Posts in baking
apple custard pie

apple basket You know how some foods just send you back in time?  This pie is definitely one of those foods for me.  We didn't have air conditioning when I was a kid and Lodi apples ripen in mid July, when it's usually pretty hot and humid outside.  It made for an exceptionally hot day in the kitchen with the oven on, but we didn't complain because we knew before long we would sit at the table, under the ceiling fan, eating slice upon slice of pie, more than likely with vanilla ice cream on the side.

pie edge

The filling is my maternal grandmother's recipe.  She was a top-notch cook.  Her fried chicken was unlike any others, I've mentioned her angelfood cake before, and her chocolate cake recipe is the reason my husband married me (true story).  Her apple pie has become a summer time staple for our family. Tart apples in a bed of sugary custard in a pie crust...what could be bad about that?  I can remember my mom making two of these at time for dessert and there would still be just a small sliver or two left by morning if we were lucky and there were only 4 of us in the house!

lodi apple in orchard

I always use Lodi apples for this pie.  I have tried other varieties for the recipe but haven't had much luck finding another one that works as well.  Thankfully, there is an orchard nearby that still has a few trees so we always pick up some every July.  The kids and I picked two baskets this morning.

picking apples

Cj suggested we divide them, one basket for making pies, one basket for him to eat.  I think you would be hard pressed to find another person who likes to eat tart apples more than he does.

rolling out crust

apple custard pie

for the crust

This recipe makes enough for 2 pies, but half can be wrapped in cling wrap and frozen for another day.

2 1/2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) cold butter cut into small pieces

1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water

Put the flour, salt, and cold butter in bowl of food processor.  Process until it resembles a course meal.

Add ice water, spoonful by spoonful, through the tube with the machine running, just until the dough holds together without being wet or sticky; do NOT over process.

Split the dough in half and shape into a disc on a piece of plastic wrap and then wrap it up.  Chill the dough you will be using today for one hour and freeze the extra disc of dough for another day (like tomorrow)

Once chilled, lightly flour your workspace and roll dough to 1/8 inch thickness.  Place in pan and chill while you get the filling and the apples ready.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

for the filling

In a bowl, mix together:

1 cup sugar

3 Tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

(If you are using a large pie pan, use 1 1/2 cup sugar and 4 Tablespoons flour and 1 teaspoon cinnamon)

Peel and core 6 Lodi apples and cut into chunks.  Place in a single layer on the UNbaked pie cruse.  Sprinkle the sugar mixture over the top.

Fill to the bevel of the pie pan with milk.  Place in oven.  I bake mine on a cookie sheet, just in case it bubbles over.  Plus that gives me a place to bake the left over strips of pie crust (sprinkled with cinnamon sugar before baking).

Bake in 425 degree oven for 15 minutes.  Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for 45-50 minutes.

side of pie slice

liberty lifestyle poinsettia tea cozy

I'm so excited to share this fun holiday project today. tea cozy from above

Liberty Lifestyle was kind enough to ask me to put together a holiday guest post for Liberty Craft Blog.  You can follow the tutorial here and make your very own poinsettia tea cozy.

I made mine with the Mackintosh print from the Stile line.  Mackintosh has such a rich mix of colors.  They somehow manage to be nostalgic and modern at the same time.  I think the flowers looks extra festive made in this print.

tea cozy with cup and presentAnd of course, Christmas tea wouldn't be complete without cookies.  So I'm also sharing my gingersnap recipe.  It came from a dear friend of my mom's and it has always been a family favorite.

marie's gingersnaps

3/4 cup butter

1 cup sugar (plus 1/2 cup for rolling dough)

1 egg

1/4 cup sorghum (similar to molasses, but I prefer the sorghum)

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon baking soda

Cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer.  Add egg, mix well. Add sorghum.  Slowly add dry ingredients.  Chill dough for at least 4 hours but it's even better if you let it chill overnight.  Chilling the dough helps the flavors to blend and also keeps the cookies from spreading too much when they are baking.

