Monday, July 28, 2014

Art In Nature ...

I have yet to find a respectable peach this season – as I tweeted yesterday, every peach I find at the grocery store is as sumptuous as a league ball – but I was delighted to find this artful tendril of vine in yesterday's grapes.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Blueberries ...

Awaiting their muffin destiny ... .

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Crumbled ...


I never was a cupcake maker.

I have no childhood memories of baking cupcakes with my mom.

I have childhood memories of selecting cupcakes at Cub Scouts meetings when I was very wee. I have childhood memories of looking for the cupcake with the most frosting. I have childhood memories of scraping the paper cupcake liner against my bottom teeth to capture the bit of cupcake that was left behind.

But the only cupcake-baking episode I can recall happened a couple of years ago and resulted in the cupcake at the top of this post. I baked a whole batch. I didn't frost most of them. I threw most of them away. My pursuit was a singular, picture-perfect cupcake. I did eventually eat it. It was OK.

Yesterday, when I read that Crumbs, the cupcake chain, had closed all of its locations overnight, my only thought was "Of course it did. Fads don't last."

How anyone thought they could build a sustainable business on a single food product is beyond me. McDonald's doesn't just sell hamburgers. Starbucks doesn't just sell coffee.

But even if they did, hamburgers and coffee are much more staples of the American diet than cupcakes.

The precipitous rise of the cupcake foretold its precipitous fall.

I never did buy into the cupcake craze. I never ate a Crumbs cupcake. I never set foot into a Crumbs store. (The reaction on Twitter yesterday was decidedly anti-Crumbs. If tweeters are to be believed, Crumbs cupcakes were dry and topped with overly sweet frosting. If that was truly the case, it's no wonder Crumbs didn't last: There are only so many curious first-timers in the cupcake world.)

For that matter, I've never had a Magnolia Bakery cupcake or any other. Cupcakes don't entice me. And I really dislike fads.

I make really good blueberry muffins and I make really good cream currant scones. I bake sensational brownies, I don't mind boasting. But cookies are my thing.

And cookies are my thing because the borders of cookies are so malleable. When I baked monthly cookies for Angelo, and I would clack out ideas, many were the time that I had to rein in my thoughts because I was really exceeding the boundaries of what constitutes a cookie.

But, like hamburgers and coffee, cookies will never go out of style. Cookies are as timeless as they are infinite.

If I ever do open a bakery, though, I will sell more than just cookies. Not much more. I will not try to be all things to all people, but if someone walks in and wants a brownie, they will be able to buy a brownie. Biscotti? You bet. (Yes, I know they're cookies, but some biscotti are second cousins to cement and have gotten a bad rap and are sometimes shunned. Mine are buttery and crunchy but pleasantly so.) Scones? Maybe not every day. Maybe I'll have a rotating special.

But if anyone wants a cupcake, they'll have to go elsewhere.

If there's anywhere left to go.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Good Times: Summer Begins Edition ...

I felt the need to bake ... . Yep, summer officially arrived and my brain said, "Hey, turn on your oven!"

And I really do love creating cookies for Angelo's blog, and I'm not sure why I never thought of this hybrid before, but now I have.

Allow me to introduce you to snickerdoodle sablés.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

The Weather Gods Have Been Appeased ...

The morning has been dreary. Sodden, really. No sign of sun. Rain, followed by more rain, followed by drizzle, followed by more rain.

I have been resisting the urge to make peanut butter cookies but today's rain wore me down.

They are stupidly simple, go together in a half a minute, and bake nearly as quickly. Twenty minutes, start to finish, assuming you're going to eat a few warm.

Behold:

1 cup peanut butter (I use creamy Jif)
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Dump everything into a bowl. Stir to combine. Portion* onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake at 350°F for 15 miuntes.** Cool five minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer to a cooling rack.

* I use a two-tablespoon cookie scoop.
** Space the oven racks in the upper-third and lower-third positions; halfway through baking, rotate the sheets top to bottom and front to back.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Good Times, Not Necessarily Planned Edition ...

The monthly baking for Angelo's site has come to an end but I create posts for him when inspiration strikes.

The other day, inspiration struck.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Pear ...

... and the bowl have become friends. (I may have to do a pear series.)

Sometimes ...

... I buy produce simply because it is too beautiful to leave it at the store.