food porn, Uncategorized

Because Sometimes a Girl Needs a Bleeping Brownie

Confession: my life doesn’t seem too terribly hard, which is why I try to complain as little as possible to those dear ones who do actually listen.  But, I’ve had a little bit of a rough go for…oh, about the last three months.  There have been multiple times where I’ve wondered about declaring bankruptcy, quitting my job, and moving to the middle of the desert or the middle of the rain forest, maybe somewhere nice in the mountains.  I’ve fantasized about pulling an “Under the Tuscan Sun” lately, and I’ve considered a little efficiency in Paris.  I could get a job at a cafe anywhere in the world, if only I had the means to get me there.  The truth is, it’s because I feel stuck, and a bit trapped.  I’ve had this feeling before, just never for this duration.  I need to pick up and go somewhere, and maybe while I’m somewhere else, I’ll realize that I’m doing okay. Consciously I know I’m doing okay, but the restlessness, the inability to sleep in my own bed because it’s just too damn familiar, the being able to predict when my neighbor and her asshole kids will get home upstairs every. single. night. on the dot…. it’s getting to me.

I feel fat, I feel lazy, I feel like….why bother?  So, I’ve been making an effort.  I try to do my hair a little differently, I put on some makeup, I think about wearing my favorite black shirt to work even if I wore it the day before (who notices under the aprons, anyways?  They’re ALL black shirts under aprons!), I try a different flavor in my coffee at work.  All to try and break things up.  First world problems, right?

I have today and tomorrow off and I’ve promised myself I’ll do something spectacular, and now it’s snowing and sub-freezing temperatures.  And sickness is running rampant at work, people are dropping left and right with the stomach flu, and I’m having hot and cold spells.

Sometimes, there are certain things a girl just has to break down and do in order to get herself right again.  Sometimes those things are brownies, a pair of fat-pants, a cup of instant espresso (don’t you dare judge me), the Sims, and a new book.

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So, new book is on the desk while I type (The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt – review coming if I ever manage to pick it up), I put my instant espresso in my disappearing Cheshire Cat (from Alice in Wonderland, one of my favorite novels of whimsy and escaping one’s own world), I turned on the Sims 4, and I headed into the kitchen to see what kind of trouble I could get into.

And so I give you ….

Almond-Flour Fudge Brownies (Gluten Free and if the batter is any indication, I’m about to die and go to heaven).

Now, I don’t have to go gluten free, it’s not an allergy.  The recipe just looked fun, and easy, and every once in a while too much gluten plus dairy gives me a problem, and oh is there some dairy in this recipe – so it seemed like a good trade off, and I still had some almond flour to use up from my macarons.  Wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am, I have the makings for brownies just conveniently hiding in my cupboard, I threw them together and I was done.  The whole process took less than ten minutes of prep time, and now I’m just waiting for them to bake in my jankie oven.

Let me show you the Recipe, which I got from Food and Wine (again).

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (one stick), plus a little extra for greasing the pan unless you have pam
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (or whatever’s left over from the bag after going to town on them during binge-watching Netflix…someone please tell me that’s not just me)
  • 1 cup almond flour (again, finest grind you can find works the best)
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (oops, did I slip?  Four?  You see nothing).
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (or just … salt…)
  • 3 eggs (provided they aren’t dropped on the floor first…mom)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (unless you’re like me and then three).

And that’s it!  Simple.  All you need now is three bowls, one of them heat-proof, a 9×9 baking pan, and a small-ish sauce pan.

Step the first: Preheat yo shit.  350 degrees fahrenheit, unless your oven is as shitty as mine and then better do 365 to start.

Next, butter the ever-loving hell out of that 9×9 pan.

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If you don’t have a 9×9 pan (which I don’t, incidentally), use whatever is good for a small batch of brownie batter.  I’m using a rectangular class thing that was clean.  Because it was clean.

Now the fun part.  Put about an inch of water into that sauce pan I told you to grab, and put the heat-proof (preferably metal) bowl on top of it, but so it doesn’t touch the water.  Look at it for a second.   You now have a double-boiler.  You know, those fancy ass things people tell you to get on Food Network so you can melt chocolate and make fancy gooey things that shouldn’t take direct hot water or can stick if just heated in a normal pan?  You don’t need that shit in your life.  You have a bowl and a sauce pot, you have a double-boiler.  Make sure you turn the heat on, and throw the stick of butter and the chocolate chips in there together and let them get freaky.