Once chilled, roll dough into 1 inch balls, roll each ball in granular sugar.  Place on parchment lined cookies sheet 2" apart.  Bake 375 degrees for 12 minutes.  They should crack on the tops.  Makes around 2 dozen.  This recipe can be doubled.



hot cocoa season is here again

I have been working like crazy to get through the many works in progress I have going on here.  I'm hoping to finish up another quilt top this afternoon and then start basting.  I think I have at least 5 tops and bottoms waiting to be sandwiched right now.  One for us, one for someone special, the rest I'm hoping will find homes in the new shop I have been working on as well. When Monday brought our first snowfall of the season, I knew I better take a break from stitching get a batch of cocoa mixed up, sooner rather than later.  Andy likes to drink it in the evenings when the weather turns and it has definitely turned.

hot cocoa mix

2 cups powdered sugar

1 cup dutch processed cocoa

2 1/2 cups powdered milk (I use organic valley because it gives the cocoa an extra creamy texture)

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1 cup powdered creamer (flavor of your choice - I used hazelnut for this batch)

1 teaspoon vanilla powder

4 ounces chopped dark chocolate

Mix well in large bowl.  Store in airtight container.

To use, place 2-4 spoonfuls in cup.  The amount depends on how chocolaty you like your cocoa.  Add a small amount of almost boiling water and stir to dissolve the mix then fill cup the rest of the way.

Personally I like with some fresh whipped cream, but marshmallows are great too.

cocoa with fresh whipped cream


celebrate the quiet

The kids started school yesterday. first day of school

One child refused to smile so this is our back to school pic.  It was a half day and it flew by.  This morning I got together with friends to celebrate the return of the quiet.  There was strata, fresh, fruit, coffee for people who don't really like coffee (the secret is ice cream), cheese danish, and laughs, there were lots of laughs.

cheese danish on plate

cheese danish

one package of puff pastry thawed (I use Dufour)


8 oz. cream cheese - softened

egg yolk

4 Tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

pinch salt

egg wash

egg white mixed with couple Tablespoons of water


1/4 cup powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2 teaspoons milk (add more as needed)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  (check temp on puff pastry packaging some are better at 400)

In a small bowl mix filling ingredients together until smooth using a rubber spatula.  Set aside.

On a well floured surface, roll out puff pastry and trim edges so you have a fresh cut on each side.  Cut into 4" squares.  Place pastry on parchment lined baking sheet and scoop spoonful of filling in to center.  Brush edges of pastry with egg wash and fold over corners to seal.  You can draw in two or four corners depending on your preference.  You can also seal with a tiny square of left over puff pastry "glued" with egg wash where all the corners meet.  Sometimes despite all your best efforts, they burst open while baking.  Don't worry, those are great for taste testing.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until the pastry is golden. Keep an eye on them since different brands of pastry tend to vary in cooking times.

Once cooled, they can be iced.  I mix the icing with a fork and simply drizzle it over the danish.

(If you like you can glaze the danish with warmed jam as soon as you remove them from the oven)

empty cake stand


a delayed fourth of July post

At the risk of sounding like one of those people who is always saying "oh my, where has the time gone, these summers just keep flying by".  Oh my, where has the time gone, these summers just keep flying by! sparklers

We have a tradition of getting together with friends for a big bbq every year to celebrate the Fourth of July.  In keeping with theme, I made another red, white, and blue dessert this year.

berry covered top of brown sugar pavlova

It's a layered berry and brown sugar pavlova and you should make it!  It was as good as it looked.

Fourth of July means Antiques Extravaganza around here.

antique show

I was up early and power shopped my way through the fields of booths.  I found a tablecloth with the greatest four leaf clovers all over it.  It still had the tag on it.

four leaf clover tablecloth

The seller seamed a bit surprised that I was planning to take the tag off, but I do my best to use the things I buy.  What's the point if these things are just going to hide in a closet?

back of tag on clover tablecloth

I also found this beauty.  She's a Singer 99K and she's mine now.

singer at sale

This photo makes me laugh because I instinctively had my hand on the machine while I was taking it - as in "back off everybody because until I can find out more, this hand means I have dibs on this baby!"

I hope everyone is having a great summer.  I just finished the cutest paper pieced tablecloth so I'll be back with more soon.

sewing retreat with a side of iced mocha cheesecake

At the end of June, I had the chance to spend some quality sewing time with friends.  Holly, Jeni, Jacey, Anna, Faith and I met up in Wisconsin at the most amazing vacation house. view from the loft of the chalet

charley harper poster

table in loft at chalet

We talked about everything, we ate giant pretzels and amazing belgian frites, we checked out Madison (including a chance to meet George), we dyed fabric, we even managed to fit in a whole lot of stitching.

