Butterscotch Tart

Butterscotch Tart Recipe Years back, I was introduced to Matt Lewis, of the now very famous Baked Bakery in Brooklyn.  I wasn’t ‘actually’ introduced to him, but rather, I was tuned into the Martha Stewart Show the day he got his feet wet on national T.V.  As he and Martha walked the audience through the process of making his over-the-top Sweet and Salty Cake, I knew without a doubt that Matt was someone to remember.  At the first opportunity, I made his cake, and as anticipated, it was a big success and loved by everyone who ate it.  I longed to visit Baked and vowed that if I ever got to New York I would do just that.
Butterscotch Tart Recipe Little did I know then just how many trips to New York were to be in my future.  Over a dozen would have been a good guess, and that only brings me to today.  My little girl has been accepted to NYU’s grad school and so it seems that there will be many more visits to the Big Apple in the coming few years.  You may find this as hard to believe as I do, but in all those trips, I still have not made it to Baked.  I have eaten my way through many of Manhattan’s finest bakeries, but Baked hasn’t been scratched off the list as yet.  There isn’t even a good explanation, other than the fact that Matt’s bakery is located SOMEWHERE in Brooklyn, not exactly a hop, skip, or a jump from where Jael lives.

So what does all this have to do with a Butterscotch Tart, you might ask.  Imagine my delight when I found out (years ago) that Matt and his co-author Renato had written a cookbook.  Finally, if not directly in my mouth, all the little goodies sold at their bakery would be in my hands.  What a book!  Far from the ‘same old, same old’, their recipes are all about taking the classics and adding a modern twist.  Every recipe in the book is impressive and tempting, but one that has held my attention for years is their Butterscotch Pudding Tarts.  The forward to this recipe says “tarts that are surprisingly easy to make”.  Well, yes and no.  Just the crust part alone required a half dozen steps, a decent level of skill, and a fair amount of time.  I would debate their disclaimer that these tarts are ‘easy’ – but I took care of that.
Butterscotch Tart Recipe With a desire to simplify this recipe,  I adapted the crust to one that is pressed into the tart pan, no rolling required.  Making it even less complicated, I made one 12-inch tart instead of eight individual ones.  The tart’s filling is much the same as the original.  Scotch would be the obvious whiskey in a true Butterscotch pudding, but given my Kentucky roots, I couldn’t help but go with Bourbon instead.  You choose according to your whiskey preference.  Let me just say, the pudding filling is incredible.  The essence of both caramel and vanilla arrive assertively on the palate, and the creaminess of the pudding calls for lingering an extra few seconds on the tongue.  The pudding nestled in a crust of whole grain oats further accentuates the complexity of the tart.
Butterscotch Tart Recipe I am headed to New York in a couple of weeks.  Guess where I will be going.  Since baking this tart, I have re-ingnited my desire to visit Baked Bakery.  Hum, should I go there before or after Dominque Ansel’s for a Cronut?  Decisions!  Decisions!
Butterscotch Tart Recipe



Source:  Adapted from Baked

Sesame Seed Butter Cookies

Sesame Seed Butter Cookie Recipe One cannot argue that a butter cookie, with its most humble and demure nature, is as pleasant and welcomed on the palate as nectar on the beak of a hummingbird.  Simple and sweet.  If bread is the staff of life, butter cookies make life worth living.  Early on, and long before the arrogant chocolate chip cookie entered my baking repertoire, I was taught about the quick change nature of a butter cookie.  Jelly in the center added sophistication with its fruity tang, while chocolate sprinkles widened the eyes of younger eaters.  Nuts, and a roll in powdered sugar, won them the title of Mexican wedding cookie or Russian tea cake.
Sesame Seed Butter Cookie Recipe Mom possessed the skill of a magician and the ingenuity of a professional pastry chef when it came to her baking, although neither were her life’s calling.  As if performing a ‘slight of hand’ trick, she transformed a mixture of butter, flour, sugar, and eggs into a menagerie of bejeweled and adorned cookies.  Many years passed before I realized that each cookie wasn’t its own recipe.  It is appropriate that mothers appear super-human to their children from time to time.  Yes?
Sesame Seed Butter Cookie Recipe

