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Blueberry Scones

  Say hello to the best scone ever.

  You think I'm kidding?  Well, I don't really make a habit of tossing around the phrase "the best ever" now, do I?  There are very few recipes that make it that far.  These chocolate chip cookies are one of them, as well as these popular nutella ones.  These cinnamon rolls, and this cake.  They're all the best ever, in their own way.  Four recipes out of the ninety-four on my blog.  That's pretty special!

  Why exactly is this the best scone ever?  Let me tell you. 

  I love having time in the mornings.  Waking up with a quiet cup of tea, and then taking time to make a tedious omelet, perhaps a batch of more involved muffins, or a plate of steaming Belgian waffles. 

  But to be real, not every morning is like that.  Most mornings are spent grunting at my family members while eating cold toast and waiting for my sister to get out of the bathroom.  Or on other days, it means gagging down a yogurt when I'm not really hungry, but I have to be somewhere in five minutes.

  Sometimes you just need a quick fix.

  Enter scones.  This recipe is the best of both worlds because while it's certainly a more involved one, the finished, unbaked triangles of dough can be frozen and then baked at your convenience.  All you need to do is have the presence of mind to turn on the oven and watch the timer.  In fact, I ended up forgetting about preliminarily brushing them with melted butter and sprinkling with sugar.  And you know what?  They were still fan-freaking-tastic (The powdered sugar was added after baking, just for the heck of it.)

  Tender, fluffy, butter-y, and with a hint of crispiness around the edges.  A muffin's fancy cousin, and breakfast's best friend (say that five times fast).

Blueberry Scones
Yield: 8 scones

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, frozen whole
  • 1½ cups (7½ oz.) fresh blueberries
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2 cups (10 oz.) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the work surface
  • ½ cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 2 teaspoons. baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Adjust an oven rack to middle position and preheat to 425˚ F.  Grate the frozen butter on the holes of a large box grater into a bowl, place in the freezer until needed.  (A food processor with the grater attachment is useful for this, makes things go a bit faster.)  Place the blueberries in the freezer until needed.
Whisk together the milk and sour cream in a small bowl; refrigerate until needed.  Whisk together the flour, ½ cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and lemon zest in a medium mixing bowl.  Add the grated butter to the flour mixture and toss with fingers until thoroughly coated.

Add the milk mixture to the dry ingredients and fold with a spatula just until combined, dough will be shaggy.  Transfer the dough to a generously floured work surface.  Dust the top of the dough with flour, and knead with well floured hands, 6-8 times, just until the dough holds together in a ragged ball.  Add small amounts of flour as needed to prevent sticking.

With a floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a 12-inch square.  Fold the dough into thirds like a business letter (A dough scraper really helps with these steps.).  Fold the short ends of the dough into the center in thirds, to form an approximate 4-inch square.  Transfer the dough to a plate lightly dusted with flour and chill in the freezer for 5 minutes.

Return the dough to the floured work surface and roll into an approximately 12-inch square again.  Sprinkle the blueberries evenly over the surface of the dough, and gently press down so that they are slightly embedded in the dough surface.  Using a dough scraper, roll the dough up to form a tight log.  Lay the log seam side down and press the the log into a 12 by 4-inch rectangle.  Using a sharp, floured knife, cut the rectangle crosswise into 4 equal rectangles.  Cut each rectangle diagonally to form 2 triangles.  Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet.

Brush the tops of the scones with melted butter and sprinkle lightly with sugar.  (If freezing ahead of time, flash freeze the scones on the baking sheet for 20 minutes, then wrap individually in plastic wrap and store in a freezer bag until needed.  Bake straight from the freezer, adding on a few minutes of baking time as necessary.)  Bake until the tops and bottoms are golden brown, 18-25 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool at least 10 minutes before serving.

Sources: adapted from Annie's Eats, who adapted it from Entertaining for Cook's Illustrated, Spring 2009


Bacon Cheddar Chive Jalapeño Biscuits

  My gosh, I get so sucked in sometimes.

  Friday found me in a foul mood.  I was absorbed in my own dread of just...everything.  Then that night, while I was stuffing down potato chips and reading a mushy book, my best friend walked into my room.  Her laughter at the sight of me hurriedly shoving the empty bag beneath my bed coaxed out the first genuine smile of the day.  She's pretty good at getting me to see the big picture.

