[Ed. note: We have a special-guest blogger today.]
My name Marlowe. I chocolate labrador. I five years old. Mom and Dad say I "rescue" lab, but I not know what that mean. All I know is they love me, feed me, bathe me, pick up my poop, and give me scratches and belly rubs.
Mom say she try make mini-caramel apples but always fail. Say caramel not stick to wet apple flesh. It slide off and look bad. Dad mean and no give me caramel, say cause blockage and if I has blockage I go doctor. Me no like go doctor.
Mom say she has great idea use butterscotch chips instead of caramel. Say dessert is easy to make, good for Halloween, and for sure will use for Thanksgiving. Also say kids like because treats are super-mini-small and can eat in one bite.
Mom prefer apples at room temperature [Ed. note: ROOM TEMPERATURE] since butterscotch soft, but Dad like apples cold because he weird. Also say apples stay fresh for several days, keep well in fridge or on counter. I no allowed to counter surf any more because I eat all food on counter and everybody has a mad.
Anyway me thank you for reading this especially since I no have thumbs and is difficult to type.
As final, I dressing up for Halloween. I go as UPS driver. Mom and Dad say to wish you a very Happy Halloween.
Adapted from: I Am Baker (blog)
Number of servings: Makes approximately 20-24 mini apples
There are brownies, and there are HEAVY DUTY brownies like these. The kind of brownies that discourage driving or operating complicated machinery, immediately afterward. Brownies that make your primary care physician gasp in horror at the blood test results.
Heavy. Duty. Brownies.
Not only intensely decadent and fudgy, these also have a hit of espresso. [Ed. note: WAIT A MINUTE YOU DIDN'T TELL ME THAT BEFOREHAND WHY AM I FLYING DID YOU SEE THAT ROLLER-SKATING ELEPHANT IS THIS MUCH FUN LEGAL]
However the most important aspect of this dessert is the frosting-to-brownie ratio, which you can properly see in the photo below. Am all about the frosting. As far as I'm concerned there can never be enough, and if you're the same these won't disappoint.
You could wait until Halloween to treat yourself to this, but if you make it now I won't tell. (It actually freezes very well, if you want to put some of it away for later.)
All of the usual "healthy" disclaimers, well, yeah. Kind of out the window. But you knew that at the title, right?
Look at that frosting, and check out the chocolate chips in there. [Ed. note: WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE]
The recipe was adapted from Thalia's blog Butter & Brioche. Didn't really change a thing. And I even kept her measurements in grams, as you really want to be extra careful of amounts. If you over-measure the flour, you will have a disappointingly dry brownie. If you're serious about baking, I strongly recommend buying a kitchen scale (have a Oxo digital food scale that kicks ass).
PS: Because we can't be all sweets all the time, last year's countdown to Halloween included a vegan garam masala carrot soup (www.moveablefeast.me/blog/vegan-garam-masala-carrot-soup).
Adapted from: Butter & Brioche
Number of servings: Makes one 8 x 8" pan
"Only the knife knows what goes on in the heart of a pumpkin."
It's here. October. My favorite month of the year. The month where the BF hangs on for dear life, as I vortex all things pumpkin. [Ed. note: I'm worried about you, man. Seriously.] Pumpkin items I adore: bread, muffins, donuts, cakes, cookies, popovers (coming soon to the blog), ice cream, mousse, cheesecake, soups, curries, pancakes, french toast, scones, cinnamon rolls, trifle and candles. Lots and lots of candles.
Most unnecessary pumpkin-spice products that I've seen? Pringles, vodka, body lotion, kale chips, salsa, salmon and bagels (the BF had a bite and requested that I never, ever, pinkie-swear-on-penalty-of-death buy that again). [Ed. note: Can confirm.]
Side note: The Huffington Post "reports that their taste testers were struck with a variety of reactions to Pringles’ new line of potato chips, ranging from 'surprisingly not revolted' to a 'horrible abomination to humanity.'"
