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Posts from the ‘Features, Articles and Recipes’ Category

Quick Update

Well, just when I felt like I was getting back on track the rug kind of got pulled out from under me.  It has been a bad few weeks, a very dear friend died suddenly which left me in profound sadness and shock. She is someone I never met personally, we met on Instagram. You are probably saying how can you form a close friendship with someone you have never actually met, well let me tell you it can and did happen. You all know that I am an animal lover and I have a particular slightly obsessive love of pugs. Irene was one of the co founders of our pug group on Instagram and for the last almost 2 years there was not a day that went by that we didn’t chat. We planned events and she was the driving force behind all the charity work that we do, raising money to help pet owners who cannot afford Veterinary care for their pets and sending wheelchairs to pups that are unable to walk. She made a difference and the world was a much better place with her in it. I miss her terribly.

Irene Coyer

The one two punch came when I noticed Percy was not doing well, he was drinking excessively and his eyes looked infected. Our wonderful doctor made a house call and Percy has infected eyes and a corneal abrasion but he was also diagnosed with Diabetes and ketoacidosis. Diabetes I have had experience with since Nando was diabetic and I treated him for almost 8 years. The ketoacidosis is new to me and it can be deadly if untreated. We are giving him fluids, antibiotics and now he is on insulin.

Torture for Percy!

Sorry to be a Debby downer but things have not been great. Hoping next week will be better and I will start cooking again. Thank you all for sticking with me through good times and bad. Thank you all!


Happy Valentines Day-The Elusive Macaron And Percy’s Gotcha Day

Making a perfect macaron has eluded me for years. My first attempt was a big fail as was my second attempt. The first time I tried the French method where you add a warm sugar syrup to the egg whites with the mixer running is not a good idea for me, I have sugar strings flying everywhere and the macaron didn’t develop feet and were flat and pretty bad. The second time I used a recipe I found on Martha Stewart, there were steps and ingredients missing and I think amounts were off so another fail. Not being one to give up I found a Martha Stewart video with a recipe and I had a feeling this one would work. I followed the instructions to the letter, now there was one very important step (letting the macaron sit for about an hour before baking so they develop a skin) this was omitted, but having done research I knew to add that and by jove they turned out. They are not perfectly sized, some are a bit misshapen it will take some time to really master the piping of the batter but not bad!

Macaron are tricky, and following directions and measuring/weighing is really important. This recipe is very specific, I didn’t deviate at all. These delicious and delicate French cookies have been on my bucket list for a while, after my first fail I became discouraged and decided not to even try it again for a while. I am going to give you step by step instructions and if you follow you too can make macaron.

February 13 was also a very special day, it was the 2 year anniversary of when Percy came to live with me, his gotcha day. He is doing very well and is my best friend and the most amazing dog. Happy gotcha day Mr. P!!  You can view Martha’s recipe and video by clicking here.

French Macaron

Recipe by Martha Stewart

Makes 1 dozen

2 large egg whites at room temperature

1/4 cup granulated sugar

pinch of salt

71 grams finely ground almond flour (NOTE: you can use blanched slivered almonds and make your own flour) approximately 2/3 cup

117 grams powdered sugar – approximately 1 cup

gel food color if desired (start with one drop and add more depending on how deep you want the color)

Place almond flour (if using sliced almonds process first to a fine powder and then add the powdered sugar)  and confectioners sugar in food processor and process until mixed thoroughly and the almond flour is finely ground. Pour through a sieve and if you have more than a tablespoon of the mixture left in the sieve, place that in the processor and give it a good whiz and pour through the sieve again. Set aside. It is very important to remove any larger pieces of almond, it should be very very fine.

Heat oven to 350,  make sure rack is in the bottom third of the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Pour the egg whites, granulated sugar and salt in stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Beat on 4 (setting) for 2 minutes, turn up the speed to 6 and beat another 2 minutes, change speed to 8 and beat another 2 minutes. At this time add the food coloring and mix to combine. Remove bowl from the mixer and add all of the flour sugar mixture at once. Using a spatula fold from bottom swiping up 37 times, the batter will loosen. It’s important to do this 37 times according to Martha who got it from an expert.