Far and away, the most memorable of my mother’s butter cookies were the ones she enrobed in sesame seeds, a regal garment for a cookie so deserving of royalty.  As I bake a batch of these sesame seed butter cookies,  smells of nutty, buttery sweetness wafting from the oven, I am transported to the kitchen of my youth.  Blue linoleum beneath my feet, white metal cabinets line the walls. Was the stove avocado green or harvest gold?  No matter.  There was more than hearty food and tempting sweets cooked up within that space.  There were memories to last a lifetime.
Sesame Seed Butter Cookie Recipe Sesame Seed Butter Cookie Recipe


Wellesley Fudge Cake

Wellesley Fudge Cake Recipe Can you imagine the mayhem that would ensue in today’s world if a top college official banned sweets from the diet of its students. Unimaginable, right?  Believe it or not, in the late 1800s, that is exactly what the founder of Wellesley College did.  ”Pies, lies, and doughnuts should never have a place at Wellesley College” declared Henry Durant.  I’m sure he had only the best of intentions in mind for the young women when he sent a letter to their parents stating that ‘the college refused to accept students who were broken down in health, maintaining that a proper diet is key for proper learning, and that “we have therefore decided not to receive any one who will not come with the resolution to obey cheerfully all our rules in this respect, and pledged in honor neither to buy nor receive in any manner whatsoever any confectionery or eatables of any kind not provided for them by the College’.  I’m pretty positive that wouldn’t have been the school for me.
Wellesley Fudge Cake Recipe Wellesley Fudge Cake Recipe The letter may have been signed by all Wellesley attendees, but I’m betting that not everyone honored their commitment.  Legend has it that many of the girls of Wellesley chose to indulge in both sweets and lies by making contraband fudge in their dorms late at night.  The exact details of how their fudge making evolved into a chocolate cake with ‘fudgy’ chocolate frosting is up for debate.  I’m just happy it did.
Wellesley Fudge Cake Recipe I adapted this recipe from one printed in a January 2010 issue of Cook’s Country Magazine.  Initially, I wasn’t overly impressed with the cake component of the recipe.  However, after sitting a day under a cloak of fudgy frosting, the cake took on a whole new personality.  Likewise, the first go-round with the frosting was a total failure.  It was grainy and lumpy and extremely thin.  In the trash it went.  I significantly adapted the recipe to make it my own and the changes resulted in a silky smooth frosting with a perfect spreading consistency.  It will most definitely be my ‘go to’ chocolate frosting recipe.
Wellesley Fudge Cake Recipe Wellesley Fudge Cake Recipe This cake matured beautifully.  Day after day it became more moist and fudgy.   The best slice was the final slice eaten three days after baking the cake.
Wellesley Fudge Cake Recipe


Stack Pie | Two Years Blogging

Stack Pie Recipe It seems as though the hands on the clock went round especially fast these past twelve months.  Wasn’t it just yesterday I was posting about my one year Blog-iversary?  I felt like such a new-by, and compared to so many seasoned bloggers, I still am.  Yet, another year later, I continue to experience such joy and fulfillment sharing my love of baking with all of you.  This baking journal began as nothing more than a hobby, but it has turned out to be more rewarding than I could have imagined.  Every comment I receive from each of you propels me forward, carrying me back to the kitchen with the hope of creating a recipe that in turn inspires you in some way.  With each new ‘Like’, Sally Field comes to mind as she accepts her Oscar for Norma Ray.  ”They like me.  They really like me.”   So thank you for your loyalty and kindness.  It couldn’t be more appreciated.
Stack Pie As I turn my attention to the coming year.  I have tons of ideas and stacks of recipes I can’t wait to share with you.  I invite you to join me on this culinary journey.  It won’t be nearly as fun without you.

And with that, I bring you a recipe I have been wanting to make for literally years.  Why, oh why, did I wait so long?  Buried deep in my ‘pie folder’ of clipped recipes, resides a torn page from a magazine I can no longer recall.  What I can remember is how my eyes grew as large as Kumquats when I surveyed the image of three lemon curd pies stacked one on top of the other.  I turned giddy with excitement at the concept.  We think nothing of layering cakes, but PIE?  Brilliant!
Stack Pie With the arrival of my second blogging anniversary I decided it was high time to resurrect that patient and enduring clipping from my files and see just exactly what stack pie was all about.  Enter Google search.  Imagine my delight when I read that stack pies probably originated in my home state of Kentucky.  Surrounding folklore and legend there is much written about this baking triumph.  Articles I read about stack pie are filled with theories trying to explain why they gained localized popularity during the 1930s and 40s.  It is thought that perhaps they were engineered as a space saving technique developed to transport numerous pies to church socials and community gatherings.  Other stories point to its celebratory nature.  As guests would arrive at weddings and other special occasions, they came bearing pies, stacking them one by one, offering thin slices as dessert.  The true origin could be nothing more than the innovativeness of a baker who in a moment of brilliance hit upon what in my opinion is the best thing that ever happened to pie.  As a blogger and recipe developer, I find that to be just as logical of an explanation as any other.  Isn’t that what so many of us are striving for in the world of food today.  Take something great, and make it even better.  Can you say Cronut!
Stack Pie Now, as I round second, heading towards third, I ask you to celebrate with me another year of blogging under my belt.  From this Kentucky Girl  I bring you my version of stack pie.  I believe you will be just as enamored with it as I was when first I laid eyes on that magazine photo all those many years ago.
Stack Pie Stack Pie



