Pasta e Fagioli

This rustic Italian pasta-and-bean soup is oh-so-satisfying on a cold day (but just as enjoyable on a warm one). Pasta e fagioli is an Italian pasta and bean stew with a tomato-based broth, small pasta, and white beans such as cannellini. It’s one of our favorite quick and easy dinner recipes, made with mostly pantry […]

The post Pasta e Fagioli first appeared on Love and Olive Oil.

This rustic Italian pasta-and-bean soup is oh-so-satisfying on a cold day (but just as enjoyable on a warm one).

Pasta e fagioli is an Italian pasta and bean stew with a tomato-based broth, small pasta, and white beans such as cannellini. It’s one of our favorite quick and easy dinner recipes, made with mostly pantry ingredients you already have on hand.

White bowl with Pasta e Fagioli, topped with parmesan shavings and fresh parsley

When the stars make you drool, just like pasta fazool, that’s amore.

And in truth, this soup is most definitely a thing of true love.

Pasta e fagioli, or pasta and beans, is an Italian peasant soup made with (you guessed it) pasta and white beans. In the United States it is often called pasta fazool, like the song, fazool derived from the Neapolitan word for beans, fasule.

Whatever you call it, there’s no denying it is incredibly hearty and delicious.

Blue Dutch Oven with Pasta e Fagioli soup and silver ladle

The variations of such a dish are myriad, some more soupy, some more saucy, some with nary a tomato in sight.

I imagine Italian grannies everywhere each have their own signature version, with the only common thread between them being the presence of pasta and beans in some form or another.

Our version is most definitely a tomato-centric soup, hearty and flavorful with the addition of Italian sausage and fresh fennel. We also like to mash some of the beans, which add a lovely thickness and silky texture to the broth.

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Yellow Sheet Cake with Strawberry Rose Buttercream

A classic yellow sheet cake, moist and tender with a hint of vanilla and lemon zest, topped with a fluffy strawberry rose buttercream and decorated with Valentine’s-themed sprinkles. Sheet cakes are satisfyingly simple, with no fussy layers or crumb coats, just the perfect ratio of buttery yellow cake to creamy strawberry rose frosting. This post […]

The post Yellow Sheet Cake with Strawberry Rose Buttercream first appeared on Love and Olive Oil.

A classic yellow sheet cake, moist and tender with a hint of vanilla and lemon zest, topped with a fluffy strawberry rose buttercream and decorated with Valentine’s-themed sprinkles.

Sheet cakes are satisfyingly simple, with no fussy layers or crumb coats, just the perfect ratio of buttery yellow cake to creamy strawberry rose frosting.

Overhead, Square cake with pink frosting and sprinkles, letters that read All You Need is Love & Sprinkles

Let’s start the New Year off right.

With cake.

(Duh.)

I mean, I’d really be fine if we skipped the entire month of January altogether (although we can keep the 22nd because that’s Taylor’s birthday and he wouldn’t be pleased if we skipped that). How nice would it be to jump straight from the pleasant fog of the holidays to February, and, in particular, Valentine’s day (because that’s when we, as food bloggers, are officially ‘allowed’ to post sweet things again, which I think is complete nonsense.)

So, resolutions be damned, here’s a delightful little sheet cake, full of love and sprinkles and, oh yes, butter.

But seriously, how adorable are these sprinkles? They’re from Sweetapolita’s Valentine’s day collection, and served as the inspiration for this quippy cake. They’re called Catch Feelings and, well, I’ve certainly caught some feelings for this gorgeous sprinkle medley!

Yellow sheet cake with pink strawberry buttercream, with lots of pink and navy sprinkles

The cake itself is a classic yellow cake, rich with egg yolks (vs white cake which is made with just egg whites) and tangy buttermilk, plus vanilla and the barest hint of lemon zest (the cake does not noticeably taste like lemon, however adding just a little zest to the batter adds a depth and roundness of flavor that makes this cake taste like pure nostalgia).

While I certainly think it’d be fabulous with a chocolate fudge frosting, in following with the Valentine’s day theme I opted for something a bit more… romantic. In this case, a strawberry rose buttercream.

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The Best of 2020

It feels strange to write a ‘best of 2020’ post when this year was anything but the best. In fact, it’s really been the absolute worst. But we made it through, and we feel all the more fortunate for it. I saw something recently that said that 2020 wasn’t the year to get everything you […]

It feels strange to write a ‘best of 2020’ post when this year was anything but the best. In fact, it’s really been the absolute worst.

