sure I like how it actually tastes.” ..No. This is a “oh I guess I’ll have 3 more just to make sure I’m still living and haven’t died and gone to heaven because this is SO TASTY AH” type of brownie.

…And yes, those last two pictures were Instagram-ed. Sometimes the act of pouring brownie batter is just too fleeting of a moment to waste time to go get a real camera. Alternatively, I was lazy and didn’t want to walk to my room to get it. Let’s go with the first option.

Jill’s Brownies

makes approximately 24 brownies

4 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate, melted

1/2 cup butter, melted

4 eggs

1/4 tsp salt

2 cups sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup flour

Preheat the oven to 325 °F. Grease and flour a 9×13 pan.

Microwave the chocolate and butter in the microwave in ~20 second increments on power level 5, stirring after each time, being careful not to burn the butter.

Beat eggs and salt together until eggs are light, and then beat in the sugar. Fold in the vanilla and the chocolate/butter mixture. Fold in the flour until just combined.

Pour into prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes. Enjoy!

Fancy brownies are…fine. Actually, they can be really tasty. Chances are I’ll post about some in the future. But nothing beats a square of pure chocolatey delight. These brownies will honestly enrich the quality of your life. They are SO good.

Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Cookies

…Whoa. I promise that I know words other than ones that start with C. Anyway. A while back, I was trying to make some kind of fall time recipe that called for cinnamon chips, but when I went to the grocery store to find some, they were nowhere to be found. I stood there looking for 10 minutes, as though by some miracle they would appear out of thin air. After all, it was kind of close to my birthday, so I figured it was possible. Unfortunately no miracles occurred in Stop and Shop on that day, so I settled for butterscotch chips (NOT the same. Similar color though!) and while the recipe still ended up tasting fine, I still really, really wanted to find cinnamon chips so I could yell at them for not being there for when I really needed them. So one day a month or so ago, I was in the grocery store at home, strutting up and down the baking needs item as is totally normal to do, and I FOUND CINNAMON CHIPS!!!! I seized on the opportunity to gain vengeance and immediately bought a bag. With no real goal in mind, just…to have. Thus concludes the epic battle with cinnamon chips.

I’m a firm believer that everything is better with a bit of cinnamon, and that there’s nothing more delicious than a classic Tollhouse chocolate chip cookie. So the other day when I went to take out the chocolate chips for the cookies I was making and saw the cinnamon chips sitting next to them, I decided to combine the best of both worlds.

I made these for some friends the first time and forgot to take pictures..but definitely had zero issue with making them again! I only had about 1/4 cup of normal chocolate chips though, so the second time around the cookies contained normal chocolate chips, mini chocolate chips, and chocolate chunks. Plus the cinnamon chips. Chips on chips on chips, in a wonderful, wonderful way.

To be honest…I didn’t measure out the cinnamon the first time so I have NO idea how much was in there. Use your nose to see if it seems cinnamony enough. Start smallish though, because you don’t want to overpower the cookies too much. Or maybe you do. Which is cool too. My uncle’s response after trying them was “It tastes like Halloween.”  Cinna-success. (..I promise I won’t try to make that become a thing)
Eeeaaatttt meeeeee says cookie

Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Cookies

makes about 48 cookies (I can never get 60 out of the Tollhouse recipe)

2 1/4 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup white sugar

3/4 cup light brown sugar

2 tsp vanilla

2 large eggs

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup cinnamon chips (or more!)

1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 375 °F.

Beat together the butter, both sugars, and vanilla until creamed. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Gradually add this mixture to the butter mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips and cinnamon chips.

Drop using a rounded tablespoon onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until they’re nice and browned on the edges. Allow to cool and then enjoy!

Dayum. Check out the curves on dat thing.

Summer Berry Crumble


Last weekend, I had planned to pick up my boy from the train station, eat a quick dinner at home, and then drive up to New Haven. My parents had planned to be out visiting my brother and his wife and their newborn (baby niece!!!!), so dinner was going to be small and uneventful. That is, until their original plans for the day changed and they decided to come visit here instead- along with my grandma, uncle, and two family friends and their 2 year old.

All of a sudden there were 10.7 people to feed. I think that’s probably the only way to quantify 10 adults, a 3-week old, and a 1.8 year old. 10.7 people whom I absolutely love, but just very different from each of our original plans. My mom wanted to pick up something special for dessert (are we related?) so I offered instead to bake something. She was being indecisive so I hit the interwebs and found this recipe. It caught my eye for three reasons. First off, it’s vegan, so no dairy present for my lactose intolerance to pick a fight with. Second, it’s fruit-based, which is nice and refreshing on a super hot day when to be honest, I just don’t want to eat something warm and chocolatey. And yes- that probably is the ONLY time I have ever said that. The third point of attraction was how easy it is to make. All the ingredients are things you would generally have on hand; I only had to run out and pick up some fresh fruit. Also, it’s super adaptable- feel free to experiment with fruit ratios (throw ALL the fruit in the bowl) or with any combination of fruits!

I doubled the recipe to suit the large crowd and made two 9 inch square crumbles. It was delicious with vanilla ice cream if you want to take the vegan part out of it. Or whipped cream. It’s delicious on its own though, hot or cold! Also, leftovers=ideal breakfast. It’s totally fruit. Plus, there’s oats in it- give me one good reason why the presence of fruit and oats does not qualify this as a perfect breakfast food.

Summer Berry Crumble adapted from Joy the Baker

makes enough to fill a 9×9 pan, or 6 individual ramekins

For the fruit part

1 1/2 cups blueberries

1 1/2 cups raspberries

4 peaches, cut into chunks

2 Tbsp flour

1/2 tsp cinnamon

pinch of nutmeg

pinch of cloves

1/4 cup maple syrup

For the topping

1 1/2 cup old fashioned oats

1/3 cup flour

1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/8 tsp salt

2 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil

2 Tbsp maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla

1 Tbsp water


Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Combine all the ingredients for the fruit part in a bowl and toss until the fruit is generally coated. Set it aside for a moment while you put together the topping.

In another bowl, combine the dry ingredients for the topping (oats, flour, salt, and spices.) In yet another bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients (the oil, maple syrup, vanilla, and water.) Add the wet to the dry ingredients and blend together using a fork, making sure all the dry ingredients get nice and moist (embrace the word).

Add about half a cup of the topping to the fruit and mix them together. Put the fruit into a 9×9″ pan and then scoop and pat down the rest of the topping onto it. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until it’s bubbling and completely irresistible. Enjoy!

Take home message- sometimes, plans change. And when they do, make this berry crumble! I suppose this isn’t a universal solution. If you planned to see a movie with a friend and then they called to suggest going to the beach instead, your first thought shouldn’t be to make this. It should be sunscreen. Overall, it ended up being a lovely evening- I got to see my grandma meet her great-grandchild for the first time, watch a ~2 year old conquer multiple stairs on his own, and eat delicious food with beautiful people, which is generally my everyday goal in life.