Archive for October, 2009

TWD: Cherry Fudge Brownie Torte

October 27, 2009

Biscuits and Brownie Tort 003

Pretty, no? 

 Okay, literally,no!”  as my dessert got a bit smooshed, which somehow made the lovely cherry sauce look rather like smeary ketchup.  (Or catsup, if you prefer.)

I made this torte with low expectations.  I do not like chocolate covered cherries.   Despite my huge sweet tooth, I just can’t stand them.   Blech.  I was willing to try this recipe, but I really did not think I would enjoy a brownie with dried cherries AND cherry preserves; I was wrong.  This was delicious!  The bottom brownie layer was moist and flavorful and the marscapone cheese mousse was to die for.   Soooo good.   Plus the added pureed cherry preserves on top were a nice contrast to the whiteness of a mousse.  A pretty dessert (non-smooshed) that I plan on making again for the upcoming holidays.   (Along with the sweet potato biscuits, the tartest lemon tart and a lot of hashbrown casserole!  I’m going to start counting down the days until Thanksgiving!)

Counting DOWN the days.  Counting UP the pounds, apparently.  Maybe I should add a salad to that list? 

The recipe is available at April’s site, Short + Rose.   And, yes, it does dirty a lot of bowls and have several steps, but none are difficult.  (Note:  I did sub in red wine for the kirsh so I couldn’t flambé it;  I just let the mixture boil for a bit longer to cook out most of the alcohol.)  Plus, you can make the brownie and the mousse a day ahead of time and only have to assemble the dessert the day it is served.  I highly recommend this, even to fellow cherry + chocolate haters.


TWD: Sweet Potato Biscuits

October 20, 2009

Erin at Prudence Pennywise is living up to her blog name; these biscuits are really inexpensive to make.   They simply contain sweet potato (or pumpkin), flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, and butter.     

Living in a town with one of the largest pumpkin canning factories in the U.S. I decided to substitute in canned pumpkin for the sweet potatoes.    (There was also the small matter of having canned pumpkin on hand and NOT having canned sweet potatoes, LOL.)  

One mistake, though, I neglected to consider that sweet potatoes are, um, SWEET, compared to canned pumpkin.  I should have bumped up the amount of sugar in the recipe, from two tablespoons to four.

Compensating for the lack of sweetness I made a compound butter; I combined one stick of softened salted butter, the zest of one orange and three to four tablespoons of honey.  This went very well with the biscuits and I have plenty leftover to make either another batch, or to serve with some type of quick bread or on sweet potatoes.  

Any ideas of what kind of quick bread would be good with orange honey butter?

I managed to get a photo or two, but these aren’t pretty.  In fact, carrying them into my friend’s house, covered in plastic wrap, she thought they were fried chicken.  They are an “interesting” color of orange:

Biscuits and Brownie Tort 004

I cut mine in the shape of pumpkins, not that you can tell.  

This would be a great (and easy!) recipe for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.  If you are interested,  the recipe is available at Prudence Pennywise or in “Baking From My Home to Yours.”  

TWD: Allspice Crumb Muffins

October 16, 2009

Before this recipe, I’d never baked anything that highlighted allspice and was pleasantly surprised by how delicious these muffins were.    I made these a couple of weeks ago, which, while it was nice to be “ahead” didn’t work out so well, since I didn’t get a photo AND I can’t really remember much about baking them-other than that the recipe was easy and the muffins had a great top (Top ‘O the muffin to you!)   For a more substantive post about the muffins (and the recipe) please visit Kayte at Grandma’s Kitchen Table

In other news, I started tutoring at the grade school Wednesday afternoon.  The teacher in charge of the volunteers looked at the list and said “Oh, you have HH.  Hmm….he’s a bit…. stubborn.   But I’m sure you’ll be okay.” 

Unfortunately (maybe?) HH was absent yesterday, so I was assigned another child, “Houston,” a short, slightly chunky, tad bit smelly, be-earringed boy in the 7th grade.   The kind of kid that breaks your heart because you can tell immediately that he’s treated as a “have-not” by the other children and probably many adults.

We sat down; Houston went to get his snack of chocolate milk and graham crackers, then sat down and said “Want to see something?”   Wishing to establish a rapport, I eagerly responded “Oh, yes,” expecting to see a trinket from his backpack or a photo of his dog.  

