Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Mini Chocolate Wedding Cake with Buttercream Frosting

Tonight, at a small Italian restaurant near Congress Park in Saratoga Springs, a lovely couple will be celebrating their marriage.  A mutual friend, Chris, asked if I would bake a mini wedding cake for the celebration.  I was very happy to do so.  This is a dark chocolate cake with buttercream frosting (the same chocolate cake recipe I always use, as well as my standard buttercream frosting) -- two 8" layers of cake, filled and frosted in snowy white-on-white.  I barely dusted the roses with edible silver glitter.  It's so fine it will only show up if the light hits it just right.  Here's to a happy marriage and long life together for the newlyweds!


Mini chocolate wedding cake with buttercream frosting

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Gingerbread Snowflake Cookies

Here's my first cookie recipe for the season - gingerbread snowflakes!  It's a very pretty cookie, piped with royal icing.  You can use a number of cookie cutters to achieve the snowflake look -- star, flower, scalloped, circle -- just pipe the icing as I did in the photo, and you have your own unique snowflakes.  No two are alike, you know!  Of course, you can make this dough into any shape you like, especially gingerbread men and women.  I like to make ornaments out of them by poking a hole near the top with a drinking straw before baking, and when cooled, tie with a ribbon and adorn your tree (a kitchen tree of just gingerbread cookies and metal cookie cutters is really cute).


GINGERBREAD SNOWFLAKE COOKIES
Oven:  350 degrees F

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup molasses (not black strap)
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted with:
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

In large mixing bowl, beat butter with sugar until light and fluffy.  Add  molasses, egg yolk, and vanilla; beat well.

In separate bowl, combine all the dry ingredients.  Stir into butter/molasses mixture until very well combined.  You might have to use your hands.  Be careful, I once burnt out a stand mixer's motor trying to mix this together.  Your hands are a great mixing tool.

Divide into 2 portions and wrap each in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for at least one hour.

On lightly floured surface, with floured rolling pin, roll 1/4 inch thick.  Add more flour as necessary.  Cut with floured cookie cutters.  Re-roll scraps and keep going until you have used all the dough.

Bake 8-10 minutes on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Cool on sheet for a few minutes then move to wire rack until completely cooled.

Pipe snowflake design with royal icing (recipe follows):

ROYAL ICING

3 tablespoons meringue powder (found in the baking aisle or in cake decorating section of craft store)
   (and safer than using raw egg whites)
4 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
6 tablespoons water

Beat the above ingredients together for up to 10 minutes, until soft peaks form.  Keep it covered with a damp paper towel to prevent a crust from forming on the icing in the bowl.

Pipe onto cookies using a pastry bag and a medium writing tip (or fill a heavy-weight zipper food storage bag with icing and clip a tiny piece off one corner.  This is your writing tip.  When done, close open end with a twist-tie.)

Let dry completely (overnight is good).

Photo:  my gingerbread snowflake cookies from Christmas '10

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Peppermint Bark Recipe

Photo:  acout.com
I'm putting together my Christmas list of gifty-type food to blog about, and to give.  I'm starting with Peppermint Bark, a beautiful combination of semi-sweet and white chocolates and peppermint.  It's very expensive to buy in a candy store, and so simple (and inexpensive) to make at home.  Make sure you use REAL white chocolate (just read the label) and not the "white confection" morsels or bars.  You're already saving money, making it yourself.  Buy the good stuff!




PEPPERMINT BARK
recipe from allrecipes.com


8 ounces high-quality semisweet chocolate, broken into pieces
2 teaspoons canola oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract, divided
8 ounces high-quality white chocolate, broken into pieces
25 peppermint candies, crushed

Lightly grease a 9x9 inch pan and line with waxed paper, smoothing out wrinkles; set aside.

Place the semisweet chocolate and 1 teaspoon of the canola oil in the top of a double boiler over just barely simmering water, stirring frequently and scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula to avoid scorching. When the chocolate is melted, stir in 1/4 teaspoon of the peppermint extract. Pour the melted chocolate into the prepared pan, and spread evenly over the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle half of the crushed peppermints over the chocolate layer. Refrigerate until completely hardened, about 1 hour.