Folded 37 times and ready to pipe

Fit a pastry bag with a 3/8 inch round tip (Ateco #804) place inside a tall glass (believe me this is important since the opening of the tip is quite large the batter will leak out. Pour the batter into the bag (tip down) and secure.  Carefully pipe a small amount (about 3/4 inch) on the parchment spacing each about 2 inches apart. Tap the pan twice lifting a couple of inches and dropping onto the counter. Leave the macaron to sit for an hour even a little longer is fine. It’s important for them to develop a skin, you can actually see the change the top will become dull and look quite different once the skin develops it traps moisture in while baking making them puff and develop feet.

Bake in the 350 degree oven for 13 minutes. Remove from the oven and let sit on the sheet pan until cooled. Carefully remove the rounds, they are delicate so work gingerly. Turn over every other one as you will pipe some filling on the bottom and sandwich the other on top. The macaron should have developed feet see photo below.

the curly edge is called feet

I had some of the French buttercream and a little ganache leftover from the other cake and thought it would make a nice filling. I put the buttercream into the mixer added 1 ounce melted dark chocolate and 2 tbs of the ganache and whipped it. After you pipe a dollop of the filling onto the cookie place the other cookie on top and VERY gently press down so that the filling reaches the edge of the cookie.

You can fill with ganache, jam or buttercream. Nutella would also be delicious. You can add flavoring or different colors to the macaron shells, to make chocolate all you have to do is remove 1/4 cup of the almond flour and replace with unsweetened cocoa powder. I plan on experimenting with different flavors and colors.

Percy with his monogrammed bandana Happy Gotcha day Buddy!!

Mini Chocolate Sponge Cakes With Buttercream Frosting

This is a simple chocolate sponge cake, the one I have always and will always use because it never fails, NEVER. So easy to make and the cake is tender and soft but still maintains the sponge like quality that, well makes it sponge cake. It’s made on a half sheet pan and is the recipe I used for my Brooklyn Blackout Semifreddo cake that was posted on Food52 and also featured in their cookbook “Ice cream and Friends”. For this little dessert I cut out small ( 3.5 inch) round layers and filled with the super simple French Buttercream that I used in the Dacquoise last year. I layered 3 rounds per mini cake and the sheet cake will give you 4 mini three layer mini cakes and don’t throw out the scraps you can freeze them and make something with them.


  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 8 large eggs at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees. Place milk and butter in glass measuring cup and microwave for 45 seconds or until butter is melted. Using stand mixer with wire whisk or electric mixer whip the eggs and sugar on med/high for approximately 8 minutes or until the mixture is pale yellow, tripled in volume and thick, with the machine running slowly add the heated milk and butter. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Fold into the egg mixture, there should be no lumps. Fold in the vanilla. Grease a 1/2 sheet pan, lay parchment sheet and grease the parchment, and sprinkle with sugar. Pour batter into the pan, spread so that it is evenly distributed and bake for 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes in the pan run a knife around the edges to loosen then invert onto wire rack, remove parchment and let cool completely.


Recipe (doubled) food52 – Merrill Stubbs

12 oz soft unsalted butter

4 egg yolks

1 1/3 cup confectioners or powdered sugar

2 tbs vanilla extract

Put all the ingredients in the bowl of the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat until thick, silky and spreadable. Thats it, so easy!!

Chocolate Caramel Ganache

1/3 cup heavy cream

2.5 oz dark and milk chocolate chopped

2 tbs caramel sauce (I had some homemade caramel sauce in the refrigerator but you can use whatever is your favorite this is optional).

1-2 tbs clear karo syrup

Bring cream to scalding, add chocolate and caramel sauce and let sit for 5 minutes. Stir until smooth and glossy, stir in the karo syrup. Let cool to room temperature before pouring on cake.



