Dear Future Joy the Baker,

Joy the Baker Vacation 

Dear Future Joy,

Once upon a time, probably a good handful of years ago, you took yourself on vacation.  

This was at a time before you had kids or a husband.  When you would treat yourself to the expensive shampoo and conditioner.  When you were convinced that only super rich people get to own houses.  When you couldn’t exactly afford to take yourself away on a fancy vacation… but you did anyway.  

Future Joy… you should know that the Joy of 2009 is totally cheering you on.  She wants you to have the happy husband, and the crazy kids and the mortgage and the life that makes you want to do backflips and rejoice.  But with all that… I’m sure some things will just drive you batty.  You might need to remember this time… this time that happening to me right now.  

Joy the Baker Vacation 

See… it’s quiet here.  There are little napkins with embroidered animals on them.  

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Blackberry Granita with Whipped Cream

Blackberry Granita

Let me lay out some facts for you:

My bed has an electric blanket on it this winter.  My fears of spontaneous combustion are usurped by my complete inability to actually get out of my warm bed.

Yes… I’m totally writing this from bed.  Try and stop me.  This cozy just won’t quit.

I have exactly zero interest in turning on my oven for the next week… mostly because my oven isn’t in arms length of my bed.  I really don’t want to get out of bed.

Yes… I’m talking a lot about my bed right now.  Maybe I’m obsessed.  Maybe this is unhealthy.

But!  There is one reason I’m getting out of bed tomorrow.  Vacation.  Holy hell!  I’m going on vacation!  I’m going to a gorgeous spa/ bed and breakfast situation in San Luis Obispo… all by myself.  There’s a bathtub.  Not just any bathtub… but a soaking tub… next to a fireplace.  Oh.  My.  God.  I only plan on leaving that soaking tub in an extreme prune state.

If you’re in San Luis Obispo and you think you can lure me out of my soaking tub… we should totally have lunch!

Before all the soaking begins… here’s a deep purple Blackberry Granita.  I suggest eating in in bed, under the covers, while watching your third Netflix romantic comedy.  Don’t worry.  No judgements.  This granita just tastes better that way.

Blackberry Granita

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Honey Cranberry Cornmeal Quick Bread

Honey Cranberry Cornmeal Bread

I just stepped into my kitchen, turned on the light and was greeted by a massive amount of dirty dishes… not to mention a random stick of butter I left out this morning.

I walked across the way to the dining room table to find all of the half addressed holiday cards I have yet to send.

I shouldn’t even mention the atrocious pile of laundry that I’ve managed to ignore for weeks.

But all is well.  All is juuuuust fine.  Why?  Because I’ve got my little nativity scene up.  My Christmas lights are twinkling.  I’ve hung silver snowflakes from my windows with scotch tape, and there are cranberry smells coming out of my kitchen.  At this rate, I can ignore the household atrocities well into the new year.

Honey Cranberry Cornmeal Bread

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Peppermint Meringues

Peppermint Pops 

What are you up to on this fine Sunday?

Holiday shopping?  Holiday partying?  Trying to find a pair of pantyhose without a run in them?  Yea… me too.

I thought I’d pop in and remind you of these little peppermint gems.  They’re light.  They’re beautiful and festive.  You can put them in the oven and just about forget about them while they bake…. and yes, they look a little bit like Colgate toothpaste.  

Peppermint Meringues.  Because you can.  Because you should.

Eggnog (without Eggnog) Pancakes

Eggnog Pancakes

Eggnog Pancakes with a slight hitch.  Eggnog Pancakes without the Eggnog.
You should know that I’m going to capitalize Eggnog in this here post. If that bothers you…. apologies.

My Grandfather is the first person to pull a carton of grocery store branded Eggnog out of the refrigerator every year about this time.  When I see him reaching for the carton on the refrigerator door, I avoid all eye contact.  There is no offering.  There are no questions.  If Papa decides to pour you a glass… and it will be a GIANT glass… then you have to sit there, and drink every last bit… unless you want to be called a goshdarn vegan hippie.  Sure.. being a hippie might not be all that bad… but…well Eggnog shouldn’t be punishment and hippie shouldn’t be a bad word.  Dang!


