It’s been about 3.5 years since I started this crazy project, and we’ve celebrated maybe a dozen family birthdays since then. So, I don’t know why it has taken me so long to make this birthday cake from Family Style. For a cake from scratch, it was surprisingly easy, and really yummy. The advantage of the sheet pan is that there’s not the unfortunate sinking that can happen in a 9×13 or round pan. The vanilla flavor was perfect, and the texture was just everything that a cake should be – moist and crumbly, not too dense and not too fluffy. The frosting was a little too rich for a kids’ birthday cake – it could have used a lighter, fluffier buttercream.
We marked with a B for baby Ben, who celebrated his second birthday last week. Lucky boy!
This recipe (from Family Style) intimidated me for a long time, but other than dirtying virtually every dish in the kitchen, it wasn’t too difficult at all. It looked and tasted exactly like chocolate mousse is supposed to look and taste. See how it held its shape and “stood up” in the container? That is a thing of pure beauty.
I did not have high hopes for this recipe from Barefoot in Paris. It’s pretty in the photo, which almost always guarantees that it’s going to look like garbage when I make it. Also, what’s so exciting about fruity sorbet stacked up with fruity ice cream? As it turns out, plenty.
It was easier than I thought it would be, and infinitely better tasting than I imagined. I feel like it fits with a theme this week: we’re tired of winter, but we don’t have any fresh ingredients to make it feel like summer, so we’re going to invade the freezer and pantry in a lame attempt to make ourselves feel better. I could see making this again when we want something special to serve for dessert, but it’s too hot to turn on the oven.
Edited to add: if you get tired of this on its own, and you happen to have over-bought fresh fruit, throw a slice of this in the blender with some orange juice and some fruit, and you’ve got yourself a tasty smoothie.
The setting: a cold, grey, snowy day in March at home, the week that the Daylight Saving Time “spring forward” time change coincided with a preschool field trip and a head cold for the toddler.
The characters: two overtired, overworked, overwhelmed parents, one of whom was heading into 5 piano lessons, the other about to wrangle the overtired children for a pre-dinner shift.
The craving: something caffeinated, something sweet, something that did not require leaving the house.
The solution: Viennese Iced Coffee (from “Foolproof”)
Ordinarily, we’re not much into iced coffee or frappu-whatchacallits with extra whip. I enjoy the occasional holiday specialty drink from a coffee shop – I am a red-blooded American woman in my mid-30s, after all. I think it’s a requirement. But I’m not sure I would’ve tried this recipe if it weren’t for this project. Now, though, we might have a new addiction. (Word to the wise: if you don’t have espresso, just sub a cup of hot coffee for the espresso + hot water).
From Barefoot Contessa at Home, this was just OK. With all the other fantastic fruit crisp recipes, I’m not sure I’d bother with this one again.
This recipe from Parties! has been on my mind since I froze some summer fruit a few months ago. The peaches, plums, and berries all ripened all at the same time.
At the time I froze it all, I was imagining that I would roast it, and then serve it over ice cream. Instead, we served it over steel cut oats. I didn’t add the recommended sugar to the fruit, but added brown sugar to the oatmeal. Delicious!
My mom is here! My mom is here! My mom is here!
I don’t know who’s happiest that my mom is staying with us for a month – my kids, me, or even my husband. We’re all thrilled to have her here, and I wanted to welcome her with one of her favorite treats. Now, my mom is much more disciplined than I am, and will claim to be “just so full!” after nibbling on half of a bagel or a side salad with a light vinaigrette. God bless her. But she does like an occasional treat, and carrot cake is one of her favorites.
I omitted the raisins, because: gross. But the walnuts got to stay.
You all know that I have a beloved carrot cake recipe, so it was hard to stray from that, but the ginger mascarpone frosting made it so, so worthwhile. I followed the instructions for this recipe (from Foolproof) very carefully, hand-grating the carrots (which I might have had to do anyway, since the food processor died and I hadn’t received the replacement yet), and sifting the dry ingredients. It still fell in the middle, but not much. And I’m stuck on a 9×13 cake because layer cakes intimidate the everliving raisins out of me.
These (from Foolproof) are kind of a cross between cookies and candy. I used all walnuts instead of a combination of walnuts and pecans, and omitted the unsweetened chocolate, just using semisweet chocolate. They were still plenty chocolatey, and very popular for the non-pie eaters at Thanksgiving.
It’s about time! There have been plenty of non-pie pumpkin desserts featured in Barefoot Contessa cookbooks, and finally she tackles everyone’s favorite Thanksgiving dessert. It’s hard to improve on a classic, but this recipe (from Foolproof) does just that. I was nervous about changing up the old favorite on the Libby’s pumpkin can, but this may be the new favorite. I didn’t use the rum (I didn’t want to get that crazy on everyone’s favorite food holiday), and I added a pinch of ground cloves.
I made this the day before Thanksgiving, and could have sworn I had taken a photo on the day I made it, and so I skipped the photo for Thanksgiving day dessert. I was wrong! So, I have no photographic evidence of this lighter, less dense pumpkin pie that topped off everyone’s favorite food holiday.
One of our traditions is making at least two pies, because my husband considers pumpkin pie to be breakfast food, and we have to ensure that there’s enough for leftovers. Whipped cream is obviously essential.