  It's a good thing too, because I'm a bit of a dweller.  This has its ups and downs.  Right now, it's a downer.  My senior year is stretched out before me, and all I can do is worry.  Worry about classes, graduation, my party, and generally just what the heck I'm going to do.

  Worry worry worry.

  I've revised this post so many times, trying to cover everything up with happy descriptions of biscuits.  In the end, I decided to get real.  Yes, those worries are running through my head, folks, but I'm not going to let them define me.

  As I stared at the computer screen last night, willing some magical witty banter about biscuits to pop into my head, I was distracted by an intermittent boom from outside.  I ignored it.  But after 10 minutes, my patience was lost and I shoved away from the keyboard, determined to find the source of the incessant noise.

  I went outside with my sisters, and was met by the sight of a huge firework popping in the distance.  Fireworks.  In our backyard.  After a few seconds of delay, the boom followed, and echoed off of our farm buildings.  I ran blindly into the pitch black behind the shed and sat down in the damp grass, pulling my knees up to my face.  I sat like that for the duration of the fireworks, watching the sky and the reflections off of my sister's faces in turn.  The finale came, making me tense between each round of fireworks, waiting for the crazy rat-tat-tat that was surely traveling towards us.  It was amazing. 

  I could've stayed inside, frustrated and dwelling.  But I didn't.

  I got out of myself, looked at the big picture, and saw something pretty spectacular.

  Oh, and then I ate a phenomenal biscuit...and you should too.  Happy Sunday, and no worries.  

Bacon Cheddar Chive Jalapeño Biscuits
Yield: 10-12 biscuits

Ingredients for the bacon:
  • 7 slices of bacon (turkey bacon is acceptable)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • coarsely ground black pepper, as desired

   Ingredients for the biscuits:
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup cold buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup cheddar cheese, in small cubes
  • 1 medium jalapeño, seeds partially removed (or completely removed, if you're spice-sensitive) and diced small
  • 3 tablespoons chopped chives
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small cubes

To candy the bacon, place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper and spread bacon across the baking sheet in a single layer (If using foil, you might consider spraying it with some cooking spray for easier release.).  Sprinkle the bacon with brown sugar and black pepper.  Bake until crisp and cooked through, about 13 to 15 minutes (if using turkey bacon, keep a watchful eye, as it cooks much faster than regular).  Remove from the oven and carefully use tongs to place the hot bacon on a cutting board.  Don't use paper towels, as the bacon will stick.  Allow to cool until able to handle, then chop the slices into medium chunks.  Place in a medium bowl and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, cream of tartar, salt, and pepper.  In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and egg.  Add the cheddar cheese, jalapeño, and chives to the bowl with the bacon and toss together.  Set aside.

Add butter to the flour mixture.  With your clean fingers or a pastry blender, work the butter into the flour until the flour resembles a coarse meal; some butter chunks will be the size of small pebbles, others the size of oat flakes.  Toss the bacon mixture into the flour/butter mixture.  Create a small well in the center and add the buttermilk mixture all at once.  Toss together with a fork, making sure that all of the flour bits are moistened.  Dough will be shaggy.  Dump onto a lightly-floured work surface and knead for 8-10 seconds, just enough to bring it together.  Pat into a 1 1/2-inch-thick circle.

Use a 2 1/2-inch biscuit cutter to cut rounds.  Gather dough scraps, knead lightly, and cut out more biscuits until the dough is gone. (If you don't have a round biscuit cutter, just use a knife to cut the dough into 12 small squares.) Place biscuits on prepared baking sheets.  Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the edges of the biscuits turn a light golden brown.  Allow to cool slightly before serving.

Biscuits are best served the day they're made, but they can also be stored in an airtight container at room temperature and served the next day.

Sources: adapted from Joy the Baker's Cookbook, and these biscuits



Banana Caramel Whoopie Pies

  Life has been a bit of a whirlwind around here.

  My sister's making a movie, so when I'm not staying up until 1:00 AM helping the crew film, I'm at home helping my mom prepare meals. 

