December 13, 2012 by Bake Up, Little Suzy
Dear Martha Stewart,
When I read your recipe for Aunt Maggie’s Jam Thumbprint Cookies, I had the highest of hopes. See, I had this jar of fig jam in the fridge, and I wanted to use it for something special. I’d spent countless hours perusing Pinterest boards when I came across your simple recipe for what seemed to be the perfect vehicle for my sweet, figgy spread.
The cookie that came to be in my galley kitchen, however, was nothing like the cookie you (and your commentariat) described.
And yes, I’ll admit that I didn’t exactly follow your recipe to the letter. It’s true—I browned the butter then cooled it in the fridge before creaming it with the sugar.
But still! Should that have affected the recipe to such a dramatic degree that instead of a perfectly round, soft, chewy confection, I ended up with a charmingly misshapen, tender, delicate shortbread? Really, if it weren’t for the sweet-sticky figs and $8 worth of pine nuts, this cookie would be nothing but an over-sized, nutty bite of heaven that melts in your mouth.
It’s lucky for you that this cookie turned out as beautifully as it did. Your reputation was really on the line.
Bake Up, Little Suzy
Category Cookies, Dessert, Fig, Fruit, Fruit Desserts, Nuts, Vegetarian | Tags: cookies,dessert,fig,fruit,fruit desserts,nuts,vegetarian | 1 Comment
November 28, 2012 by Bake Up, Little Suzy
It’s embarrassing how much time I spend thinking about recipes I want to try. I’ll start with the germ of an idea (say, a pear dessert for Mom’s birthday dinner). Then I’ll spend weeks – maybe months – considering the options: pear tart, pear cobbler, pear cake, pear sorbet… And when I finally decide on the perfect recipe, I abandon the idea entirely because I’m terrified of making a mistake. (Yeah, I never said my process was a healthy one.)
In this case, the paralyzing fear was invoked by the menace of homemade caramel sauce—it’s the easiest thing in the world to ruin. I think if I ever get around to recording another CD, it’ll be called Ways to Ruin Caramel, with forlorn country ballads like “Too Runny,” “Too Hard,” “Bitter and Scorched,” and “Grains of Sand.”
It took no less than three glasses of cheap wine for me to face my caramelized fear, and I’m so drunk—I mean, I’m so happy that I did! This caramel sauce is the perfect texture (creamy but not too thick), with the subtlest bite of sea salt and just enough booze. *hiccup*
The other components of the recipe – poached pears, sweetened mascarpone, flaky puff pastry, and toasted pistachios—are a cinch to prepare, yet every bit as delicious as the bourbon caramel.
Continue reading for the Poached Pear Napoleons with Bourbon Caramel Sauce recipe
Category Caramel, Dessert, Family and Friends, Fruit, Fruit Desserts, Lemon, My Mom Rules, No Cheese Left Behind, Nuts, Pear, Spread, Vegetarian | Tags: caramel,dessert,fruit,fruit desserts,lemon,my mom rules,no cheese left behind,nuts,pear,spread,vegetarian | 14 Comments
September 26, 2012 by Bake Up, Little Suzy
It’s my 2nd blogiversary! That’s right, imaginary internet friends, Galley Kitchen turns two this month.
I plan to celebrate the terrible twos by having a temper tantrum in the grocery store and demanding TWO stories at bedtime. Or maybe I’ll make a pie. I haven’t decided yet.
A year ago in my one-year blogiversary post, I set a couple goals for the 2011-2012 blog year, and I’m feeling pretty good about my progress. I learned to cook fabulous dinners on an unemployed lady’s budget, I learned to take decent photos after sunset, and, thanks to Handsome Greg, I have three new adverbs at the ready (frostingly, gravily, and somewhatkumquat).