But we made it through, and we feel all the more fortunate for it.

I saw something recently that said that 2020 wasn’t the year to get everything you wanted, it was the year to appreciate everything you have, and that is certainly true.

From the tornado back in March to the Christmas morning bombing and everything in between, Nashville has been through a lot this year and us along with it. On a more personal note, we lost our cat Kalypso back in April and that is probably the thing this year that hurts us the most. We miss you, sweet girl.

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Chocolate Peppermint Thumbprints

Chocolate peppermint thumbprint cookies are sure to be a new holiday favorite, with a red and white marbled shortbread, dark chocolate filling with a hint of peppermint, and crunchy candy cane bits sprinkled on top. I can’t speak for Santa, but classic thumbprint cookies are one of my all-time favorite cookies, the buttery shortbread serving […]

Chocolate peppermint thumbprint cookies are sure to be a new holiday favorite, with a red and white marbled shortbread, dark chocolate filling with a hint of peppermint, and crunchy candy cane bits sprinkled on top.

I can’t speak for Santa, but classic thumbprint cookies are one of my all-time favorite cookies, the buttery shortbread serving as the perfect foundation for myriad filling possibilities. This festive take pairs dark chocolate with peppermint, plus a sprinkle of crushed candy canes for decoration and crunch.

Rows of Chocolate Peppermint Thumbprints on a wire rack, crushed candy canes scattered around

Along with gingerbread, spritz, and, obviously, amaretti, thumbprint cookies are a necessity for any holiday cookie box.

And these festive, candy-cane inspired thumbprints are no exception. In fact, I’d argue these chocolate peppermint thumbprints are perhaps the ultimate holiday cookie.

I mean, just look at them!

Overhead Chocolate Peppermint Thumbprints on a wire cooling rack with crushed candy canes

I’ve been wanting to do a chocolate peppermint thumbprint cookie for some time now, but it’s taken me until now to actually nail down the details. I mean, it could have gone in so many different directions, I just couldn’t decide. Should it be a chocolate cookie with a white chocolate peppermint filling? Or double chocolate with a chocolate cookie and a dark chocolate filling? Or should I stick with a traditional shortbread cookie, and if so, should the cookie itself be left natural, infused with peppermint extract, mixed with crushed candy canes, or marbled with multi-colored dough?

This is how my brain works when I’m developing a recipe.

Ultimately, after a number of tests, I opted for a traditional shortbread with a hint of almond, with a striking marble effect with a swirl of red and white dough, and a dark chocolate filling with a hint of peppermint extract.

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Hot Buttered Rum Sticky Buns

These oh-so-gooey and gloriously boozy sticky buns include all the delightful flavors of hot buttered rum baked up in a yeasty spiral of holiday cheer. Swirls of buttery soft dough, spiced sugar filling, and a gooey spiced and rum-spiked caramel glaze makes these hot buttered rum-inspired sticky buns perfect for your holiday brunch! This post […]

These oh-so-gooey and gloriously boozy sticky buns include all the delightful flavors of hot buttered rum baked up in a yeasty spiral of holiday cheer.

Swirls of buttery soft dough, spiced sugar filling, and a gooey spiced and rum-spiked caramel glaze makes these hot buttered rum-inspired sticky buns perfect for your holiday brunch!

Platter of gooey sticky buns with pecans, cups of hot buttered rum in the background

With a filling of brown sugar and festive spices, and a sweet and sticky caramel topping spiked with dark rum, not to mention ample chopped pecans for crunch and contrast, these hot buttered rum-inspired sticky buns are a feast for the senses.

You all know how I feel about boozy baking, and these gloriously gooey, sensually spiced, and ravishingly rum-soaked sticky buns are proof that adding booze to baked goods is always a good idea. It’s the kind of recipe you’ll find yourself coming back to again and again.

Hello new Christmas-morning tradition!

Gooey caramel dripping down the side of hot buttered rum sticky buns, with twinkle lights in the background

The flavor inspiration for these sticky buns comes from hot buttered rum, a popular fall and winter drink dating back to colonial times, when rum was believed to be a miraculous cure-all and ‘strengthener of the body’. In fact, a hot rum-based drink like this was probably enjoyed medicinally more often than recreationally.

