Almond Poppy Seed Quick Bread (Daring Bakers' Challenge)

Monday, February 27


For several years I worked at an amazing little coffee house, and despite the fact that I had to be up at 4:30am a few times a week, I didn't really mind the lack of sleep. It meant that I had first dibs on the still-warm-from-the-oven, bakery items! My absolute favourite treat was the almond poppy seed bread. If I was lucky, there would be a pool of frosting, poppy seeds, and crumbs that had collected at the bottom of the delivery box. As soon as the loaf had been removed and sliced, I had a few minutes to enjoy the boxed remnants with a spoon, a fresh cup of "sludge" (my coma-inducing mix of espresso, hot cocoa, and coffee), and an untouched crossword puzzle.

Peanut Butter and Nutella Swirl Cookies

Saturday, February 25




Since it's Oscar weekend, I was going to make an elaborate, glamorous dessert. Instead I made cookies. Cookies which didn't even last long enough to see the bright spotlight of the weekend.

Now I'll have to come up with something else for tomorrow night, or just make another batch of cookies. (I'm leaning towards the latter.) At least I gave them their own little red carpet.

Lemon Cupcakes with Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Wednesday, February 22


Do you have an unfounded fear of making Swiss meringue buttercream frosting? Please put that frobia to rest, because with a little stand-mixer stamina, it actually comes together quite beautifully.

When I say that the frosting is beautiful, I mean, obviously, that it looks beautiful. However, I was slightly disappointed in the taste. As far as frostings are concerned, Swiss meringue buttercream is supposedly the best of the best. Personally, I thought that the flavour was almost too buttery (yes that phenomenon is possible), and slightly greasy.

Luckily, everyone else Loved it. (I felt like Elaine, when she said that she didn't like The English Patient.)

Pine Nut and Chocolate Caramel Squares

Saturday, February 18


I love recipes that bridge the gap between the sweet and savory worlds. For the past few years, bacon has been the ambassador of the savories, and chocolate has carried the torch for sweets. I'll never forget my first experience with a dark chocolate and bacon bar...it was cosmic!

Butterscotch Oatmeal Bars

Tuesday, February 14


When you were little, did you ever wish that you could "doctor" up your morning oatmeal? You know, toss in spoonful after spoonful of brown sugar, extra maple syrup, and some form of chocolate?

Bananas and strawberries are great, but even they can't mask the goopy, pasty, stick-in-your-throat consistency of oatmeal. Plus, everything is naturally better with brown sugar.

Lemon Olive Oil Cake

Saturday, February 11


As a child, I was obsessed with olives (and lemons, but that ship has already sailed). Left on my own, I would have spent my days in the sea, living solely on lemons, oranges, honey and olives. The first time I heard the term "olive oil," was in one of my all-time favourite movies, Popeye. Shelley Duvall played Olive Oyl, and when I was little, I thought it was the coolest name, ever. (Shelley also hosted Faerie Tale Theater, which thanks to an already overactive imagination, procured a short-lived fear of apples, mushroom circles, and Mick Jagger.)

Tipsy Chocolate Pecan Pie

Tuesday, February 7


Have you ever sighed, woefully, because pecan pies are so cloyingly sweet? Or wept internally over the fact that you couldn't have a second piece because you just complained, aloud, that pecan pies are cloyingly sweet?

Well, sigh no more, would-be pecan pie lovers. Sigh no more.

Soft Sugar Cookies

Friday, February 3


Sometimes you just want to sink your teeth into a soft, crumbly, sweet sugar cookie. The kind of cookie that breaks apart in your hand as soon as you take a bite. The kind of cookie which, no matter how hard you try, throws all your attempts of remaining sophisticated and poised out the window...way out.

Because as soon as you dust the crumbs off your lap, and dab away the milk mustache with a napkin, your other hand is already absently reaching for another cookie.

Cookies have a way of leveling the playing field and returning us to the carefree, nonchalance of childhood.
 

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