I finished up a new york beauty that will soon be shipped off to someone special.

new york beauty quilt

I tried fabric dying for the first time.  We used an indigo kit and learned a lot about what works well and what doesn't.  These are my pieces before the dye bath.

ready to dye

Here's the top piece after dying.  I will most definitely be doing more with this technique.


It was fun to see what everyone was working on.  There were a lot of secret projects that I'm sure you will see popping up soon.

jeni's basket of strips

I brought along a cheesecake.  I didn't want us to go without sweets while we were sewing in the middle of nowhere.

iced mocha cheesecake on plate

iced mocha cheesecake


1 cup graham cracker crumbs

1 cup chocolate wafer crumbs

1 teaspoon espresso powder

1 stick butter (softened at room temperature)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

cheesecake filling

3 bricks (8oz. each) of cream cheese at room temp

1 cup sugar

3 large eggs

1 cup heavy cream

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

1 Tablespoon coffee extract


1 1/4  cup heavy cream

7 oz. bittersweet chocolate (chopped)

1/4 teaspoon espresso powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Put a kettle of water on to boil for the water bath.

Mix crust ingredients in bowl of food processor until combined.  Use a straight sided glass or measuring cup to press crumb mixture along the bottom and up the side of a springform pan.  Chill crust while preparing the filling.

Combine cream cheese and sugar in bowl of food processor or mixer until creamy and smooth.  Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next.  Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl between each egg.  Add heavy cream, vanilla, and coffee extract and blend until smooth and creamy.

Wrap pan tightly in multiple layers of aluminum foil to make water tight for water bath.  Pour batter into prepared crust.  Place pan in larger pan (I use an oversized skillet) and pour hot water into the larger pan until it comes about half way up the sides of the cheesecake pan.

Bake 45-55 minutes,until almost done - this can be hard to judge, but you're looking for the cake to hold together , but still have a lot of jiggle in the center.  You don't want it to be completely firm at this stage.  Close the oven door, turn the heat off, and let it rest in the cooling oven for one hour.  This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently and reduce chances of it cracking on the top.  After one hour, removed the cheesecake from the oven and lift it carefully out of the water bath.  Let it finish cooling off on a rack on the counter.

Once cooled, cover with ganache.

To make the ganache, mix the espresso powder and cream and bring to a boil.. Pour cream mixture over the chopped chocolate and let sift for 45 seconds then begin to mix.  It will become creamy when fully incorporated.  Pour in center of cheesecake.  Allow ganache to cool, then cover and put in refrigerator to cool overnight.

top of iced mocha cheese cake on plateI was thrilled when Jeni mentioned she could bring along some of her homemade salted caramel sauce because this cheesecake is extra delicious topped with whipped cream and caramel sauce.

It was a blast of a weekend that flew by so quickly, so I can't wait to do it again!

hashtag chalet sewing rock


Shortly after this pin made its way on to my Pinterest board, we were spending some family time wandering through our favorite spot for finding all the best junk.

I stopped, pointed, told the spouse, "hey, this is from my kitchen pin board!" and now it's mine.

My chiffon cake almost became the cake that exploded in the oven, but thankfully disaster was averted and the cake was over the top amazingly delicious instead.


teacher gifts and a tunic and a quilt

It's red bag season, again.

I also finished this tunic over Thanksgiving break.  It's the schoolhouse tunic pattern.

Mine is made out of a fine wale corduroy.  I did the shoulders with a french seam to give it a more finished look and did some extra top stitching along the waist.

I also finished this honeycomb quilt a couple of weeks ago.  It was so long ago that you can see all the fold lines.

here's the back

The kids start their winter break today.  We are all getting ready for a fun weekend.  This picture was taken this past Tuesday, this lack of snow is very un-Iowa.

lemon shortbread squares

I love shortbread.

It's buttery, crunchy, travels well, and last for days.

These travelled with me to the sewing summit.

I think it's always best to travel with cookies.

lemon shortbread

2 sticks butter (at room temperature)

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

zest of one lemon

2 teaspoons vanilla or vanilla paste

2 drops lemon extract

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

2 cups flour

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In bowl of mixer combine butter, sugar, salt and lemon zest. Beat on medium speed for about five minutes, or until the dough is soft and light in color. Add vanilla, lemon extract, and ginger and mix to combine.

Slowly add flour and mix until just combined. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and press by hand into a thick rectangle, wrap with plastic wrap and chill dough for 1 - 2 hours.

