Goodbye, 2013! – A Review of Food Favorites

2013 has been a great year for food.  We saw cupcakes take the back seat to doughnuts.  Cronuts emerged as a new delicacy.  Quinoa grew in popularity and found its way into all of our recipes.  New, excellent cookbooks made their way into our bookstores.  Kale continued to weave its way into our green side dishes.  Kitchen devices continued to grow and evolve in the creation of drool-worthy entrees.  And food bloggers created great, new content, including the debut of Flour and Fancy!

As we say goodbye to 2013, I wanted to review some of the great food and baking media that debuted or hit some great notes this year, making my favorites lists:Read More »

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Ferrero Rocher Pie

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I’ve been basking in a wave of disappointment.  On Monday, with Christmas Eve just a day away, I found myself stepping out of the house in flip-flops.  No, folks – I don’t live in sunny California or Florida.  I live in Virginia.  When I think Christmas, I think sweaters and scarves, not traipsing about in my summer footwear.

With weather like this, a traditional apple or pumpkin pie feels out of place to me.  Instead, I wanted to opt for something to celebrate the holiday that involved a cool texture with holiday flavor.  Hazelnuts and chocolate are the essence of the holidays!  So, I devised a easy, no-bake pie that encompasses those two flavors.Read More »

Marble Pound Cake + [Giveaway]

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I love cookbooks.  I remember I was suggesting a new cookbook to my mother, and she said, “You know, I just don’t use cookbooks anymore.  I get most of my recipes from the internet.”

And she’s right.  The internet provides a wealth of recipes – including those I share with you here! – and is an incredible resource.  I consult the internet daily for recipe inspiration.  But at the same time, I still love cookbooks.  I devour cookbooks like novels, absorbing each detail.  I treat the recipe like a well laid plot, reading from beginning to end and yearning for the outcome.Read More »

Brown Butter Banana Nut Bread

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The colder months are a time when I think not of baking cupcakes with colorful frosting but of breads, muffins, and pies.  I’m baking recipes that fill you with a sense of well being and warmth.  I’m wrapping them in paper to share with friends, neighbors, and family.  I’m having them with meals at home and resisting letting the dogs sample.

Breads are, hands down, my favorite recipe to bake from September to the end of February.  Can you think of a better wake-up call on a cold morning than warm bread with your cup of joe?  And this recipe is another one that I love to make French toast with.  This year, I’ve been sharing a lot of Spiced Pumpkin Bread and this recipe, Brown Butter Banana Nut Bread, as gifts and at holiday celebrations.  And they always get rave reviews.Read More »

Dark Chocolate Pecan Pie Tarts

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I love the holidays.

I live for the lights, the music, and whimsy – minus the crowded retailers and impossible parking.  And the baking, oh the baking.  The holidays are a time when my oven is constantly bringing life to cookies and cakes, pies and tarts, breads and candies.

There was a time that I snubbed my nose at pecan pie.  It just wasn’t, well, my thing.  That gooey center just beneath a layer of pecans just didn’t look appetizing to me.  Until about a year ago when, suddenly, I wanted to discover this sugar-filled, nut-topped holiday staple.  However, it wasn’t until a few months ago that I firmly decided to embark on making my own pecan pie rendition.

I was in a restaurant in Chattanooga, Tennessee – Terra Mae Appalachian Bistro.  That was, hands down, one of my favorite dining experiences, and this restaurant now holds a special place in my heart.  As we reached the dessert course, I ordered what our waiter called “pecan pie on steroids.”  It was placed before me in all its chocolate and pecan glory, and as I devoured the decadent dessert, I felt myself inspired.  I wanted to create something – a tart, yes! – that embodied a melding of chocolate and pecan.Read More »