I'm also in the middle of scones, although I'm more cautious about when I bake them because they pretty much have to get eaten the same day. I made a chocolate chip scone recipe from an old newspaper clipping (although I forgot to add the chocolate chips, because the recipe never told me to!) and a chocolate scone recipe from a magazine (probably Sunset), and neither of them were up to par, so I tossed them. So it's back to my two basic buttermilk scone recipes, which I'll probably make at the same time sometime soon to pick a preference and toss the other.
Other recent failures:
Honey crisps, from Alice Medrich's Pure Dessert cookbook. Made primarily of honey, butter, sugar, with a pinch of ginger. But the ginger just made them a little caustic, and there was this whole irrelevant step of wrapping them around a spoon to make them a neat shape, except then they just collapsed as if I'd folded them in half. And they were nice and crisp for about a day, and after that got sticky and gloppy and weird. They didn't even go well in tea. I tossed the last ten or so of them. It's too bad, because I loved her honey ice cream recipe. I do have a couple more of her dessert recipes, I think, and I'll still give them a try, although I tossed a few just because I am never likely, for example, to go out and buy buckwheat flour just for scones.
Also, espresso nut cookies (non-chocolate). Basically they tasted like neither espresso nor nuts, so all that was left was a sort of store-bought cookie dough taste. Blech. Jamie ate some when she was sick, because they were so plain. Fortunately, I am clever, and used them instead of graham crackers in a couple of crumb crusts! They make a slightly soggier and less voluminous crust, but they do the job and nobody but me really notices the difference. Now I have only a few left!
Anyway, that's the duds. Thanksgiving was a hit - see facebook for my photo chronicle! Everyone is always skeptical that squash pie is better than pumpkin pie, but I remain unfazed, because everyone also changes their mind after they eat some! What does perplex me, though, is how my chocolate mousse pie - a very simple dessert that I've been making for about a decade - sometimes turns out completely rich and delicious and perfect, and sometimes comes out pretty good-to-ok. I can't figure out that I do anything differently! Although I have noticed that it is maintains better flavor stored in the freezer than the fridge.
I just finished reading a memoir called Spiced, written by pastry chef Dalia Jurgensen. Actually, I'm pretty biased against even "top-notch" restaurant desserts, because even when they're by chefs who claim to be all about taste, they're very very rarely as good as I want them to be - and almost never worth the money. But Spiced was so engaging that if I could afford to eat at Dressler, I would give hers a try!
Although while we're on the desserts-not-made-by-me topic, Alex and I recently discovered Insomnia Cookies on the upper west side, after a between-shows dinner date, and were totally won over! I bought a peanut butter and a chocolate mint chip cookie, and they were both delicious - possibly a first for me, actually liking a cookie bought at a bakery. I will be returning anytime I find myself on the Upper West Side!
Next up on my cooking agenda: cheese souffle with Alex for dinner tonight (two nights ago I made a butternut squash soup that calls for apples, and it's ok, but a little weird and too sweet. we're eating it with sourdough and/or stuffing, which help take some of the apple-y edge out of it. the touch of curry paste in it is great, though!), and something dessert for a little get together with friends for tomorrow! Not that we don't still have chocolate mousse pie, peanut butter cookies, and peanut blossoms, but I want to make something new :)
I've been listening to an audiobook while I cook t his week, as I accidentally put it on hold instead of the print version. It's called When the Mountain Meets the Moon, by Grace Lin, and it is a quest story chock full of interlocking stories, mystery, and kindness. I'm halfway through and loving it!
And that's all for now!