Tag Archives: baked goods

I just want to share these pictures of pie

wholeapplepie-2 wholeapplepie-5

I baked this pie over the weekend because…pie.  There’s no other reason that matters, really.

Anyway, it’s a riff off my apple almond tart.  I used a double batch of the same frangipane recipe.  I used Alton Brown’s butter/lard pie recipe for the crust.  And then for the apples, I used my old-school apple peeler/finger mangler thing (see below) to core, peel and spiral slice the apples.

The corer doesn’t fully slice the apples–all the pieces remain connected, so they’re “sliced” but actually still just one unit.  Then I sprinkled them with a mixture of brown sugar, white sugar, and cinnamon and let them sit for a few minutes.  Depending on the water content of your apple choice, you may want to let them sit for up to a half hour to get out the extra moisture.  I use honeycrisp apples, and they’ve been pretty solid.

Anyway, I sat the apples in the pie crust and spooned the frangipane around them and added a little bit inside the apple as well.  Then I baked the pie for 30 minutes, covered the edges with tinfoil to prevent burning, and continued baking for another hour.  Then let the pie cool.


Apple Frangipane Tart

I don’t know what the weather is like where you live, but where I live it’s like:

Hoth from Star Wars

This, of course, has caused me to retreat even further into the warm blankets on my couch.  It also has caused serious cravings for comfort food like a good warm, flaky pastry.

This one is particularly delightful because it’s made from ingredients I regularly keep on hand, and it takes very little effort to put together but it looks fancy, and that’s what’s important.  People see it, taste it, get impressed, and think I’m a better baker than I really am.  Score!

Apple Almond Tart

The pastry part is easy–two sheets of thawed puff pastry with the edges cut into strips.  The filling is a couple of apples peeled, cored, sliced, and marinated in a little amaretto and brown sugar, plus a layer of frangipane to glue it all together.

Apple Almond Tart Apple Almond Tart

Frangipane is an almond pastry cream made of ground almonds, sugar, butter and eggs.  Don’t feel intimidated by any of the previous words: it is extremely easy to make.  I use whole almonds and grind them in my food processor; if you don’t have a processor, buy ground almonds and use those.  The end product will still be delicious.

Apple Almond Tart

Apple Frangipane Tart


  • 2 sheets puff pastry

  • 2 apples, peeled/cored/sliced
  • 1/4 cup amaretto
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar

  • 1/2 cup whole almonds
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsps soft butter
  • 1 tbsp flour

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp water
  • extra sugar for sprinkling (optional)


  1. Take the puff pastry out of the package, cover it with a kitchen towel, and let it thaw and come up to room temperature.
  2. Put the apples in a large ziplock bag with the amaretto and sugar, tossing to coat. Let marinate for at least 30 minutes, turning the bag over occasionally.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  4. Put the almonds and sugar into a food processor and pulse until relatively finely ground. Add in the butter, egg, and flour. Mix until you get a grainy creamy consistency.
  5. Drain the apple slices.
  6. Sprinkle a little flour down on the counter and lay down the first sheet of puff pastry. Roll it out a little bit to smooth over any creases. Carefully move the dough to a baking sheet that has been prepared with some parchment paper.
  7. Spread about half of the frangipane down the middle third of the pastry. Top it with about two layers of sliced apples.
  8. Take a knife or a pizza cutter and cut both sides of the pastry perpendicular to the frangipane into strips, stopping about a half inch away from the frangipane. Fold the strips over the top of the apples.
  9. Beat the egg with the water to make an egg wash. Brush the egg wash over the pastry. Sprinkle it with a bit of sugar (optional).
  10. Repeat the process with the other puff pastry sheet.
  11. Bake the tarts in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until the pasty is browned and set. Let cool, slice, and serve.

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap: Chocolate Orange Pecan Shortbread

I mentioned in the last post that I was excited about three things this week.  One of those is tonight’s Live Organize Your Kitchen with Evernote hangout with fellow Ambassador and food blogger, Brandie Kajino.  The other was cookie swaps.


