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
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
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: real desserts have chocolate in them. But sometimes, sometimes it’s nice to have an “after diner snack” that is light and fruity instead. And I adore fruit for breakfast, snacks…basically any meal of the day. And fruit is more than welcome to dip itself into some melted chocolate and march itself into my mouth. By all means, please do.
Having said that though, I do have a soft spot for lemony sweets as well. Lemon is an amazing flavor when treated right. Sometimes it can be too sweet, or too harsh and sour. But sometimes it can be just the right amount of sweet, just the right amount of tart, just the right level of flavor and then it’s amazing. It’s bright and light and interesting and to be honest, makes me feel like a kid again. As a kid, my favorite (non-chocolate) dessert sweet snack was lemon meringue pie, a favorite I shared with my dad. But mostly lemon makes me think of my grandmother. For two reasons.
One, when I was young–and occasionally still these days–my grandmother would make us lemonade from scratch. As in, from real lemons. Not from packets of Kool-Aid like I know some of you think of when you hear the words “make lemonade.” No, this is the real deal. She hand-squeezed lemons (a juicer? Pshaw) and strained out the seeds and mixed in just the right amount of sugar, water and ice to make a perfect icy cold tart-with-a-hint-of-sweetness treat, especially great during the hot summer days when my sister and I would come over and catch butterflies in the fields by their house, or to make me feel better after their chickens chased me around the yard. Continue reading
I’ll say that one more time: double chocolate chip almond cookie pie. Cookie pie. Cookie pie. Cookie pie.
This is a beautiful dessert, in so many ways. First of all, it contains some of the most important ingredients known to man: chocolate, double chocolate, almonds, butter, pie crust. All it’s missing is pork…and you could remedy that buy adding in crumbled bacon and/or using lard in your pie crust. Just something to consider. Secondly, it solves that terrible, gastronomical conundrum that is, “What do I want for dessert? A cookie or a slice of pie?” Welcome to the future, my good hungry friend! Who needs flying cars? You can have cookie pie. That’s two desserts in one. It’s like a culinary double rainbow. Plus, it offers twice the opportunity for supplemental dairy. I mean, pie needs to have one of two things to go with it: ice cream or whipped cream. Or ice cream and whipped cream. And cookies need milk. So you could have a slice of cookie pie with some whipped cream and a glass of milk. Boom. Done. Third, think of all the neatly paired colloquialisms you could make. “Any way you slice it, that’s the way the cookie crumbles!” And uh…um….ok, well maybe that’s the only one. Finally, this dessert is extremely easy to make, even for those of you who are baking-phobic. And do you know what you get at the end of this easy process? Flaky, buttery pie crust, crunchy top and a nice thick layer of chocolate in the middle. It makes a great alternative to the usual whipped chocolate or fruity pies. And if you’re tired of eating pumpkin after Thanksgiving and Christmas, then I believe this one is calling your name. Continue reading
I wasn’t doing a lot of baking for a bit there recently and in the meantime, my Calder delivery kept coming. By last Friday, I had amassed a small cholesterol-y fortune to the tune of about 4.5 pounds of butter in my pantry. I thought to myself, I should probably whittle that down before it goes bad. So I did what any other me in my situation would do: I made cornbread. And cookies. And those triple chocolate brownies that I’m convinced could easily be the flavonoid-filled death of some otherwise healthy person. But it wasn’t enough. By the end of the weekend, I still had a pound and a half of butter. At least that’s a reasonable amount for me. I can always make another batch or four of cornbread. I mean, it’s really good cornbread. But I also wanted to try something new. Frosting.
Generally, I don’t like to make frosting. I’ve tried before, for cakes and cinnamon rolls, and it always comes out “meh.” Seriously. It actually shrugs its sugary shoulders with a bored sounding “meh” as I spread it haphazardly across the top of some otherwise adequate baked concoction. The frosting is unimpressed with my meager talents at creaming various dairy products with sugar. Well that’s fine, frosting, cause I don’t like you either. Really, I don’t. I’ve never cared for frosting. Generally find it too sugary–I prefer the cake part. I don’t like filling either for the same reason. In fact as a kid, when given a Hostess cupcake, I would peel off the frosted design and then proceed to eat the cake around the filling and then throw the filling away. What can I say? That’s just how I roll. Non-frosted. Continue reading
M is for the many yums you gave me.
A is for the appetite you sate.
R is for the reason I go camping.
S is for the satisfying taste.
H is for the holidays that wouldn’t be the same.
M is for the merry times we share.
A is for the awesome mix of flavors.
L is for the lighting of the flame.
L is for the luscious, gooey texture.
O is for the om nom nom nom noms.
W is for the epic, epic WIN.
Marshmallow. Continue reading
The best kind of pie is one that I'm eating.
There are two kinds of people in the world: pie people and cake people. I am one of the latter. Josh is one of the former. They do say that opposites attract. Anyway, I have not done much pie-making in my life (though I occasionally make things for pi). I chalk this up to two things: one, my status as a “cake person,” and two, the cancellation of ABC’s “Pushing Daisies,” which deprived me of my inspiration to produce top-quality pies (if you watched the show, you’d understand).
However, when Jen Haines of A2EatWrite fame—and a fellow member of the illustrious Michigan Lady Food Bloggers Group–sent out a message about needing pie donations for a pie-sale fundraiser for Ann Arbor’s Community High, I figured…this is a good excuse to try out some pie recipes. I sifted through my giant Evernote recipe file (701 recipes now) and my Stumble Upon favorites for a couple suitable recipes. I ended up decided on a chocolate chip cookie pie from Bakerella and–at Josh’s request–a variation of a pumpkin pie with streusel topping, recipe below. As I am not a fan of what I consider to essentially be a “squash pie,” I had to rely on the kindness opinions of strangers people I’ve known for years. They said, “Om nom nom…yummy.” That’s a paraphrase. There were actually five more noms than that.
In the interest of full disclosure, I thought I would use this opportunity to begin learning how to make pie crust. Like from scratch, not from the Pillsbury box. That didn’t happen though. Between work, lack of sleep, 3 pies to make and a feast to prepare for the next day, I ran out of time and energy. Oh, oh…and the fact that since we moved, I have not been able to find my measuring spoons, rolling pin or various other baking necessities. So…yes. I cheated on the crust. But I made up for it with this witty blog post…right? Continue reading
I'm all thumbs today
You know what you shouldn’t do when baking something, especially for the first time? Read the line in the recipe that says to place the cookie dough on “buttered or cooking parchment- lined 12- by 15-inch baking sheets” and think, “Well, I hate to butter a pan, I’ll use baking spray instead.”
This is really dumb for two reasons. One, cooking spray ≠ butter ≠ parchment paper. Two, if there’s a half pound of butter in your cookie dough, you probably don’t need even to butter the baking sheet at all. But hey, let’s say you haven’t eaten much that day and you just have an absolutely Stupid Moment and think it’s a good idea to apply baking spray to a cookie sheet before laying your nicely molded cookies on it. Let’s say this moment continues for about 20 minutes and culminates in you scratching your head as you see that your cookies have spread out to the point that they’re practically deformed and in no way resemble the cute little round “thumbprints” you intended. Then, minutes later (how many minutes, I won’t say), the light bulb in your head suddenly goes off in an epiphany of knowledge, fireworks boom, morning dawns and the nine choirs of angels belt out in heavenly voice: why the hell did I do that? I know better. What was I thinking? Duh.
And then you make a second batch of cookies. A week later. Because you were too tired/annoyed at yourself to make another batch of them that night. Continue reading