Category Archives: baking

Dutch, Dutch Baby

Dear Dutch Baby,
How have I lived three decades without you? Your buttery goodness, golden top, and puffy interior bring me delectable satisfaction. You are the result of an improbable union between a crepe and fried dough. Plain, soft, and easy to eat, you are the perfect “mommy and me” breakfast. I fed my child powdered sugar without guilt, while I slathered my slices with homemade blueberry jam.
Let me bask in your image…


And you are so easy to make!

I adapted from this recipe. There are endless variations. Use one egg, 1/4 cup flour, and 1/4 cup of milk per person eating the pancake. Mix well in a blender or by hand. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Place a huge hunk of butter in the center of a skillet. I used 1/4 of a stick. Place the skillet with the butter in the oven. Let it melt while the oven preheats. Pour the batter in and bake 20-25 minutes, until it is golden and puffy, like a popover. Top with powdered sugar or other topping of your choice! Also feel free to add some spices to the dough-I will be adding some cinnamon and sugar to my Dutch Babies in my future.

Till Next Time, oh glorious pancake,
-Spicy P.


Charlie Brown and The Great Pumpkin…Muffin

Of all pumpkin delights, pumpkin muffins are truly my favorite. They walk the delicate line between sweet and savory, with all delicious sugariness one expects of a muffin; yet, their resolute brown color and spicy substantialness give me the feeling that I am eating something to squelch my hunger pangs. After I have a pumpkin muffin and some coffee, I feel I can go, like, plow the fields with Pa all day.

And yet, with great pumpkin power comes great pumpkin responsibility. So many pumpkin muffins are lacking-too few spices, leading to a flat, dull flavor. Or too many bells and whistles, leading to a mooshy, smooshy, icing and crumble topping sugar explosion.

This Recipe was suggested to me and upon looking over the ingredient list, I felt sure they would deliver.

Now, baking and I are often a tragic match. I have oppositional defiant disorder when it comes to baking recipes. When I don’t have an ingredient, or enough of an ingredient, I substitute with wild abandon. This often does not go well. Thus, my use of organic baby food pumpkin and canned pumpkin as a substitute for the fresh pumpkin the recipe calls for.

Wow, love my to be composted pile in the background there. That is some sexy food photography.

But I digress! Back to the muffins!

Also, I had no allspice. So I left it out.
Despite these substitutions, looky here….

Epic muffin greatness! And they taste as good as they look.

Next time I make them I am going to include the allspice and make this cream cheese icing to drizzle across the top.

One more note: this made enough batter for 12 muffins and a mini loaf pan of pumpkin bread.

I truly believe if Linus had these, the great pumpkin would have landed.


Peace out, Summer

The end of summer always leaves me hankering for peaches.
Confession: I don’t like eating peaches whole, like an apple. Too fuzzy.
I do, however, love peaches baked, grilled, macerated, sliced, diced, or otherwise dolled up.
Tonight, the brisk evening combined with the threat of a day over 80 degrees tomorrow led me to finally bake the peach crisp I have been dreaming of since last week. That, and the fruit fly invasion threatening my fruit bowl.
And, since I had them, I threw in some plums too.

Second confession: I am not much of a baker. I splish, splash, dash, and substitute through recipes.
When the recipe is, say, cupcakes, it often does not go well.
But crisps are forgiving. They take a licking and keep on ticking.
Especially when you decide the following:
1. Dirtying a second bowl (besides the baking dish) is unacceptable in a kitchen with no dishwasher
2. You have to do something with the bulk animal crackers you bought, or they will go stale
3. You do not feel like getting your hands sticky with crumble topping

Up for this one? You need the following
8×8 inch baking dish (I used Pyrex)
Food processor (or a plastic ziplock bag and a meat mallet of sorts)
Cheese grater

5 baseball sized peaches
3-5 plums (small)
1/2 stick of butter
1/2 cup oatmeal
20 (2 handfuls) animal crackers
1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/4 tsp nutmeg

Throw the butter into the freezer.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Slice the peaches and plums, and take out the pits.
I did not peel them, but you can.

Put the fruit directly into the baking dish and mix with 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 nutmeg, and 1/2 Tbsp sugar.
Next, in a food processor, throw in the oatmeal, 1 teaspoon of nutmeg, and the animal crackers and pulse until everything is fairly smooth. A few chunks of animal crackers are fine. You’ll live.
If you don’t have a food processor, put the animal crackers with 1tsp nutmeg in a baggie and smash. Very cathartic. Then, just mix them with the oatmeal.
Now-this is when things get hairy, and contrary, to the traditional Crisp Routine. Hang on.
Sprinkle the crumbs over the fruit.
Sprinkle the sugar over the crumbs.
Take the butter out of the freezer.
Take your cheese grater and GRATE it over the top of the crisp. I learned this trick from Molly Wizenberg, of Orangette fame, in her book,

A Handmade Life

It looks fancy.

Put the crisp into the oven and bake about 20 minutes.
Then, reach in and stir it, incorporating some topping into the fruit.

If your husband wants to cook his frozen pizza at the same time, this crisp can deal with that.
Continue cooking until it is brown and bubbly.
Take it out of the oven, and stir one more time to get any last sandy bits sodden with peachy and plum goodness.