  This semi-chaotic schedule has been going for nearly two weeks now.  About this time last week, I actually found myself with some time to kill.  After rolling out of bed at an inordinately late morning hour, I needed to make something.  But not just anything, I wanted to make something that would require my whole brain to function.

  I wanted to something with several components to it, something that would take up most of my afternoon.

  Is that weird?

  Probably.  But that's just how I roll!  When my schedule gets kinda crazed, I find myself aching to make things.  I want to be in control.  I know that when you whip together butter and sugar, things will get fluffy.  I know that when you melt sugar down, it will caramelize.  I know when you add mashed bananas, baked goods become incredibly tender.  I know that sour cream is amazing in batter.  I know that when butter is at just the right temperature, Swiss meringue buttercream will come together beautifully.

  These whoopie pies were exactly what I needed.  Not only that, but they were super popular!  I kid you not.

  Now, while I may enjoy all the steps here, you may freak when you see the length of this recipe.  Don't!  It's just all from scratch, because sometimes nothing less will do.

  To make things easier, you could always prepare the caramel sauce and fillling ahead of time, the cookies themselves come together in a pinch.  Also, you don't have to make SMB.  Use any filling you want!  I for one think that this caramel sauce would be pretty spectacular in a cream cheese frosting.  However, if you do choose to bite the bullet, definitely read up Sweetapolita's post on all things SMB.  It really helped me through my first time!

  That being said, I think the filling was absolutely perfect for these, and everyone else thought so too.  As rich as they were, nobody could eat just one. 

  Please, don't just pass this by, thinking that it's too much effort to waste on some silly whoopie pies.  It's so worth it. 

P.S. Please excuse the semi-grainy photos, I had 15 minutes to shoot and rather poor light, as well as hungry crew members.  You get the gist.

Banana Caramel Whoopie Pies 
Yield: 30-36 sandwich cookies

Ingredients for the caramel sauce:
  • ½ a vanilla bean, split lengthwise*
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon coarse salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
*(You may omit the vanilla bean and just use 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)

Ingredients for the cookies:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup mashed banana (from about 1-1½ bananas)
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Ingredients for the filling:**
  • 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1 tablespoon pieces, at room temperature
  • ½ cup caramel sauce (above)
**This will make more filling/frosting than you actually need, I had about 1 cup leftover.  Just freeze it and save for some other naughty use.

To make the caramel sauce, measure out your cream into a microwavable measuring cup or dish.  Scrape the vanilla bean seeds into it (if using) and heat in the microwave until warm.  Spread the sugar in an even layer over the bottom of a large, deep, sturdy saucepan.  Place over medium heat, watching carefully.  When the sugar begins to liquefy around the edges, use a heatproof spatula to gently stir it towards the center.  Continue stirring very gently until all the sugar is melted, taking care not to over stir the sugar into hard chunks.  If this happens, reduce the heat and try to melt the chunks without stirring.  Once the liquified caramel reaches a deep amber color, immediately remove the saucepan from the heat (to test the color, spoon a drop onto a white plate or bowl).

Carefully whisk in half of the warmed heavy cream/vanilla bean mixture. The mixture will steam and bubble violently, be careful.  Whisk until the cream is well incorporated, then whisk in the remaining cream.  Whisk in the salt and the vanilla.  If any sugar has hardened (seized), place the saucepan over medium-low heat and whisk until smooth.  Allow to cool. (This sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator and reheated.)

To make the cookies, preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; whisk to blend, and set aside.  In a small bowl, combine the mashed banana and sour cream.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugars on medium high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Blend in the egg and vanilla.  With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients in three additions alternating with the banana mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.  Mix each addition until just incorporated.

Pipe the batter using a plain round tip onto the prepared baking sheets into about 1¼-inch rounds, spacing a couple of inches apart.  Bake until the cookies are just set and the bottom edges are starting to brown, about 10-12 minutes.  Let cool on the baking sheets 5-10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the filling, combine the egg whites and sugar in a large heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water.  Heat the mixture, whisking very frequently, until the sugar is completely dissolved and reaches 160° F on an instant read thermometer (Or until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is hot to the touch; when you pinch some of the mixture between your fingers it should feel smooth and very warm.).  Transfer the mixture to the clean, dry bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Beat on medium-high speed until the mixture holds stiff peaks.  Reduce the speed to medium low, add in the salt and then begin adding the butter one piece at a time, beating well after each addition (If your butter became too soft, your mixture may become soupy and curdle-y in appearance.  No fear!  Just keep mixing, it will eventually come together.).  Stir in ½ cup of the cooled caramel sauce until well blended.

