This week, Rebecca of Ezra Pound Cake chose Dorie’s Savory Corn and Pepper Muffins. And wow, these were GOOD.  They’re sort of like my mom’s Mexican Cornbread, but with a few differences. I made these the other night with beef stew (*A little tip- next time you’re making beef stew, throw in a little red wine and transform it from good stew to GREAT stew!) and they were the perfect side to a great meal! I’m betting they’d also go great with chili!

Here’s the run-down of key ingredients that make these corn muffins so special: cornmeal, corn kernals, Jalapeno peppers, red peppers, chili powder (lots of if!), black pepper and cilantro. Sooooo tasty! And actually, I didn’t even have cilantro, red peppers, or fresh Jalapeno – I just chopped up some pickled Jalapenos and threw them in and called it a day. They were still fantastic – plenty of little colorful tidbits in there, even without the cilantro or red peppers. I suggest you run over to Rebecca’s blog and get the recipe for these muffins – I guarantee they’ll really perk up your next meal!

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Tuesdays with Dorie…The 1st Birthday!

**WARNING** This post contains large amounts of cheesiness and ooey gooey “warm fuzzies”. Please don’t make fun of me. Thank you.

This is a very special week for TWD – not only are we celebrating one year since Laurie dreamed up this amazing group, but Dorie herself (as in Tuesdays with) has chosen the recipe for this week!!! I mean, how freaking awesome is that?! I’ve been looking forward to this post all week!

**And just in case Dorie reads this (hey, a girl can dream, right?), I want to say what a joy this group has been for me. Before I joined TWD, the only things I ever baked came out of a box. I never really knew how good something baked from scratch could taste. Now I bake almost everything from scratch (except brownies…honestly, I just haven’t found a recipe I like better than good ‘ol Duncan Hines! I’m not ashamed!), and I’m so much more open to new recipes and ideas than I was a year ago.  I mean, last week I made my first EVER cheesecake! That was huge for me, and it’s all because I committed to this group and this amazing book. I have so much pride in the things I bake now….and I owe that to being in this group and most importantly to Dorie.

Ok, enough of me being a huge loser. Onto the recipe! Dorie chose one of her favorites for us this week- the French Pear Tart (oooh, ahhhhh…)

I was so glad Dorie chose this, because honestly it’s not something I would’ve chosen on my own, but it turned out to be fantastic! It starts out with Dorie’s Sweet Tart dough (which is awesome, by the way – it tastes like a shortbread cookie!), filled with an almond cream, then topped with sliced pears. The great thing about this dessert is, you can use canned pears if you’re short on time – Dorie gives you permission! The almond cream calls for either rum or vanilla extract, but I wanted to use my new vanilla paste, so my custard had lovely little flecks of vanilla bean all through it, which I really liked! My crust got a little too “done”, but it still tasted wonderful!

I had to use my 9 inch springform pan because I didn’t have the right sized tart pan; so mine looks a little less “Frenchy” and a little more “rustic”. This was a really good tart and hubby and I both really enjoyed it. I think it would be great to serve for company – it looks really impressive but it doesn’t require a lot of work! Perfect!  Dorie will be featuring this recipe on her blog (and trust me, her’s looks waaaaaaay better than mine!) so be sure to head over there and check it out!! Seriously. Go now.

If there are those of you out there that do not own a copy of Baking From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, let me urge you to go out and get yourself a copy. This book changed my life – seriously. I haven’t come across a bad recipe yet. Or even just a mediocre recipe, come to think of it – they’re all absolutely amazing. Go! Grab yourself a copy and start baking! Your husbands will thank you. And HAPPY BIRTHDAY TUESDAYS WITH DORIE!!! Here’s to another great year!

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Tuesdays with Dorie…New Year’s Edition

First of all, I hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas and enjoyed time with family and friends! Me, I had a great Christmas – I got new silverware! And my thoughtful hubby bought me some really fancy vanilla paste for my stocking, which I am SUPER excited to use! Not to mention, we had a great time with our families and both decided this was our best married Christmas so far! So, all-in-all…great Christmas. But now onto more important things like MY VERY FIRST CHEESECAKE!!! YIPPEEEE!! (Can you tell I’m just a wee bit proud of myself here?).