The very first recipe I shared on Galley Kitchen was inspired by an overabundance of apples, so today I’m sharing another apple recipe. This Pear and Apple Crostata is a perfect fall treat; the filling has just enough sugar and cinnamon to turn the apple and pear juices into a luxurious sauce, barely coating the tender fruit snuggled under a flaky duvet of pie crust. Next time I’ll brush the pie crust with egg wash—it was a tiny bit dry—but I’ll otherwise follow the recipe as is.
Continue reading for the Pear and Apple Crostata recipe
Category Apple, Dessert, Fruit, Fruit Desserts, Handsome Greg, Lemon, Pear, Pie, Recessipes, Vegetarian | Tags: apple,dessert,fruit,fruit desserts,handsome greg,lemon,pear,pie,recessipes,vegetarian | 4 Comments
March 25, 2012 by Bake Up, Little Suzy
Winter in Minnesota is notoriously treacherous. Sub-zero temperatures. Deadly blizzards. Icy winds that’ll blow the lip gloss right off your face, and leave your naked maw puckered and chapped.
By March, after months of potatoes drowned in gravy, when the snow is still piled up in grey, icy mounds and it seems spring is never going to come, I dream of fresh, ripe summer berries. I long for strawberry shortcake and blackberry pie and homemade jam. And I wonder when will the berries at the grocery store drop in price and stop tasting like sawdust already?!
Well thanks to global warming or the world ending or something, we’ve seen record highs in temperatures and record lows in snowfall this winter. And I can’t help but believe this bizarro weather is somehow responsible for the rock-bottom price on sweet, juicy, organic blueberries at Rainbow last week.
We may very well pay the price down the road for this uncharacteristically mild weather. But if I can do nothing to change it, I figure I may as well enjoy it. And I’m enjoying the weather with blueberry crumb bars. The crust is rich and buttery with a satisfying crunch, and the blueberries bake to a perfectly thick, sticky jam that’s packed with fresh fruit flavor but not too sweet. Y’know what summertime tastes like? This.
Continue reading for the Blueberry Crumb Bars recipe
Category Bars, Blueberry, Dessert, Fruit, Fruit Desserts, Lemon, Vegetarian | Tags: bars,blueberry,dessert,fruit,fruit desserts,lemon,vegetarian | 10 Comments
February 12, 2012 by Bake Up, Little Suzy
Last night I made a special Valentine’s Day dinner for Handsome Greg.
He arrived at 7:30 sharp, looking handsome as ever, with a bottle of wine, the sweetest Valentine ever, and a box of heart-shaped chocolate truffles. I, on the other hand, was still wearing my bathrobe and slippers, having only just emerged from the shower. Dinner was a good 45 minutes behind schedule, but I managed to buy a little time by convincing Greg to drop the gifts and take out the garbage. (Yeah, he is pretty much the nicest guy in the universe.)
I knew Saturday would be a mad rush — preparing a special dinner is an all-day affair for me, and I lost a big chunk of time earlier in the day at my web programming class. So, I planned to simplify preparations by following a complicated dinner menu with a mostly store-bought dessert.
And it was a good thing I did. Once we finally ate dinner, dessert came together quickly and easily. I’d cut out the pastry hearts earlier and they were waiting on a parchment-lined baking sheet in the fridge. After dinner I popped them in the oven, heated the cherry pie filling, made the ganache, and dessert was warm and flaky and squishy in no time.
Continue reading for the Chocolate Cherry Napoleons recipe
Category Cherry, Chocolate, Dessert, Family and Friends, Fruit, Fruit Desserts, Handsome Greg, Sauce, Vegetarian | Tags: cherry,chocolate,dessert,fruit,fruit desserts,handsome greg,sauce,vegetarian | 17 Comments
January 10, 2012 by Bake Up, Little Suzy
I have a number of weirdo food quirks:
1. I eat all the crust off a slice of bread first, in a circle, until all that’s left is the center
2. I suck on Cheetos until they’re soggy, then chew and swallow
3. I eat french fries two at a time, and they have to be identical in length. I’ll sort them first, to match each fry with a similar-sized french fry companion, then eat them together
4. I don’t like cold foods touching hot foods
5. I like to eat desserts one layer at a time
Cake, then frosting. Crust, then pie filling. Whipped cream, then Jell-O. Bars present their own issues, but that’s another story for another, messier day.