Once chilled, place dough on lightly floured surface and roll to about 1/4 inch thick. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into squares. Place the squares onto a parchment lined cookie sheet, sprinkle with sugar and bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until the start to just turn golden on the edges. Cool on the pan for 5 minutes or so before removing to cooling rack to cool completely.

gooseberry crumble

This was our first crop of gooseberries.

Just enough for one crumble...

My mom sent me the recipe.  We had a can of whipped cream leftover from lulu's sundae bar and I have to admit, by the end I was adding the whipped cream right in the pan.

gooseberry crumble

3 cups gooseberries

1 1/2 cup sugar (divided into 1 cup and 1/2 cup)

1/4 cup water

2 Tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon cloves

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

dash of salt

first make the filling-

Combine gooseberries, 1 cup sugar, and water in a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring until berries have burst.

While the berries are cooking, mix together 1/2 cup sugar, flour, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and salt.  Once the gooseberries are cooked, remove from heat and stir in spice mixture and set aside to cool slightly.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease 8"x8" pan, set aside.

crumble base and topping-

In a large bowl, blend together

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup cold butter cut into small pieces

Sprinkle one half of oat mixture onto bottom of pan.  Pour cooked gooseberries over top and spread evenly.  Sprinkle remaining oat mixture on top of berries.

Bake 45 minutes.

raspberry, mascarpone, and blueberry

Keeping with tradition, I made another red, white, and blue dessert for our friends July 4th bbq.

fourth of july trifle cake

1 pound raspberries

1/2 pound strawberries (cut into pieces)

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 cup powdered sugar (divided 1/4 and 3/4 cups)

16 ounces mascarpone cheese

2 cups heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

pinch salt

25-30 lady finger cookies

3/4 cup blueberries

Cut two strips of parchment that are at least an inch taller than the side of your springform pan and line the inside with them. (I used a 9"pan.)

In a bowl, combine raspberries, strawberries, 1/4 cup of powdered sugar, and lemon juice.  Use a fork to slightly smash the berries and let sit for ten minutes.

In the bowl of a mixer, whisk together the mascarpone and 3/4 cups powdered sugar until smooth.  Then whisk in the cream, vanilla, almond extract, and salt until soft peaks form.

Break the ladyfingers into three pieces each and make a single layer of cookies on the bottom of the pan.  Top with half the berry mixture.  Spread half the mascarpone mixer over top of the berries, smoothing the top with an offset spatula.

Then repeat, a layer of cookies, then berries, then mascarpone.

Top with a layer of blueberries.

Wrap gently with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, up to overnight.

party for 7

Turning seven that is... I spent an evening last week knotting strips of scrap fabric on to a piece of twine.

Lulu wanted a camp theme so we set a plan for an afternoon in the backyard with a tent full of balloons and games like bocce and basketball.  Then it turned out to be the hottest and most humid day we've had this year.  We still had the tent, but went with a water fight to try to cool off. Then they painted birdhouses.

They decorated bangle bracelets made from popsicle sticks. (here they are undecorated)

They made paper fortune tellers and signs for their rooms.

We had a sundae bar with all the fixin's along with cupcakes.

After all of that, they each went home with their own hobo bindle filled with goodies...

...and I slumped into a chair and didn't move for hours.

linda's cookies

My mom is the oldest of four and when she was growing up these were one of her specialties.  I was told they named them after her because no one else in the family could make them as well as she could.

We always called them chocolate oaties, instead of Linda's cookies.  Why limit your mom to one special cookie when she could be making all sorts of great ones?

There are the thing to make, when you don't know what else to make, especially when the weather turns hot and you don't want the oven heating up the kitchen.  Basically, they are quick, simple, and everyone likes them.

The trick is in the boil, not too hot, you want the sugar to melt before it starts to boil so the cookies have smooth texture.  Also, wait to start your three minute count until after you reach a rolling boil (that's when the mixture continues to boil even while stirring it).  These are really more of a candy than a cookie, so it also helps to have a heavy bottomed pan like you would use for candy making.  It helps heat the mixture at a more even rate and keep it from scorching.  Sometimes even when you think you've followed all the rules, they still don't set up and the only way to eat them is to scrape them off the tin foil with a spoon.  Don't worry, just call them spoon oaties and enjoy!


linda's cookies (chocolate oaties)

2 cups sugar

2 Tablespoons cocoa powder

1 stick butter

5 ounces evaporated milk (one small can)

1/3 cup creamy peanut butter (you can use crunchy, unless you are making them for cj)

1 Tablespoon vanilla

2 cups quick cooking oatmeal

Lay a sheet of aluminum foil (or as we call it tin foil), about 18" long on your counter.  In a large, heavy bottomed saucepan, stir the sugar and cocoa powder together (this keeps the cocoa from clumping together).  Add the stick of butter and stir in the evaporated milk.

