Rice Pudding with Chocolate-Tahini Sauce and Black Sesame Praline

My younger sister Eva, who I adore, has been living with us for four months and just returned to Olympia last week.  It was so lovely to spend all that time together and have an extra set of hands around to help with the kids. But one of THE BEST things about having Eva around was having a new chef in the house.  I’m pretty handcuffed when it comes to family dinners.  The kids seem to eat only things from two food groups:  beige and tube-shaped.   Continue reading “Rice Pudding with Chocolate-Tahini Sauce and Black Sesame Praline”

Mezcal-Chili Dark Chocolate Truffles

I’m still making my way through a bottle of mezcal (a smoked tequila) that a dear friend sent me when I was having a rough day.   Now that the New Year is upon us, I’m ready to celebrate past and future and it always puts me in the mood to go all out and be decadent. These Dark Chocolate Truffles infused with mezcal and dusted with cayenne powder are so rich and wonderful.  They have a nice snappy chocolate shell and a soft, melting, smoky center.  The heat of the cayenne comes through right at the end.  And of course they’re topped with a bit of edible gold leaf.  Because DECADENT. Continue reading “Mezcal-Chili Dark Chocolate Truffles”

Negroni Cake with a Campari and Blood Orange Filling

There’s something really unique about the week between Christmas and New Year’s.  I’m all the sudden sick of christmas, red and green, and all things nostalgic and traditional.  All of the sudden I’m ready to be fresh and modern and try new things.  I was pondering what I might make for New Year’s Eve and every single idea I had involved alcohol.  Go figure. Negroni Cake   Continue reading “Negroni Cake with a Campari and Blood Orange Filling”

Beer Gummies-Bourbon Barrel-Aged Stout Gummy Bears

Beer gummies are my new favorite party trick.  I have a whole post here about the agony and ecstasy of my boozy gummy bear journey.  But this post is all about my new favorite gummy.  My husband had a particularly choice bottle of Bourbon County Stout from 2013 that needed drinking.  Unfortunately he happened to mention that right at the exact moment I was trying to figure out what type of alcoholic gummy bears I wanted to make for New Year’s Eve.   Continue reading “Beer Gummies-Bourbon Barrel-Aged Stout Gummy Bears”

How to Make Koeksisters-Fried South African Mini Doughnuts

I got lucky at a garage sale a few years ago and scored a wonderful table top fryer from the sixties.  It’s built like a tank, still has the original cloth cord and had never been used.  I had never really done any deep-frying so I was a little nervous.  But it turns out that with a bit of practice it’s very easy and super fun.  The kids love it when I make frites or chocolate donut holes but I haven’t experimented with it too much.  Then I saw a delicious looking, teensy little braided donut from South Africa called a koeksister.  Finally, a treat worthy of a Deep-Fried Experimentation Project.  New band name, I called it!  Read on to learn how to make koeksisters. Continue reading “How to Make Koeksisters-Fried South African Mini Doughnuts”

Buttery Sugar Cookies-Perfect for Rolling Out and Decorating

This is my basic roll-out sugar cookie recipe.  There are a lot of recipes out there for roll-outs.  Some can be baked without chilling.  Some have the soft texture of grocery store sugar cookies.  Some don’t spread even an iota.  But none of those recipes hold a candle to these buttery sugar cookies.  The reason is two-fold:  Flavor and texture.

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Chocolate Woodgrain Cookie Plaques

I’m a little obsessive about baking.  You may have noticed.  I’m also a little obsessed with woodgrain.  You can’t throw a rock at my Pinterest page without hitting something woodgrain.  And I think I finally baked up something deserving of my two loves.  Look, I made a diagram:Woodgrain Plaque Cookies

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Tinsel Tree Sugar Cookies

I am a sucker for mid-century Christmas crap.  I love the fake trees, gilded barware, and felty stockings.  This year, instead of trying another version of a traditional Christmas tree cookie, I decided to recreate my favorite holiday tree.  The big fake white tinsel tree with giant ball ornaments.  The lack of fullness and the awkward placement of the ornaments just really makes my socks go up and down.

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Lemon-Rosemary Linzer Cookies

I am always looking for new ways to use lemon curd.  If it were socially acceptable, I would put it on my breakfast cereal.  These Lemon-Rosemary Linzer Cookies were a bit of late night inspiration but will now be a standard in my rotation.  The rosemary is a just-barely-there flavor note that compliments the lemon and brings out the hint of salt.  They’re addictive.

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Chewy Chocolate Espresso Cookies

I got a little carried away and baked about 2,000 cookies.  It was fun, it was for a good cause and I was into it.  Until about the last hundred.  Around the last 100 I hit a lightly floured wall and just got so sick of my recipes.  I was making mostly Chewy Molasses, Mexican Hot Chocolate and Eggnog Snickerdoodles.  And Orange-Cardamom Snowflakes.  Those are all so good, and so pretty.  So I got to dreaming about a way I could put a twist on one of my most dependable recipes.  And these Chewy Chocolate Espresso Cookies are the result.

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