Za’atar Honey Butter Rolls

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There are countless ways I use za’atar while snacking or cooking, and if you love it as much as I do then you would totally understand why I want use it in almost everything including these soft honey bread rolls.

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I’ve baked these bread rolls a couple of times especially at dinner gatherings because not only are they easy to make but also every person who tastes them says that they’re light, fluffy, and airy. I just love a good home made bread recipe that always gives consistent and reliable results. So after mastering the basic recipe I decided to add za’atar in the dough (that always seems to be a great idea to me). The result is incredibly delicious – the combination of the sweet honey and earthy thyme flavor makes it so hard to eat just one roll!

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Recipe adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction

240ml (1 cup) whole milk, 110°F
21g (2¼ tsp) instant dry yeast
½ teaspoon granulated sugar
85g (¼ cup) honey
1 large egg + 1 egg yolk
60g (¼ cup) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
½ teaspoon salt
450g (3½ cups) bread flour
45g (½ cup) za’atar

30g (2 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature very soft
15g (1 Tablespoon) honey
Extra za’atar for sprinkling

1. Pour warm milk into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. Sprinkle yeast and 1/2 teaspoon sugar on top of the milk. Give it a light stir with a spoon and allow to sit for 5 minutes. The mixture will be frothy.

2. Turn on the stand mixer running on low speed, gradually add the honey, egg, egg yolk, melted butter, salt, and 3 cups of flour. Beat for 1 min and add remaining ½ cup of flour. Beat for another minute on low speed. The dough should be thick, slightly sticky and pulling away from the sides of the bowl as it mixes. If the dough is too sticky add more flour 1 Tablespoon at a time.

3. Form dough into a ball and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for 2 minutes, then place into a large bowl greased with olive oil and coat all sides of the dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it in a slightly warm oven to rise until doubled, about 2 hours. For this, I turn on the oven to 200°F (93°C) for a minute only then turn it off. I also place a bowl for boiling water to increase the level of humidity and keep the oven lights on (helps create a warm environment),

4. Once doubled in size, punch down the dough to release any air bubbles. Remove dough from the bowl and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Using a dough scraper, cut the dough in half. Cut each half into 8 evenly sized pieces for a total of 16 pieces (the balls have to be equal in size to bake uniformly). Shape into balls and arrange in a greased 9×13 baking pan. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled in size and puffy, about 1 hour.

5. 30min before baking, preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Bake the rolls for 20min until the tops are golden brown and the edges of each roll look cooked. While the rolls bake, mix the topping ingredients. Remove the rolls from the oven when they are done and brush a generous amount of honey butter onto each warm roll and sprinkle with za’atar.

6. Cover leftovers and keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 3 months, then thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Warm up in a 300°F (149°C) oven for 10 minutes.

Make ahead tip/overnight: After dough has risen two hours in step 3, punch down the dough inside the mixing bowl and cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight or for up to 2 days, then remove from the refrigerator and continue with step 4.

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No-Bake Granola Bars

No-Bake Granola Bars | Brownie Box

These no-bake healthy and energizing granola bars have my favorite ratio of oats, nuts, and dried fruits.

No-Bake Granola Bars | Brownie Box

You can get really creative with the recipe by adding more oats or a mashed banana, omitting the nuts, mixing in chocolate chips, drizzling melted chocolate on top, or adding more honey for a sweeter taste. You basically have complete control of what you’re using in the mixture as long as you stick to the same ratio of liquid to dry ingredients. What I also love about this recipe is that it doesn’t require turning on the oven because the honey, coconut oil, and nut butter holds all the ingredients together ensuring insanely delicious and chewy bars.

No-Bake Granola Bars | Brownie Box

No-Bake Granola Bars | Brownie Box

They’re great as a topping for your morning greek yogurt bowl or as an afternoon snack. But I found it incredibly hard to stop nibbling on them all day (and then feel bad about it), that’s why I always freeze them individually and let them thaw in the fridge for when I need them!