On the evening I served these ethereal splendors to Mom and Handsome Greg, I took care in sequestering the creamy filling from the cloud of meringue. Yet somehow, a crispy shard of meringue found its way onto my forkful of sweetened mascarpone, stained with blackberry juice.
How could this have happened? I mean, it’s not like I’d had three glasses of wine, or anything.
And then a light bulb turned on in my mouth, or maybe in my head. In that one, incredible you-got-your-chocolate-in-my-peanut-butter-no-you-got-your-peanut-butter-in-my-chocolate moment, I finally understood the desire to construct “the perfect bite” of food.
While each element of the recipe – the light, crunchy meringue, the duvet of butter-sweet cheese, and the fresh, tart blackberry sauce – is tasty in its own right, together they are magical.
So what are your food hang-ups?
Continue reading for the Lemon Pavlovas with Blackberry Sauce recipe
Category Blackberry, Dessert, Eggs, Family and Friends, Fruit, Fruit Desserts, Handsome Greg, Lemon, My Mom Rules, No Cheese Left Behind, Sauce, Vegetarian | Tags: blackberry,dessert,eggs,fruit,fruit desserts,handsome greg,lemon,my mom rules,no cheese left behind,sauce,vegetarian | 13 Comments
August 28, 2011 by Bake Up, Little Suzy
This cake broke my heart.
It baked in the oven for a full hour and a half, filling my apartment with the enchanting, homey scent of apples and cinnamon and whiskers on kittens. With such a glorious aroma perfuming my home, I was convinced it would emerge from the oven absolutely perfect. When the timer finally rang, I was horrified to find, well, a mess.
The cake batter bubbled over the sides of the pan and dripped in messy, brown glops down to the cookie sheet underneath (thank goodness for the cookie sheet!). The remaining edges were done when the timer rang, but the center was completely raw.
Still, I have a really hard time calling this dessert a failure. The truth is it was delicious – sweet and moist, with crispy-chewy, golden brown edges. I made it for Handsome Greg’s birthday dinner, and we all loved it. Well, we loved the parts that were baked through. We ate the edges then put the center back in the oven to finish baking it through, about 40 minutes.
And the failure? Is my fault. The original recipe from Smitten Kitchen is perfect. I wanted desperately to follow it as written, but I didn’t have a tube pan, so I used a 9 x 13. And that was my downfall. I read the many reviews that said, “Oh, I made this in a 9 x 13-inch pan, and it came out perfectly.” I’m convinced those bakers have not only raw, runny apple cake, but also pants on fire.
Continue reading for the Apple Cake recipe
Category Apple, Cake, Dessert, Fail, Family and Friends, Fruit, Fruit Desserts, Handsome Greg, My Mom Rules, Orange, Recessipes, Tangerine, Vegetarian | Tags: apple,cake,dessert,fail,fruit,fruit desserts,handsome greg,my mom rules,orange,recessipes,tangerine,vegetarian | 1 Comment
April 10, 2011 by Bake Up, Little Suzy
In the middle of dreary winter, Clementine tangerines are a sign of hope, like pretty, orange light bulbs illuminating the shortest days of the year. In a festive wooden crate!
Winter in Minnesota this year was especially brutal; the snow came early and often, and lingered until the bitter, sub-zero end.
Look, it’s not that I wasn’t comforted by stewed apples (and apple crisp and apple pie and apple crostata) all winter long… but by the time I (finally) made Mom’s birthday dinner in February, the bright, sunshiny taste of citrus combined with the icy texture of my favorite summer treat was like, um, Christmas in July.
