Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Best Shortbread and Eggnog Pudding Trifles for Walker's Shortbread


The weather was just a bit chilly last Saturday but I couldn't resist a walk in the woods behind our house. The fall canopy was so beautiful that I decided to grab my camera and set up a little impromptu dessert table.  It was the perfect backdrop for a new dessert.

I was asked a few weeks ago by Walker's Shortbread if I'd like to receive some of their products for recipe development.  Are you kidding me? I love shortbread!  In fact, I like to say that it saved my life when I traveled through part of Scotland feeling rather ill. It was the only thing that settled my stomach.

I love the Walker's brand, and if  you're not familiar with them then I must tell you, their shortbread is the best!  Just read the ingredients on the side of the box: wheat flour, butter, sugar, salt.   That's it folks!


Being on the cusp of the Christmas hustle and bustle, I decided to develop a festive eggnog pudding recipe and layer it between buttery shortbread crumbs.  It tastes much like an eggnog pie.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Honeyed Pears in Puff Pastry


Poaching fruit is one of my favorite things to do when cold weather arrives.  It's so warming to stand over a boiling pot of fragrant spices and lose yourself in thought.  When I made these, I couldn't help but daydream as I stirred;  if I were a pear... I wouldn't want to spend my days on the shelf of a cold produce department.  I'd want to be taken to a warm home and placed in a jacuzzi of honey and spices.  I'd want to be wrapped in an extra long puff pastry scarf and baked until golden and toasty.

That sounds a little silly, but that's what I'd want... if I were a pear. 

The idea for these came from the Pepperidge Farm website.  They looked so much like little bee hives that I decided to poach them with honey. 


On a personal note, our Christmas tree is already up courtesy of  Mr. Baird.  I have (gratefully) been inundated with projects and handed the tree decorating baton over to him.  I am ashamed to say that I was hesitant to do this. I'm a little obsessive when it comes to decorating, and my past Christmas trees have been a little too "department-store looking" (his words).  I must say, his new ornament choices are charming, and have an almost Scandinavian feel.  I love it!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Southern Biscuits with Chocolate Gravy


This biscuit post has been a long time coming.  Week after week, as I've decided on new blog entries I would always consider the beloved southern-style biscuit.  I dismissed it often because it seemed too daunting a task.  Why?  As a born-and-raised southerner, how could I possibly put into words something so deeply woven into the fabric of my life?  How could I tell you what my Grandmother's biscuits tasted like without also telling you about childhood summers on the farm, bottle feeding baby calves, gathering the daily eggs from nesting hens...

... falling and breaking said eggs and never once being chided for it; having tears wiped away and then being fed buttermilk biscuits with homemade apple butter.
  

Impossible.

I can't help but get a little misty-eyed, and simultaneously feel silly for having such emotion for the humble biscuit.  Clearly, it's more to me than just flour, fat and buttermilk.  It's the memory of happy times and a grandmother's love. As silly as I may feel, I know I'm not alone.  The countless blog-writers dedicated to the celebration, sharing and heritage of their own foods is perhaps the strongest testament to that.

I'm so happy to be able to share my regional food with you.  Just as I indulge my inner Parisian with financiers and the like, (but mostly by slaughtering their language) I hope you'll indulge your inner southerner with one of these down-home favorites.


Another food that is a big part of southern heritage is chocolate gravy.  It is a depression-era recipe that was most commonly eaten on big flaky biscuits for breakfast or dessert.  Although it stems from meager beginnings, it is absolutely indulgent!  My Aunt Grace would make this often and I'd always get excited to see it on her breakfast table. Chocolate for breakfast is a kid's dream come true, and  I must admit, I still find it quite exciting!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Caramel Pecan Brownies


This past week I've pondered (as I convalesced *sniffle) what this little bake space is deficient of regarding well-loved desserts.  I had the startling realization that there is no brownie post to speak of!  I love them. What kind of show am I runnin' here anyway?

I decided if I was to attempt brownies while not feeling great, they would have to be well worth the effort.  There was no other way to make myself rise from the comfy indentation I had made in the couch. 


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