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Fall-Spiced Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

  There are eaters who will eat the best part first and save their least favorite part for last, and there are others who will only eat the best part or who will save the best for last.  And I guess there are also those who really don't care, food is food.

  Sorry, was that confusing?

  Okay, example.  Most everyone likes the tops of muffins best, it's just a thing.  Some will eat the top right away, then will begrudgingly eat the bottom.  Others will only eat the top, and others still will save the top for last.  And some will just down the whole muffin in one bite.

  Most of the time, I save the best for last.  What kind of eater are you?

  I often practice this when eating banana bread.  I looove banana bread, and I never tire of trying to dress it up a bit.  But anyway, you know how the top of banana bread gets so soft, lovely, and nice?  Well, when I cut a slice, I tend to start at the bottom and work my way up to that soft part of the crust.

  Aaand now you know how I eat banana bread.  I feel like I just shared something very dear (and weird).

  What I'm trying to say is that I think I've found a way to turn that lovely top crust into a cookie.  One, whole cookie studded with chocolate chips and, as an added plus, just bursting with spices.

  So, this is isn't your average, chewy chocolate chip cookie.  This is more like plopping banana bread batter into circles and calling them cookies.

  Pros of this lovely creation?  Portion control, waayyy less baking and cooling time, being able to have "cookies" AND chocolate for breakfast... the list goes on.

  This was my take on this week's Sundays with Joy, the original recipe actually called for sweet potato.  Now, it is true that I do not like sweet potatoes.  But I had to make this during some rather impromptu free time, and I really just didn't have any sweet potatoes on hand.  I used what I had then, but someday I will try the original recipe! 

  I mean, if Joy can make me tolerate zucchini, I'll definitely give her cookies a chance.  But for now...I'm very content with my filling little banana bread circles.

  P.S. If you were to consider slathering the top with cream cheese...I would not be averse.

Fall-Spiced Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yield: about 2 dozen cookies

  • 1 cup ripe, mashed banana (from about 2 medium bananas)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  • Pinch of freshly-grated nutmeg
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (6 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and spices.  Set aside.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and brown sugar until thick and pale.  Carefully whisk in the oil and vanilla extract.  Fold in the mashed banana.  Add the egg mixture, all at once, to the flour mixture and fold together until no flour bits remain.  Fold in the chocolate chips.

Scoop cookie dough (it will seem fairly loose, but you should be able to get heaping tablespoonfuls of it) by the heaping tablespoonful onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing 2 inches apart.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, until puffed and a skewer inserted into the center of one of the cookies comes out clean.  Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature or in the fridge.  If storing in layers, separate the layers with parchment or wax paper, to prevent sticking.

Sources: adapted from Joy the Baker's Cookbook


Spicy Honey Roasted Cashews

  So!  As it's my first day off in a week, I thought I'd take advantage of it and catch up on my missed Sundays with Joy post.

  Do forgive me.  I work seasonally, and until October ends my life is not my own.

  I do recall staring at the recipe for this week's assignment, trying to think of how I could adapt it more to my taste.  The original was a honey mustard cashew recipe.  While that sounded fun, I'm not really a huge honey mustard fan. 

  So what's a girl to do?  Google, obviously.

  Unfortunately, nothin' doin'.  I wanted something spicy, a bit more savory, and a little less contrasting in flavors.  I came upon a "Moroccan spiced" roasted cashew, but it still didn't hit home with me. 

  Eventually, I just opened up my spice cupboard and grabbed at will.

  I was a little anxious when I stuck them in the oven.  To be honest...they smelled kind of funky.  Honey, cumin, chili powder...what was I thinking?

  This carried on for about five minutes, then the whole kitchen started smelling like some kind of spice heaven.  After removing them from the oven and letting them cool for all of seven minutes, I immediately popped a warm cashew into my mouth.

