Thursday, December 24, 2009

And to All a Good Night

On this Christmas Eve I find myself on the Space Coast of Florida sleeping on the fold out couch in my parent's RV.

The folks are sans grandkids this year as they hosted Christmas last year and theother sets of Grandparents get to do the honors. My Dad is already sick of Northern Michigan's winter so they headed south to celebrate the season.

I drove down from Connecticut on Tuesday afternoon with a brief overnight stay in Bristol, TN and tonight find myself helping my mother finish with the prep work for tomorrow's dinner. We will be joining my mother's sister and her family in West Palm Beach for Christmas Day. It will be the first time in fifteen years we have been with my aunt at Christmastime. We will be small gathering but festive.

Later tonight my Mom and I will go to Midnight Mass where we will celebrate the birth of Christ with our other family.
When we retum to the RV, we will exchange gifts, drink eggnog with rum and nutmeg, and sing Christmas carols (Let that be warning to the nice people fron Pittsburg who own the RV pad next to my folks!) before we crash in bed.

So, tonight on this most holy of nights no matter where you are, may you find comfort and joy and be surrounded by those you love.

Merry Christmas To All and To All a Good Night.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Holiday Baking with Domino Sugar

A few weeks ago, the fine folks at C&H/Domino Sugar asked if I would be interested in participating in a holiday baking promotion in exchange for a $20 gift card to offset some of the costs and blog about my Christmas goodies baked with their sugar.

Domino Sugar for C&H/Domino Sugar Blog Holiday promotion

I accepted not only becauseI use their confectioners sugar. dark brown sugar, and super fine sugar when I bake but also because I find the quality to be superior to the store brands. However I admit, I buy store brand light brown sugar and granulated sugar as often as I buy Domino and figured this would be a good time to put the store bought light brown and granulated sugar head to head with the Domino.

I started my baking a few weeks ago before my month long business trips to LA, Las Vegas, Houston, and Charlotte and with yesterday's blizzard here in Connecticut, I hunkered down and baked late into last night finishing up today.

My final package going into the office tomorrow includes Chocolate English Walnut and Chocolate Amaretto fudge, Gingersnap cookies (made with candied ginger), No Bake Cookies, Spritz Cookies, Orange Spiced Shortbread, Mini Chocolate Chip Tea Balls, Chocolate Hazelnut Toffee Bars, White Chocolate Covered Pretzels,

My 09 Xmas Goodies for the Office

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cup Bars, Cranberry Orange Bread, and a loaf of my Grandmother's Rum Soaked Fruitcake.

Family Recipe Fruit Cake

All the goodies mentioned above with the exception of the covered pretzels were made with sugar from Domino and I have to say I did find that the granulated sugar from Domino's was better than the store brand I usually use. I didn't have to break up clumps of sugar with a fork before adding it to my sweets like I normally do. The Domino sugar also caramelized more evenly than the store brand when I made the base for the toffee bars.

Thanks Domino for asking me to participate and you know, it isn't too late for you to put together an incredible tray of goodies for friends and neighbors. You can visit the C&H/Domino website here and get some fantastic ideas for Holiday gifts and goodies.

Also, don't forget that Menu for Hope VI is in full swing! This year we are supporting the World Food Program's Purchase for Progress. I'm offering two bid items this year: a choice of a small box of LA Burdick's mice or penguins (UE08) or a Day of Breadmaking with me (UE09). You can go to the Menu for Hope VI bidding page at Firstgiving to show your support for this worthy cause.

Mini Chocolate Chip Tea Balls
Makes 5 dozen

1 1/2 cups butter, room temperature
3/4 cup confectioners sugar, sifted
1 Tbsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups AP flour
1/2 cup finely chopped nuts (I use pecans but walnuts and hazelnuts work really well too)
2 cups mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Beat butter until fluffy (about 2 - 3 minutes in a stand mixer). Stir in sugar, salt, and vanilla until combined. Gradually add in flour, nuts and chocolate chips.

Shape dough into 1 1/2 tsp balls and place on ungreased baking sheets.

Bake for 10 - 12 minutes until cookies just start to turn golden brown. Cool on racks.

Store for up to one week in sealed container or freeze.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Menu for Hope VI: Purchase for Progress

It is that time of the year again when food bloggers from the world over unite to participate in Chez Pim's Menu for Hope raffle to support the World Food Programme. This year the proceeds from your bids will go to support the Purchase for Progress program.

MOH Purchase for Progress

The Purchase for Progress program connects small local farmers with the World Food Programme by using the farmers to provide the foodstuffs the WFP uses in the regions they support. Not only does this mean that the small farmers benefit by getting a fair market value for their crops but the WFP benefits by having reliable supplies that are easy to distribute.

This will be the sixth year I've participated in the Menu for Hope and once again I'm offering two wonderful items for bid in the Menu for Hope: LA Burdick Chocolate Mice or Penguins (winner chooses) and a Day of Bread Making with Breadchick.

Item UE 08: Small Box LA Burdick Chocolate Mice or Penguins

I've offered a small box of mice every year and this year decided to make it a choice between the adorable mice

Menu For Hope V Prize: Burdick's Mice

and the absolutely too cute for words penguins.

MOH Penguins

These are the signature chocolates of one of the best chocolatiers in the United States, Larry Burdick.

The mice are in three flavors: dark with orange interior, milk with mocha interior, and white with cinnamon interior. Each mouse comes decorated with an adorable face and pretty silk ribbon tail. Each penguin is a ganache of dark chocolate and lemon, with almond arms, dressed in a dark chocolate and white chocolate tuxedo.

Sorry, due to the nature of the product, shipping for this bid item will be only to bidders in the USA.

Item UE 09: Day of Bread Making with Breadchick:

Menu for Hope V Prize: Day of Bread Baking with Breadchick

This is the third year I've offered this prize and I have to say I'm not sure who had more fun the past two years, the winner of the bid or myself.

This is an "in your home" day long lesson on making bread completely by hand for the winner and up to three of their friends or family. I will come to the winner's house on a weekend day and teach them to make bread the old fashioned way, completely by hand (no mixer, no bread machine).

The winner will learn all about how to have success with bread and yeast in their home and learn techniques like proofing yeast, kneading, and how do you know you will have bread and not a "hockey puck".

We will make two loaves: basic white or whole wheat and one specialty bread like cinnamon rolls, Challah, or whole grain. Along the way, I'll answer any questions about bread, different techniques for making bread and we'll have a "show and tell" about ingredients.