I want to give Anne of Anne Strawberry a HUGE thanks for picking this week’s TWD recipe: Tall and Creamy Cheesecake, and forcing me to get over myself and finally make a cheesecake! That’s right – I’ve never in my life made one. Everyone has told me how simple and no-fail they are, but for some reason, cheesecake has always been one of those things I’ve always been scared to death to attempt. I know, dumb, right? So now I can say that I’ve MADE ONE and it was a HUUUUUUUUUUGE success!! I took it to my hubby’s family Christmas and everyone seemed to really enjoy it (brownie points for me!). This was not only simple to make, but the best freaking cheesecake I’ve ever put in my mouth…I’m so glad I followed the recipe totally as is, because this was perfect as Dorie makes it. Perfect, I tell you!! I can’t wait to make another one of these….I feel so big and powerful now – like I’ve conquered something deep inside of me….who knows, maybe I’ll give brioche another try soon (or maaaaaybe not…). Anyway, go check out Anne’s blog and get the recipe for this FREAKING AWESOME CHEESECAKE. Do it. Right now. Go.

(sorry there are no pictures of the actual slices of cake….I couldn’t take a hacked up cake to family Christmas)

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This will be the last TWD cookie post for December…sad, I know. Next week is butterscotch pudding, though, so that’s something different to look forward to! I’ve actually been sick all night last night and all day today and I feel like crap, so this post will most likely be short and sweet (I’d really just like to get some sleep, y’know?)

This week’s cookie was Buttery Jam Cookies, chosen by Heather of Randomosity and the Girl. These were surpisingly really good cookies – essentially, it’s just a soft, pillowy sugar cookie with apricot jam mixed in with the dough – sounds good, huh? I served these at a little Christmas shindig I was having the other night and they were a hit with my guests – I also sent some to work with hubby and he said his coworkers went nuts over them too! Yay Dorie! Another smash hit!

These are a really subtle cookie – not too sweet, with just a hint of apricot (or whatever jam you choose to use). I bet they’d be absolutely perfect with a cup of tea. If you’d like the recipe, go visit Heather’s blog. Happy baking and merry Christmas!!

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Well, I’d be lying if I said I had baked my cookies this week like a good little TWD baker – I didn’t. In fact, I was so busy making those 12 batches of cookies for my mother-in-law, I didn’t even get around to thinking about this weeks’ recipe! I know….bad Amy, bad! BUT- the good news is, I’ve made these cookies before, so I can at least say that I’ve tried them and they’re the most perfect sugar cookies I’ve ever eaten!

This week, Ulrike of Kuchenlatein chose Grandma’s All-Occasion Sugar Coookies, and let me tell you – these are awesome sugar cookies! They’re my go-to sugar cookie recipe from now on. I made them when my nephew came to visit for a few days and we made these together – he said they were the best cookies he’d ever had!

Go check out Ulrike’s blog for the recipe! Sorry I sort of “cheated” this week and posted re-run pictures! Happy baking!

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How exciting!! I am so giddy about being a member of TWD during the Christmas season!! And not only that, but to actually have a food blog during all this wonderful holiday baking (Sing For Your Supper is only 8 months old, so holiday blogging is a new experience for me!)! I love baking Christmas cookies – like every cook/baker, my love for holiday baking started when my sister and I were kids and my mom would let us help her make all kinds of Christmas cookies. One particular kind I can remember making the most were called Santa’s Whiskers- sugar cookies that had a rim of coconut and maybe a few other things, I can’t quite remember. I actually never ate those cookies – I didn’t like them (it’s a coconut thing), but really enjoyed making them with my mom. So, naturally, I was super excited to see all the cookies chosen for TWD’s December line-up! Linzer Sables, Sugar Cookies, Buttery Jam Cookies….all kinds of fun stuff, and perfect for the holidays!

This week’s recipe was Linzer Sables, chosen by Noskos of Living the Life. Crisp, buttery cookies cut into cute shapes and filled with jam (or in my case, Nutella…genius!). These were great…I actually misread the recipe, as I so often do, and added 1 1/4 teaspoons of salt instead of 1/4 teaspoon (JEEZ, Amy!!), but they were still really good – you didn’t even notice the extra bit of salt! The Nutella was DELICIOUS all smushed up between these little cookies….sheer bliss!

A little tip: these cookies are perfect with some steaming hot chocolate on a cold night….especially after you’ve just been out in the cold all night trying to hang Christmas lights on the dang house. Just a suggestion.

Go check out Noskos’ blog if you would like Dorie’s recipe for Linzer Sables…..these are perfect for your next Christmas party!

