.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Not As Good As Pork Cracklins

misadventures in cooking

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

More Cranberry Walnut Bread

I have a nearly insatiable desire for this bread. To prove to myself that I am not hopelessly addicted, I'm going to restrain myself from baking it again until next Thanksgiving. Though to be honest, recently my resolve has been tested in other areas and found to be lacking. So we shall see.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Peace on Earth

If I could be anywhere right now, I'd be in Big Bend National Park, where the sky is big and the stars are bright. Those stars are Christmas to me. As are cookies, decorated with a friend.

I believe in Santa Claus. I believe in love, generosity and devotion, as well as poetry and romance. Gifts should be gifts of the heart, not obligations because the calendar says that it's the certain day of a certain month, or because someone gave one to you. The most special gifts are ones like babies and tiny plastic cowbells that make me laugh out loud.

This Christmas, I miss my dad, my mum, the uncle who has always loved me no matter what, my brother, his beautiful wife and those darling twins. I miss the most precious boy in the whole world.

No, I don't celebrate Christmas. But I wish for Peace on Earth. And goodwill towards all.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Red Velvet Cake Balls

Bakerella started an internet firestorm with cake balls -- crumbled cake mixed with icing and dipped in chocolate -- and they became the hot trend for food bloggers. Better late than never, I finally had a reason: the annual Rogue Running coaches party.

You have to have patience to make these. And you have to have a serious sweet tooth to eat them. I was sorely challenged on both accounts. But they went over like wildfire, both with the tasting team of boys at home and also with the coaches at the party.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Quick & Easy Cinnamon Bun Bread

Mike and I had a brief conversation yesterday about the nutritional and caloric needs of a hypothetical runner following a Lydiard training plan. And as Mike put it, "More Lydiard requires more cupcakes!" This morning I woke up very early and very hungry. I couldn't wait long enough for Polkadots Cupcake Factory to open, so unfortunately that indulgence will need to be another day.

Fortunately, this indulgence lives up to its "quick & easy" name. You don't even need to preheat the oven.

Quick & Easy Cinnamon Bun Bread

1 1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
4 tsp. rapid rise yeast
2/3 cup warm low-fat milk
3 T. oil
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 egg

3 T. butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
large pinch cardamom

1 cup powdered sugar
1-2 T. milk or cream
splash of vanilla

Lightly grease an 8x8 square baking pan. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Dissolve the yeast in the measuring cup of warm milk, then add the oil, vanilla, and egg, whisking well. Pour the liquid ingredients into the bowl of dry ones, stirring until smooth. Scrape it into the prepared pan and let rest for 15 minutes.

While the dough rests, use a fork (or your fingers, which is what I did) to make the crumb topping. Sprinkle it evenly on top of the rested dough and press it down lightly.

Put the pan in a cold oven, then set the temperature to 350. Bake for about 30 minutes.

Cool for at least 30 minutes (ha!), then whisk together the powdered sugar, cream and vanilla. (I had leftover white glace' from decorating cookies with Laura, so I used a bit of that instead). Drizzle the icing onto the bread. Be happy that running 60 miles this week gives you a little bit of wiggle room in your meal plan.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Florida Orange Melts

On my most recent visit to Half Price Books, I scored a pristine copy of The All-American Cookie Book, by Nancy Baggett. I've wanted it since I realized that her Fudge Brownies Supreme are my favoritest ever brownies.

As is my custom, I read my new book cover to cover that night, tabbing everything I want to make and probably will never get around to. I'm not sure how these no-bake cookies floated to the top of my to-do list, but here they are. Flavored with orange zest and Cointreau, they're rolled in pecans. Ms. Baggett calls them Florida's answer to Kentucky's bourbon balls.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Cookie Decorating Class

I did my long run yesterday so that I could take a cookie decorating class at Central Market this morning. Several good tips, some great ideas, and lots of fun. I decorated six cookies, including a super cute penguin, but he didn't like his car ride home so much and he definitely didn't look happy getting his picture made.