How To Make Pie Crust… do it.

You Can Do It Apple Pie

We’ve talked about pie crust before, you and I.

I thought today might be a good day for a little refresher.  The breeze outside is mighty fine, the sun seems pretty friendly, I’ve got chilled butter in the fridge, and… tomorrow I want to show you how to make a double crusted berry pie… so let’s nail this pie crust first.

Can we do this?  Of course we can.  I’ll talk you through it and leave hella directions for you to print out.  Yes, hella.  High five.

You Can Do It Apple Pie

Any respectable pie crust has butter.  Lots of butter.  Lots of cold cold cold butter.

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls

I’m twenty nine years old.  I’m an adult.  I pay my bills.  I do my taxes.  I go to jury duty.  I stand in line at the post office without heavy sighs.  I floss too!  I totally floss.

And yet.  Somehow.  I thought it would be ok… not just ok, but reasonable… not just reasonable… but a good idea to make chocolate chip cookie dough, freeze it and then dip the balls in melted chocolate.

Now I have a  freezer full of giant cookie dough balls dipped in chocolate and I’m panicking.  I need an adult.  I’m about to eat cookie dough for lunch, cookie dough for dinner, cookie dough for dessert, and then cookie dough again for second dinner.

Incidentally, if the blatant consumption of raw sugar and butter offends your sensibilities, perhaps you might be better suited with these Blueberry Applesauce Muffins or Low Fat Oatmeal Banana Bread.  And you’ll have to accept my sincere apologies for the ridiculousness of frozen cookie. and chocolate.  together.  forever.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls

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Wild Rice Salad with yogurt vinaigrette

Wild Rice Salad with yogurt vinaigrette

Right now, all I can think about is raw Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough.

But… that’s not why we’re here today.   Today we have to talk about rice and beans and vegetables.  I just want you to know that what I’m really thinking about it… cookie dough.  Oooh cookie dough.

Ok.. let’s focus.  I’ve been making some version of this Wild Rice Salad for the last month.  For this particular recipe I used a really lovely mixture of black and brown rice from Goose Valley.  LOVE.  It’s hearty and healthy and holds up to these salad concoctions.  I’m a fan.

To my cooked wild rice I add just about anything and just about everything.  Aaaand, I made my own vinaigrette with fresh herbs and Greek yogurt.  Holy heckballs…. am I healthy, or what!?

Let’s do this so we can talk about cookie dough this week.  On the real.

Wild Rice Salad with yogurt vinaigrette

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Buttery Sweet Dough. Emulsions and gunk.


Buttery Sweet Dough 

So what’s the deal with this Buttery Sweet Dough Bakery Emulsion?

A few of you asked what this mysterious stuff was…  you seemed pretty serious… I don’t want to get beat up.

Let me tell you about this baking gunk.  

Buttery Sweet Dough Bakery Emulsion is like a baking extract… like a vanilla or an artificial butter extract… except it’s not really anything like that at all.  This product has no alcohol like extracts do.  The thought is that an emulsion will hold its flavor better in baked goods because the flavor won’t bake off with the heat.

What’s the flavor like?  It’s buttery with the ooooh so slight hint of citrus.  

Can I tell you a secret?  I lovelove lovelove the taste of boxed cake mix.  I do.  It’s terrible, I know… but sometimes chemicals are delicious.  There’s just some inexplicable flavor that gives me the yums.  This Butter Sweet Dough emulsion gives cakes and frosting that extra something… that thing I can’t put my finger on… that extra cake mix yum.  Aaaaand… that’s why I like it.   Because it makes my cakes have that cake mix taste without having that cake mix taste.  It’s like a little sprinkle of sugar drugs into my baked goods.  

I add this stuff to some cakes and cookies, cupcakes and frosting.  I go full force with the vanilla extract and then add half as much of this emulsion gunk.  I say gunk with love and respect… duh.

Where are you going to find this stuff?  Use your internets…. they never disappoint.  