While that’s happening (have a whisk handy, because once it gets going, it goes quickly), mix together your dry ingredients.  That includes flour, salt, and baking powder, along with your cocoa powder.  Give them a quick whisk to get them to cooperate, and set them aside, and you should have this:

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Mix together your eggs, sugar, and vanilla in a seperate bowl.  By that time your chocolate and butter should be pretty damn ready for a stir, so make sure you head over there and whisk until smooth and creamy, all velvety soft and smooth, and … I’m sorry, I had a moment there.

It should look like liquid heaven, like this:

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Now the hard part.  You have to let that cool for about five minutes, so take it off of the heat, take the bowl off of the pan, and let it sit somewhere safe where it won’t get knocked over for at least five minutes.  Now go stir your eggs and sugar that you forgot about.

Alright, once that chocolate mixture is cool-ish, you can stir it in with the eggs, sugar, and vanilla, until you have a pretty homogenous mixture.  Then, add in the dry ingredients, and whisk away until there are no lumps.

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Once that’s all done, pour your stuff into your greased pan (you did grease it, right?), and bake for 25 minutes (Or 45 minutes if it’s my oven) or until set where you can stick in a toothpick (read: chopsticks are perfectly acceptable as long as they’re wooden) and it comes out clean.

Now here’s my disclaimer: If, and only IF, your week has been as shit as mine has…use left over birthday cake sprinkles to decorate the top.  It’s magical, I promise, but…it’s a bit much.  But that’s what I found in my pantry, and I thought hey, that’s sweet and edible…it’s going on top.  Because I can.  So there.

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And there you have it.  I had a small 1-inch by 2-inch sliver already, while it was piping hot, and I have to say … I did a damn good job.  And I already feel just a tiny bit better.  More brownies!

 

Listening to: Ha Ha Tonka, Jon Bellion, and other alt-rock mellow stuff.

food porn, Uncategorized

Earl Grey Macarons with Nutella Filling

When I think of French Macarons and making them, the first thing that used to happen was that I’d have a panic attack (a minor one.  Okay, not a panic attack but something made my heart race and not in a good way).  Now … I’m not so scared.  Maybe it’s because this recipe is insanely easy, or maybe it’s just because my love for Nutella (no affiliation, they’re not paying me to love their product, I just do) overrides my fear of messing up a cookie.

I will admit, there is a certain amount of trial and error as far as under- and over-working the egg whites in any macaron.  That being said, they’re actually really tasty no matter what, but you might want to research that if you’re entering a baking competition.  I am not, therefore… I eat the cracked ones.  They taste just as good as the perfect looking ones, I promise.

Alright, so I promised some of you the actual recipe this time – I would like to make a disclaimer that this is not mine, I’m not being paid to represent the author of the recipe, the magazine that published it, or anything like that.  I feel okay reposting this because it’s right out there online, and if you have me on Facebook you will see it on my news feed from a couple days ago anyways. The following recipe is from Food and Wine.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large egg whites, at room temperature (Jen’s Note: this is important, they won’t whip up right otherwise!)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar (Jen’s Note: It’s in with the spices at your grocery store, not the sugar and flour)
  • Kosher salt (I hate it when recipes do this.  One, any salt will work; and , Two, it’s a pinch.  You use a pinch.  That can be anywhere from 1/4 teaspoon to 1/2 teaspoon.  Just tell me 1/4 teaspoon!)
  • 1/4 cup sugar (or however much you accidentally end up pouring into the bowl, and this is regular old granulated sugar)
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 3/4 cup almond flour (get the super-fine ground almond flour!)
  • 1 tablespoon Earl Grey Tea (about 3 tea bags)
  • 2/3 cup Nutella (plus more for eating while waiting for cookies to bake)

Now, a few notes.  Pick a tea that you like the taste of normally.  Don’t go out and pick up whatever Earl Grey there is right there in the grocery store that’s cheapest.  I work in a coffee shop, so I’m a bit froofie about my tea and coffee choices, I use Harney & Sons (No affiliation… just assume I’m not affiliated to any brand name products you see here in this blog, okay?).

IMG_20170303_140547872Before my discount, we sell 30-count tins of Earl Grey bags for about $11.  You don’t have to go that crazy (I stock up when we have coupons), but it is a very rich and fragrant tea taste with lots of floral notes that compliment this cookie very well.  How pretentious do I sound there?

Moving on, you also really do want to follow the directions carefully.  When they say “add sugar” they just mean the granulated….don’t pull a Jen and add both types of sugars and ruin your first batch.  Okay?