No-Bake Granola Bars | Brownie Box

Recipe adapted from Bowl of Delicious – Makes 12/15 bars

Ingredients

4 Tbsp coconut oil
4 Tbsp organic honey (or other sweetener, such as molasses, agave, maple syrup)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp almond butter (or peanut butter)
1 cup organic old fashioned rolled oats
½ cup sliced walnuts
½ cup sunflower seeds
½ cup pumpkin seeds
¼ cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
½ cup chopped dried apricots
1 Tbsp chia seeds

Directions

1. Melt the coconut oil, honey, and cinnamon over medium heat and bring to a boil.
2. Let it bubble for a minute then turn the heat down to low, and stir in the vanilla, almond butter, and oats. Stir to coat.
3. Add the nuts/seeds, shredded coconut, and dried apricots, then mix until fully incorporated.
5. Continue cooking on low heat for 2 minutes then remove from heat.
6. Meanwhile, line a 6″x8″ (15 x 20 cm) baking dish with parchment paper, leaving the sides of the paper long.
7. Add the mixture to the dish; press with the back of a wooden spoon so it is evenly spread out.
8. Fold the parchment paper wrap over the granola so the top is covered (get more if necessary). Press the granola aggressively, so it is as packed as you can make it. You can use the wooden spoon, the palm of your hands, a dish/cup, or a glass mason jar. Just make sure it is well packed and evenly distributed!
9. Place in refrigerator and allow to cool completely – at least two hours up to overnight.
10. Remove granola from parchment paper –  it should be in one big block. Cut into bars, and wrap individually in plastic wrap. Store in the fridge for about 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Mango Tart

Mango Tart
The first signs of spring are finally here! It’s been a very long and cold winter in New York City, and nothing makes me happier than the thought of warmer days ahead. Lately I’ve been craving (and day dreaming) of fruit based sweets and pastries – blueberry galettes, pomegranate pavlovas, raspberry ricotta mille-feuille, plum crumble cakes, and blackberry mascarpone cheesecake popsicles! – Ouf my baking list keeps getting longer and longer!

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My absolute favorite is this fabulous mango tart recipe, which I developed from different classic family recipes. I adapted both recipes of the buttery crumbly crust and sweet vanilla cream from my mother’s family book of desserts, and combined them together with the mango slices to create a delicious tart that really makes an elegant statement.

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Also, the timing of making this dessert couldn’t be more perfect since not only is today the first day of spring and mother’s day, but my mom is also visiting me from Lebanon! I’m just so excited because I really look forward to bake and cook with her, she is my biggest inspiration.

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The result – as you can see – was spectacular. It’s true that it takes more time to cut the mango into super thin slices and rearrange them precisely on the round tart, but the result is beyond worth it!

Crust
Ingredients:
3 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
250 g (2.5 sticks) butter, softened to room temperature
2 tablespoons icing powdered sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
¾ teaspoon baking powder

Directions:
1. Mix the egg yolks and vanilla in a small bowl.
2. In another bowl mix the butter, icing sugar, flour, and baking powder until combined.
3. Add the egg yolks to the dry ingredients and mix by hand until it all comes together and shape into a disk.
4. Refrigerate the dough for 30 min.
5. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 180ºC (355ºF)
5. Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface into a 29 cm (11.5″) circle then transfer to a tart pan with the same dimensions. Press down the dough with the palm of your hand to level it (the crust will be thick).
6. Bake for 30-35 minutes in the oven until golden and the edges are lightly brown.
7. Let cool on wire rack.

Vanilla Cream
Ingredients:
4 cups whole or skimmed milk
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup caster sugar
1 vanilla pod

Directions:
1. In a medium bowl, mix the milk, flour, and lemon zest. Stand for 10 minutes.
2. In another bowl, mix the eggs and sugar with a hand mixer until pale and double in volume.
3. Strain the milk mixture into a saucepan to get rid of any clump. Add the egg mixture.
4. Using the point of a knife, scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod and place it in the saucepan along with the pod.

6. Place the saucepan on low heat and keep stirring with a wooden spoon until the mixture is thickened and coats the back of the spoon.
7. Take off the heat and let cool until room temperature then place in the fridge until cold.

Assembly
1. Peel two medium mangoes and slice the mango halves off the pit, then into 1/8-inch-thick slices.
2. Spread vanilla cream over pastry crust and smooth with a spatula.
3. Start placing the thin mango slices on the outer edge of the tart and work your way in, slightly overlapping the rows.

