teaberry teacakes

Last weekend while poking around antique stores and hardware stores in Noblesville, I spied Teaberry gum. I bought a pack (along with an Esquire cookbook from the fifties), and chewing it took me back in time. Every now and then when we were little, my mom would have a five-pack of Teaberry or Beeman’s gum in her purse that she would split with me and my sister.

Maybe it is the rosy color of the gum, but I have to remind myself that teaberry is actually wintergreen and not a fruit. These teacakes were inspired by that unassuming Teaberry flavor. I baked an old-fashioned white cake, cut out cylinders, sliced those in half, filled the middles with raspberry and coated them in wintergreen infused white chocolate. It may be a bit much for some, but they were cute lil’ cakes that would be nice at the end of a meal with an Americano or in the late afternoon with hot black tea.

P.S. Thanks to all who voted for my treat in the “So You Wanna Be a CakeSpy” contest. The results are in, and I don’t get to be a CakeSpy this time. It was sure fun being included in the list of finalists!

munchy mallow bits

One of my instant hot cocoa dreams has come true!  Jet Puffed now sells those little crunchy marshmallows (that there are never enough of) inside cocoa packets.  They come in a container that looks something like coffee creamer packaging, and so far I have seen them in vanilla, chocolate, and peppermint varieties.  The mallows aren’t puffy at all and seem more like space food to me.  They were super in my mug of chocolate pudding.  If you also prefer crunchiness to squeakiness in your Rocky Road, wait to add the mallow bits until just before consuming.  Otherwise, they rehydrate in the pudding.

Have you seen these yet?  I don’t have any grand plans for them, so far I just like to munch them (like tiny meringues).  Let me know if you have any ideas!

beignets in bourboned butterscotch

I would like to thank Louisiana and Kentucky for the French donut and the distinctly American spirit, respectively.  Without you, this dish of pillowy fried squares of sweet sorcery would have never been possible.

Beignets: You can make them from scratch, but Cafe Du Monde conveniently produces a boxed mix.  I got to visit the original Café Du Monde location in New Orleans this past summer. Though it was the afternoon and felt like 100-degrees outside, I still thoroughly enjoyed a plate of fresh french donuts and a Café Au Lait and chickory under the giant porch fans.  The ground at the outdoor café was practically covered in white powdered sugar, just like the donuts! This weekend our ground was covered in white, powdery snow – the perfect time to whip up some piping hot beignets.

I did a little more than beignets by deconstructing a dessert that I read online from Annisa Restaurant called Pecan and Salted Butterscotch Beignets with Bourbon Milk Ice (be still, my heart).  I looked up Chef Anita Lo’s new cookbook, Cooking Without Borders, and sure enough, the recipe was detailed inside!  I found out that she mixes pecans in the dough and then fills the fried donuts with butterscotch.  Homemade bourbon milk ice is served alongside the dish.

First, I made the bourboned butterscotch sauce so it could cool and thicken.  Then, I made the plain ol’ beignets and sprinkled them with powdered sugar.  I stacked them up, drizzled them with sauce and topped them off with whipped cream and pecans.  It was a butter pecan donut sundae cup!

My Bourboned Butterscotch Sauce Adapted from Anita Lo

1 C light brown sugar

3 T butter

1/2 T salt

1/2 C light corn syrup

2 T bourbon

1/3 C heavy cream

Plop together brown sugar, butter, salt, corn syrup and bourbon in a sauce pan and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, mix ingredients together and lower the heat to med-high.  W/o stirring, let cook.  Once sauce is syrupy, remove from the heat and stir in cream until consistent.  Let cool.  Put some in a squeeze bottle for topping, and/or put in a small cup for dipping!

maltesers brownies

That’s me with the chocolate batter beard. I am still wild about batters of all kinds, and this time I added a few tablespoons of malted milk powder to a batch of brownies and threw in some Maltesers. Why is this my first time making chocolate malt brownies? It will not be my last.

Maltesers (or Whoppers) in the batter not necessary… they get chewy during baking. Stick with mixing in extra malt powder and munch the balls on the side!

***Exciting news: I am a FINALIST in the “So You Wanna Be a CakeSpy” Contest!!  If you like my treat (#29), you can help me win by leaving a comment at the end of the contest post, commenting on Flickr, or clicking “like” on FacebookI have been a CakeSpy fan for years, and I am thrilled to be in such sweet company. The thought of winning a trip to Seattle is unreal!

tartlet pincushion

Oh dear, it sounds like an unfortunate stage name, but really, it is the cutest new accessory perched atop my sewing table (yes! I now have a dedicated sewing table with a non-borrowed machine on it!). I was flipping through Zakka Sewing last week when I spotted a new use for my extra tartlet tins: pincushions. It takes a circle of fabric, some sturdy thread, a little stuffing and some glue to complete. I used the extra fabric from my old favorite pair of grey winter socks and the material from some stretchy gloves I got on clearance for 25-cents. Understandably, the wool finished sturdier, and I ended up doing a double stitch before gathering it up into a pouch. Once the pouch is tightly stuffed, tie it off, turn it upside down and glue it to the tin. Almost good enough to eat.

three ingredient lemon biscuits

Knowing that I would have to extract myself for work this weekend, I had a holed up day yesterday that started with the easiest, tangiest biscuits on the planet. Last week my mom asked me, “have you ever used self-rising flour?” Me: Yes, in a supereasy baby food cupcake recipe. “Well, this biscuit recipe calls for just two ingredients: self-rising flour and sour cream.” Two ingredient (I suppose you can argue the case that self-rising flour is more than “one ingredient” but humor me) biscuits?! Say no more. I tried it out with an added lemon kick. They were so tender and tart and comforting with raspberry jam and hot tea. I have all sorts of plans for this biscuit base now.

Three Ingredient Lemon Biscuits
Enhanced from the recipe in Endangered Recipes
Makes 10 or so

Preheat oven to 425-degrees

(Using a fork) mix together 1 C self-rising flour, 1 C sour cream, juice & zest of 1 Lemon

Turn out onto floured surface and roll to preferred thickness (sticky dough – just keep extra flour on hand)

Bake about 12 minutes

You too can prevent recipe extinction!

pear shortbread with shaved pecorino

An inspiration storm hit when I opened a package that came in the mail for me last week. A friend, who knows a thing or two about treasures, sent me this tin of cutters that she uncovered at a thrift store! I gave them each a bath and decided to start out with a classic shortbread recipe. Since I was using the pear shape, I made a pear glaze to coat the shortbread. To cut the sweetness, I added shaved slices of the salty Italian sheep’s milk cheese and topped it off with a toasted walnut. Flavor boomerangs! I will make these again with other fruit, cheese and nut combos. Fun little pick up snacks made with a super pick-me-up gift.

Cookies: I use Ina Garten’s Recipe.

Pear Glaze: In a saucepan, stir together one cup of pear nectar (I like Looza or Knudsen brands, but if you have time, I suppose you could make your own) and 2 T brown sugar. Add 1 T unsalted butter and bring to a boil. Simmer on low heat until liquid reduces by half (about 10 min).

Walnuts (optional): Toast 8-10 min. in 350-degree oven.