Tag Archives: walnut

Slovak Crescent Cookies

Slovak Crescent Cookies | Pale YellowThere are a few holiday traditions that are more important than making the family cookies that only appear once a year.  My mom and I would go to my grandmas, sit at the same corner table, roll out the dough, fill, bake, and laugh.  We would always burn our tongues eating a cookie straight off the cookie sheet before they have a chance to properly cool.

Slovak Crescent Cookies | Pale YellowLast year was the first year my mom or I made the dough.  In previous years my grandma always made the fillings and dough before we arrived so we could focus on rolling out, filling, and rolling up the crescents.  These cookies are definitely a 2-3 person job!  Apparently my great grandmother used to make countless batches of these cookies all on her own.  Someday I hope to have that kind of time available to me!

Slovak Crescent Cookies | Pale YellowThis year Christmas traditions are going to change it bit.  It’ll be just my mom and I making the cookies and we will no longer be gathering in my grandparent’s 70’s themed basement tearing up the kids table on Christmas Eve.  My brother has the ping pong table, I took an awesome owl-string-art wall piece, and the rest of their house is being divided up.  I’ve missed my grandma everyday since she has left, but the next few weeks are going to make the loss that much more real.  I treasure all the memories I have with my grandmother shopping, baking, and spending all and every holiday together.  This grief thing is hard, do you ever stop missing someone you love?

Slovak Crescent Cookies | Pale YellowThese cookies are a quintessential part of my holiday a season, I think they would make a fantastic addition to your Christmas cookie tray!  There are quite a few steps involved in making the cookies, but every buttery, flaky bite is worth it.  The key tip – use the lid of a large sauce pan to cut perfect circles ready to cut into eighths and rolled into lovely crescents!  Honestly, I do not like the apricot ones, it’s all about the walnuts!

Slovak Crescent Cookies | Pale YellowTwo Years Ago – Banana Bread with Hazelnuts

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Slovak Crescent Cookies
Adapted from the Slovak Ladies’ Anniversary Cookbook
Yield – 80 cookies

dried apricots + water + sugar
walnuts + milk + sugar
3 sticks margarine (Blue Bonnet), room temperature
1 cup sour cream
3 egg yolks
3 cups flour + more for rolling
powdered sugar for dusting

  1. Make the fillings the day before.
  2. Apricot – Boil dried apricots with a little water and sugar until soft.  Let cool completely.
  3. Walnut – Finely chop the walnuts.  Mix with a little milk and sugar until the nuts are moist and sweet.  Refrigerate overnight.
  4. Beat the margarine and and sour cream in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment until light and creamy.  Beat in the egg yolks.  Scrape the bowl.
  5. Mix in the flour on low speed until just combined.  The dough will be very sticky.
  6. With floured hands, divide the dough into 8 disks.  Place the disks between sheets of wax paper and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  7. Preheat the oven to 325 ˚F.
  8. Liberally flour your surface and rolling pin, don’t be afraid to use a lot of flour.  Roll each disk into a 10-inch circle, trim if necessary.  Collect the trimmings to reroll once.
  9. Cut the circle into 8 pieces and place a teaspoon of filling on the wide end.  Tuck in the edges and roll tightly.  Place on the cookie sheet flap side down and bend into a crescent shape.
  10. Place 2-3 batches on each cookie sheet.  Bake for 15-20 minute or until the cookies just begin to brown.  Let cool completely on a wire rack.
  11. Before serving dust with powdered sugar.Slovak Crescent Cookies | Pale Yellow
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Banana Nut Chocolate Chip Scones

Banana Nut Chocolate Chip Scones | Pale YellowWould you believe me if  I told you I was virtually unpacked?  Well I am!  Thanks to great movers, Michelle’s task master ways, and Jackie’s kitchen stacking skills, all the boxes were unpacked, the cardboard smashed and taken downstairs.  There is no way I could have done it with out them!

Banana Nut Chocolate Chip Scones | Pale YellowYesterday I got up and rearranged my bedroom furniture because the bed felt like it was in a weird location; now it feels right!  The kitchen needed a little rearranging and Dean came over to help set up my internet/TV.  Decorations are not up, but with time and inspiration they will be up soon.  As things start to look cute and lovely I’ll try to post pictures to the What I Learned series.

