Monday, April 25, 2011

Cornflower Shortbread Cookies

T U E S D A Y S   W I T H   D O R I E
Special thanks to this week's host: Valerie of 
Une Gamine dans la Cuisine

PIXIE.  Valerie, our hostess for this week's Cornmeal Shortbread Cookies, is a self-proclaimed pixie. I envision Tinkerbell, or a reasonable facsimile, flitting about, spreading pixie dust over her incredible creations. Which brings us to this inspiration for corn flower cooky.

I must have shortbread and sugar cookies mixed up, for I truly thought I'd end up with a cute, little shortbread cooky, complete with button holes, in celebration of the corn flower (centaurea cyanus). Seems there's a proper butter-to-flour ratio for shortbread. Too much butter and your shortbread spreads. I found that on the Internet, not that you can believe anything on the Internet. Seems my butter ratio must have been high. Or fat. Or something. 

TALK ABOUT A METAMORPHOSIS. These diminutive florals flattened out like pancakes, losing their crisp edges and looking rather like . . .  I see a faint resemblance to a Girl Scout Shortbread Cooky, don't you? A darned-good Girl Scout Cooky at that. Those little granules of cornmeal really give a "bite" and texture to these buttery florets. Did I mention butter? All that's left is to pour yourself a tall glass of whole milk. To celebrate all that butter.


Saturday, April 23, 2011

New York-Style Easter Crumb Cake

EASTER GREETINGS.   Let's sit back and enjoy a morning crumb cake while the children run about with sugar-induced comas hunting down multi-colored, plastic eggs - filled with - more sugar. BAKED Explorations' New York-Style Crumb Cake has plenty of "grown-up" sugar to tide us all over.  Make sure to catch all the Crumbs, and the recipe, over at Baked Sunday Mornings!

The key to this crumb cake is the crumb itself. A big, colossal crumb, the New York crumb. Made up of dark brown sugar, cinnamon, melted butter and flour, it's supposed to be applied with a heavy hand. Not just sprinkled on top of the sour cream-based batter, but applied with big, heavy, sugary clods of "crumb". Not a surprise that it followed the same pattern as all of my coffee / crumb cakes. Instead of remaining chunky, it bubbled and melted during baking. As it baked I knelt in front of the oven window chanting, "where's the crumb? This looks nothing like the picture in the book". 

While I lost the hunt for the elusive New York crumb this time, the cake is a traditional favorite - slightly crusty edges, with a moist, cakey center and a dense, brown sugar crumb (er . .  streusel). Guess I'll just have to try it again (soon).

•  H A P P Y  E A S T E R  • 
   – mike 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Carrot Coconut Scones

GERBER. When I read this week's project list of pureeing carrots for a scone my stomach started to turn. It's tradition:  Scones are sweet, creamy, maybe even slightly nutty. But not vegetarian. Maybe I can just run and grab a Gerber. No one will know. Leave it to BAKED Explorations to come up with such a whacky recipes. Check out all the pureed carrot scones over at Baked Sunday Mornings!

So I'm over the carrot thing (I didn't really buy baby food, but made BAKED's simple carrot purree - a breeze)! But now, we're going to add coconut? Leave it to the BAKED boys to come up with a combination like that. And why not throw in some oats and buttermilk for hearty-goodness? I've never been one to eat raw scone dough, but would gladly change my ways. One taste and I could tell these would be my favorite new scones. The exact name of this recipe includes "with Citrus Glaze" - a blend of confectioners sugar and orange & lemon juice. Honestly, these were so good and sweet with just a sprinkling of sanding sugar, there wasn't any need for a glaze. And we're back to that tradition thing - scones aren't supposed to have glazes - or vegetables for that matter. But I'm glad these do!


I'm at my local Goodwill - hunting, browsing the housewares aisle. Lots of 80's & 90's dishes, Strawberry Shortcake mugs, you know. Then I spot a piece of amber glass. A 1930's piece of Fostoria, the "bon bon plate" - priced at $1.49. I have to wait behind several women who are rustling around, picking it up, putting it back. I get my chance and nab it, thinking "what, are these people nuts"?  A beautiful piece of antique glass AND a new food prop!  WHERE DO YOU FIND YOUR FAVORITE PROPS?
   – mike