Specifically, the annual Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap.  I do enjoy participating in it every year.  If you haven’t heard about it, it’s organized by Love & Olive Oil and The Little Kitchen.  Food bloggers all over the country sign up and donate their sign-up fee to Cookies for Kids Cancer.  We get matched with three other food bloggers and we have to make a new-to-us cookie recipe and send a dozen of them to our matches.  In return, we receive three different batches of cookies to enjoy.  It’s a lot of fun, because who doesn’t like to get cookies in the mail?  If you want to join the cookie swap next year, go here to sign up on the mailing list.

This year, I got a delightful selection of truly diverse and delicious cookies.


Check out Lynn and Katie at:
Blonde Ambition

The cookies I decided to make were chocolate shortbread, based off a recipe I got from The View from the Great Island.  I decided to go double chocolate, though not dark, and add in a bright citrusy flavor with a bit of Grand Marnier and orange zest.  And then, while I was at it, why not a bit of crunch with some chopped pecans?  I love orange and pecan together.

So here’s my revised recipe.  Enjoy!

Chocolate Orange Pecan Shortbread


  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 tbsp Grand Marnier
  • the zest of one orange


  1. Pulse the flour, sugar and cocoa powder in a food processor until well-mixed. Add in the butter, Grand Marnier and orange zest until the dough just comes together. Add in the chocolate chips and pecans and pulse a few more times until they are incorporated.
  2. Dump the dough out onto a piece of cling wrap. Shape it into a log, wrap it securely and refrigerate it for at least an hour.
  3. Preheat the oven to 325F. Take the dough out of the fridge, unwrap it, and slice it into half inch slices with a sharp knife.
  4. Put the slices on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes. They'll still be a bit soft at the end.
  5. Let them cool and then enjoy!

I said, brrr..it’s cold in here…

I’m resisting the urge to embed videos of Bring It On into this post.  It’s difficult for me, because you know how I feel about pop culture references.  I love them so much.

And also, it really is cold here.  Those of you in warm climates just don’t know my pain.  For the rest of you, I’m just gonna put this here…

And for bonus dipping action!

Mushroom Mac & Cheese with Portobello “Bacon” and French Bread Crumbles

Mac & cheese is one of the happiest dishes there is.  I know what you’re thinking: “That’s just like…your opinion, man.”  Well, it is.  And I love it when I’m right.

Chanterelle Mac and Cheese with Portobello Bacon and French Brea

This one is particularly good because it’s full of mushroomy deliciousness.  I found chanterelles on sale and used those, but you could use any mushroom.  You’re probably better off with cremini or button mushrooms.  To heighten the flavor a bit, you might consider roasting the mushrooms first, or swapping the cheddar to something lighter like Doux de Montagne.

But especially great with this is the topping: a crumble of french bread, parsley, parmesan and chopped portobello “bacon.”  Which isn’t real bacon, obviously, and for meat-eaters, it won’t be the same.  It will, however, be delicious and an acceptable breakfast side for anyone, vegan or otherwise, as well as a great way to add some meaty, smoky elements into this dish while still keeping it vegetarian-friendly.  I got the idea for the portobello bacon from a friend, who introduced me to Libby Pratt’s blog.