The winner will also get a home bread making kit that includes my preferred loaf pan, yeast, King Arthur flour and recipes for the breads we make with step by step instructions. This is the perfect prize for the person who is terrified of yeast and making bread by hand but always wanted to try.

Unfortunately, unless the winner is willing to pay my travel costs, this bid item is only offered to folks living in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Eastern Pennsylvania and the greater NYC area.

This year, my fabulously talented friend Helene of Tartlette fame is the hostess for the Eastern US Menu for Hope. If you want to see some other wonderful bid offerings from my fellow east coast food bloggers, visit her Menu for Hope listings. Or you can visit Chez Pim's page for a full listing of all the items for bid world wide.

If you want to bid on my two items (and you know you do!) or any of the other wonderful items you see on either Helene's or Chez Pim's pages, all you have to do is visit the First Giving Menu for Hope VI page

Here's what you need to do:
1. Choose a bid item (UE08 for the Burdick Chocolates or UE09 for the Day of Bread Making with Breadchick) or bid items of your choice from our Menu for Hope main bid item list.

2. Go to the donation site at Firstgiving and make a donation. Each chance for the bid item is $10 again this year.

3. Please specify which bid item you'd like in the 'Personal Message' section in the donation form when confirming your donation. You must write-in how many tickets per bid item, and please use the bid item code. (Don't forget UE08 = Chocolate Mice or Penguins, UE09 = Me in your kitchen helping you make bread!)

Each $10 you donate will give you one raffle ticket toward a bid item of your choice. For example, a donation of $50 can be 2 tickets for UE08 and 3 tickets for UE09 - 2xUE08, 3xUE09.

4. If your company matches your charity donation, please check the box and fill in the information so we could claim the corporate match.

5. Please, please, PLEASE check the box to allow us to see your email address so that we can contact you in case you win. Your email address will not be shared with anyone.

Check back on Chez Pim on Monday, January 18 for the results of Menu for Hope bids.

Now go get clicking over at First Giving and bid!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Weekend Cat Blogging Replay

I'm hosting Weekend Cat Blogging this weekend again because Mom isn't here to help.

Mom is stuck at the airport in Atlanta because stupid Delta Airlines made her miss her connection because they didn't have the gate for her airplane ready and they made her sit on the tarmac of the airport for over 50 minutes while there were other empty gates. She was madder than a wet cat I tell you. And I know something about being a wet cat!


Since Mom hasn't been home to take any new pictures of me and it is getting really close to Christmas, I decided to post two of my favorite pictures of me at Christmas time.

The first one was of me in a box that some Christmas presents came in one year.

WCB Replay

Mom put the box on Dad and her's bed and I decided to hop right into it. It was a good spot to hide and pounce on clean laundry.

The other was taken the first year I came to live with Mom. She got me a cat nip mouse for Christmas and I had to snoop before Christmas and got my head stuck in the bag hiding the cat nip mouse.

WCB Replay 2

I knew I never wanted to be a Tom Cat again when she let me keep the mouse.

If you want to show us what you are doing to get ready for the Holiday season or just want to join us for Weekend Cat Blogging, leave a link in our comments! Check back on Sunday evening to see all the fun pictures of kitties.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Let the Baking Begin...

Tomorrow will be the big Holiday baking day here at the Sour Dough and considering the rest of my month's travel schedule, I better make the most of it too!

Judging from the pile of baking supplies on top of my wine cart

2009 Holiday Baking Supplies

I'd say I have a long day ahead of me.

I'm still on west coast time, so prepping for the day of baking isn't too bad and I've got the PGA Q-School on the Golf Channel (volume turned down) and the Time Life Treasury of Christmas Collection to keep my company.

I've already got the candied and dried fruit for my special fruit cake all chopped up and macerating in rum.

Fruit Mixture for My Fruit Cake

I've cleaned out the bottom and half of the top shelf of my fridge to handle the containers of finished baked goods

Making Room in Fridge for Holiday Baking

and now two rolls of refrigerator cookie dough are resting comfortably under a half hotel pan with a large sourdough ciabatta has joined the cookies for a long winter's overnight rest.

I was in Vegas for the last half of the week. It came on the heels of my Santa Monica/LA trip of the first half of the week. I ate at two of my favorite restaurants in both places, Cafe Del Rey in Santa Monica and Craftsteak in the MGM Grand in Vegas.

I've been eating at Cafe Del Rey for almost thirteen years and blogged about my meals there before. Craftsteak is a newer "must go to when in town" restaurant for me but I never fail to have a fantastic albeit expensive steak there and they make the best Sidecar I've ever had outside of the Algonquin.

But, what saved me in Vegas wasn't the Sidecar and the steak but rather my Brisk Brew.

zelco brisk brew

You see, Vegas hotel rooms don't have coffee makers in them because they want you to have to go down to the hotel deli/coffee shop at 5am and drop some coins in a slot machines on the way to get your caffeine fix.

I love my Brisk Brew for making coffee, tea, and even instant soup. I can't tell you the number of times even delayed in an airport after all the shops have closed that this little gadget has saved my life (and that of some fellow travelers). Unfortunately, Zelco has discontinued the product. The Voltage Valet looks to be a close replacement and is priced about the same as I paid for my Brisk Brew.

What is on my baking list for tomorrow besides fruitcake?

Iced Lime Refrigerator Cookies
Vanilla and Chocolate Checkerboards
Rum Balls made with homemade shortbread
Cutout Cookies
No Bake Cookies
Raspberry Linzer cookies

and if I have time, white chocolate dipped pretzels.

A good old fashioned Christmas goodie package if I say so myself.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Words About Stuff

Look! It's typing here.

And LB isn't responsible either.

I've been traveling quite a bit for business. I'm not sure if that means the economy is getting better or that my projects are just all on the same time path. Whichever it has kept me from home, this blog, and most importantly baking bread. I'd like to say this post means a return to baking bread and other treats and delights but unfortunately my travel schedule is only going to get more hectic for the rest of year.

Starting tomorrow, November 30, I'm back in LA for a few days and then onto Las Vegas until the end of the week. I'm home for the weekend but off to Philly for Monday and then Wednesday I fly to Houston where, if everything goes right, along with some business I'm going to get a chance to spend some time in the kitchen with a very special person. After Houston, it is Boston for the weekend and then off to Charlotte, NC to work on a huge sporting venue for the week. By the time I get home on the 18th of December, I will have only one weekend to get ready for the holidays.

The good news of all that travel?

This year's Christmas presents are going to be bought in airports around the country. Also, you may have noticed that some of the cities on my itinerary are some fine eating cities. The added bonus is they are also some of the best golfing cities in the country. So, I'll be traveling with not only my job folders but armed with a list of golf courses I and good restaurants a girl can enjoy a fine scotch and steak in after nine.