Boston Cream Pie


It’s almost Valentines Day and in the days leading up to this day that celebrates love I am going to post a few recipes for desserts.  The first is Boston Cream Pie which is one of my all time favorite desserts, I love it, can’t resist it and I think that if I could pick only one dessert that I couldn’t live without this would be it. As a child this was the cake I always picked for my birthday, there was a bakery in my home town that made one of the best and my Mom after we moved from there developed a cake recipe just so she could make me this cake. I didn’t use the recipe for Tender Yellow Cake for this dessert however, I recently purchased a new cookbook “Bravetart” by Stella Parks and decided to try her recipe for the cake. Before putting the recipe on the blog I checked and it was published on the internet by Food and Wine. I have to say I love this cookbook, Stella has taken so many iconic American treats (it’s like a trip down memory lane) and developed them so that you can make them at home, the goodness of a Hostess Twinkie or cupcake or Little Debbie snack cake without all the additives, love it!

Boston Cream Pie is a cake not a pie and I am not sure why they call it pie not cake but whats in a name anyway, it’s wonderful. The original recipe uses sponge cake, a vanilla pudding or pastry cream filling and it is covered with a wonderful chocolate ganache although there seems to be debate as to whether or not the original actually had the chocolate glaze. Simple and unadorned, nothing intricate about it but the sum of all it’s parts makes an absolutely delicious dessert.

Instead of the pudding in the book I used my favorite pastry cream recipe which always holds up beautifully.  I sometimes have problems with corn starch based fillings, they often are not stiff enough and I didn’t want to take a chance having never used that recipe before. I have a lot of egg whites left over so an angel food cake will be in the works soon.

The cake is moist and a cross between a sponge and yellow cake. Next time I will mix some milk chocolate with the dark for the ganache because I like it just a little sweeter but it is still very good even with only dark.  I kept the cake in the refrigerator overnight so it was cold when I poured the ganache on and the chocolate kind of stopped in its tracks and I had to spread it, I recommend bringing the cake to room temperature before pouring the ganache so you get that smooth mirror like finish.

Boston Cream Pie

The Cake – Recipe by Stella Parks in “Bravetart”

Makes one 2 layer 8 inch cake

2 cups (8 oz) bleached cake flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 1/3 cup sugar

1/4 tsp kosher salt (I used a heaping 1/4 tsp)

1 tbs vanilla extract

3/4 cup egg yolks (from approximately 12 large eggs) It was 11 eggs for me depends on size

4 tbs unsalted butter, melted (I used salted butter)

1 cup milk at room temperature

Oven rack should be in the middle of the oven. Heat to 350 degree’s. Line 2 8″x3″ round cake pans with parchment and grease with cooking spray (like Pam). Sift flour into a medium bowl and whisk in baking powder.

Combine sugar, vanilla and egg yolks in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Mix on low to moisten and then increase the speed to medium high and whip until thick, light and doubled in volume, approximately 6 minutes. Reduce speed to medium low and drizzle in butter followed by the milk. Once added shut off the mixer, detach the bowl and gently incorporate the flour with a balloon whisk Fold the thin batter with a flexible spatula once or twice  from the bottom up. Divide between prepared cake pans.

Bake until cakes are lightly browned and firm approximately 20 minutes. Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes and then gently loosen and invert onto cooling racks. Place the pans over the cakes to trap steam and cool to room temperature. NOTE: my cakes took almost 30 minutes to get a light (golden brown)

Once cakes have cooled slice a little off the tops of each layer (so the pudding will soak into the cake. Place one layer on cake stand and spread a generous amount of the pudding and place the other layer on top. Cover and let sit at least 2 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.