If you don’t have a stand mixer, a hand electric mixer will work just as well.  I use my kitchenaid for everything, though, and I recommend that if you’re going to do a lot of baking you save up for one (or something like it), because it makes this recipe SERIOUSLY easy, especially when whipping up the egg whites and sugar the right way.  I’d kill myself if I had to hand whip my egg whites to stiff peaks, that’s all I’m saying.

The steps are relatively straight-forward and simple to follow even if you’ve never made macarons before (which I hadn’t, before my first time making these).

The first thing you do is preheat your oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit.  You start off hotter than you’ll actually be cooking the delicious little devils for, because that helps form your crust on the cookie for that nice, delicate, crispy outer shell.  This is important, because otherwise you may as well just make chocolate chip cookies.  Mm.  Chocolate cookies… okay, sorry, back on task.

Line your baking trays with parchment paper – I have three huge-ass baking sheets with rims, and this recipe took two of them, so if you know your baking sheets are smaller, plan to use three or do a second batch of cookies.

While that’s prepped and ready to go (or not, if you’re me and you’re lazy and just preheating your oven right now, forget the cookie sheets), with your whisk attachment on whatever method you are using to do this craziness, beat together the two egg whites, cream of tartar, and a “pinch” (dammit!) of salt.  I have tiny fingers, I just used my measuring spoon from my cream of tartar.  Suck it, recipe gods.  You want to beat them on high until they start getting a little foamy.  What the &*$# do foamy egg whites look like?  This:

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Nobody ever taught me that.  I’ve never even seen that happen on the food network, but okay, whatever.  They’re frothing, apparently that does something.

Slowly add in your granulated sugar (or just accidentally drop the measuring cup full of sugar into the bowl of egg white froth like I do, and fish it out hoping nobody just saw that) while beating it all on high (please turn it off if you really do drop the measuring cup in, don’t be a hero, you’ll lose a finger.  NO, that’s NOT what happened to me, for future reference.  Thank you very much.  I’m a klutz, not stupid enough to disregard any hope for safety.).  Beat mixture on high until the egg whites “hold stiff, glossy peaks.”  What does that mean?  It should look like meringue – you should be able to take the end of your whisk and play with it like mousse or really high-quality bubble bath bubbles, and form little shapes in it.  It should have a shiny appearance, like those fancy pies that nobody really eats anymore. (note to self: consider making a pie with meringue for one of these).

Alright, once this has happened (and you’re done playing with it, you dork), grab a rubber spatula (mine is red with polka-dots, that’s my pastry spatula…yes, I have a dedicated pastry spatula.  Shut up).  You’re going to sift (if you don’t have a sifter, do NOT freak out.  I’ll tell you what to do in a sec) your confectioner’s sugar and flour over the egg whites.

Okay, let me grab another cup of coffee and settle in to tell you how to “sift” without an actual sifter.

So here’s what I did… you know those strainers you use for like…veggies and whatever?  Those wire mesh ones, not the ones with big holes in them, that’s what I used, and you can find them for dirt-cheap at any big box store.  You can, however, also use things like…a dry whisk.  The point here is to get NO clumps, and keep out as many over-sized particles from getting into the mix as possible, so that everything is smooth and silky, like freshly waxed legs.  …okay, maybe not, but you know what I mean.  Then, you pour in your earl grey.  I like to lightly grind or break up mine before I put it in – the brand I got uses pretty big tea leaves, and biting into a whole one may not be what people are expecting to do, so I kind of mush up the bag a little before I pour it in.

Next, just gently FOLD in all your dry ingredients.  Don’t stir.  Don’t shake.  Don’t whip, and definitely don’t beat in these things.  Just take that rubber spatula and GENTLY start pulling the egg whites up over the flour.  It will lose some volume naturally, yes, but the less you lose the better.  Work carefully until everything is well combined and there are no clumps of dry flour you can see.  Like this:

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Once that’s all taken care of, make sure to spoon your mixture into a pastry bag with a plain tip.  Ha!

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Okay…pastry bags are expensive.  Tips for pastry bags cost more money, sometimes, and it’s a freakin’ bag.  That you put food into.  Think about it a second there, what do you have lying around the house that does the same thing? Oh yeah!  Okay, so grab your freezer bag (use the big one, don’t be silly) and fill it up, getting it as close to one corner as possible.  Once the whole mixture is in there, it’ll look like the picture above.