Speaking of Christmas presents, I came home from Thanksgiving in Bristol, TN to find a package waiting for me. I opened it find my brother and his wife had sent me a fantastic set of melodramas and romances from the late 50's and early 60's.


They know I love old movies and have a special place in my collection for those fanatastic Technicolor and Cinemascope movies that feature the sets, costumes and of course some wonderful performances by not only well known stars but some of the most overlooked actors of the 20th Century like Barbara Stanwyck, Jane Wyman, Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Rock Hudson, Hope Lange, Cary Grant, and the dreamy Jeff Chandler. I can't wait for the first really snowy day to make a huge pot of soup, bake some bread, and fire up the DVD player.

There will be some cooking going on this weekend. Look at what I stopped at the fishmonger and picked up this morning on my way back from the gym.


Aren't those two lovely filets of wild Pacific salmon? I'm going to ban sear them and make a nice salad for dinner later tonight. But first I have to finish getting ready for this week's travel and if I have time, go catch up on the Sunday NYT that have piled up and since the sun is shining maybe even go hit a bucket of balls at the driving range.

Oh, and then there is finish packing. As you can see


LB thinks he should be packed to come along for this trip. I wish as I miss his furry little face while I'm gone.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Giving a Little to Those Without While We Give Thanks

Tomorrow will be one of the busiest days in grocery stores and supermarkets across America as we Americans each make that big trip to purchase items for Thanksgiving dinner which is upcoming this Thursday, November 26.

Yet, even as some of us prepare for a biggest food holiday in the land and monumental feast to be enjoyed and shared with our families and friends, almost 50 million fellow American's will be going hungry or be facing a shortage of food on Thursday.

At the same time, because of the economic situation, the food banks, charitable organizations that provide emergency food services and the soup kitchens of America are facing the largest shortage of funds and supplies while at the same time serving more people than in the last fifty years.

To help feed those less fortunate than myself, tomorrow when I go to the store to pick up the items I need to bake the desserts for Thanksgiving, I will be purchasing a few extra cans and boxes of non perishable food stuffs to give to my local food bank. I'm asking all my readers to do the same.

It doesn't have to be a lot, a can of vegetables or fruit or a box of instant potatoes or powdered milk; what ever you feel you can afford. Then put it in the box for the local food bank that most grocery stores have at the check out during this time of the year.

If your local store doesn't have a box or you want to volunteer at a local food bank or soup kitchen for those less fortunate, you can visit either Share Our Strength or Feeding America to find a local food bank or contact a church or the local social services department to find a soup kitchen to volunteer to serve meals or help deliver meals.

After all, Thanksgiving doesn't stop at the front door and we all have so much to be thankful for this year and so much to share.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Remember When I Said I Would Be Home...

I lied.

Well, I didn't lie. My boss lied to me. I'm sitting here right now after packing for a one day/one night trip to New Orleans. Flight leaves at 5:55am tomorrow and I will be on our job site by 11am.

Good news?

I'm going to New Orleans, the Disneyland of food.

It will be the first trip I've made back to the Big Easy since Hurricane Katrina. I can't wait to have my Po'Boy at Serio's and then my dinner at this place near the Garden District that I can never remember the name of but the bar is filled with boxing memorabilia (I tell the cab driver that and they always seem to find the place) that has the best bbq shrimp I've ever had.

Bad news?

I'm going to miss the Po'Boy Preservation Festival by one week.

May have to do my duty and bring a few home. If you are on NW2196 on Friday, I'm the lady who checked her computer bag so she could bring the cooler of shrimp and crawfish Po'Boys on as carry on.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Bread Baking Babes: Brioche Mousseline and Buddy Time

BBB logo november 2009

Step away folks, nothing to see here.


I'm back in town for a whole week! Yes, a whole goll darn week. Can you believe it?!

I can't but I promise the Bread Baking Babes I'm going to put it to good use because this month's bread, to paraphrase a line from one of my favorite chick flicks "Pretty Woman", has potential.

If you know that movie then you know which scene I'm talking about and when you see the and well shaped Brioche Mousseline our host kitchen, Monique of Living on Bread and Water and the other Babes listed over there on the sidebar created, you will understand exactly why I picked that scene.

Anyways, today is posting day and because of my travel schedule I haven't had a chance to bake the bread. So, I'm going to be a Buddy this month and do my level headed best to bake it this week.

If you want to join me as a Buddy this go around, all you have to do is bake the Brioche Mousseline, post about it on your blog, and email Monique with a picture and/or a link to your post by November 23rd.

Bet this bread would make fantastic rolls for Thanksgiving or even Christmas, because Monique says it freezes beautifully.

Brioche Mousseline
from Bernard Clayton Jr's "The Breads of France"

Ingredients :For 2 tall loaves
1 package of dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 cup all purpose flour

4 cups all purpose
6 eggs, room temp.
4 Tbsp warm water
3 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
12 ounces butter , unsalted , room temp.

Dress up the cans by encircling the cans with paper(buttered if needed )as a collar.
Butter the inside of the can or , better , line in with paper.

Starter ( takes 10 minutes and 2 hours )
Dissolve yeast in water and set aside for a few minutes until creamy.Stir in flour and knead for about 3 minutes until shaggy loaf of dough. Cover with plastic and let rest for 2 hours.
In mean time prepare rest of dough :Start with 2 cups of flour , 4 eggs (stir in one at the time), 2 table sp. water ,sugar , salt and blend it all.
Knead butter (on a lenght of wax paper) soft and pliable with a doughscraper or spatula.Blend in batter.Than add remaining 2 eggs and spoons of water.Stir in rest of flour , 1/2 cup at the time until the dough is a soft ball.Press into oval on your flowered work surface , place starter in the center and fold over the edges and knead to incorporate the withe starter dough with the yellow egg and butter dough. Knead for about 8 minutes. The dough stays a little sticky but will become firm after cooling in the fridge if that will help you kneading.

First rise 3 hours
At room temp. covered wth plastic wrap, until more thsn double.It becomes light and puffy.

Refrigeration 2 hours or overnight
For at lest 2 hours in the fridge. Overnight is also possible but it will need a longer rise in the mold later on.

Fill the coffecan for 2/3 and allow to rise.

Pre-heat the oven 20 minutes before baking.

How high the rising will be depends on the strength of flour thats been used. There will be a difference between different flours from different places in the world.

The Brioche is done when the crust is deep brown. Or use a cake testing pin, that has to come out clean .