To avoid cartons of Eggnog coming from my fridge, I’ve created an Eggnog flavored pancake.  Not a dollop of actual Eggnog in sight.  Nothing to worry about here.

Can I tell you something about these pancakes… you know, because you’re here and all… they are crazy/heck yes/ omg good.  Are you thinking what I’m thinking?  Weekend breakfast?  The answer is… yes!

Eggnog Pancakes

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Regifting Winners!

Gifting and Regifting 

You are just the most lovely people ever.  I’m so glad you’re out there in the world!  

Reading through your best holiday gift comments totally put a smile on my face.  Who knew you all were so charming and touching and genuine and humble and all around rad!?  I knew… I totally knew that. 

Those of you that said that your husbands and children were your best gift ever… you’re tender and I’m going to have to punch you now.  Don’t worry.  It’s a punch in a good way.  Seriously. 

Winners.  Four of you darling people win.  Thanks for letting me regift upon you. 

Millie.  Hi!  Sweet.  You win!  Merry Christmas!

Regifting Winners 

Doreen!  Holy heck!  You’re number two!

Regifting Winners 

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Sea Salt and Poppy Seed Crackers

Sea Salt and Poppy Seed Crackers

Here are a list of questions I think might be running through your head right now. Well… I like to flatter myself by thinking that these questions might be running through your head. It’s a self-involved delusion . I know you have better things to worry about. Also included here are the answer to before mentioned self-involved questions.

You might be thinking:

Seriously, Joy? Here we are in prime baking mode and you bring us crackers!? Crackers!?
Answer: Yes. Crackers. Big, thick and crispy, salty and satisfying crackers. They have sea salt, people… they must be fancy.

Joy, what are you wearing to your holiday party tonight?
Answer: I. Don’t. Know. Please send help. Please send a new outfit. Please get these crackers out of my face so I stop stress eating them.  Please.

Joy, calm down. Why not just wear your nice pair of jeans?
Answer: What? I can do that? I can seriously do that? I’ll can wear my nice pair of jeans even though they’re still jeans?  I suspect you’re just trying to make me feel better. I have to find a skirt and top combination that doesn’t make me look like too much of a lunatic hippie.  Drats.

These crackers aren’t helping. Someone take these crackers away from me.
And send help… send a pretty black top with sparkles. Quickly.  Thank you.

Sea Salt and Poppy Seed Crackers

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Red Velvet Black and White Cookies

Black and White

I’m dusting this recipe off, shining it up and throwing it in your general direction.  It would just be a shame for these cookies to languish in the Joy the Baker archives when they absolutely must be included in your holiday baking.

Let’s make a deal.  You jump in the kitchen and throw a batch of these together, and I’ll pop in the kitchen and crank out a few cranberry recipes.  It’s teamwork.  Delicious, delicious teamwork.  Let’s do it.

So Delicious!

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Gifting and Regifting: The Giveaway

Gifting and Regifting 

I’m a regifter.  


Please reserve your judgement.  This is about to get interesting.

See… I’ve been given all sorts of gifts this year.  From two blogger conferences, I’ve amassed enough kitchen supplies to equip a small army of chefs.  

The good news is that I want to share all of this loot with you.  It’s not that I don’t love these things, it’s just that I love regifting more.  It’s like the most fun recycling… ever.  That’s where you come in. 

I’ve got silly whisks.  I’ve got gorgeous cookbooks.  I’ve got coffee and milk frothers.  I’ve got choppers and tenderizers.  Cuisinart, people.  I’ve got fancy sporks and way cool forks… all sorts of little gems.  

I’m regifting four little bundles of kitchen goodies to four of you.  Keep the goodies as a gift to yourself or regift them this holiday season.  I won’t tell a soul!

To enter this (both humble and perhaps ethically questionable) giveaway, just leave a comment in this post sharing the best holiday gift you’ve ever received.  Comments are accepted until Sunday at noon.  

Gifting and Regifting 

Lemon Glazed Spice Cake with Whipped Cream

Lemon Glazed Spice Cake

I sometimes daydream about spending a day holding a sign, perched on some sort of stoop at the base of a freeway off ramp.  Totally random daydream, right?  My daydream sign holding isn’t about begging for money or protesting a cause.  No.  My signs are much more silly and benign.

In my daydream I hold a variety of signs (might as well rotate them, right!?) that say things like:

Honk if you like my bangs.