Place the white chocolate and the remaining 1 teaspoon canola oil in the top of a double boiler over just barely simmering water, stirring frequently and scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula to avoid scorching. When the chocolate is melted, stir in the remaining 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract. Pour the white chocolate directly over the semisweet chocolate layer; spread evenly. Sprinkle the remaining crushed candy over the top and gently press in. Refrigerate until completely hardened. Remove from pan; break into small pieces to serve.


Recipe source:  allrecipes.com:  
http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/peppermint-bark/detail.aspx 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving 2011!

Today is almost too busy to blog, but I'm going to take a few minutes to wish all my family and friends, and each and every reader, a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  I love the unloaded simplicity of this day, family and friends gathering together to share a meal and gratitude for the blessings in our lives -- abundance, not of things, but of family, friends, good food, and time together.

Today I am grateful for so much, especially my family, including my ex-husband Gene and his wife Kathryn who are hosting the big feast, but also for the friends who are another form of family to me.  I'm grateful for five healthy, beautiful, and now grown kids.  I am grateful for my two grandsons, for whom the sun rises and also sets (!).  I am grateful that Russ is here with me today, as he has been for the past fourteen Thanksgivings, along with his little dog Jette.  I am grateful for Skidmore College, the place where I have been employed since "the beginning of time" and also where my daughter Katie and I received degrees, and where my other children have taken classes from time to time. It is also a place where deep friendships have blossomed, a true blessing in my life.

I am grateful for memories of life lived, even the sad memories, because everything we experience is a lesson allowing us to appreciate all the good that comes our way, and the people who were there for us during the trials and tribulations, and also there to share our celebrations.  It may seem funny to say this, but I am grateful for facebook, because it has renewed friendships that had slipped from my grasp and brought old friends back into my life.  The power of social media...

I usually write about food, but Thanksgiving is about so much more than that.  So no food notes in this posting, just gratitude.

I wish all of you a truly Happy Thanksgiving.  May we appreciate all that surrounds us, and give thanks for every person who has touched our lives.

Now go eat!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

A lot of people have tomorrow off, but I'm not one of them.  Half our office has taken the day, so for the rest of the staff, I'm baking a little special something:  pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting (surprise!).  They're in the oven now with just a few minutes to go, and they smell soooooo good!  I can't think of anything more appropriate for the day before Thanksgiving than pumpkin bars.  They're spicy, sweet, and the perfect, deep, dark autumn color.  What more could you ask for than something that can do double-time as either a breakfast bar or, later in the day, dessert?  This recipe is adapted from one that Paula Deen has posted on-line.  My changes:  a little less oil, a little more cinnamon.  Paula's frosting is a little too rich for what I am looking for, so I cut the fat in half and no one will miss it.  Here's my take on Paula's pumpkin bars, with a preview of some photos along the way (frosting will have to wait until tomorrow morning!):

Look at those specks of cinnamon ~ it's just plain pretty!

And here they are, frosted and ready for my office!


PUMPKIN BARS WITH CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Prepare 13x9 pan (spray with vegetable spray or line with parchment paper and still spray a little)

Ingredients:
4 eggs
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil (Paula uses 1 cup)
1  15 oz. can pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

In large mixer bowl, beat together eggs, sugar, oil, pumpkin, and vanilla extract until fluffy.
In separate bowl, stir all dry ingredients together.  Add to pumpkin mixture and mix until very well combined.

Spread in 13x9 pan and bake for 30 minutes.

Cool completely before frosting (a few hours or even better, over night).

Frost in pan.  Cut into bars.

FROSTING (very modified from Paula's - much more my own):

1/2 bar cream cheese (4 oz.) softened - make sure it's room temperature or it'll be lumpy...
1/8 lb. butter, softened (half a stick)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2  teaspoon lemon extract (optional)
2 cups confectioners sugar
a few tablespoons of milk, more if you need it

Beat softened cream cheese and butter until complete combined.  Add vanilla and lemon extracts and mix thoroughly.  Gradually add confectioners sugar, alternating with a little milk at a time, until it's the consistency you want it to be.  Less milk = a firmer frosting, more = softer.  Go sparingly with the milk.  Add a few drops at a time until it's just right. (Remember, you can always add a little more milk, but once you've added too much, you can't take it out.)