Chocolate Cookies Stuffed with Nutella

Nutella Stuffed Chocolate Cookies | Bronie Box11
I grew up in a very health conscious household and I always preferred healthy food over junk food or packaged snacks. It’s no wonder why I never tasted Nutella during my childhood. I bought a Nutella jar the other day, but I wasn’t going to eat the whole jar all by myself! So I decided to bake these cookies.
Nutella Stuffed Chocolate Cookies | Bronie Box13
First I looked up the history of this yummy chocolate spread (typical me). It was first manufactured in 1946 by Pietro Ferrero in Italy, under the name “Pasta Gianduja”, but it wasn’t until 1963 that “Nutella” was introduced to the market. It is so popular today to the point that the number of jars sold annually (if lined up) would wrap around the moon four times! … Impressive huh?!
Nutella Stuffed Chocolate Cookies | Bronie Box10
The cookies turned out delicious, especially when they are warm and oozing with pure Nutella filling. It’s the texture that truly won me over: slightly crisp on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside.
Nutella Stuffed Chocolate Cookies | Bronie Box4
Don’t these look ridiculously irresistible?
Nutella Stuffed Chocolate Cookies | Bronie Box6
Nutella Stuffed Chocolate Cookies | Bronie Box8

Assembling the cookies take more time than making the dough itself. I also found it much easier to show you a step-by-step tutorial on how to stuff the dough with Nutella:
1
First, roll out a teaspoon of dough into a ball.

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Then form an indentation with your index finger

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Spoon Nutella on the dough – as much as it can hold 😉

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Take another teaspoon of dough and flatten it with the palm of your hands to seal the cookie. Then bake for 10 minutes! These rich cookies should be soft when you take them out of the oven. They will firm up as they cool, so be careful not to over-bake them.

Did you try baking these? Do you have another favorite recipe for Nutella cookies? I’d love to hear your comments!

Ingredients:
1/2 cup (110g) butter
1+1/2 cups (350g) packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup (55g) cocoa powder, sifted
2 large eggs
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 cups (260g) all-purpose flour, sifted
1/2 cup Nutella (more or less)

Directions:
1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Melt the butter in a saucepan then take off the heat (you could microwave the butter instead).
3. Stir in the brown sugar, cocoa powder, eggs and salt until well combined.
4. Add the baking soda and flour and stir until just combined.
5. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes at least (it becomes easier to work with)
6. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C (350 F)
7. Roll 1 teaspoon of dough into a ball, use your finger make an indentation in the center.
8. Fill the indentation with Nutella (approx. 1/2 tsp), top with a flattened teaspoon of dough, and pinch the edges.
9. Bake for 10 minutes. (Do not over-bake, the cookies will firm up as they cool). Let cool for 2 minutes on baking sheets before transferring to a wire rack.

Nutella Stuffed Chocolate Cookies | Bronie Box1

Apple Swirl Cake

1 -Apple Swirl Cake | Brownie Box
I am going to share with you a great Apple Swirl Cake recipe that my grandmother and mother have been making for as long as I can remember. It’s a delicious cake that we always eat for breakfast or even for dessert with some whipped cream.
4- Apple Swirl Cake | Brownie Box
I absolutely love baked apples: they’re sweet, tart and tender. My favorite part is their wonderful warming aroma that fills the house!2- Apple Swirl Cake | Brownie Box

The cake is spiced with cinnamon and swirled with chunks of sweet apples. It is also super moist: the addition of orange juice and yogurt to the batter gives the cake a wonderful texture. Can you believe that it gets better the second day? The spongy cake soaks the apple cinnamon juice to develop a deeper flavor.
3- Apple Swirl Cake | Brownie Box
I’ve never been able to stop with just one slice!

Ingredients:
3 cups cored, peeled and chopped apples
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 + 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 medium eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup yogurt
2 teaspoons liquid vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:
1. Mix apples, sugar, and cinnamon in a bowl.
2. In another large bowl combine sugar and oil.
3. Beat in eggs, orange juice, yogurt, and vanilla extract.
4. In a separate bowl sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.
5. Add to creamed mixture a little at a time until smooth.
6. Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F).
7. Grease and flour a bunt pan.
8. Pour 1/3 batter into a greased bunt pan. Add 1/2 of the apple mixture on top of the batter.
Add another 1/3 of the batter, then the rest of the apples. End with the remainder of the batter on top.
9. Bake for 50 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
10. Cool for at least 10 minutes in the pan before turning the cake onto a wire rack.
11. Serve warm with whipped cream. Optional