Undress your mold and let stand for 10 minutes before removing the mold.Twist gently to remove ( take care , still hot ! )and allow to cool down on a rack .

Friday, November 13, 2009

Weekend Cat Blogging: Life is a Bowl of Tuna

I know it comes as no surprise that Mom is nowhere to be found and there hasn't been any typing here at The Sour Dough since the end of last month.

Further, I know it won't surprise you at all when I tell you that since Mom last visited these dusty and musty webpages, that she has been home for less than three days. It seems that Mom is on her end of the year world wide tour of projects and conferences. I'm calling it Red-Eyeapollza in honor of her bloodshot eyes from all those late night flights.

When Mom does come home, she barely has time to restock the cat food and do her laundry let alone cook or bake anything. She is even scraping the bottom of the normally well stocked pantry when she does make an appearance.

For example, on Wednesday night this week, she showed up on the doorstep at 11:30pm after a flight back from LA starving. After dumping her luggage, starting a load of laundry, and feeding me a bonus can of cat food she scrounged around the pantry and came up with a bag of instant brown rice, a can of Rotel tomatoes, and a travel container of tuna fish for a late night dinner.

The best part of that impromptu meal?


Mom let me lick the tuna fish container...

We're hosting Weekend Cat Blogging here at the Sour Dough this weekend. We're hoping all the other kitties in the blogosphere get as nice a treat as I had. So, stop by, leave a comment and let us know what you are up to!

Friday, October 30, 2009

I Finally Get to Eat My Suntan Lotion

Got your attention didn't I.

Once upon a time, before we were all warned about the dangers of slathering ourselves with baby oil, cooking oil, and all other sorts of oil in the search for the St. Tropaz bronze and brown tan, I couldn't wait for April and May to come around so I could trot down to the corner drug store and purchase my summer supply of Coppertone, Bain de Soleil, and Hawaiian Tropic.

Even in snowy Northern Michigan, there was nothing like opening a bottle a of sun tan lotion to make you believe it was the middle of July again and you weren't being blinded by the sun on the snow but the sun on the sand and lake. I especially loved Hawaiian Tropic because it smelled so fantastic, with its blend of coconut and pineapple smells. It was like taking a pina colada and smearing it all over yourself. It smelled so good, it made you hungry.

Now, every time I smell a pina colada or the combination of coconut and pineapple, I am instantly transported back to the summer of 1978, with the music from the soundtrack from Grease playing over the transistor radio at the end of the dock, and my first serious boyfriend Billy sitting next to me rubbing sun tan oil on my back. He had a powder blue 1975 Chevelle and it still amazes me to this day that my parents even let him date me let alone sit alone on the dock with me. But I digress...

Today at lunch, while I caught up on the past three weeks of "unimportant" email I had been ignoring, I opened a container of Dannon Light & Fit Pineapple Coconut yogurt. Instantly, I was not trapped in my office, a slave to my computer and my job but rather I was a carefree fifteen again and the only thing I was responsible for was making sure my room was clean and my homework was done. For just a few minutes, the weight of adulthood wasn't on my shoulders any more.

Who says you can't be fifteen again.

What food smells bring back childhood/teenage memories for you?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Bread Baking Babes: Taunted by Tanta Wawa

Guess what? I'm not a bad babe this month!

Well, let me rephrase that, I'm not a bad, bad Babe this month.

You see, I did make the dough for our wonderfully fun and creative bread of the month, Tanta Wawa (Peruvian Bread Babies),

BBB logo october 2009

that the fantastic Gretchen of Canela and Comino, our host kitchen, brought back from her beloved Peru. But, apparently, not only are the golf gods not smiling on me but the yeast queen has deserted me as well.

Earlier this month, Sara, Stephanie, and I got together on Skype on the only night for the past several weeks that I have had time to bake for a marathon night baking session. Because of my crazy 60+ hour weeks of the past month and a half, I had not only a cherry tart/turnover to mess up (more on that in the future) but I also totally screwed up a remake of twelve grain bread and Gretchen's lovely Tanta Wawa.

I'm sure it wasn't the recipe, even though Gretchen and others did report that dough was very dry. I'm absolutely positive it wasn't the flour or even the fact that I was desperately skyping back and forth with my girls about the failure of my turnover dough. Nope, it was none of these things. I'm sure I'll never know but for some strange reason, my dough never relaxed enough for me to do anything with it.

It just lay there in it's little round, tight shape taunting me.

Taunted By Tanta Wawa Dough

Daring me to try and stretch it out into a fat, happy baby.

Twelve hours later, I decided that it was never going to relax and I had to send the dough off that place where bad dough goes.

Unfortunately, I haven't had time since to give the Tanta Wawa another go. But, hopefully, this week, I may find a bit of time one evening to see if I can get a lovely baby or two. Thanks Gretchen for a really different take on our bread of the month.

To check out some more successful and adorable Tanta Wawa, go check out the other Babes in the sidebar. If you want to be a Bread Baking Buddy, check out what you have to do to make Tanta Wawa yourself at Gretchen's!

Tanta Wawa (Peruvian Bread Babies)
from Gretchen at Canela and Comino
(Note about this recipe: After several of us reported how hard the dough was to work with, our lovely Gretchen went back to the kitchen and adapted the recipe to make an easier dough to work with. That reworked recipe is what is posted here, not the recipe that resulted in the stiff dough ball above)

Makes 4 small

1 egg
1/2 cup of all purpose flour
1 tablespoon of sugar
1/4 teaspoon of yeast

1/2 cup of all purpose flour
1 cup of whole wheat flour
2 cups of bread flour
1/2 cup of white sugar
1/4 cup of brown sugar
1 tablespoon of dry yeast
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon of ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon of sesame seeds
2 teaspoons of salt
1/2 cup of lowfat milk
1/4 cup of water
1/4 cup of butter
2 eggs (at room temperature)
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
1 egg yolk (for painting)

1. In a bowl combine 1/2 cup of flour, 1 egg, 2 T water, pinch of yeast and 1 T of sugar. Let that sit for a few hours. In a bowl, mix the flours, sugar, yeast, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and sesame seeds. Sprinkle over the sponge.

2. Add the 2 eggs and vanilla to the flour mixture. Measure the milk, water and butter in a measuring cup. Heat for 30 seconds in the microwave, pour into the flour mixture. Mix well then turn out and knead for 10-15 minutes, using additional flour if necessary. Divide dough into 4 portions of 250g each. Form them into ovals. Cover and let the dough rest for 10 minutes.

