Cookie of the Month: Shooting for the stars

The Fourth of July has always had even my reclusive nature upended, getting into the spirit of potlucks and family or community gatherings. For the last several years, I’ve trotted out some dessert recipes with Independence Day flair and ventured out of my house for a neighborhood potluck, resplendently held in the beautiful . . . → Read More: Cookie of the Month: Shooting for the stars

Scone of the Month: Topping blueberries with streusel

Give me coffeecake — or anything streusel — if I’m given a choice of cakes. Granted, I don’t usually make coffeecake as my birthday cake (it’s not “festive” enough), but if there was only one cake I could have, that would be it.

Buttery vanilla cake, laced with layers of cinnamon-y filling . . . → Read More: Scone of the Month: Topping blueberries with streusel

Cookie of the Month: Calming up shortbread

Shortbread is pretty much my favorite cookie. Just a few ingredients (usually a basic blend of butter, sugar flour and salt), it’s easy to make and despite its simplicity, rewards with rich flavor and isn’t too terribly sweet. It’s virtually fail-proof, too. I’d say over-baking is the biggest risk to good shortbread, which . . . → Read More: Cookie of the Month: Calming up shortbread

Scone of the Month: Dreaming of (straw)berries and cream

Sometimes I make scones for special occasions. Sometimes the scones — and their accompaniments — are special occasions. The month of May, as well as a good dose of “Downton Abbey,” had kept teatime heavily on my mind and on my radar, although I’m never very far from scones and related recipes.

Sometimes . . . → Read More: Scone of the Month: Dreaming of (straw)berries and cream

Riffing on a mother’s love for rhubarb

Of all the things my mother loved, high on her list was (of all things!)  rhubarb. She grew the stuff herself ( of course), and the huge plants seemed to inhabit a planetary space of their own in the garden. The long pinkish-red stalks, the dark-green, flouncing elephant ear-sized leaves, seemed to . . . → Read More: Riffing on a mother’s love for rhubarb

Cookie of the Month: Dusting up celebratory tradition

I never needed a wedding (or any special occasion) to enjoy a Mexican wedding cookie. Just eating one of these buttery little orbs, its crumbly texture dusted with the cooling sweetness of confectioner’s sugar, was cause alone for celebration.

Long a fan of this cookie, a tradition in Mexico (and other places) at . . . → Read More: Cookie of the Month: Dusting up celebratory tradition

Cookie of the Month: ‘Testing’ chocolate chip recipes

I’m pretty sure my baking life began with chocolate chip cookies. They (and their M&M variation) are the first I remember my mom making, my sister and I lying on the kitchen linoleum to take in that distinctive warm, vanilla-toffee aroma as my mother fanned the giant cookie sheet back and forth to . . . → Read More: Cookie of the Month: ‘Testing’ chocolate chip recipes

Scone of the Month: Sensing the way with lemons, thyme

I wrote recently of an inspiring book documenting a year in an Irish garden. Between it, the current stay-at-home orders and my own spring fever, I’ve been spending more time out back, with my trees and plants, in a bleary-eyed, sun-induced kind of green-fogged nature dream. In my meditative times amid my plants . . . → Read More: Scone of the Month: Sensing the way with lemons, thyme

Scone of the Month: Sheltering with whole wheat, ‘nutty’ oats

Earlier this month, I celebrated Ireland through a molasses biscuit/cookie recipe I found in “The Little Irish Baking Book” (St. Martin’s Press; 1995), a charming work by the late Ruth Isabel Ross. 

Sometimes you fall under the spell of someone at the right time. Though I’d had Ross’s cookbook for a few years . . . → Read More: Scone of the Month: Sheltering with whole wheat, ‘nutty’ oats

Paying cabbage its due

On the list (which is long) of vegetables that are underrated, we come to one with whom I’ve had a long relationship. The lowly cabbage, the stuff of children’s stories and children’s toys, the butt of many a “bubble-and-squeak” joke, the bad guy (growing up) for many years merely boiled to bulk up . . . → Read More: Paying cabbage its due