Brown Sugar Pound Cake with Quick Caramel Glaze

When I used to live in Seattle there was a fabulous dessert shop in Fremont on the corner of some street and another. As you can tell, I was much more interested in the shop than the location.

Anyway, I believe the name of the shop was, “Just Desserts.” Simple, straightforward, and lovely in every way.

Their pastry cases were filled with every kind of pie and cake that you could imagine.

Every time I’d enter that little heavenly place, I’d be in awe. The smells, the sweet delights, the frostings. Oh it was glorious.

Even with all of the ridiculously gorgeous distractions, the cakes were always my passion. The cake was light and fluffy. The thick (oh so thick) frosting was rich and of course chocolatey (because nothing but chocolate matters). Nothing pretentious, just down-home desserts.

The shop and it’s luscious cakes always felt like something out of a southern grandma’s or auntie’s kitchen. Or at least what I imagine one would be like. The kind where you get to lick the spatula after the batter was poured into the pan. Warm and cozy and inviting.

Today, if I’m lucky, I will have slightly recreated the beauty of the shop’s desserts. This cake is for my dad’s surprise 80th birthday party. He is one of the greatest people I have every known. He’s a rockstar and I could not love him more! So Pop, this one’s for you!

Warning: This recipe makes a ton of glaze, so just be aware of that. Paul and I ended up pouring way too much over the cake and filled the whole in the middle (that’s why the rose is there… mistake hiding trick) along with almost spilling glaze over the side of the cake dish. Sorry, not sorry. The Chenoweths never shy away from any kind of sugary dessert so it works for our family. I would suggest spooning as much as you’d like over the cake and then refrigerating the rest. You can heat it up later and pour it over your favorite ice cream. Perfect follow up treat.

Brown Sugar Pound Cake with Quick Caramel Glaze (recipe care of Nancie McDermott and Southern Cakes)

CAKE INGREDIENTS: 3 cups all purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 cup milk, 1 1/2 cups butter (softened), one 1 pound box (about 2 3/4 cups) dark brown sugar, 1/2 cup sugar, 5 eggs

CAKE DIRECTIONS: Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan, or two 9-by-5 inch loaf pans. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and stir with a fork to mix well. Stir the vanilla into the milk and set aside. In a large bowl, beat the butter with a mixer at high speed until light and fluffy. Add the brown sugar in 3 batches, and then add all of the white sugar, beating well after each addition. Add the eggs, one by one, beating well after each addition. Add half the flour, and then half the milk, beating at low speed only until the flour or milk disappears into the batter. Add in the rest of the flour, and then the remaining milk, in the same way. Quickly scrape the batter into the prepared pan, and bake ate 35 degrees for 1 hour and 10 minutes (55 to 60 minutes for loaf pans), or until the cake is nicely browned at the edges, springs back when touched lightly at the center, and a wooden skewer inserted in the cent comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack or a folded kitchen towel for 20 to 30 minutes. Loosen the cake from the pan with a table knife, and turn it out onto a wire rack or a plate to cool completely, top side up.

GLAZE INGREDIENTS: 1/2 cup butter, 1 cup light brown sugar, 1/2 cup evaporated milk, 4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla

GLAZE DIRECTIONS: Combine the butter and brown sugar in a medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat until the butter melts and blends with the brown sugar to make a smooth sauce, 2 to 3 minutes, Add the milk, and let the icing come to a gentle boil. Stir well, remove from the heat, and add the sifted confectioners’ sugar and the vanilla. Beat well with a mixer, whisk, or spoon for 1 or 2 minutes, until the glaze thickens and loses a little of its shine. Use at once. If the glaze hardens, stir in 1 or 2 spoonfuls of evaporated milk to soften it.

Chocolate-Cherry Muffins a.k.a Power-Up Muffins

These are the prettiest, little muffins. But in truth, I think they’re just okay.

I’m not a huge “power” baked goods kinda gal. I like my baked goods to be either sweet, or savory, or both. Nothing in between.

If you miss a chocolate chip or berry when you take a bite, you pretty much miss everything. The dough is just sort of blah.

