Since this is my second time making these in February (or in two weeks to be more precise), I figured I’d better share the recipe so you can all become addicted, too. I made them first with almonds, and today I made them with pecans. I love them both, but if I had to pick a winner, pecans would take the prize. Either way, they are delicious, and if you don’t like nuts, leave them out altogether. Just please, trust me when I tell you that you need this Sweet and Salty Graham Cracker Toffee in your life. Continue reading →
Let the good times roll with these festive little cakes! Surprisingly, even with the Acadian blood I have running through my veins, I have never made a king cake! The cakes have a rich, interesting history: a combination of French, Spanish, and Catholic traditions dating back centuries, they are inarguably a very New Orleans tradition now. I did not include a plastic baby in my recipe, but feel free to add one (or eight) to yours. Click this link to learn more on the tradition and read on to get the recipe for these festive cakes! Continue reading →
Happy Fiesta Friday! Last Friday was such a blast and I made SO many new friends. Thank you to Angie at The Novice Gardener for hosting, as well as Hilda at Along the Grapevine and Julianna at Foodie on Board for co-hosting. This week, we are hosted again by Angie, and our lovely co-hosts are Nancy at Feasting with Friends and Selma at Selma’s Table. I am just blown away by the group of talented and gracious bloggers into which I’ve been welcomed. It is heartwarming and I can’t stop smiling about it.
You know what else is heartwarming, and tummy warming, and kitchen warming? This peach cobbler I created the other day. Continue reading →
Happy New Year to you all! I decided to start the new year off doing my favorite things: cooking, eating, and writing. It only seemed natural to use one of my favorite flavors and ingredients: vanilla bean. Sigh. I can’t get enough of the flavor and those gorgeous little flecks. They just make everything so special, including these Vanilla Bean Scones with a Vanilla Bean Glaze. Let’s make some. Continue reading →
One of the easiest and most delicious pies you will ever make. The recipe doubles beautifully, so whip up two pies and surprise someone you care about with something peachy like my daughter and I did. We delivered one to my grandparents when they weren’t home—like little pie fairies.
**Prepare crust first, either by pre-baking a store bought crust according to package instructions or use my recipe below. My crust recipe makes enough for two pies; however, the filling recipe is just for one pie—feel free to double it like I did!**
one pre-baked pie crust (recipe below)
3 peaches, peeled and sliced
2 large egg yolks
½ cup white sugar
¼ cup light brown sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1/3 cup all purpose flour
seeds from ½ a vanilla bean, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 400.
Arrange sliced peaches in bottom of pre-baked pie crust in a single layer—slight overlapping is fine.
Mix together all other ingredients in a bowl until thoroughly combined. You will have a slightly thick, almost peanut butter-like consistency.
Spread this over the peaches, don’t worry if it does not cover every inch, it will even out in the oven.
Bake for 10 minutes at 400, then reduce temperature to 300 and bake for 50-60 more minutes until the custard is set and the top is lightly browned.
Enjoy at room temperature with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
Basic Pre-Baked Flaky Pastry Crust
3 cups AP flour
1 1/2 stick butter (12 tablespoons), very cold and diced into small cubes
1/3 cup shortening, also very cold. I keep mine in the refrigerator, as this is really the only time I use it.
1 tsp salt
1 tbs sugar
2 tbs vodka mixed with 4 tbs water, very cold (I learned the vodka trick from America’s Test Kitchen a long, long time ago, and it really makes a difference; however, you can leave it out and just use water.)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place dry ingredients in food processor and pulse to mix. Add cubed butter and shortening and pulse about 12 times until the butter and shortening are mixed throughout. Slowly pour the water/vodka mixture through the lid while pulsing, until the dough begins to clump. Give it one more good, long pulse. Carefully transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead a few times to combine. Divide the dough evenly in half (this makes enough for two one-crust pies). Place each half between parchment or plastic wrap, flatten into a round disk, and chill for 20-30 minutes. Prepare your fruit and custard while it chills.
After chilling, roll one of the disks out on a floured surface until you have about a 12 inch circle, and a thickness of about 1/4 inch. Make sure to keep moving the dough and adding flour while rolling to make sure it isn’t sticking. Carefully place rolled dough into pie plate, easing it into the corners without stretching it too much. Make any kind of decorative edge you want. Refrigerate for 5-10 minutes.
Remove dough from refrigerator, place parchment or aluminum foil directly on top of dough and fill the pie plate with dried beans or pie weights.
Bake for 20 minutes. Carefully remove foil and pie weights, poke holes all over bottom of dough with a fork, and return to the oven for 5-10 more minutes until lightly browned.
Continue with recipe above or use for any pie recipe requiring a pre-baked crust.
I just got back from dropping off a plateful of these lip-puckering lemon bars to my grandparents — my grandparents, who are both from Minnesota. So, of course we were standing around in the kitchen, giggling, saying “bars” with that distinctive Minnesota (Minne-SOH-ta) accent. Dontcha know that accent?? Continue reading →
I realize it’s not really the season for pumpkin recipes, but it’s kind of a dreary day and I felt like baking something. So, I started rustling around in my kitchen, looking for inspiration. Of course I had a single, over-ripe banana staring at me from my fruit bowl, and upon further investigation, I found a lonesome can of pumpkin purée lingering in my pantry. I decided to introduce the two, and this is what I came up with. Continue reading →
In the pastry/dessert world, it just doesn’t get sexier or more romantic than Crème brûlée. People swoon over this stuff; it is elegant, irresistible, and so delicious. When I thought about a Valentine’s themed blog post, it was the very first thing that popped into my head. Continue reading →
Chocolate Chip Cookies: Ever since I discovered Martha Stewart’s Crisp and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe, I’ve looked no further. I could make them in my sleep; everyone loves them; they are just so good—chewy and bendy. In fact, every time I make them I say, “these are the best cookies I’ve ever made,” and my son always smiles, rolls his eyes, and says, “You say that every time!” It’s become a joke between us, but they really are! It’s like I forget how irresistibly good a fresh, warm chocolate chip cookie is—even for me, a girl whose salty tooth is far more demanding than her sweet tooth. As much as I love my regular recipe, I decided to give these a try. Wow. Just wow. Continue reading →