1/3 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup (2 1/2 ounces) dark chocolate roughly chopped

Bring cream to a simmer, remove from heat and add the chocolate. Let sit for 5 minutes and then whisk until thick and creamy. Refrigerate for about 25 minutes don’t let it cool completely the ganache must still be a bit warm. Pour over the cake, let set and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Red Onion Tart with Chestnuts and Blue Cheese

Ronit is an incredibly talented chef and when she Kindly offered to allow me to reblog one of her posts I knew exactly which one I would pick. I have been meaning to make this tart, it looks and sounds amazing and I decided it would be nice to keep with the onion theme. Thank you Ronit for this delicious recipe.

Tasty Eats

While I bake tasty onion tarts quite often, the one I have here turned out even tastier than usual. What made it so very tasty lies in the addition of roasted chestnuts to the dough, and flavoring the filling with a bit of mustard, along with blue cheese and rosemary. This combination of flavors and textures took the plain onion tart into another level. Try it and enjoy.

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French Onion Soup

It has been a very long time since I have had a bowl of French Onion Soup, it’s one of my favorites but I rarely eat it. I don’t think I’ve ever made it either, at least that I can remember. This soup is not traditional, French onion soup is made using beef stock. Instead of beef stock I made a mushroom stock and honestly you cannot tell the difference. The stock was made a few days in advance by simply simmering dried mushrooms (I used cepe) with onion and carrot, strain and store in the refrigerator. I simmered it for about 4 hours so it was rich and meaty (without the meat). The soup came together pretty quickly, caramelizing the onions took a little time, about 30 minutes. All together it took a little over an hour to put this together. You can use commercially prepared broth of course, beef or vegetable and I am sure it would be just as good. The star of the show is the caramelized onions which give this soup it’s distinctive flavor. I served with wine, Syrah from Pug Wine, couldn’t resist the cute pug on the label and the wine is wonderful.

Mushroom Broth

4 oz dried mushrooms (shiitake, cepe or whatever you want to use)

8 cups water

1 onion peeled and cut in half

1 carrot peeled and cut in half

Season with salt and pepper if you like, I didn’t

Place all ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil, turn heat down to simmer and let cook uncovered for about 4 hours. Let cool, strain and place in lidded jar and refrigerate until ready to use. Save the strained mushrooms and freeze, you can use them for mushroom soup.

French Onion Soup

serves 3-4

4 small onions peeled and thinly sliced

4 tbs butter

2 sprigs thyme

1 bay leaf

1 tsp sugar

2 tsp flour

1/2 cup wine (white or red)

4 cups mushroom stock (or whatever you want to use)

1 1/2 cup water

salt and pepper to taste

baguette cut into slices

Gruyere, comte or raclette cut into think slices (I used raclette)

Some grated parmigiana

Caramelized onions

Melt butter in saucepan and add the onions, thyme and bay leaf and sugar . Cook stirring frequently on medium high heat. When onions are soft and starting to brown reduce heat to low and let cook until caramelized stirring frequently takes about 30 minutes.

Making the Soup

Add the flour to the onions and cook for approximately 1 minute, add the wine and when it starts bubbling add the stock and water. Cook on medium heat for approximately 30 minutes. Soup will thicken slightly. While soup is cooking heat the oven to 350 degree’s place the bread on a baking sheet and toast for about 15 minutes turning over after about 8-10 minutes. Remove bread from the oven and turn on the broiler.

Remove the bay leaf and thyme sprigs, ladle soup in bowls, add toasted bread one or two slices depending on the size of the bread. Top with the sliced cheese and sprinkle with a little parmigiana.

Place the bowls on baking sheet and broil for about 8 minutes until cheese bubbles and is lightly browned. Remove from oven let cool for a couple of minutes and serve.

Have to show a photo of the bottle of wine, love the label and the wine is so good.

pug Syrah from pug wine

Guest Post- Beet and Gorgonzola Cheese Pearled Barley with Cream Sauce

The first guest post is from my good friend Mimi whose gorgeous blog Chef Mimi blog  has inspired and delighted me for a long time. She is an amazing cook, prolific writer and world traveller and her delicious recipes are beautifully executed, photographed and I know eagerly gobbled up by her family. I am a big fan of risotto and love her take on it using barley and beets and creamy gorgonzola. Without further ado here is Mimi’s wonderful recipe, thank you so much for writing this post for my blog. Please pay Mimi a visit and if you want to print out this recipe you can do so from her blog.