Photos and Collage:   my own

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Shortcuts to an Easier and Very Delicious Thanksgiving

I'm not hosting Thanksgiving this year.  It hasn't been "my" holiday to host in many years.  I think the last one was  Thanksgiving 2001, the year before we lost our mom.  After that, I let different people take over.  Most recently, either my daughter Katie or my ex-husband Gene and his wife Kathryn have hosted, and it's been very nice.  Still, I can't help wanting to read recipes for this special day.  I think about what I would serve, or what I can contribute.

This year, Gene and Kathryn are hosting and my contribution is stuffing.  I'd always been a "Pepperidge Farm" devotee when it comes to stuffing.  We grew up enjoying it.  I'm going to make it my own this year by adding a few traditional ingredients, including chicken stock, sauteed onions and celery, and also some plumped-up dried cranberries.  I thought about adding walnuts, but there are a lot of people coming to dinner, and nuts are an "iffy" thing when you're serving a crowd.  So, yep, I cheat a little bit - no stale, cubed bread, no giblets, no Bell's seasoning -- and the results will be as good or better than any totally from-scratch recipe.  Pepperidge Farm makes a great stuffing, seasoned perfectly,  a success every time.  I can't wait for left-overs to make my Thanksgiving sandwich:  layers of sliced turkey breast, stuffing, lettuce, and cranberry mayo between two slices of whole wheat bread.  YUM!

One of the very best short-cuts is a recipe given to me by Jody Shepson, two Thanksgivings ago.  It's a recipe for make-ahead gravy and I wrote about it in 2009.  If you really want one thing that's going to cut down on stress and make your Thanksgiving day, this one is it:  Click here for the link to fool-proof Make Ahead Gravy...

If you want to get your mashed potatoes out of the way ahead of time (or if you're bringing them to someone else's house), try making Mashed Potato Casserole (link here) - it's from Cook's Country and Katie and I made it last year.  It's great, and easily portable!

Another short-cut I allow myself at holiday time is using Pillsbury Pie Crusts - an incredible time and mess saver.  They're great, too.  So if the thought of mixing pie crust dough, chilling it, rolling it out, and getting it to fit the pie plate and stay in one piece is freaking you out, then buy a couple boxes of Pillsbury's pie crust.  It's great and you won't be sorry.  I usually make a couple of easy pies for Thanksgiving, too.  One is pumpkin, the other chocolate cream.  My pumpkin pie recipe is a short-cut as well.  I buy Libby's Pumpkin Pie Mix, a can of pumpkin already spiced with the perfect amount of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.  All you add is evaporated milk and eggs, mix gently, and pour into a pie crust, and bake.  Simple as can be, and when served with real whipped cream -- heavenly!

For my chocolate cream pie, (my family's traditional favorite) I use cooked chocolate pudding - 2 boxes makes one nice pie.  I pre-bake a Pillsbury pie crust or you can buy an Oreo crust ready to go.  Pour the hot pudding in, cover it in Saran Wrap, chill, and top with whipped cream prior to serving.  Classic.

Try one or a few of these time-and-stress savers, and enjoy your Thanksgiving along with everyone else!

Photo credit:  http://www.womansday.com/var/ezflow_site/storage/images/wd2/recipes/make-ahead-turkey-gravy-recipe2/279879-1-eng-US/Make-Ahead-Turkey-Gravy-Recipe_slideshow_image.jpg

Friday, November 18, 2011

Citrus Chrysanthemum Cake

Tonight I baked a pound cake in a bundt pan, but it's not just any pound cake, and not just any bundt pan.  It's a citrus poundcake, with lemon extract and grated orange rind.  The pan is in the shape of a chrysanthemum flower, a gift from Russ a few Christmases ago.  He's a smart man.  He knows if he gives me something to bake with, he'll be able to enjoy the results!

Here's the recipe for tonight's Citrus Chrysanthemum Cake (makes enough batter for one bundt cake and a dozen cupcakes).  This is a perfect early morning coffee cake, or a great dessert after dinner (with a little ice cream or sherbet and whipped cream!)...  It would nicely complement traditional Thanksgiving desserts, as well.  Citrus flavors are very refreshing after a big meal.

I hope you try it!

