Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Holiday Favorite: Cherry Linzer Torte

My mom has been making cherry linzer tortes for as long as I can has become somewhat of a holiday tradition. She only makes them this time of year though, so it is always a treat to come home and smell the hazelnut crust baking in the oven.

This year, I decided that it would probably be a good idea to learn how to make these for know, considering one day I'll have a family of my own, and traditions to uphold. So I hit the kitchen with my mom for a linzer torte 101 baking lesson. This is what we came up with...

1 1/4 cups hazelnuts (about 5 oz), toasted, husked, cooled
2 1/3 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups cherry preserves (preferably imported, about 18 oz)
Powdered sugar (optional)


Preheat oven to 350*. Butter 9-inch-diameter (we used a 6 1/2 inch this time!) tart pan with removable bottom

Combine nuts and 1/3 cup flour in processor. Finely chop nuts. Transfer mixture to large  bowl. Add remaining 2 cups flour, sugar cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg to bowl; whisk to blend. Add butter. 

Using electric mixer on lowest speed, blend ingredients until coarse meal forms (will take a few min). Add egg yolks and vanilla. Beat until moist clumps form.

Gather dough into ball and press 1 1/2 cups packed dough over bottom and sides of prepared pan. Add the preserves to the pan, but be careful not to get too close to the top (if there is too much it will bubble over!).

Roll remaining dough on a sheet of parchment paper to 13x10 inch rectangle. Freeze for 5 minutes to set and firm. Cut the dough  into 1/2 inch wide strips. Arrange a few strips across the torte  spacing evenly (we start from the middle and go out). Arrange the remaining strips in the opposite direction to form a lattice. Trim the edges and seal the dough to the pan.

Bake torte until crust is golden brown and preserves are bubbling thick. Should take about 40 minutes, depending on your oven. Cool torte completely on rack. Push bottom of pan up to free the torte. Sift powdered sugar (if desired) over the torte.

Makes 8-10 servings.

Recipe from Bon Appetit 2001 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Sparkle & Shine

Most of us are in the Hanukkah/Christmas mindset, but we can't forget that New Year's Eve is just around the corner! I always find that NYE comes with so much pressure to have the prettiest dress, to be at the best party, and to have the most amazing time (notice how I stressed most amazing? you catch my drift)...we always have to top last year's adventure. But this year, I am happy to say that we'll be heading down to a friends beach house for a night of partying...the old fashioned way--with bubbly, good friends, good food, and a little sparkle. No fuss, just fun.

Since my brain is on a sparkle kick-when is it not?- I decided to put together a little roundup of glittery clutches that I think are perfect for ringing in the new year. Leaving 2011 in style, and bringing some major glamour to 2012. What's better than that?

clockwise from top left: jimmy choo, nine west, forever 21, juicy couture

Monday, December 19, 2011

Holiday Cheer

On Saturday night my boyfriend and I ventured over to Rockefeller Center to see the tree. It is always one of those things that I feel like I have to do because it's the holidays (and a pic by the tree is always necessary this time of year), but I dread the crowds, the freezing temperatures, and finding the perfect photo opp spot. As expected there were SO many people pushing and shoving, but we managed to get some good shots of us, and even met up with my brother and his girlfriend in the midst of all the craziness.

After the tree to went down to Union Square for dinner at Max Brenner (Chocolate by the Bald Man). It seems to be that this has become a tradition for us now, considering we did the same thing last year! The atmosphere there is always crazy--lots of people, lots of food, and most of all, lots of chocolate! We both ate so much, but it was well worth it. If you haven't been, it is a definite must. Pretty touristy, but such a treat! And oh so delicious!

walking down 5th ave
cartier is always one of my favs

the tree! so full this year!
nick and me
my brother andrew and his girlfriend katie

Friday, December 16, 2011

Friday Happiness

taken from here

I've totally neglected my blog for the past week and a half. Between traveling to Mexico on a press trip (which I still have to share with all of you!) and crazy things happening back in New York, it has kind of been a little whirlwind. 

I hit a wall this week and am very much looking forward to the nice long holiday break that we'll soon be getting (lucky for me my office is closing from the 23rd through the 2nd--woo!) From everything that has been going on, I've realized that I need to do what makes me happy (so appropriate for today's post, no?) and I've reassured myself that I'm in the right place doing what I love. I think we all get to a point in our lives where we question our path. Is this really for me? Is this really where I was meant to be? Is this really the life I want to live? You're the only person that can change that path though, so if you are unhappy, do something about it. If you're happy, then don't stress the small things. That's kind of what I found myself doing this week, because I know I am happy with the decisions I have made so far. But then I took a step back and realized that I'm not the type of person who stays upset or mad, because in reality, what's the point? We have to live life everyday with no regrets, and from here on out, that's what I'm going to do.

But, I will say that I am happy it is the weekend. 4 more days left in the office then I'm all about the holidays. Hopefully this weekend will be filled with lots of merry surprises and adventures!

Some recent things that have made me happy...

-new nail polish colors from the beauty sale at work :)-

-made my boyfriend put a christmas tree up in his appartment...feeling merry!-

-pink ombre cake from a photo shoot last week-

-a preppy look from this week-

-some lauren elan goodies-

Monday, December 5, 2011

Want S'more?

Chocolate, marshmallows and graham crackers is one of THE best combos, right after chocolate and peanut butter. I've loved s'mores for as long as I can remember, so when I came across a recipe for s'mores cups I couldn't resist the urge to whip up a batch. The recipe is super easy and only takes a few minutes to make, and the outcome...heaven. And to make them festive for the holidays (because yes, I will be making these again for upcoming holiday parties), I'm going to add some red and green sprinkles. Cute, right?

7 whole graham crackers (finely crushed)
1/4 cup powdered sugar
6 tbsp butter, melted
4 milk chocolate candy bars, divided
12 large marshmallows


Preheat oven to 350*

Place graham crackers into a large resealable bag. Finely crush into crumbs using a rolling pin. Combine graham cracker crumbs, powdered sugar, and butter.

Using a teaspoon, place a small amount of mixture into each cup of small muffin tins. Press crumbs to form shallow cups. Bake for 4-5 minutes or until edges are bubbling.

Break two of the chocolate bars into individual pieces. Take the graham cracker cups out of the over and place a piece of chocolate into each cup.

Cut each marshmallow in half (to create 24 pieces total), and place one (cut side down) into each cup. Return pans to the oven for 1-2 minutes or until marshmallows are slightly softened.  Remove from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes. 

Carefully remove cups from the pans and let cool completely. 

Break the remaining candy bars into pieces and melt in the microwave. Dip each marshmallow top into the melted chocolate. Let stand for 40 minutes.

Makes 24 cups


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Friday Happiness

taken from here
Sorry for the lack of posting yesterday. Things have been crazy here at Fitness. Lots of shoots to prep for before I head out to the lovely land of Mexico next week. Ahhh so excited. More on that later though.

How was everyone's week? Psyched for the weekend? I definitely am. Not much planned this weekend, but I'm happy to play it by ear this time. I feel like baking might be in my future...something wintery and fun. Oh and some mega gym time and running to be had. I've gotta get my tush in shape for the beach next week! Hope you all have a lovely weekend...see ya back here on Monday!

My happiness from the week...

-dolce has been coming to snuggle in bed every morning before cute-

-i made fresh lemon orzo with last night's greek stuffed chicken dinner-

-mac satin obsession-

-a cozy scarf for a freezing friday-
-grande vanilla skim chai...getting me through the week-