Place over medium heat and stir constantly.  Once the mixture reaches a rolling boil (still boiling even when stirring) cook stirring continuing to stir constantly for 3 minutes.  Remove from heat, stir in oats, peanut butter, and vanilla.  Drop by spoonfuls on the foil and allow to cool.


angelfood primer

My grandpa took a piece of this angel food cake, wrapped in waxed paper, in his lunch box every day he went to work. This means my grandma had to have a cake on hand every week.  It's a good thing they raised their own chickens, because that's a lot of egg whites.

She usually left it unfrosted and when we were at her house she would pull the aluminum cake carrier down from on top of the fridge and we would all get a slice.  Only once, do I remember the carrier open to show a frosted cake.  She used a seven minute icing.  So fluffy and swirly, I always thought it was one of the most beautiful things, and sooooo delicious.

Sometime after I was married, I asked her for the recipe.  She pulled out her Betty Crocker cookbook and found the recipe and gave me a few hints to help it turn out just right.

Her first suggestion was to throw away the non-stick coated tube pan I had at home.  She quickly found this extra pan hidden away on a shelf in her basement and gave it to me.  Angelfood cakes need to climb to the top of the pan and if you don't give them a good surface to climb on, they will slide.  Do NOT prep the pan in any way - no butter, no flour - the batter needs to be able to stick to the pan.

As for the eggs, they shouldn't be too fresh.  I don't think this is much of an issue if you are using store bought eggs, but if you pick them up at the farmer's market or raise your own, be sure to use eggs that are from last week or older.  Also, eggs that are cool separate easier, but eggs at room temperature will have more volume when whipped.  What I usually do is separate all my eggs and then let the whites set in the mixing bowl, while I get together all of the other ingredients.  Depending on how much time I have to make the cake I may let them set until they are closer to room temperature.  It's also important to measure the eggs, especially if you have farm eggs that vary in size more than store eggs.  The recipe takes 1 3/4 cups egg whites.  On average that is 12 eggs, but when I made this cake it took 14 eggs.  I freeze the yolks for another day.  I either put them in a plastic container and freeze them in groups of 6 (lemon curd takes 6 yolks) or I put each yolk in it's own compartment in an ice cube tray.  Once frozen they can go in a zip closure bag and be used as needed for things like egg noodles and puddings.

My grandmother didn't sift her cake flour for this recipe.  I'm thinking if you are making one of these cakes every week, your flour isn't setting around long enough to get too lumpy.  After some trial and error, I find it's best to  shake my flour through a sieve before I make the cake.

Over the years I've heard people mention the importance of dropping the pan on the floor or tapping in on the counter once the batter is in the pan to remove any air bubbles.  Grandma never mentioned this and I've never done it.  I have never noticed any giant air bubbles in my cakes, so I have always skipped that step.

angelfood cake

1 3/4 cup egg whites

1 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

2 cups sugar

1 1/4 cup cake flour (sifted)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a separate bowl, mix the flour and the salt, set aside.

Add the cream of tartar to the egg whites.

Beat egg whites with cream of tartar until frothy.

With the mixer on a medium speed, add the sugar 2 Tablespoons at time.  Once all the sugar has been added, turn the mixer on high and whip until soft peaks form, but are still moist and glossy.

For a soft peak, it should turn like the top of a dairy queen cone when you turn the whisk upside down.

Add vanilla, and almond extract.

Dust about 1/4 of the flour mixture over the whites.

Using the biggest rubber spatula you can find, gently fold the flour into the egg whites.

To fold you bring the blade of your spatula down through the middle of the bowl, once at the edge closest to you, pull along the bottom and up the side to turn the whites over on top of the flour, then turn the bowl a quarter turn and repeat until the flour is incorporated.  Then sprinkle with another 1/4 of the flour mixture and fold.  Repeat until all the flour is added to the egg whites.

Scoop mixture in tube pan.  Try not to get it on the upper part of the pan.  If some gets on the top, just wipe it clean with a damp cloth.  (you can see here where I swiped a bit away on this one)

Bake for 35-40 minutes.

Remove from oven and invert to cool.