October is also the month to make a mean pumpkin lasagna, crispy pumpkin and sage cannelloni (coming to the blog close to Thanksgiving) and pumpkin gnocchi. Seriously, I feel like there are not enough days in October for everything I want to make with pumpkin. [Ed. note: So this is why you were pining for them in February.]
This pumpkin bread is moist, tender and plush on the inside, with a sumptuous cinnamon-sugar craggy lid. One of my biggest pet peeves when baking pumpkin bread are the recipes that use 1 cup of pumpkin puree out of a can that holds 1 ¾ cup. That leftover puree drives me bat-shit crazy. [Ed. note: Can confirm.] Fear not, this recipe utilizes every last drop of that canned pumpkin and it only takes one bowl to make.
Very key here is the size of your loaf pan, as this will fill out every inch of it. Mine holds 6 liquid cups; it’s 8 × 4 inches on the bottom and 9 × 5 inches on the top. If yours is even slightly smaller or you’re nervous, go ahead and scoop out a little to make a muffin or two.
Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen says, "Finally, I know someone is going to say 'that’s way too much sugar!' but please keep in mind this loaf is gigantic, easily 1.5x a normal one and the sugar is scaled accordingly. You can decrease it if you wish but we have made this now several times and many people have commented about how in-check the sugar level tastes, not over the top at all."
PS: Can't forget last year's pumpkin challah (www.moveablefeast.me/blog/pumpkin-challah), and mini pumpkin whoopie pies with apple cider filling (www.moveablefeast.me/blog/mini-pumpkin-whoopie-pies-with-apple-cider-cream-cheese-filling), which were client and reader favorites.
Adapted from: Smitten Kitchen
Number of servings: 8-10
So. We missed a week. Let me explain.
If there is one thing that can throw a serious monkey wrench into a personal-chef business, it's a broken refrigerator. Three weeks of no working fridge in the house, so to the rescue come three friends and their three fridges. (You know who you are and I love you dearly.) The BF and I are driving all over town to these different locations, then out to fulfill all the client orders. Extra time, extra hassle, and then of course problems with new-fridge delivery and oy...
Then, a bonus: jury duty. [Ed. note: #@%$#^&*] I was called to attend, but luckily was dismissed on the second day. A side note: in 1993 I served for four weeks during procedures that were deciding whether or not a serial killer was competent enough to stand trial. We determined that he was.
So, with all apologies, am late in getting into the Rosh Hashanah spirit. Even though it started on Sunday and ends today, Tuesday, it's not too late to make this lovely apple cake. This will work throughout the rest of fall and winter, and really, the last three weeks have had a "better late than never" kind of mantra.
Many years ago I made this for my Momala, and it was an instant favorite (and she is a woman who knows her coffee cakes). The BF enjoyed it for his birthday last year, and of course it was brought out again for this Rosh Hashanah. It doesn't skimp on the apples, the entire house smells like apples, cinnamon, and fall.
The BF and I want to wish all our Jewish family and friends a healthy and happy Shana Tova!
Adapted from: Smitten Kitchen
Number of servings: 12-16
For the apples
DO AHEAD: This cake is awesome on the first day but absolutely glorious and pudding-like on the days that follow, so feel free to get an early start on it. I keep it at room temperature covered with foil.
* NOTE: The apples love to hide uncooked pockets of batter, especially near the top. Make sure your testing skewer or toothpick goes not just all the way down to the bottom, but does a shallow dip below the top layer of apples, and make sure it comes out batter-free. Should your cake be browning too fast, before the center is baked through, cover it with foil for all but the last few minutes, while in the oven.
"More people will come if they think we have punch and pie!"
~ Eric Theodore Cartman
Twenty-one years ago, four crudely animated foul-mouthed boys began their seemingly endless journey through grade school in the quaint, cozy mountain town of South Park. Through alien abductions, soul-singing chefs, cannabis-drenched towels, and commentary covering all possible levels of political incorrectness, one thing has been perpetually certain: Eric Cartman loves pie. Loves all desserts, actually.
Growing up, my siblings and I would ask my Mom, "Can we have dessert?" Her reply would often be, "Yes, you can have a piece of fruit." As if channeling Cartman, we would all bellow in unison, "But Mom, fruit is not a dessert."