3. Stretch each dough ball into the form of a "fat baby". (*note: This is where things are really vague...use the linked photos for ideas). Place them on baking sheets which have been greased and floured. Cover with plastic and let the dough babies grow to three times their size. (*note: no indication of how long! Sorry!)

4. Preheat the oven to 180C.

5. Brush the egg yolks over the dough babies. Bake at 180C for 30 minutes.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Weekend Cat Blogging: Mom's Whizzing Around the Kitchen

Can you believe it? There is a second post this week here.

Of course, Mom isn't writing it because she is too busy in the kitchen playing around with puff pastry dough for some cherry turnovers she's taking to some friend's tonight and the golf course tomorrow, prepping for a marathon night baking session with Sara and Stephanie, and carving up the corned beef she got up at 3am this morning


so she could make some corned beef hash for brunch tomorrow.

Then there were the maple scones she made for a client.


All that running around made Mom really thirsty and she said something about it didn't matter that it was only 39 degrees outside, she was going to have gin and tonic. Then I heard lots of "adult" words coming from the kitchen. It seems Mom had to get the tools out from under the sink to get the bottle of gin open.


Maybe that was telling her something...


I've been laying around the house trying to be a speed bump between the kitchen and the front room.


I figure the way Mom's scurrying around back and forth, this may the only way I get any attention today!

Our good friend, Kashim is hosting Weekend Cat Blogging this weekend. It's pretty lonely around there so go over and even you don't have a cat who can type and blog like me, you can still say "hi"!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Celebrating Gourmet Magazine

When it was announced last week that Gourmet Magazine would be ceasing publication, I was devastated along with half the food blogging world. I had been a subscriber for ten years and had just gotten my notice for renewal the day before.

What made it even worse for me was that a few weeks ago, in the quest to downsize my life a bit, I had taken the two boxes of Gourmet and gone through them; removing the recipes I wanted to keep and recycling the rest of the magazine. There was only about 25 complete magazines, including the annual Thanksgiving and Christmas issues when I was done. To say I was sick to my stomach over what I had done would be an understatement.

This culling of my magazines made participating in Julie of A Mingling of Tastes event to Celebrate Gourmet, both more difficult and a little easier. Hard because I thought of all the recipes I had flipped through and the lovely covers that were now somewhere in a recycling facility somewhere in Fairfield County. Easy because I didn't have to flip through one hundred and twenty issues of Gourmet to find what I was going to make.

In the end, I settled on two recipes I had been eyeing:

Meatballs from the January 2009 issue

Meatballs from Jan 09 Gourmet

and Spanish Rice Pudding from the Last Touch section of the February 2009 issue.

Spanish Rich Pudding from Feb 09 Gourmet

My love of meatballs is well documented here at The Sour Dough. Not to mention, that given my schedule of late, they are quick and easy to make. I made these with full intention of following up with the ragu recipe they were paired with in Gourmet but I ended up eating them straight off the paper towel I set them on to cool.

What you probably didn't know is my absolute love and devotion to rice pudding. If I had to name the ultimate comfort food for me it would be rice pudding.

I have often made the original baked rice pudding recipe that Gourmet has updated several times over the years. I also fell in love with a stove top recipe from a few years ago that they ran in a "Best Of" issue. Nothing though prepared me for the incredible mingling of flavors in the Spanish Rice Pudding.

There is lemon and cinnamon and vanilla. The lemon was the surprise for me. Why hadn't I ever thought to lemon in rice pudding? It makes total sense now that I think about it. Lemon would really bring out the zip and zing in cinnamon and heighten the sweetness in the vanilla.

There is only one thing I would change the next time I make this pudding, which given how cold, rainy, and damp it is suppose to be this weekend, will probably be on Friday night, is I would use a bit less milk. I like my pudding a bit thicker.

It is these types of "Ah HA's" that I will miss every bit as much as I will miss the fantastic photographs, the interesting stories on place and how food can define place, the "Last Touch", the book and movie reviews, and most of all the recipes of Gourmet.

Or maybe, some way, or some how there will be a last minute reprieve from the governor...

Spanish Rice Pudding
from the February 2009 issue of Gourmet Magazine (1940 - 2009)

1 cup water
1/2 cup long grain white rice
4 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
3 (4 inch) strips lemon zest
1 cinnamon stick (3 - 4 inches)
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Bring water to boil with 1/4 tsp of salt in large heavy saucepan. Stir in rice and return to a boil. Cook, covered over low heat until water is absorbed, about 18 minutes. Stir in milk, sugar, zest and cinnamon stick and simmer, uncovered stirring often until thickened and rice is tender, 40 minutes to an hour. Stir in vanilla. cool to luke warm in a large shallow bowl. Cover with buttered wax paper to prevent skin from forming. Garnish with cinnamon.

Personal Notes:
- Trust me, 1/2 a cup of rice is enough. Don't be tempted to add more. Reports from the web of people who added more seem to resulted in industrial strength bricks. I was skeptical but when the rice cooked up and the pudding thickened, each bite was chock full of rice

- 3 cups of milk seems to be the reported magic amount for thicker pudding

- I used my microplane to zest my lemon. I'm glad I did because I think it ready spread the lemon through the pudding

- I didn't cover the pudding. I love "pudding skins" and next to eating this for dinner last night right from the pan, I kept getting up from my stool at the breakfast bar where I was working to peel off the pudding skins as they formed.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Weekend Cat Blogging: Where in the World Is Mom This Week?!

I'm hosting Weekend Cat Blogging this weekend. I use the word "I" because I've given up on including Mom in this whole venture of Weekend Cat Blogging.

Not only does she ignore her normal blogging duties lately because of that stupid game of golf but now she is off galavanting around the countryside for her job. And when she isn't off at some exotic location like Minot, ND or Lincoln, NB she is working until Eight or Nine O'Clock at night and coming home in time to feed me, clean out the litter box and the crash in bed.

Well, I'm mad and I'm not going to take it anymore.

Pissed LB

I've decided I'm taking over this blog. I'm pretty handy in the kitchen too!

Like when Mom made homemade turkey Italian sausage late last month with her new meat stuffer attachment for Isabelle, I helped by making sure any little drops of meat didn't dirty the floor. And I batted at this long piece of sausage that missed the pan on the floor Mom was using to catch the filled sausage skins. Mom cooked that little piece up for me and then made her self this dish of oven roasted summer squash, onions and sausage over rice.

Homemade Turkey Italian Sausage and Squash

Then there was the Smith Island Cake disaster. Mom got it in her head to get rid of the huge boxes of magazines and only keep the recipes that interested her. I sat next to Mom while she ripped out pages of cooking magazines like Gourmet (Mom is sick about that now that Gourmet is closing), Bon Appetit, and Sauver before taking the parts of the magazines she didn't want to the recycling bins.