CITRUS CHRYSANTHEMUM CAKE

1 bar unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 cups (one pint) sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1 tablespoon grated orange rind (dry) or 2 tablespoons fresh
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

Glaze:  1 cup confectioners sugar, 1/2 tsp. lemon extract, water
Additional confectioners sugar to sift over glazed cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Prepare pan:  grease very well or spray with Pam

In large mixer bowl, cream butter with sugar until very well combined.  Add extracts and orange rind.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add sour cream.  Mix well.

In separate bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Add to butter/egg mixture and beat until very well combined.

Fill bundt pan 2/3 full.  Bake at 350 degrees F until cake tests done.  Check at 45 minutes and continue baking until top is dry and bounces back when lightly pressed.  Remove from oven.  Cool in pan for 10 minutes.  Turn out onto wire rack to cool completely.

Make glaze - stir confectioners sugar and lemon extract and stir in water, a few drops at a time, to get a pourable glaze.  Pour glaze over cake.  Sift confectioners sugar over top of cake.

Bake cupcakes for 22 minutes or until they test done.  Cool completely.  Frost as desired.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Birthdays, Red Lobster, and Cupcakes

Tonight we celebrated my brother Michael's (belated) birthday with a dinner at Red Lobster in Queensbury.  My family loves Red Lobster for birthday celebrations because we can fit six siblings around a table easily (missing 7th sib,  brother Danny, who relocated back to California with his wife Suzette last March). At RL, we can enjoy a good meal (very good, actually), and sit and hang out with each other long after our check is paid. That's just what we did tonight.  It's a comfortable place for a group like us.

I've written about these birthday dinners before.  They are special.  Here we are, now realizing that we are actually getting older, and there's no denying it -- the oldest O'Farrell brother is 63, and the youngest sister, 53.  When did that happen?  It seems like just yesterday we were seven kids living together in the same house with our parents, a large, cohesive family.  So much has happened over the past 40 years or so -- college, military service, marriages, babies, dogs, moving away, moving back, babies becoming kids, kids becoming teenagers, new relationships, more dogs, kids getting married, more babies...  It's such a flash of events that pop like firecrackers in my brain, moments of life creating a collage of memories to pour over again and again, and savor.

Through all of these transitions, the one constant has been our relationship as siblings, with all that comes with big families.  Sometimes it's easy; sometimes it's not, but it's always been something we can count on.  My brothers and sisters and I have been through a lot together -- moving a lot as kids, growing up and staying connected, losing our father, and later our mother.  We were mid-life adults with no parents, with still half our lives to lead, six siblings to support each other through happy and sad times.

When you think about it, no one has known you longer or better than your sisters and brothers, the people who know everything about you, and, like the saying goes, "love you just the same."

I appreciate the fact that I have six siblings.  They are a great bunch.  Hope you had a happy, happy birthday, Michael.  I look forward to sharing many more together, and...I hope you like the cupcakes!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Ellen's Stardust Diner and Popeye Spinach Salad

Popeye Spinach Salad
from Ellen's Stardust Diner in NYC

I slept in this morning (all the way to 8:00 am!) after spending a great day in New York City with my friend Catherine Golden.  Catherine is a professor of English at Skidmore College and had invited me to join her and a bus-full of Honors Forum students on a day trip to the city to see the play Avenue Q.  Our bus left campus at 7 am and arrived in New York just before 11 am, so there was plenty of time to sight-see and shop before and after the play.  We were dropped off at Bryant Park, right behind the NewYork Public Library.  Catherine and I started off by window shopping (and actual shopping) at Bryant Park where vendors are set up all around the skating rink.  There's a wide variety of crafts and goods for sale there, with international food vendors as well.  I bought hand puppets for Henry and Peter, a pirate for Henry and Stuart Little for Pete (can't wait to give them to them this morning!).  Moving on to the New York Public Library, we were so excited to see a display of the actual toys that were the inspiration for A.A. Milne's Winnie the Pooh stories.  In addition, we saw pages from Virginia Woolf's last journal as well as her walking cane, and also a display of items belonging to Malcolm X, including pages from the journal of his trip to the mid-east, and his briefcase.  I took a photo of Catherine outside the library, as well as pictures of the stately lion sculptures guarding the entrance.  