Banana Nut Chocolate Chip Scones | Pale YellowThe strangest thing  about moving so far has been adjusting to a new grocery store.  I knew Key Foods like the back of my hand and it’s frustrating wandering the aisles.  Plus, Waldbaums doesn’t seem to carry Kind bars – my breakfast staple.

Banana Nut Chocolate Chip Scones | Pale YellowI made these scones right after Thanksgiving as a little snack for myself.  They were a lovely snack on my flight back to New York after my Michigan weekend.  These scones are not dry at all and are filled with goodies.  There is plenty of banana flavor and lots of chocolate and walnut goodness.  Sometimes scones can be not-so-good; I promise you, these are not those!

Banana Nut Chocolate Chip Scones | Pale YellowOne Year Ago – Vanilla Pudding Shots

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Banana Nut Chocolate Chip Scones
Adapted from How Sweet it is
Yield – 8 scones

Banana Nut Chocolate Chip Scones | Pale Yellow1 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons flour
2 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar, loosely packed
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
1/3 cup buttermilk (or squirt of lemon juice + enough milk to make 1/3 cup, let sit 2 minutes)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ripe banana
scant 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
scant 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips

1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons milk
splash vanilla
extra walnuts & chocolate chips to sprinkle on top, optional

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 ˚F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk together the flour, brown sugar, soda, powder, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl.Banana Nut Chocolate Chip Scones | Pale Yellow
  3. Cut the butter into pieces and add to the flour mixture.  Banana Nut Chocolate Chip Scones | Pale Yellow
  4. Use your fingers to massage the butter into the flour.  Keep mixing until the flour and butter are combined in coarse crumbs.
  5. Mash the banana into the buttermilk and stir in the vanilla.  Make a well in the flour mixture and pour the banana/buttermilk mixture in the middle. Banana Nut Chocolate Chip Scones | Pale Yellow
  6. Use a fork to combine the ingredients.  Stir in the walnuts and chocolate chips.
  7. Turn the mixture onto a floured surface and knead together lightly.  Banana Nut Chocolate Chip Scones | Pale Yellow
  8. Push the mixture into a 6” circle and cut into 8 pieces.Banana Nut Chocolate Chip Scones | Pale Yellow
  9. Place the pieces on the baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes or until the scones just begin to brown.
  10. Let cool completely on a wire rack before glazing.Banana Nut Chocolate Chip Scones | Pale Yellow
  11. Make the glaze by stirring together the milk, powdered sugar, and vanilla until smooth.  If you like a lot of glaze, double the amounts.Banana Nut Chocolate Chip Scones | Pale Yellow
  12. Spoon the glaze over each scone and sprinkle with walnuts and chocolate chips.Banana Nut Chocolate Chip Scones | Pale Yellow

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Fudge Walnut Brownies

Fudge Walnut Brownies | Pale YellowIf you’ve ever been to the blog, In Jennie’s Kitchen, you know what a lovely place it is to visit.  Her words are beautiful and touching as she describes recipes and tells stories about her life and the photography is gorgeous.  It’s a wonderful and inspiring blog.  No surprise I wanted her cookbook!

Fudge Walnut Brownies | Pale YellowMy grandparents bought me the cookbook for my birthday two months ago and I’ve finally gotten around to making a recipe.  I shouldn’t have waited so long!  The cookbook is just as lovely as the blog and there is a huge variety of recipes and of course, everything is from scratch.

Fudge Walnut Brownies | Pale YellowI was having a particularly intense female moment and needed brownies the way I need oxygen.  It was a bad craving.  Everything on Pinterest was too fancy; I wanted a straightforward, rich, decadent brownie plain and simple.  Luckily, in addition to the internet, I have an ever growing cookbook collection and turned to Homemade with Love, correct decision.

Fudge Walnut Brownies | Pale YellowThese brownies were everything I craved and needed.  The melted chocolate and cocoa powder provide two opportunities for rich, chocolatey flavor.  The sprinkling of chocolate chips on top and throughout the batter added perfect chocolate bites.  The brownie is dense and moist.  I personally enjoy nuts in my dessert, so the walnuts were a delightful touch to make the brownies special.  This is a strong contender for my new go to brownie recipe, so good!

