Operation Baking GALS (and Guys!)

Susan over at She’s Becoming DoughMESStic had the idea to get a few blogging bakers to send yummy things to her cousin’s unit in Iraq. Apparently, she underestimated the willingness of this slice of the blogging community to bake for a good cause (or a bad cause, or, really, no cause at all). The one-time thing has turned into a project, Operation Baking GALS (Give a Little Support). Check out the website, and feel free to join in.

Despite the name, my 16-year-old future Marine #1 Son offered to help out with this project. We chose two Dorie recipes (of course!): Oatmeal Spice Shortbreads and Brown Sugar-Pecan Shortbreads (although, necessity being the mother of substitution, ours are Brown Sugar-Almond Shortbreads). I wanted to stay away from chocolate and anything too crumbly, and I thought shortbread would survive the weeklong journey to the desert. I hope I was right.

So he made the dough and I baked it, and today we packed up five dozen cookies and sent them off. The whole packing/shipping thing was more involved than I realized, although had I actually thought about it a bit I would have realized it would be complex.

No matter. It was good, and we’ll do it again.

Alex baking for soldiers



Tuesdays With Dorie: Summer Fruit Galette

I’m back! This week’s recipe is Summer Fruit Galette, chosen by Michelle of Michelle in Colorado Springs (she has the recipe if you want to try it for yourself). Once again I have to admit that #1 Son did the honors, cutting the recipe in half and making a lovely half-circle of summery, fruity goodness. He used half peaches, half nectarines.


Now, I’m already on record as not liking fruit-based desserts. I didn’t even try that blueberry pie a few weeks ago, the one that everyone, both in my family and here at TWD, raved about. But I had some of the galette. Oh, yes, I did. And it was marvelous.

I won’t go so far as to say it made me like fruit, but I’m certainly more inclined to give it a chance in the future.

Go check out what the other TWD bakers did with this one — it’s sure to be a treat.

baking food

Happy Birthday to Me

Days ago I promised photos of the cupcake #1 Son made me, and I failed to provide them. Herewith I remedy that situation.

He made pecan pie cupcakes from a recipe he found here. As it turned out, nonstick cooking spray is not enough for these babies — they need the little paper cups. Only one made it out of the tin alive:


Luckily, the child is clever. He sent Husband out for vanilla ice cream and made lovely sundaes topped with the crumbled cupcakes:

cupcake sundae

Whole or in bits, the cupcakes were absolutely delicious. #1 Son also made dinner, chicken and risotto. (You can tell where my priorities lie, can’t you?) I missed #2 Son, but it was a very nice birthday anyway.

baking Dorie

Tuesdays with Dorie: Not This Week

Sadly, there will be no TWD post here this week. We sent #2 Son off to summer camp on Sunday, and with all the commotion and hullaballoo there was just no time for cherries and rhubarb. But stay tuned — I’ll be back next week. And if you want to see lovely photos of Cherry Rhubarb Cobbler, check out the other TWD bloggers, and if you want the recipe go to Like Sprinkles on a Cupcake.

Oh, and today’s my birthday. If #1 Son actually makes me a cupcake, as promised, I’ll post a photo!

baking Dorie

Tuesdays With Dorie: Chocolate Pudding

This week’s recipe is Chocolate Pudding, chosen by Melissa of It’s Melissa’s Kitchen (you can find the recipe there). I have this to say to Melissa: Thank you, thank you, a thousand times thank you. (And check out all the other TWDers here.)

My family has a recipe for chocolate pudding. We make it five or six times a year, and it’s really good. When you consider the fact that it’s low-fat, it’s amazing. It’s not one of those recipes that you eat because it’s low-fat, even though it’s not nearly as good as the real thing. This chocolate pudding really is as good as the real thing. (I’ll post the recipe below.)

But Dorie’s Chocolate Pudding is so unbelievably, phenomenally, breathtakingly fabulous (I’ve run out of words!) that it’s in a class by itself.

I made it almost as written, except that I substituted one cup of half-and-half and one cup of skim milk for the two cups of whole milk, because that’s what I had. I’m going to try it again with all skim to see what happens — I bet it will still be amazing.

There were a lot of steps — this recipe is certainly considerably more complex than my old standby. It’s not something I’d want to dash off in a hurry. I measured all the ingredients out first — I often measure out some, but it’s rare that I’ll have everything done in advance — and enlisted #2 Son to melt the chocolate while I got started on the other steps.