  Oh.  My.  Gosh.  The honey added just a bare hint of sweetness, but otherwise it was just a lovely, crisp coating that helped all the spices stick together.  My only warning is that you make these for groups.  Because when you're left with an entire container, and you're by yourself... you'll definitely risk a major tummy ache eating handfuls of these. *oof*

Spicy Honey Roasted Cashews
Yield: about 2 cups

  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • Heaping 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
  • A pinch of allspice
  • A pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup honey 
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 cups whole, salted cashews

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the nuts out in an even layer.  Place the nuts in the oven and toast for about 5-7 minutes, until fragrant.  Remove immediately and allow to cool slightly.  Increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees F.

In a small bowl, whisk together the cumin, garlic powder, chili powder, black pepper, allspice, and cayenne pepper.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the honey and vegetable oil.  Add the spices to the honey mixture and whisk well to combine.  Add the cashews, and toss well to coat.

Spread the coated nuts into a single layer on the parchment-lined baking sheet.  Bake for 10-15 minutes, removing from the oven every 5 minutes to stir and check on them (nuts burn easily!).  Remove from the oven and allow to cool.  Store in an airtight container.

Sources: adapted from Joy the Baker's Cookbook


Chai-Spiced Vanilla Bean Snickerdoodles

  I'm fighting to keep my eyes open right now, and it's only 3:30 in the afternoon.


  Every day of this week has felt like a constant battle between me and falling asleep.  It's what I think of when I wake up in the morning, it's what I daydream of doing while reading Marine Biology, it's on my mind all through dinner, and it's all I can do to brush my teeth before collapsing into a dead heap. 

  Or whatever.

  So yeah, I'm tired.  Big whoop.  Aren't we all?

  Let's talk about things to perk us up a bit, eh?

  News!  I applied for college last night.  It was an utterly draining process that required more than one of the cookies pictured above.  Actually, let me clarify: it required me to have four of these for breakfast this morning because I was too tired to eat last night.

  Or whatever.

  Crap, I'm off on the tired tangent again.

  More news!  And this one's pretty big, these snickerdoodles are my 100th blog post!  100 posts of cookies, cakes, cupcakes, scones, and the like.  All in 9 months!  Crazy.  I'm just straight up crazy.  But that's okay.

  Oh yeah, snickerdoodles!

  It's fall (practically), and after making Nigella's tall, cake-y snickerdoodles to kick off August, I figured it was time to go down the soft and chewy road.

  My friends, chai, vanilla beans, and snickerdoodles have all been brought together to bring you a cookie that is the very essence of autumn.

  I require you stop yawning, bake cookies, and then brew yourself a caffeinated beverage of the chai variety.  Dip the edge of a cookie in, just for a second, and taste that moistened, spicy goodness.

  Thank you for bearing with me during this somewhat random, disjointed, and short post.  More chai is very much needed.

Chai-Spiced Vanilla Bean Snickerdoodles
Yield: 24-28 cookies

Ingredients for the cookies:
  • 2 1/3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs  
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (if you wish to omit the vanilla bean, use 1 teaspoon extract)

Ingredients for the chai sugar:
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly-ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt.  Set aside.  In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar and spices for the chai sugar.  Set aside.

In stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the bowl as needed.  Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the bowl and add the vanilla extract, mix well.  With the mixer on low speed, gradually add in the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined.

Form tablespoonfuls of dough into balls, roll well in chai sugar mix, and place on  prepared baking sheets about 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake for 11-15 minutes, rotating halfway through baking.  The centers will be puffed and crackle-y, but silly very soft, and the outer edges should be just starting to harden.

Remove from the oven, and allow to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.  Store in an airtight container. 

Sources: adapted from The Novice Chef


Man Bait Apple Crisp

  This week's Sundays with Joy is featuring a recipe I've already made!  Joy's Man Bait Apple Crisp.  So I'm just linking back to the old post, where I direct you to places you can find the recipes for both the crisp and the caramel sauce.  And where, of course, I appropriately gush over how amazing this stuff is.  Happy Sunday!

  Click here to read on, and go here to see all the other members' posts.


Nutella Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread

  Let me give you a quick rundown of how my Wednesday went.

6:00 AM- alarm goes off, I roll into the shower.

6:30 AM- I begin chocolate chip nutella pancake preparations, because it's my mom's birthday, and birthday mom's deserve naughty pancakes.

8:00 AM- The academic studies begin.