Now, if you haven’t lined your baking sheets yet, this is the time to do it … well, this is when I did it.  Why do you have to use parchment paper for this recipe?  Because you need these cookies to come off with minimal effort, and the oil or butter from greasing the tray can mess with the bake on the cookies.  So just go get some parchment from the dollar store and throw some of it on your baking trays.  Trust me on this one.

You may ask, “But Jen, how am I supposed to make these cute, little, perfectly round macaron like they sell at the store when I just shoved all my batter into a ziploc baggie that I now can’t get it out of?”

Easy.  Snip that corner you just shoved it all into.  I like a smaller corner for more control, but if you feel bold enough to, go ahead and make a 1″ hole in that bag, nobody cares.  Nobody can see what you do in your kitchen but you.  Voila!  That is your pastry bag with plain tip, right there.  Now, hold the bag over your parchment-lined-sheets, and gently squeeze (from the top – it’s not a tube of toothpaste, actually squeeze from one end to the other so you get all your batter out eventually, okay?).  You want 1″ to 1 1/2″  rounds, so to do this you just swirl a little while you’re squeezing out your batter.  It may have a little peak on top, don’t worry about that until you have all your batter squeezed out into little cookie shapes like this:

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So, if you want a smooth macaron (if yours aren’t perfect, again, I’m not going to be the one to call the baking police on you, don’t worry) instead of that little point on top, here’s what you can do.  Get a tiny amount of cool water on your finger and gently (VERY GENTLY) tap the top of your macaron until it looks smoother.  Then, when it bakes up, those little points will go away completely and you’ll have a nice end result.

Now for the third-best part.  Yes, this is only the third best part.  Start baking.  Okay, so as soon as you throw these puppies into the oven, turn your oven temp down to 325 degrees fahrenheit.  This is so they don’t burn.  Another note: You don’t really want these browning, you really just want them to get a little solid on top, so just bake until firm – they won’t look done, but reach in and just very gently tap.  If you can’t squish them easily, they’re done.  This takes about 10-12 minutes, unless you have an oven with bipolar disorder, like mine, in which case it can really be anywhere between 8 and 15 minutes to get to where they don’t smoosh.

Here’s the hardest part: you have to wait for them to completely cool now!  It’s my least favorite part, I’m not going to lie.  I’m all about that instant gratification cookie, but you can’t do that with these.  They have to set.  At room temperature, so don’t even think about that refrigerator, do you hear me?  Once they cool down appropriately, you can gently peel them off the parchment paper – now this is why you want the parchment paper: even cooled and hardened, these cookies are insanely delicate.  You can just put your finger through one without even trying (which usually ends up with me going “oh, darn, I have to eat this one myself now, the horror!”).  So GENTLY peel them off the paper.

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Grab that nutella, baby, and have your way with those cookies.

That is to say, spread a thin layer on the flat side of one cookie and gently sandwich another on top of it.  They will look similar to this when you’re done:

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Can I be honest with you for a moment here?  You should probably try out your first one.  You know.  To make sure they baked properly and taste good.  Go ahead.  Do it.  DO IT.

And that’s that.  Lather, rinse, repeat, and you’ll have your own little army of tiny, delicious sandwich cookies to march across your counter and into your mouth.

What I liked most about this recipe was its ease and accessibility, not to mention it has Nutella and Earl Grey in the title, two of my favorite things in the whole wide world.  So many times, I’ve clicked on a recipe link, looked at the ingredients, and gone “Ha!  Yeah.  Freaking.  Right.  There’s no way I’m going to find that ingredient outside of New York or Los Angeles, this is the midwest, we don’t have that anywhere” or “that takes FIVE HOURS?!?  Are you kidding me?  This is a joke, tell me this is a joke please.  Please.  This isn’t a joke?  This is a JOKE.”  I mean I made these right on the first (second … I put my powdered sugar in with the granulated thinking they meant both sugars the first time) try.  Yes, some of them cracked during baking and cooling, but I’m not a professional baker and I’m not selling these for money.

Even without Nutella, these earl grey cookies are flipping amazing.  They have just the right amount of sweet to really make that tea taste pop in the right ways on my palate.  With the Nutella, something you’d never think would go with them, they go up to a whole new level.  I thought it might be weird, but it’s actually a nice compliment to the spiciness of the tea with all that creamy chocolate and hazelnut flavor.

I like to eat mine with coffee.  Yes, I know how weird that sounds, but they go great.