When I first read through Eataly, the cookbook, this recipe caught my attention. It’s risotto made with barley, flavored with beets, and topped with a Gorgonzola cream! Plus, it was really pretty.

The Eataly cookbook, featuring “300 landmark recipes highlighting the best of contemporary Italian home cooking,” is a hefty volume. I’ve already made one recipe for the blog, and although it was poorly written, which seems crazy these days, it turned out great.

Maybe the Italians don’t follow the same recipe protocol as we do here in the United States? I assumed it was a universal thing, but who knows?

In any case, I knew I just had to try this recipe. Full disclosure, however, I substituted feta for the Gorgonzola.

Beet and Gorgonzola Cheese Pearled Barley with Cream Sauce
(that’s the actual name of the recipe in the book)

9 ounces pearled barley
2 cooked beets, cut into cubes
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Generous 2 cups vegetable broth
7 ounces white wine
5 ounces Gorgonzola, cut into cubes
1 3/4 ounces whipping cream
2 ounces butter, cut into cubes
1 ounce grated Parmesan cheese
A few thyme sprigs to garnish (optional)

Soak the barley in a large bowl of cold water for 2 hours. Rinse and drain well.

Put the beets, 2 tablespoons of the oil, a pinch of salt, and 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon of the broth into a food processor and blend to a purée.

Pour the remaining broth into a pan and bring to a simmer. Keep over a low heat while you make the risotto.

Put the drained barley into a pan, add the remaining oil and a pinch of salt, and toast the barley over medium heat for 6 minutes, stirring continuously.

Add the wine and cook for a few minutes until the wine has evaporated, then add a ladleful of the broth.

Cook the barley over medium heat for about 30 minutes, gradually adding in more broth, a ladleful at a time, until all of the liquid is absorbed by the barley, adding the beet puree 10 minutes before the end of the cooking time.

Meanwhile, put half the Gorgonzola and the cream into a food processor and blend to make a light, creamy sauce.

Once the barley is cooked, remove from the heat and stir in the Parmesan, the remaining Gorgonzola, and the butter.

Divide among individual serving dishes, flattening the surface with the back of a spoon. Drizzle a spiral of Gorgonzola cream sauce over the top of each dish and garnish with a drizzle of oil and some thyme leaves. (I obviously didn’t use thyme leaves.)

I served the barley and beet risotto with some rosé to make the meal even more festive. Or, at least, pink!

This risotto, although really not a risotto, is absolutely fabulous. I was surprised there was no onion or garlic, but it’s more about the taste of the grain, plus the broth and cheeses.

I know this would also be really good with Gorgonzola, but the feta cream was outstanding with the beet-flavored risotto.


Beet and Gorgonzola Cheese Pearled Barley with Cream Sauce

9 ounces pearled barley
2 cooked beets, cut into cubes
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Generous 2 cups vegetable broth
7 ounces white wine
5 ounces Gorgonzola, cut into cubes
1 3/4 ounces whipping cream
2 ounces butter, cut into cubes
1 ounce grated Parmesan cheese
A few thyme sprigs to garnish (optional)

Soak the barley in a large bowl of cold water for 2 hours. Rinse and drain well.

Put the beets, 2 tablespoons of the oil, a pinch of salt, and 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon of the broth into a food processor and blend to a purée.

Pour the remaining broth into a pan and bring to a simmer. Keep over a low heat while you make the risotto.

Put the drained barley into a pan, add the remaining oil and a pinch of salt, and toast the barley over medium heat for 6 minutes, stirring continuously.

Add the wine and cook for a few minutes until the wine has evaporated, then add a ladleful of the broth.

