Saturday, December 3, 2011

Peanut Butter Kick

I'm on a peanut butter kick! Peanut butter oat bars (soooo good), peanut butter cookies (Aunt Carolyn's favorite recipe, deservedly so), peanut blossoms (except I had only four Hershey's kisses [thankfully dark chocolate], so I sandwiched the rest together with ganache... even better!). I also still have fudgy peanut butter bars on the list! This is possibly the most delicious phase of my recipe-trying project.

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!

Peanut blossoms sandwiches


Dutch baby!


  1. 1. WHERE the Mountain meets the moon.
    2. I have a recipe somewhere for Chocolate Walnut Scones that are pretty good. Want it? It's in the same LATimes article as my favorite scone recipe, which is apricot ginger scones.
    3. Buckwheat flour can also be used in pancakes.

  2. 1. Did you make the curry paste or find a jar?
    2. great idea - peanut blossom sandwiches!
    3. do you use the sunset book of breads bmilk scone recipe? that's what i use
    4. chocolate mousse pie - sometimes the whipped cream is kind of dense and not delicious. but otherwise, yeah, sometimes it's good and sometimes just ok (I am not in love with it as you all are).
    5. we made roasted butternut soup today, though it calls for pumpkin.

  3. Ruthy:

    1. You're right, mea culpa.
    2. Yes, please.
    3. Maybe I'll keep an eye out for it at the farmers' market.

    1. Got a jar from Whole Foods, because TJ's didn't carry it.
    2. It was suggested on the recipe!
    3. Probably. I'm not sure, because it's in my handwriting, so I don't know whence I copied it. I could read it to you on the phone and we could compare.
    5. Was it good? If so, could you please send the recipe?