Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Spiced Pumpkin Rugelach


Rugelach are one of those little cookies that I've always thought I knew how to make (as evidenced here).  I mean, these looked like rugelach and tasted like rugelach, so I assumed that the little crescents that I was pulling out from my oven were in fact, rugelach.  I liked how they tasted, and I thought I could turn the page on rugelach. One more cookie that I had nailed, and it was on to the next.


While I may have always thought that I knew what I was doing when it came to rugelach, my mom always begged to differ.  She said they tasted fine, but were always too big. 

"They're supposed to be just a little bite!" she'd always say. 

I obviously thought I knew better, so I ignored her comments.  Every single time I made a batch of rugelach, she would say the same thing, and I would always brush her input aside, because I knew what I was doing.  In reality though, I didn't.

It wasn't until I got a box of rugelach in last year's Food Blogger Cookie Swap that I realized my mom was right. The rugelach I received were incredible.  They were flaky and buttery, tender and rich, but most importantly, they were tiny.  It took two small bites two eat each cookie, and it was a hard truth to accept.  I was wrong, and my mom was right (this seems like it always happens to me...).

Friday, September 26, 2014

Cinnamon Chocolate Chunk Scones


I usually try to have some kind of interesting story to write about in every blog post, and for the most part, I'm typically able to come up with something that I hope is worth reading.  And then, I'll try to somehow connect that interesting little story to whatever recipe it is that I'm posting.  Sometimes the two flow together seamlessly, like when I'm sharing a favorite family recipe.  It's like the words just come out and I breathe a sigh of relief when I hit publish.  Other times I'll finish writing my post in a stream of consciousness kind of situation, get to the end, and think to myself, "well...I guess that kind of makes sense?"  When that happens I usually hope that the pretty photos in the post make up for the iffy written content in the post.  And then, there are also times like these. Times when I just really wanted a scone, so I made them, and here they are.


I hadn't made scones in a really long time, and over the weekend, I just had this inexplicable craving for them.  I hardly ever eat scones (shame on me), but last weekend, I couldn't let my craving for them just pass by.  I needed to remedy the situation, and it needed to be done in a manner that was simple and effortless.  Scones are simple on their own, but for the mix-ins, the rule was the same as always.  I was not going to the supermarket, and I could only use things already in my pantry.  I've gotten into the (good) habit of always having a big bar of dark chocolate on hand, and I was excited to see that I still had a decent amount of mini cinnamon chips from sister (previously used in these snickerdoodle cheesecake muffins).  Cinnamon chocolate chunk scones were happening!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Salty Caramel Ice Cream


Can you feel it?  Can you FEEL IT? By "it," I mean the crisp cool breeze that hits you when you walk outside first thing in the morning.  I mean that little voice inside your head that tells you to bring along a light jacket as you leave your house in the morning for work. I mean the sudden chill you feel as you let the dog out or take the trash out at night.  Have you been feeling it too? I certainly have.  I've got that fall feeling and I'm pretty ecstatic about it.  I absolutely love fall, and the fact that it's still 70 degrees is bumming me out.  I know I'll regret those words in a few months when we're stuck in the middle of a winter colder than last year.   I should take advantage of the few long, mild days we have left, but I just can't.  The fall bug has bitten me hard. 


Now that it's officially fall, whether it feels like it or not, it's time to change up my baking.  Ironic that I'm saying this in a post about ice cream, right?  This ice cream is special though.  It's salty caramel, so it's "fall ready."  It's got a rich and deep flavor and perfectly suited for the arrival of the new season. Since the weather is still on the warmer side, we might as well keep on enjoying scoops of ice cream, right?

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Chocolate Balsamic Coconut Macaroons




Today we have coconut macaroons on the blog, because who doesn't love macaroons, right?  I happen to be a really big fan of these chewy little bites, and I love them even more when they're studded with tiny chocolate chips and a touch of balsamic.  As good as that sounds, that's actually not the true reason why I made macaroons this past weekend.  The true reason I made them, is because they're gluten-free.


