Overheard at . . . Home
“Fudge, fudge, fudge, fudge, fudge… yum!”
A day later, of course, my daughter’s stomach hurt like anything. How do you decide what treats to make at the holidays? To be honest, I’m not really a huge sweets eater. I’d much rather have something savory. So every year it seems like I try to find an alternative to the standard cookies and fudge. And then… end up still making the cookies and fudge.
This year I infused olive oil with basil and put it in a pretty bottle with slices of bread to go with it. Lovely, but too much work to do en masse. So, after delivering three of these, I was back to baking. To simplify I made pretty little puff pastry palmiers (photo above) to go along with my fudge.
Recipe (courtesy of Sunset Magazine, Dec 2008):
- 1/2 C packed light brown sugar - 1 sheet (8.6 oz.) frozen puff pastry
- 2 tsp ground cardamom dough, thawed according to
1. Combine sugar and spices (note- you can be creative here... add orange zest, or chopped candied fruit, or crushed candy cane with some chocolate nibs). Unfold dough flat on a work surface and sprinkle evenly with half the sugar mixture.
2. Using a rolling pin, lightly roll (once) the mixture into the puff pastry, being careful not to reshape the dough. (Note: this is more messy than it sounds, but don't worry, it still turns out well.) Flip the dough over and repeat with backside.
3. Beginning with side closest to you, fold in by 1 in increments to the center of the rectangle. Repeat with other end, then fold the two over as if closing a book (say, for example, my new PRINT version of Betting Jessica:>). Wrap airtight and chill at least 1 hr.
4. Preheat oven to 400 F. Using a sharp (not serrated) knife, slice dough into 1/2 in slices. Line baking sheet with parchment and bake until doubled in size and golden, about 8-10 min. Let cool (if you can stand the wait... don't burn your tongue if you can't.)
They are so easy that my daughter could help and I could whip them out the day ahead of time. Plus… as I mention in the recipe, you can add whatever you like to the sugar, so I made a variety. Aside from the cardamom, I also made cinnamon and then added chocolate nibs (the cocoa bean that has been roasted and crushed. Yummy and crunchy.)
The problem came when I tried to make my chocolate banana muffins. I’m still not sure what went wrong, whether it was converting it to a bread size, or mixing up an ingredient, but the end result was a dense loaf that could have been used as a paperweight. I briefly considered this, but after tasting it, realized the flavor was still good. My great idea struck the next day when I noticed a dipped biscotti at Starbucks. After a second bake, and a good dunk in white chocolate, viola! The bread was now an Italian biscuit.
But for real inspiration I would suggest referring to a new friend and amazing cookbook author, Francine Segan. I myself would have made something from her cookbook Dolci but my husband wouldn’t let me open the package, very clearly marked from her, until Christmas morning. That shouldn’t stop you however. Here’s a link to the book. And if you are looking for some motivation, be sure to sign up for my newsletter (link) which will direct you to her recipe for Cenci… a lightly fried, sugared, dough rolled thin using a pasta machine, and has a delicious picture to tempt you.
Hope you enjoy every moment of your holiday baking. And when life gives you paperweights, make biscotti!
What are your favorite holiday recipes? Care to share any simple ones? I’ll be sure to tweet them out with a link to your site or your comment. And, don’t forget that every comment left on one of my blogs this month enters you to win $10 to the non-political charity of your choice. So leave your comment and then check back at the end of the month to see if you have won.
Overheard at... The Ugly Mug, Portland
”Trick or treat.”
A nine year old zombie beekeeper had come into the coffee shop to trick or treat and gained the attention of everyone present. Driving around town it is just one of those days were you see Kimono clad adults and people in doctor scrubs who are nowhere near a hospital. Mostly, though, this year it seems to be all about the zombie.
Take any basic costume- bride, princess, fairy, jester. Rip it up a little. Add makeup- white face paint, big dark smudges under the eyes, hallow cheeks. And you have a zombie. It raises the cool factor by a ton and allows you to repurpose past costumes. What could be better?
But… I miss the days of sweet princesses and cowboys knocking on my door. As I write this I am sitting at EVOE, my favorite restaurant in Portland, talking with Kevin Gibson about Halloween. “Do you get trick or treaters?” I ask. He shrugs. “We live in an upstairs apartment. We used to get kids being dropped off in vans who would come by. That was okay. But now it is fifteen year olds all in black. I ask them what they are and they tell me ax murderers. It’s not my thing.”
Kevin is a master of understatement… whether it is about his phenomenal food or terrible teenagers. I keep hoping if I hang out I might catch some of his calm (definitely the wine helps with this.) So far, though, I think I overwhelm him with my enthusiasm.
“Are you trick or treating?” he asks me.
“Why do you think I am here?” I smile… and hope he gives me an extra glass of the Barbera D’Asti.
Whatever and wherever your Halloween leads, I hope it is filled with more treats than tricks.
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