Butterscotch Bars

It’s been an interesting year, hasn’t it? I’ve been on a bit of a bender lately, getting rid of (or at least, reducing) paperwork that’s been piling up and holds little interest for me. I have so much that I had to buy more paper (as in, paper file folders) to store all that paperwork in which seems redundant, but living in a place where paper…

It’s been an interesting year, hasn’t it? I’ve been on a bit of a bender lately, getting rid of (or at least, reducing) paperwork that’s been piling up and holds little interest for me. I have so much that I had to buy more paper (as in, paper file folders) to store all that paperwork in which seems redundant, but living in a place where paper still rules supreme, and digitizing takes as long as filing, I’m stuck filing and storing.

One change in the world of paper has been food blogs, which started out for many as being places where you could “store” and share your favorite recipes. But I’ve noticed over the last few years that food blogs have become a lot slicker, more polished, and often “aspirational.” While I’m jealous of those who have the talent, and patience, for writing for search engines, and arranging flowers on top of multi-layer cakes, I really just enjoy cooking and baking.

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Anzac Biscuits

Hello, welcome to my guest post, where I share one of my favourite childhood recipes…and a taste of Australia. If you make these biscuits, I hope you enjoy them as much as we do! –Emily When I lived in London, I once had an argument over holiday planning with a boss who didn’t want to let me have time off to go home to Australia…

Hello, welcome to my guest post, where I share one of my favourite childhood recipes…and a taste of Australia. If you make these biscuits, I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

Emily

When I lived in London, I once had an argument over holiday planning with a boss who didn’t want to let me have time off to go home to Australia for Christmas. “England is your home now,” she said. I immediately burst into tears and booked the flight online as she watched on in bemusement. In 3 years I will have been living outside Australia for longer than I lived there growing up but it is still where I mean when I say “home.”

With 12 years in London and 5 years in France under my belt (I’ll save you the math; I’m 37 and I moved overseas at 20) and with travel off the cards for the foreseeable future, it feels further away than ever. But there are some foods that transport me back home immediately, to dusty hot days in the playground (Vegemite sandwiches), salty air at the beach (shaved ice), or pre-exam jitters in the beautiful sandstone courtyard of my university (Allen’s pineapples).

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Canistrelli

The last two cookies I’ve made on this site have been American-style, i.e.; on the larger side, with lots of flavors and other stuff going on. I like those, but I also like “quiet” European cookies, which are often simple, sometimes somewhat plain (like French sablés, or butter cookies), that let you focus on one or two flavors. Canistrelli fit that profile. Originally from Corsica,…

The last two cookies I’ve made on this site have been American-style, i.e.; on the larger side, with lots of flavors and other stuff going on. I like those, but I also like “quiet” European cookies, which are often simple, sometimes somewhat plain (like French sablés, or butter cookies), that let you focus on one or two flavors. Canistrelli fit that profile. Originally from Corsica, Canistrelli are flavored with anise and made with wine, and sometimes chestnut flour, which gives them a husky taste, but it’s not easy to find unless you live in Corsica.

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Caramel-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

There’s a lot of “stuffed” stuff that goes viral online and it wasn’t my intention to do a caramel-stuffed chocolate chip cookie. Yet there I was, faced with a few batches of caramels leftover from recipe testing that didn&#821…

There’s a lot of “stuffed” stuff that goes viral online and it wasn’t my intention to do a caramel-stuffed chocolate chip cookie. Yet there I was, faced with a few batches of caramels leftover from recipe testing that didn’t quite make the cut, and wanted to put the caramels to good use. So why not?

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Oatmeal and Pecan Brittle Cookies

This year was a good year for baking books. I didn’t get to see them all, or bake from them, but one that I got a preview of before it was released was Dessert Person by Claire Saffitz. She may be familiar to you because of her tenure in the test kitchen at Bon Appétit and more recently, her very popular online videos, but reading…

This year was a good year for baking books. I didn’t get to see them all, or bake from them, but one that I got a preview of before it was released was Dessert Person by Claire Saffitz. She may be familiar to you because of her tenure in the test kitchen at Bon Appétit and more recently, her very popular online videos, but reading through the book, I learned that she just happened to have gone to Harvard, was a graduate student in French food history in Montreal, studied pastry at Ecole Ferrandi in Paris, and worked at the now-closed Spring restaurant, which jolted me back that era in Paris when a younger generation of chefs was opening restaurants and changing the game in France (sometimes, controversially), focusing on fresh ingredients and putting their own mark on French cuisine.

That’s how I feel about her book. Claire pretty much changes the pastry game. Preserved lemons are added to a glorious-looking Lemon Meringue Cake, chocolate and hazelnuts enrich a Galette des Rois, and coffee finds its way into a Coffee-flavored Coffee Cake. (How come no one’s thought of that before?) But these Oatmeal and Pecan Praline Brittle Cookies sounded so good to me that I decided to start off with them.