A hot buttered rum is traditionally made by mixing hot water with rum, sugar, spices, and a pat of butter for added richness and a luxurious mouth feel.

It’s similar to a hot toddy, both sweetened and sometimes spiced drinks served hot, but a hot buttered rum contains the notable addition of butter and, obviously, uses rum instead of whiskey.

Platter of gooey sticky buns with pecans, cups of hot buttered rum, showing the Hot Buttered Rum packet from The Spice Hunter

Hot buttered rum recipes vary greatly in the mix and proportion of spices, but most include a mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cardamom and cloves.

For this recipe, rather than raid the spice rack for a pinch of this and a pinch of that, we used a packet of Hot Buttered Rum drink mix from The Spice Hunter. One packet is split between the spiced sugar filling, while the rest is added to the gooey caramel topping along with a generous glug or two of dark rum.

The spice mix is already perfectly balanced, and also makes the filling part super easy (just mix with a bit of brown sugar and sprinkle away). No pinches (or measuring spoons) required!

Closeup overhead of sticky buns showing spirals and pecans

We baked a batch of these sticky buns last weekend, assuming that a somewhat complicated recipe like this would necessitate at least a second go-round to get it right (although surprisingly, other than a mishap involving a plate that was slightly too small and hot caramel everywhere, that first batch was pretty darn perfect which almost never happens). Knowing we were going to be making another batch the following weekend anyway, we made quick work of packing the still-warm buns in recycled takeout containers and delivering them to our neighbors, saving just two for ourselves.

The following day Taylor warmed one up for an afternoon snack, quickly realizing that a reheated sticky bun is indeed a fabulous afternoon stack, and immediately started lamenting the fact that we had given the rest away.

Needless to say when we made the final batch to photograph, we kept most of them for ourselves.

Forkful of hot buttered rum sticky bun on a pink plate, showing the light and fluffy texture of the dough Lifting a sticky bun off of a white platter Single hot buttered rum sticky bun on a light pink plate, with the platter of buns, twinkle lights, and a cup of buttered rum in the background

What’s the difference between a sticky bun and a cinnamon roll anyway?

Well, they both start out with a soft and yeasty dough, rolled into a tight spiral with a cinnamon-sugar filling.

The main difference is sticky buns are baked on a bed of hot, gooey caramel and chopped pecans, and then inverted immediately after baking, not unlike an upside down cake. The bottom becomes the top, the gooey caramel oozing down the sides of the buns and your fingers.

Platter of gooey sticky buns with pecans, cups of hot buttered rum and twinkle lights Overhead Platter of gooey sticky buns with pecans, cups of hot buttered rum, and christmas twinkle lights

These sticky buns are made using a dough very similar to my favorite cinnamon roll dough recipe, which I used previously for these Matcha Black Sesame Cinnamon Rolls.

The dough begins with what’s called a tangzhong, an asian technique for soft and tender yeast breads. Pre-cooking a little bit of flour and liquid like this allows the dough to better absorb more liquid, resulting in a softer, more tender final product.

The dough is easily made in about 45 minutes, including a 20 minute rest and 10 minutes of kneading in a mixer to form a soft and silky smooth dough. While you can let the dough rise and then roll it out, I prefer to refrigerate the dough overnight and assemble the following day. Refrigerating the dough makes it a bit stiffer and easier to work with.

Rolling out the sticky bun dough Sprinkling the spiced sugar filling on the dough Rolling up the dough Pinching the seam to seal it Measuring out where to make the cuts Cut using thread or dental floss for super clean cuts

When cutting your rolls, use a piece of unflavored dental floss or sturdy thread to slice the dough as if it were clay. This results in far cleaner cuts than even the sharpest serrated knife, and no squishing either.

Pouring the spiced caramel topping into the pan Sprinkle pecans over caramel topping in pan Arrange rolls on top of caramel and pecans in pan

Once rolled and cut, the buns are arranged in the baking pan on a bed of gooey, rum-spiked caramel and chopped pecans. Much like an upside down cake, this gooey bottom layer will ultimately become the tops of the buns.

Split screen before/after the final rise

While I prefer to let the dough rise overnight and assemble the morning of, if you started your dough earlier the previous day, you can also roll and assemble the buns in the pan the night before. Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight. In the morning they should be noticeably puffy as pictured above. Let them sit at room temperature as you preheat the oven and then bake. If you’re aiming for a breakfast of sticky buns as opposed to a brunch, this might be a more feasible schedule.