Chanterelle Mac & Cheese with Portobello “Bacon” and French Bread Topping


    For the mac:
  • 1 pound large shells, cooked to al dente
  • 1/2lb mushrooms of your choice, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of black pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup butter plus 2 extra tbsps
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp whole grain Dijon mustard
  • 4 cups milk
  • 5 cups shredded sharp cheddar
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • For the topping
  • 1 large portobello mushroom cap, sliced and marinated in this marinade
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 3-4 pieces of french bread, crumbled
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan


    Make the mac
  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Melt the 2 tbsps butter in a large pot w/ the olive oil. Add in the mushrooms and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cooked down and soft. Add in the salt and pepper, the rest of the butter and the flour. Stir to get everything well incorporated and cook for a couple more minutes. Add in the parsley and dijon. Add in the first two cups of milk, stirring well, and then the next two, slowly. Let the milk warm up and then add in the cheeses, 1-2 cups at a time, stirring constantly to give it time to melt and smooth out.
  2. Add in the cooked pasta and then pour the entire mixture into a large oven-safe pan. Cook at 400F for 30 minutes.
  3. Make the topping
  4. Drain the portobello slices. Heat a skillet over medium high heat and add in the canola oil. Fry the portobello slices until browned and slightly crispy on the edges, 3-5 minutes per side.
  5. Remove them from the pan and drain them on paper towels. Add the tablespoon of butter to the pan and melt it. Toss in the breadcrumbs and toast them until crispy. Chop the portobello slices and add them to the pan, along with the parsley. Fold everything together.
  6. Pull the baked macaroni out of the oven and sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the top, and then the quarter cup of parmesan.

Because…Pie, Part II: Winter is Coming

It snowed last night.  I don’t know if it had even frosted yet but last night, it snowed.

It’s made my husband terribly happy.  He’s a weird, cold-loving polar bear who has somehow managed to squeeze himself into a very convincing Josh-suit.  He loves the fact that it rained and then snowed last night, even though it froze the car doors shut.

Me?  I like the snow just fine, I suppose…as long as I’m laying in my warm bed (flannel sheets for the win!).  Or snuggled on the couch with a mug of cocoa watching How I Met Your Mother or American Horror Story.  Or basically not anywhere near the outside.  If it were possible to safely and inexpensively induce hibernation in people…I would do it.  In a heartbeat.

But alas.  I live in Michigan and snow is a thing.  Winter is real.  It’s not just a Game of Thrones meme anymore.


My only weapon against it is flannel sheets, fuzzy socks, and an arsenal of warm, heavy comfort foods.  I have decided this is going to be the Winter of the Comfort Food, officially.  Last week was lasagna.  I’m still working on perfecting it.  Then pumpkin pie.

This week, I turned my attention to pot pie.  I love a good chicken pot pie.  It combines my top comfort food (chicken stew) with pie crust.  There is literally nothing to not like about that.  And when made in ramekins or small baking dishes, you get single-sized portions.  Easy for distributing, and repackaging, and taking for lunch the next day.



I spent less than half a day making these, all told.  It seems like a lot, but most of it is “put it in the oven and let it do it’s thing” time.  I roasted the chicken, made the pie crust, cooked the stew…did everything except make stock.  I used store-bought because I didn’t have any on hand, but homemade would make it even more awesome.  It was a great way to spend a cool fall day.  It’ll be a great way to pass the winter ones too.




Roasted Chicken Pot Pie


    For the crust
  • 1.5 cups flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsps cold butter, diced
  • 4 tbsp cold water
  • 2 tsps dried herbes de provence
  • For the chicken
  • 3-4 pound whole chicken, cleaned and with the organs removed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp dried herbes de provence
  • 1/2 tbsp sea salt
  • 1 cup frozen pearl onions
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 3 whole cloves of garlic
  • A little bit of chicken stock as needed for basting
  • For the filling
  • The white and dark meat from a 3-4 pound roasted chicken
  • The pearl onions roasted with the chicken
  • 1 leek, sliced and washed
  • 3 carrots, sliced into half inch rounds
  • 1 cup of frozen baby peas
  • 32oz of chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 tbsp dried herbes de provence
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 cup of grated parmesan, divided
  • 1/4 cup of heavy cream
  • salt and pepper to taste