Now, I don't have an intolerance to gluten (thankfully), but more and more people are developing an intolerance as time goes on.  My mom seems to be one of them.  Due to other various health issues (not Celiac's), my mom has chosen to eliminate gluten (and possibly dairy) from her diet, and it's made a world of difference.  Simply eliminating foods with gluten has done wonders for my mom in just a few days, and she says she's feeling so much better now that she's avoiding bread and pasta.  Unfortunately, it also means she will have to avoid almost everything that I bake for this little blog.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Artpark Brownies

I've been working on making some changes in my life.  The biggest, and change I'm most nervous and excited about, is my recent career change.  I've been feeling a little ambivalent about architecture lately.  I still love architecture and design, and I think I always will.  At the same time, however, this little interest I have for food and writing and such has been growing more and more over the last few months.  It's grown so much, that the thought of going back to graduate school to study architecture was just not sitting well with me anymore.  I figured that the best course of action would be to step aside from architecture for a bit and try something new for a while.  I embraced this decision whole-heartedly, and I actually landed a job at Random House, to work with the Clarkson Potter editorial team. I started this week, and while it's a major change, it's a change I'm very happy with so far.  I can't say I'm completely sure I know what I'm doing or where I'm planning on going with all of this, because I don't know, but I'm excited to find out and see what happens.


I've been reading a lot more food-related books lately, and I'm hoping to grow a nice little collection to match my growing cookbook collection.  One of the books I recently finished reading is Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table.  In this book, Ruth Reichl, a well-known food writer, shares memorable moments from her life and details how she came to love food.  The book is charming and funny, and makes you love food just as much as she does.  Scattered throughout her stories are the recipes from the defining moments in her life, and the recipe for these Artpark Brownies caught my eye immediately.  Ruth's brownies were known for being "the best in the world," so I knew that this was one recipe I had to try for myself.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Buttermilk and Banana Pancakes


Today is the day my sister returns to college, ready to start her sophomore year. My parents have the car all packed up with her things, ready for the long drive ahead of them, and she's ready to face the chilly weather of New Hampshire all over again.  I'm sending my sister off to college with a stack of banana pancakes in her belly, because what kind of sister and blogger would I be if I didn't supply hearty and delicious breakfasts, right?  It's funny that I chose to make banana flavored pancakes, of all things.  When my sister arrived home from college for the summer, I welcomed her with banana nut muffins; now that she's leaving, she's moving on with banana pancakes.  I guess my sister goes bananas for bananas. 


I happen to love baked banana treats too.  Muffins and banana bread are fantastic, and I even love a good banana cake, but I think pancakes would have to be my favorite way to work with bananas.  For some reason, they just make me think of my childhood.  I say, "for some reason," because I didn't really grow up eating pancakes.  I was a waffle-girl, 100%, and I would never trade a waffle for a pancake.  I think that whenever I did happen to have pancakes sitting in front of me, they were either of the banana or chocolate chip variety. While I can't really pinpoint how I ended up loving banana pancakes as much as I do, or why they make me think of myself as a kid, the moral of the story is that I love a good banana pancake. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies


Can I confess something to you all?  I had never actually had the chocolate-chip-cookies-and-milk combination until yesterday.  Actually, I'd never had cookies of any kind with milk before, to be perfectly honest.  I didn't really drink milk as a kid, because it always upset my stomach (thankfully, this never happened with ice cream or cheese), and while I can drink milk now, I usually don't, just out of habit I think.  I've photographed many different cookie recipes for the blog, and they're almost always accompanied by a nice tall glass of milk.  Whenever the time came to taste the cookies in question for the photos, I would always take a bite out of the cookies, and pour just a bit of the milk back into its container, to pretend like I actually took a sip myself.  At the end of the photo shoot, all the remaining milk in the glass would go back into the milk carton, or I'd give it to my sister to drink. This is how I always photographed my cookies and milk, until yesterday, when I photographed these Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies. 


I really wanted to try a new approach to photographing my cookies and milk.  I took a few shots with the standard glass, of course, but I also wanted to try a few shots with spilled milk.  I had no idea how those photos would come out, but I ended up really liking them!  If you scroll down for the recipe, you'll see what I'm talking about.  In that photo, some of the cookies got pretty soaked in milk, so I figured it would be as good a time as any to finally try out the whole, "cookies and milk" phenomenon and see if it was actually as great as everyone claimed it was. To my big surprise, I ended up liking the combination!  I still prefer my cookies when they're not dipped in milk, purely for textural reasons, but I can see myself dipping them in milk on occasion from now on, especially now that I've found this amazing recipe for chocolate chip cookies.
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