It all worked, though, and (except for a bit of food processor overflow) turned out stunningly. I really have no words to describe it, so here are some photos:

My Chocolate Pudding (not Dorie’s)

¾ cup sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
4 tablespoons cornstarch
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups skim milk
1 tablespoon vanilla

Combine cocoa powder, cornstarch, salt, and milk in a medium saucepan. Stir to combine well and then cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, till pudding starts to thicken, then remove from heat. (Just when to take it off the heat is a matter of preference, and the only way to figure out how you like it is to experiment. It will thicken more as it cools.) Stir in vanilla. Pour into a one-quart casserole dish or four small ramekins; top with parchment paper to avoid a skin if you’d like. This pudding is awesome warm, room temperature, or cold, so eat as you see fit.


My Second Tuesday: Double-Crusted Blueberry Pie

This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was Double-Crusted Blueberry Pie (courtesy of Amy of South in Your Mouth, where you can find the recipe). I don’t like blueberry pie (or any other kind of fruit pie), but the rest of my family loves it. And I don’t like rolling out pie crust. So I delegated this one to #1 Son, who loves both making pie and eating it.

We have our nicest meal of the week on Fridays, our secular version of a Shabbat dinner, and that’s usually the only dessert we eat all week. So the blueberries for the pie had to come from the supermaket rather than the Saturday farmers market, but at least they were Jersey berries.

#1 Son had enough pie crust left to make me a miniature pie in an oval ramekin; he used chocolate chips, pecans, and shredded coconut (sweetened this time), held together by my homemade chocolate syrup. He’s a lovely boy.

So when the blueberry pie was served, #1 Son said “Oh good God.” Husband and #2 Son just said “mmmmmmmmm”; their mouths were too full to speak.

The crust was beautifully flaky, and my mini pie was delicious. All in all, another successful Dorie dessert.

Update: I just want to clarify something here, because a lot of the comments seem to be under the mistaken impression that #1 Son helps in the kitchen: he doesn’t. He cooks whole meals (and whole pies) by himself. He didn’t just roll the dough — he made the whole pie, plus the mini one for me. Technically, I suppose, this should be his post, but I stole it! He’s 16, but he’s been cooking since he was 10 or 11, and #2 Son, who is 11 now, is following in his footsteps — he makes killer scrambled eggs. It’s amazing what kids can learn to do when they want a particular food badly enough!

Flags courtesy of Son #2. Happy Fourth of July!
Flags courtesy of #2 Son. Happy Fourth of July!

More Dorie!

This would, I guess, be Wednesday with Dorie, but let’s keep that among ourselves. We (Husband, #1 Son, #2 Son, #1 Son’s Girlfriend, and I) were going to an outdoor concert the other evening for which I was making a picnic dinner, and I thought “Where better to look for a dessert recipe than my new Dorie book?”

And so — after much deliberation and agonizing — I decided on Chewy, Chunky Blondies. They’re standard (although buttery rich) blondies chock full of chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, toasted walnuts, and coconut. And they are yummy, although very sweet. I used unsweetened coconut rather than the sweetened called for in the recipe (because that’s all I have, thanks to an unnamed son who used the sweetened and didn’t write it on the shopping list), and that helped cut the sweetness a bit.

I would make these again, but they’re best for a party, where there are lots of people to share them. They’re just too rich and sweet to eat more than one or two at a time.


Pear Cheddar Scones

This is my first Tuesdays with Dorie post, the raison d’etre for Confectiona’s Realm. I’m so excited!

Dorie’s recipe is for Apple Cheddar Scones, but I didn’t have any dried apples. I did have dried pears, so there we are.

I love making scones for breakfast, because I can mix all the dry ingredients the night before and measure out all the add-ins. Then in the morning it takes 10 minutes to get them into the oven, and 20 minutes after that we’re eating.

These scones were excellent, moist and flavorful without being full of chunks of things, which can be so distracting early in the morning. We had them with Earth Balance and the strawberry jam I made last week, and everyone was content. (Although Husband did complain that they were too “baking powdery,” whatever that means. Didn’t stop him from eating his allotted one and half, though.)

You can find the recipe at The Floured Apron or in Baking: From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan. And if you want to see what other bloggers have done with the recipe, check out the TWD blogroll.


Garlic-Rosemary Knots

We’re having lamb chops and twice-baked potatoes for dinner this evening, courtesy of #1 Son, but I contributed the rolls, Buttery Garlic Knots with Rosemary. They looked delicious, and they were.


Mise en place

The fortuitous discovery of Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours on the sale rack at Borders last week has led me to this point: I must blog, so that I can take part in Tuesdays with Dorie.

It’s amazing the things we’ll do for an excuse to eat sugar, isn’t it?

Along the way, I’ll most likely write about the bread I make, and anything else that comes out particularly delicious or photogenic. And won’t it be nice to have all my favorite recipes in one place for a change?

Stay tuned!