Once the cookies are completely cooled, match them up in pairs by size.  Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip with the caramel filling.  Pipe a dollop of filling onto the flat side of one cookie of each pair, and sandwich the cookies together, pushing the filling to the edges.  Store in an airtight container.

Sources: adapted from Annie's Eats


Kettle Corn

  Kettle corn.

  Kettle corn occupies your hands and face, all the better to innocently stroll with the cute boy at the farmer's market

  Kettle corn is caramel apples, fudge, and autumn leaves.

  Kettle corn is comfort to a rejected soul.

  Kettle corn's scent brings forth the memory of a friendly vendor's smile.

  Kettle corn is spending the rest of your day with toothpicks.

  Greasy paper cones, plastic tube-like bags, great cauldrons swiveled about, metal scoops ruffling through kernels.

  You can never get enough.


  Buy Joy the Baker's cookbook to get the recipe.  A recipe that will create a nostalgic treat within 10 minutes, using ingredients you probably already have on hand (translation: it's free).  And then, to get the most out of your book, join Sundays with Joy.

  You've no interest in the book, and are likely peeved that I posted tantalizing pictures.  


  If this doesn't wet your cookbook-buying appetite, then go here.  Within seconds of reading that particular kettle corn post, you'll likely make the popcorn, fall in love with Joy, and buy her book anyway.  Who are you trying to kid?


Nectarine Scones

Real life:

  I'll probably never have Allyson Felix's torso.
  I'll probably never compete in the Olympics.
  It's unlikely that I'll ever be rich (monetary-wise).
  Getting different skin and hair ain't gonna happen.   
  That $100 dress will never be bought.
  The boy next door knows too many (cute) girls.
  I'll never fully master heels.
  Makeup and I have a complicated relationship.
  Facebook is a total creeper resource for crushing adolescents and adults alike.

  Darn boy next door, darn non-athletic past, darn missed opportunities, darn facebook, darn homeschooling, darn public schooling, darn future, darn careers, darn it all.

  Uh...I feel like I was supposed to be leading up to some positive message about how scones heal all your hurts and solve your life's problems.  But instead, I got carried away in my pity list and scarfed down a high-calorie scone.

  That's real.

  Look...scones might help, but only you can turn your life around.

  Me?  I'm getting there.  Right now I need more scone time.

  You ever reach that rut?  You know...when your recent and not-so-recent failures all come together and decide to throw a morose party in your soul?

  Rest assured, I'm ok!  Or at least I will be.  Internal wars can't last forever, I plan on sending in the peace squad pretty soon.

  In the meantime, when I wake up from another restless and stress-filled dream, at least I have a fresh, warm scone to quiet the thudding in my ears.

  Love to you, reader!  Thanks for listening/reading.  I hope you have some nectarines on hand, because these babies aren't in season forever.  Who are you to make scones wait?

Nectarine Scones
Yield: 8 large or 10 medium scones

Ingredients for the scones:
3 cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
1½ sticks (12 tbsp.) unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
1 large egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup buttermilk, plus more for brushing
1-2 ripe nectarines, sliced thin

Ingredients for the cinnamon-sugar:
2 tablespoons sugar
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 400˚ F.  Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.  Mix together the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl and set aside.

To make the dough, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl.  Whisk briefly to blend.  Add the butter to the bowl and cut the butter into the dry ingredients using a pastry cutter, two knives, or your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse meal and the largest butter pieces are the size of peas.  Stir in the egg, vanilla, and buttermilk and mix gently with a fork until a dough forms.

Turn out onto a floured board and knead about 15 times.  If the butter has warmed too much in the making of the dough, shape the batter into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and let rest in the fridge for 15 minutes.  If the butter is still cool, shape the dough into a disk and, on a well-floured surface, roll the dough out into a 12x10-inch rectangle.