One of the recipes that caught Mom's eye was the recipe for Smith Island Cake from Savuer. Mom wanted to make something fun and chocolatey to take to her friends at Bogeys Grille and Tap Room, where Mom has become a regular. I told Mom that the recipe for the frosting didn't sound right and that if she wasn't careful, she would be channeling her good friend Lisa from La Mia Cucina's Chocolate Cake Disaster. But she didn't listen to me and look at what that got her.

Smith Island Cake from Sauver Disaster

She said her friends still loved the cake but I can't believe I let her take it out of the house and into a public place. Not that I could or would want to eat chocolate but really, I have a reputation here to protect.

Well, look at what Mom dragged out from under the bed last night.

LB in my Suitcase Again!

Yup, that would be the suitcase. She said something about a trip to Charlotte, NC she has to go on and then muttered something about having to get the golf clubs ready to go with her because if she was going to have to go work on a project for a few days, then by golly she was going to get a few holes of golf in.

I think I'll just pack myself in with the golf shirts. I'll bet she won't even notice the cat hair.

If you want to join us in this installment of Weekend Cat Blogging, leave a comment with a link to your post and check back later on in the weekend to see how all the other kitties of the blogosphere are doing with their staff.

Now, where did I put my zip lock baggie with my catnip flavored toothpaste in it...

Saturday, October 03, 2009

A Hat Trick of Appies to Open "The Season"

Now that Fall is here and the sun is setting by 6pm, I'm not spending that much time out on the golf course. Which means, you probably will seeing a lot more typing and food here. Fall also means the start of the season of my other sport passion, hockey.

I've been a hockey fan since I was six months old. Seriously. When I was a baby, my dad would give my mom a break in the evening by feeding me my last bottle of the day, burping me, and rocking me to sleep while listening to the Detroit Red Wings take on all comers on the radio. My first two dolls where named Crissy and Hockey. Really. I named my Chatty Cathy "Hockey".

Since I grew up in the UP of Michigan, we picked up the Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario TV stations. Saturday night would find my dad and I perched in front of the black and white TV watching Hockey Night in Canada. A lot of times, my dad would turn down the volume on the TV so we could listen to the Red Wings on the radio but regardless, we were watching hockey!

Besides the Red Wings (yes, Peabody, I'm a Wings fan), I have always had a soft spot for the Calgary Flames. I also became a rabid Bruins fan while I was living in Boston and I'm trying really hard to like the Rangers but I suspect the Islanders will probably end up my NYC team owing to the fact the Rangers are the arch rivals of the Bruins.

Hockey has played an important role in my career. My job as designer of sound systems for stadiums and arenas has allowed me to watch games from the best seats in the house, the catwalks, in the arenas in Calgary (GO FLAMES!!), Toronto, Vancouver, Detroit, LA, and Boston

Nice curves baby!

A few weeks ago, my bud Ivonne, contacted me and the biggest hockey nut in the food blogging world, Peabody, about putting together a virtual meal in honor the first installment of Hockey Night in Canada of the 2009 -2010 NHL Season.

Faster than a good defenseman can walk a puck across the blue line, I found myself doing appetizers; which is perfect for me as I often can't decide when I'm at a restaurant whether I want to have an entree or just a bunch of appetizers for my dinner.

I decided to make three different appetizers that are perfect for using your fingers to eat and can double as menacing objects when you want to throw something at the TV because your goalie let one slip between the knees: Piggies in a Blanket, Potato and Onion Pierogies, and Spanakopita.

A Hat Trick of Appies: Piggies in a Blanket, Pierogi, and Spanakopita

Piggies in a Blanket are no brainers and stupid easy to make. Get yourself a can of crescent rolls and a package of little cocktail weenies (I like Lil' Smokies). Divide of the roll dough and cut each triangle of dough into 4 parts. Wrap the cocktail weenies in the dough bits, bake at 375 for about 8-10 minutes, and you got yourself addicting little morsels of meat and bread. I don't use a dipping sauce but a mixture of grape jelly, chili sauce, and ketchup makes a pretty good condiment.

I don't have a set recipe for the spanakopita other than chopped spinach, some feta cheese, garlic, dill, and a little salt and pepper. I then take six sheets of phyllo dough, cut the sheets into long strips, cut the strips into five smaller rectangles and just like folding the flag, wrap about a tablespoon of filling into the rectangle of phyllo. I then brush each pocket of filling with some garlic infused melted butter and bake them at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. These freeze wonderfully too. So make a huge batch and you have instant appies for last minute guests arrive to cheer on the Canucks, the Pens, or who ever.

I do have a family recipe for the pierogies. It's my Aunt Peggy's family recipe actually. I could share it with you but then I would have to find you and full body check you into the boards because I promised her I would never share it with anyone who wasn't family.

But, if want to try your hand at making these little dough pillows from heaven of potatoes and onions, you can find a really fantasitc recipe that I have used when I didn't feel like slaving for half a day and night in the kitchen making the family version at smittenkitchen! Careful going there though, you will find it three days later after you start wending your way through Deb's lovely site.

Well, there you have it, not only a real, honest goodness post on The Sour Dough but your first course of a "She Shoots, She SCORES the Hat Trick" of appetizers.

If you are done scarfing those down, head over Ivonne's for the main course and make sure you save room because the Mistress of the Stick and Sweets, Peabody has dessert (of course).

And to get you in the mood for the game, take a listen to one of the funniest voices behind the play by play radio calls in the NHL, Mike Lange, who calls the Penguins games.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Bad Babe...Again

Yup, I didn't get it done again. Hanging my head in absolute shame...

BUT the gals did a bang up job on the Steamed Flour Bread that Karen picked out!

So, instead of staring at my never updating home go check out what the Babe's in the sidebar have done with steam, flour and pepper.

You can find out how to join us as a Bread Baking Buddy by visiting Karen's site.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Taste of Yellow: Summer Squash Gratin

I spent much of a wet and windy Saturday catching up on my huge backlog of food blogs that accumulated during my month long unplugged break. It was during this catch up session I began to notice a few posts for Barbara of winosandfoodies yearly Taste of Yellow event that supports the Lance Armstrong Foundation's Livestrong fight against cancer.

Livestrong Logo

I've participated in this event before and spoke then about the friends and family I have lost to cancer. This time around I'm going to talk about the friends and family who have survived cancer.