Rolls after the final rise, they should be puffy and just touching each other

After baking, the buns are immediately inverted onto a platter, the caramel base becoming the gooey top of the bun.

You want to do this while the buns are still hot, which means that the caramel is still dangerously hot, so please be careful when inverting your buns. I like to use a set of silicone-gripped grill gloves, which allow me to grip onto the pan much easier than a normal oven mit.

You can use a large rimmed plate, baking sheet, or a cutting board with a groove in it (the groove will catch any overflow). Invert the platter on top of the baking pan, put a hand firmly on top of the platter and on the bottom of the pan, and quickly flip the whole arrangement upside down. Then gently lift up the pan, the buns should release easily (if the caramel cools too much it could get sticky).

Platter of gooey sticky buns with dish of pecans and a cup of hot buttered rum in the background

This recipe is for a small batch, yielding 9 buns that’ll perfectly fit in a 9-inch square baking pan. You can use a 9 or 10-inch round baking pan, although you may only have space for 8 buns in that case (you could always bake the straggler in its own ramekin with a spoonful or two of caramel sauce in the bottom if you like!)

This recipe can also be doubled and baked in a 13-by-9-inch baking pan as well.

Single hot buttered rum sticky bun on a light pink plate, with the platter of buns and a cup of buttered rum in the background

Any leftover buns should be covered and refrigerated. Reheat for a few seconds in the microwave or pop it in a warm oven for a few minutes until warmed through, and enjoy!

Hot Buttered Rum Sticky Buns

Hot Buttered Rum Sticky Buns

Your favorite warm holiday cocktail is transformed into deliciously gooey sticky buns spiked with rum and fragrant holiday spices.

Ingredients:

Thangzhong:

  • 3 tablespoons (42mL) filtered water
  • 3 tablespoons (42mL) whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons (16g) all-purpose flour

Dough:

  • ¼ cup (½ stick, 56g) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • ½ cup (120mL) whole milk
  • 2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 2 ¼ cups (281g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon (8g) dry whole milk powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons (6g) instant yeast
  • 1 tablespoon (25g) granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt

Topping:

  • 5 tablespoons (70g) unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup (147g) packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 packet (31g) The Spice Hunter Hot Buttered Rum drink mix
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons (40g) golden syrup, light corn syrup, or honey
  • 3 tablespoons (42mL) heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons dark rum or 1 teaspoon rum extract
  • 3/4 cup (85g) chopped pecans

Filling:

Directions:

For dough:

  1. Start by preparing  your flour paste or tangzhong: combine water, milk and flour in a small saucepan set over medium heat. Whisk gently until no clumps remain. Continue to whisk until the mixture thickens to the consistency of thick paste, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
  2. Add cubes of butter to still-warm saucepan with flour paste and gently whisk until melted and smooth, then whisk in milk. Add in the egg yolks and whisk until fully incorporated. At this point the mixture should feel lukewarm to the touch.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, whisk together the flour, powdered milk, and yeast to combine. Pour in the lukewarm flour paste, and mix on low speed until mixture forms a shaggy dough, about 1 to 2 minutes. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rest for 20 minutes (this rest gives the flour a chance to absorb the liquid, making it easier to knead later).
  4. Remove plastic wrap and add the sugar and salt. Mix on medium-low speed until dough is smooth and elastic, but still somewhat sticky, about 10 minutes. Add more flour only if absolutely necessary (a softer initial dough will result in a softer final product).
  5. Shape the dough into a ball (lightly oil your hands if necessary) and place in a lightly greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Alternatively, if you want to bake your rolls the next day, tightly cover the bowl with plastic wrap and pop it in the refrigerator to rise slowly overnight (my preference, as cold dough is so much easier to work roll out and shape).

For Topping:

  1. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add brown sugar, salt, and spice mix and stir until smooth and paste-like (it may appear slightly separated, that’s ok).
  2. Remove from heat. Whisk in syrup and heavy cream until smooth, followed by rum. Set aside and let cool to lukewarm (topping can also be made the day ahead of time, cover and refrigerate until ready to use, and return to room temperature before using).