    Make the pie crust
  1. Do the step either before or while the chicken is roasting. Combine the flour, sugar, salt, herbs and butter in a food processor and pulse a few times until the butter is thoroughly chopped. Slowly drizzle in the cold water while you pulse the processor until the dough forms on its own into a rough ball.
  2. Remove the dough and place it on a floured surface. Pat it into a ball shape, wrap it in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for at least an hour.
  3. Roast the chicken
  4. Preheat the oven to 450F.
  5. Mix the olive oil, herbs and sea salt together and rub them all over the chicken, especially under the skin over the breast meat. Stuff the cavity of the chicken with the garlic and rosemary sprigs.
  6. Place the chicken in a small roasting pan with the pearl onions. Roast for approximately 1-1.5 hours (about 20 minutes per pound, or until the juices run clear), basting as needed with a little stock.
  7. Let the chicken cool before pulling the meat off.
  8. Bring the filling together
  9. In a heavy-bottomed pan, melt the stick of butter. Add in the flour and stir together, creating a roux. Cook over medium heat, stirring as needed. You want to cook the flour taste out, but not burn the roux or let it get too dark--let it go for 10 minutes or so. Add the dried herbs and rosemary to the pot, and then slowly stir in the chicken stock. Let the stock simmer for about 15 minutes.
  10. Pull the meat from the chicken, give it a rough dice with a knife, and add it to the soup, along with the leeks and carrots. Let the soup simmer down until the stock has reduced by at least a third. Add in the cream, half of the parmesan, the pearl onions and peas. Taste it and add any salt and pepper as needed.
  11. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  12. Assemble the pies
  13. Divide the stew amongst your ramekins. I used four wide, shallow ones. The amount of pies you get will vary on your ramekin size.
  14. Roll out the pie crust and, using a pizza cutter or a knife, cut out circles slightly larger in diameter than your ramekins. Carefully drape the crust over the top of the ramekins, pressing the edges over the sides, sealing in the stew.
  15. Brush the crusts with a bit of egg wash or butter, and sprinkle each one with a quarter of the leftover parmesan. Place the ramekins on a large cookie sheet, and bake them in the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until the crusts are nicely browned.
  16. Serve and enjoy. They will be hot and delicious!


I sometimes wonder who first looked at a pumpkin and thought, “let’s bake that down and pie it.”  It seems to me that the vast expanse of human culinary history really comes down to someone looking at some random item and thinking, “I should put that in a pie.”

Case in point:

One of the ways in which we traditionally separate ourselves from animals is that we are tool using species who cook our food.  No, I say.  The real separation between us and the animals is that they will look at their prey and think, “I want to eat that” whereas we look at our prey and think, “I could bake that into a pie and it would be delicious.”



Really, why?  Why do we fill pie shells full of ground lamb and smother it in mashed potatoes?  Why do most cultures have their own versions of hand-held goodies wrapped in pie crust so that you can eat your pie while simultaneously fighting off intruders or driving a backhoe?  Why did someone actually think to crush Cool Ranch Doritos and bake them in an onion-y filling?  Because…pie.


Yeah, that’s pretty much all there is to it, so far as I can tell.

So to celebrate this apparently deeply ingrained appreciation for combining crust and filling, with or without another crust on top depending on said filling, I am going to share a recipe for Josh’s favorite pie: classic pumpkin.




Classic Pumpkin Pie


  • 1 prepared and rolled out pie crust
  • 15oz of canned pumpkin (pure pumpkin, not the pumpkin pie filling)
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice (2 parts cinnamon, 1 part ginger, 1 part nutmeg)
  • 3 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1-2 tbsp amaretto
  • 5oz evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup whole milk


  1. Preheat your oven to 375F.
  2. Lay your pie crust in your pie plate so that it nestles into the sides. Trim off any excess and use it to create decorations if you like. Carefully wrap tin foil around the edges of the pie, so that they don't get too dark while it's baking.
  3. Put the pumpkin, sugar and pie spice into the bowl of a mixer and blend together. Add the eggs, amaretto, evaporated and whole milk. Blend until everything is well incorporated.
  4. Pour the batter into the pie crust. Place the pie on a cookie sheet, put it in the oven and bake it for 30 minutes.
  5. Remove the foil and continue baking the pie for another 20-30 minutes, depending on your oven. When a toothpick inserted into the pie comes out clean, pull it out of the oven and let it fully cool.
  6. Slice and eat, and store it in the fridge.