Every single one of them from my best friend who had breast cancer and decided to have preventative surgery in the form of a double mastectomy because her mother, her sister, her grandmother and both aunts had all been diagnosed with breast cancer to my mother in law, who last year less than one month after we both lost Wren, was diagnosed with lung cancer to my biological father, who last year upon returning from a six month trip to China he had been planning for the last ten years to meet his wife's family was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, have one thing in common besides cancer; the way their lives came to a screeching halt.

My best friend was in the midst of writing her thesis for her PhD in Art History. My mother in law was in the middle of grieving for her last living child. My father was reveling in the afterglow of meeting his in-laws who welcomed him into their family with open arms. Regardless of the important events all three of them were engaged in, they all put aside their lives and took up the fight against their cancer.

To honor my friends and family, who thankfully have beat their cancers or whose cancers are in remission, I made a yellow summer squash gratin with the last of the yellow straight neck squash from last week's farmer's market.

Last of the seasons Yellow Summer Squash

Gratins are layered dishes that often include cream, milk, eggs or butter. This gratin is simple and adapted from Alice Water's The Art of Simple Food recipe for summer squash gratin. Her recipe was simple, summer squash, half and half, cream, a bit of butter, salt and pepper.

Like the recipe, I only used half and half and cream with some salt and pepper as the sauce but I added caramelized onions and a dash of nutmeg to the dish. The sauce curdled a bit in the oven but the taste was fantastic, not unlike the lives of people who are diagnosed with cancer. There is a bit of curdling at first but when they come through on the other side, life is even sweeter.

Summer Squash Gratin for Taste of Yellow

Yellow Summer Squash Gratin
adapted from Alice Water's The Art of Simple Foods

3 medium yellow summer squash, sliced very thin (either long neck or crooked neck yellow squash)
Kosher salt, for sprinkling on summer squash
3 Tbsp salted butter
1 large Vidalia onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp nutmeg
1/2 cup of finely shredded swiss cheese (optional)
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 cup heavy cream

Slice squash very thin, spread on cookie sheet, and lightly sprinkle with Kosher salt. Set aside while caramelizing the onions.

In large saute pan, melt butter over medium low heat add onions and stir with wooden spoon to coat completely with melted butter. Let onions sweat and slowly caramelize. This will take about 15 - 20 minutes. When onions are just starting to turn golden brown at the edges, add garlic and nutmeg. Stir for about 1 minute until you just start to smell garlic. Remove from heat and set aside.

In greased 8 x 4 loaf pan, put one layer of squash on the bottom, sprinkle 1/4 of the onions on top of the squash, and lightly sprinkle with pepper and swiss cheese, if using. Repeat until all the squash is used, finishing with onions and cheese on top.

In measuring cup, whisk together half and half and cream and pour over squash and onion layers.

Bake in pre-heated 350 degree oven for about 1 hour or until top is brown and bubbling and squash is tender.

Allow to stand for 10 minutes until gratin sets up before serving.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Nearly Wordless Weekend Cat Blogging

LB Kneads in his old leather chair
(kneading, kneading,kneading)

LB Startled During His Cleaning
Umm...You want me to protect you from that big dangerous cord thingy?

LB Chases Camera Cord

We're hosting Weekend Cat Blogging but not saying much this weekend. Leave a comment if you want to participate and check back on Sunday to see what the other cats are saying or not saying!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Arnold Palmer Cookies for "The King"

Today, probably the greatest golfer who ever strode to a tee box, Arnold Palmer aka "The King", turns 80.

Arnold Palmer in Grand Forks, ND
(Photo courtesy of russhons)

Whenever I think of Arnold Palmer, I think of lazy Sundays sitting on the floor in front of my dad's chair while we watched Arnold go head to head with his arch nemesis, Jack Nicklaus. We would sit, watch golf, and catch up with each other. He would ask me about school, I would ask about his job and we would both groan when ever Arnie or Jack missed a putt, put the ball in the rough, or hit a ball into a hazard. I think those Sundays spent watching Arnie, Jack and just spending time with my dad are when I first came to love golf.

Even if you don't play golf, have never watched golf, and couldn't name any players on the PGA Tour today other than Tiger Woods, you probably have heard of Arnold Palmer; if for nothing else for the drink of half iced tea and half lemonade named after him.

Arnold Palmer Drink

Several versions of how this refreshing drink became to be known as the "Arnold Palmer" exist. The most often cited tale is in the 1960s he ordered this combination of iced tea and lemonade in a bar and a woman sitting at the table next to him told the waitress to bring her "that Palmer drink". Regardless of how the drink got its name, it is one of my favorite non-alcoholic drinks and even though it is associated with summer, I drink it all year round. It is light and refreshing even when there is ten inches of snow on the ground.

I wanted to take that refreshing feeling I get when I drink an Arnold Palmer and put it in a cookie.

My Arnold Palmer Shortbread Cookies

So, I pulled out my trusty, killer recipe for lemon shortbread, my new kitchen gadget, a motar and pestle, and my tin of loose Twinings English Breakfast tea.

New mortar/pestle and Twinings English Breakfast Tea

After finely grinding the tea,

Ground tea for Arnold Palmer Cookies

I made the dough,

Arnold palmer Cookie Dough

and formed a dough plank about 15" long by 3" wide by 2" tall

Arnold Palmer Cookie Dough ready for fridge

before placing the dough in the freezer for about 30 minutes.

While the dough was in the freezer I made the glaze using both fresh squeezed lemonade and brewed iced tea.

After removing the almost frozen dough from the freezer, I sliced it to about 1/4" thick and placed the slices on a parchment paper lined jelly roll pan.

Arnold Palmer Cookie Dough sliced and ready to bake

I baked the cookies in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 12 minutes until the cookies were slightly brown at the edges. After letting the cookies cool on the pan for a few minutes, I removed them to a cooling rack to finish cooling completely before I glazed them with a simple glaze made from confectioners sugar, lemonade and fresh brewed iced tea.

These cookies were every bit as refreshing as the drink that inspired them. According to my taste testers, they were a hole in one.

Happy 80th Birthday Arnie! You really are "The King".

Arnold Palmer Cookies

Arnold Palmer Cookie

1 1/2 C unsalted butter, softened
1/4 C sifted confectioners sugar
1/4C sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp lemon zest
1/8 C lemonade, (Homemade is best but if you have to use store bought, try to get some that doesn't use high fructose corn syrup)
1/4 tsp salt
1 3/4 C AP flour, sifted
1/8 C finely ground black tea

Combine flour, salt and tea and set aside. Cream butter and sugars until the butter is light and fluffy. Add into the butter mixture, the lemon zest and lemonade. 1/4 cup at a time, add in flour mixture until the dough just comes together.