Rocky Road Brownies

Rocky Road Brownies

So… you know that part in Scent of a Woman… yes, hello, 1992…. when blind Al Pacino sniffs out pretty ladies… literally… and somehow worms his way into their good graces?  Have you seen Scent of a Woman staring Al Pacino and Chris O’Donnell?  Of course you have.

If blind Al Pacino were to sniff me out, I’m pretty sure I’d smell like these brownies.  This fact is both troubling and awesome.  Now I kinda want to reinact the tango scene.

To quell your puzzled looks, let me answer a few questions.  Yes… I just watched Scent of a Woman.  Yes… it was amazing.  Yes… I questioned my sanity.

I’m going to keep this short.  I have to go watch Curly Sue and learn a few card tricks.

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Wedding Cake: almost the end

Wedding Cake:  almost the end 

mmm. mmm. mmmmmm.

There were a lot… and I mean aaaaaa loooooot of steps between this bowl of batter and decorating this wedding cake onsite, ten minutes before the ceremony.

I want to tell you about all those steps.  The dowels, the driving, how I tried to turn the inside of my car into a refrigerator, the stacking, the piping… all of it.  

First though… I have to go buy my Dad lunch for Father’s Day.  Then… I think there’s an episode of The Real Housewives of New Jersey that I have to um… not go watch.  I’m sure you understand. 

Wedding Cake: the middle 

Wedding Cake: the middle

Wedding Cake: the middle

I’m surrounded by cake.  Right now.  Literally surrounded.

I’m also eating a vegan enchilada… but that’s neither here nor there.

I’m taking a break on this Friday Wedding Cake Extravaganza Madness Day to give you a glimpse of what’s going on in my kitchen.

The only thing not pictured is my enchilada and crazy crazy hair.  It might be best to use your imagination on those.

Wedding Cake: the middle

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Wedding Cake: Extracts and Clay

Wedding Cake:  the beginning

Meet Zach and Nicole.  Clay versions of Zach and Nicole… molded and shaped by the bride.

This cake topper is sitting on the counter staring at me.  I’m going to try super extra crazy hard not to break these little people before it’s wedding time.

Wedding Cake:  the beginning

Wedding cake making means wedding cake ingredient shopping.

Extracts.  Powders.  Eggs.  Butters.  Boards and boxes.  I’ve got the goods.

Wedding Cake:  the beginning

Tomorrow?  Bake day.

Wedding Cake: the beginning

Wedding Cake:  the beginning

Can I show you what’s going on in my kitchen these days?

So far it’s just a bunch of lists (lots of lists) and empty cake pans.  Somehow… by Saturday it’ll all be a pretty pretty wedding cake.

Wedding Cake:  the beginning

I don’t make wedding cakes very often.

They stress me out.

They mean stacking cake on top of other cake and then driving in a car.  Seriously scary.

I have nightmares about the cake for an entire week leading up to the wedding.  Nightmares like… oops I forgot to make the cake!  Nightmares like… oops I forgot to wear pants to this wedding.   It’s just what happens.

What helps the nightmares go away?  Wilton.  They have answers.

Wedding Cake:  the beginning

The best part of this wedding cake situation?  I get to go to the wedding and see my friends Zach and Nicole say important things to each other.  Then there’s wine.  Then there’s dinner.  Then there’s dancing.  Then…. then!!? Cake.  I get to make a cake and eat it too.

Oh!  And since I’m in wedding cake mode… we’re all in wedding cake mode.  Everyday from now until Saturday this place is going to be all wedding cake, all the time.  Prepare.

Flourless Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies

Flourless Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies

These cookies got me thinking about all the different ways that I enjoy peanut butter and jelly.  You know I love a list… so here goes.
I love peanut butter and jelly:

on white bread with the crust cut off.
rolled up in a warm flour tortilla.
on a toasted bagel, excluding the dreaded onion bagel.
on a spoon.
at midnight.
at lunch from a plastic bag.
with a Capri Sun.
after a date.
after a breakup.
with a banana.
without a stinkin’ banana.
on Wednesday.
every Wednesday.
from now.
until forever.

