Goat Cheese and Cherry Galettes

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It’s that divisive time of year again: Valentine’s Day.  Valentine’s Day is both full of love and hate from different people.  Commercialized, romantic, overpriced, etc., etc.

There will be no huge happenings at the Cinnamon Freud household for the holiday next Friday.  Perhaps I will renew my match.com membership, perhaps I will catch up on all my Real Housewives, perhaps I will booze it up to celebrate that at least it’s the weekend.  I’ll leave the lovebirds to their thing.

I am a neutral Valentine.  I don’t feel a huge need to grab the first living, breathing, testosterone filled human being, nor do I feel a burning hatred for those who have a significant other nor do I go on rampages about the commercialization of the evils of Hallmark.  I am just happy to eat seasonal candy (as I am for every holiday) and to have an excuse to bake.

So this cherry galette with goat cheese represents that divisive-ness of Valentine’s Day.  The cherry filling is sweet and juicy.  And the goat cheese is tart and salty.  Love and bitterness.

And it’s pink!

GOAT CHEESE AND CHERRY GALETTES
Slightly Adapted from Culinary Concotions by Peabody

INGREDIENTS

1 pie crust
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 cups cherries (I used drained morello cherries)
6 ounces goat cheese
1 egg white

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 425°F.  Grease a baking sheet.

Divide pie crust into 2 pieces.  Roll out into circles, about 1/4 inch thick.  Chill until ready to use.

In a bowl, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, and salt.  Stir in lemon juice and cherries.  Mix in approximately 4 ounces of the goat cheese.  Divide filling between the two galettes, leaving a 1/2-1 inch border.  Top with remaining goat cheese.  Fold pie crust around filling.  Brush the pie crust with egg whites.  Bake for 22-27 minutes, until golden brown.

Makes 2 galettes.  Serves 2.

Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies

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It is the time of the year that everyone goes cookie crazy.  While cookies are not my favorite desert, I too have been caught up in cookie fever recently.  I have made the classic peanut butter blossom cookies and then I made these chocolate covered cherry cookies.

These were a treat when my mom would make them around the holidays, and since they are a little more work intensive than your average cookie, they were definitely a special treat.  These cookies would definitely be a great addition to any cookie swaps you have coming up these next few weeks, and Santa may leave you some extra special gifts if you leave these babies out for him on Christmas Eve.  He definitely won’t share these with the reindeer- and who can blame him?

I had some issues with these cookies- the cherries are meant to be covered with chocolate completely.  So they didn’t come out looking super pretty (instead they look a little like nipples- yep, just said nipples on a food blog).  Either way, they taste amazing, and I suggest you start preheating your oven now.

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CHOCOLATE COVERED CHERRY COOKIES
From My Mom

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 egg
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
32-36 maraschino cherries
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 cup chocolate chips
4 teaspoons maraschino cherry juice

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a large bowl cream butter, egg, sugar, and vanilla extract together. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Slow add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, stirring until just mixed.

Roll dough into 1 inch balls and place on prepared baking sheet. Use your thumb to make an indentation in each cookie. Place a cherry in the indentation. In a small bowl, combine sweetened condensed milk and chocolate chips. Melt in a double broiler or microwave, stirring frequently, until melted. Stir in maraschino cherry juice. Spoon about 1 teaspoon amount of the chocolate mixture over top each cookie. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Cool completely.

Makes 30-36 cookies.

No Bake Nutella Fruit & Nut Bars

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Are you ready for a snack, or are you ready for a snack?

Today we are going to get real serious about our snacking choices.  And by getting serious, I mean we are going to be using some Nutella. Nutella is amazing, and it is partially responsible for why I went all the way up to French IV in high school.  French culture day always meant eating lots of Nutella.  For educational purposes, of course.

I am currently working on my thesis (masters degree, I see you!), looking at issues with depression & alcohol, but what I would really like to write it on is the power of Nutella.  I am pretty sure just eating Nutella will be associated with lower levels of sadness.  New therapy treatment: instead of actually having to show up to work, I will just leave an open jar of Nutella and a spoon on my chair. Chocolate hazelnut therapy.

But if you really need some happiness, I suggest taking some Nutella and using it to make some no-bake bars.  I love lots and lots of stuff in my bars, so I packed these bars to the brim.  Filled with lots of chewy, sweet fruit and crunchy nuts, these bars make a great snack.  I used dried cherries and cashews, but the sky is the limit here.  I upped the Nutella & honey in this too, so they get nice a gooey. Mmmm.