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Tuesdays with Dorie Holiday “Twofer” Pie: a blend of pumpkin and pecan

Happy Thanksgiving, ya’ll! (I know – you’re probably wondering why I’m blogging on Thanksgiving evening instead of enjoying family time….well, I figured blogging about pie might be a little more fun than watching A&M get slaughtered by Texas….hubby isn’t happy.)  This week’s TWD recipe was chosen by Vibi of La Casserole Carree. As I said before, it’s a Holiday “Twofer” pie – a layer of pumpkin pie and a layer of pecan. Extremely tasty. The dark rum added a whole lot of flavor.

Holiday Twofer Pie
-Dorie Greenspan

1 9-inch unbaked pie crust

For the Pumpkin Filling:
1 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin puree
2⁄3 cup heavy cream
1⁄2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 tsp. dark rum
1⁄2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1⁄2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1⁄4 tsp. ground ginger
1⁄4 tsp. salt

For the Pecan Filling:
1⁄2 cup light or dark corn syrup
1⁄4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1⁄2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1⁄4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1⁄8 tsp. salt
1 1⁄2 cups (about 7 oz.) pecan halves or pieces

For the pumpkin filling: Pulse all ingredients together in a food processor. Leave filling in bowl.

For the pecan filling: In a bowl, whisk together all ingredients except pecans until smooth.

Preheat oven to 450°. Roll dough out to a 12″ circle on a floured counter, turning dough over frequently; keep counter floured. Slide dough into the fridge for about 20 minutes to rest and firm up. Fit dough into a buttered 9″ pie plate; cut excess dough to a 1⁄4″–1⁄2″ overhang. Fold dough under itself, so that it hangs over the edge just a tad, and flute or pinch the crust to make a decorative edge.

To assemble: Give the pumpkin filling one last quick pulse, then remove bowl, rap it on counter to debubble batter, and pour filling into crust. Top pumpkin filling evenly with pecans, then pour over pecan filling. Poke down any pecans that float to the top and aren’t covered with filling. Bake pie for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300° and bake for another 35–40 minutes, or until it is evenly puffed and a slender knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer pie to a cooling rack and let it stand until it is just warm or until it reaches room temperature.

Here are just a few more Thanksgiving pictures! Enjoy!

Hubby, brother-in-law, nephew and Daddy playing football across the street.

My Thanksgiving Table

Pies galore! Pumpkin, pecan, buttermilk, and of course, my TWD pie.

Nephew having his pie on the floor! Silly boy!

It was a great day! Hope everyone else had a wonderful Thanksgiving! On to the Christmas decorating!!

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Do you see this giant mess of a kitchen?? That would be my kitchen…..after my first attempt at making this week’s TWD recipe.  What a MESS I am when I get in a hurry!!! Yikes!

Ok so anyway, this week’s TWD recipe is one I have been waiting for for quite some time. I had never even heard of Rugelach until I saw Ina making it one day on the Barefoot Contessa – you know, that adorable episode where she makes Jeffery a big ‘ol traditional Jewish meal? So cute! – anyway, I decided right then I would try my hand at making these cute little crescents myself. Its a shame I waited this long…but whatever – now I can cross them off my “Dying To Try” list!

So, now I have Piggy of Piggy’s Cooking Journal to thank for choosing these tasty little cookies and forcing me to finally try them!  For those of you who don’t know, Rugelach (or “Little Twists”) is a traditional Jewish cookie that starts with a cream cheese dough topped with things like raspberry jam, apricot jam (which is what I used), chocolate, raisins, walnuts or pecans, sugar and cinnamon, etc, then cut into wedges and rolled up crescent-style. Very tasty. Dorie’s recipe calls for a thin layer of jam, a sprinkling of cinnamon and sugar, pecans, chopped chocolate and raisins – I, however, omitted the raisins (duh!) and used walnuts instead of pecans. I have to say, these were the biggest MESS to make, but in my opinion, worth all the effort (and clean-up).

I really enjoyed these – hubby hasn’t tried any yet, but I’m sure he enjoy them too!

If you would like the recipe, head on over to Piggy’s blog and she’ll fix you up!

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This is going to be a fun post, I can tell…….

YIPPEE!! Its the week of Halloween!!! I love this holiday, people! Not just me, though – my family too. My mom, my sister and I always decorate our houses with cute Halloween decor – not creepy stuff, though – I don’t dig on having fake spider webs and black lights on my front porch. Cute stuff, like pumpkins, candy corn and cute, friendly little ghosts! Although I will admit that I have an embarassingly large collection of The Nightmare Before Christmas stuff on display every year (its my second favorite movie ever!), which is about as morbid as I get on Halloween (however, I guess the fact that I leave it all out on display until Christmas adds to the morbid factor a bit).