Peace is awesome.  Bombs are stupid and ugly.

My thighs and skinny jeans are not friends.

Will work for Spice Cake.

… you know… signs like that… signs that are open and honest and for strangers to smile at.

Wait…. is this a weird daydream?  This is totally a weird daydream.  Forget I mentioned anything.

Let’s just talk about cake.

Lemon Glazed Spice Cake

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Big Fat Bolognese Sauce with Fresh Pasta

Big Fat Bolognese

Remember a few months back when I made fresh pasta?  Were we friends then?

Pasta Making

I made fresh pasta at the tail end of summer this year.  I wore a snazzy red apron.  I got my hands dirty.  I walked around the house showing off my ball of dough to anyone who would pay attention.  No one really payed attention.  That’s ok.

Whitney and Wine

Rachel and Molly

I have been feeling nostalgic for my summer times of a few months back.  Times when I would spend weekends talking about wine and food with these lovely ladies.  (My friends are gorgeous.  It’s almost weird.)  Times when we would drink way too much Rose and just be downright silly.    Those times will come again… in many months.  For now, I’ll satiate myself with a giant bowl of fresh pasta with this INCREDIBLE Bolognese Recipe.  You should do this too.  No joke.  Pasta is calming and generally makes the world a better place.

Big Fat Bolognese

For all things pasta, you’ll want to pop on over here and read this.  For all things Bolognese, you’ll want to jump on over and sauce it up.

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Chocolate Peppermint Sandwich Cookies

Peppermint Sandwich Cookies

There are things I allow myself to buy… things like new jeans, the occasional pair of fancypants shoes, milk, butter, frozen yogurt and a bottle of chocolate syrup.  Ok… to be honest, I allow myself to buy a lot of things.

There are things that I do not, under any circumstances, allow myself to buy:  Oreos.  Double Stuff Oreos.  Yes, it may sound silly, but I am not allowed to buy Oreos.  It’s  a rule.  In my brain.  That makes it real.

Why the silly strict Oreo rule?  About ten years back, when I was the all-knowing eighteen year old that brazenly moved out of my parents’ house and across the country, I realized that I had to find a way to feed myself.  Not a problem.  Just go to the grocery store, right?  Suuure.  I took myself to the grocery store and bought every single bit of junk food that my parents’ had (wisely) withheld from me for eighteen years.  Chesee puffs, orange soda, fruit roll-ups and Oreos… sooo many Oreos.  It turns out, a girl can live on Oreos alone…. for about a week… and then comes an epic Oreo hangover that is not to be forgotten.

So.  Fine.  No more Oreos.

Peppermint Sandwich Cookies

No more store bought Oreos.  Homemade Oreos with a touch of peppermint?  That’s ok, right?  Totally ok!  Are you in?  Heeeeck yes!  It’s December.  Let’s milk this chocolate and peppermint thing while we have the chance.

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Joy the Baker Handmade Aprons

Joy the Baker Aprons 

Aprons.  Aprons.  ApronsApronsAprons!

We made aprons.  We bought the fabric.  We cut the patterns.  We sewed and stitched and sewed and stitched and sewed and stitched about a million (ok… just fifty)  times over.  Maybe ‘we’ is a bit too liberal.  My darling and most talented mother made each and every one of these aprons.  Where I can work wonders with a spatula, she can work wonders with a sewing machine.  Please don’t make me sew anything… I just make myself bleed.  

So here’s the plan.  I want you to have fun in the kitchen making Cream Cheese Cinnamon Rolls or whipping up a batch of Oatmeal Cookie Pancakes.  I also want you to look cute, and feel pretty, and not be afraid to get in there and get some bakin’ done… even if that means dirtying every single dish and emerging from the kitchen covered in flour.  Do it!  I think a fun little apron might help.  

For you pleasure, I’ve even made an Etsy store to showcase Joy the Baker Aprons.  Sweeeeet!  

All aprons are 100% cotton, one size fits darn near everyone… and bonus:  each apron comes nicely wrapped for your gift giving pleasure.  Supplies are limited.  The fabric is flying.

Joy the Baker Aprons 

My Mom took this picture with my cellphone.  See?  Proof of cuteness.  Aaaaand… go!