I could go on. and on and. on. Really… let’s cut to the cookie.

Flourless Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies

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It’s Hot. Go Cold.

Ice Cream Cupcakes 

It’s getting hot.  

You know what that means…. under-boob sweat.  

     Don’t look at me like that.  You know it happens to you too.

The only solution:  Ice Cream… and other things from the freezer.  Obvi.

Ice Cream Cupcakes?  Yes.  Brownie Bottom Ice Cream Cupcakes?  Fist pump.  Heck yes.

Mini Chocolate Dipped Bananas 

Mini Chocolate Dipped Bananas.  Slice the banana in half… you can once again eat these in public.  Just eat quickly.  

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Coffee Smoothie Every Which Way

Coffee Smoothie

I have a stubborn brain.  My stubborn brain doesn’t like to buy things that it knows my hands can make at  home.

Wait… maybe that’s my cheap brain.  I get the two confused sometimes.

Strangely enough, my stubborn and cheap brain will easily talk me out of buying a $4 coffee drink, but they’re somehow strangely silent when it comes to the $200 pair of shoes that I “need”.  Hm…. I’ll look into that.

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How To Make Apricot Crostatas


How To Make Apricot Crostatas

These are my Mom’s hands.  They’re two parts lady lumber jack, one part awesome raiser of children, and three parts amazing gardener.  That’s six parts total.  Arbitrary… I know.

I love Mom hands… they tend to have super knowledge.

I taught my mamabear how to make Apricot Crostatas.  Pie dough.  Egg wash.  Wait.  Not so much egg wash.  Fruit.  Fold.  That’s basically how to lesson went.

What.  Back up.  What the heck is a Crostata?  I’m glad you asked.  Crostatas are like free form fruit pies… pies without the limitations of a pie tin.  I like to make a mini version of a crostata because… I’m greedy and I don’t like to share.  Also… eating six mini crostatas is easier on the guilt brain that eating and entire  regular sized crostata.  Been there.  Done it.  Whateves.

How To Make Apricot Crostatas

Come on… let’s bake fruit things.

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Sour Cream Molasses Bran Muffins

Sour Cream Molasses Bran Muffins

Let’s take a trip through the top drawer of  my dresser.  I have a point to make.

… we’re about to talk about underwear.  Can you handle it?

The top dresser drawer houses the following items:

– Cotton granny panties.  Summertime sleeping bras.  For private use only.  No exceptions.   Not to be seen by any eyes other than my own.

– Cute panties.  Pretty panties.  Lace panties.  Expensive bras with pink ribbon running through them.. all the sort that might inspire and invite a little scandal.  Yea… true.

Its like night and day in my underwear drawer… night and day.

This is normal, right?  We all have underwear standards.

I share this with you because I want you to know, right off the bat, that showing you these Sour Cream Molasses Bran Muffins is like giving you a peak at the granny panty portion of my top dresser drawer.

I just couldn’t glam up these muffins…. mostly because they’re not meant for glam.  They’re just meant to be cakey brown muffins… ok?

I’m not going to say any more about the underwear situation… I think it’s just making everyone uncomfortable.  You get my point.

Sour Cream Molasses Bran Muffins

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Joy the Baker’s Cutting Room Floor

Cutting Room Floor

I’m full of all sorts of bright ideas when I step in the kitchen.

There seem to be endless ways to combine butter and sugar and flour, and my brain just looooves the possibilities.

And sometimes?  I fail.  Hardcore.  We’re talking sugar burned pans, melted goopy ice cream, disgusting brownies and chocolate chip cookies as hard as hockey pucks.  These things happen.  Often.  You should know.

Above is a picture of the Cinnamon Ice Cream that became one big disaster.  It turns out you can’t melt cinnamon candy, and swirl the scalding hot melted candy sugar into the softened vanilla ice cream.  The candy seizes up and melts the ice cream.  You’re left with sweet milk and giant cinnamon candy blobs.

Instead, I’ll just stick to my Cookie No-Dough Ice Cream.  That stuff was rad.

Cookie No Dough Ice Cream

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