Roasted Red Pepper White Bean Dip

I'm back! Sorry for the huge gap between posts. Two weeks ago I went on vacation to Las Vegas and since I practically ate my way through the city I decided to take the next week off from baking.

Last week we had a few people over for a poker game during the week, so I wanted something that I could make that was easy and healthy. I didn't have high hopes for this because, to be honest, I don't really like red peppers (or green, or yellow, or orange for that matter). But I had a jar of roasted red peppers in my pantry that was begging to be used so I through this together. Wow! It was actually really good. It was such a crowd pleaser. Everyone kept going back for more.

This is ridiculously easy to put together. You pretty much just open up a few cans and pop everything in the food processor with some lemon zest, lemon juice, oregano, and olive oil. Seriously, it doesn't get any easier. Not to mention, it's such a pretty color!

Recipe: Adapted from Closet Cooking Ingredients
  • 1 15 oz can of white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 small jar of roasted red pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • salt & pepper to taste
  1. Add everything to the food processor and puree until smooth. Add more olive oil (or water) to thin to desired consistency.

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies. The PERFECT cookie.

Ok, this is it. This is THE chocolate chip cookie recipe. And I know I've said that before. A few months ago I was boasting about this cookie, but you see that was before I tried brown butter! Now there's no going back. How do I know this is one? Because I have no desire to keep trying chocolate chip cookie recipes anymore. I have no little voice in the back of my head saying "this one is really good, but maybe there's a better one out there."

This is essentially the infamous New York Times chocolate chip cookie recipe, but with brown butter instead of regular butter. Thank you, Blue Ridge Baker for this amazing idea. It basically combines the NY Times recipe with the Cook's Illustrated method for using brown butter. If you've never had brown butter before, then get yourself in the kitchen right now and make something with brown butter because there are no words to describe its wonder (but I'll try anyway). It gives the cookies such a depth of flavor. It creates this really aromatic, caramel/toffee background. You taste it immediately when you bite into the cookie, but it's not overpowering, it's just perfect.

This was the first thing I've made with brown butter, and to be completely honest I think I could've browned the butter a little more but I was scared of burning it, so this may be more like a light brown butter chocolate chip cookie. All I know is that is head and shoulders above any other cookie recipe I've tried. (Although, my previous favorite cookie will still have it's place when I need to throw together a cookie quickly). This recipe is a little demanding of your time but sooooooooo worth it. First it requires browning the butter. Then, it requires letting the brown butter and sugars sit for a few minutes. Then, after the dough is finished, there's the dreaded 24 hours of waiting while it rests in the fridge.

I stayed pretty true to the NY Times recipe and used 2 kinds of flour: cake and bread, because I happened to have them both on hand. Blue Ridge Baker used All Purpose flour and clearly loved her cookies as much as I loved mine, so that should work fine too. She also cut the recipe in half so if you are looking for a smaller batch of cookies, head over there and check our her recipe. But seriously, don't cut the recipe in half. You'll want every single one of these! I plan on making these cookies again and possibly incorporating 2 changes. 1) I may use dark brown sugar per the Cook's Illustrated recipe, just for curiosity sake. 2) I may add an extra egg yolk. This is a method I learned from Alton Brown's "The Chewy" in order to help it retain its chewiness. But as it stands, this is the best cookie I've ever eaten. Enjoy!

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from NY Times and Blue Ridge Baker


  • 2 cups minus 2 tablespoons(8 1/2 ounces) cake flour
  • 1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted brown butter
  • 1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate chopped into chip size pieces
  1. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt, set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine sugars. Pour hot brown butter over sugars, and without stirring, place in refrigerator to cool the butter to room temperature. Attach bowl to mixer and on medium speed, beat until light in color and fluffy. If butter isn't becoming pale, it isn't cool enough. Pop it back in the fridge for a few more minutes and try again.
  3. When butter mixture is desired consistency, add egg and beat for 30 seconds. Stir in vanilla. Add dry ingredients, and mix until just incorporated. Stir in chocolate. Form dough into a log and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours.
  4. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment. Form dough into balls a little over an inch in diameter, or 1.5 ounces. Place balls at least 2" apart on baking sheet, and sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Bake for about 12 - 15 minutes, or until slightly puffy, dry on top and tinged with golden.
  5. Let stand on baking sheet for about 1 - 3 minutes, then move to a cooling rack to cool completely.