11:30 AM- I finish ridiculously early, because I'm homeschooled and school is light this semester.

12:00 PM- I suddenly realize that I should really make something to blog about this week, because it's likely the only day I'll have to do so.  I might've done the pancakes...but dude, 7:00 AM lighting in our kitchen?  Not gonna happen.

1:30 PM- after spending way too long browsing my reader for inspiration (AKA finding a recipe in which I already have all the ingredients on hand...always and adventure.), I give up and amble up to my room.

1:45 PM- My attempted nap is a fail.  I have a brain full of food.


  Welcome to the crazy thought processes of my mind.  It's how I roll.

  Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread is something that I'd first seen on both of my go-to blogs, and already made a couple times with up-and-down success.  This thing was all over the blogosphere for a while.  And for good reason, it's pretty much amazing.

  I'm just trying to bring that amazing-ness back!

  Adding nutella seemed like such a no-brainer.  I mean, I've seen it done for cinnamon rolls...why not pull-apart bread? (P.S. The forks pictured above were pretty much used only for aesthetic reasons.  This is a dig-in-and-tear-apart-with-your-face kind of bread.)

  This thing was everything I hoped for.  The combination of chocolate and cinnamon made it slightly reminiscent of a Mexican hot chocolate, but with dialing down the spices a bit, the nutella was still able to shine through.  Although, a little extra drizzle on top certainly didn't hurt...

  The best thing about this recipe?  I got to combine nutella, and brown butter.


  This isn't meant for your dainty brunch spread of mini quiches and fruit kabobs.  This is a deep, dark loaf that should be set (still warm) in the center of the table and greedily pulled apart by many hands.

  It's a mess, but a beautiful one.  And I will fight you for the last piece.

Nutella Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread
Yield: one 9x5 inch loaf

Ingredients for dough:
  • 2¾ cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2¼ teaspoons instant yeast
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature

Ingredients for the filling:
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ cup Nutella
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

To make the dough, combine the flour, sugar, yeast and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.  Combine the butter and milk in a small saucepan and heat just until the butter is melted.  Set aside and let cool for a couple minutes, or until the mixture registers 115-125˚ F.  Add the milk mixture, water, vanilla, and eggs to the mixer bowl.  Mix on low speed until a cohesive dough forms.  Continue to knead until smooth and elastic, about 3-5 minutes (mine took a bit longer), adding additional flour as needed 1 tablespoon at a time.  Dough should clear the sides of the bowl, not stick to the bottom, and be tacky, but not sticky.  Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat.  Cover with plastic wrap.  Let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.  (After the dough has doubled, it can be wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated overnight.  Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before proceeding.)

While the dough rises, place the nutella in a small bowl.  Add the butter to a small saucepan and melt until browned.  Immediately pour the butter over the nutella, and stir together until well-combined.  Yeah, you just combined brown butter and nutella.  Combine the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a small bowl and mix well.

Transfer the risen dough to a lightly floured work surface and gently deflate.  Roll into a ball, cover with a clean towel and let rest for 5 minutes.

Roll the dough out into an approximately 12 x 20-inch rectangle.  Spread the nutella/butter mixture onto the dough.  Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture over the dough in an even layer. (Use all of it!  Yeah, I'm talking to you.)

Cut the dough vertically into 6 even strips (Hopefully you're better at scoring than I am...).

 Stack the strips on top of each other and cut into 6 equal slices, thus creating six stacks of squares.

Stack all the squares on top of each other and set into the prepared loaf pan.  Cover loosely with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place, 30-45 minutes, or until almost doubled in size (I let mine rise a wee bit too long!  I actually had some slices puff out while baking and fall to the bottom of the oven.  Trust me, this thing wants to grow.)

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Transfer the loaf to the oven and bake 30-35 minutes, until the top is very golden brown.  The top may appear lightly browned and cooked, but the center may still be raw.  A nice, dark golden brown will ensure that the center is cooked as well.  Remove from the oven and let rest in the pan 20-30 minutes.  Run a knife around the edges of the pan to loosen and carefully turn the loaf out, transferring to a serving plate.  Serve warm with additional nutella and/or some powdered sugar, if desired.