I like to use this all-butter crust recipe for my pie crusts. Not that I have anything against lard or shortening crusts, but I always have butter on hand, so it's easy for me to make.



And because they’re my favorite pies: cookie pie and cinnamon pie.  Also, for good measure, no-pie apple pie.

Apple cake: apple pie for minimalists

Apple CakeI don’t know if you know this about me, but I suffer from a very intense case of laziness.  It’s something I’ve struggled with for a long time.  Well, I wouldn’t say struggled, exactly.  That indicates some sort of action on my part and I’m far too lazy for that.  What’s truly amusing about the whole thing is that I really am a very productive person, all told.  Or at least, I seem to manage to be.  I have a full time job, a couple of part time gigs, a fairly active social life, clean house and lots of hobbies.  So maybe it’s less that I’m lazy and more that my time is at a premium.

Yeah, that sounds way better doesn’t it?  I should have started out with that.

Apple Cake

What was my point?  I had a point.  Oh right–so my laziness, I mean, time premium has some negative aspects to it.  The biggest one being that sometimes I want food in my mouth but I don’t want to have to make the effort to produce said food.  Oh, how I long for the halcyon future-days of the Jetsons era where I can have a robot produce food for me, put it into my mouth and help me chew.  Sure, I could crack open a box of Kraft mac or some pizza rolls–and don’t get me wrong, I will occasionally do that (anyone who tells you they never do probably has a pantry full of lies)–but generally I want real food.  Real good food.

This brings me to pie.  Pie is difficult thing.  It’s not actually that hard to make, but it takes some time.  You have to make the dough and then chill it and then there’s all that rolling and–yawn–at this point, you haven’t even put together the filling yet.  OMG.  First world kitchen problems.

Apple Cake

However, this apple cake saves the day.  All you have to do is dice some apples (with the skin on!), mix them with a super easy batter, pile them into a pan and bake.  Done.  And what you get is a delicious dessert that’s like pie, but faster and lighter.  And if you’re not a fan of pie crust, well you’re probably a vampire but you’re also going to love this dish.  And if you are a fan of pie crust, you’re still going to love this dish.  

Apple cake: apple pie for minimalists

Adapted from Strawberry Plum


  • 4 large or 8 small-medium honeycrisp or similar apples
  • 3/4 c. flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp amaretto
  • 2 tbsp frangelico
  • 1 cup melted unsalted butter


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a 8 or 9 inch pie pan.
  2. Dice the apples into half inch chunks.
  3. In the bowl of your mixer, combine all the other ingredients--first the dry and then the wet. Fold in the apples.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 1 hour (start checking it at 50 minutes, depending on your oven).
  5. Let cool, run a knife around the edge to loosen it and then slice and serve as you like.

Upside Down Blueberry Ginger Buttermilk Cake

Upside Down Blueberry-Ginger Buttermilk Cake

When your toast falls upside down and the delicious, melty butter side gets all icky, you feel sad.  When you flip over a USB thumb drive three times to get it into the port but fail because somehow it’s always upside down, you feel stupid.  But when someone purposely bakes a cake upside down, somehow the world seems right side up.  It’s a miracle of nature, those upside down cakes.

Upside Down Blueberry Ginger Buttermilk Cake

And while the golden standard (because it’s yellow!) will always be the classic pineapple upside down cake, peaches, apples and nectarines are also delicious.  But it’s August in Michigan (and I guess everywhere else too) so if you’re going to focus on a fruit, it had better be the noble blueberry.