I used dried strawberries because I love dried strawberries and cherries can be a bit too tart for Paul and me. Because the strawberries are much more subtle than cherries, I used semisweet chocolate chips. Those two flavors paired beautifully.

If you are into the whole, “Let’s power up this breakfast! Argh!” thing, this might be your muffin. But for us, we’ll skip them next time.

Chocolate-Cherry Muffins a.k.a. Power-Up Muffins (recipe care of bhg.com)

INGREDIENTS: ⅔ cup all-purpose flour, ⅔ cup whole wheat flour, ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons regular rolled oats, ¼ cup packed brown sugar, 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder, ½ teaspoon baking soda, ½ teaspoon salt, 2 eggs, 1 ½ cups plain Greek yogurt, ¼ cup almond butter or peanut butter, ¼ cup canola oil ½ cup dried tart red cherries (chopped), ⅓ cup chopped bittersweet chocolate, 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, poppy seeds, and/or flax seeds

DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 400°F. Line twelve 2 1/2-inch muffin cups with paper bake cups. In a large bowl stir together all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, 3/4 cup of the oats, the brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. In another bowl whisk together eggs, yogurt, almond butter, and oil. Add yogurt mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened. Fold in cherries and chocolate. Spoon batter into muffin cups. In a small bowl stir together remaining 2 tablespoons oats and the seeds. Sprinkle oat mixture over batter. Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until golden. Cool in muffin cups on a wire rack 5 minutes. Serve warm. Makes 12 muffins.

Brooklyn Blackout Blondies

Recently I was reading InStyle Magazine and was struck by this stunning picture of a pastry chef who looked absolutely magnificent while baking (as opposed to my chocolate smeared white sweatshirt and hair sticking up). Anyway, I digress.

Her story is one of inspiration, creativity, perseverance through discrimination, and success. I found her to be awesome in the true sense of the word. And if I’m gonna be honest and use my own vocabulary, she’s a bad arse!

Her Brooklyn Blackout Blondies are crazy amazing. Like a mixture between soft fudge and undercooked brownies. They literally melt in your mouth.

Now, I’m pretty sure I screwed up most parts of this recipe. And when I say, “most” I mean most.

The problem is I’m just an old fashioned, regular baker. Nothing fancy about my baking ability. I take after my mom in that way. I don’t own a kitchen scale which causes me issues/problems and frustrations when trying to follow a recipe that only uses grams and ounces.

Well, this is one of those recipes. So Siri and I had many conversations (and maybe a bit of swearing on my part) trying to figure out the measurement conversions. For example I would say, “How many cups is 168 grams of brown sugar?” Siri would respond with a lovely, calm voice, “The answer is 0.79 cups.” REALLY?!?!? And that was an easy one.

But with all of my fumbling, I made it through and with the grace of God these actually turned out.

Just a few notes:

  • I don’t think I heated my oven enough. Even though I use a convection oven, I think I should have preheated it to 350 degrees (hence the undercooked brownie consistency).
  • I also woulda skipped the covering them with an additional sheet pan to keep them flat and even. I don’t mind bumpy and uneven.
  • I had no clue what couverture chocolate was so I looked it up and got what I thought looked similar.
  • I also used the entire container of chocolate sprinkles which I’m assuming are the same as chocolate décoratifs.

Hats off to Auzerais Bellamy. You are amazing!

Brooklyn Blackout Blondies (recipe care of Auzerais Bellamy, pastry chef and creator of the Blondery brand

INGREDIENTS:

Blondie Base: 85 grams unsalted butter, 168 grams brown sugar, 85 grams eggs, 3 grams vanilla extract, 138 grams all-purpose gluten-free flour, 13 grams cocoa powder 5 grams baking powder 2.5 grams salt

Chocolate Ganache: 4 oz. heavy cream, 8 oz. 64% couverture chocolate, 2 os. unsalted butter (room temperature, cut into quarters), 2 oz. chocolate décoratifs

DIRECTIONS:

Base: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees or convection oven to 325 degrees. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter. In the bowl of a stationary mixer fitted with a paddle, add the melted butter and brown sugar. Mix until just combined. In a separate, small bowl, whisk together the eggs and vanilla extract until incorporated. On the lowest speed, add to the butter-sugar mixture in 3 portions, scraping after each time. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Add to the mixture and mix until just combined. Deposit the batter onto a well-sprayed rimmed quarter-size sheet tray. Bake for 10 minutes. Rotate and bake for another 5 minutes until just set. Place sheet of parchment paper on top of warm blondies, then add an empty sheet tray on top and press down to get the blondies flat and even. Let cool as you make the ganache topping.

