Thursday, December 4, 2014

It's Cookie Season!

Hi there! I'm dusting off the blog to bring you a few cookie recipes for the holidays! Starting with this one, Soft Sugared Ginger Snaps! My grandson Pete and I made these this morning. I had planned to make them a few days ago but realized that I didn't have molasses. Finally bought some last night on my way home from work. Can't make ginger snaps without molasses! Anyway, for a kid who loves everything chocolate chip, he really loved these cookies. In fact, when he left my part of the house to go home today (I have a granny flat over their garage) he took all the cookies with him! (He's four!)

This recipe makes a cookie that is soft and chewy on the inside, with a sugared outer crust that gives just a bit of crisp resistance. They are perfect and round and beautiful, and the aroma of warm winter spices just makes the entire house feel like Christmas!

(I'm also in the middle of baking a large Christmas wedding cake, so it's a miracle I found time to do this!)

Here you go!

oven - 375 F, cookie sheet lined with parchment paper
bake 8 minutes
Makes 28-32 cookies


Stir together in medium bowl, and set aside:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. salt

In large mixer bowl, beat the brown sugar and butter together till light and fluffy
1 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup butter at room temperature
Then beat in:
1/4 cup molasses
1 tsp. vanilla

And finally, beat in:
1 egg

When it's all mixed together, place mixing bowl in fridge for about 10-15 minutes.

Roll dough by hand into 1-inch balls. Roll the balls to coat completely in :

bowl of white sugar for coating (a couple of tablespoons)

Place 2-inches apart on parchment-lined cookie sheet.  Slightly flatten with the bottom of a glass (just squish a little, not too much.)

Bake in preheated oven (375 F) for 8 minutes.

Remove from oven. Allow to cool for a few minutes and remove to cooling rack.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Real life, crazy busy!

Hi there! Thought you might like to see what I've been up to over the past month. We've had a lot of happy family moments, beginning with the wedding of my nephew Ben and his new wife Megan at the end of September. It was an amazingly beautiful wedding at St. Peter's Church in Saratoga Springs, followed by a joyful reception at The Prime at Saratoga National Golf Course. The weather was perfect. My sister Anne, mother of the groom, was stunning! Ben's three brothers were all there for him. Three of my children were there with me, along with my grandsons Henry and Peter.  It was a wonderful celebration of family, bringing Megan into the fold!

Ben and Megan
photo by Elario Photography Inc. (He took amazing photos!)

We also celebrated, on October 19th, little Pete's 4th birthday. He wanted a Batman-themed cake this year (after years of Thomas and Friends cakes) and he got his wish. I was working very long days and nights the week of Pete's birthday, so I baked his cake the Friday morning before his Sunday birthday, and knowing I had to work all day Saturday for our museum gallery opening, I came home Friday night and frosted and decorated (in home-made fondant) the Batman cake from 11 pm to 5 am! I knew I had to keep going because I'd have NO energy after another long day of work! It came out better than I could ever have hoped, and here's the photo:

Pete's Batman Cake with my
home-made fondant!

Interspersed among these big celebrations are the everyday moments that make me smile. Here are a few photos of such moments:

Henry and Peter taking a stroll up the driveway.

Shower cake for my friend Colleen Barber Hursh.
Her baby is due any day now! Can't wait to find out if it's a boy or a girl!

Trick or treating at Skidmore College's Apartments this past Sunday. Such fun!
Henry & Peter are the Batman brothers! CLICK TO ENLARGE

Hunter Moon a few weeks ago - stopped the car to take this one!

That's all for now. I miss writing the blog and connecting with my readers. Can't wait to get back in the saddle!

So long for now and I'll be back soon!

All the best,


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Checking In and Catching Up!

Hello my friends! It's been a while since I've checked in. Progress is being made on my cookbook project. I have a working title: Adirondack Baker - The Occasional Cookbook. The outline of chapters has been decided and recipes are being chosen. The narrative writing is about to begin, and a letter to potential publishers is next... I'm in that "hurry up and wait" phase, but since this is my first book project ever, even this part is exciting!

Meanwhile -  please don't think I've abandoned the blog - I haven't. The hope is that you will use the blog's five years of archived stories and recipes to tide you over while the cookbook is underway. Meanwhile, I can't resist sharing recent photos (which I will do periodically - so check back!).

Life goes on and my little guys are becoming bigger little guys! Henry is six and a half, is in first grade now, and has lost many of his front teeth! Pete has started his 4-year-old preschool class (he'll be four in October) and tells me many interesting things each day. For example - today we heard something outside and I said, "Hey Pete, what was that?" and he replied "That sound noise is my ears talking. Don't worry, my ears can talk, you know." He fascinates me, this child!

So, here are some photos for you to enjoy, and I'll be back soon, promise!

Sweet Pete!

Onesie cake for Colleen Hursh's soon-to-arrive baby!

For friends Tricia and Jeremy -
wedding cake for a wonderful reception on Lake George!

Had to find something to do with the abundance of peaches
from Katie's tree, right here in our yard!

Boys on a Sunday morning!

Late Summer Boat Ride on Sacandaga Lake!

As summer turns to fall, I'll be back with updates and more pictures (there will always be photos) so please remember to stop back and check.

I miss writing and hearing from you, and I will be back!

All the best,


Monday, July 7, 2014

I made lemon ice cream!

