Napoleon Dessert | French Mille Feuille Cream Pastry

By Rebecca Blackwell

Napoleon Dessert Recipe

French Pastry (Mille Feuille Cream Pastry)

Napoleon Dessert. Layers of flaky French pastry and the most perfect vanilla pastry cream come together in this popular cream pastry, also known as a Mille Feuille.

Napoleon Dessert Recipe French Pastry Mille Feuille Cream Pastry

This Napoleon Pastry is my new favorite dessert. I want to eat it morning, noon, and night. It’s everything I love about most French pastries – it’s rich and delicate, not too sweet and filled with pastry cream. I want to eat it morning, noon, and night. Ok. I actually want to eat anything filled with pastry cream morning, noon, and night, but this is what’s in front of me. So in this moment, this cream pastry is IT.

Napoleon Dessert Recipe French Pastry Mille Feuille Cream Pastry

“Mille Feuille” literally means a thousand leaves, which is a lovely name, is it not? The name comes from the “thousand” layers of puff pastry used to make it. Puff pastry is a beast to make, requiring the baker to roll out the dough, fold it over on itself, refrigerate, roll it out again, fold it again, refrigerate…. and repeat. At least 4 more times. Who has time for that?

Happily, you can pick up a package of frozen puff pastry in nearly every grocery store. This little fact makes this show-stompingly gorgeous and delicious classic French pastry SO simple, you’ll wonder (as I did) why you’ve never made it before. Which brings up an important question…

What has taken me so long to make a Napoleon Dessert?!

Napoleon Dessert Recipe French Pastry Mille Feuille Cream Pastry

The answer to that is simple: I’d simply never tasted a classically prepared (i.e., really good) Mille Feuille before. All that changed earlier this week with an unexpected trip to Vail, CO on a gorgeous Fall afternoon.

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Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

By Rebecca Blackwell

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies. What’s better than a perfectly simple peanut butter cookie recipe, or a plateful of warm from the oven chocolate chip cookies, or tender oatmeal cookies dunked in a tall glass of milk?  All three of course. These large, soft, lightly sweetened peanut butter cookies are loaded with chopped peanuts, oatmeal, and chocolate chunks. 

peanut butter oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

We have been going through a lot of cookies around here lately. I don’t know why… Maybe it’s the crisp fall weather. Most likely it’s because everyone in this house is managing busy, somewhat chaotic schedules. My husband and I have 3 children, aged 20, 18 and 15. The 20-year-old is living happily in his own apartment in Denver, working and going to school. When he was at home, he ate his fair share of cookies – especially peanut butter cookies, snickerdoodles, and chocolate chip cookies, which he loved so much that he learned to bake them himself around the age of 13 just to ensure their constant supply.

But lately, his sisters and their friends (and my husband) are giving him a run for his money.

peanut butter oatmeal chocolate chip cookiesI love having an entire afternoon with nothing more to do than bake cookies. But most days, that is not the case. Mostly I try to squeeze cookie baking in-between catching up on email, making dinner, doing the dishes, paying bills, returning voice mail, helping with homework, talking a teenager off a hormone-induced edge… you understand, I know you do.

And yes, I KNOW cookies aren’t essential to our survival. I know that it’s extraordinarily easy to just pick up a package of cookies at the store. I ALSO know that processed food is probably not something any of us should eat much of, and that my teenagers (and my husband) are less likely to stop at the corner gas station for a package of highly processed junk food if they know there is something delicious at home.

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Homemade Hamburger and Hot Dog Buns

By Rebecca Blackwell

How To Bake Homemade Hamburger and Hot Dog Buns

Homemade hamburger and hot dog buns are simple to make and transform the most casual meal into a whole new treat.