Brush half of the dough lightly with buttermilk.  Lay the nectarine slices in a single layer over the buttermilk side of the dough.  Sprinkle the nectarines evenly with about half of the cinnamon-sugar mixture.  Carefully fold the other side of the dough over the nectarines as if closing a book and press down gently.  Slice the dough into 8-10 equal sized pieces.*  Transfer to the prepared baking sheets.  Brush the top of each scone with buttermilk and sprinkle with additional cinnamon-sugar.  Bake, rotating the pans halfway through baking, until the tops are golden brown and the scones are baked through, about 15-18 minutes.  Let cool 2-3 minutes on the baking sheet, then carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool further.  Serve warm.

*At this point, you may flash freeze the shaped, unbaked scones on a baking sheet for about 10 minutes, or until firm.  Transfer to a freezer-safe container.  Bake as directed straight from the freezer, simply adding a few minutes to the baking time and checking for doneness.  

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


Carrot Cream Cheese Pound Cake with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting

  I caved on this one, not gonna lie.  I was so brave about zucchini last time round, and those pancakes really were amazing, but...pound cake.  Zucchinis...and pound cake.  That's a whole other beast to tackle. (P.S. If you're totally lost, this is a Sundays with Joy recipe, and this week's assignment was Zucchini Cream Cheese Pound Cake.  Join the group to be in the know!)

  Now, to be fair, I would have tried it if I'd had zucchini on hand.  Last year we were up to our eyeballs in it, but this year we got next to nothing from our poor, dry garden.  What I did have on hand was a crisper full of carrots.  So, following the theme of my fall cravings, here we are!

  So, you ask, where are we exactly?  We're at a place of sheer bliss, that's what.  Let me tell you about this cake, and see if you don't run to your kitchen immediately after.

  Picture a smooth, velvety batter, with the fat content split between melted butter and softened cream cheese.  You've incorporated your dry ingredients, complete with healthy doses of nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger.  As you fold in the shredded carrot, you find yourself running your finger along the side of the bowl.  Once you reach your fifth or so finger full, you pull yourself together long enough to spoon the batter into their respective pans and shove it into the oven, cringing as you set the timer to what seems an eternity.

  This is the patience period.  Bake, cool, frost.  No big!  You can do it!

  Once you've generously slathered your loaves in a deep, rich brown sugar cream cheese frosting/glaze, the time has come.

  One forkful into this baby, and I promise you that you'll be just as smitten as I am.

Carrot Cream Cheese Pound Cake with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting
Yield: makes two 9x5 inch loaves, or one Bundt cake

Ingredients for the cake:
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups granluated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 cups grated carrot

Ingredients for the frosting:**
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/6 cup (just fill a 1/3 cup halfway) brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 teaspoon molasses
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • Scant 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Teaspoonfuls of milk, if needed 
 ** If you're making this as a Bundt, double the frosting if you wish to completely cover the entire Bundt cake in it. 

To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour two 9x5 inch loaf pans, or one 12-cup Bundt pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.  Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until well incorporated, about 2 minutes.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition.  Beat in the vanilla.  With the mixer on low speed, pour in the melted butter; once incorporated, increase to medium-high and beat until the batter is velvety smooth, about 3 minutes.  Reduce speed to low and add the flour mixture all at once.  Beat just until incorporated, with a few dry streaks remaining throughout.  Remove the bowl from the mixer and use a spatula to fold in the grated carrot and mix in the dry streaks.  The batter will be quite thick, and not very pourable.

Spoon batter into prepared pan(s).  Bake for 40-50 minutes, rotating halfway through baking time, until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool in the pan(s) for 20 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.

When completely cooled, make the frosting.  Place cream cheese in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Beat for about 1 minute to ensure that it is soft and pliable.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the butter.  Beat the butter and cream cheese on medium speed for 1 minute, until thoroughly combined.  Add brown sugar, molasses, and cinnamon and beat on medium speed for 30 seconds.  Turn the mixer on low and add the salt, powdered sugar, and vanilla.  Beat until almost incorporated.  Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.  Beat on medium speed until mixture is velvety soft, and the powdered sugar has completely disappeared.  If desired, add teaspoonfuls of milk to reach your desired texture of frosting/glaze (I added about 2 teaspoons to make it more drizzle-y).