I have been itching to make ice cream, to use the beautiful Cuisinart ice cream maker I bought a couple of years ago with a birthday gift certificate to Williams-Sonoma. I decided to give it its first run of this summer with a recipe for lemon ice cream that I found on, and switched up just a little bit.  It made a beautiful, creamy, and very pucker-worthy lemon ice cream. It's absolutely delicious, and if you love anything or everything lemon like I do, it's a home run!

Here's what I did:

To make the custard, in a medium sauce pan, I whisked together:

1 cup heavy cream (original recipe called for half-and-half)
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest (I used a little more)
1/2 cup lemon juice
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

I then heated the mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly, until it came to a true simmer, with little bubbles forming and breaking on the outside edge of the pot. I took it off the heat and whisked in:

1 cup whole milk (original recipe called for half-and-half)


I poured the hot mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a pyrex bowl, pressing the lemon zest with a wooden spoon to get as much flavor into the liquid as possible, and covered the custard with a piece of plastic wrap. I put it in the fridge over night.

This morning, I poured the chilled custard into the ice cream maker's pre-frozen bowl, and turned it on. I set my kitchen timer for 18 minutes, and kept busy doing morning stuff while it churned, like unloading/loading the dishwasher, made my breakfast, decided what to wear to work -- the every day stuff.

When the timer sounded, I was amazed at just how beautiful this ice cream is. It's light in color, creamy, and has a perfect texture.  It is so so so so lemony! I loaded up my new ice cream canister I bought over the weekend at TJ Maxx (Maxx for the minimum!) and placed it in my freezer until I could get home from work for the true test - a bit of the lemon ice cream in a bowl with a spritz of whipped cream. Actually (sadly) this was in place of eating a wonderful, healthy, balanced dinner, but sometimes, it's not just eat dessert first, it's eat dessert as if it IS dinner! That's what happened in my kitchen tonight!

Now I'm thinking of how many variations of ice cream I can come up with. I think my next batch might be "Drumstick" like the ice cream cones you can find in the freezer section of the grocery store. I'd make a basic vanilla ice cream, add some chocolate Magic Shell pieces, broken up sugar cone pieces, and some chopped peanuts! Can't wait to experiment with more flavors!

Light, creamy, and refreshing
on a hot summer night!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Baking and Writing, Writing and Baking!

Progress report: I had a great lunch meeting with a good writing friend M.M. (good friend, and good writer!), and we're supporting each other with our writing projects. We set goals and dates to meet again, which is both exciting and inspiring! We'll meet again August 1st to report on our progress and to set new goals. It's great to have support like this as I dig in to my cookbook project!

Meanwhile, the baking continues. This post is short and very, very sweet with four cakes I baked this past weekend, all for special people celebrating special occasions! Photos follow!

Hope you enjoy - no more cakes for a few weeks (she says gratefully!). I LOVE baking cakes for my friends and family, but being so busy with the full-time job and other baking projects, I welcome a short reprieve before the next cake is scheduled for July 12th (right, AP?!). Anyway…all work and no play, you know… :)

PS - please think about sharing YOUR favorite family recipe and, even more, the story behind it for consideration for my cookbook project!  Contact me with your story and recipe at!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Playing Restaurant

One of the too-many-to-count advantages of living so close (i.e., in a different part of the house) to my grandsons Henry and Peter is that I get to see a lot of them. Which is wonderful. Which is convenient. Which makes my heart happy. Which makes me aware of how very, very fortunate I am.

We like to "play" restaurant. I take orders, Pete (age 3) sets the table - sort of. I don't change his set up. It's his work and he is proud, beamingly so. The other night, the boys came up to my granny flat and we had a "restaurant" spaghetti dinner. They were so cute, and so excited. They ate very well, but when it came to cleaning up I am afraid I was the Little Red Hen and did most of that by myself!

This morning, I was greeted by these two grand boys at 7:30 am. They came running up the stairs in their jammies and I was just getting up. I said "Who wants restaurant breakfast?" and they both said "Yea!" so that's what we did.

Henry (now 6, with his first tooth gone and the next one on its way out) wanted to write down the "orders" including his own.  Here's his…

Not that you need a translation, but this reads:
orange juice, French toast, cake, and cherry juice!
How stinkin' cute is that? He wasn't too too disappointed when the plate of scrambled eggs and toast was set before him, though he said "This is not what I ordered!" He ate it all up, anyway!

Hope you are all having a great weekend.  Enjoy!

Home-Made Ketchup!

I know I'm on "hiatus" while I'm working on the cookbook, but I have to make an exception and tell you about this one…  I made home-made ketchup this morning, and it's SO good!  Here's the recipe - try it!!! (It'll be in the cookbook, too!). Can't wait to give it a test-drive with a burger and fries, but the Saratoga Chips I sampled this ketchup with this morning were deee-lish! (Pete loved it too!) You could change this up with different sweeteners, vinegars, and seasonings. I'm thinking pure maple syrup, or balsamic vinegar. That sounds good too!


2 6-oz. cans regular tomato paste (not flavored)
½ cup packed dark brown sugar
½ teaspoon dry mustard (I used a teaspoon of Dijon instead)
¼ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup water
½ cup white vinegar

DIRECTIONS:In medium saucepan, whisk all ingredients together. Bring to a boil over low heat, turn down to lowest setting and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring often. You may need to cover because it’s thick and bubbles very enthusiastically, even at a low simmer. 
Makes more than 2 cups. 

It's even great on potato chips!

Pete, the 3-year old kitchen apprentice!
(aka my cutie patootie grandson!)