New York Public Library

Before the play, we stopped for lunch at Ellen's Stardust Diner on 51st Street.  Though the line waiting to get in was wrapped around the building, we were happy to wait and were seated in about half-an-hour.  It was jam-packed, with tables butted right up against each other, but that just added to the fun.  Aspiring Broadway stars/waitstaff belt out tunes as they work, the epitome of multi-tasking!  Each and every "performance" is amazing, and last month alone nine of their staff were plucked away from the restaurant to perform in theaters on- and off-Broadway.  Having lunch at the Stardust is like a free pass to a wonderful show, and all you have to pay for is lunch (thank you, Catherine!), which for both Catherine and me was the Popeye Spinach Salad.  It was a plate full of the freshest spinach, candied walnuts, sliced pears, dried cranberries, the creamiest goat cheese, with a delicious sherry vinaigrette (I have to get that recipe!).  I had sliced chicken added to mine.  We were in and out in time to get to the play, the theater just two blocks from the diner.

Ellen's Stardust Diner!

Avenue Q was very entertaining.  It's a play set in a poorer neighborhood in the city, where most of the characters are puppets dealing with life's challenges (unemployment, relationships, personal identity, race, cultural differences) and it does so with incredible humor (sometimes raunchy to a PG-17 level!) and sharp and witty insight.  The actors/singers put on a wonderful show and interact with the audience, making it even more fun.  It was almost three hours long but it was so fast-paced that I never once looked at my watch.  Everyone left there smiling and singing!




When we left the theater, it was dark (at 5 pm!) and the perfect opportunity to catch New York's beautiful lighted landscapes with my little Canon camera.  We slowly walked the city blocks back to Bryant Park where we each grabbed a Turkish square pastry to go, made of filo dough, spinach, and cheese, and nibbled on those as we waited for our bus.

It was an easy, comfortable day enjoying one of the world's greatest cities, the place where both my parents were born over 90 years ago, and as our bus pulled away, I caught a glimpse of the illuminated skyline and said to myself, once again, "I love New York!"


Friday, November 11, 2011

11-11-11

Today is Veterans Day, 11-11-11.  Rather than post a patriotic dessert recipe, I am providing the following link to a Web site that shares information about how to donate packages, or send letters, to our servicemen and women.  There are many options for sending letters, donating packages, Christmas stockings, etc.  I think it's a great opportunity to honor those who serve and sacrifice so much.


Here you go : http://troopssupport.com/







Photo credit:  http://www.google.com/imgres?q=Veteran%27s+Day&hl=en&sa=G&biw=1280&bih=831&gbv=2&tbm=isch&tbnid=MsLIKyf2HYvBlM:&imgrefurl=http://bplolinenews.blogspot.com/2011/11/bpl-closed-veterans-day.html&docid=KLBwMBp_NN13IM&imgurl=http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_DsBVKaUeOoc/TBf80zV5ZRI/AAAAAAAAEGA/-tKtgZ2WFKk/s1600/VeteransDay.jpg&w=648&h=587&ei=IW-9TvvjHsqqgwfDssiiAg&zoom=1&iact=rc&dur=317&sig=118072427327376465552&page=1&tbnh=131&tbnw=145&start=0&ndsp=26&ved=1t:429,r:0,s:0&tx=87&ty=72

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Pecan Pie

Pecan Pie from the
Food Network Kitchens
In honor of my mother's birthday, I'm posting a recipe for pecan pie.   Virginia McGeehan O'Farrell was born on November 10, 1918.  She lived until April of 2002, and the world just hasn't been the same since.  While I am, of course, very sad that my mother is no longer with us, and I miss her every day, I am also happy when I think of the funny things she used to say.  She was a little woman, "five-foot-two-and-eyes-of-blue," with a great sense of humor.  My kids were so fortunate to have had her in their lives for most of their growing up years.  I'm very grateful for that.

I've written before about the foods my mother used to make for us - classics like tuna casserole and meatloaf.  She was a simple cook, and we really enjoyed everything she served us.  I'm not sure she enjoyed cooking so much, day after day -- feeding a family of nine was a chore no matter how you look at it.  She'd often say the thing she liked to make the most was reservations!  Maybe that's why we, her grown children, really love to eat out.