Fudge Walnut Brownies | Pale YellowOne Year Ago – Blueberry Mojitos

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Fudge Walnut Brownies
Adapted from Homemade with Love by Jennifer Perilllo, page 185
Yield – 16 brownies

1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips, divided
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup flour
1/4 dark cocoa powder
1 teaspoon instant espresso
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 eggs
3/4 cups sugar
1 cup chopped walnuts, divided

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 ˚F and grease a 8×8” pan.
  2. Make a double boiler by placing a heatproof bowl on a small pot of simmering water.  Add 1/2 cup chocolate chips and the butter to the bowl.  Heat and stir until all the chocolate is melted.  Take off the heat.
  3. Stir in the vanilla and set aside to cool slightly.
  4. In a small bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, espresso, and salt.
  5. In another small bowl whisk together the eggs and sugar until pale yellow.  Whisk into the melted chocolate and stir until well combined.
  6. Add the dry mix, 1/4 cup chocolate chips, and 3/4 cup walnuts to the chocolate.  Stir until just combined.
  7. Sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips and walnuts over the top.  Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the brownies are set.  Underbaking is best.
  8. Let cool and then devour.Fudge Walnut Brownies | Pale Yellow

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Baked Banana Nut Chocolate Chip Doughnuts

banana nut chocolate chip baked doughnuts | pale yellowI assume (and hope) most people are on vacation today.  It’s July 5th, no one should be working.  Everyone should be in a post-Fourth stupor/rest.  It’s hard work to play all day at the beach and stay up late to watch the fireworks.  Today is a day of rest before the real weekend begins!  Today is a day for fresh, homemade doughnuts.

banana nut chocolate chip baked doughnuts | pale yellowI made these one early Saturday morning when I was waiting for my running pants to come out the dryer.  Talk about motivation to go for a run – a warm, fresh, chocolatey doughnut awaiting you on your return!  After my run I ate three doughnuts; all exercise officially negated.

banana nut chocolate chip baked doughnuts | pale yellowHowever, I don’t feel like these doughnuts are that bad for you.  First of all they are baked, excellent start.  Second, they only contain 4 tablespoons of butter and 1/2 cup of sugar.  Third, they are tiny and the recipe makes a lot.  And finally, they contain banana and walnut, total health foods!

banana nut chocolate chip baked doughnuts | pale yellowRegardless of whether or not you agree with my justification, these are some good doughnuts whether healthy or indulgent.  They are so moist and a little crunchy from the walnuts.  Obviously chocolate makes everything better!  Make sure to eat these doughnuts fast, they only have about 24 hours of life before they start to get a little stale.  Eating fresh food has so many constraints, but it sure tastes better.

banana nut chocolate chip baked doughnuts | pale yellowOne Year Ago – Lemon Cornmeal Pancakes

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Baked Banana Nut Chocolate Chip Doughnuts
Adapted from That’s So Michelle
Yield 20-24 mini doughnuts

1 cup (about 2 large) mashed bananas
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 ˚F and spray the doughnut pan with Baker’s Joy.
  2. In a large bowl mash the bananas with a fork.  Mix in the sugar and the yogurt.
  3. Keep using the fork to mix in the melted butter, eggs, and vanilla.  Make sure the liquids are mixed well together.
  4. Add in the powder, soda, salt, chocolate chips, and chopped walnuts.  Mix until just combined.
  5. Scoop into the doughnut pan using 2 teaspoons, about 2 scoops for each doughnuts.  Spread to smooth and make sure to only fill the doughnut pan about 3/4 of the way.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes or until just browned on top.
  7. Let cool on a wire rack before storing.  They are lovely to eat warm!

banana nut chocolate chip baked doughnuts | pale yellow

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Choco-Coco-Walnut Vegan Cookies

Choco-Coco-Walnut Vegan Cookies // Pale Yellow

In the past four days I have had three baking/cooking fails; chocolate vegan cupcakes, coconut chocolate vegan shortbread cookies, and lentil soup.  Trying to bake vegan is ruining my style, I just want some butter.  And eggs.