Sources: adapted from Joy the Baker and Annie's Eats



Baked Chili Cheese Fries (sans chili)

  We all seem to feel very strongly when it comes to french fries.  Some go for that one mushy fellow in the bunch (guilty as charged), others prefer their potato crisped beyond recognition, some use salt with abandon (Yes, even on McDonald's fries...), and others will say that the only way to go is to fry them twice.

  Look, I'm not here to give you the "perfect" fry.  I doubt I could even if I tried, everyone likes them so differently.  So, let me just say here and now, that I'm just going to let a potato be a potato. 

  By the way, the above list is by no means meant to be disrespectful.  Frying fries twice has been proven to be a very effective method.  I'd try it myself, but my mother is prone to queasiness whenever I heat up oil.  So, to save myself a fun time in the mudroom with our little thermometer-less deep fryer, I figured we should just go the baked route here.

  Wait, why is it that I'm making fries at all?

  It's this week's Sundays with Joy recipe.  Duh.

  Baked fries are something I remember doing with my dad during my (even) younger years.  If mom happened to be out for some reason and we were supper-less, there always seemed to be a bag of potatoes handy.

  My younger sister and I would scrub potatoes while my dad handled the knife.  He cut thick, unpeeled wedges, laying them in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Then the spice cabinet would be rifled through, and I'm pretty sure one of each got sprinkled over those potatoes.

  Whatever he did, I certainly can't remember not liking them.

  I had these memories in mind as I peeled potatoes and dug out our fancy crinkle cutter.  These fries are a little different than my papa's, but I still found myself scouring the spice cabinet.  In keeping with my usual cooking form, I abandoned the listed ingredients and directions about 2/3 of the way through the recipe, throwing in a bit of this and a bit of that.  But, I did my best to keep track of these substitutions, and came up with the recipe you read below.

  These were lovely, and should really go on your simplistic comfort foods list.  All the flavor of chili cheese fries, but without the bother of actual chili.  They came together faster than I thought they would, but they still seem to take forever to bake.

  Some parts of us never really do grow up.

Baked Chili Cheese Fries (sans chili)
Yield: about 6 servings

  • 6 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder 
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground thyme 
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Salt to taste (I used about 1 1/2 teaspoons)
  • 6-7 medium russet potatoes
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon steak sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sweet chili sauce
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar
  • 1 cup grated pepper jack
  • 6 tablespoons chopped green onions and cilantro

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Line a large baking sheet (preferably rimmed) with parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray.

In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and seasonings.  Set aside.

Rinse and peel the potatoes (You may leave them with some peelings, if you're going for a more rustic look.).  Using a sharp knife, slice a 1/4-inch piece off of the potato lengthwise.  Place the potato cut-side down, thus giving you a more stable surface to cut on.  Reserve the cut off piece.  Slice the potato lengthwise into 1/4- to 3/8-inch planks.  Retrieve your cut off piece and put it with the rest of the planks.  Stack the planks in piles 2 to 3 planks high, and slice lengthwise into 1/4- to 3/8-inch strips.  Place the completed strips (your french fries!) into a large bowl.  Repeat with remaining potatoes.

Pour the olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, and sweet chili sauce into the large bowl with the potato strips.  Toss to combine.  Sprinkle the cornstarch mixture over the slices and toss together using a pair of tongs, ensuring that every potato is coated with a bit of cornstarch and seasoning.

Combine the cheddar and pepper jack cheese in a small bowl, set aside.

Spread potatoes onto the prepared baking sheet in a single layer.  Bake for 30-40 minutes, removing from the oven 2 or 3 times to toss the potatoes.  Cook until they reach desired crispiness.  Remove from the oven and sprinkle evenly with the cheese mixture.  Return to the oven for a few minutes, just enough to melt the cheese.  Remove from the oven, place the fries on a platter, and sprinkle with green onions and cilantro.  Serve immediately.

Sources: adapted from Joy the Baker's Cookbook


Peach Crumble Bars

  So!  I'm just getting over a case of the flops.  I've mentioned them before, and you can be sure they'll come up again. 