To Assemble:

  1. Lightly butter a 9-inch square cake pan.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together brown sugar and remaining half packet of spice drink mix and set aside.
  3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Pat into a rectangle, then roll out evenly into a rectangle approximately 10 inches tall by 13 ½ inches wide. You want this piece to have an even overall thickness, with as square edges as possible.
  4. Soften butter until it is nearly melted; it should be the consistency of warm peanut butter. Using a pastry brush, spread a thick layer of butter evenly over the entire piece of dough.
  5. Sprinkle an even layer of filling over butter, leaving a 1-inch space empty along the top long edge. Pat down filling to adhere it. You can also gently run a rolling pin over the surface to compress the filling into the dough, making it easier to roll up.
  6. Working with the long edge nearest you, start to roll up the dough fairly tightly, taking care not to stretch out the ends too much. Pinch along the edge of the dough to seal the seam, then roll the seam so it is face down.
  7. Using a ruler, measure out where you will cut your rolls, using a small knife to mark the cuts. I cut my log into 9 rolls each 1 ½ inches wide.
  8. To cut the rolls, you can use a sharp serrated knife (try to cut cleanly through in one movement front to back, rather than sawing it back and forth). You can also wrap a piece of unflavored dental floss or sturdy thread around the dough, which will create perfect, clean cuts.
  9. Pour cooled topping mixture into prepared cake pan. Sprinkle evenly with chopped pecans.
  10. Place rolls into pan, leaving an even amount of space between rolls and between the edges of the pan. Lightly cover and set pan in a warm spot (I like to use my oven with the light on) until rolls are noticeably puffed and just touching one another, about 30 to 60 minutes.
  11. While rolls are rising, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  12. Once rolls are nearly doubled in size, bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until tops are lightly golden brown and filling is bubbly (to be precise, the center of the center roll should read about 190 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer). If your rolls are browning too quickly, you can tent them with foil and return to the oven to continue baking.
  13. Remove rolls from oven, and immediately (and carefully!) invert onto a rimmed platter or baking sheet, or a cutting board with a groove to catch the excess caramel. Be very careful doing this as the caramel is extremely hot; I find using some silicone-grip oven mits to be very helpful.
  14. Let rolls cool slightly before serving. Rolls also reheat beautifully; keep covered in the refrigerator then rewarm for a few minutes in the oven or a few seconds in the microwave before serving.
All images and text © Lindsay Landis /

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Chocolate Chestnut Christmas Roll Cake

This minimalist yule log roll cake is simple and sophisticated, with a faux wood-grain effect baked right into the light chocolate sponge cake, and a cloud-like chestnut whipped cream filling. We’ve given the traditional European yule log cake a far-East twist, using a Japanese cake design technique to give the cake a unique wood-grain look, […]

This minimalist yule log roll cake is simple and sophisticated, with a faux wood-grain effect baked right into the light chocolate sponge cake, and a cloud-like chestnut whipped cream filling.

We’ve given the traditional European yule log cake a far-East twist, using a Japanese cake design technique to give the cake a unique wood-grain look, no fussy frosting required.

Sliced Chocolate Chestnut Christmas Cake Roll, dusted with sugar, Christmas lights and ornaments blurred in the background

Yule Log cakes in general can be rather fussy, with fancy layers of frosting and meringue mushrooms and sugared cranberries and other decor that take hours to create. On the opposite end of the spectrum, we’ll call this Japanese-style roll cake the minimalist’s yule log: with a wood-grain design baked right into the cake itself, and a simple dusting of powdered sugar as the finishing touch.

It’s a perfect option for lazy bakers and frosting haters, and for those who like their desserts a little less sweet.

The cake itself is a light cocoa sponge cake baked with a darker chocolate wood grain pattern (the color contrast necessary here, which is why I didn’t make the cake too dark). The filling is a lightly sweetened whipped cream infused with chestnut creme and a splash of amaretto liqueur. It’s a delicious and festive flavor combination that tastes like the holidays without being so in your face about it (like, ahem, peppermint or gingerbread flavors).

Closeup slices of Chocolate Chestnut Christmas Cake Roll, showing the perfect spiral of filling and the wood grain texture

Chestnut spread, also called chestnut creme or creme de marron, is made from pureed candied chestnuts. We first tried this nutty spread in France (it’s amazing on crepes), and promptly found a few cans at a local market to bring home with us. I’m not sure why chestnut creme hasn’t made its way to the US, since chestnut trees grow so abundantly here. Luckily, you can get it online pretty readily or make it yourself from fresh chestnuts.