Choco-Coco-Walnut Vegan  // Pale YellowCookies 2

However, these cookies are not a baking fail; they are first and foremost delicious, and second, they don’t require any actual baking.  I found myself going back into the freezer to grab just one or slipping to into my lunch bag.  The chewiness is delightful and they are sweet, nutty, and coconuty.

Choco-Coco-Walnut Vegan  // Pale YellowCookies

It is weird calling them cookies because they don’t feel like a cookie, but they are.  Does not make sense?  Probably not.  When I think of a cookie I think of a slightly crunchy exterior that is nicely caramelized.  The middle should be soft, chewy, moist, and tender.  These raw cookies don’t have variety of contrast a true cookie usually has.

Choco-Coco-Walnut Vegan  // Pale YellowCookies

Despite not having an appropriate texture, they are really good.  And really easy.  And vegan.  And no one spit them out.  That story will come some day, I promise.  This is a cookie you can actually enjoy eating while enjoying what it’s not doing to your body.  And because they are so “healthy,” eating five in a row is not big deal, it’s health food, right?!?!

Choco-Coco-Walnut Vegan Cookies  // Pale Yellow

One Year Ago: Chocolate Cake with Salted Chocolate Buttercream

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Choco-Coco-Walnut Vegan Cookies
Adapted from Shutterbean
Yield – 15 cookies (2 tablespoons)

2 cups raw, unsalted walnuts
1 cup unsweetened coconut
2 tablespoons dark cocoa powder
1/8 cup maple syrup, grade B
1/8 cup agave syrup
pinch of Kosher salt
2 teaspoons vanilla

  1. Mix all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth with only a few pieces of walnuts.
  2. Portion the dough into 2 tablespoon balls.
  3. Roll the dough into balls and pack tightly together.  Wet your hands with cold water to help ease the process.
  4. Flatten the dough between two pieces of parchment paper.
  5. Store in the freezer between sheets of parchment paper in baggies.  Enjoy!Choco-Coco-Walnut Vegan Cookies  // Pale Yellow

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Chocolate Chip Walnut Blondies

Chocolate Chip Walnut Blondies // Pale Yellow

When your flight is delayed by an hour and you’ve had several bourbons and ginger at the airport bar you are in no condition to make a complicated dessert.  Not that I know from personal experience or anything…

Chocolate Chip Walnut Blondies // Pale Yellow

Cupcakes and mini cheesecakes are out, wwwwwaaaaayyyyy too many steps.  Cookies require too many batches.  What does that leave you with?  Brownies or bars!  What I adore about bar recipes is they usually only require one bowl, can be thrown in the oven, and come together in no time.  Also, now that I know the most important tip in bar baking – letting the bars cool over night in the fridge before cutting – bars and brownies are the easiest.  A brownie just out of the oven may be one of the most delicious treats ever, but pretty looking bars need plenty of cooling time!

Chocolate Chip Walnut Blondies // Pale Yellow

These delicious, yet simple bars were made for the annual Aquinas girl Christmas get together.  Because of expanding families, this year we had a delightful lunch together with friends, husbands, and beautiful baby boys!  I wanted bring a treat and these blondies were the perfect choice for a casual get together.

Chocolate Chip Walnut Blondies // Pale Yellow

There are huge chunks of walnuts and dark chocolate with moist and rich batter in between.  Think of a warm chocolate chip cookie and you have some idea of what these bars tasted like.  I’ve always been on the fence about blondie recipes, something just always tasted off.  These blondies have made up my mind, brownies aren’t the only tasty baked good out there!  Substitute the chocolate chips and walnuts for other mix-ins and you could instantly have an endless array of bars at your finger tips.  It’s time to start baking!

Chocolate Chip Walnut Blondies // Pale Yellow

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Chocolate Chip Walnut Blondies
Adapted from Shutterbean
Yield – 24 small bars

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups walnut halves
10 ounce bittersweet chocolate chips, I used Ghiraradelli 60%

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a 9×13 pan with parchment paper.  Grease the parchment paper with shortening.
  2. In a larger bowl beat together the butter and sugars until well combined and light & creamy.
  3. Beat in the eggs one at a time and then beat in the vanilla and oil.  Scrape the bowl as needed.
  4. Add the flour, salt, and soda to the bowl and mix until just combined.  Fold in the walnuts and the chocolate chips.
  5. Spread into the baking pan and bake for about 30 minutes or until the bars are set.  Do not overbake!
  6. Let cool completely on a wire rack.  I always cool overnight for easier cutting.Chocolate Chip Walnut Blondies // Pale Yellow

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Apple Pie Cheesecakes

Yummy, yummy!  I saw this recipe the day before I went apple picking and I knew I was going to make it with my freshly picked apples.  Since I had so many apples, I wanted to make my own apple butter.  Making apple butter is super easy!  Just dice some apples, cook them until they are really soft, and then puree.  I had always assumed apple butter was difficult to make and fancy, but I was wrong.

