There was laughter, maybe a bit of drizzle, a definite chill in the air, and I was full of energy. Words and ideas and silly jokes tumbled out of my mouth, loosened with a little help from some liquids. I considered the cracked sidewalk of the college campus I had walked just a short year before as a student, and I smiled at the few people present who knew both the student and non-student Ello.
As they always seem to do in these situations, my suddenly quick feet took me more than a few yards ahead of the group, and I turned around to jog backwards and shoot them some sass. While doing this, my attentions were suddenly captured by the remark of one equally tongue-loosened fellow.
"I like it when you talk, Ello."
Because I'm generally a pretty quiet girl, this made me incredibly happy. Knowing that people not only heard my voice, but also appreciated it.
I've always had a bit of trouble expressing myself, growing up and whatnot. But when I started this blog I found something unique. The power of words and how I can actually take the millions of feelings inside of me and make them into something special/relatable. And at the same time, I can do what I love, baking. Somehow I discovered that weaving together food, thoughts, and photography was just what I was born for. And even if that never continues past this little corner of the web, then so be it, I could not be happier with what I've built this far. My first year of school broke me out of my shell a whole lot. It continues to amaze me that people think this is that impressive. I'm just a lost young adult like so many others, and I happen to find therapy in doing all of this.
So yes, Indigo Scones is three years old. Three years ago a bored junior in high school slapped together some scones and wrote about it.
Two years ago, senioritis set in and I inadvertently forgot to post on the actual day of my blogiversary. But a belated celebration with some cupcakes made up for it entirely.
And one year ago, December 16 was in the midst of my first ever round of college finals, and blogiversary-ing was only barely acknowledged in a rather late post with a hella good pancake.
And today, today we find a totally different girl who has more than enough time on her hands to speculate on the last few years of blogging.
As far as the actual food subject here goes, there is a little story behind why I chose this tart. Nearly two years ago now I was part of a facebook group called Sundays with Joy, where we were baking up all the recipes in Joy's first book. The week of the tart was a bad flop for me. I tried to do a chocolate peanut butter spin and while my swirling work was admittedly impressive, the end result was not so great. You can read about that here.
I promised in that post to redeem myself, to bring back the tart that got me down. And, well, I figured that a blogiversary is reason enough to do that.
Don't be fooled by the time-consuming chilling processes involved, this tart is in fact remarkably easy to put together. The swirl may even be the easiest part, it just happens to look extremely impressive.
Another truth is that I ate 2 or 3 pieces of this sans fork and plate while feeling extremely overwhelmed by the events of this past year. Indigo's birthday happens to coincide with the holidays and the inevitable end of the year, so I tend to get rather reflective around the middle of December.
It's just crazy to me that a year is done. Just done. I'm in such a different place right now than I was 365 days ago.
But let's talk Indigo now. Let's take a peek at some old writings and see what we've got for the top 10 posts of all time, because I just love a good dose of nostalgia.
#1 is very appropriately one of the best scones I've ever made. These Blueberry Scones have gone crazy on Pinterest and are still a huge source of traffic, despite their 2.5 year old status. Never in a million years would I have guessed this simplistic recipe to be at the top of my blog.
#2 I set out to make the perfect balance of Nutella and cookie, and after much trial and error I emerged victorious with these Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies.
#3 In a similar series of events I tried to find what I could call the Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie. And this cake-y, chewy, sea salt-topped beauty totally outshone the original Wakefield's recipe I grew up with.
#4 Once upon a time I was asked to do a guest post by one of my favorite food bloggers ever. I managed to stop jumping up and down long enough to make these fantastic Baked Nutella Doughnuts.
#5 My dad's birthday brought about the creation of this beauteous Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cake.
#6 I decided to heck with rice krispies when I needed an Oscar-theme-appropriate treat. Enter Brown Butter Marshmallow Popcorn Bars, who knew they'd rise to such fame?
#7 I needed a chocolate fix and I needed it fast. Enter these super satisfying mounds of Giant Double Chocolate Cookies.