Ganache: Bring the heavy cream to a boil in a small saucepan. Once boiling, pour into a bowl with the chocolate and chopped butter. Let sit for 2 minutes. Use an immersion blender or rubber spatula to mix until well combined. Transfer to the top of the blondies and smooth with an offset spatula. Sprinkle heavily with the chocolate décoratifs. Let the blondies chill for 15 to 30 minutes, then cut into 1-by-1 inch pieces, and enjoy!

Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits

I’m 100% sure I’ve written about these biscuits about a gazillion times (yes, I’m an over exaggerator but if you’re gonna over exaggerate, go big or go home). But this is a fabulous recipe and all should know about it. I’m not sure who this Sally is and why she has an addiction to baking but I’d love to meet her!

This was my first attempt at baking after having a mastectomy ten days ago. I was a little scared but if you have a jar of Kristi Lou’s (dear friend) preserves in your fridge just waiting to be devoured, ya figure out a way to serve it. Plus y’all know I have an obsession for buttermilk biscuits.

Paul was the best sous-chef… he used the pastry cutter to break up the cold butter into the flour mixture and did a great job (just a touch too hard for me to do at this point). I did my best with the folding and rolling, and not to toot our own horns but I think we kinda rocked it!

This was the first time that I made the honey butter to brush on top of the biscuits and it’s well worth it. If you want a savory biscuit, skip this step. But if you want to be a bit daring (you dare devil you!), brush the biscuits with the honey butter and after cutting them in half hortizontally, slather them with salted butter or a very mild salty cheesy like mozzarella. Kinda a fun game for your taste buds!

Note: My biscuits were uneven and not even a little uniform. But I don’t give a rat’s patootie because I just had breast cancer removed from my breast and I was stoked I could bake this morning.

It never matters what they look like, just how they taste. Have fun!

Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits (recipe care of sallysbakingaddiction.com)

INGREDIENTS: 2 and 1/2 cups (313g) all-purpose flour (plus extra for hands and work surface), 2 Tablespoons aluminum free baking powder (yes, Tablespoons), 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup (1 stick; 115g) unsalted butter (cubed and very cold), 1 cup + 2 Tablespoons (270ml) cold buttermilk (divided), 2 teaspoons honey, optional honey butter topping: 2 Tablespoons melted butter mixed with 1 Tablespoon honey

DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C). Place the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl or in a large food processor. Whisk or pulse until combined. Add the cubed butter and cut into the dry ingredients with a pastry cutter or by pulsing several times in the processor. Cut/pulse until coarse crumbs form. See photo above for a visual. If you used a food processor, pour the mixture into a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the mixture. Pour 1 cup (240ml) buttermilk and drizzle honey on top. Fold everything together with a large spoon or rubber spatula until it begins to come together. Do not overwork the dough. The dough will be shaggy and crumbly with some wet spots. See photo above for a visual. Pour the dough and any dough crumbles onto a floured work surface and gently bring together with generously floured hands. The dough will become sticky as you bring it together. Have extra flour nearby and use it often to flour your hands and work surface in this step. Using floured hands or a floured rolling pin, flatten into a 3/4 inch thick rectangle as best you can. Fold one side into the center, then the other side. Turn the dough horizontally. Gently flatten into a 3/4 inch thick rectangle again. Repeat the folding again. Turn the dough horizontally one more time. Gently flatten into a 3/4 inch thick rectangle. Repeat the folding one last time. Flatten into the final 3/4 inch thick rectangle. Cut into 2.75 or 3-inch circles with a biscuit cutter. (Tip: Do not twist the biscuit cutter when pressing down into the dough– this seals off the edges of the biscuit which prevents them from fully rising.) Re-roll scraps until all the dough is used. You should have about 8-10 biscuits. Arrange in a 10-inch cast iron skillet (see note) or close together on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Make sure the biscuits are touching. Brush the tops with remaining buttermilk. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until tops are golden brown. Remove from the oven, brush warm tops with optional honey butter, and enjoy warm. Cover leftovers tightly and store at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Glazed Old Fashioned Buttermilk Doughnut Bundt Cake