Fresh Blueberries

So having a pint of blueberries left in the fridge, I figured I’d give upside down blueberry cakes a try.  It was a gamble that paid off.  A slight gamble.  Like one of the “freebies” that gets you hooked on the game, but then you have to pay next time.  I threw in some ginger because, well, I have a root of ginger and it wasn’t going to eat itself.  It’s also one of those flavors that pairs really well with lots of fruit so it seemed like a good choice.  I often just sort of go with things and see what happens.  You can’t be too conservative in the kitchen; you’ll never learn or have fun or accidentally melt a countertop (bad) or create the first chocolate chip cookie (good).


Upside Down Blueberry Ginger Buttermilk CakeI can tell you from experience, though—parmesan herb sweet marshmallows are not a bet that will pay off.  No siree.

This cake though?  Yeah you’re good.  Plus look how pretty it is!

 Upside Down Blueberry Ginger Buttermilk Cake

Upside Down Blueberry-Ginger Buttermilk Cake


    For the topping:
  • 1 pint of fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • For the cake:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add in the butter, milk, vanilla, eggs, ginger and cinnamon. Mix until it just comes together.
  3. Melt down half a stick of butter and half a cup of brown sugar in a small saucepan. Add in a tablespoon of fresh grated ginger and a pinch of nutmeg. Cook for a minute until the sugar is thoroughly dissolved and then pour the mixture into the bottom of a springform pan. Top with the pint of blueberries in an even layer.
  4. Pour the cake batter into the springform pan on top of the blueberries.
  5. Bake the cake in the oven for about 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool completely.
  6. Open the springform pan and remove the sides. Carefully flip the cake over onto a plate and remove the bottom of the springform pan. If any berries came undone, just fudge them back into place a bit. Ta da!


Upside Down Pineapple Cake

Sunshine Cake: Pineapple Ginger Upside Down Cake

Pssst.  You.  Come here.  It’s ok, I just want to talk for a second.  Look, we’re friends, right?  Good.  Cause I need to tell you something.  And I feel that since we’re friends, I can be honest and direct with you.

You look like you could use a piece of cake.

And not just any cake either, but a piece of cake that practically radiates sunlight, or rainbows.  Like the unicorn of the confectionary world.

Upside Down Pineapple Cake

Now I don’t know what’s going on.  Maybe you’ve had a bad week.  Maybe you’ve had a fabulous week.  Maybe you just look a little hungry, I dunno.  But you need this cake.

So here’s what we’re going to do.  I’m going to lay out the recipe below.  You are going to read it, make a grocery list, go to the store, buy the items you need, come back to your house and bake this cake.  When it’s done and cooled, you are going to cut yourself a slice and then you are going to eat it.

I know.  Crazy right?

Upside Down Pineapple Cake

Pineapple Ginger Upside Down Cake


    For the cake:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • For the topping
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 8-oz can pineapple rings, drained
  • 1 8-oz can crushed pineapple
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Prepare the cake
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add in the butter, milk, vanilla, eggs, ginger and cinnamon. Mix until it just comes together.
  4. Prepare the topping
  5. Spray a 9" high-sided cast iron skillet with baking spray.
  6. Melt the butter in a small pan and stir in the brown sugar and cinnamon until fully incorporated and gooey. Pour the butter mixture into the skillet. Place individual pineapple rings in the butter mixture around the pan. Fill in the spaces with spoonfuls of the crushed pineapple.
  7. Pour the cake batter into the skillet.
  8. Bake in the oven for about 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool completely.
  9. Take a knife and edge around the cake to loosen it a bit. Place a plate over the top of the skillet and flip it upside down. The cake should slide out smoothly but if you lose a pineapple ring, just nudge it back into place. :)


Cake recipe adapted from Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice

This makes a very tall, dense but soft cake. You can adapt this into two 8" cakes, a couple dozen cupcakes if you prefer.