#8 A bad case of the Mondays got me all DIY just so I could get a minty freshness out of a crappy day. DIY Shamrock Shake, no shame here.
#9 These cupcakes marked my entrance into adulthood, and firmly established my extreme love for all things Oreo. Cookies and Cream Cupcakes for the win.
#10 No-Yeast Cinnamon Roll Muffins, cuz sometimes you need cinnamon rolls and you need them NOW. The internet clearly backs me up on this, seeing as it's the 10th most popular post on my blog.
There are all the stats, but as far as the heart of it goes, I want to make an honorable mention to some of my personal favorite posts. I had a few this year where the words just sort of flowed out of me, and they hold pieces of me I couldn't express in any other way.
An Irish Apple Cake with Salted Caramel Glaze got me on a reminiscent spiel about family orchard trips.
Deep Dish Apple Pie for One was a tough write, but a necessary realization of facts and some unprofessional wonderings on young love.
Ice Cream with Coffee Grounds will forever hold a special place in my heart, it is a fond remembrance of one of the only friends I made in Arizona.
This Fresh Fig Breakfast Cake documented the longest road trip I've ever taken, and the sensation of tasting my first sun-warmed fig picked right off of a neighboring tree.
And last but not least, this adorable Mini Tiered Red Velvet Macaroon Cake introduced me to the beginning of my 20s, and what exactly that means to me.
And then there's this Chocolate Peanut Butter Tart. Simple, elegant, and entirely capable of satisfying that peanut butter cup craving.
Three years after Indigo Scones's first post I find myself in a fixer-upper mobile home, sitting on a heat vent and babysitting a year-old dog that is more or less cuddling/shoving me over to get more airflow. I'm out of school, temporarily unemployed, and I don't know how all of this even happened. I also don't know where next year's blogiversary will find me. But I do know that I am incredibly grateful to have this blog, that I have a way to make my voice heard, and that somehow there are those of you that enjoy hearing it.
Happy birthday, Indigo, here's to many many more.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Tart
Yield: one 9-inch tart
Ingredients for the crust:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ¼ cup sugar
- 8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp. heavy cream
- ¾ cup creamy peanut butter, divided
- 5 oz. semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
- ¾ cup heavy cream
To make the crust, combine the flour, cocoa powder, and salt in a small bowl. Whisk to blend. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Blend in the egg and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients alternating with the cream, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. The dough will be quite soft. Transfer the dough to a piece of plastic wrap, form into a rectangle, and wrap tightly. Chill until firm, at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.
Transfer the chilled dough to a well floured work surface. Roll the dough out into a circle about 12 inches in diameter. Trim away any excess. Lay the dough in a 9″ round tart pan, carefully lowering the sides down to fit in the bottom corners. Press the dough firmly against the edges and into the bottom corners, and use your fingers to “cut” the excess dough off the top by pressing it against the sides of the pan. Prick all over the surface of the dough with the tines of a fork. Freeze the lined tart pan until the dough is firm, about 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line the crust with parchment paper and fill with baking beads, dried beans, or rice. Bake until the edges are set, about 20 minutes. Remove the weights and parchment and bake 5-10 minutes more, until dry and set. Let cool completely, about 30 minutes.
To make the filling, place ½ cup of the peanut butter in a small microwave-safe bowl. Heat until fluid, about 20-30 seconds. Pour into the bottom of the tart crust and smooth into an even layer. Freeze until the peanut butter is firm, about 20 minutes.
Place the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl. Bring the cream just to a boil. Pour over the chocolate and let sit 1-2 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the remaining ¼ cup of peanut butter until fluid. Transfer to a plastic bag. Whisk the chocolate mixture together until a smooth ganache forms. Pour the ganache into the tart shell in an even layer. Snip a small tip off of the corner of the plastic bag and pipe the peanut butter in diagonal lines on top of the ganache. Use a toothpick, skewer, or butterknife to marble them gently together. Chill until well set, at least 1 hour and up to 8 hours (any longer and the peanut butter tends to start melding with the chocolate too much, which is what happened to mine before pictures hahaaaa). Slice and serve.