Cook the barley over medium heat for about 30 minutes, gradually adding in more broth, a ladleful at a time, until all of the liquid is absorbed by the barley, adding the beet puree 10 minutes before the end of the cooking time.

Meanwhile, put half the Gorgonzola and the cream into a food processor and blend to make a light, creamy sauce.

Once the barley is cooked, remove from the heat and stir in the Parmesan, the remaining Gorgonzola, and the butter.

Divide among individual serving dishes, flattening the surface with the back of a spoon. Drizzle a spiral of Gorgonzola cream sauce over the top of each dish and garnish with a drizzle of oil and some thyme leaves.

Finding Inspiration

Hello everyone, today is a holiday, remembering the life and legacy of  Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. we should honor and remember this great man in our thoughts, actions and life everyday. He was a man of purpose and peace, his philosophy and life is celebrated and remembered by all on this day every January 15th. He changed the world not with violence but with words of peace delivered with absolute conviction and great faith. The world will forever be a better place because of him.

It has been almost a month since I last posted anything, thats terrible, but I simply have not been inspired to cook, create and blog. Has that happened to any of you before? My apologies for not keeping up with your blogs. I won’t go into details but a lot has been happening and it has taken it’s toll on me emotionally. I try, I really do but unless I actually want to cook or bake they just don’t come out well and frankly are not blog worthy. Hoping to do a Valentines post or posts and get baking again. I’ve ordered a couple of new cookbooks, searching for inspiration and ideas and they will be arriving soon. I feel like I have a blockage and just can’t seem to break out, maybe soon.  The weather has been extreme, cold, snow and ice which doesn’t help. I love to go to the farmers market for inspiration, in the winter months it’s not exactly inspirational but I can usually find something there that gets my creative juices flowing, it’s been too darn cold to even venture outside and walk to the market.

I have made a few things that turned out well no real recipes mostly using up leftovers, simple fare.  Will post a few photo’s of some things I have made recently, the first was homemade pasta using this really cool pasta maker I got from the Food52 shop. Sometimes I just don’t feel like getting my pasta machine out and this is the answer to that making quick and easy perfect noodles. Love it!!

Calling all bloggers!! Would anyone like to do a guest post while I am in this funk? Would be so happy and honored to post some of your delicious recipes on the blog. Let me know, email me or comment below.

no bigger than a small rolling pin

Homemade pasta with shaved Brussels sprouts, mascarpone,parmigiana and lemon

I mentioned before I much I detest wasting food, in an effort to use some vegetables in my refrigerator and half of a recipe for pie dough (don’t like leaving in freezer too long) I made vegetable pot pie using cauliflower, asparagus, carrots, peas. Roasted the vegetables drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with salt, pepper and turmeric (except the peas) in the oven on 400 degrees until tender. Made a simple béchamel and added some gruyere. Tossed in the veggies and spooned into bowls, covered with the pie dough and grated a little more gruyere. They were delicious and simple and perfect comfort food on a very cold day.

vegetable pot pie

More food that must be used is some fresh mozzarella, some baby tomatoes and fresh basil. Pizza is on the menu today and my simple no knead pizza dough makes a perfect Grandma’s pizza.


Cookies, Fruitcake and More Cookies

I am going to try to keep this short and sweet. I have been baking and packing gift boxes for the last week. My meals are take out or a quick sandwich. Have to say my new oven is amazing. It literally cuts baking time in half having an oven that actually works like it’s supposed to. My first attempt at convection baking wasn’t the best, not a disaster but not great, I read that it automatically converts the temperature and I didn’t realize you have to change the setting on the stove to convert the temp. Second round was perfect.

Got 3 gift boxes mailed, no small feat as I had to wait almost 2 hours in line at the post office. It’s been pretty busy around here, I volunteered as a foster for a rescue organization and they had an urgent need to foster a little chiweenie (chihuahua dachshund mix). He is about 7-8 yrs old and is named Gosha. He will stay with me until he finds a forever home much to the chagrin of Mr. Percy, he is not pleased and is moping around the house, won’t eat unless I hand feed him and is generally perturbed.