Homemade hamburger and hot dog buns

Disclaimer: If you are already a bread baker, skip down to the recipe and bake up a batch of these homemade hamburger and hot dog buns. You already know how simple and delicious homemade bread is and I sincerely hope you will love this recipe as much as I do. If you are new to bread baking and don’t think you have the time, energy or skills for homemade bread – brace yourself because I am going to evangelize that thinking right out of you and convert you to a bread baking fool! Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

My husband and I have a favorite burger joint that we head to every chance we get. The burgers are amazing. Like, conversation-halting, mid-blowingly delicious. It’s where our kids want to go for birthdays. It’s where we take international friends for a remarkable American meal. Our favorite burger includes a perfectly cooked beef patty, sautéed mushrooms, Emmenthaler cheese and white truffle aioli. It’s phenomenal. But even with all those 5-star ingredients, you know what really takes it over the top? The hamburger bun it’s served on. Of all the people we’ve taken to Highland Tap and Burger, the comment most common is, “Oh. This bread is sooooooo good!”

Homemade Hamburger and hot dog Buns

Who doesn’t love the simple, comforting casualness of an American cheeseburger, a hotdog, bratwurst or sausage piled with fixings, or sandwiches stuffed with our favorite meats, cheeses and vegetables? These are the types of foods we take for granted. The type of food that can be found on street corners and casual restaurants all over the world. They are the staples of backyard barbecues, sports games, and quick weeknight suppers. They can be both plain and exotic, and customized in every conceivable way. What’s not to love? And, while the contents nestled inside the bun are certainly important, the star ingredient is the bread.

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Peach Almond Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies

By Rebecca Blackwell

Peach Almond Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies

Buttery shortbread, fresh peach preserves, roasted almonds, and a drizzle of almond glaze come together for delicate thumbprint cookies that are positively addicting.

Peach Almond Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies

My Grandma was the absolute queen of homemade cookies. All of us grandkids (and great grandkids) have eaten amazing amounts of her cookies throughout the years. They were a staple of our childhood, that I, for one, took for granted. She always had several different kinds in the freezer and rare was the occasion when she didn’t pull some out, presenting a marvelous assortment for us to nibble on (ok… devour) during our visits.

Every Christmas, we all received a tin filled to bursting with several different kinds of small, bite-sized cookies. We all had our favorites. My Dad loved the pecan sandies. My brother was addicted to her gingersnaps. My kids loved her shortbread cookies with a hershey’s kiss in the center. I loved them all, but her jam thumbprint cookies were my favorites. They were tender and buttery and so pretty, with little dollops of jam in the center of each, glittering like jewels.

Peach Almond Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies

Several Christmases ago, my Grandparents gave us the best Christmas gift I’ve ever received – a large binder filled with printed pages of Grandma’s recipes. Each recipe includes a few sentences about who loved that particular dish, memories about the occasions on which she served them, and notes about where the recipe came from or what she loved about it. My Grandma, as it turned out, was a food blogger too. She just printed her posts on paper. The recipe binder was a team effort, with my Grandpa decorating the pages with clip art, formatting the recipes, printing the pages, and organizing them into sections. It’s a treasure trove of memories and one of my most prized possessions.

My Grandma passed away earlier this year, leaving a hole in our family that cannot be filled. I am more grateful than ever for that precious binder of her recipes.

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Vanilla Glazed Chocolate Almond Scones

By Rebecca Blackwell

Vanilla Glazed Chocolate Almond Scones

Chocolate Almond Scones. Tender, lightly sweetened scones, studded with chocolate, dusted with roasted almonds, and drizzled with a sweet vanilla glaze.

Vanilla Glazed Chocolate Almond Scones

Every now and then, breakfast calls for chocolate. What could be better with that first cup of coffee than a chocolate croissant? Or a chocolate banana muffin? Or chocolate babka? Or a tender, lightly sweetened scone, studded with chocolate, dusted with roasted almonds and drizzled with a sweet vanilla glaze? Ummm…. nothing, that’s what.

Vanilla Glazed Chocolate Almond Scones

Sweet, chocolate pastries are a given when indulging in brunch or an afternoon coffee break. But, sometimes they are just what we all need to eat for breakfast. And not just on the weekends. Sure… most mornings I start the day with greek yogurt and fresh fruit. Delicious. Healthy. Exactly what I need to power my mornings. But sometimes it’s nice to spoil myself with something more decadent for no other reason than it’s a Tuesday.

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