The sorbet was very tart, sour even, and incredibly refreshing. Next time I’ll likely add another 1/4 cup of sugar, but it was delicious as is. The tiny amount of alcohol in the orange liqueur (I used Grand Marnier) kept it creamy and smooth.
Continue reading for the Tangerine Sorbet recipe
Category Dessert, Family and Friends, Fruit, Fruit Desserts, My Mom Rules, Sorbet, Tangerine, Vegetarian | Tags: dessert,fruit,fruit desserts,my mom rules,sorbet,tangerine,vegetarian | 1 Comment
April 8, 2011 by Bake Up, Little Suzy
Blue Umbrella Productions is hosting an ongoing bake sale to help raise money for our summer musical, Those Were the Days: A Tribute to Television Themes. I’ll be taking and fulfilling orders Girl-Scout style, plus filling any special requests (like scones for Mother’s Day!) until rehearsals begin in June.
I’ve got a menu of both sweet and savory treats to choose from posted below. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to place an order for pick up or delivery. (Twin Cities only. $10 minimum on orders outside of the Banks Building.)
Popcorn with Truffle Salt
Fresh, fluffy popcorn is tossed with aromatic, savory truffle salt for a luxurious movie-night upgrade.
3 cups: $1.75
6 cups: $3
These bite-size, buttery lemon shortbread cookies will melt in your mouth.
Half dozen for $2.75
Dozen for $5
Crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside, light as a cloud, with coconutty goodness all the way through.
Half dozen for $4.25
Dozen for $8
Snickerdoodles with Cinnamon Chips
Classic snickerdoodles (sugar cookies rolled in cinnamon sugar) get an extra boost of flavor with creamy cinnamon chips.
Half dozen for $5.50
Dozen for $10
They’re bigger, they’re better, and they’re baked fresh with no mystery ingredients.
Half dozen for $8
Dozen for $15
Oatmeal Cream Pies
A grown-up version of the classic treat – the cookies are rich and spiced, and the creamy filling is not overly sweet.
Half dozen for $8
Dozen for $15
Mini Strawberry Hand Pies
Light, flaky butter crust filled with sweet strawberry jam.
Half dozen for $8
Dozen for $15
Sweet and Spicy Candied Nuts
Crunchy almonds and pecans baked in a party-perfect blend of cinnamon, sugar, and a pinch of cayenne.
4 oz. for $4
8 oz. for $7.50
12 oz. for $11
1 lb. for $14.50
Category Bars, Breakfast, Chocolate, Coconut, Cookies, Dessert, Family and Friends, Fruit, Fruit Desserts, Lemon, Nuts, Pie, Scones | Tags: bars,breakfast,chocolate,coconut,cookies,dessert,fruit,fruit desserts,lemon,nuts,pie,scones | No Comments
February 28, 2011 by Bake Up, Little Suzy
I think I love parchment paper more than other people do.
I first tried baking with parchment paper a couple years ago after an unfortunate scone episode, and I’ve been a devotee ever since.
If I’m eyeball-deep in baking fresh cookies, and I realize that the only missing ingredient is parchment paper, I will sooner bring production to a halt and drive to the store for a box of parchment paper, than consider browning my beautiful batter on a greased cookie sheet.
I only recently discovered 50 kindred spirits who feel as strongly about parchment paper as I do, when I joined the I Love Parchment Paper Facebook group.
Parchment paper is an absolute MUST in baking these tart and sweet, buttery lemon cookies. They’re baked to a delicate, crispy perfection. Then you slide them off the paper with gentle fingers into a softly melting pillow of powdered sugar.
At that point, what you do with them is your business.
Recipe below the fold
Category Cookies, Dessert, Family and Friends, Fruit, Fruit Desserts, Lemon, Professor Meowington, Vegetarian | Tags: cookies,dessert,fruit,fruit desserts,lemon,professor meowington,vegetarian | 4 Comments