Form the dough plank on waxed paper, place in the freezer for 20 minutes. Dough can also be wrapped and frozen for up to 1 month.

Slice frozen dough in 1/4" slices, place on prepared or parchment paper lined cookie pan. Bake for 12 minutes or until edges are just starting to turn golden brown in pre-heated 350 degree oven.

Remove from oven, allow to cool on pan for 1-2 minutes before transferring the cookies to a cooling rack. Allow to cool completely before glazing.

1 cup confectioners sugar, sifted
1 Tbsp lemonade
1 Tbsp freshly brewed tea

Combine the ingredients together. You may need to add more liquid or sugar to get the glaze to the consistency you desire.

Make 2 dozen. These cookies freeze well, ship fantastic, and will stay fresh for one week in a sealed container.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Edible Word: Confections of a Closet Master Baker

If you are a long time reader of The Sour Dough (if there are any of you left after my almost month long absence from this little spot on the web), you know that besides baking and now golf, reading is my other deep abiding passion.

I typically have three or four different books going at any given time. A quick survey this morning of my bedside table revealed the following titles: John Feinstein's Tales from Q School: Inside Golf's Fifth Major, Julie Nicolson's The Perfect Summer: England 1911, Just Before the Storm, Mary Lovell's The Sisters: The Saga of the Mitford Family, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, and this round of The Edible Word's book, Gesine Bullock-Prado's Confections of a Closet Master Baker.


When The Edible Word's hostesses Cath of A Blithe Palate and Stephanie of Dispensing Happiness asked me if I wanted to participate in this round I didn't hesitate to say yes. After all, I was going to get a chance to read a book about someone who is living a fantasy of mine, chucking their current life in for a chance at the nagging dream of owning their own bakery and making good on that dream.

One of the over riding themes in "Confections of a Closet Master Baker" is making the treats from family recipes, especially the author's mother and grandmother, for friends and family. As I read through the book and the wonderful recipes, I began to think about my family recipes. I have the recipe boxes of both my maternal and paternal grandmothers as well as copies of recipes my mother and mother in law have made for me of their recipes. But, rarely have I made these well loved recipes for anyone other than family. Reading in "Confections of a Closet Master Baker" how people reacted with extra joy when receiving a loved family treat made me want to break out my family recipes and share them with friends, co-workers and you, my readers.

Chocolate looms large in the recipes in Ms. Bullock Prado's life. She even stole a whole bag of Oreo cookies from a neighbor's pantry once to satisfy her craving for chocolate sweets. Chocolate has always been a mainstay in my family treat baking but no one cookie, brownie, or cake defines my family's love of chocolate more than my paternal Grandmother Myrna's Magic Chocolate Cookies.

My father is the oldest of thirteen kids. When all the siblings and their families would gather once a year at his parent's lake house on the shores of Burt Lake, my grandmother would bake for a week getting ready for the onslaught of over twenty grandkids. With that many kids, there was sure to be disagreements over chewy versus crisp cookies and my grandmother's Magic Chocolate Cookies could satisfy both in one cookie.

These cookies are chewy and gooey during the first day but become light and crisp after the first day and a quick three minute trip to a warm oven will return them to chewy status. Either way, crisp or chewy, their is enough chocolate goodness in these to satsify any kid of any age's craving for chocolate.

The ingredients for Magic Chocolate are simple, butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder (either natural or dutch processed work fine).

I always sift together the flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder and set it aside before beginning the recipe. This makes the last step of the dough easier to mix.

Then I cream the sugar and butter using my stand mixer (you can do it by hand too). The recipe calls for a scant 1/4 cup of softened butter to two cups of sugar. When you start creaming, don't worry if you don't think you will have enough butter. You really want buttery sugar and will have the butter and sugar creamed enough when it looks like this:

Butter and Sugar for Magid Cookies

Next, whisk two eggs with vanilla and combine it with the butter sugar mixture.

Butter, Sugar, Egg Mixture for Magic Cookies

Then I add the flour mixture, one 1/2 cup measure at a time. The dough will be stiff at first after you've added the last one or two 1/2 cup measures.

Magic Cookie Dough Still Stiff

Don't worry though because after about two or three minutes of mixing at medium speed your dough will become soft and deep, dark chocolate brown.

Magic Cookie Dough

I let the dough rest a few minutes while I gather and prep the cookie sheets and pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. I also like to get a bowl of sparkling sugar to roll the dough balls into before placing them on either greased cookie sheets or parchment paper.

Magic Cookie Dough Balls

Using a teaspoon, I scoop a little dough out of the bowl and roll it into a 1/2" diameter ball, roll the dough ball into the sparkle sugar, and place about 2" apart on the cookie sheet.

I bake the cookies for about 7 - 9 minutes, until the cookies just spread and a few cracks appear on the cookies. After removing them from the oven, I let them sit for two or three minutes until they just set up before placing them on the cooling racks to cool.

Chocolate Magic Cookies

They will be chewy and dark satisfyingly chocolate for the first day or so. If you want crisper cookies right out of the oven, let them bake for 8 - 10 minutes but keep your eye on them as they will go from crisp to toothbreaking hard quickly if you do this.

Personally, I love them as cookies the first day and then use them to dip into my espresso the next day.

Who knows, if I ever decide to do what Ms. Bullock-Prado did when she left her high flying life in Hollywood and open a bakery in some small town in Northern Michigan, these Magic Chocolate Cookies may just be the signature afternoon treat of my little shop.

Grandma Myrna's Magic Chocolate Cookies

1/4 C butter, softened
2 C sugar
2 eggs, large
2 tsp vanilla
2 C AP flour
3/4 C cocoa powder, either natural or dutch processed
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 C sparkle sugar to roll dough balls into (Optional)

Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside. Cream butter and sugar until the sugar is completely coated. Whisk together two eggs and vanilla and combine into the sugar mixture. Add floor mixture one 1/2 cup at a time. Dough will be stiff at first but mix for 2-3 minutes until combined completely.

Let dough rest for a few minutes. Using a spoon, scoop out enough dough to make 1/2" diameter dough ball. If using the sparkle sugar, roll dough ball into sugar and place on greased or parchment paper prepared cookie sheets 2" apart.

Bake for 7 - 9 minutes in a 350 degree pre-heated oven. Let cookies rest on pan until set up when removing from the oven before placing on cooling racks.

Enjoy warm or cool. Cookies will be chewy for the first day and then become crisp and light after. To make them chewy again, place three minutes in a 350 degree oven.

Makes 3 dozen cookies. Will stay fresh for three or four days or can be frozen.