Starbucks Chocolate Bread

  
So, despite my self-delusionary assertions, this is a cake. A delicious, cinnamon-chocolate cake. But as long as I don’t put any frosting on it, we can keep that between you, me, and the rest of the Internet, m’kay?

  

I made only one loaf, because I didn’t have 1.25c of cocoa powder left and failed to include that on my list of Critical Snow Day ingredients, so this loaf has 1/2 an egg more than it should. I also skipped the sparkle spice topping, because it didn’t sound good. And I didn’t take a picture of the undisturbed loaf because reasons, probably including that it’s a snow day and someone needed glue or scissors or a mitten.  It broke getting out of the pan because I left it too long, so it’s not pretty—which just means there were more little pieces for walking past and noshing on. Tragic, I tell you. 

If you want to make it, Starbucks has kindly published the recipe here

Cardamom-Spice Oatmeal Cookies

 
These cookies are incredible. I used raisins instead of currants because my currants were very dried out and sad, used allspice because I don’t have baharat, and didn’t freeze the balls individually (just refrigerated the dough before forming them into balls), so they baked in about 15m. The kids liked them so much that the 2yo threw a tantrum when I told him that three was enough and he wasn’t getting a fourth.I think these work better as a bigger cookie; I tried both a 1 tbsp and a 2 tbsp cookie scoop and the smaller ones tended to crumble because the fruit to oat ratio was too high.  A yet bigger cookie might be better yet. But, crumbly or no, they are delicious. 

Cardamom Spice Oatmeal Cookies

Pfefferneuse 

   
 My husband loves spice cookies, so I wanted to make him some.  I started with this recipe, but since various people I might want to share these with have issues with cloves, nutmeg, and dairy,  I needed to rework the spice profile a tiny bit and replace the fat. With just a straight replacement of shortening for butter the dough was way too dry and crumbly.  An extra egg helped a lot, but a little extra water helped too and might have been enough even if I’d not put in the egg.  I also added a tiny bit of salt because it seemed weird that there wasn’t any. (Maybe she uses salted butter?)

These came out soft and amazing straight from the oven, better with the powdered sugar. I don’t think any will make it a month for me to test out whether they really last that long in a sealed container.

  • 1 cup shortening, softened (I used Earth Balance because the green box is totally dairy-free)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 3-1/2 cup flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp water
  • powdered sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F
  2. Beat the shortening and sugars together until well combined.
  3. Add the eggs and water and beat well.
  4. Meanwhile, whisk together the flour and spices, baking soda and salt.
  5. Mix the dry ingredients in until a dough forms. 
  6. Refrigerate at least 30min
  7. Roll the dough into 1/4 to 3/4″ snakes.  (The original recipe says the thickness of a pencil, mine were more like the super thick Kindergarten pencils we had to special order, or like toddler crayons). Cut with a butter knife into 1/2″ pieces and space about an inch apart on a cookie sheet.
  8. Bake 6-7 minutes 
  9. Transfer to a cooling rack for a minute, then roll in powdered sugar and return to the rack to cool completely. 
  10.  Clean up the giant mess you made with powdered sugar and enjoy!

Turkey Pot Pie

This is the most perfect pot pie I have ever made.  It tastes awesome, it looks like it belongs in a cookbook, and did I mention that it tastes amazing?  It’s good enough that I even came here to blog about it for you, my poor neglected readers.

  

Make the crust: 

For this, I doubled the Flaky Cheddar Cheese Pie Crust recipe from the Pie and Pastry Bible.  If you don’t have it, you should, but The Atlantic has published this particular recipe here.  

I used plain vinegar and left out the cayenne (the former because I ran out of apple cider vinegar and was in a rush, the latter because my kids are picky about spicy). I also essentially skipped the refrigerating and freezing steps, again because I was in a terrible hurry to get dinner made. I rolled the bottom crust out after only about 15m chilling in the freezer.    A double batch of crust pretty much filled my food processor, but I had some scraps to bake as crackers left over from the pie.