Honestly, in this form, it really is.
Whenever I bake a pie, especially a blackberry pie, I recall the mother of my best childhood friend (Mrs. C). A master pie maker. She taught me how to make a pie from scratch.
We picked wild blackberries from her daughter's back yard. The berries were so plump, we filled the huge plastic bucket within 15 minutes. Of all the priceless baking tips Mrs. C gave, I'm most thankful for her method of thickening a pie filling with tapioca flour (a.k.a. tapioca starch) instead of cornstarch or all-purpose flour. Tapioca flour makes the filling bright and clear, whereas cornstarch or A.P. flour can give the filling a cloudy look and chalky taste.
This recipe is adapted from Julia Frey's blog Vikalinka. Besides some general streamlining, my changes include adding a bit of cinnamon to the filling, upping the amount of blackberries, and subbing tapioca flour in place of A.P. flour. I love her idea of topping the pie with honeyed creme fraiche (a favorite that really complements the blackberries well).
One note, if you're lucky enough to have wild blackberries in your backyard, use them (and I'm envious). If not, store bought will do just fine. If you're short on time, you can also use your favorite store-bought pie crust. Just don't forget the honeyed creme fraiche. More people will come if they think you have honeyed creme fraiche.
Adapted from: Vikalinka
Number of servings; 8
"Life is short. Take the trip. Buy the shoes. Eat the cake."
Today is mamala's birthday, and as with my BF-mom's birthday, we gather here today to celebrate their collective sweet tooth.
Mamala passionately loved root beer floats and "black cows" (made with Coke instead of root beer), quintessential summer treats. Are they as nostalgic for you as they are for me? If so, what was your first memory of them? (Feel free to comment below!)
Even though I was lucky enough to grow up with an A&W in my hometown (it's still there), growing up we didn't frequent it too often. Mamala made her own floats at home, and oh how I loved watching her make them. One scoop of vanilla ice cream in a frosted glass. Root beer poured just so. The carbonation would foam up instantly, but never overflowed. She had the touch. I also remember she used a long, slender soda spoon to give it a slight stir.
I made it home for almost all of her birthdays, but one year it wasn't possible and the BF and I Fed Exed these root beer float cupcakes (frosting in a separate container, ice cream not included) to my sister and mom. They were delighted, and a little surprised, to discover what was in the box.
My first attempt at this was as a full-sized bundt cake, as was originally written in one of my favorite cookbooks, Baked: New Frontiers in Baking, by Matt Lewis and Renato Polafito. When I spied the cupcake version on the Smitten Kitchen blog, knew I had to make it for mamala. I added the root beer fudge frosting.
If you don't have time to make individual cupcakes, make it into a bundt, frost it and serve ice cream on the side. Either way, you won't be sorry.
Adapted from: Matt Lewis and Renato Polafito, Baked: New Frontiers in Baking and Smitten Kitchen (cupcakes)
Number of servings: 22 cupcakes or one (10-inch) bundt cake
PS: One year ago...
Marionberries have a short season. July to be precise. The plump, Oregon-borne morsels are the cabernet of blackberries, with a tart-yet-sweet flavor that's somewhere between raspberries and blackberries.
NPR states, "The marionberry, a cross between Chehalem and Olallie blackberries, was bred at Oregon State University as part of a berry-developing partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture that dates back to the early 1900s. It's named for Marion County in the Willamette Valley, where most of the field trials took place."
[Ed. note: To be clear, this has nothing to do with the late-D.C.-Mayor Marion S. Barry, who in 1990 was caught in an FBI sting smoking crack. Man, this blog suddenly got dark, didn't it? All apologies, we now return you to your regular programming.]
The original recipe calls for raspberries, but I chose marionberries as an homage to my home state. Feel free to use raspberries, blackberries or even boysenberries. I have been lucky enough to find fresh marionberries, but have used frozen too and it's delicious.
An incredibly moist, unassuming everyday cake that is perfect for breakfast, tea or a light dessert. Works well with ice cream or softly whipped cream, but it needs no accoutrement Well, maybe a cup of coffee!