  I'm human, I like to experiment, I get distracted, and I have little to do right now except create stacks of dirty dishes.

  In short, these peach bars were the first "blog-worthy" thing I've made in something like a week.  I had all these lovely posts that I was doing ahead of time, but every single one flopped.  Somehow, in someway, they just did not work out.

  It started with a lemon cake that sunk in the middle.  And I mean major sink-age.  My mom loved it, and I glopped on some glaze, but it just didn't make the cut.  I shrugged it off.

  Then, on Monday, I decided to try a fun cookie idea.  I can only say that they would've been brilliant, if I hadn't done the stupidest thing in the book that I constantly caution against.  I over-baked them.  I over-baked those poor, unsuspecting cookies.

  Then came the meringues and coffee cake.  The coffee cake was tedious, requiring much chilling and rising and had several components.  While it chilled, I whipped together those danged cookies that I over-baked.  The whole process of making coffee cake and cookies resulted in a much-used mixer with a bowl and paddle that I hand washed about four times.

  I bit my tongue, washed the mixer bowl (again), and threw together my favorite meringues.  They were gorgeous, and just begging for a photo shoot.  I shut the turned-off oven on them to let them dry overnight, satisified that I had something to work with.

  The next morning I was blindly putting together a baked oatmeal before school, and cranked up the oven still holding yesterday's meringues.  I didn't realize this until I opened up the door to stick in the oatmeal, and in my surprise I sloshed a good chunk of oat mixture onto the floor.  The meringues were, needless to say, ruined.

  The coffee cake was my last hope.  After taking some good pics of shaping the dough, I came to the part that said you had to coil the darn thing.  By that time, the humid day had taken any chill the dough once had and reduced it to a sticky mass that refused to conform to any twisting.  I tried.  I did "quick" 2-hour chill and started over.  Nothing doing.

  With very little sleep the night before, I was near tears as I mercilessly twisted it into a not-very-pretty-but-at-least-edible shape.  The thing turned out delicious, I'll admit, but it was less than pleasing to the eye and I didn't have good instructions.  So it also got nixed.

  For some reason I had it in my head that I needed to post something this week.  I started clicking like mad through my pinterest boards and google reader, trying to find something, anything that could be whipped up and baked within the hour, before the risen coffee cake would have to go into the oven.

  I didn't find anything to work with, except these peach bars.  Thing is, I had thrown out my last lemon that morning, since it was going bad and I was getting sick of the fruit flies we've been steadily accumulating.

  Finally, I sat back in my chair, and told myself that I couldn't possibly get anything baked and photographed in that amount time.  And that was ok. 

  That night, I went to the store and bought a lemon.  I made myself a nourishing and head-clearing soup, and went back to the basics.  Today, I made you peach bars.  Simple, tasty, glorious peach bars.

  The flops, they can get you down...but you don't have to let them beat you.

Peach Crumble Bars
Yield: one 9x13 pan (about 18 bars)

  • 1½ cups sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Zest of half a lemon
  • 16 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1 large egg
  • 4-5 cups peeled, pitted, & chopped peaches (about 4-5 peaches)*
  • 5 teaspoons cornstarch
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

*If you don't mind a bit of peach peel in your dessert, skip peeling the peaches.  Just prick the whole peaches all over with a fork before cutting them up, and know that the peel may add a bit of a rosy tinge to your finished product.

Preheat the oven to 375° F.  Grease a 9 x 13″ pan; set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine 1 cup of the sugar, baking powder, flour, salt, and lemon zest.  Stir together with a fork until well combined.  Add the cold butter to the mixture and quickly rub into the flour using your fingers; do this until the mixture resembles a coarse meal and the biggest butter bits are no larger than peas.  Add the egg and stir together with the fork.  The mixture should be crumbly without much loose flour.  Spread about half of the dough mixture in an even layer over the bottom of the prepared pan and press down firmly to form the bottom crust (I used the bottom of large glass to achieve a good uniformity.).

In another medium bowl, stir together the remaining sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, and nutmeg.  Gently mix in the peaches with a rubber spatula until combined.  Using a slotted spoon, remove the peaches from the juicy mixture and spread evenly over the bottom crust.  Crumble the remaining dough over the top of the peaches.

Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the top is slightly golden brown.  Cool completely before cutting into squares and serving.

Sources: adapted from Annie's Eats, who adapted it from Smitten Kitchen


Mini Raspberry Galettes with Lemon Streusel

  Summer, with its berries, 90-degree afternoons, and sunny mornings is winding down.

  In case you didn't know.

  I'm in slight denial of this.  Yep, I'm also a normal person.  At any other time in life I'd welcome the change, what with autumn being my favorite season and all.  But this fall is different.  It's likely my last one at home, before I turn 18 and get out of here. 

  I won't be going back to my old seasonal job next year, this was my older sister's last time coming home for the summer, and I'll be dying slightly without the beloved stand mixer.  I'm touring my prospective college in a couple weeks with so many majors in mind, but with no idea what I'd do with any of them.  What the crap happened to my life?

  Right now I'm just trying to take things one step at a time, because otherwise I'm pretty sure I'd keel over.  You can only take so much at once!

  But enough about all that, especially since you'll probably hearing a lot more about it as the school year passes.  I think too much, and I feel a wee bit too deeply.  Those are two things that don't come in handy very often.  Not at all!

  So whatever, I'm a sensitive soul.  I hope that somehow things fall into place.  Ya hear that, gravity?

  I can't think of a better way to kiss summer goodbye than with a few raspberry galettes.  It's a rustic pastry that reminds me of why I love autumnal things, and when stuffed with fresh raspberries they also retain a bit of summer's sweetness.  I'm happy the Sundays with Joy schedule let me work in just a bit of summer before fall takes over.

  Caramel apples, and senior year, I'm comin' atcha! 

Mini Raspberry Galettes with Lemon Streusel
Yield: 8 mini galettes

Ingredients for the topping:
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • Pinch of salt 
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes

Ingredients for the crust:
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
  • 1/4 cup cold water

Ingredients for the egg wash:
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Ingredients for the filling:
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh raspberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar (use more or less as needed, depending on how sweet your berries are)

To make the topping, place the lemon zest and sugar on a cutting board.  Rub together with a bench scraper or the back of a spoon for about 2-3 minutes, sugar will be very fragrant.  Whisk together the flour, salt, and lemon zest sugar in a medium bowl.  Add butter and, working quickly, rub the butter into the flour with you fingers until mixture resembles a coarse meal (take care not to overwork and melt the butter).  Some butter bits will be the size of oats, others the size of small pebbles.  Place in a small bowl in the refrigerator until ready to use.

To make the crust, in the same medium bowl used to prepare the topping, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt.  Add the butter to the mixture and use your fingers to incorporate, following the same rules as described in the topping (Until mixture resembles a coarse meal, etc.).  Create a well in the center of the bowl and add the water.  Use a fork to stir the ingredients together, moistening all of the flour mixture.  Turn onto a lightly-floured work surface.  Knead 5-10 times, just enough to bring it together into a disk.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Remove the chilled dough from fridge and use a knife to cut the disk into 8 even wedges.  Shape each of the wedges into a sphere and place them on a lightly-floured work surface.  Working with one sphere at a time, gently roll them out into rough 4 1/2-5 inch circles (Don't worry about perfection here, galettes are supposed to look very rustic.).  Place 4 completed circles on each baking sheet.

For the egg wash, beat the egg.  Lightly brush the top of each round with egg wash.  Place about 1/3 cup of berries in the center of each circle.  Sprinkle the 1/4 cup sugar over the berries.  Remove the topping from the fridge and distribute evenly over the berries.  Fold the dough up around the filling, pinching and crimping as you go.  Brush each crust lightly with the egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake galettes for 10-20 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbly.  Allow to cool on the pan for 15 minutes before serving.  Serve warm; vanilla ice cream or whipped cream is recommended, but the galettes are also just fine on their own.

Best served the day made, but they will also last in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.  Reheat, wrapped in foil, in a 300 degree F oven for 15 minutes.

Sources: adapted from Joy the Baker's Cookbook