spiderrific cupcakes

This week has been filled with visions of pumpkins, spiders, skulls and All-Things-Halloween.  For his class party, The Son specifically requested spider cupcakes.  We scrolled many, many images on Google and found The Perfect Spider on M&M's website.


owl s'mores

The Daughter's request Halloween treat was this awesome owl. You should have heard her gasp of delight when she saw the image on my friend's blog.

Just a few items yield such charming creatures.


pumpkin chocolate chip muffins {bwd}

Fall and pumpkin go hand in hand. Once the leaves start changing colors, I'm itching to bake something with it. Today's Baking With Dorie assignment is perfect for the pumpkin state of mind I'm in.


almond brittle {sms}

Candy making is new to me.  Read: I've always been afraid of boiling sugar.  (I'm also afraid of power tools, but that's because I fear drilling a hole into my finger or sawing off a limb.)

These past few months, I'm proud to say, the candy thermometer and I have become acquainted.  It ain't so bad.  Caramels, pralines, toffee; bring it on!  This week's Sweet Melissa Sundays Baking Group pick was Peanut Brittle.  I'm glad JoVonn picked it, so that I could put the thermometer to further use. After reading about the trouble some had with Melissa Murphy's recipe, I decided to go rogue and change some of the measurements.  I checked out Hanaâ's recipe, as well as one at Allrecipes.  Visit JoVonn's post for the original recipe, and see the other yummy brittles that the bakers made.


marcella hazan's (super simple) tomato sauce

A tomato sauce with four ingredients.  You probably have all four in your house too.  I am not quite sure why I haven't tried this before, because I've read about this recipe several times this year on various blogs. Perhaps I thought it was too good to be true.  Impossibly easy and full of butter!  (As an aside, The 9-Year Old Bossy Literal Son was complaining to me that I should post only recipes with butter included in them, so I think he'll be happy with this one.)

For a basically no-prep tomato sauce, this is my go-to recipe now.  It does take 45 minutes to simmer, but that gives you oodles of time to tackle something on the never-ending to-do list.


halloween snack jar

The Piano Students are always looking to see what's in the candy bowl.  Music is good for the soul, and candy... I suppose I should be handing out flossers with this stuff.

I saw the idea on a blog and couldn't resist buying goods to fill up a snack jar. I found the cute label at Living Locurto.  Amy Locurto is a fantastic, generous graphic designer and has many free printables on her website.


thumbprint cookies {bwd}

I have sweet memories of my mom making Thumbprint Cookies with us when we were children. She would fill them raspberry and apricot jams after we jammed our thumbs into the dough. Having no recollection of what her recipe was, I looked forward to trying Dorie's and also seeing all the other bakers' cookies. I previously made one with almond paste, but otherwise haven't made a thumbprint in many, many years.

After perusing the recipe, I realized that this isn't a regular thumbprint. This is a pb&j thumbprint cookie. I then thought, "Why not double the peanut butter pleasure?"


toffee chips

I am smitten, so smitten with the Oatmeal Cookies I made the other day.  I raided my kids' stash; I couldn't stop eating them, and truth be told, I love the O/Toffee combo better than the O/Raisinet. How have I gone so long without that cookie?

So, I decided, it's time.  It's time I wean myself off of Heath Bits O'Brickle and make my own toffee chips. I, then, can happily and frugally subsist on Oatmeal Toffee cookies for the rest of my days.  Thankfully, it's really quite simple, though a little dangerous (you're dealing with 300º and don't want to get scalded. Just use a big enough pan.)


oatmeal raisinets cookie

A little damp, a bit gray, a smidgen sad... it's one of those fall days when I listen to Fauré's Requiem (hauntingly beautiful), curl up in a blanket with a cup of hot cocoa, and wish my fireplace worked properly.

It's also a day that calls out for an oatmeal cookie- warm, filling, soothing.

I like this recipe because it doesn't scream,"Oatmeal!" There is just enough to give it textural interest and to take it beyond a regular chocolate chip cookie dough. The Hubs referenced the cookie the other day, as I haven't baked it in over a year. The cookie is soft inside, but crisp around the edges. (If you prefer a crispy oatmeal cookie, take a look at this recipe.)



Meaning corks in french, these brownie-cakes are bites from chocolate heaven!

I first had one in 2004 at Thomas Keller's Bouchon Bakery in Yountville, California.

It was love at first bite—deep, intense chocolate flavor, moist interior, slightly soft center, and rich, rich, rich!
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