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Brownie Bars

Welcome to 2021. We had sort of, um…an abrupt beginning to the New Year. After a punishing 2020 where the pandemic pretty much upended everything in our lives, a lot of us were looking forward to some stability, seasoned with some optimism about the virus, but things took a decidedly different turn in a direction not many of us could imagine. I stepped away from…

Welcome to 2021. We had sort of, um…an abrupt beginning to the New Year. After a punishing 2020 where the pandemic pretty much upended everything in our lives, a lot of us were looking forward to some stability, seasoned with some optimism about the virus, but things took a decidedly different turn in a direction not many of us could imagine. I stepped away from a few things which allowed me a little time to get my mojo back and regroup.

The lockdowns (plural) and the pause for the holidays allowed me to sort through stuff in my kitchen drawers and clear a path to sanity in my office to face-down that pesky end-of-the-year paperwork. I organized the desktop on my computer (a task I highly recommend tackling), changed my newsletter service, deleted some passive-aggressive messages (still not sure I understand the point of those…) that were taking up valuable space in my head, retreated from the online world, bereaved the passing of a family member, took a step toward overcoming yet another leak as the plumber assured me the plumbing store would have toilets back in stock by the end of January (I hope he was talking about 2021), and emotionally regrouped to begin what I’m sure will be a fabulous a new year.

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Dulce de Leche Brownies

I thought I’d share this recipe for Dulce de Leche Brownies from The Sweet Life in Paris because I had several jars of what the French call Confiture de lait in my refrigerator from another project. Since I happened to love the combination of ca…

I thought I’d share this recipe for Dulce de Leche Brownies from The Sweet Life in Paris because I had several jars of what the French call Confiture de lait in my refrigerator from another project. Since I happened to love the combination of caramelized milk and dark chocolate, I thought – Why not combine the two in brownies?

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The Algonquin cocktail

When I rediscovered cocktails a while back, rye whiskey was the spirit that reeled me in. I loved its spicy, smoky notes and each one I tried was different than the others. Here, in the Algonquin cocktail, the rye is mixed with fruity pineapple juice, which gives it a suggestion of the tropics, but the whiskey brings it back to the “serious” category. But not…

When I rediscovered cocktails a while back, rye whiskey was the spirit that reeled me in. I loved its spicy, smoky notes and each one I tried was different than the others. Here, in the Algonquin cocktail, the rye is mixed with fruity pineapple juice, which gives it a suggestion of the tropics, but the whiskey brings it back to the “serious” category. But not too much.

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Cranzac Cookies

When the lockdown was announced about a month ago, I thought of all the great things I would finally be able to do. I would finally tackle those five- to seven-season tv series that everyone told me that I just had to watch, that require a hundred-hour commitment to get through them. (Breaking Bad and The Wire, I’m looking at you…) I would have the…

When the lockdown was announced about a month ago, I thought of all the great things I would finally be able to do. I would finally tackle those five- to seven-season tv series that everyone told me that I just had to watch, that require a hundred-hour commitment to get through them. (Breaking Bad and The Wire, I’m looking at you…) I would have the time to go through all those folders of paperwork that pile up like a fallen cheerleader formation when you live somewhere where paperwork is as common (but not as welcome) as wine.

Or I might finally tackle The Goldfinch (769 pages) or finish A Little Life. I only made it to page 30 (of 720 pages) of the latter before my brain felt like an Escher print.

Yet none of those things have happened. I ended up launching a daily Apéro Hour on my Instagram IGTV channel and found myself doing a lot more cooking and baking and writing. I try to squeeze in a little exercise either following videos on YouTube or taking online Pilates classes, and ended up revisiting some vintage recipes, including my variation of one by Marcella Hazan. But I dug into my own personal cookbook archives to make these Cranzac Cookies, and I almost wish I didn’t, because I could not stop eating them. Continue Reading Cranzac Cookies...

Chocolate Chip “Kitchen Sink” Cookies

Being confined for two weeks has been, um, interesting. As someone who works at home, I was, like, “I got this…” But by day two I started getting loopy. As much as I think Romain is the greatest thing ever, it’s hard to be cooped up and not allowed to go out. True, we can go to the grocery store or bakery if we bring…

Being confined for two weeks has been, um, interesting. As someone who works at home, I was, like, “I got this…” But by day two I started getting loopy. As much as I think Romain is the greatest thing ever, it’s hard to be cooped up and not allowed to go out. True, we can go to the grocery store or bakery if we bring a signed attestation with us for each trip we make (good thing we keep plenty of paper on hand for printing and photocopying here all the paperwork) but I was surprised how much I missed the interactions of daily life, much more than I thought.

Today they suddenly closed one of my local bakeries because they didn’t have enough masks and other supplies to protect their employees and customers, and tears welled up when I talked to one of the owners, who I’ve known since they opened the place. I ran over to get a baguette and a loaf of bread. They’re not the only bakery in the neighborhood, but it was sad to see them go and I hope they can reopen.

I knew from living in earthquake country, when this started, to have extra provisions on hand, so I bought a few extra bags of non-perishables like sardines, tuna, canned tomatoes, and pasta sauce. I have tons of grains and pasta always on hand, but I wanted to make sure I had enough butter, eggs, and flour, which I usually keep well-stocked. But when I was at the grocery store last week and saw all those blocks of butter on the shelf, I thought, “Why not?”

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