Chestnut creme is most often used in the classic French dessert called a Mont Blanc, and, actually, this cake could probably also be called a Mont Blanc bûche de Noël because of the similarity in flavor profiles (namely, chestnut cream and whipped cream).

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Double Dark Chocolate Ginger Cookies

Dark chocolate meets spicy gingerbread in this intensely satisfying holiday cookie. Studded with chunks of even more dark chocolate and bits of crystalized ginger that only adds to the appeal. Part chocolate cookie, part brownie, part gingerbread… and entirely delicious. These unique and intensely flavored cookies are sure to be a hit this holiday season! […]

Dark chocolate meets spicy gingerbread in this intensely satisfying holiday cookie. Studded with chunks of even more dark chocolate and bits of crystalized ginger that only adds to the appeal.

Part chocolate cookie, part brownie, part gingerbread… and entirely delicious. These unique and intensely flavored cookies are sure to be a hit this holiday season!

Rows of Double Dark Chocolate Ginger Cookies on a wire rack, with bowls of chopped chocolate and candied ginger.

I’m determined to make chocolate and ginger a more popular holiday combination, because it’s a seriously underrated pairing that deserves all the love.

And much like my gingerbread brownies or chocolate-filled gingerbread thumbprints, these cookies pair the sultry spice of gingerbread with the robust bitterness of dark chocolate, and the results are out of this world.

If you love rich, intensely dark chocolate, and you love extra spicy gingerbread, and you’ve been known to pop pieces of candied ginger straight from the bag… well, these cookies are made for you and you alone.

I realize not everyone loves dark chocolate or ginger as much as I do (my husband included… he has some weird aversion to ginger in desserts, and yet, he still managed to eat more of these cookies than he’s willing to admit), but for those like me, you will gobble these up.

Double Dark Chocolate Ginger Cookies on natural parchment, one cookie broken in half to show gooey interior texture.

The cookie itself comes together more like a brownie than a cookie, starting with melted butter and chocolate that’s then beaten with the sugar and egg until lightened in color.

While the proportions are very similar to other chocolate cookies I’ve made in the past, simply changing the process results in a chewy, ultra-fudgy cookie that somehow combines the best of both brownies and cookies in one delightful package that stays moist and chewy for days (you can thank the molasses for that!)

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Fudge

An easy, no-bake holiday treat, this cookie dough fudge is soft and creamy, with hints of vanilla and brown sugar and studded with mini chocolate chips, the same flavors that make chocolate chip cookie dough so irresistible. If you’re obsessed with cookie dough like I am, you’re going to want to make this recipe STAT. […]

An easy, no-bake holiday treat, this cookie dough fudge is soft and creamy, with hints of vanilla and brown sugar and studded with mini chocolate chips, the same flavors that make chocolate chip cookie dough so irresistible.

If you’re obsessed with cookie dough like I am, you’re going to want to make this recipe STAT. It’s literally a slab of cookie dough flavored-fudge, but without the worry of raw cookie dough since it’s made without eggs and with heat-treated flour.

Cut pieces of Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Fudge on parchment, with a glass of milk and bowl of mini chips

This recipe was originally published in my first cookbook over 8 years ago (Can you believe it’s been that long? I can’t!) It’s one of the handful of recipes that has really made its mark on the Internets, with dozens of bloggers having posted their versions (and that makes me so so happy). I’ll be honest I hadn’t made it myself since I made the final batch for the photo shoot, and decided it was high time I revisit this cookie dough classic. Because, y’all, I forgot just how good this ish is.

I vaguely recall the testing process for this recipe being nothing short of a disaster, having first attempted an old-fashioned brown sugar fudge somewhat like penuche I think it’s called? If I recall correctly, I threw out at least 3 or 4 full pans of too soft, too grainy, or oddly hard fudge before I finally decided to go in a different direction.

The final recipe is what I call shortcut, or cheater fudge, which uses powdered sugar rather than boiled sugar for structure. Combined with some milk, melted butter and brown sugar, and then a healthy glop of raw, eggless cookie dough and mini chocolate chips folded right in, it has the texture of your favorite holiday fudge, but the flavor of straight up chocolate chip cookie dough.