So go get you some tea and some eggs and whip these up in a hurry!  They’re totally worth it.  Just … don’t eat them before right bed, they’re caffeinated.

food porn, Uncategorized

Blueberry Almond Coffee Cake

Yes.  Blueberry.  Almond.  Coffee.  Cake.  Or, why I’m so bleeping fat this month.

Some of you may have seen the food porn photos of this one up on my FaceBook page over the last couple of weeks.  Yes.  It’s that one.  At long last.

Here’s the back story to this one.  I found a baking magazine that I absolutely adore.  It’s a monthly publication that we sell at my work, simply titled Bake From Scratch.  It’s like my food soul mate.  It’s like they knew that I wanted new pastry recipes because I’m not as well-versed in baking as I am with cooking, and I wanted to change that.  It’s like they knew I love coffee, and coffee cake, and recipes that aren’t the same old boring thing.

This magazine is, simply put, my baking kryptonite.  It speaks to my little foodie heart.

In one issue, they focused entirely on different variations on cinnamon rolls.  In another, s’mores.  Including a s’more’s cake, and cinnamon roll topped apple pie.  Yeah.  It’s nuts!

So, depending on how much money I have for food each week, I go for trying a new recipe here and there.  Well this one I had to try multiple times, it was so good.

And I would like to let you guys know that I had every intention of bringing in a cake to work for everyone … but my mom ate it …. No, seriously, she ate most of the second one that I had forgotten about, and when I went to bring it into work there was a tiny sliver saved for me.  Two pieces, that’s all I got out of that coffee cake.  Two.  I love you mom, but TWO PIECES?!?

To be fair, she had been the one who’d asked for it.  Next time, I’m just going to have to make two cakes and leave one at home as a decoy while I take half of the other one to my chiropractor (who might have also been promised a slice that was no longer there by the time I got to it) and the other half to work.  We will see.

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So, I don’t know copyright laws … so I’m not, I’m sorry to say, going to post the actual recipe here, but I will tell you about my process of making it.  I just don’t want to get sued, since it’s not my property…I’m kind of broke, so pissing off a publisher might not be a good idea. So, instead, I will link you all to Bake From Scratch Magazine, and just say that…well…don’t look at their website while hungry.  If you want the actual recipe, you can buy the magazine, or if you know me in person I will lend you my copy.  If I get it back and can’t read it because you’ve drooled on it too much, I will be insanely pissed off.

I will tell you, it’s actually a fairly straight-forward, easy recipe.  You make a topping, you make a batter, you layer in blueberries so that when they bake up they get plump and pop in your mouth when you bite into the cake.  It’s like a blueberry orgy… I’m not ashamed of that sentence.  And the crumble topping, with the almonds that get all toasty and buttery.  Okay, I’m drooling on my keyboard.

So I’ve had mixed results with things like cookie recipes from weird magazines in the past, so with this recipe I followed it to a tee to make sure I wasn’t messing anything up.  You start with the crumble topping.  There’s surprisingly less sugar in it than you imagine (though still a decent amount, I just know I made about three times as much for my last apple pie than I did for this cake).  You mix softened butter and sugar until it’s crumbly as sin, then you add the almonds (otherwise the almonds get under your fingernails while you’re crumbling the sugar and that’s just no fun later…although it still tastes good).

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Then you make the batter for the cake.  I use two different kinds of AP (all-purpose for you non-foodies) flour, when I’m mixing my dry ingredients together in my bowl.  I use regular unbleached white, a good general thing to have on hand (and all they say to use in the recipe), but since I was raised with whole wheat flour, I also keep some unbleached wheat on hand.  For this I was brazen enough to use a 50/50 mix because the sugar and the blueberries were enough to override the wheat taste.  But you don’t just use AP flour, not for this recipe.  There’s also some almond flour, which gives the cake flavor as well as a different texture.  If you’re trying this at home, go for the super-fine grind on your almond flour – it makes a world of difference.  Otherwise it’s just like almond meal, and then you get an even crumblier biscuit-like texture that I’m not terribly fond of.  Add in your salt and your baking powder, and you’re good to go with the dry.

You know how they always say “cream” your butter in with your sugar?  They mean it.  The creamier you get that butter-sugar mixture, the better and fluffier the cake will be.  As soon as everything is light and fluffy, you throw in your eggs, your vanilla and almond extracts, and then lower the speed on your mixer.

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Here’s the tricky part.  You add in half your dry, then all of your milk, then the second half of your dry ingredients.  I usually end up dropping the bowl of the dry ingredients halfway through pulling it out of there, so be careful.