Sorry, just couldn’t resist!!

Anyway, back to my post….every year we all get together and watch fun stuff like It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!, Hocus Pocus (boy, do I love Bette Midler!) and the Disney version of Ichabod Crane (you know, the cute animated version with Bing Crosby narrating? Golly I love that movie!) So obviously, Halloween is big in my family. Which is why I was SO excited when Clara of I Heart Food 4 Thought chose Chocolate-Chocolate Cupcakes for this week’s TWD recipe with the idea in mind that we could decorate them for Halloween!! How fun!! How clever you are, Clara!

Now, you’d think that a cupcake wouldn’t take much trouble…wouldn’t cause any confusion….no worries, right? W-R-O-N-G. We’ve had all kinds of nerdy food discussions all week about these cupcakes! Just look! Apparently these cupcakes came out rather dry for many of the bakers, and dry cupcakes just won’t do. So, the TWD geniuses started thinking of ways to make them more moist – sour cream, pudding, oil instead of butter, applesauce, less flour, etc – really good stuff! So I took their ideas and ran with it; I’ll give you the low-down:

  • Instead of using a softened stick of butter, I used half butter (melted) and half oil
  • Instead of 1/2 cup buttermilk, I used 1/2 cup low-fat sour cream
  • I used half brown sugar, half white sugar instead of all white
  • I used semi-sweet chocolate instead of bittersweet (for the cake and the glaze)

And there you have it. Its not much of a change but I’ll tell you, these were THE MOST AWESOME CUPCAKES I’VE EVER TASTED. Oh my heavens, that chocolate glaze….to die for!!! These were seriously amazing. Seriously. And oh-my-goodness, did I have a good time decorating them all Halloweeny-like!

I was planning on sending these to work with hubby tomorrow, but after tasting, I think these babies will stay right here with mama! Oh yeah!

You know, honestly, I’d love to know what these cupcakes taste like when using the recipe as written. I’m sure they’re still fabulous – but I just couldn’t risk a dry cupcake…nope, sorry.

Isn’t that little plate cute?! I got that at Hobby Lobby and I’m oh-so-proud of it!!

Ok, I suggest rushing over to Clara’s blog and getting the recipe for these babies…..they’re good. What a great party treat!

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Before I go into my TWD post, as originally planned, I thought I’d take a minute or so to get everybody in the proper “pumpkin-y” mood. I love pumpkin – every year around the middle of September, I start drooling over all the pumpkin recipes I’ve yet to make – there’s a lot of them out there, but hey, all I got is time, people! :-)  In fact, I’ve got my eye on a sinfully delicious looking pumpkin cheesecake recipe that’s just calling my name. Sure, there is lots of new, uncharted territory when it comes to pumpkin recipes; but what about the old stand-by ones? The ones you can’t help but make every single year as soon as there’s the slightest hint of a nip in the air? (except not really in Texas…..there isn’t an actual “nip” in the air until about Thanksgiving, and you’re lucky if you even get one then!) The ones like the pumpkin muffins my mom would make for me in the Fall when I would come home from college for the weekend. Ahhh, pumpkin muffins – one of my great loves. Moist, fluffy, full of spice,packed with pumpkin and dripping with melty butter….does it get any better? I think not! Which is why I was so very excited when Kelly of Sounding My Barbaric Gulp (interesting blog name, no?) chose Pumpkin Muffins for this week’s TWD recipe. God love her!

Usually when I make pumpkin muffins, I like to use either my mother’s recipe or one from allrecipes.com (Downeast Maine Pumpkin Bread), but I was more than happy to give Dorie’s recipe a shot – I mean, let’s face it, everything I have ever tried of hers’ has been a complete success (unless I did something to screw it up). And really, her recipe was almost exactly the same as my mother’s…cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin puree, sugar…all the usual ingredients. The only big difference is that she adds walnuts (which I love) and raisins (which I do not love and gladly omitted) to the batter and tops them with sunflower seeds (which I didn’t have so I left out). So, by the time I finished omitting most of Dorie’s different-from-everybody-else’s ingredients, these were almost identical to the one’s I love so much. Perfect!

Now, its just not Fall until you’ve made pumpkin muffins, so if you haven’t and you’d like the recipe, just head on over to Kelly’s blog and then make these as soon as possible! Otherwise you’re only cheating yourself out of the complete “Fall Experience”.

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