Bousou La Tmssou (Algerian Cookies) and the Food Blogger Cookie Swap

I was very excited to learn about the Food Blogger Cookie Swap this year.  I love getting mail from random strangers, I love cookies and I love the food blogging community so everything about it appealed to me, including the opportunity to donate to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer.

I decided to make a recipe I’ve had in my Evernote recipe notebook for years but never got around to making, an Algerian treat called “Bousou La Tmssou” or some variation of that.  These are adorable little things made very simply with powdered sugar, ghee (clarified butter), flour and orange blossom water.   Continue reading

Amaretto Shortbread

M&M Amaretto Shortbread Cookies

m&m amaretto shortbread cookies in a boxThis is one of those weeks that just calls for tiny m&m cookies.  I don’t know what it was.  Maybe it’s excitement from my Skillshare class starting this week.  Maybe it’s end-of-the-year stress.  Maybe it was half a bag of tiny M&Ms sitting leftover on my counter and a half bottle of Amaretto out on the bar.  Who’s to say, really?

The point is, there are two things currently in my house that we should all strive to emulate. Continue reading

Lemon Cranberry Cream Cheese Muffins

lemon cranberry cream cheese muffins-up closeYou like all of those words.  You like them individually.  You’ll also like them together.  You’ll want them to hang out more, maybe rent an apartment in New York together.  You’ll want them to have an insanely popular television show on TLC where you can follow along with their hopes, dreams, careers, personal relationships, good times and inevitable betrayals.  And you’ll cry at the reunion show, “Lemon Cranberry Cream Cheese Muffins: The Next Batch” because no one thought that Cranberry would show up, but she will.  She will.

(This is why you shouldn’t write blog posts when you’re tired.) Continue reading

My friend Mac recently had a birthday.  His request?  A peanut butter cup cake.

Challenge accepted.

So I browsed through my collection of cake recipes and thought about my plan of attack.  I decided that what I wanted was a two layer chocolate cake with a layer of peanut butter frosting in the middle and a crown of tiny peanut butter cups on the top. Continue reading

You know what I like about these bars?  Everything.  They were easy to make, very fast, tasty, they made the house smell delicious and they are a perfect fall treat for noshing on with a good sized mug of hot cocoa and whipped cream.

They came about because I was sitting home alone, bored, getting over a cold and therefore in sore need of some comfort food.  I didn’t want the usual sort of snack–cookies, brownies, etc.  Or more honestly, I didn’t have enough chocolate on hand for the usual snack.  Instead, I sifted through the 300 or so recipes in my Evernote cookbook tagged with “dessert” and found a recipe for pecan pie bars.

I didn’t have pecans…but I did have a Costco-sized bag of almonds.  Plus I knew that with a bit of extra cinnamon thrown in, the bars would basically be like eating candied almonds atop a shortbread crust.  And yep, that’s pretty much what they are.  Delightfully, they’re not too sweet at all–so they won’t push you into sugar shock if you eat one or two with a good helping of my homemade cocoa. Continue reading

The New Apple Dumpling Gang

One of the perks of living in Michigan is fall.  I know, I know: I said in the plum tart post that I hate fall because it’s basically “pre-winter.”  It is.  It is pre-winter.  However, like any good femme fatale, there are certain things about it that you can’t help but be seduced by even knowing that it will end with gunshots and tears icy roads and snow-shoveling.  Like super crisp blue skies, shimmery gold and red leaves, corn mazes and most of all, Michigan apples.  Because where there are Michigan apples, there’s cider and donuts.  And wherever there is cider and donuts, you’ll find me, nomming out. Continue reading

Well it’s happened again.  The slow but inevitable progression of time has once again thrown us into the cruel and ignoble gladiator ring known as Fall, or as I like to call it, “The Pre-Winter.”  I know, I know.  Some of you like fall.  The cooler, sweatshirt-y weather, the apple cider and donuts, the corn mazes and the tricks-and-or-treats.  It’s glorious, Josh says.  Ha.  I know the truth.  It’s the beginning of the end…

…of my summer vacation from blogging.  Did you miss me?  We’ll just pretend you did.  I missed you too.  In fact, I’ve brought you this gift.  This beautiful, delicious gift:

Do you like it? Continue reading

Silly scone. You’re not a cookie.