Christmas cards have been pouring in, for Percy, LOL! I have gotten 2 with over 30 cards for Percy from our friends on social media.

I found a great recipe for Chocolate thumbprint cookies, better than the recipe I have been using for the last few years. It’s from Martha Stewart and have to say it’s terrific. The cookies are soft and moist and I love adding the striped Hershey’s kiss in the center while the cookies are still warm.

chocolate thumbprint cookies

I’ve also made fruitcakes, chocolate chip cookies, rugelach and biscotti. This week I’m making Stollen, more cookies and more.

rugelach, chocolate, orange hazelnut


Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies

Recipe from Martha Stewart

Makes 90 small cookies

2 cups all purpose flour

1 cup plus 1 tbs dutch cocoa, unsweetened

2 tsp course salt

8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter softened

1 1/3 cup sugar (plus more for rolling the cookies in)

2 large egg yolks

2 tbs heavy cream

2 tsp vanilla extract

Heat oven to 350 degree’s. Sift flour, cocoa powder and salt into a small bowl and set aside. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Reduce speed to medium and add egg yolks, cream and vanilla, beat until combined scraping sides when needed. Beat in flour mixture just until combined.

Scoop out approximately 2 tsp and roll into a ball, roll in sugar and place on parchment lined baking sheet. Use your thumb or the end of a wooden spoon to make an indent in each cookie. Bake for 5 minutes rotating the pan and then bake another 5 minutes (10 minutes total baking time).
Remove from oven and place a Hershey’s kiss in the center, let cool completely before packaging or storing.

Holiday Baking

I can’t believe it’s almost Christmas, only a few short weeks to go. I have been crippled without a working stove and last week on Thursday night my new stove arrived. It is a beauty and I am very happy with it so far. It is going to take some getting used to. I found that I am accustomed to working with an oven that was far from normal and because of some of issues I was able to use the oven with adjustments. For example my oven door did not close all the way, this effected the oven temp dramatically, I would prop chairs forcing the door to close but that was like an obstacle course in the kitchen. There were hot spots so everything I baked required constant turning and rotating. You get used to these things and they become the norm. The new stove works and works well and that has forced me to adjust how I use the oven. I find that there is a Pavlovian response, I automatically check want to rotate and test rather than timing. With an oven that actually works I am going to have to re train myself to trust and rely on directions and the oven itself. In the weeks before it arrived I didn’t do much in the way of cooking and baking, because it took a while to get the new stove my baking for the holidays has fallen way behind schedule. The last few days I have been reading the manual and using the stove and oven to get used to it. Today I start baking, I have many gift boxes to put together and there will be dozens and dozens of cookies and loaves to bake.

I have always had a basic stove, no bells and whistles, this stove has it all, it’s convection, has so many capabilities including a touch screen control. I feel a little overwhelmed but will get used to it I’m sure. I read that you have to adjust temperature by 25 degree’s (down) when baking with convection, well this stove automatically adjusts so you set the temperature at the prescribed degree’s in the recipe and it self adjusts. I will see how that goes. I can dehydrate food with this oven as the temp goes down to 100 degree’s it has a special setting for those that are observant, a Sabbath setting. It’s pretty incredible really.  I have to put a new backsplash in but that can come later along with adjustments for positioning the stove etc..

The gift boxes will contain tried and true recipes, don’t really like experimenting when I am sending out as a gift. I’ve posted all the recipes over the years, Stollen, fruit cake thumbprint cookies, chocolate chip, biscotti are all on the agenda over the next few days.

Thanks to everyone for sticking by me even with a blog black out for a few weeks. Hoping now to get back on track and start posting recipes. Happy Holidays to all!

Ginger Scallion ramen with Crispy sesame oven baked tofu recipe coming

homemade bourbon vanilla extract

Percy loves the crunchy leaves