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NO BAKE NUTELLA FRUIT AND NUT BARS
Adapted from White on Rice Couple

INGREDIENTS

3 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup honey
2/3 cup Nutella
Large pinch of salt
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 cups dried fruit
1 1/2 cups nuts
1 cup chocolate chips, optional

DIRECTIONS

Line an 8 inch by 8 inch pan with foil and grease.

In a saucepan combine butter, honey, Nutella, salt, and brown sugar.  Whisk together over medium heat until combined.  Remove from heat.  Stir in dried fruit, nuts, and chocolate chips.  Spread mixture into pan.  Chill until firm, about 1 hour.

Cherry Bomb Donut Holes

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Was this really only a 4 day work week?

I am exhausted.  The second week curse.  When school starts up the first week is sometimes way to ease into our work, and you still feel invigorated at the end. You may even feel really productive and ready to take on lots of work.

Then the dreaded second week comes and you start counting down the weeks until Thanksgiving.  And then you get irritated by the fact that Thanksgiving is occurring later than usual this year.

Things are stressful but good this semester.  I am finally getting in the swing of starting to see clients, and teaching is going better.  At the end of the first week I was ready to stop (prepping is a huge time suck), but this week I was kind of reminded why I love the subject of psychology so much.  I kind of got into a groove of how to give a lecture.  But I still cannot get students to laugh at my jokes- I just look to a sea of blank faces.  Their blank faces in turn make me act goofier, which leads to more blank faces.

Next week I plan to help them make a brain out of playdoh (playdough?), which apparently is an activity students love.  Give a college student playdoh, and they’ll love class.  So many colors of playdoh, so many parts of the brain!  I will let you know how that goes given that my knowledge about the brain construction ain’t super extensive.

But that’s next week.  It is now the weekend- hallelujah! So what should one do when they are feeling a little stressed by work?  Deep fry something.  It all began with my Chorizo Chimichangas and has now proceeded to donut holes.

I made these donut holes last weekend, but I definitely feel like they would be an appropriate way to celebrate surviving the second week of this semester.  They are absolutely amazing.  I was inspired by Gourdough’s, a food truck in Austin whose specialty is donuts.  I ate there a year ago, but those donuts have stayed with me. An important, formative memory in my life.

Donut holes are great because a) they are bite sized, so you can eat more, b) better outside crispiness to inside ratio, c)  you can load them up with lots of topping.  This particular toppings for this recipe are like cherry pie and cake all in one.  You get a sweet Greek yogurt sauce (because we are trying to be healthy right?), cherry filling, and cake batter AKA crack all on top of sweet donut holes. Yummm.

A helpful hint:  If you make them the donut holes a little larger, you get cooked donut outer layer and an inside molten cake batter layer inside.  Heaven is risking salmonella.

This donut holes are worth of a Meg Ryan faked orgasm.  Yes. Yes!  YES!

CHERRY BOMB DONUT HOLES
From Cinnamon Freud
Inspired by Gourdough’s

INGREDIENTS

For the Donut Holes:
1 1/3-1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup & 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 egg, room temperature
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons melted butter, cooled
Vegetable oil, for frying

For the Toppings:
1/3 cup Greek yogurt
2-4 tablespoons granulated sugar
1-2 tablespoons milk
1/2 cup cherries in syrup
1 teaspoon cornstarch, mixed with 1 teaspoon water
3-4 tablespoons cake mix

DIRECTIONS

For the Toppings:

Mix together Greek yogurt, sugar, and milk in a small bowl.  Start with 1 tablespoon of milk and add more to adjust your preferred thinness.  Chill until ready to use.

Place cherries (with syrup) in a small saucepan.  Bring to a simmer and mix in cornstarch mixture.  Cook until thickened, about 1-3 minutes.  Keep warm.

For the Donut Holes:

Fill a pot or pan with approximately 2 inches of oil.  Heat to 375°F.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder.  Beat in egg, milk, and melted butter.  Stir together until just combined.  Take approximately 1-2 heaping tablespoons of dough and roll into a small ball.

Working a few donut holes at a time, fry in oil, about 1-2 minutes per side until golden brown.  Drain on paper towels.

Top donut holes with sweet yogurt sauce and cherry syrup.  Sprinkle bake batter mix on top.

Serves 1-2