So a family throw back… on the occasional Sundays Dad would go to Winchell’s on Milpas for an assortment of donuts to devour after Mass. Oh and when I say, “devour,” I mean, “DEVOUR.” Four boys and a huge tomboy; at the most flattering, we were demanding.

One of my favorite donuts on those rare donut Sundays was the Old Fashioned. The flavors were simple, subtle, and delightful. Fried dough and a powder sugar icing? Oh hell yes!

I stumbled upon this recipe and thought I hit gold. Well, not gonna lie, it’s damn good! Yes, the recipe does not involve fried dough (my nemesis: I love it but I’m scared of the yeast in a donut recipe), but the moist cake will welcome you in with a warm hug.

The sugary icing is a full on bonus. There’s a balance between the subtle flavors of the cake and the bold flavor of the icing. It’ll make even your most discerning dessert critic giggle with happiness.

Glazed Old Fashioned Buttermilk Doughnut Bundt Cake (recipe care of theviewfromgreatisland.com)

INGREDIENTS: 2 cups all purpose flour, 1 and 1/2 cups oat flour, 1 and 1/2 cups sugar, 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg, 1 and 1/2 tsp baking powder, 2 tsp vanilla extract, 2 cups powdered sugar, about 5 Tbsp water

DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare a bundt pan by carefully buttering the entire surface, and then dusting with flour. Shake off excess flour. Whisk the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Whisk the wet ingredients together in a another bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and whisk until just combined, don’t over mix. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45-50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out without wet batter clinging to it. Set the pan on a cooling rack for 15 minutes. Invert the cake and once it is safely out of the pan, gently flip it back over so that the rough edge is facing up. Let cool completely. To make the glaze, whisk the sugar with just enough water to make a smooth pourable glaze. When you lift the spoon and let the glaze drip down the ‘squiggles’ should disappear instantly. I used almost but not quite all of the water. If you like you can flavor your glaze with vanilla extract, but add that before adding the water. When the cake is cool, brush the glaze liberally all over, concentrating on those gorgeous cracks along the top. Work quickly, and go over the cake more than once if you need to. The glaze will harden as it sits.

Notes and Variations:

The pan I used for this recipe is the classic Wilton 10 inch fluted bundt pan. In a pinch, you can substitute regular flour for the oat flour.

Cheese, Herb, Garlic Quick Bread

“Two small garlic cloves.” That’s just so cute. “Two” and “small,” ha, adorable! Uh, yeah, when it comes to garlic that’s not how I roll. If you don’t like garlic, you will never like my cooking. My view of garlic is the more, the merrier (kinda like bacon and chocolate).

I think I may have made this bread before and blogged about it too. Oops! Figured that out about three to four steps into making it this morning. Oh well, we love good food and don’t mind a repeat. But if I did make it before, this one turned about better.

Just a couple of notes having now made this twice:

I used dried herbs rather than fresh. Easier and cheaper. Just be sure to use two tbsp dried herbs and not four. Dried herbs are stronger than fresh.

I used a block of sharp cheddar, and would highly recommend this. The sharp cheddar can stand up to the strong flavors of both the herbs and the garlic. However, I would slice this cheese as directed but I would additionally cut the slices into small pieces. I’d pour half the batter into the bread tin, push half the cheese pieces throughout the dough, pour in the rest of the dough, then finish by adding the remaining cheese. I loved the slices of cheese in the bread, but they were almost too thick. Small cubes/pieces would be delightfully surprising as you slice it.