I can hear the battle raging on inside of Cookie Monster’s head already: “It look like a cookie.  But it not a cookie.  But it have chocolate chip like cookie.  But it scone.  But it round like cookie.  How it not cookie?  Cookie Monster like cookies.  Cookie Monster not Scone Monster.  To eat or not to eat scone cookie?  That is the question.”


The story behind these scones is pretty simple.  Last night I wanted to bake something with chocolate in it.  I didn’t want to make another batch of chocolate chip cookies.  So instead I made something that looked like a chocolate chip cookie instead.  I don’t know what to think about this.  Granted, it’s a very good scone.  Airy, fluffy, sweet, delicious, easy to make.  Vanilla-y with little morsels of semisweet chocolate.  Everybody loves them.  But I’m starting to wonder how bad my obsession with chocolate chip cookies has gotten if I start making little cookie clones out of other types of food.  First the chocolate chip cookie pie and now scones?  Maybe I’ve given scones low self esteem, made them the Jan to the chocolate chip cookie Marsha.  I mean, maybe it’s always, “Cookie, cookie, cookie!” What’s next?  Will my other baked goods start making up fake boyfriends, maybe a George Glass of Milk, to try and convince me of how wanted they are?  What should I do about this?  How should I put this poor pastry out of it’s misery?

I’ll have to eat it.  It’s the only way.  Continue reading

Ogres have layers, bars have layers

It’s that time of year again.  Fat Tuesday.  Mardi Gras.  Carnivale.  For some people, “Paczki Day.”

I, for one, enjoy Mardi Gras.  Who doesn’t like shiny beads and socially accepted overindulgence?  Monks.  But we just won’t tell them about it.  Anyway, I enjoy the festivities.  There is, however, one thing that has always somewhat baffled me about the way people celebrate Fat Tuesday here in southeast Michigan, at least.

Paczkis.  The overwhelming obsession with paczkis.  I mean…why?

Now don’t hate me.  I know that already some of you are going, “Oh my god, you did not just say that,” and others are going, “You didn’t mean it; I forgive you,” and still others are going, “What the hell is a paczki?  And how do you even pronounce it?”  A paczki, pronounced here as puntj-ki, is a Polish pastry made of fried dough filled with jam. Continue reading

Well, it’s New Year’s Eve. How exciting and yet terrifying. I mean, after midnight tonight, it will officially be 2011.  And I have to say, I’m a bit disappointed. I mean, I love my Camry and all but I kind of thought by now I’d have a flying car, or at least a pegasus that was hooked up to a cart of some sort. But no. My vehicle is still a non-magical, non-nuclear powered terrestrial vehicle.

But if I can’t have a personal automotive levitation device, I might as well have the next best thing this new year: brunch. I love brunch. First of all, it’s a delightfully crunchy-sounding word. Brrrrruncccchhh. It’s like weekend-in-a-bowl. It’s also flexible, relaxing, laid back, amenable to last minute plans, sociable and full of delicious flavors and my friends and I are indeed fans of delicious flavors (and also of the TV show Psych). Thus, we are big believers in the awesome healing powers of a good brunch.

Our last brunch was a bit last-minute. It was a couple weeks ago and the planning started on Friday, I think, with Paul messaging me as to whether we were interested in brunching at his place on Sunday. On Saturday, he laid out his menu ideas and we assigned tasks during a quick phone call and then we went grocery shopping for whatever items we didn’t already have in stock. On Sunday, Josh, myself, Brian and Rita trooped over to Paul’s house to get the party started, so to speak, with him and his roommates. Continue reading