Foodie Friday: Raspberry Almond Meltaways

Raspberry Almond Meltaways

I hope everyone had a lovely holiday! Sorry to burden you guys with another cookie recipe, but I just couldn’t resist! I had these raspberry almond meltaways for the first time this year– my mother-in-law sent a tin of them along with our Christmas presents — I was hooked from the first bite, and began a frantic mission to replicate the recipe.

There’s something strangely addictive about these cookies. They’re sweet, but not too sweet, balanced out by a slight tang from the raspberry jam. And yes, they really do melt in your mouth. The only downside to this recipe is that the dough needs to chill for a few hours before you can start making the cookies, but oh, it’s so worth it.


For the cookies:

1 cup butter, softened

2/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup raspberry jam

For the glaze:

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 tablespoon milk

1 teaspoon almond extract



Beat butter on high speed until creamy. Add the sugar, vanilla, and almond extract. Slowly add the flour into the wet ingredients. Mix a few times by hand before turning the mixer on low to slowly mix until a soft dough is formed. Press the dough down into a bowl and place in refrigerator until chilled (about 3 hours).

Preheat oven to 350F. Shape about 1 Tablespoon of the cookie dough into balls. Press a small indentation into the top (I usually my knuckle for this). Smooth out any cracks with your fingers. Once all of the cookies are arranged on the sheet, fill each indent with jam.

Bake for 13-15 minutes or until edges brown slightly. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes before glazing.

Stir together glaze ingredients until smooth. Add more liquid to thin out or add more confectioners’ sugar to thicken to your desired consistency. Drizzle over cookies and allow glaze to set.

Raspberry Almond Meltaways

Inspired by sequins



I’ve never considered myself to be much of a sequins girl, but this holiday season I’ve found myself completely enamoured with them. A gold sequined table runner for my dining room table, a new sequined cushion for my sofa, a high-waisted sequined pencil skirt for my birthday party in January… keep moving people, nothing to see here.

Nars Digital World Lip Pencil Coffret

Nars Digital World

The Nars holiday collection is something I look forward to every year. Nars has always had a special knack for making the old seem new again by combining their artfully designed packaging with fresh combinations of their classic shades and new pops of color. It’s inspiring, really.

However, the majority of the praise should be saved for their holiday pallets and gift sets. Even during the times in my life when I had an extremely limited beauty budget, I would always save it for these special items. They let you own a piece of a brand at a significantly lower price than buying full-sized, separate items.

For their 2014 holiday collection, Nars went above and beyond their normal standard.  The collection as a whole features bright white, laser cut packaging and a focus on white-based brights and deep, pouty jewel tones; however, out of the whole collection, I found the aptly named Nars Digital World Lip Pencil Coffret particularly alluring.

Nars Digital World Set

From the right: Cruella, Yu, New Iberico, Torres Del Paine, and Descanso

The set comes with two  velvet matte shades and three satin. The set is a real bargain, as a single full-sized pencil (at 0.086 oz) will set you back $25, while the set’s 5 minis (0.06 oz each) with collectible box retails at $49.

The velvet matte shades include Cruella (a scarlet red), and New Iberico (an intense, classic coral). To say I love Nars’ velvet matte lip pencils is a vast understatement. It’s rare to find a matte formulation, in a lip pencil no less, that is so long-lasting and yet still feels pleasant on the lips after hours of wear. I love how these colors look as they wear throughout the day — another rarity. Cruella is particularly lovely, starting with a bold finish and fading to a beautiful, even stain. I took this picture after wearing the color through breakfast and several cups of coffee. New Iberico is gorgeous paired with the darker tones I’ve been wearing throughout fall, but I absolutely cannot wait to wear it once spring rolls around.

The satin shades are extremely lovely, though the wear varies a bit more with the colors. You get Yu (a bright, Barbie pink), Descanso (a rosy nude), and Torres Del Paine (a peachy coral) in the set. Yu wears the most like the matte shades, although with a glossier start, fading to a bright, rosy stain. Descanso is the perfect nude for fair, cool complexioned individuals like myself who usually shy away from nudes. Torres Del Paine is the kind of color that begs to be worn by someone with an olive-toned complexion — it was the only shade I found restrictive, the rest of the colors are relatively universal.

Overall this set is a dream. I can see it being a perfect last-minute Christmas gift, or (even better) the ideal thing to use those holiday gift cards on. I know I’ll be looking forward to seeing what Nars offers us next year!

Nars Digital World Lip Pencil Coffret $49.00 at Sephora

Nars Digital World Lip Pencil Coffret

From the right: Descanso, Torres Del Paine, New Iberico, Yu, and Cruella



Foodie Friday: Holiday Brookies


There are certain recipes that are synonymous with the holiday season. To me, it doesn’t really feel like the holidays without these brookies. My mother has made these every Christmas season without fail since before I can remember. Now, I’m working to spread the tradition to my friends and coworkers.  A cross between a brownie and a cookie (hence the name), these little darlings are always a crowd pleaser.


1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/4 cups sugar

2 eggs

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract



Preheat an oven to 350°F. Grease 2 baking sheets with butter.

Put the confectioners’ sugar into a medium bowl and set aside.

In another bowl, using a wooden spoon, stir together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until creamy, about 3 minutes. Pause mixing occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add one egg and beat on medium speed until blended. Add the other egg and vanilla and beat until blended. Add the flour mixture. Beat on low speed just until fully blended.

To form the cookies, take a tablespoon, and scoop up a rounded spoonful of dough. Scrape the dough off the spoon into the palm of your other hand and roll the dough into a ball. Roll the ball in the confectioners’ sugar until covered. Place the balls on a prepared baking sheet and repeat, spacing the balls about 2 inches apart.

Bake the cookies until they are cracked and puffed, 10 to 13 minutes. When they’re done baking, let the cookies rest on the pan for at least 15 minutes. Move the cookies onto a rack and let cool completely. This recipe makes about 24 cookies.

Siren says: A 10-minute cook time equals a fudgy, more brownie-like consistency. A 13-minute cook time results in a firmer, traditional cookie texture.


First Impression: Boscia Luminizing Black Mask

I had always been intrigued by boscia’s Luminizing Black Mask, so when I saw that Sephora had added a boscia bundle containing a 1oz tube of the stuff to their VIB Black Friday sale items, I jumped on it.


First impression: this mask looks awesome. Black as tar, and about as thick, I used about half of the tube at one time, just because it looked so awesome on (check it out on Instagram here). Just seeing my dogs reactions when they saw it on my face made the purchase worth it.

Also, this mask means serious business. I’ve always found peelable masks effective at removing dead skin (not to mention there is something satisfying about peeling them off), but this mask is something else. I had a slight moment of panic when I started trying to get the peeling started and it wasn’t budging, but once I got it started it was a breeze.


Afterwards my skin felt incredibly soft and smooth, something I rarely achieve this time of year. The next day my foundation went on like a dream — even my powder products seemed to go on better.  The best part? The effect lasted the rest of the week. I’ll definitely be purchasing the full size soon!