Fresh Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

Thursday, June 30



What can possibly be more relaxing than snipping some fresh mint from the garden? Nothing, unless your garden is a mutant jungle. Some of the lilies, which I love, are almost taller than me, which isn't much of a feat, but I still find disturbing. And the spiders...I think my garden is the home to the matriarch of the entire species. Case and point: After I cut a few stalks of mint and made my way out of the garden, an oddly-shaped branch caught my attention. In the back of my mind I knew that branches don't normally bend at symmetrical 90-degree, evenly-spaced angles, nor do they have fur. When it moved, I flew out of the garden/yard/neighborhood/city like a bat out of hell. Needless to say, fetching some mint is not as la-de-da as it sounds. Lucky for you and the future of this recipe, I had a death grip on the mint stalks as I was running and I made it safely back to the confines of my tiny indoor kitchen.

And just so you know, I'm not a total wuss. There are only a few things that make my hair rise: Spiders, ants (those big ones with the creepy segmented bodies), and clowns.

Pistachio-Walnut Baklava (Daring Bakers' Challenge)

Monday, June 27


Phyllo dough, along with symmetrical layer cakes, yeast breads that actually rise, and the ability to avoid stepping barefoot through a rogue hairball at 3 o'clock in the morning, is just not in the cards (not mine anyway.) I'm not sure what went wrong, or when the phyllo dough, which up until the rolling portion of the recipe, had been so genteel, decided to turn on me. I would like love to blame the humidity and heat for making all the layers stick together, but considering where this amazing dessert has it's origins, I can't really point fingers at the temperature. I'm eyeballing the flour though. Maybe the half-bag that I threw onto every square inch of every layer (as well as my kitchen) wasn't enough? Maybe the flour wasn't really flour, but sticky tape? It shall remain a mystery. But phyllo dough and I will meet again, and next time I'll be prepared... and I'll have an unexpected ally, Winter.

Erica of Erica's Edibles was our host for the Daring Baker’s June challenge. Erica challenged us to be truly DARING by making homemade phyllo dough and then to use that homemade dough to make Baklava. Thank you Erica. Despite the the devious dough, I did have fun making this!

Salted Millionaires Shortbread

Monday, June 20



Happy belated Father's day to all the dad's out there. If you have hung around with me since last year, first of all, thanks! And also, you may remember that every Father's day, as a tribute to my dad, I make something with one of his favourite ingredients, peanut butter. This year I wanted to do a little something different, because all dad's are worth at least a million bucks (which, I think, is about what they end up spending on their daughters.)

Coconut Lime Cupcakes with Blueberry Cream Cheese Frosting

Thursday, June 16


If only I loved typing as much as I love baking. I'm a terrible typist. I don't type so much as peck at the keys, as though my hands were hungry chickens grabbing for their food. The only fingers I use are my index fingers, thumbs, and middle fingers. The rest of them are idiots, trying to act like they want to help, but too lazy to really do anything. If they're lucky, sometimes one of them gets to hit the space-bar. It's total chaos.

Pistachio Lime Cookies

Tuesday, June 14



Limes do it in a cookie.

Pistachio's are so underrated. There's pecan pie, the silly roasted chestnuts cliché, almond-loving marzipan (no complaints there), a gazillion brownie recipes calling for walnuts, and the biggest teachers pet of them all, peanut...everything. Where's the pistachio love? Although, I've got to give kudos to Ben and Jerry for being one of the few people to recognize the fabulousness of pistachios. Their pistachio ice cream is both mind-blowing and life altering...if you can find it. Yes, Cherry Garcia, we all love you, but please spare some room on that shelf for other flavours.

David Lebovitz's Chocolate Chip Cookies

Thursday, June 9



So I'm going to go ahead and be one of those people who talk about their cats. I've resisted thus far, but it's time to introduce the world to Niles. He's quirky and wise, and I think you'll love him as much as I do...almost. I'm convinced that he's not only an acrobat hidden inside a 'big-boned' ball of fluff, he's also a mind-reader. Niles goes by 2 names, so it's a miracle that he's so intuitive and balanced. When we first rescued him as a kitten from an animal shelter, he was so tiny. I know kittens are generally tiny, but he's a Maine Coon...he was supposed to be big for his age. Because of his wee size, and because Frasier was my favourite show at the time, I named him Niles. Well, it didn't take long for Niles to outgrow his namesake, and soon he took on the appearance, and persona, of a Saint Bernard puppy.

Strawberry Boy Bait

Sunday, June 5



If only it were that easy. When I first saw this recipe, which is actually called blueberry boy bait, I had this Ally McMeal-like image of a woman in a wide brimmed hat and linen dress standing on a pier holding a fishing line while schools of mermen swam below (I don't understand why they had to be mermen, apparently even my imagination is uptight.) Anyway, once she catches one it becomes human...and is suddenly sporting the Indiana Jones look, which btw, did indeed include the whip (see, not so repressed after all, eh?)

Triple Caramel Cupcakes

Thursday, June 2


You know you've made something spectacular when the room, which had just been filled with a heated discussion over the predictability of all romantic comedies, suddenly becomes silent as people's mouths become filled with clouds of caramely goodness, and gradually, in between bites, you hear various reenactments of the infamous Meg Ryan scene from When Harry Met Sally.
 

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