Another cold and snowy weekend means another baking project has been completed. When I finished work Friday afternoon and checked the weather report for the weekend I knew I'd be staying inside cooking, baking, and watching movies. I got great suggestions from people for what to cook. On Friday I asked Ross what he wants for dinner. His usual response is something along the lines of, "I don't know. Whatever you make is fine with me," which is 100% true because he literally will eat anything that I make, he's just not really one to come up with ideas. Well imagine my surprise when he replied with "How about penne with vodka sauce and chicken?". My response was an immediate yes followed by searching the internet for the best recipe. Fast forward a few hours and vodka sauce was made. It was amazing, however the pictures were not so that post will have to wait. Anyway, back to my point and the rugelach.

My point was that I got great suggestions from people all weekend long. A few hours after the vodka sauce suggestion I checked facebook where I left a status requesting movie/baking recommendations. My aunt brilliantly suggested that I make rugelach. It was the perfect idea. Rugelach is slightly time consuming, but not too complicated. If you've never had rugelach, they are sooooo good! It's a little crescent shaped pastry filled with basically whatever you want. They aren't too sweet because there is no sugar in the dough. Traditionally there is some sort of cinnamon/sugar, jam, nuts, raisins or currants, or chocolate. I made 2 types. The first was apricot/currant and the second was chocolate/cinnamon/walnut. They were both amazing but the apricot was the winner. It both looked and tasted better than the chocolate which I was surprised about.

Rugelach: Recipe from Dorie Greenspan
Makes 32 cookies

For the dough
  • 4 ounces cold cream cheese, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the apricot filling
  • 1/3 cup raspberry jam, apricot jam or marmalade
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons dried currants or raisins (I probably used less. Just sprinkle them on till it looks like you have enough)
For the chocolate filling
  • 2 T chopped walnuts (again, I probably used less)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped, or 2/3 cup store-bought mini chocolate chips

For the glaze
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon cold water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar, preferably coarse sugar

For the dough
  1. Let the cream cheese and butter rest on counter for 10 minutes. It should be slightly softened but cool.
  2. Put the flour and salt in a food processor, scatter over the chunks of cream cheese and butter and pulse the machine for 6 to 10 times. Then process, scraping down the sides of the bowl often, just until the dough forms large curds. Do not work the dough too long that it forms a ball on the blade.
  3. Remove the dough from the food processor, divide into half, shape each half into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and then refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to a day. (Wrap airtight, the dough can be frozen for up to 2 months.)

To make the filling
  1. Heat the jam in a saucepan over low heat, or microwave until it liquefies. Mix sugar and cinnamon together.
  2. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats. (Silicone baking mats are great for rugelach.)

To shape the cookies
  1. Pull one packet of dough from the refrigerator. If it is too firm to roll easily, leave it on the counter for about 10 minutes or give it a few bashes with your rolling pin.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into an 11- to 12-inch circle. Add fillings as desired in the following order: jam, cinnamon sugar, nuts, chocolate, currants.
  3. Cover the filling with a piece of wax paper and gently press the filling into the dough, then remove the paper and save it for the next batch. (This helps the filling stay in place. I only found it necessary with the chocolate batch).
  4. Using a pizza wheel or a sharp knife, cut the dough into 16 wedges, or trigangles. (The easiest way to do this is to cut into quarters, then cut each quarters into 4 pieces.)
  5. Starting at the base of each triangle, roll the dough up so that each triangle becomes a little crescent.
  6. Arrange the roll-ups on one baking sheet, making sure the points are tucked under the cookies, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. (The cookies can be refrigerate overnight or frozen for up to 2 months; don't defrost before baking, just add a couple of minutes to the baking time.)

Getting ready to bake
  1. Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 350 degree F.

To glaze
  1. Stir the egg and water together. Brush a bit of the glaze over each rugelach. Sprinkle the cookies with sugar.
  2. Bake the cookies for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point, until they are puffed and golden.
  3. Transfer the cookies to racks to cool to just warm or to room temperature.