Stack of Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Fudge, top piece with a bite out of it

The texture is definitively fudge-like, with just a hint of graininess from the raw sugar in the cookie dough (I’d argue this texture is part of the appeal of cookie dough to begin with.) Preserving that texture is one of the reasons this is a two part recipe (folding in the raw cookie dough into the fudge base, rather than melting all the ingredients together in one pot which might taste the same, but would not have the same texture).

Mini chocolate chips give the chocolate a more even distribution, and a better balance of cookie dough to chocolate in each bite.

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Crispy Roasted Potatoes with Black Garlic Aioli

Crispy, golden brown roasted potatoes served with a uniquely flavorful and oh-so-versatile black garlic aioli that’ll make your tastebuds sing with delight. Up your side dish game with these crispy roasted potatoes, served with a black garlic aioli (it’s savory, I promise I’m not dipping potatoes in chocolate pudding here, despite appearances). This post is […]

Crispy, golden brown roasted potatoes served with a uniquely flavorful and oh-so-versatile black garlic aioli that’ll make your tastebuds sing with delight.

Up your side dish game with these crispy roasted potatoes, served with a black garlic aioli (it’s savory, I promise I’m not dipping potatoes in chocolate pudding here, despite appearances).

Shallow bowl filled with golden brown crispy potatoes, with a dish of black garlic aioli and sliced green onions

This dish is little bit inspired by Spain’s famous Papas Bravas, which is a dish of crispy fried potatoes served with a garlicky aioli (the traditional Catalan version is literally just garlic and oil worked together by hand until creamy, though many modern versions include egg to help with the emulsification).

We’ve taken some liberties with our recipe, obviously, both by baking our potatoes until golden and crisp and serving them with a simple and delicious shortcut aioli made with Duke’s Mayonnaise and both fresh and aged black garlic for a unique and flavorful combination.

Fork dipping a crispy piece of potato into a dish of black garlic aioli

Making aioli from scratch can be tricky if you don’t have the right equipment, or the patience. Instead, we’ve opted for a shortcut aioli, using our favorite Duke’s Mayonnaise as the creamy, tangy base, and mixing in both fresh and black garlic—the fresh gives the aioli a perfect bite, while the rich umami notes of the black garlic provide incredible depth of flavor while mellowing out the sharper spice of the fresh garlic.

The result is a delicious and unique side dish that comes together in a jiffy, and perfectly compliments these crispy roasted potatoes (though its versatility certainly doesn’t end there).

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Stuffed Hazelnut Amaretti Cookies

These chewy hazelnut amaretti cookies have a hidden surprise inside: a core of molten Nutella. Swapping hazelnut flour for almond flour in my soft amaretti cookie recipe results in a chewy, nutty cookie that’s downright delightful and naturally gluten free. The nugget of molten hazelnut spread in the middle makes it over the top delicious! […]

These chewy hazelnut amaretti cookies have a hidden surprise inside: a core of molten Nutella.

Swapping hazelnut flour for almond flour in my soft amaretti cookie recipe results in a chewy, nutty cookie that’s downright delightful and naturally gluten free. The nugget of molten hazelnut spread in the middle makes it over the top delicious!

Stuffed Hazelnut Amaretti Cookies on a wire rack, bowl of hazelnuts and nutella on the side

I’ve thoroughly explored the options for flavored amaretti, from chocolate to raspberry to colorful confetti sprinkles, but this is the first time I’ve attempted stuffing them.

I’d actually tested a hazelnut amaretti some time ago, but shelved the idea, planning to revisit it during the holidays. And in an attempt to do something a bit different with it instead of just swapping out the nut flour (otherwise this recipe is virtually identical to all my other amaretti), I decided to combine my love of amaretti with my obsession with stuffing stuff inside cookies.

The result?

Simply magical.

Closeup of a Hazelnut Amaretti Cookie with a bite, showing the Nutella filling inside

The hazelnut flour has a much stronger flavor than almond, nutty and toasty and robust, with just a hint of almond serving as a fragrant foundation that rounds out the flavor profile quite nicely.

The texture is similar to that of the almond amaretti, although depending on the coarseness of your hazelnut flour you may end up with a softer, more open crumb which I found quite lovely.

The bottoms bake up slightly crispy (be sure to use a double layer of cookie sheets which helps insulate the bottoms and prevents them from getting too dark), with a chewy outside and a marzipan-like inside, and a core of molten Nutella hidden inside.

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