I used about 6-7 garlic cloves. I also minced them. So if you look closely enough at my photograph, you’ll see the chunks of garlic.

I whisked the oil/herb mixture into the wet ingredients by accident. Once again I did not read the recipe carefully (shocker), but I actually like how it turned out.

Regardless of differing strategies, this is a delicious bread. I would heat it up and serve it straight with or without butter. Enjoy!

No Yeast Cheese, Herb, & Garlic Quick Bread (recipe care of recipetineats.com)

INGREDIENTS:  4 tbsp fresh herbs (finely chopped, I used a mix of dill, rosemary, parsley and thyme), 2 tbsp olive oil, 5 oz / 150g block cheese (cut into 2mm / 0.1″ thick slices, about 10 to 12 slices), butter for greasing, 2 1/4 cups plain flour, 2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp salt, 1 1/4 cups buttermilk, 2 eggs, 2 small garlic cloves (crushed)

DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Grease a bread tin (21 x 11 cm / 8″ x 4″) or small cake tin with butter. Mix the herbs and olive oil in a small bowl. Sift the Dry Ingredients into a bowl. Combine the Wet Ingredients into a bowl and whisk to combine. Make a well in the centre of the Dry Ingredients. Pour the Wet Ingredients in and mix until just combined. Pour 1/3 of the batter into the bread tin. Dollop half the herbs across the top then use a knife to “swirl” it into the batter up and down, and also turning the batter over (refer photo below). Use half the cheese slices and push them randomly into the batter. Push some all the way in and leave some poking out of the batter. Pour the remaining batter over the top. Dollop and swirl the remaining herbs, then randomly wedge in the remaining cheese, pushing most of it below the surface of the batter. Even out the surface. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the top is golden. Remove from oven and cover with foil, then bake for a further 15 to 20 minutes (total baking time of 45 to 50 minutes). Check to make sure the centre is cooked by inserting a skewer – it should come out clean. Turn the bread out onto a cooking rack. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting.

RECIPE NOTES:

1. You can substitute the fresh herbs with 2 tbsp dried herbs.

2. You can substitute with pre sliced cheese but I found it did not work as well because they are slightly thinner so they sort of disappear when baked. Cutting it yourself means you can cut them slightly thicker so you will end up with some ribbons of melted cheese in the bread.You can also substitute with grated cheese. If you do this, mix it straight into the batter just before pouring it in the tin.Tasty cheese is a common type of cheese here in Australia. A great all rounder and very good value. You can use any type of melting cheese with flavour / salt that you wish. Colby, Monterey Jack, cheddar, gruyere are all great! I don’t recommend Mozzarella – it does not have enough salt or flavour for this particular recipe.

3. You can substitute this with 1 cup + 3 tbsp milk at room temperature +
1 tbsp vinegar. Set aside for 10 minutes until the surface of the milk curdles. Then use the milk, including the curdled bits, as the buttermilk in this recipe.

4. Store in an airtight container for 3 days (4+ days, keep it in the fridge and toast to freshen up).

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Okay, today’s photograph does not do justice to how pretty these muffins are. And for that matter, you also can’t see how moist and crazy delicious they are. You’re just gonna have to trust me on this one. (I had to tell my little brother multiple times that he could only have one. He was not happy with my intent to send them to work with Paul.)

These muffins are as simple to make as possible. Even all those people who say they can’t bake (which I think they can, they just need a bit of encouragement and fun music to dance around to while baking) will turn these out like pros. They literally took me about 15 minutes to prep and 19 minutes to bake.

I loved that they were not too sugary. They have a very mild banana taste with a delightful, chocolatey surprise with each bite.

You will look like a rockstar if you serve these for breakfast or brunch, share them with your family and/or friends, or bring them to work. The recipients of your generosity might hug you so be prepared.

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins (recipe care of spendwithpennies.com)

INGREDIENTS: 1 ½ cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda,  ½ teaspoon salt, ¾ cup sugar, 1 cup mashed bananas (about 3 medium), 1 large egg (room temperature), ½ cup vegetable oil, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, ¼ cup milk chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a muffin pan with paper liners. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Stir in chocolate chips. Combine sugar, bananas, egg, oil, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Add dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Pour into prepared muffin tin and bake 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Do not overbake. Cool 5 minutes in the pan before removing and cooling on a baking rack.