This post was supposed to go out on Friday, but somehow it just didn’t seem right.  This whole blogging thing seems trivial and I could be doing so many more useful things with my time then typing up recipes, taking pictures, and writing about them.  It’s a shame because this amazingly delicious recipe is being overshadowed by the dark cloud over my heart.

People don’t have heat, electricity, warm food, or clean water, and I’m writing about apple cheesecakes.  It all seems inappropriate.  Hurricane (Post-Tropical Storm) Sandy has left us, yet the devastation left in her wake is still being uncovered.  Saturday I made the decision to push forward and find some degree of normalcy.  Time has not stopped, life is pushing forward and I need to move with it.

I’ve been out of work for a week and I have used that time to volunteer, gather what supplies I can for those who need it, and reach out to those I care about.  Eventually I will find the balance I need to help those in need and do the things that bring me joy.  If you want to know what you can do to help, please email me – palyellowbakes@gmail.com.  Thank you!

These mini apple cheesecakes really are wonderful!  They have a crunchy, cinnamon-filled crust and a simple, sweet, no-bake cheesecake filling.  The apple-walnut compote on top adds the extra burst of appleness this recipe needs.  This dessert was well received by the roommates and co-workers.  I believe this would make an excellent addition to any Thanksgiving dinner!

And this seems so silly, but I’m in love with the pictures I took!  I struggle with my photography so much!  Nothing is straight, almost all the pictures are blurry, and I just don’t have great natural light spots.  These pictures were taken in the early evening out on the back porch.  Everything just works.  It’s a rare moment I’m impressed by my own photography, this is one of those occasions!

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Apple Pie Cheesecakes
Adapted from Shutterbean
Yield – 12 individual cheesecakes

1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup walnuts
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
7 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 ounces 1/3-fat cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup apple butter, see recipe below
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium apple
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F and make the apple butter if you’re making it from scratch.  If you have store bought, use it!
  2. Pulverize the graham crackers and then measure 1 1/4 cups into a small bowl.  Pulverize the walnuts as well and add to the graham crackers.
  3. Melt the butter and add it along with the salt and cinnamon to the walnut/graham cracker mix.  Stir until everything is moistened.
  4. Spray silicone cupcake molds with cooking spray and press 2 tablespoons of the crust mixture into each cupcake mold.  Use your fingers to press the crust into the bottom and up the sides.
  5. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the crusts are brown.  Let cool completely befroe filling.
  6. Beat the cream cheese for 2-3 minutes or until light and fluffy.  Beat in the powdered sugar, vanilla, and apple butter.
  7. In another bowl beat the heavy cream on high until stiff peak form.  Gently fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese.
  8. Use a standard size ice scoop to portion the cream cheese mixture into each crust.  Smooth the tops with a spatula.  Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.
  9. To make the apple-walnut topping melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan.  Chop up one apple into small pieces and add it to the butter.
  10. Add in the walnuts that are coarsely chopped and the cinnamon.  Sprinkle in a pinch of salt.  Stir and heat until the apples are soft and a nice sauce has formed.  Set aside to cool.
  11. Place about 1 tablespoon of the mixture on top of each cheesecake.

Apple Butter
Adapted from Chef in You
Yield ~ 3 cups

2 pounds chopped apples
2 tablespoons apple cider
splash of water

  1. Add the chopped apples to a medium sized sauce pan with the apple cider.  Stir and cover with a lid.
  2. Cook until the apple are easily mashed with a wooden spoon.  If the mixture becomes too dry, add in a splash of water.
  3. Use an immersion blender to puree into a smooth mixture.
  4. Store the mixture in the fridge in an airtight container.

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