He punched the table.

Not out of anger, just to show me how hard he could punch.

Hmm… is there a polite way to respond “negatron” to “Want to see something?”

We started his social studies homework; “What countries import oil to Russia?”

Houston: “I’ve changed my fingerprints. (shows me his fingertips)  See, I used a pin and poked it and now I have little scars and my fingerprints are different.  Now I can never get caught.”


“Can you find the are arrows on the map showing what countries import oil to Russia?”

Houston: “It doesn’t hurt to put a pin through your skin.  I did it on my arm and here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and then put a string through all the holes.”


“See, this arrow, what country is that?”

Houston:  “I’ve been fishing before.  I caught a fish and put it in the blender and the lid wasn’t on it and fish blood and guts went all over the ceiling of our trailer.”

“Let’s list ten Middle Eastern countries and their capitals.”

Houston:  “And then we had to move out of the trailer and my uncle was sad because he liked the smell of the fish blood.  And my mom was mad that we had to move and she and my uncle wrote bad words on the walls in paint. Like ‘FU.'” 

“Look at how many of the countries end in ‘stan.’  I wonder why.  Has your teacher mentioned that?”

Houston:  “I know how to shoot a gun.  My grandpa has guns and we shoot them.   I shot a turkey before.”

“Let’s read about the Nile River and answer these questions.”

Houston:  “I shot it in the foot.  And it ran away like this.” (demonstrates a hobbled strut)

“Is the Aswan High Dam a good thing or a bad thing for Egypt?  List two advantages and two disadvantages of the dam.”

Houston responded:

The damn controls the water.  I can speak Spanish.  It keeps the Nile river from flooding the crops.  My mom had a boyfriend that was Mexican and he had two Mexican kids.   The damn makes it easier for people to cross the river so they can bury their dead.  And they taught me un poco Espanol. If people can’t cross the river then they won’t have life after death.   Mainly swear words though.  The damn can sometimes make the floods worse, though, which kills the crops.  I think the damn is a bad thing and they should remove the damn.

I had been instructed to have him dictate his answers and to write them down for him (due to a disability, he has a hard time holding a pen.)   It wasn’t until AFTER I had written his response that I realized I had misspelled DAM each and every time in the essay.  

I think I may be fired from (volunteer) tutoring!  Which is worse, that I can’t spell, can’t keep the kid focused, or that the word I can’t spell made an unintentional swear word?  (Yes, I did go through and cross out all the “n’s” at the end of the dams.)  (But it won’t be that difficult for the teacher to realize my mistake, and, alas, that I am a dumbass.)  

After tutoring I ran and picked up Reagan and told her how it went.  She said “Did you know he’s Mongolian?”     Confused, (“Like the beef?”)  it seemed unlikely to me that a boy from our little town would be from Eastern Asia.   Then it dawned on me, someone (and sadly, probably an adult, given the obscurity of the term) likely referred to him as a “mongol”  and this dated, derogatory term was misinterpreted by children, including my daugher, that  misunderstood and didn’t know better.

I’d say tutoring went “so-so” and left me feeling a bit sad.   (I definitely root for the underdog and this kid is like the underdog of the underdogs)   But the muffins, the muffins were fab.

TWD: Split Level Pudding

October 6, 2009

Jennifer and pudding sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G!

This pudding was definitely worthy of mi amor.   And it was easy to make, used ingredients that I had (and usually have) around the house, milk (I used 2% rather than whole), egg yolks, chocolate, vanilla, cornstarch, heavy cream (yes, I usually have a carton for ice cream making), and sugar.

I served the pudding in small punch bowl cups and only made four servings;  one for each member of my family.  October 2009 020

My camera shy one didn’t eat his, though.  

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And he wouldn’t smile nice for his “” profile pic, either.

(Just joking.)

Attack of the giant pudding cup:  October 2009 017


The chocolate ganache at the bottom was rich, thick and chocolate-y.  I used Dove dark chocolate instead of bittersweet, thinking my kids would find that more appealing.   The vanilla part was smooth and had a really nice texture.  Not too thick or too thin.   I served each one with a dollop of freshly whipped cream and, in my husband’s words “this is the best thing ever!”

This is a great, easy, comforting recipe.  I encourage everyone to visit Garret’s blog, “The Flavor of Vanilla,” for the recipe and his review.