Recipe Notes

For mini muffins, bake 14 to 16 minutes

For regular-sized muffins, bake 18 to 20 minutes

For Texas (jumbo) sized muffins, bake 20 to 22 minutes

Chocolate Blueberry Cookies

As in typical fashion, I was gettin’ my groove on in the kitchen this morning. Today’s Pandora station of choice: “Yacht Rock.” If you’ve not stumbled up this, without question, you need to add this to your repertoire. I say that assuming most of my readers were born in the 70’s, having come to their true understanding of music in the 80’s.

One of my friends recently wanted me to bake chocolate blueberry muffins, but as a twist of fate I stumbled upon this fabulous recipe. I say that without explaining my failure (yet).

So teachers are notorious for not reading directions (I know, ironic considering we ask our students if they’ve read the directions before saying they don’t understand what to do). I am no exception. I NEVER pre-read recipes, and when I do actually read them while cooking/baking, I don’t read them carefully. Stupid kitchen arrogance!

While singing and dancing along to the Doobie Brothers, I skipped reading the part about refrigerating the dough. In the author’s blog, she said to chill if for an hour. This may have been my problem.

These cookies are delicious!!! And easy. When you bite into it, the blueberries burst and mix into the rich, chocolatey flavor. Wow! (That’s sincerely my best description, “Wow!”)

The only problem I had was that the cookies, once removed from the oven, fell apart easily (like crumbled the second you picked one up, “fell apart”). It was either the lack of chilling the dough or the fact that I added a cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips (because, well why not?). Well, maybe there wasn’t enough dough to hold both the blueberries and chips together. Oops, my bad.

When I give these a go the next time (and there will be a next time), I’ll double the dough and keep the same amount of blueberries and chocolate chips. Because we all know I’m not omitting the uncalled for chocolate chips. Because, why not have extra chocolate in a blueberry chocolate cookie?

Blueberry Chocolate Cookies (recipe care of cupcakes for dinner)

INGREDEINTS: 10 tbsp butter (softened), 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup dark brown sugar (packed), 1 large egg, 2 tsp vanilla extract, 1 cup flour, just under 1/2 cup cocoa powder, 1 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 1/2 cups blueberries

DIRECTIONS: Mix the butter and the two sugars together until smooth. Then add the egg and vanilla and stir to combine. In another bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Then add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until just combined. Fold in the blueberries, try not to burst any but it’s totally fine if you do. Place the dough in the fridge to chill. Preheat the oven to 350F and scoop heaping tbsps of dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet, at least and inch apart.Bake for 10-12 minutes until they seem just slightly underbaked. Allow them to cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies

Yep, that didn’t work.

This recipe is kinda a pain in the arse.

I have to say I really like the website from which I pulled this recipe. I’ve been on a kick trying lots of her recipes. They’re pretty solid and I’ve had success with them.

Not so much with this one.

I followed this recipe to a tee, even the part when I had to refrigerate it for two hours (which I wanted to cheat on by putting it in the freezer but Paul convinced me to follow directions, damn rule follower). But even so, this did not work.

When I rolled it into a log, the chocolate chips squished out everywhere. When I cut it with a super sharp knife, every single dough cookie crumbled and I had to mash the pieces together. When I ate the perfectly baked cookie, it was dry and crumbly.

So yeah, not a success today. But maybe y’all will have better luck. May the baking gods be with you!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies (recipe care of theviewfromgreatisland.com)