Filling:

  • Cooked leftover turkey meat, 1-2c diced in 1 cm cubes
  • 1.5c frozen peas
  • 1c chopped carrots

I tossed these into the bottom crust. Precise amounts aren’t necessary, you can adjust to take the amount of turkey you have. I had thought I wouldn’t have enough, but the sauce fills the crust about halfway.

Make the sauce:

This was a lucky find; the first Google hit on chicken pot pie the day I happened to be searching. The celery seed is critical to the flavor.

  • 1/3c butter
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp celery seed (not celery salt!)
  • 1 3/4c water or chicken broth
  • 2/3c milk

“In the saucepan over medium heat, cook onions in butter until soft and translucent. Stir in flour, salt, pepper, and celery seed. Slowly stir in water (or broth) and milk. Simmer over medium-low heat until thick. Remove from heat and set aside.”

Pour the sauce into the bottom crust, over the turkey and veggies. Roll out the top crust and bake a 425F for about 35m or until the top crust is starting to brown.

  
I served this with leftover cranberry sauce, and it was perfect.

Hot Cross Buns



I had many more  Easter treat making plans than I had time to make treats or people to eat them.  So I decided to make just the one that was new to me.  The BBC recipe my friend used (she’s in France) needed ingredients I don’t have, so I went searching.

I have liked Pioneer Woman’s recipes before, and this one was not a disappointment. I used raisins and chopped dried apricots, and put some cardamom and ginger in with the cinnamon sugar.  

They turned out *amazing*.   I will be making these again, and probably taking the dough and repurposing it for cinnamon rolls, too. 

Socks and Cowls

I have been knitting things—slowly.

IMG_0461

IMG_0608

IMG_0122

I started these socks (my first pair!) as part of a Black Friday One Week Worsted Sock challenge. They took me almost three months, although to be fair I made three cowls in there, lost the project bag for three weeks, and spent three more weeks stalling over grafting the toe (which I hadn’t ever done before, but which wasn’t as hard as I feared). They are so warm!
And acrylic, so good snow shoveling socks for those of us who can’t have wool.

The three cowls I made actually are wool: my first projects with superwash wool yarn.

IMG_0016

IMG_0017
I’m pretty pleased—the yarn is local and hand dyed and so deeply colored, and knit up well for two Christmas presents and a birthday. And the low/no lanolin superwash yarn doesn’t seem to bother my hands!
Two of the cowls are “mistake rib”—a 3×1 ribbing pattern with one too many stitches, so it comes out with diagonal stripes. The other is a drop stitch cowl, which lots of Ravelers seem to love but I found was weirdly tensioned. Maybe just not my style?

IMG_0024

Not Sweet Purple Sweet Potato Muffins

2015/02/img_0606.jpg

I found these gorgeous sweet potatoes at the store the other day. They were lovely roasted, and a hit with the kids, but the leftovers didn’t disappear immediately, so I wanted to do something more with them.

IMG_0609

I don’t have a favorite recipe for pumpkin or sweet potato muffins, so I did some web searching. Unsurprisingly, a lot of sweet potato muffin recipes are frosted or glazed or candied, and very sweet in the muffin part too. I wanted to show off the sweetness of the potato, so I took out all the sugar. I might add back the 0.5c brown sugar, but definitely not the 1.5c white. I used canola oil (like many recipes I saw) instead of the coconut that my almost-winning recipe (which I intend to try with canned pumpkin sometime) recommended to make them mostly unsaturated fats. I also found that slightly dry sweet potato needed more liquid than canned pumpkin, so, even though it ruined their dairy-free glory, I added about half a cup of milk. More might even be better, since this was the absolute least liquid I could add and get a batter.

IMG_0610
(We also made crayons today)

Not Sweet Purple Sweet Potato Muffins
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tsp Penzey’s pumpkin pie spice (this wasn’t enough, next time I also want 1 tsp cinnamon and probably some ginger)
2 eggs
.5c canola oil
2c mashed sweet potato
~ 0.5c milk

Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix dry, mix wet (including potato, mashing if necessary). Add more milk if necessary to get a spoonable batter. Spoon into muffin cups and bake 30m or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

2015/02/img_0605.jpg