Vanilla Shortbread Cookies

Vanilla shortbread cookies with a hot cup of tea | jessicagavin.com

Once the tryptophan induced coma from turkey day subsides, December seems to be a month long celebration to honor the endless possibilities of the cookie. Pinwheels, snickerdoodles, peanut butter kisses, gingerbread… Oh my! I’m not complaining, quite the opposite, I’m embracing and indulging. Even though there are so many great cookie options out there, I’m a big fan of simplicity.

One of my favorite cookies to make during the holidays are vanilla shortbread cookies. Some years ago, after an incredible experience dining at the French Laundry, they sent us home with a small silver box filled with perfect rectangular shaped shortbread cookies dusted with just a hint of sugar. They crumble delicately while melting in your mouth with each bite, and they have just the right hint of sweetness. I was searching through my Ad Hoc at Home cookbook and found the recipe for those very same shortbread cookies, whoot! You bet I immediately scavenged through my fridge and pantry to see if I could quickly make a batch. With only 4 ingredients, these are the easiest and tastiest vanilla shortbread cookies you will ever find!… 

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Mini Salted Caramel Apple Pie Jars

Mini Salted Caramel Apple Pie Jars | jessicagavin.com

Good things come in small packages right? Especially the yummy ones! I’m a sucker for all things mini, especially if it’s individual servings of dessert so I don’t have to share, muahaha. Apple pie is such a classic treat that you can really enjoy it all year round. It’s just that in the fall you have more choices on the varieties. I like the idea of making little servings of apple pie so that it’s faster to bake and enjoy! Sweet crisp apples, luscious salted caramel sauce and flaky tender pie crust makes for the ultimate dessert, mini salted caramel apple pie jars. Ooohh you are going to be HAPPY to have one of these warm out of the oven!… 

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Homemade Orange Cranberry Sauce

Homemade Orange Cranberry Sauce Recipe | jessicagavin.com #thanksgiving

Put away those can openers because you’re making homemade orange cranberry sauce from scratch this year! Why? Because it’s so incredibly easy, quick (less than 30 minutes) and tastes a thousand times better. Cranberry sauce in a can is just an afterthought to the thanksgiving feast, where everything else is made with so much love and attention. Why not give these ruby red berries a little TLC by cooking them in a sweet citrus syrup, making a delicious and fresh sauce in a matter of minutes!… 

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Classic Pumpkin Pie Recipe

The Best Classic Pumpkin Pie Recipe | jessicagavin.com #food #pumpkinpie

To kick off the month of November right and get us excited for thanksgiving, nothing screams holidays like a freshly baked pie. My house has been completely scented with the smell of sweet spices, bubbling sugars and baked butter crusts, and I’m not complaining (well maybe just my waistline). I really wanted to find a rock star classic pumpkin pie recipe so that I could always have an ace in my pocket for holiday gatherings. Pumpkin pies are one of the staple items people have come to expect on the dessert table. Without it you feel like something’s just not right. It’s a tall order because if you are making the pie, there are expectations, so you gotta nail the recipe. Wanna learn how?… 

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No Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake Cups

No Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake Cups | jessicagavin.com #recipe #cheesecake

Warning! This recipe is extremely easy to make which means you can satisfy your cheesecake craving at any moment, and may become highly addictive… Whew, glad I got that out of the way! Sometimes when I think about making cheesecake, I cringe. To make a cheesecake just right, it takes a lot of time and proper technique to nail the super decadent creamy texture. Not to mention you’ve got to fire up the oven, make a water bath, hope the top of your cheesecake doesn’t crack…urgh, the stress is unbearable at the moment. I have been seeing a lot of great no bake dessert recipe ideas, so I thought I would give these no bake pumpkin cheesecake cups a try! This is an especially clever dessert to make when you have run out of oven space during your holiday cooking marathon…. 

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Halloween Graveyard Brownie Cupcakes

Halloween Graveyard Brownie Cupcakes | jessicagavin.com #halloween #cupcakes

“Trick-or-treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat…”, do you remember that song? I used to joyously sing that song with my cousins, knowing very well how naughty it was, whoever wrote it must be a gazillionaire! Halloween has got to be one of my favorite fall festivities. It’s one of the rare nights sugar crazy kids get to stay up all night, dress like what they secretly want to be in real life, collect pillowcases full of free candy from strangers and your parents don’t say no. I admittedly had a secret stash of candy hidden in my closet that I was sneaking each day until Santa came to town. Now being a mom, I’m having fun dressing up baby James in adorable costumes until he can chose his own someday. This year I found the most legit baby Batman onesie with a detachable cape and everything, score!… 

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Pumpkin Cream Cookie Sandwiches

Stack of Pumpkin Cream Cookie Sandwiches | jessicagavin.com #cookies #recipe

Dunk…wait for it…nom nom nom! Oh boy do I love Oreo cookies with an ice cold glass of milk so I can dip each bite, so yummy! I don’t know how it started but I remember playing a game of who would get the cream filled center with my friends, anxiously holding one side of the cookie, pulling the sandwich apart like it was some magical wish bone. The crumbly chocolate wafer cookies are filled with just the right amount of vanilla cream and is one of my favorite childhood favorite treats, darn you Nabisco! Now these cookies are my adult guilty pleasure, and no better time to indulge than during the holiday season…. 

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Matcha Green Tea Tiramisu

Dusting powdered sugar on matcha green tea tiramisu | jessicagavin.com

Sometimes when your sweet tooth hits but you don’t necessarily want to bake, the perfect dessert option is a yummy tiramisu! All you need to make tiramisu is a bowl, whisk, a little patience and you are set. I originally created this recipe 2 days before my son James was born in the midst of the summer swelter, so this was a sweat free, no bake dessert.

I first learned how to make tiramisu in Italy at a quaint little B&B called Osteria della Lodola by an amazing Tuscan chef who taught me his wife’s super simple and delicious family recipe. Actually I also learned how to make a delicious Butternut Squash soup too – but that’s another story. I was so elated to have the opportunity to learn from this chef during my visit, I couldn’t wait to make this recipe for my family back at home. However, like most things I wanted to put a little twist on this recipe, being that it is my birthday on September 28 (hehe) and I also am a lover of matcha green tea. I created a matcha green tea tiramisu recipe that combines my obsession for both the flavors of Tuscany and Japan, a little fun fusion dessert!… 

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Pork Chops with Spiced Apples

pork chops with spiced apples in skillet | jessicagavin.com #pork

This week marks the official beginning of fall, which means cooler temps, mini pumpkins everywhere and cozy comfort foods. I was really sad to see the dwindling of summer produce at the market yesterday, but they were replaced by marvelous apples! There are so many varieties to choose from like honeycrisp, jazz or the traditional green.

It really depends on how you decide to cook the apples, and since I wanted to use them for a sweet and savory topping for this pork recipe, Fuji apples were my pick. Incredibly sweet yet sturdy when cooked down and sauteed, Fuji apples are great at infusing flavors into it’s flesh and staying nice and tender once cooked. I was excited to transition from using the grill during the summer time to breaking out my trusty cast iron pan to create my hearty and delicious pork chops with spiced apples recipe…. 

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Mini Nectarine Almond Frangipane Tart

nectarine almond frangipane tart | jessicagavin.com #sweets

The best thing about dessert is when you don’t have to share! I know, that may sound a little greedy, but sometimes you just want your very own pie. With that in mind, I thought that making individually portioned mini nectarine almond frangipane tarts would be a great way to indulge without going over board. It’s nice not having to give others a nibble of the good stuff, since everyone will have their very own tart…. 

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