INGREDIENTS: 1/2 cup unsalted butter (at room temperature ~ important!), 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter (I like Jiff), 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour, 1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar, scant 1/2 tsp sea salt, 3/4 cup milk chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS: Cream the butter and the peanut butter together in a stand mixer, with a hand mixer, or a wooden spoon. Make sure to get the butter and peanut butter completely combined and creamy. Beat in the vanilla. Whisk the sugar, flour, and salt together and add to the butter mixture. Mix until the dough comes together and is no longer crumbly. Stir in the chips, and turn the dough out onto a piece of waxed paper. Gently pull the dough together and form it into a log. If it is still crumbly, work it with your hands until it holds together smoothly. Roll it up in the paper, smoothing the shape as you go. Twist the ends securely and refrigerate for at least a couple of hours. The log will be roughly 7 1/2–8 inches long. While the dough is chilling, pre-heat the oven to 350F Slice the log into slices with a sharp knife. Not too thick, not too thin, about 1/2 inch. If a slice crumbles a bit, just smoosh the dough back together. These don’t have to be perfect disks. Bake on a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet at 350F for about 12-14 minutes, depending on how thick your cookies are. The cookies will not be browned, and they may look undone, but don’t over bake. One of the joys of shortbread cookies is that they fall apart and melt in your mouth.Let the cookies cool on the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a rack.

Dublin Coddle

I’m gonna shed some serious Irish pride here, so don’t mind me.

I’ve got Irish, English, and Welsh in my blood and bones, but I tapped into my Irish roots early on (thanks to my Irish mom). She and I used to dance in the hallway to her favorite Irish music records when I was a little girl. When I got married my mom, my very Irish sister-in-law, and I all took over the dance floor, dancing a reel as I was in my wedding dress and barefoot laughing the whole time. Needless to say, I’ve got the Emerald Isle in my veins.

I took my Irish heritage to heart, so I found a way to travel abroad for a semester in college. I landed in Cork City, Ireland and loved every moment. I made fabulous friends, failed at learning to speak Irish, rode some horses, drank some Guinness and Murphys, and ate LOTS of brown bread with whipped butter. After that, I returned with my little brother, then again with my best friend. Every time I returned to Ireland it felt like returning home.

I’ve never made an Irish dish to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. In truth, I can’t stand corned beef and cabbage. Absolutely grosses me out. But I found this recipe and it sounded intriguing. Not only because it had “bangers” in the recipe which my little bro used to order every time we went to a local Irish bar, but also because I had some very fun times in Dublin including playing in a volleyball tournament at UCD (University College Dublin). I had to give this a try.

In a very feeble attempt to make this healthier, I used chicken sausage and only half the amount (that was purely by accident as I didn’t read the recipe when I made my grocery list).

Definitely a meaty meal, but enjoy! Sláinte! (“Cheers” in Irish)

Dublin Coddle (recipe care of theviewfromgreatisland.com)

INGREDIENTS: 8 slices thick cut bacon (rough chopped), 8 large fresh pork sausages (or whatever sausage you can get), 1/2 yellow onion (diced), 3 leeks (trimmed, sliced, and washed), 4 carrots, peeled and sliced, 1/2 cup barley (uncooked), 1 cup chicken stock, 1 cup beer, 3 bay leaves, salt and black pepper, 4 large yukon gold potatoes, 2 Tbsp butter (melted), parsley (chopped)

DIRECTIONS: Peel the potatoes and place in a bowl filled with cold water. In a large braising pan or Dutch oven, cook the bacon until crisp. Remove the bacon to a plate, leaving a layer of grease in the pan. Brown the sausages on both sides, and remove the to the plate. Add the onions, carrots, and leeks to the pot in an even layer. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Arrange the sausage and bacon over the veggies, along with the barley and bay leaves. Pour the beer and broth over all. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Thinly slice the potatoes and arrange in overlapping fashion over the top of the pan. Bring the pan up to a boil, then turn down to low, cover, and let simmer gently (coddle it!) for 30 minutes. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 425F. Uncover the pan, brush the potatoes with melted butter, and then put in the oven (uncovered) for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are golden and tender. Check the potatoes with the tip of a sharp knife to be sure they’re tender. Note: If you like you can place the pot under the broiler briefly to get more color on the crust, but watch carefully so it doesn’t burn. Sprinkle with parsley and serve asap with biscuits and beer!

Notes: To prep the coddle ahead of time: You can layer up the casserole in the morning, without the sliced potato topping. Cover and refrigerate. When ready to cook, slice and arrange the potatoes.