Adapted from: Bon Appetit, March 2015 and Orangette
Number of servings: 8
Okay. So, I can be a tad stubborn in my dessert likes and dislikes. The BF can attest.
[Ed. note: Want to answer this honestly, but I've been falling asleep before her and value my own life.]
My existence has revolved around the dictum: if it is not chocolate, it is not dessert. Would think to myself, "What's the point?" It was never a problem to pass up fruit pies, tarts, parfaits, jams, jellies, or other such confections.
Then several years ago this tart changed my mind. Discovered it from Donna Hay's Seasons and it became a real show stopper for clients. Tart, tangy, colorful, not too sweet, and light. It's also one of the easiest desserts I have ever made.
It's not chocolate, but it works as a terrific distinctive summer dessert to end the meal with.
Adapted from: Donna Hay, Seasons
Number of servings: 4-6
Tart and Topping
Tart and Topping
So, the last few weeks have been challenging. Found out that pain from my neck, down my shoulder, radiating down to my fingers was the result of pinched-nerve and mild-bone-spur issues. Not fun.
So grateful for the BF, who has been heroically helping me with everything, including the many things you can't do with one hand, such as opening jars, schlepping 50-pound food-filled bins in heavy glassware, fastening a bra hook. Good times.
It was a week where a cheesecake must be made. [Ed. note: Or a day ending in "y."]
The original recipe comes from Stella Parks of Serious Eats, and to be clear, this is not your traditional New York dense cheesecake. This particular cheesecake is creamy, fluffy and has an acutely concentrated blueberry flavor. Bodes well considering the hot summer months that will be here soon. This will be a go-to dessert for my clients.
I realize it's often said, "Hey folks this dish is really easy to make," but consider I made this for Memorial Day with one hand. It was also a hot day and I didn't have to even bake the crust. Can't wait to try the freeze-dried strawberry and mango versions.
As Stella Parks says in her blog, "Unlike fresh fruit purée or jam, freeze-dried fruit has no water or added sugar, so it packs a concentrated flavor that won't throw off the consistency or sweetness of the no-bake cheesecake filling. And thanks to the low-temperature processing method, freeze-dried fruit has the same bright flavor as fresh, not the semi-caramelized profile of a stovetop reduction."
Adapted from: Stella Parks, Serious Eats
Number of servings: 8-12
Crème brûlée is French for "burnt cream." It's all about the contrast between the crisp caramelized topping and smooth, creamy custard beneath.
Some people have the impression that this is a difficult dessert to make. Truthfully, it isn't, if you follow a few tried-and-true steps. The first time I made it (in my twenties) it turned into scrambled eggs, because I did not temper the eggs. Over/under-baked the custard? Burned the sugar topping? Been there, done that. One thing is certain, I do learn from my failures.
That said, this particular recipe is pretty fool-proof and simple, a solid "go to" time and time again. Several years ago, I had a client who wanted a small dessert (with no leftovers) once a month. She adored custards, so I made the family a different flavored crème brûlée every month for a year.
Once you've tried making this lemony custard, you can go nuts and make pumpkin, chocolate, espresso, butterscotch, bourbon-maple, eggnog, ginger, Earl Grey–the flavor possibilities are endless.
After the recipe, there are some very extremely helpful tips. Please check them out before you start baking!
One nice aspect of this dessert is that it's very easy to adjust. You can easily make 4 or even 2 (which I do when it's just the BF and me) servings, if desired.
Also, you don't need a butane torch. If I'm doing 8 or more custards I will place all on a baking sheet and put them under the broiler. If you do this, you need to place them back in the fridge for awhile to cool, but I'm okay with that, as this keeps the BF calm (he gets nervous when I break out the butane).
Have fun with this one!
Adapted from: Bon Appetit, June 2005 and most of the "Tips" from Simply Recipes blog
Number of servings: 8
I'm Jacquie, personal chef & recipe developer in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Living life with my wildly funny boyfriend and dog Marlowe. Lover of books, bourbon, chocolate and movies.