Frost the cake(s) as desired.  Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Sources: adapted from Joy the Baker's Cookbook


Nigella's Snickerdoodles

  It's August, people.  That means next month is September.  And once September hits, it's only 23 more days until fall. Spices, bonfires, musty leaves, cool breezes...I'm so ready.

  But...it's still not quite here.  Until then, snickerdoodles will have to do.

  It's been a bit, I know.  If it weren't for my commitment to a weekly Sundays with Joy post, where would this blog be?

  My motivation has been slightly lacking.  Creative juices just aren't flowing, they're more...dribbling.  I'll catch a drip once in awhile, but for the most part, it's pretty dry.

  That, and I've been doing a large amount reading and regular cooking/baking for the fam.  I get caught up!  Writing/photography takes time, and effort.  But even if posts become far and few inbetween, at least I can say that they're all worth putting up.

  So, snickerdoodles!  I'm not sure how you define your perfect snickerdoodle, nor do I understand how you could even reach a decision.  Stuffed with caramel, thin and chewy, thick and cake-y...there is no end to the snickerdoodle variations.  For me, it entirely depends on my mood.

  This time round I was feeling the thick, cake-y, bite-size delights that are Nigella Lawson's snickerdoodles.  Each little bite fills your mouth with the delight that only freshly-ground nutmeg can bring, followed by the sweet sensation of cinnamon sugar.  When baked properly, the dough comes out with a bit of a crumble, but is still incredibly tender.  I've made this recipe many times, and it's definitely among my favorites. 

  Do try one of these little miracles, especially if you're as impatient for autumn's coming as I am.


Nigella's Snickerdoodles
Yield: about 30 cookies

  • 1 2/3 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon

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

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, nutmeg, baking powder, and salt.  In a large bowl, cream the butter with the 1/3 cup sugar until light in texture and pale in color.  Then beat in the egg and vanilla.  Add the dry ingredients on low speed and mix until combined, mixture will be slightly crumbly.  Chill the dough for 30 minutes in the fridge, or for 15 minutes in the freezer.

Combine the remaining sugar and cinnamon on a plate.  Squeeze cookie dough together in your hand, and roll into walnut-sized balls (about a scant tablespoon of dough each).  Roll each ball in the cinnamon-sugar mixture and place on the cookie sheets, spacing about 2 inches apart.

Bake for about 14 minutes; until slightly puffed and set, but still quite soft in the middle.  Remove from the oven and let rest on the baking sheets for 1 minute before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Sources: adapted from How to Be a Domestic Goddess, via EatingPlaces


S'mores Brownies

  I've been on a bit of a rebel kick these past couple Sundays.  Messing with granita flavors, turning pancakes into muffins...stuff like that.  I like that about Sundays with Joy, you test your limits, buy new ingredients, putz around with recipes to make them your own. 

  This week, as I flipped to the page labeled "S'mores Brownies," I knew that nothing more could possibly be done.

  In short, I kept them just as they are in Joy's book.  Dense, fudge-y brownies filled with graham crackers and topped with marshmallows that toast perfectly in the oven.  Who knew that a piece of heaven could be so easy to put together?

  But, I did have one minor complaint.  There weren't nearly enough marshmallows for my mallow-lovin' taste buds.  S'mores are great, but do we always need the graham crackers and chocolate?  Give me a plain ol' marshmallow any day.

  The first time I made these, I did try adding chopped marshmallows to the batter.  They actually melted and blended in, and you couldn't really tell that they were there, especially with the molten marshmallows already on top.

  So this time round, I just made the recipe as is.  To cure my marshmallow desires, I figured that something should be added after the brownies were all baked up.  The lovely Carrie, of Bakeholic Mama (also the founder and administrator of Sundays with Joy), has this amazing gooey s'mores bar recipe.  This crazy marshmallow topping is included, and I knew that it was just what these brownies needed.

  To get your hands on this recipe, I highly recommend the purchase of Joy's book!  Ferreals.  I have loved every single recipe that I've made, as my gushing reviews indicate.

  But if you simply can't wait to get your hands on these brownies, the recipe is also on Joy's blog here!  Enjoy.