There were certain foods my mom especially liked.  I remember she loved maple walnut ice cream, or sometimes pistachio.  She loved nuts.  She liked lady fingers.  I remember odd things about specific foods -- my mom liked the corn relish at Wally's of Greenwich, a restaurant she used to go to with her friends, Blanche and Betty.  She loved the Olde Daley Inn in Troy, especially the salad bar, but also the out-of-shell crab dish. My mom, little woman that she was, could build a salad like nobody's business!

In honor of my mother's birthday, here's a recipe for pecan pie, one of her favorite desserts!

PECAN PIE
recipe from the Food Network Kitchens
Dough:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold butter (1 stick), diced
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Flour, for rolling the dough

Filling:
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
2 cups chopped toasted pecans
1 to 2 tablespoons bourbon
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 eggs, lightly beaten

Directions
Make the dough by hand: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Using your fingers, work the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles yellow cornmeal mixed with bean-sized bits of butter. (If the flour/butter mixture gets warm, refrigerate it for 10 minutes before proceeding.) Add the egg and stir the dough together with a fork or by hand in the bowl. If the dough is dry, sprinkle up to a tablespoon more of cold water over the mixture.

Alternatively, make the dough in a food processor. With the machine fitted with the metal blade, pulse the flour, sugar, and salt until combined. Add the butter and pulse until it resembles yellow cornmeal mixed with bean-sized bits of butter, about 10 times. Add the egg and pulse 1 to 2 times; don't let the dough form into a ball in the machine. (If the dough is very dry add up to a tablespoon more of cold water.) Remove the bowl from the machine, remove the blade, and bring the dough together by hand.

Form the dough into a disk, wrap with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 1 hour.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough with a rolling pin into a 12-inch circle about 1/8-inch thick. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie pan and trim the edges, leaving about an extra inch hanging over the edge. Tuck the overhanging dough underneath itself to form a thick edge that is even with the rim. Flute the edge as desired. Freeze the pie shell for 30 minutes.

Set separate racks in the center and lower third of oven and preheat to 400 degrees F. Put a piece of parchment paper or foil over the pie shell and fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake on a baking sheet on the center rack until the dough is set, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and lift sides of the parchment paper to remove the beans. Continue baking until the pie shell is lightly golden brown, about 10 more minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.

While the crust is baking make the filling: In medium saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, and stirring constantly, continue to boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the nuts, bourbon, and the vanilla. Set the mixture aside to cool slightly, about 5 minutes. (If the crust has cooled, return it to the oven for 5 minutes to warm through.) Whisk the beaten eggs into the filling until smooth. Put the pie shell on a sheet pan and pour the filling into the hot crust.
Bake on the lower oven rack until the edges are set but the center is still slightly loose, about 40 to 45 minutes. (If the edges get very dark, cover them with aluminum foil half way during baking.) Cool on a rack. Serve slightly warm or room temperature.

Copyright 2001 Television Food Network, GP. All rights reserved



Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Eventful...

Oh, my ADK Baker followers, I've missed you!  Over the past two weeks, I've been very busy at work and also in my personal life.  After my car was totaled in a head-on collision with a drunk driver, I've been especially busy with insurance policies, car shopping, and financing a new car.  Car-related things are winding down, and I am now driving a Jeep Patriot, better suited to the rigors of a northeast winter and the challenges of an ice and snow covered driveway.  It's a bit of a silver lining in an otherwise very frightful experience.


Old and New

Jeep meet driveway/driveway meet Jeep

To think about things other than cars, totaled and new, I always turn to baking.  Last weekend I baked quite a bit, and have this collage of the cinnamon rolls, scones, and muffins that I put together Saturday afternoon.

Baking Frenzy

Pete the blue dragon, and Henry, the "space rocket ship"

To add to the drama of the past two weeks, mother nature decided to gift us with a little pre-season snow storm.  While I absolutely dreaded the thought of winter driving with my Mazda, I am actually looking forward (did I say that?) to the first real snowfall to see just how well my Jeep handles the white stuff...


Winter, you're early.  Come back later...

When life gives me lemons, I don't make lemonade.  I bake (and take pictures!)...

I won't stay away so long again, promise!