milk chocolate mini-bundt cakes {bwd}

Miniature anything (babies, maltese dogs, dollhouses) draws my attention.

"Aww, so cute!" "Adorable!"

Mini-foods get extra consideration, as I think one of two things, depending on how I'm feeling.

"Great! Portion control!" OR "Fantastic, I can eat more, for less calories!"

Keeping in mind the last bundt attempt, I gave extra-EXTRA attention to the greasing of the pans. These are silicone, so I am hopeful. Using a heavy finger, I doused the bundtlet pan with cooking spray.

I must keep that technique in mind, as they turned out of the pan perfectly.


{sms} snickerdoodles

The days are long, the years are short.

I felt this keenly, particularly when The Kids were toddlers and pre-schoolers.  Wake up, get ready to eat, feed, clean up, playtime, nap and the cycle continued, over and over. Each day seemed quite the same, and boy, were they endless.

On Saturday, we are off to pick up Dear Daughter from her first sleep-away camp.  Now, time seems to pass by altogether too quickly.

I must remember to cherish the moments. Hug. Laugh.

And bake cookies.

I wanted to bring some homemade goodies for the counselors, Miss Clara and Miss Allie. Sms' recipe of the week, The Almond Cake, sounded unbelievably scrumptious.  Its lemon curd and mascarpone frosting, however, wouldn't travel so well, so I am trying out a recipe that all the others baked a year ago — Snickerdoodles.

The recipe is a simple sugar cookie, rolled in cinnamon sugar.  I recently purchased the OXO cookie scoop and highly recommend it to anyone who doesn't have one.  It's easy to use and the resulting shape is perfectly round.


swiss chard strudel

Always on the lookout to incorporate veggies into meals, I stumbled upon a lovely strudel recipe on the cookstr website.  It helped that I recently found some phyllo buried in the deep freezer. Butter, as always, helps too.

I always feel painterly when I do this.

If you're thinking, "WHOA! That's quite a bit of chard!"

you're right.  The chard was busting out the seams,
 and I had to take some out in order to roll it into itself.


{bwd} brown sugar bundt cake

The book that started my whole blogging adventure— Baking: From My Home to Yours  by Dorie Greenspan— is finally making its debut here.  I have never featured a Dorie Greenspan recipe, because although I created the blog to join the Tuesday with Dorie baking club, I JUST missed out... they closed their doors to new members right when I applied.

This group, Baking With Dorie, was founded by two bakers who similarly wanted to join but couldn't. We will post twice monthly, which is a perfect pace. I just told The Family that I needed to cut back on sweets, but now I'm eating my words and eating this cake! The recipe can be found on Chaya's Comfy Cook Blog.

I was pretty sure I would like The Brown Sugar Bundt Cake recipe, as it included nut flour, butter and buttermilk.  It called for pears and prunes too, which was too autumnal for me.  Instead, I substituted 1 cup toasted, chopped almonds and used almond flour as the nut flour of choice.

Lots of brown sugar.

Almond flour adds interesting flavor.

Toasted, chopped almonds.


tropical granola {sms}

I've been dreaming of pina coladas and coconut cream pie. I am obsessed with the white flaky stuff.  Maybe it's the sweltering heat that's inducing my brain to be fixated on all things tropical.

With this week's Sweet Melissa Sundays' recipe,  I read "cherries and almonds" and imagined  "coconut, pineapples and macadamias."


the sweetest things

One recent afternoon in NYC included these treats:

Bar Boulud
Vanilla Rolled Cake, Berry Marmalade, Strawberry Sorbet
Strong, vibrant fruit flavor, disappointingly dry cake

I've tried their cupcakes before and was underwhelmed.

The cupcake of the day, however, seemed special.
I'm a sucker for anything caramel.

Though the cake was slightly dry, we gobbled it up. 
We particularly enjoyed the caramel frosting, though everything
about the cupcake was on the VERY sweet side.

Several people have told me about the Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies from Levain Bakery.  
I was curious, particularly after their throwdown with Bobby Flay.

Their offerings were limited, which isn't a bad thing.  If you do a few things, do them well,


a seafood sunday

The remaining summer weekends are booked up, so our last free Sunday was spent in lower Manhattan, checking out a few places.  The one common denominator- tiny storefront/limited seating. We started eating at 11 AM, so fortunately there were no lines and plenty of room for the four of us.

First stop
Luke's Lobster (seven stools)

I had eaten a sandwich at the Hester Street Fair and wanted to go back with The Husband, as the Lobster Roll is one of his favorite foods. 

We got the Taste of Maine: Small Lobster, Crab, Shrimp rolls and two Empress Claws. FABULOUS. (The Kids ate the chips and drank soda, as they haven't yet developed a love for seafood.  So glad we didn't have to share with them!)


falling in love

... with The Nephew, who after 5 wonderful weeks here, flew back home (sob) to California with The Sister.

He is just 10 months old and so we were able to see a few "firsts"— climbing stairs, pulling up and squatting down, speed crawling... and perhaps funnest of all, eating real people food.

One item he particularly enjoyed was the potato latke.

"YEAH!! FINALLY! Big Boy Food!
Get me out of Stage 2!"

"What? Is this all you're giving me????"

"Gotta make sure it's not too hot."

"I'd be two-fisting this, if the portions weren't so stingy."

"MMM, more, please?"


coconut chocolate chip cookies

My first experience with a coconut-chocolate combination was a Manishewitz Chocolate Macaroon.
Chocolatey, moist and chewy. A bit overly sweet—yummy, nevertheless —I was hooked at the tender age of 5.

Loving this combo, I knew I would love this recipe, from Pichet Ong's The Sweet Spot.  


banana rum coconut layer cake

Lately, I have had a never ending supply of browning bananas on my counter. Yes, thanks to Costco and their unbelievably low price of $1.19/bunch of 12+. Compare that to 79¢/one measly banana on a Manhattan street corner... so The Husband always buys a huge bunch on his weekly Costco run.

I was baking for a reception at The Montclair Music Club's Annual Soirée and decided Nick Malgieri's recipe for a banana cake would do nicely.

The cake is moist and and has dense texture, which I enjoy.  The addition of the rum (in the batter and whipped cream) and coconut elevate it from its normal bread/muffin status to a more sophisticated sweet. This recipe is definitely a keeper, though next time, I might add some coconut into the batter, like in the Banana Crunch Muffin recipe.

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