Triple Chocolate Marshmallow Treats and A Cookbook Swap

Triple Chocolate Marshmallow Treats Recipe Being the cookbook fanatic that I admittedly am, I was thrilled when I received an invitation to join in a Food Blogger Cookbook Swap hosted by fellow bloggers Alyssa of Everyday Maven and Faith of An Edible Mosaic.  You might remember the Prop Swap they organized last year.  Quite brilliant, I’d say.  Who doesn’t like getting a surprise in the mail?  And what better way to re-purpose a cookbook for a second life than on someone else’s book shelf?  So, I passed along my copy of The Splendid Table to Desi Vick, author of the SteakNPotatoesKindaGurl blog.  In return, I received two books from Christy Majors of Confessions of a Culinary Diva.  (Thank you so much Christy!!!)  I was so please with the books Christy shared with me.  The first is by Chef Brian Malarkey and is titled come early stay late.  This is such a great book, and one I’m not sure I would have happened upon had Christy not shared it with me.  Brian Malarkey is chef/partner in five San Diego restaurants – Searsucker, Burlap, Gabardine, Gingham, and Herringbone.  Cute, right?  As someone who also loves to sew, I think these restaurant names as a group are so adorable.  Anyway, Malarkey’s book is packed full of recipes for my kind of eating – stick to your ribs comfort food with plenty of veggies and healthy choices mixed in.  Stay tuned for a post on something delectable from that book.

Triple Chocolate Marshmallow Treats Recipe Triple Chocolate Marshmallow Treats Recipe Moving onto the second book… I devoured it from beginning to end the minute I took it from the package.  Titled Sprinkles! – Recipes and Ideas for Rainbowlicious Desserts, by Jackie Alpers, guess what this book is all about.  Wow, let me tell you, it thoroughly covers the subject.  You might be surprised at how much there is to know.   After reading Alper’s book, I’m completely confident I could get the Final Jeopardy question right, assuming the category was titled “Sprinkles”.  As I closed the cover on the book, I immediately cut a path to my baking pantry and took inventory of my sprinkles stash.  I HAVE MASSIVE AMOUNTS OF SPRINKLES!  My favorite will always be chocolate jimmies, particularly the kind I buy from a local restaurant supply store.  They are ‘real’ chocolate, and the difference is discernible.  So I grabbed a jar of those and put my ‘recipe developer’ hat on.  In short-order, this is what I came up with.
Triple Chocolate Marshmallow Treats Recipe Triple Chocolate Marshmallow Treats Recipe  

Here is a little peek at the wonderful books I  received from Christy along with some link love to some of the others who participated in the Food Blogger Cookbook Swap .

Cookbooks from Cookbook Swap

 A Baker’s House
An Edible Mosaic
avocado bravado
Blue Kale Road
Blueberries And Blessings
Cheap Recipe Blog
Confessions of a Culinary Diva
Create Amazing Meals
Cucina Kristina
Culinary Adventures with Camilla
Cupcake Project
Dinner is Served 1972
Done With Corn
Eats Well With Others
Everyday Maven
Flour Me With Love 
From My Sweet Heart 
Great Food 360° 
Healthy. Delicious. 
I’m Gonna Cook That! 
Je Mange la Ville 
Karen’s Kitchen Stories 
Kitchen Treaty 
Olive and Herb 
OnTheMove-In The Galley 
Our Best Bites 
Paleo Gone Sassy 
poet in the pantry 
Rhubarb and Honey 
Rocky Mountain Cooking
Shikha la mode 
Shockingly Delicious 
Spoonful of Flavor 
Tara’s Multicultural Table 
The Not So Exciting Adventures of a Dabbler 
The Suburban Soapbox 
The Whole Family’s Food