Maybe the most surprising thing to me, a beginning baker with not much experience other than Martha Stewart cookie recipes, was the next ingredient: Sour Cream.  I know, I know…sour cream in a sweet cake recipe?  Well, yeah, it kind of makes sense.  It balances the flavor a little (I mean you have all that sugar and almond in there), but more than that it actually helps the texture of the whole thing, it makes it nice and creamy, so that when you get a bite in your mouth it just kind of …. melts.

Alright, so you’ve got your batter, and it’s all wet and sticky and amazing.  You have your baking dish (hopefully you’ve oiled/buttered and floured that sucker, otherwise this is going to be one hell of a mess).  Now I need you to hold yourself back a bit…rein it in!  You only want to pour HALF of the batter in at first.  What?  Jen, you’re nuts, half?  You want us to have half a cake?

No, my friends.  I want you to have this….

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Yes, that’s a full layer of blueberries right there in the middle of my baking dish.  You take all but about two handfuls of your blueberries and actually make a middle layer for your cake.  I was snacking on my blueberries while waiting for my butter to soften, so the photo above may be a little bit more sparse than the first round of coffee cake I made, but it still gets the point across.

Then the other half of your batter (see, told you it would be worth it!), and then you top it with the two handfuls of blueberries you reserved (unless you ate them while waiting….maybe get two containers of blueberries next time).

But wait, there’s more!

Don’t forget your crumble topping!  That’s like…the best part.  Aside from the blueberries.

Then you wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am it in the oven (350f – ish for 55 minutes, unless you have MY oven and then it’s 365 for 65 minutes), make sure you can stick it with a wooden tester stick (aka chopstick, in my house) and nothing gooey seeps out with it, and you’re good to go.

And I do mean good.

Yeah, baby.  That just happened.

Sorry, I’m getting all excited about it again and I don’t even have enough ingredients to make it again here at home.  Talk about being blue-berried.  Hashtag Food Porn, hashtag I warned you.

Now close your mouth, you’re drooling.

I’m going to wax on a bit about the boring stuff before I get to the reflection exercise, here.  There’s something so satisfying about knowing that every recipe I’ve tried from these magazines has actually worked out.  I’ve done other magazines with so-so results, as I said before – they’re not strictly baking magazines, it’s been like … basically what I consider housewife magazines, which, no offense to housewives, don’t always include recipes that work for everyone (or sometimes anyone, I mean they just throw a recipe in there without seeming like they’ve tested it, and it either tastes horrible or is a complete failure – granted, not every single one is bad, it just seems like it’s a bit of a gamble, and, well, have you seen the price of baking ingredients lately?  I have… not a single one of them is something I want to waste).  And I’ve tried websites that were supposedly by “cooks” that have “great reputations,” and let’s just say one little lady’s house on the prairie (I won’t name names) had a scone recipe that fell flat.  Like, literally – someone messed up a quantity for the wet ingredients and my scones slipped right off my baking sheet and had to be mopped up, they were straight liquid.  But this Bake From Scratch magazine (again, they’re not paying me to say this, this is strictly my opinion … if you want to pay me to say it there’s a link on the contact page!) is one that you can totally tell is made by bakers for bakers.  They actually test their recipes before putting them out – at least, they have with the ones that I’ve decided to try at home.

The magazine is a little more money than I usually spend on things like that, but it has been honestly worth every penny I put into buying ingredients for those things that I’ve made out of the two issues I have.  With this recipe, they’ve made a lifelong friend in me.

I may not be the best baker in the world (oh, god, so far from it), but something about being able to take a recipe and NOT screw it up just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  It makes all of the effort, the hope, and such, and turns it into something tangible – this isn’t an hour and a half of my time wasted.  Something about baking, and having a good end result from it, just takes all of the crap of the day from off my shoulders, and knowing that there was at least one thing I didn’t screw up in a day that I can actually taste (literally) can make a world of difference.  It’s like, while I’m making this recipe next time, I’ll be sure to have fond memories and a sense of hope for what’s to come, and for me that means a lot.  Even if it’s just coffee cake.  It may seem silly to some people, but knowing that my effort won’t go to waste or go unappreciated is a serious load off.  Those blueberries turn into little bombs of joy, and the almonds that get all toasty on the top are like warm friends greeting me … okay, even as I typed that I rolled my eyes at myself, but you guys…you know what good food made from the heart does to people.  That’s what this recipe represents to me.  I hope you guys get it, try it, and enjoy it as much as I did.