Some pans have little legs on the side, but this pan has a tall center to balance on.  Once the cake is cool, run a knife of offset spatula around the outside edge and also around the center tube.

Then run the knife under the cake and turn out onto a plate.  You can use an angelfood cake cutter (because it looks cool) or even two forks (held back to back and used to split pieces) to cut the cake, but I find a serrated bread knife works best.

If you have the patience to frost it, here's a cheat version of 7 minute frosting.  I should warn you though that if you frost it, it severely hampers your ability to sneak pieces of cake because it is a mess of gooey sticky goodness and having that on your fingers will surely be admission of guilt.  You can see it here on some angelfood cupcakes.

cheaters 7 minute icing

3 egg whites

pinch of salt

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup light corn syrup

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Combine egg whites,salt, sugar, and corn syrup on bowl and whisk together.  Place bowl over pan of simmering water.  Gently whisk until mixture reaches temperature of 130 degrees and sugar is dissolved.  Remove from heat and beat with hand mixer until the icing is cooled, white, and fluffy.  Beat in vanilla.


sour cherry cobbler

I don't normally bake desserts for Monday nights, but yesterday I decided it was time to use up last year's sour cherries that had been tucked away in my freezer.

Turned out to be a bit evil genius, because the spouse thought the dessert was so good that he washed up the dinner dishes.  If I would have known of their magical powers I would have baked them up months ago.
sour cherry cobbler
3 cups frozen sour cherries
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 Tablespoon vanilla
biscuit topping
1 1/2 cup flour (or 1 cup flour and 1/2 cup cake flour)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
pinch salt
3 Tablespoons cold butter (cut into pieces)
3/4 cup milk
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Butter a 2 -3 quart baking dish.  Stir together the sour cherries, sugar, corn starch, and vanilla.  Pour into prepared baking dish.
In another bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt.  Using a pastry blender, mix in butter pieces.  Once butter is blended into flour mixture, add milk.  Stir until uniformly mixed and drop spoonfuls of dough onto the top of the cherries mixture.
Before baking, brush the tops of the biscuits with milk.  I also sprinkled the tops with sanding sugar, but that's not necessary.
Bake for 45 minutes.
my apparently famous brownies

It's the last day of teacher appreciation week.  Our assignment for today was to send in something to pamper the teachers. hmmm...

well I think sitting down with a big old chocolate chunk brownie can be a bit pampering.

Cj usually does a little tour of the school as part of his morning routine, so I put him in charge of deliveries.  I'm told that as he handed them out he said, "here is one of my mom's famous brownies."

I don't know that I would throw around the word famous, but they are pretty good.

I also have to add that I don't have nine kids.  I sent along treats for each of the kid's classroom teachers, cj's two associates, along with his resource teacher and speech therapist, and their art, music, and P.E. teachers.

mybricole brownies

6 1/2 ounces chocolate chips

1 1/2 stick butter

1 2/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon espresso powder

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup flour

pinch salt

3 eggs

4 oz. bittersweet chocolate chopped into big pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Butter and line a 9" x 13" pan with parchment.  Set aside.

In a heatproof bowl, melt chocolate chips and butter together over a pan of simmering water.  Stir until melted and smooth.  Remove from heat.

Add sugar and stir with rubber spatula until well blended.  Stir in espresso powder and vanilla.

Add flour and salt.  Stir gently until well incorporated.

Add eggs.  Stir until thick and smooth.

Gently stir in chocolate chunks.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth top with rubber spatula.  Bake 30-35 minutes.

chocolate chipped

We rarely had chocolate cookies at home when I was growing up.  My dad doesn't like them.  I've never understood how that's possible, but it's true. More often than not, my grandma had them in her freezer.  She also usually had an angelfood cake on top of her fridge and a chicken in her skillet, but i'm losing focus here.

Anyway, it was at her house that I found my love for frozen chocolate chip cookies.  In my opinion, frozen chocolate chips cookies are one of life's cheap remedies for a bad day.

I spent the better part of last week waiting to find out if I had celiac.

I don't.

I thought the best way to celebrate would be with chocolate chip cookies.

chocolate chip cookies

3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks)

1 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a separate bowl mix flour, soda, and salt.  Using an electric mixer, cream butter and sugars.  Add eggs and vanilla.  On a low speed, slowly add flour mixture.  Add chocolate chips.

Drop by spoonfuls onto parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake for about 11 minutes.